Britain closed its embassy in Jordan on Saturday because of fears of attacks on Westerners but Jordanian authorities said the closure was unnecessary
The move comes two months after triple suicide bomb attacks on luxury hotels in Amman killed more than 50 people. Al Qaeda in
Iraq, led by Jordanian Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, claimed responsibility.
Last August, militants linked to Zarqawi were accused by Jordan of being behind a failed rocket attack on U.S. warships in the Red Sea port of Aqaba.
“Terrorists may be in the final stages of planning attacks against Westerners and places frequented by Westerners,” the British Foreign Office Web site said.
“The British Embassy in Amman will be closed until further notice due to the security situation.”
Britain is a prime target for its support for the U.S-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.
Jordanian officials said security authorities who assessed an undisclosed threat received by the British embassy had concluded the closure was unnecessary.
“In this particular case the security authorities after assessing the threat concluded that it did not warrant the closure of the embassy,” Nasser Joudeh, government spokesman told Reuters.
Joudeh said this was not intended to belittle a threat to a diplomatic mission.
“Any threat is not taken lightly,” he added.
Joudeh said the authorities had taken extra security measures to protect the embassy compound in the affluent Abdoun neighborhood of Amman where many Western missions are based.
“At the same time security arrangements around the embassy were reinforced and the government again reiterates whether there is a threat or not it is concerned with providing the utmost protection to diplomatic missions,” Joudeh said.
Officials say Islamist militants are seeking to destabilize Jordan because of its pro-western stance. Amman’s support for the U.S. led invasion of Iraq angered many Jordanians.
A spokesman at the Foreign Office said its advice to British travelers to Jordan remained unchanged, but there was sufficient reason to close the mission temporarily.
“We can’t comment on any intelligence we may have or the specific nature of the threat,” he said.
The travel advice to Britons going to Jordan is to take precautions to ensure their personal safety and be aware there could be developments that may affect the security situation.
Visitors are warned to take extra care when using Jordanian taxis to go to neighboring countries.
Threats aside, I really believe all these embassies should be removed and just relocated to the outskirts of Amman. Build them somewhere in the desert and just encircle them with security.
I never saw the sense in putting embassies (especially the frikin US and UK ones) right in the smack middle of residential areas and surrounding them with police. People in those areas have to deal with armed tanks and road bumps and even slowing down in your car means trouble. They are seeking protection from the nearby homes however if something were to happen these people would no doubt be affected. Whether or not something does in fact happen and is successful God forbid, this kind of news is bound to make people in that area feel insecure and worried.
But I wonder where the Brits get their information from? I find it hard to believe that they’d know about something before the Jordanian mukhabarat would. Perhaps this news is based on external information, like in Iraq.
“No I’m not really a terrorist! I’m just sick of this life! And whether good or bad I want a visa to Britain!”