(UK.NEWS.YAHOO) — Jordan has foiled a plot by an al Qaeda-linked cell to bomb its shopping centres and assassinate Western diplomats, state television said on Sunday, thwarting an attempt to destabilise the key U.S. ally.

Security forces had detained 11 suspects, all Jordanians, in connection with the plot, which envisaged carrying out attacks in the capital Amman using smuggled weapons and explosives from Syria, according to security officials cited by television.

The plot had been active since June.

Minister of Information Samih al Maaytah said the arrests underscored the serious threat posed by radical “terror groups” seeking to undermine the kingdom’s long tradition of stability.

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