Amman, Asharq Al-Awsat- Al Qaeda in Iraq claimed responsibility for the Katyusha attack last Friday, that narrowly missed a US warship in the Red Sea port of Aqaba, as the hunt for those responsible for the attacks in the port city of Aqaba continued on Tuesday with the Jordanian government asking Iraq to hand over suspects linked to attack who had sought refuge in its territories.
Sources in Amman indicated officials contacted their counterparts in Baghdad as well as the U.S military in Iraq and informed them that three men had returned to Iraq and provided them with their names and description.
The group headed by Jordanian Abu Musab Al Zarqawi claimed responsibility for the failed attacks on Tuesday. The internet statement, which could not be authenticated, was signed Abu Maysarah al Iraqi the group’s spokesman. It justified delaying its claim until five days after the attack "so that the brothers could finish retreating."
«God has enabled your brothers in the military wing of the al-Qaeda in Iraq to plan for the Aqaba invasion a while ago,” the statement said."After finishing the
preparations and deciding on the targets, your brothers launched the rockets.”
Tuesday night Interior Minister Awni Yirfas said: "The investigation shows a link to al-Zarqawi.”
Last week, a group calling itself the Martyr Abdallah Azzam Brigade of the al Qaeda organization in the Levant and Egypt claimed responsibility for firing the Katyusha rockets, two of which fell in the port of Aqaba narrowly missing the US military ship, USS Ashland and causing limited material damage. A third hit the Israeli city of Eilat. A Jordanian solider was killed and another injured in the attack.
The authorities in Amman hopes Iraq will capture the perpetrators and return them to Jordan where they will face trial. This comes as the main suspect in the bombings, Syrian national, Mohammed Hassan Abdallah al Sihly, caught in Amman, provided his interrogators with information on the three other men who took part in the attack, believed to be. It was reported two of the wanted men are al Sihly’s sons.
Jordan has also exchanged information with the intelligence services in Syria to and discussed recently uncovered plans to undermine the stability in Jordan. Al Sihly revealed during questioning his links to extremist groups inside Syrian some who were planning to attack the Jordanian intelligence building in Damascus.
Across the Jordanian capital on Tuesday, police officers were deployed at roadblocks to check the identity of drivers coming in and out of the city.
The ongoing investigation by the Jordanian security services have so far revealed the attackers prepared eight rockets for launch in a shop they had rented a few days earlier in an industrial zone in the port. Four of these successfully exploded, one towards the airport in Eilat, which is adjacent to Jordanian territory by the Red Sea, and three other hit the Military Hospital , dock no.7, and dock no.3 on the Jordanian side.
According to the findings, the suspects had timed the rockets to go off eight hours after they were installed to allow them to escape the city. But the rockets went off prematurely 57 minutes later. This technical glitch has assisted the authorities in their search for clues. One man was arrested in the Al Shalala neighborhood, a poor and overcrowded part of the city. The authorities pointed out that the investigation would have progressed at a much slower pace had the rockets not misfired.