Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Defendant Says US Embassy in Amman Was Original Target of Al-Aqabah Attack

This is the first report on this I've seen. According to the article, published in Sharq al Awsat, one of the suspects arrested in the attack on the US Navy ship in the port of Aqaba, Jordan, has disclosed that the US Embassy in the Jordanian capital of Amman was the original target of the attack.

A translation of the article follows:

Defendant Says US Embassy in Amman Was Original Target of Al-Aqabah Attack

Report by Faris Shar'an and Muhammad al-Da'mah in Amman:
"Defendant in Al-Aqabah Bombings: Plan Targeted US Embassy and Was Changed After Arrival of Two US Destroyers"

Al-Sharq al-Awsat

Tuesday, September 20, 2005 T11:03:05Z

Syrian national Muhammad Hasan Abdallah al-Sahli, the principal defendant in the case of Al-Aqabah's terrorist bombings, has admitted that the operation targeted the US Embassy before the plan was changed to attack two US destroyers in the city's port.

The investigations that the concerned Jordanian security authorities carried out with Al-Sahli indicated that one of Abu-Mus'ab al-Zarqawi's aides visited him three times, was his guest in his house in Amman's Nazzal neighborhood, and went out all day to meet other people but did not tell Al-Sahli about his meetings and contacts but only slept in his house. He added that the last time he was his guest was two months before Al-Aqabah bombings.

Al-Sahli also confessed that the US Embassy in Amman was the target of the operation and that the plan involved positioning four rockets on a hill opposite the US Embassy from the Marj al-Hamam direction. He added that preparations were underway to carry out the plan but a major change happened when "Al-Qa'ida" organization was informed that two US destroyers had arrived at Jordan's Al-Aqabah Port and would unload their cargo of weapons and military equipment in the port for transporting to Iraq overland to be used in the fight against the insurgents in western Iraq.

(Description of Source: London Al-Sharq al-Awsat in Arabic -- Influential Saudi-owned London daily providing independent coverage of Arab and international issues; editorials reflect official Saudi views on foreign policy)

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