Jordan’s former counter-terror chief Habis al-Hanini shot dead

Jordan’s former counterterrorism chief General Habis al-Hanini has been shot dead outside his home, according to medical and security sources.

Al-Hanini was killed around 7pm (16:00 GMT) on Tuesday in the city of Madaba, around 30km southwest of the capital, Amman.

The 56-year-old, also known as Abu Haytham, died from three gunshot wounds to the chest and was pronounced dead on arrival at al-Nadim hospital, doctor Hasan Ahmad al-Bawarid told Al Jazeera.

Jordan’s official news agency Petra confirmed al-Hanini had been killed and quoted an unnamed security official who warned the local news media not to speculate on the identity of the killer.

The search for the killer of al-Hanini is under way, the news agency reported, citing a security source.

A senior Jordanian intelligence officer and a former senior CIA officer who still has ties to Jordan confirmed al-Hanini’s death.

The senior Jordanian intelligence officer, who spoke to Al Jazeera on condition of anonymity, said he had known and worked with al-Hanini for decades and that his death “was a tragic loss to Jordan and the counterterrorism community around the world”.

A former CIA analyst, who had worked with al-Hanini in the past and did not wish to be identified for this report, told Al Jazeera that al-Hanini was an “extremely smart intelligence officer” and that he “really understood the underpinning of why individuals join extremist groups”.

Al-Hanini retired from Jordan’s General Directorate of Intelligence (GID) “about a year ago”, said the senior Jordanian intelligence officer.

This is the first time in recent memory where a high-ranking Jordanian intelligence officer was killed either on active duty or in retirement.

Follow Ali Younes on Twitter: @ali_reports

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