Amman, Asharq Al-Awsat- Islamists threatened the Jordanian government Wednesday with an escalation of violence and attempted to rescue suspects accused of murdering an American diplomat in Amman in 2002.
More than a hundred armed militants stormed the Swaqa prison, where 37 Islamists charged with belonging to al Qaeda are currently held, and attempted to kidnap Yasser Fathi Frayhat, 31, and the Libyan Salem Saad Salem bin Suwayd, 45, convicted of killing the U.S. diplomat Lawrence Foley, an executive officer of USAid, the American development agency, in 2002. The men were sentenced to death in 2004. Suwayd’s family had criticized the authorities for not allowing his wife and children to visit him in prison.
However, other prisoners, fearing the suspects would be freed, thwarted the daring rescue operation. “Our brothers in prison stood in the way of this evil plan”, their supporters told Asharq al Awsat. “We urge the authorities not to carry out the death sentences. Blood only generates more blood.”
Meanwhile, the state security court charged Yousef Rifaat Yousef al Daghestani, a 29-year-old Syrian national with resorting to violence in order to carry out terrorist operations to destabilize national security and terrorize the population.
Yousef al Daghestani had been working as a blacksmith in the Suwayhil area, northwest of Amman after traveling from Syria in search for employment. He on 23 November.
Earlier that week, following the triple suicide bombings in Amman, which killed 57 people, al Daghestani traveled to an internet café in the city of Zarqa , northeast of the capital. He then posted on a popular internet forum, seen by an estimated 50 thousand users everyday, threatening more bloodshed and a resumption of terrorist attacks. He demanded a 1.41 million ransom and the failed suicide bomber, Sajida al Rishawi to be freed.
He later admitted threatening public order and sowing terror in the hearts of Jordanians.
Also on Wednesday, the state security court decided to hold a witness, for 14 days, because of inaccuracies in his testimony in a case against a militant cell of 15 Jordanians, five of whom remain at large.
For his part, the lawyer Shadi Arafat, 30, appeared in the state security court and denied housing two Islamic militants, the brothers Sharif and Mohammed al Samadiya, for a month, despite knowing they were wanted by the security services, and of providing them with valuable information and weapons.