ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack on a Jordanian police training facility that left two Americans dead — an attack Jordan says had no links to terrorist groups.
In addition to the two Americans, one South African trainer and two Jordanian translators were also killed. Two Americans, a Lebanese and four Jordanians were wounded. State Department press secretary John Kirby said the training at the U.S.-funded King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Centre (KASOTC) in Muwaqqar, southeast of Amman, “is predominantly arranged for Palestinian security forces to teach them basic police and security skills.”
The attack was Nov. 9 — 10 years to the day after a trio of coordinated hotel bombings orchestrated by al-Qaeda in Iraq killed 60 people across Amman, including at a wedding.
The shooter, Capt. Anwar Abu Zaid, 28, of the northern Jerash province, was killed by security forces. He did not work at the training center but at another one nearby. He had submitted his resignation a few days before the attack.
Jordanian officials said Abu Zaid had a Kalashnikov tucked in a bag along with 120 bullets, and a pistol with 31 extra bullets. First Abu Zaid prayed at noontime, then started shooting at a truck that was moving through the facility, killing one of the Americans. Then he went inside the facility where people were having lunch and killed four more people before he was shot dead.
Officials are still probing where he got the gun, but on Saturday, right after the Paris attacks, Interior Minister Salameh Hammad told reporters that Abu Zaid had no links to terrorist groups. Even with the Americans killed, Hammad said the investigation was Jordanian.
“They trust the Jordanian authorities, they were informed of all the details and we have nothing to hide,” Hammad said, according to The Jordan Times.
The minister added that the Jordanian government “will announce any further details that might come up in the future.” He stressed that the kingdom was safe and secure.
In a statement issued by their Al-Battar Media Foundation, ISIS took credit. “Yes… we kill the Americans in Amman,” the terror group said, using the words “lone wolf” to describe the attack.
The claim was included in a chronological list of attack claims: the Russian Metrojet over the Sinai on Halloween, the Burj el-Barajneh bombings in the Beirut suburbs on Nov. 12, and the Nov. 13 Paris massacre.
“Do not provoke the Muslims more than this, especially recruited and supporters of the Islamic State,” the message said. “The more your aggression against the Muslims, the more our determination and revenge… time will turn thousands of supporters of the caliphate on Twitter and others to wolves.”
ISIS also mocked Secretary of State John Kerry for saying “the days of the Islamic State are numbered” and praising the death of Jihadi John, stressing that hours after Kerry spoke they “tossed terror in the hearts of all infidels” by unleashing the Paris attacks.
“Dear world: the time to hit us and kill us without a response has ended and will not return,” the terrorists vowed. They acknowledged that they lost Sinjar, the Yazidi town in Iraq recaptured by a coalition of Kurdish and Yazidi forces, to “factions of stinking apostasy” and are “angered and saddened” by it, but said “we shall restore Sinjar” and claimed operations to push back the coalition were already underway.
Neither the State Department nor White House has even mentioned the Jordan murders since the initial incident reporting.
Contractor DynCorp employed the deceased Americans and the South African. They did not release the names of one of the Americans “out of respect for the family’s privacy.”
Lloyd “Carl” Fields, Jr., 46, of Cape Coral, Fla., formerly a deputy sheriff at Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office in Louisiana, began working for DynCorp International in 2006 as a police adviser in Iraq. He later worked in Afghanistan as a police adviser and embedded police mentor before moving on to Jordan. He is survived by his wife and three children.
Conrad Vaughn Whitehorn, 37, of Johannesburg previously worked as a static security officer, close protection officer, and security driver for a number of companies before working for DynCorp in Amman. He is survived by his parents and his fiancée.
The U.S. Embassy in Amman has not updated its security message for U.S. citizens since Nov. 9, when it stated “the investigation is ongoing and it is premature to speculate on motive at this point.”