Firefighters from Jordan arrived in Israel to conduct mass casualty drills in the case of fire in the Al-Aksa mosque on the Temple Mount. The drill also featured search and rescue operations.
Although the stated purpose of the exercise was to react in case a fire broke out at the mosque, sources close to the matter believe that it was yet another Waqf stunt to flex their muscles and try to show Israel that they are in charge of the Temple Mount.
Avraham Binyamin of the right-wing NGO Regavim responded to the event saying: “There is a lot of significance involved with Jordan going to the site and training there as a security force. It symbolizes who is the owner of the site. It’s not the place to just show up and practice fire drills.”
The police spokesperson told Breaking Israel News that they were unaware of the drill.
“If it was authorized by the police, that just shows that Israel is acquiescing its authority over the Temple Mount. If they were unaware, then that’s even worse”
– Binyamin added.
The fire alarm systems were installed, designed and supervised by the Jordanian Civil Defense Ministry according to the report on Jordan TV. The report added that another purpose of the drill was to “preserve the religious and historical heritage” of the site.
Apparently this isn’t the first time Jordan has pulled this stunt. According to Temple Mount tour guide Michael Miller: “It’s nothing new. They’ve done it before in the past.”
The Israeli police spokesperson has not returned with a response regarding their knowledge of the drill. The event reportedly took place on the same day that the Hashemite Kingdom conducted a mass military drill in the event of a war with Israel.
The Jordanian Army conducted a series of military maneuvers this week simulating an attempted invasion of the kingdom, but which also appeared to be a message to Israel.
The maneuvers, which took place on Nov. 25 in the presence of Jordan’s King Abdullah II, were named “Swords of Karameh,” in an apparent reference to Israel’s 1968 military operation against Fatah near the Jordanian village of Karameh, in which the Jordanian Army fought alongside the Palestinian group.
Jordan’s official Petra news agency and the Jordanian media reported that the maneuvers involved large numbers of ground and air vehicles, and were aimed at “destroying the vanguard of the enemy and the bridges that can be used as crossing points” into Jordanian territory.
While the official Jordanian reports did not explicitly mention Israel, the reference to the Battle of Karameh and the fact that the drill focused on an invasion via bridges—that is, bridges over the Jordan River that forms the border between the two countries—strongly implies a connection.
Furthermore, a photo of the maneuvers published in the Jordanian media showed King Abdullah standing with army commanders in front of a model of Jordan’s western border and the Dead Sea area. An article published by a local Jordanian website stated explicitly that the maneuvers simulated a battle with “the occupying entity across the river”—that is, Israel.
In attendance for the maneuvers, in addition to the king, were Jordanian Prime Minister Omar Razzaz, director of the Royal Court, several government ministers and members of the upper and lower houses of the Jordanian parliament. Also present were university heads and students, army veterans and military attachés from several unidentified countries.