November 10, 2005
Al Qaeda Claims Jordan BombingsThe Associated Press reports Al Qaida claims responsibility:
The claim of responsibility, signed in the name of the spokesman for the group Al-Qaida in Iraq, said that "after studying and watching the targets, places were chosen to carry out an attack on some hotels that the tyrant of Jordan has made the backyard garden for the enemy of religion: Jews and crusaders" -- a stock term for Westerners.The bombings in Amman, Jordan happened just minutes apart. The three hotels -- the Grand Hyatt, the Radisson SAS and the Days Inn -- are all Western-owned. The Washington Post indicates 57 people were killed; ISN places the figure at 70.
Though initial reports suggest a suicide bomber was involved, police stated that a device was planted in at least one hotel, with another explosion originating from a car parked outside the third.
Immediate suspicion fell on terrorist leader Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi, who is Jordanian by birth. There's a $25 million bounty on his head for the killing of an American diplomat in 2002. He's also wanted for attempted terrorist attacks in 1999, including one on the Radisson.
Though Iraq is next door, Jordan and especially its capital Amman is generally considered safe. Security is minimal and not of grave concern, even though authorities have supposedly thwarted a chemical attack in 2004. This has now changed, with the country closing all its land borders indefinitely and increasing security at airports as well as hotels in Amman.
Since the bombings happened at night, the rest of Jordan is just learning of the news.
Jordan Planet, an aggregate of Jordanian bloggers, are mostly expressing shock, sadness and rage. From the entries we learn that all three hotels are popular venues for social events. We also learn that the fathers of the bride and groom at the wedding where one of the bombs exploded were both killed. Some of the names of the dead have also been released, among them 4 Germans, 3 Iraqis, a Saudi, a Swiss and an Indonesian.
Over at Harvard's Global Voices, Roba Al Assi posts constant updates on the situation.
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