Protesters in the Jordan’s capital Amman fly flags of the Muslim Brotherhood, during a rally in support of Palestinians amid Israel’s war on Gaza, January 27, 2024 (Khalil Mazraawi/AFP)

Jordan’s officials say they have foiled an Iranian-led plot to smuggle weapons into the country, for acts of sabotage by the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood.

Two Jordanian sources with knowledge of the matter” said Iranian-backed militias in Syria sent the arms to a Brotherhood cell. The cell in turn has links to the military wing of the Palestinian faction Hamas.

The sources said the arms cache was seized when members of the cell, Jordanians of Palestinian descent, were arrested in late March.

The officials did not specify what weapons were seized or the planned acts of sabotage, saying there were ongoing investigations.

However, they said the aim was to destabilize Jordan, which hosts a US military base. The country borders Israel and also Syria and Iraq, where Iranian-backed militias have been attacking American personnel with rocket and drone assaults.

In recent months, Jordan’s security services say they have thwarted attempts to smuggle Claymore mines, C4 and Semtex explosives, Kalashnikov rifles, and 107mm Katyusha rockets. Jordanian sources said some of the weapons were destined for the West Bank, but others were to be used in Jordan by the Brotherhood cell.

“They hide these weapons in pits called dead spots, they take their location via GPS and photograph their location and then instruct men to retrieve them from there,” said “an official with knowledge of security matters”.

A senior Brotherhood representative said some members were arrested in March and were in possession of weapons. He emphasized that their actions were not approved by the group, suspected they were smuggling arms to the West Bank rather than planning acts in Jordan.

“There is dialogue between the Brotherhood and the authorities. They know if there are mistakes it’s not the MB, only individuals and not MB policy,” he said.

p>Another senior Brotherhood official said the arrested members were been recruited by Hamas’s Saleh al-Arouri, who over the Palestinian group’s operations in the West Bank from exile in Lebanon. Arouri was killed by an Israeli drone strike in Beirut in January.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry was not available for comment.