Investigators link hotel blasts to al- Zarqawi

November 13, 2005|By LOS ANGELES TIMES

AMMAN, JORDAN -- Confirming widespread suspicions, investigators have concluded that the deadly suicide bombings that struck three hotels in Jordan's capital last week were the work of foreigners loyal to Islamic militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian official said yesterday.

Deputy Prime Minister Marwan Muasher announced that police had identified the three bombers who killed 57 people Wednesday night in near-simultaneous attacks on the Grand Hyatt, Days Inn and Radisson SAS hotels.

"Al-Qaida is behind the attacks, and specifically Abu Musab Zarqawi's people," he said. The Jordanian-born al-Zarqawi is the leader of al-Qaida in Iraq.

Muasher refused to divulge the identities of the bombers but confirmed that they were "all non-Jordanians." The announcement seems to match Friday's Internet posting in al-Zarqawi's name, which claimed that the bombings were carried out by Iraqis.

The posting also claimed that there were four bombers including a husband-and-wife team - a contention that Muasher disputed, saying that the evidence pointed to three male bombers.

"We have no indication whatsoever that there was a fourth [bomber] or a woman," he said.

King Abdullah II, in an interview yesterday on CNN, said he was appalled by the thought of husband-and-wife bombers; it was unclear whether he spoke before Muasher's announcement.

In another interview, with the state-run Petra news agency, the king called for a global fight against terrorism.

"Terrorism is a sick and cross-border phenomenon," he said. "Therefore, eradicating it is the whole world's responsibility."

In the aftermath of the bombings, increased security measures continued to be put in place throughout Amman. X-ray machines soon will be installed at the entrances to major hotels in the capital and the coastal resort town of Aqaba, Muasher said. Outside Amman's popular Mecca Mall yesterday, workers were busy building low cinderblock barriers to block the path of would-be car bombers.

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