Arab mediators try to end Jordan-Hamas standoff

Tensions runnig high after Hamas allegedly plotted attacks in the kingdom.

abdullah of jordan 298ap (photo credit: AP [file])
abdullah of jordan 298ap
(photo credit: AP [file])
Arab mediators are trying to defuse tensions between Jordan and Hamas after the Palestinian organization allegedly plotted attacks in the kingdom, a Jordanian government spokesman said Monday. Jordan said last month it had discovered a large weapons cache and arrested more than 20 Hamas activists planning attacks against public officials and institutions - a charge denied by the militant Islamic Hamas group, which now heads the Palestinian government. "Several Arab sides are mediating between Jordan and Hamas to end the so-called crisis," government spokesman Nasser Judeh said. He did not identify which Arab sides were involved or how the discussions were being conducted. The spokesman reiterated Jordanian demands for the Hamas-led Palestinian government to send a security delegation to Jordan "to resolve the security problem." Amman required earlier this month that a Palestinian team, including Hamas officials, came to Jordan to search for more weapons believed to be stashed by Hamas activists. Hamas has led many attacks against Israel but isn't known to have targeted other states, and Judeh said the group appeared keen to settle the security issue in Jordan. "It seems that they (Hamas) feel it is a real problem and it needs to be solved," he said. Jordan stated it uncovered a large cache of arms on April 18, including Iranian-made Katyusha rockets and anti-tank missiles, and arrested Hamas members in raids that followed. Three men confessed on television earlier this month that they were Hamas agents who smuggled weapons inside the kingdom and monitored a Jordanian intelligence officer, apparently for a possible attack. The prime suspect, Ayman Naji Daraghmeh, said he acted under orders from Hamas officials in Syria, where he said he received military training. Like Hamas, Syria has denied the allegations.