Four tourists stabbed in Jordan ruined city

Roman ruins at Jerash in Jordan

Four female tourists were among eight people stabbed at a leading historical site in Jordan on 6 November. David Ing reports

Among the others injured were their local guide and a police security guard at Jerash, the remains of a Greco-Roman city some 50 km north of the capital Amman. All eight were taken to nearby hospitals for treatment, two of them said to be in serious condition. Initial reports said the women tourists were Spanish, but a spokesman for the Jordanian Directorate of Public Security (PSD) later corrected this.

The misunderstanding apparently came from videos circulating on social networks in Jordan that recorded the victims and their guide speaking in Spanish. The Spanish Foreign Ministry confirmed they were not Spanish nationals, while a Jordanian news website said one of the injured women was believed to be carrying a Mexican passport. The PSD later clarified that three of the women were Mexican and one Swiss. It also said that a man had been arrested at the site for the assault on the tourists; he was already being sought by the police, although they did not say what for. The security officer was injured when he went to try and detain the attacker.

An investigation into the stabbings has already been launched.

The attack comes just three months after an unknown gunman opened fire on a tourist bus near Jordan’s best-known tourism destination, the desert complex at Petra, south of Amman. Nobody was injured as there were no passengers on board at the time, but three years ago, in December 2016, 10 people were killed at Karak, another destination popular in Jordan for its large Crusader castle.

Thirty were also wounded in an attack claimed by the so-called Islamic State group.

The US Government’s travel website specifically advises its nationals to ‘avoid Jordan's border with Syria’, which is just 35 km north of Jerash, ‘given the continued threat of cross-border violence, including the risk of terrorist attacks’.