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Official: Jordan Reinforces Border With Iraq

Jun. 23, 2014 - 05:06PM   |  
Jordan's Minister of Information and government spokesman Mohammad Al-Momani speaks during a May 21 press conference.
Jordan's Minister of Information and government spokesman Mohammad Al-Momani speaks during a May 21 press conference. (Khalil Mazraawi / AFP)
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AMMAN, JORDAN — Jordan has reinforced its border with Iraq after Sunni Arab militants overran a crossing with Syria, a security official said on Monday.

“The Jordanian army has dispatched more troops, tanks, rocket launchers and armored personnel carriers to the border with Iraq,” the official told AFP.

“The army will not tolerate any kind of infiltration.”

Information Minister and government spokesman Mohammad Momani described the measures as “precautionary.”

“Such measures are contentious and precautionary ... in accordance with developments on the ground,” Momani told AFP.

Iraqi officials said on Monday that Sunni Arab militants have seized the Al-Waleed border post between Iraq and Syria.

The capture of the post means that all official crossings with Iraq’s neighbor to the west are outside government control.

The two other official crossings between Iraq and Syria, Al-Qaim and Rabia, are also outside government hands, with militants holding the first and security forces from the country’s autonomous Kurdish region in control of the second.

There is only one official crossing between Iraq and Jordan, at Tirbil, some 370 kilometers (230 miles) east of Amman.

There is confusion over who controls the Iraqi side of the crossing, with some reports saying fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has overrun it and others saying it is under the control of Sunni tribes.

Jordanian officials say trucks and cars are passing through the crossing normally.

An offensive in Iraq led by the powerful ISIL has sparked fears in Amman that the jihadists will take the fight to Jordan.

Already struggling to cope with hosting more than 600,000 Syrian refugees, Jordan has long faced a challenge in dealing with its own jihadists, many of whom have joined ISIL and other al-Qaida-linked groups in neighboring Iraq and Syria.

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