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Jordan seeks help with neighbours

Amman -Jordan's King Abdullah II on Monday appealed for international support to help his country deal with regional turmoil after jihadists in neighbouring Iraq and Syria declared an “Islamic caliphate”.

“It is important that the international community continue to support Jordan to deal challenges and developments in the region,” a palace statement quoted the king as telling a Japanese parliamentarily delegation.

Jordan's King Abdullah and his wife Queen Rania at the Royal Palace in Amman. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed. Credit: REUTERS

A Sunni militant offensive spearheaded by the Sunni jihadists in Iraq has sparked fears in Amman that they will take their fight to the kingdom.

The militants, previously known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), on Sunday declared a “caliphate”, or Islamist state, straddling parts of Iraq and Syria.

Renaming themselves the Islamic State (IS), they already control large swathes of territory in northern and eastern Syria, and this month captured vast stretches of land in northern and western Iraq.

Warning against “repercussions of the crisis for Iraq and the entire region,” the Jordanian king called for “a political solution that would include all segments of the Iraqi people,” according to the palace.

His remarks came a day after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked the international community on Sunday to support Jordan in the fight against “Islamic extremism”.

“I think it's our common interest to make sure that a moderate, stable regime like (Jordan) is able to defend itself,” said Netanyahu, whose country has a 1994 peace treaty with Jordan.

Already suffering from the impact of hosting more than 600 000 Syrian refugees, Jordan has long faced the challenge of dealing with its own jihadists, many of whom have joined jihadists or al-Qaeda-linked groups in neighbouring Iraq and Syria.

Sapa-AFP

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