AMMAN • Six Jordanian border guards have been killed by a car bomb in a remote area of the frontier with Syria during an attack launched from Syrian territory, security officials said.
The explosives-laden vehicle blew up yesterday a few hundred metres from a camp for Syrian refugees in a desolate eastern area of Jordan where the borders of Iraq, Syria and Jordan meet, a Jordanian army statement said.
The army said a number of other vehicles used in the attack were destroyed and that 14 other people were wounded.
Jordan's King Abdullah vowed to hit back "with an iron fist" against attackers, a palace statement said. It was the first attack of its kind targeting Jordan from Syria since the latter's descent into conflict in 2011.
An attack on June 6 on a security office near the capital Amman killed five people, including three Jordanian intelligence officers.
The incidents have jolted the US-backed Arab kingdom, which has been relatively unscathed by the instability that has swept the Arab world since 2011.
Jordan's King Abdullah vowed to hit back "with an iron fist" against attackers, a palace statement said.
Jordan is a staunch ally of the United States and is taking part in the US-led campaign in Syria against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
Jordan has kept tight control of its frontier with Syria since the outbreak of war in its neighbour.
The Rakban crossing targeted yesterday is a military zone far from any inhabited area, and includes a 3km stretch of berms built a decade ago to combat smuggling. The rest of the border is heavily guarded by patrols and drones.
It is the only area where Jordan still receives Syrian refugees, some 50,000 of whom are stranded in Rakban refugee camp in a de facto no-man's land about 330km north-east of Amman.
The population of the camp has since last year grown from several thousand to over 50,000 people as the fighting in Syria intensified, relief workers say.
The United Nations refugee agency said late last year that Jordan should accept the new wave of refugees and move them to established camps closer to Amman.
Jordan, which has already accepted more than 600,000 UN-registered Syrian refugees, is resisting and says ISIS militants may have infiltrated their ranks.