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Jordan sentences Syrian militant to death over border attack

AMMAN, Dec 4 (Reuters) - A state security court in Jordan on Monday sentenced one Syrian militant to death and handed life sentences to three others for their role in a suicide bombing attack on a Jordanian military border post that killed seven guards last year.

Military judge Colonel Mohammad al-Afif said the men, in their early twenties, were involved in helping the Islamic State militant group stage the suicide bombing that shook the kingdom in June last year.

Afif said the four had provided photos and intelligence about the Jordanian military post to an Islamic State leader in the former de facto capital of the militants, Raqqa in Syria. The Islamic state leader then sent the suicide bomber.

The military outpost was located a few hundred meters away from Rukban camp in a no-man's land where thousands of Syrian refugees were stranded and near where the frontiers of Iraq, Syria and Jordan meet.

The court found the four, who were residents of the camp, guilty of "abetting terrorist acts that led to the death of human beings" and other charges of committing "terrorist acts using automatic weapons."

A fifth defendant was acquitted. They had all pleaded not guilty when the trial began last March.

Officials said at the time the suicide bomber drove an explosive laden car at full speed from behind a berm and evaded troops to reach the Jordanian post and detonate his car.

The blast, for which Islamic State claimed responsibility a few days later, also left 15 soldiers wounded, officials said.

The area was later declared a closed military zone and the incident disrupted aid to tens of thousands of Syrian refugees.

Jordan, which has kept tight control of its frontier with Syria since the outbreak of war in its neighbor, is a partner in a U.S.-led coalition fighting militants in Syria and Iraq, and has been the target of attacks before.

Tens of thousands of Syrian refugees fleeing violence and Russian air strikes in the eastern Homs desert had sought shelter at Rukban, a remote desert camp. King Abdullah had said there were militants among them and Jordan refused to allow them to enter on security grounds. (Reporting by Suleiman Al-Khalidi; Editing by Peter Graff)