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Jordan could be next for ISIS, officials worry

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Refugee camps inside Jordan, all near the border with Syria, house more than 100,000 refugees, and could become recruiting grounds for terrorists. (Source: CNN) Refugee camps inside Jordan, all near the border with Syria, house more than 100,000 refugees, and could become recruiting grounds for terrorists. (Source: CNN)
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WASHINGTON, DC (CNN) - There are new concerns that ISIS may move into Jordan and Lebanon if it hasn't already.

One U.S. counterterrorism official says the aggressive push by the Islamist militant group ISIS to the border with Jordan is especially worrisome.

And a recent propaganda video clearly states the group's intent to take the fight to the key American ally.

"We will even go to Jordan and Lebanon, with no problems wherever our sheik wants to send us," the militant says in the video.

Col. Derek Harvey, a former U.S. military intelligence officer who advised Gen. David Petraeus in Iraq, believes ISIS is laying the groundwork to challenge Jordan's King Abdullah.

"I think they're establishing the capability to conduct violence - assassinations and bombings in order to open up another front for the ISIS campaign. ISIS sees this as a regional campaign," Harvey says.

About three refugee camps inside Jordan, all near the border with Syria, house more than 100,000 refugees. The fear is they'll become recruiting grounds for terrorists.

"Almost certainly they'll be going into refugee camps to recruit, finding displaced Syrians, who have grievances against the Assad government. And therefore these are easy to translate into grievances against the Iraqi government, or just into the entire status quo of the region in general," said Douglas Ollivant of the New America Foundation.

A Jordanian official says the government is concerned but also confident that its military and intelligence units will keep ISIS out.

The Jordanian foreign minister said they have complete control of the borders.

"We are very, very vigilant. And we're keeping a close watch. But Jordan, uh, in terms of our stability, in terms of security, is quite fine," said Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh.

U.S. and Jordanian officials say they see no evidence of organized groups of ISIS fighters crossing into Jordan toward refugee camps or anywhere else.

Harvey says you may not see that but the danger is there.

"They're gonna do this in a clandestine way. They're gonna subvert. They're gonna infiltrate and they're going to recruit and set up an underground base," Harvey said.

Copyright 2014 CNN. All rights reserved.

 

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