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November 12, 2002

Scores of wounded, killed persons in Maan, Arabs arrested, the city is besieged

Islamists not content to strike at Jews and Westerners but are beginning to cause chaos in Jordan too
Confrontations resumed between the city of Maan and the Jordanian authorities. The city lived its second day under a "siege" imposed by the security forces to arrest persons described by the authorities as "a gang."

In addition to the killing of three persons and scores of wounded, according to several persons, the clashes which took place in the southern city, which often witnesses protests concerning internal Jordanian issues, or concerning national issues like Palestine and Iraq; revealed that that what is taking place in Maan is beyond dealing with a "mere gang."

The siege, announced by the Jordanian authorities, besides acts of arrest which targeted more than 50 Islamists, and other Arab and foreigners, gave the city a scene of a "war against terrorism;" especially at a time when the security forces have received instructions to attack "hills area where several wanted gunmen seemed to have hide in."

Moreover, the large scale security attack against the city, 215 Km to the south of Amman, left the impression that the government has actually started the implementation of the slogan "Jordan first" recently advocated by the Jordanian King Abdullah to summarize his views concerning the Iraqi and Palestinian developments in the coming phase. A vision which necessitates at the current phase to show the "state's dignity and will."

Eye- witnesses said that the Jordanian special forces clashed with hundreds of gunmen in the largest security invasion of Maan in order to arrest Islamists, and this was after the end of a grace period given by the authorities to wanted persons who are hiding in the city to surrender themselves.