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Jordanian security forces kill three in a gunbattle

AMMAN, JORDAN (AP) – Jordanian security forces killed three men, including two escaped convicts, in a shootout in a remote part of the country, authorities said yesterday.

The Public Security Directorate said that the two convicts recently fled from a prison, prompting a search that ended with the gunbattle. The third man killed had alleged ties to a militant group and was wanted in connection with unspecified crimes, the directorate said.

One of the two escaped inmates was convicted in the 2022 killing of a senior police officer.

The officer, Abdul Razzaq Abdel Hafez Al Dalabeh, was killed during clashes with protesters that broke out over high fuel prices. Three additional officers were killed while trying to arrest suspects in connection with Al Dalabeh’s death.

A statement by the directorate said Saturday’s shootout took place in a rugged area in the kingdom’s southeast. It said authorities were investigating how the two men had escaped from prison.

The region where Al Dalabeh was killed is an impoverished and marginalised area of the country with high unemployment. In the past, there were expressions of support for the Islamic State group in the area.

Last year saw some of the worst unrest Jordan has experienced in recent years, after truck drivers launched a strike over soaring fuel prices. Strikes and protests spread to several cities across Jordan and demonstrators clashed with police last Thursday.