JERASH, Jordan (Reuters) – Three Mexican tourists and one Swiss were wounded along with four locals in Jordan on Wednesday when a man went on a stabbing rampage in Jerash, a major tourist destination near ancient Roman ruins, the health minister said.
Four of those injured had moderate to serious wounds and the others light ones, Saad Fayez Jaber told Reuters.
Later, Jaber told state news agency Petra that the condition of those seriously wounded was now stable and at least four would probably be discharged from hospital on Thursday.
Police identified the suspect as 22-year old Mohammad Abu Touaima and said he lived in a makeshift home on the edge of the city near a poor Palestinian refugee camp where unemployment was rife among many of the youth in the area.
“I was about to have a heart attack,” the suspect’s father, Mahmoud, 56, told Reuters television. “My son was a loser and his mind was twisted, but he was scared of even slaughtering a baby chick. I am shocked he did this.”
Videos posted on social media showed a bleeding woman lying on the floor and another panic-stricken woman in a blood-stained T-shirt.
Sources had earlier mistakenly said three of the wounded tourists were Spaniards. Video of the incident showed victims speaking Spanish with Latin American accents.
Jerash is famed for its Roman ruins. Jordan has seen a surge in tourism in the last two years and is considered by tour operators as one of the safest tourist destinations in the Middle East. Attacks on foreign tourists have been rare.
Reporting by Suleiman Al-Khalidi, Khaled Al Ramahi and Muath Freij with additional reporting by Jose Elias Rodriguez and Belen Carreno; Editing by Peter Graff/Mark Heinrich