Iran-affiliated cell reportedly found storing explosives in Jordan’s capital

The Jordanian Public Security Directorate announced on June 22 that security forces are handling an investigative case in the South Marka area of the capital, Amman, according to the official Jordanian News Agency. Authorities stated that initial investigations indicated several individuals had been storing significant quantities of explosive materials inside a house.

Jordanian authorities have not yet disclosed the background and details of this incident or whether arrests have been made. Government officials stated that more information will be provided once the investigation is complete. It is important to note that South Marka, where the explosives were stored, is a dense residential area known to be a stronghold for the Muslim Brotherhood.

A report from Independent Arabia claims that the discovery of the explosive materials in the apartment is linked to new Iranian attempts to smuggle weapons and explosives into Jordan. The report further suggests these explosives were intended for Hamas. If these reports are accurate, this would mark the second such attempt to provide this support. A similar incident uncovered in May involved Jordanians of Palestinian descent who were affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan.

It would also not be the first instance of Iran-sponsored terrorist activities in Jordan. The Kingdom has dealt with these threats for some time, particularly since October 7. Over the past eight months, Jordanian authorities have thwarted 12 attempts to smuggle Captagon, a stimulant often used by jihadists, orchestrated by Iran-backed factions in Syria, including the 4th Armored Division of the Syrian Armed Forces. These attempts have evolved into weapons-smuggling efforts aimed at fueling unrest in the West Bank through Jordan’s border.

In November, Iraqi militias backed by Iran attempted to block oil supplies to Jordan as part of a broader strategy to exert pressure on the Kingdom. These militias threatened to disrupt the vital flow of oil, a move with serious economic repercussions for Jordan. Additionally, they issued threats to arm 12,000 Jordanians, aiming to incite them to take up arms against Israel.

Following Iran’s attack on Israel, Jordan faced explicit threats from Iran after intercepting projectiles destined for Israel. These threats were intended to intimidate the Kingdom and dissuade it from interfering in future operations. The same period saw an increase in attacks by Iraqi militias targeting Israel, with drones passing through Jordanian airspace, putting the Kingdom in a difficult position.

Hamas has also been actively inciting Jordanian protesters, urging them to escalate their actions. The group’s officials in Qatar have called on Jordanians to take to the streets, and Hamas spokesman Abu Ubayda has specifically urged them to intensify their protests. Hamas understands the strategic importance of the Jordanian arena, as the group has a strong support base there. Since October 7, this base has mobilized in support of the organization. Chants praising Mohammad Deif and Yahya Sinwar have echoed in Jordan for the past eight months, posing a significant security risk for authorities. This situation highlights the shared ambitions of Iran and Hamas to infiltrate Jordanian society and create instability.

With Iran’s threat continuing to loom in the region and the potential for further military action between Israel and Iran’s proxy Hezbollah, Jordan’s stability is increasingly at risk. The danger is becoming more internal as cells affiliated with Iran are being mobilized within Jordan. Although Jordanian authorities have successfully thwarted domestic threats so far, the ongoing pressure and ambitions of Iran to infiltrate Jordan will likely persist and possibly intensify in the future.

This continuous threat will necessitate that Jordan remains vigilant against external and internal destabilizing forces, particularly when combating Hamas’ inciteful rhetoric in the Kingdom. The challenge for the Kingdom is not only to address these immediate threats but also to coordinate with regional allies and neighbors to develop a strategy to counter Iran’s increasing influence and preserve its national security.

Ahmad Sharawi is a research analyst at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies focused on Iranian intervention in Arab affairs and the levant.

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