Tourists among several stabbed at popular Jordanian site

Ahmad Abdo, AFP | The knife attack took place in the site of Jerash, a popular tourist spot north of the Jordanian capital.

Six people, including four tourists, were wounded in a knife attack in Jordan on Wednesday, a security spokesman said, adding that the assailant had been apprehended.


Four tourists – three Mexicans and a Swiss woman – were wounded in the knife attack, along with a Jordanian tour guide and a security officer, public security directorate spokesman Amer Sartawi told AFP.

"Around noon, a man attacked tourists, a tour guide and a security officer who tried to stop him in Jerash" a popular attraction 50 kilometres (30 miles) from the capital Amman, Sartawi said.

"The wounded were transported to hospital for treatment" and "the assailant was immediately arrested", he added.

He did not specify the nationality of the attacker or give details on the severity of the wounds. The attacker's motivation is so far unknown, he added.

It is not the first time tourist sites have been targeted by attacks in Jordan.

In December 2016, in Karak, home to one of the region's biggest Crusader castles, 10 people were killed in an attack that also left 30—wounded.

The attack was claimed by the Islamic State group (IS) and 10 people were eventually convicted of carrying it out.

Four "terrorist" incidents struck the country the same year, including a suicide attack in June claimed by IS that killed seven Jordanian border guards near the border with Syria.

Tourism is a mainstay of the Jordanian economy, with the kingdom working to pull the sector out of a crisis caused by regional unrest.

Jordan's tourism sector suffered after the Arab Spring uprisings convulsed the Middle East in 2011 and IS later rampaged across neighbouring Syria and Iraq.

Lacking in natural resources, the country of nearly 10 million depends on tourism, with 10 to 12 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) coming from the sector last year, according to the tourism ministry.

The country boasts 21,000 archaeological and historical sites that span millennia, according to the tourism board.

They include the Roman ruins of Jerash, the ancient city of Petra, the Dead Sea and Wadi al-Kharrar, or Bethany Beyond the Jordan, where some believe Jesus was baptised.

Jordan welcomed seven million tourists in 2010, but arrivals plunged to around three million in each of the following two years, tourism board head Abed Al Razzaq Arabiyat said in April.

Numbers have rebounded as spillover from the war in neighbouring Syria has abated, officials have said, with the government working to bring annual tourist arrivals back up to 7 million by 2020.


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