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Army says ready for any border emergency; situation remains calm

By Muath Freij , Khetam Malkawi - Jun 25,2014 - Last updated at Jun 25,2014

RWEISHED — The Jordanian-Iraqi border remained calm Wednesday with no unusual activities in the eastern desert area.

Reporters escorted by the Jordan Armed Forces (JAF) to the border zone, which has been in the international news following reported gains by radical Islamists in Iraq, noticed that traffic across the outlet was normal, while top army officers reiterated that the border is under control with no infiltration attempts recorded so far.

Brigadier General Saber Mahayrah, commander of the Border Guard, said that despite the calm situation, JAF have beefed up the border with reinforcements and is utilising all its capabilities to maintain the security of the country.

“We have effective weapons and qualified staff,” Mahayrah told the press at the Border Guard Headquarters in Zarqa on Wednesday morning.

He noted that the borders are key to national security and Jordan is deploying all its capabilities to keep the borders safe.

He explained that the border post is about 360km northeast of Amman, 60km from Rweished and is 560km from Baghdad.

The borderline stretches along 200km, according to Mahayrah.

“Border Guard units are on alert, especially after the recent developments in Iraq and we are supported by JAF and the Public Security Department,” he said.

Noting that the border crossing is still open to traffic, the general stressed that “our duty” is to prevent illegal entry into Jordan.

During the media tour, another military source stressed that all necessary measures have been taken to carry out the mission.

Tanks are placed in positions around the area and guard units were stationed along the border, trained and ready to respond to any emergency.

However, no figures were given for the number of troops deployed there, but Border Guard officers said that the numbers were increased with reinforcement to the site.

Another informed source confirmed that the Iraqi army is still running the Turaibil border crossing on the Iraqi side but it is under the control of Sunni tribes.

Also on Wednesday, Border Guard officials said that since the recent developments in the eastern neighbour, no single Iraqi crossed the border with Jordan as a refugee.

Sunni tribes took control of a border crossing between Iraq and Jordan late on Sunday after Iraq’s army pulled out of the area following a clash with rebels, Iraqi and Jordanian intelligence sources said, as quoted by Reuters.

Meanwhile, a military source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said media reports that the area was under the control of the radical Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant were inaccurate. 

Meanwhile, the sources dismissed as “completely false” reports that the army had destroyed three vehicles of rebels trying to cross into Jordan few days ago. 

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