Attacker stabs eight at popular Jordanian tourist site
AMMAN — A lone attacker on Wednesday stabbed eight people, including four foreign tourists and their tour guide, at a popular archaeological site in northern Jordan, security officials said.
The incident in Jerash, one of the country's most visited destinations, threatened to cast a shadow over the country's vital tourism industry.
The wounded included three Mexican tourists and a Swiss woman, according to a spokesman for Jordan's Public Security office. Along with the tour guide, three other Jordanians, including two security officers and a bus driver, were also hurt before the attacker was subdued and arrested.
The office said two people, a Mexican woman and a Jordanian security officer, were in serious condition and airlifted to the capital, Amman, by helicopter. Jerash is roughly 60 kilometers (40 miles) north of the capital.
Mexican and Swiss authorities did not immediately say anything about the attack in Jordan.
Amateur video showed a bloody scene next to the Jerash archaeological site, an ancient city whose ruins include a Roman amphitheater and a columned road.
In one video, a woman can be heard screaming in Spanish. "It's a dagger, it's a dagger, there is a knife. Please, help him now!"
One woman is seen lying on the ground, with much blood around her, as someone presses a towel to her back. Another man sits nearby with an apparent leg wound.
There were no immediate details on the identity of the attacker or his motives. But residents of the Jerash refugee camp, which is inhabited by Palestinians whose families left the Gaza Strip during the 1967 Mideast war, denounced the attack.
"We condemn the terrorist attack that was carried out by a coward in Jerash," they said in a signed letter quoted on a government newspaper's website.
Jordan's economy relies heavily on tourism, and Islamic militant groups and other attackers have in the past targeted tourist sites to embarrass the government or harm the valuable industry. The Jordanian tourism sector has enjoyed a strong rebound over the past two years.
In 2005, triple hotel attacks killed at least 23 people, while the following year a British tourist was killed when a gunman opened fire at Roman ruins in Amman.
More recently, a 2016 attack by the Islamic State group killed 14 people, including a Canadian tourist.