Blast leaves Jordanian police officer dead, 6 injured

Security forces surrounding a building where terrorists were hiding in Salt northwest of Amman

Jordanian police later said investigations showed a home-made explosive device planted near the police auto was behind the blast.

The militants are believed to have been involved in a bombing in Amman, the capital, on Friday in which a police officer died. The suspects holed up inside opened fire and set off powerful explosions, officials said.

Government spokeswoman Jumana Ghuneimat initially said three militants were in custody, but later raised the number to five.

Security forces had been deployed to protect the town's annual cultural festival.

The Hala Akhbar news website linked to Jordan's military said the suspects are Jordanians and that the cell had planned to attack security installations and other sensitive targets. In December 2016, a shootout at a Crusader castle in the southern town of Karak left 14 people dead, including seven members of the security forces, four attackers and three civilians.

The side of the building partially collapsed, possibly because of a blast from a suicide bomber inside, a security source said. The source also offered condolences and sympathies to the families of the victim as well as to the Jordanian government and people, wishing the wounded a speedy recovery.

In a huge security operation, Jordanian forces laid siege to the 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.

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The security forces eventually arrested three suspects, she said, adding that the operation in Salt was still "ongoing".

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Friday's bomb blast and the identity of the suspects in Salt was not immediately known.

Ghneimat said that the security forces raided the house in Salt after receiving a tip-off.

Prime Minister Omar al-Razzaz pledged that Jordan would "not be complacent in the hunt for terrorists".

Jordan has played a key role in the US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group in neighbouring Syria and Iraq, using its air force against the militants and allowing coalition forces to use its bases.

The United States "strongly condemned" the attacks against Jordanian security forces in Al-Fuhais and in Salt, in a statement released Sunday by its Amman embassy.

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