AMMAN - Jordan has foiled a “terrorist plot” and arrested 11 Al-Qaeda suspects who planned to carry out suicide attacks against shopping malls and diplomats, Petra news agency reported on Sunday. “The General Intelligence Department has foiled a terrorist plot against national security, by an 11-member terrorist group linked to Al-Qaeda’s ideology,” it said. The suspects were planning to launch a wave of attacks targeting shopping malls, diplomatic missions, hotels and other key sites using explosives, car bombs, machineguns and mortars, the state news agency said.

They were arrested before they could carry out their plot, it said, adding that the intelligence services had been alerted to the plot and was monitoring the suspects’ moves. A judicial source told AFP that the case had been referred to the prosecutor of the state security court - a military tribunal - who has begun questioning “11 Jordanian nationals from Salafist movements.” “They will face two charges: conspiracy to carry out terrorist acts and possession of explosives,” said the source who declined to be named. The charges carry the death penalty. Petra also published pictures of the 11 suspects. Information Minister Samih Maayatah told a news conference, meanwhile, that the 11 suspects had entered Jordan from neighbouring Syria. “The prisoners came across the border from Syria and were caught red-handed,” he said, adding that authorities seized weapons and maps showing the locations of the sites they planned to attack.