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Middle East

Jordan foils arms, drug smuggling bid

AMMAN: Jordan foiled an attempt Wednesday to smuggle large amounts of weapons, explosives and drugs into the country from Syria, the army said.

“Border guards at dawn foiled a bid to smuggle a very large amount of small- and medium-caliber weapons, explosives and ammunition as well as drugs and cigarettes from the Syrian side into Jordan,” it said in a statement on its website.

“One was wounded in a shootout with the border guards, and five people were arrested,” it said.

The statement vowed that the military would use “an iron fist against anyone who tries to harm the security of the kingdom and its citizens.”

Last month, Amman said arms smuggling across the border with Syria has risen by 300 percent, and said hundreds of trafficking attempts have been foiled.

The military state security court is examining several related cases.

Firearms prices in Jordan have soared tenfold since the war in neighboring Syria erupted in 2011, but more people than ever are buying guns for protection against a possible spillover of the violence.

Concerned at the growing number of weapons, the government has banned the issue of new licenses and the renewal of firearms permits.

The authorities have also stopped granting permits for new gun shops.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on January 23, 2014, on page 5.
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