AMMAN: King Abdullah of Jordan said his country would hold all those accountable for undermining the security of the Kingdom and the safety of its citizens after four security officers were killed in a shoot-out.
Jordanian forces laid siege to a building in a residential part of Salt on Saturday night in search of those responsible for a bomb attack on a police van on Friday.
Security forces pulled the bodies of three suspected militants from the wreckage of the building on Sunday.
The monarch said the country would "strike mercilessly and forcefully" against those who sought to harm the country.
King Abdullah expressed his condolences to the Jordanian families of the security forces and paid tribute to the officers killed on duty, describing their sacrifices as “heroic and highly honorable.”
“This cowardly criminal act always reminds us that our country is targeted by the oppressors who wish evil upon us all,” King Abdullah said during a meeting of the National Policy Council at the Husseiniya Palace on Sunday.
“Jordanians are stronger when they face such events, and they are more enthusiastic to clean our country and the region and protect our religion.
“Our goal is always to break the back of terrorism and we will not depart from this goal despite the sacrifices."
No group has claimed responsibility for Friday’s attack on the van in Fuhais.
Officials have not formally disclosed the identity of the militants but security officials say some evidence points to Daesh-affiliated sleeper cells inside the Kingdom. The government set up a crisis cell to follow the developments, the state-run Petra news agency reported.
The government also announced three days of mourning as thousands of people attended funerals of the security personnel who were laid to rest with full military honors.
It was not clear how many militants fled into the building which is in a busy residential quarter of Salt. But five had now been rounded up in addition to three earlier, security sources said.
Part of the building was blown up by the militants, according to government spokeswoman Jumana Ghunaimat and a security source said it was believed a suicide bomber had blown himself up causing its partial collapse.
King Abdullah, a Middle East ally of Western powers against militancy who has also safeguarded Jordan’s peace treaty with Israel, has been among the most vocal leaders in the region in warning of threats posed by radical groups.