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Ajloun excavations were for military purposes, not treasure hunting — minister

By JT - Sep 22,2014 - Last updated at Sep 22,2014

AMMAN — The government on Monday refuted allegations that treasures have been unearthed in Ajloun, stressing that the excavations carried out in the northern governorate were solely for “military installations”. 

During a meeting of the Lower House's Transparency and Integrity Committee, Interior Minister Hussein Majali said that the Jordan Armed Forces carried out works in Ajloun last week to install pumps, boosters and warning devices, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

Head of the panel, MP Mustafa Rawashdeh, said that the meeting was meant to check the authenticity of allegations claiming that the military had unearthed treasures worth billions of dinars in a historic region of the Ajloun Governorate. 

Majali also said that the excavations were not meant to unearth statues, gold and precious stones as was reported, stressing that the highway adjacent to the land was closed to facilitate the excavations, Petra said.

He noted that details of the excavation contain "top confidential military information" that he could not disclose to the press, adding that three similar activities will be carried out in Ajloun.

The minister also said that the lack of "preliminary information" divulged to concerned parties is to blame for the spread of rumours, according to Petra.

Tourism Minister Nidal Katamine, who was also present at the meeting, said that the location of the excavations is three kilometres away from the 2,200-year-old "Hercula" region in Ajloun.

He also stressed that the ministry has received no request from any party to unearth treasures in Ajloun, adding that reports of a French archeologist of Algerian origin and the existence of treasures in Jordan belonging to Alexander the Great are "inaccurate".  

Ajloun Governor Abdullah Al Khattab said that the highway linking Ajloun to Irbid was closed from 5:00pm Thursday to 10:00am Friday to facilitate the army’s mission and avoid any traffic jams.

Over the last couple of days, social networks and news websites have been abuzz with talk about the “secret” unearthing of invaluable treasures dating back to ancient times with some claiming that the cave dug in Ajloun was the grave of Alexander the Great. 

On Facebook, people posted photos of trucks they believed were laden with the supposed found treasures with many others saying that the search for the gold lasted for 17 hours.

Facebook users also shared a YouTube video of French Algerian treasure hunter named Deifallah, claiming to have found the grave of Alexander the Great and invaluable treasures in a hilly area in Jordan during a lecture at the Arab World Institute in Paris. 

Without specifying the exact location of the treasure, Deifallah presented a slide show to the audience, containing pictures of statues, gold and precious stones surrounding the grave.

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