Petra, Jordan

Last week, an unnamed gunman shot at an empty tour guide bus located near Jordan's most visited historical site, Petra. Fortunately, no injuries were reported. The perpetrator - who is said to be a local from Umm Sayhoun, a Bedouin settlement in southern Jordan, has since been arrested.

According to Petra Chief Commissioner Sulaiman Farajat, the attacked bus is strictly used to transport tour guides and was empty at the time of the incident — except for the presence of the driver. It was en route to Petra to pick up the guides and took a back-trail through Umm Sayhoun, a road usually traversed by workers and tour guides, but not tourists.

Some earlier reports, however, stated that Farajat initially denied any allegations of gunshots being fired, but rather someone broke into the bus and shattered one of its windows. Others proclaimed the attack was carried out by more than one gunman.

A local named Qasim Bedoul spoke to The Jordan Times about the incident, saying the attacker knew the tour bus was empty which is why he shot at the back of it. 

Bedoul speculated the act of vandalism to have been a statement caused by the increasing unemployment rates among the young locals and the deprivation of sharing Petra's benefits with the local community. 

"We are against violence of any form, however, Petra's authorities have to do more to help the bedouins of Petra secure their livings and future," the man added.

In 2017, the number of tourists visiting Petra stood at approximately 780,000, an increase of 68 percent from 2016. With the expansion and growth of Jordan's tourism sector, the number of visitors to the site has increased by 33 percent since 2017, the Petra Development and Tourism Regional Authority said, according to The National.

The incident may have caused some fear of the above numbers decreasing, but Jordan's UNESCO heritage site is well-protected. 

NATO and the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Jordan earlier this year. The aim is to implement a project that will enhance the country's ability to prepare for and respond to a terrorist attack with the use of Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) weapons.