AMMAN, (AFP) – Jordan has proof a Grad-type rocket that struck its port city of Aqaba killing a taxi driver and wounding five other people was fired from Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, a senior official told AFP on Tuesday
“We can now say without hesitation that the Grad rocket was launched from Sinai,” said the official close to the investigation of Monday’s rocket attack, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“We have strong suspicions about the identity of the group behind this attack,” he added without elaborating.
The rocket that fell in a busy Aqaba street near a major hotel on Monday was one of several apparently fired at the nearby Israeli tourist resort of Eilat, in an attack condemned by Israel, Russia and the United States.
At least five blasts were heard, with one rocket exploding in open ground outside Eilat, two crashing into the Red Sea and the rest hitting Jordan, Israeli police said.
“The fact that Aqaba was not the target and that the rocket fell there by mistake does not change the fact that it’s still a terrorist act, which killed and wounded innocent people,” the senior Jordanian official said.
“This is the second such incident in three months and Jordan will not tolerate that its territory becomes a target of rocket attacks,” he added.
An Egyptian security official has denied the attack was launched from the Sinai peninsula, a mountainous desert region that flanks the Gulf of Aqaba.
“The rockets did not come from Sinai,” which would need “a great deal of logistics and equipment, and that is impossible considering the heavy security presence in the Sinai Peninsula,” the official told AFP.
“We have a heavy security presence in Sinai, particularly along the Egyptian Israeli border. No suspicious activity has been reported anywhere in Sinai.”
On April 22, two military-grade rockets struck in and near Aqaba, one slamming into a warehouse and the other splashing into the Red Sea.
Aqaba and Eilat are the neighbouring Red Sea ports of Jordan and Israel, who signed a peace agreement in October 1994 after decades of strained ties and conflict.
The two ports are nestled in the Gulf of Aqaba, a narrow stretch of water bordered on one side by Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula and the other by Saudi Arabia.
In August 2005, three Katyusha rockets were fired in Aqaba, missing two US warships docked in the port. One of the projectiles hit a warehouse, killing a Jordanian soldier, while another landed across the border in Israel.