A year ago, Amman was in flames as Palestinian commandos and the Jordanian Army started their bloodiest showdown.
A year ago, Amman was in flames as Palestinian commandos and the Jordanian Army started their bloodiest showdown. On Saturday, the anniversary of the outbreak of fighting, Visnews cameraman George Haj returned to the scene of some of the worst fighting in the Jordanian capital.
Where streets once swarmed with armed soldiers -- commands and Jordanian troops -- there are now mainly shoppers. King Hussein's troops are still in evidence, however, as at the Al-Wahdat and Al-Hussein refugee camps, two chief pockets of commando resistance a year ago.
The coverage of Amman today is prefaced by Library footage of action sequence filmed in and around the Intercontinental Hotel, Amman, in September, 1970,
SYNOPSIS: A year ago, civil war flared in Amman as the Palestinian commands and Jordanian troops clashed in their bloodiest showdown. In the twelve-months since this film was shot, the power of the Palestinians has been decisively broken in Jordan. The first anniversary of the outbreak of fighting passed off fairly peacefully on Saturday. At the same time, prospects of reconciliation between the two sides was further hampered by the attempted hijack of a Jordanian airliner and earlier sabotage to an oil pipeline. But there were nevertheless reports of the two sides coming together in Jeddah on the weekend anniversary of the fighting.
In Amman, the anniversary passed largely without incident. But a time-bomb was discovered at the luxury Intercontinental Hotel. This was the scene of some of the fiercest fighting last year, as Army troops beat off attacking commandos. In the streets of the city, where armed commandos were once a familiar sight, businessmen and shoppers mingle.
But Jordanian troops are still in evidence,. At the Al-Hussein refugee camp, a principal pocket of Palestinian resistance last year, traffic is still checked by soldiers. Aside from the attempted hijack on the eve of the anniversary of the fighting, Jordanian authorities claimed to have found an important arms cache in the home of a member of a commando organisation.
Another commando stronghold during last year's fighting was the al-Wahdat refuge camp. But though it's peaceful now, the two sides have a long way to go before they reach a settlement.