Jordan's king presides over military parade marking 60 years since independence

Jordan's King Abdullah II presided Saturday over a military parade marking the country's 60th anniversary of independence.

The colorful ceremony in which thousands of soldiers showcased Jordan's military might, also celebrated Abdullah's ascension to the Hashemite throne June 8, 1999, following the death of his father, King Hussein, from cancer earlier that year. The parade also commemorated the victory of the Arab Revolt, led by Abdullah's Hashemite ancestor, Sherif Hussein bin Ali, Emir of Mecca and King of the Arabs over the Ottoman Turks in 1918.

Jordan, which is a staunch ally of the United States, fought Israel in 1948 and 1967, but has maintained relatively warm relations since signing a peace agreement with its neighbor in 1994.

A significant portion of Jordan's 120,000 man strong army paraded in front the review stand where a smiling Abdullah, dressed in formal green military attire and a red beret, saluted his troops. His wife, Queen Rania, sported a long burgundy-blue traditional dress with Bedouin motifs.

Soldiers dressed in traditional earth-toned dishdasha and red-and-white checkered headscarves crossed the grounds galloping on horseback representing the first Arab army that triumphed over the Ottoman Turks. Tanks in camouflage and soldiers in combat uniforms and bearing machine-guns followed, marching in procession.

Elite anti-terrorist forces and paratroopers took part in the event. Air force planes and helicopters performed a flypast.

A large part of West Amman was sealed off for the huge parade, reports AP.