Seventy foreign nationals, as well as journalists and tourists, were freed yesterday (Friday 12th June) after being hostage for four days in two Amman hotels.
Seventy foreign nationals, as well as journalists and tourists, were freed yesterday (Friday 12th June) after being hostage for four days in two Amman hotels. Their stay had been enforced by Palestinian Commandos during bitter clashes with Jordanian troops in the city. They left more than a thousand dead or wounded.
Last Tuesday Amman was a city of empty streets as residents sought to avoid the gunfire of running battles between soldiers of the Jordanian Army and Arab Guerillas of the Extremist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Most of the fighting took place under cover of wooded areas on the slopes of the city's eight hills. The fighting quickly became some of the fiercest known between the two factions and rescue parties were kept busy evacuating the wounded. There was thought to be a thousand dead or wounded. There was extensive firing at Fort Qalla Hill in the heart of Amman where Jordanian troops were entrenched within clear view of King Hussein's office and the RoyaL Guest House. Early on Tuesday morning King Hussein was lucky to escape when his motorcade was ambushed by commandos.
Seventy foreign guests at the Jordan Intercontinental Hotel were held hostage when 40 commandos entered the building in reprisal for Army shelling of a refugee camp. After four days without being permitted to leave the building, and with only limited food, the guests were freed yesterday. Their evacuation was carried out by a fleet of station wagons which took them to the city's airport and a series of special flights out of the country.
The release of the hostages, who included many women and children, came after Thursday night's decision by King Hussein to accept the resignation of two of his closest military advisers...a move sought by the commandos. His concession to them is thought likely to strengthen the chances of securing the backing of other Arab countries in preventing further clashes with Jordanian troops.