Amman: A Jordanian soldier was killed before dawn on Monday in a clash with militants trying to cross the border into neighbouring Syria, the Information and Culture Minister Samih Maaytah told AFP.

He said that “corporal Mohammad Abdullah Al Munasir, 25 years old, was martyred during a clash with an armed group that wanted to enter Syria.”

A military source said that soldiers guarding the border, who have been reinforced since the beginning of the conflict in neighbouring Syria, “chased a group of 12 armed men trying to cross the border.

“[The militants] refused to stop and opened fire,” killing the corporal before several of the gunmen were captured, he added.

The violence came just hours after Jordan announced it had foiled a “terrorist plot” and arrested 11 Al Qaida suspects who planned to carry out suicide attacks against shopping malls, foreigners and diplomatic missions in the kingdom.

Maaytah said on Sunday the Al Qaida suspects were arrested after crossing the border from Syria.

Since the Syrian conflict erupted in March last year when President Bashar Al Assad responded with brutal violence to an initially peaceful popular uprising, tens of thousands of Syrians have fled to Jordan.

Jordan says more than 200,000 Syrian refugees have crossed into its territory since last year.

The kingdom has been targeted by numerous Al Qaida attacks in the past, notable in 2005 when the bombings of three hotels in the capital Amman killed 60 people.