RUSSEIFA, Jordan, AP – Jordanians reacted defiantly Saturday to threats by the leader of al-Qaida in Iraq to attack more targets in their country and to kill their king.
An audiotape purportedly from the Jordanian-born Abu Musab al-Zarqawi warned Friday of further attacks against hotels, tourist sites and military bases in Jordan and threatened to kill King Abdullah II.
"He wouldn”t dare," said Badour Ashour, a veiled 23-year-old in an Amman square, complaining that the terror leader had ruined the reputation of Islam. "Jordan will remain united like one hand and our determination is one."
Jordanians have rallied angrily against al-Qaida in Iraq and al-Zarqawi following the Nov. 9 triple hotel attacks that killed 62 people, including the three bombers.
The group issued a statement defending its actions, and al-Zarqawi”s audiotape gave further excuses, alleging that the target of the Radisson SAS bomber was not the wedding party — where 30 people were killed — but a meeting of American and Israeli intelligence.
"What he said is untrue," said Sheik Abu-Emad, worshipping at Al-Hujjaj Mosque in Russeifa, a town some 15 miles northeast of Amman known to be home to Muslim extremists.
"He killed Muslims at a wedding party. These innocent people had nothing to do with his war against the Americans and the Jews," he said.
Abu Ramah, also at the mosque, said he supported targeting Americans but suggested the attackers "should make sure that there are no Muslims in the vicinity."
He excused the threat to attack hotels, saying it was "shameful" to work at or go near such places. "Muslims who go to these places commit a sin."
In the streets of Amman, though, most were defiant or dismissive of the new threats.
"He”s making a publicity stunt," said 23-year-old Mohammed Al-Samaadi. "He won”t be able to do anything in Jordan or even reach Jordan."