BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) – A Web statement Friday in the name of al-Qaeda in Iraq claimed the deadly hotel bombings in Amman, Jordan, were carried out by four Iraqis, including a husband and wife "who chose to accompany her husband to his martyrdom."
"All of these are Iraqis from the land between the two rivers," the statement said, alluding to Iraq”s ancient name, Mesopotamia. "They vowed to die and they chose the shortest route to receive the blessings of God."
The statement could not be authenticated, but it appeared on a site which has included past al-Qaeda statements and was signed in the name of the group”s spokesman, Abu Maysara al-Iraqi.
It also included a threat to Israel, Jordan”s western neighbor. The statement noted that Jordan, which it described as Israel”s "buffer zone," was now "within range" and "it will not be long before raids by the mujahedeen come" to the Jewish statement itself.
At least 60 people were killed Wednesday in the blasts at three hotels in the Jordanian capital. On Friday, Jordanian police said they had rounded up 120 people, mainly Iraqis and Jordanians, in a nationwide hunt for those behind the bombings.
Al-Qaeda in Iraq, led by Jordanian-born Abu Musab al-Zarqawi had claimed responsibility for the bombings. The latest statement said the attackers wore explosive belts "in order to achieve greater accuracy in hitting the target."
The statement said the plot was carried out in response to "the conspiracy against the Sunnis whose blood and honor were shed by the Crusaders and the Shiites" and with the connivance of the Arab League, which is trying to arrange an Iraqi reconciliation conference.
It also referred to "Revenge for the Sunnis in Qaim," a city along the Iraqi-Syrian border. U.S. and Iraqi forces are conducting an offensive in that area against al-Qaeda-led forces.
It said the "martyrdom lovers and heaven yearners" selected the targets after "a month of surveillance and information gathering of the targets."
The statement identified the attackers by pseudonyms Abu Khabib, Abu Maath, Abu Omeir and the wife of Abu Omeir. The husband and wife attacked the Day”s Inn, the statement said.
"Those who executed the plan were able to enter the sites after passing through all the security measures of which the descendants of the traitor”s dynasty were boasting," the statement said, referring to the Hashemite dynasty of King Abdullah II that rules Jordan.
The statement identified Abu Khabib as the leader of the operation and the one who struck in the bar of the SAS Radisson Hotel.
"He was followed by Abu Maath who chose the Hyatt Amman," the statement said.
Jordanian officials said they had found the remains of three males believed to have carried out the attacks but could not confirm that a woman was involved. They said it was possible a woman attacker had been at the Radisson and mistaken for a member of a wedding party that was hit by the blast.