A major al-Qaeda plot which aimed to ensure "the highest death toll" in coordinated on shopping malls and residential areas in Jordan has been prevented after a series of arrests, state media reported.

Intelligence authorities arrested 11 militants after four-months of surveillance, according to the Daily Telegraph.

A security official told the BBC: "this was an al-Qaeda plot timed for the anniversary of the 9 November attacks on Amman in 2005."

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According to government spokesperson Samih Maayta the 11 men had been helped by al-Qaeda workers in Iraq and had obtained the weapons from Syria


They added the plot was targeting "shopping centres, residential areas, diplomats and foreign nationals."

In 2005 coordinated attacks on three hotels in Amman killed 60 and injured 115.

According to government spokesperson Samih Maayta the 11 men had been helped by al-Qaeda workers in Iraq and had obtained the weapons from Syria.

He told a press conference: "The prisoners came across the border from Syria and were caught red-handed."

The government said they wanted to ensure "the highest death toll" by using TNT and mortar shells from Syria.

"The group was able to devise new types of explosives to be used for the first time and planned to add TNT to increase their destructive impact," a security source told Reuters.

"This was a serious plan, with a great potential for loss of life," a Western intelligence official told the Washington Post.

Jordan is often targeted for terror attacks as it is a Western ally that has made peace with Israel, according to Reuters.

The 11 men are reportedly charged with conspiracy to carry out terrorist acts and possession of explosives, and could face the death sentence.