Eight people stabbed in popular tourist city in Jordan

Jerash attack victims included visitors from Mexico and Switzerland, authorities said

Jerash is home to one of the world’s best-preserved Roman cities and is a major attraction for tourists who are a lifeline for the Jordanian economy. Photograph: Simon Peach/PA Wire

Jerash is home to one of the world’s best-preserved Roman cities and is a major attraction for tourists who are a lifeline for the Jordanian economy. Photograph: Simon Peach/PA Wire

 

Eight people including four foreign tourists have been stabbed in Jerash, a city in Jordan popular with visitors.

Authorities said the victims included tourists from Mexico and Switzerland. Police sources told the Guardian that three of those stabbed were Mexican and one was Swiss. Two people have been flown to the capital Amman for treatment, local media said.

A 22-year-old had been arrested at the scene, a security source said. Jordanian media reported the man came from a nearby Palestinian refugee camp.

Residents of the camp released a statement on Wednesday saying they “denounce and condemn the terrorist act carried out of by one of these cowards in Jerash”.

Natalie, a witness to the attack, said she and her tour group were close to the Roman city’s hippodrome shortly before 11.16am local time when they saw a large group and heard a commotion.

She said that they realised there were people bleeding: “It looked like there had been a full-on fight. And then I saw this guy’s hand just split open and I knew somebody had stabbed people.”

She said local guides told her and her group that the attack had been carried out by “a psycho” who had been arrested and that the rest of the site was now safe.

Injuries

“We walked a bit farther down towards the columns and there was a machete lying there,” she said. “There were no police lines set up or anything at the site. People were just walking around and you could walk straight through all the blood.”

She said she counted at least four victims and said three of them appeared to be severely injured.

A video purported to have been shot in the aftermath of the stabbings showed a woman lying face-first on the ground while others pressed a scarf to an apparent wound in her back.

An alarmed woman was heard calling for assistance in Spanish, shouting: “There’s been a stabbing. They’ve got a knife! Please help him here! Please!”

Another man sat nearby with a bloodied leg, and bloodstains covered the ground around them.

There were conflicting reports of the seriousness of the injuries. Local media said at least two people were in critical condition while Reuters reported that victims had been taken to hospital with minor injuries.

Jerash is home to one of the world’s best-preserved Roman cities and is a major attraction for tourists who are a lifeline for the Jordanian economy.

Tourism contributes about 10 per cent of Jordan’s GDP. Visitors significantly declined after the outbreak of the civil war in neighbouring Syria and with the resumption of conflict in Iraq, but has recovered in the past three years. – Guardian News and Media 2019