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Bomb Blasts In Jordan, Three Hotels Attacked (Merged)


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I didn't see a thread on this yet, surprisingly, since I saw it on the news hours ago...and they have been talking about it all day.

Right now the main suspect according to Jordan is their own Musab Al Zarqawi

Deadly explosions rock hotels in Jordan

Dozens are killed in three nearly simultaneous explosions

AMMAN, Jordan (CNN) -- Three nearly simultaneous explosions occurred Wednesday night at hotels frequented by westerners in downtown Amman, killing at least 67 people and wounding more than 100 others, the deputy prime minister of Jordan said.

There have been no claims of responsibility, Karim Kawar, the Jordanian ambassador to the United States, told CNN.

The blasts occurred at the Radisson, the Days Inn Hotel and the Grand Hyatt Hotel between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. (2 p.m. and 3 p.m. ET). The three hotels are within a few hundred yards of each other.

Deputy Prime Minister Marwan Muasher said the largest blast occurred at the Radisson during a wedding celebration, set off by a suicide bomber wearing a belt packed with explosives. Most of the casualties there were Jordanian, he said. (Watch eyewitness describes the scene -- 2:46)

The blast at the Grand Hyatt also appeared to have been caused by a bomber wearing an explosive belt, he said.

The Days Inn blast occurred when a car failed in an attempt to breach a security barrier and exploded outside the hotel, he said.

"This has come as a shock to all of us," Kawar told CNN. He added, "We try to be as vigilant as possible but, at the end of the day, we're all vulnerable to such attacks."

In a written statement, the Hyatt said its management team is "working to assure the safety and relocation of guests," given that authorities had evacuated the hotel.

Dozens of ambulances were lined outside the hotels, loading up and speeding off, their sirens wailing.

The hotels were evacuated and security officials set up cordons around them.

At Khalidi Hospital, near the affected zone, Dr. Khalid Salayman said five people had died there and 12 were wounded, 10 of them lightly.

Among the casualties were Iraqis and Germans, he said.

American Dana Burde said she was in the lobby of the Radisson when the blast there occurred -- apparently inside a nearby banquet hall, where a wedding party was celebrating.

"We were sort of blown out of the room, but our group is all fine," she said.

"There was a lot of debris and, certainly, there were people killed," said Burde, a New Yorker who is in Amman attending a conference on refugee education.

She said she heard an explosion at the nearby Hyatt five minutes after the blast at the Radisson.

King condemns attacks

An Italian businessman who was in the Hyatt said he saw three apparently lifeless bodies there.

Jordanian Embassy officials in Washington said the blasts came without warning and that no Jordanian government officials were in any of the buildings.

Prime Minister Adnan Badran told Jordanian television that all government offices and schools would be closed Thursday.

Soon after the attacks, Jordanian King Abdullah condemned them, telling reporters, "Justice will pursue the criminals."

The king also vowed that Jordan "will be resilient," Kawar said. An emergency Cabinet meeting was called.

Prior to the millennium celebrations, the Radisson was the target of a plot that was broken up by Jordanian law enforcement.

Jordan helps train Iraqi troops and is host to the headquarters of many international aid agencies that pulled relief workers out of Iraq as the insurgency there deepened.

It also is the homeland of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the head of al Qaeda in Iraq and that country's most-wanted terrorist.

In August an al Qaeda-linked group claimed responsibility for rocket attacks that targeted but missed two U.S. warships in the Jordanian Red Sea port of Aqaba.

In that attack, two rockets struck a warehouse and a hospital in Aqaba, killing a Jordanian soldier, while a third struck the nearby Israeli port city of Eilat.

U.S. offers help

Jordanian authorities said the attackers were in contact with insurgent leaders in Iraq, who were kept informed of their progress.

In Amman, U.S. Embassy spokesman Michael Pelletier told CNN that personnel have been called to the embassy for urgent meetings.

"Right now, we're trying to get whatever information we can to get the details of what's going on," he said. U.S. officials had no details on the number of casualties or whether Americans might be among them, he said.

In Washington, a White House spokesman said the administration knew of no U.S. casualties .The State Department, which had not recently issued travel warnings for Americans visiting Jordan, offered to help Jordanians investigate the bombings.

The United States has proposed sending a team of FBI agents to help determine details of the attacks, such as what type of explosives were used.

Asked who is suspected of masterminding the attacks, one State Department official cited al-Zarqawi.

Two U.S. intelligence officials concurred that the attacks bear the hallmarks of al-Zarqawi, who has expressed an interest in launching attacks outside Iraq.

CNN's Hala Gorani contributed to this report.

Copyright 2005 CNN. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Associated Press contributed to this report.

Find this article at:

http://www.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/meast/11/09/jordan.blasts/index.html

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I think it may be true in this case, but (I am guessing) it was more of they were threatened ahead of time and wanted to leave, so they asked to be escorted out. I wouldn't be surprised if the dumb bombers ;-) tipped their hand too soon, and let their intended victims get away. (though maybe if that happened it was done on purpose to get them blamed for it)

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http://www.haaretzdaily.com/hasen/spages/643661.html

It might be true. Though I'm not particularly certain I trust this story as this is now the third time this type of 'event' has been discussed (London and 9/11.) There's no quote or even reference to a source here and why would the Israeli embassy be asking about Israeli casualties if they had given the word to evacuate them?

Israelis evacuated from Amman hotel hours before bombings

By Yoav Stern, Haaretz Correspondent

A number of Israelis staying on Wednesday at the Radisson hotel were evacuated before the bombing by Jordanian security forces, apparently due to a specific security alert. They were escorted back to Israel by security personnel.

The Foreign Ministry stated Wednesday that no Israeli tourists are known to have been injured in the blasts. Representatives of Israel's embassy in Amman were in contact with local authorities to examine any report of injured Israelis, but none were received. There are often a number of Israeli businessman and tourists in Amman, including in the hotels hit Wednesday.

Israel's counter-terror headquarters on Wednesday recommended Israeli citizens not travel in Jordan. Travel warnings regarding Jordan were tightened a few months ago, but many Israelis still visit the country. Many also visit other regions such as the Jordanian Arava and the ancient city of Petra.

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Apparently there were four sites for bombing, only three went right.

57 die in explosions at three Jordan hotels

NBC News: Explosives discovered at fourth hotel near targeted sites

NBC, MSNBC and news services

Updated: 9:24 p.m. ET Nov. 9, 2005

AMMAN, Jordan - Suicide bombers carried out nearly simultaneous attacks on three U.S.-based hotels in the Jordanian capital Wednesday night, killing at least 57 people and wounding 115 in what appeared to be an al-Qaida assault on an Arab kingdom with close ties to the United States and a common border with Iraq.

The explosions hit the Grand Hyatt, Radisson SAS and Days Inn hotels just before 9 p.m. One of the blasts, at the Radisson, took place inside a wedding hall where 300 guests were celebrating. Black smoke rose into the night, and wounded victims stumbled from the hotels. Previous estimates of the injured reached 300; there was no immediate explanation of why the number went down.

NBC: Le Meridian targeted

Later, on Thursday morning in Amman, NBC News bureau chief Mofaq Khatib reported that a car filled with explosives had been found in the parking garage at Le Meridian hotel, near the three hotels that were hit by the blasts.

Maj. Bashir al-Da’aja said officials believe all three blasts were carried out by suicide bombers. The explosions indicated the involvement of al-Qaida, which has launched coordinated attacks on high-profile Western targets in the past, a police official said.

A U.S. counterterrorism official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told The Associated Press that no one had claimed responsibility for the attacks. Jordan’s deputy prime minister, Marwan Muasher, said Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian-born leader of al-Qaida in Iraq, was a “prime suspect.”

Al-Zarqawi was implicated because of his animosity for Jordan and the fact that suicide bombers were involved, one of his hallmarks.

Reactions from Bush, Rice

President Bush pledged that the United States will do all it can to help pursue those responsible for the bombings in Jordan, a Middle East ally in the fight against terrorism.

The attacks in Amman were “cowardly attacks on innocent Jordanians and their guests,” Bush said in a statement. “These barbaric acts again demonstrated the terrible cruelty of the terrorists and the great toll they take on civilized society.”

Suicide bombers struck three hotels in Amman that are frequented by Westerners. Immediate suspicion fell on al-Qaida, which has undertaken coordinated attacks on high-profile, Western targets in the past.

“To the people of Jordan and King Abdullah, we pledge our full support in their efforts to bring the terrorists to justice,” Bush said. “Jordan is a key ally in the war on terror and will have all assistance we can offer.”

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the bombings are fresh evidence of the challenge facing the U.S. and its allies in the fight against terrorism.

“It again shows that people will take innocent life without any remorse,” Rice said during a photo session with Jan Eliasson, president of the U.N. General Assembly.

In a later statement, Rice said “such wanton acts of murder against innocent people violate every faith and creed.” She pledged to Jordan that the United States would “stand together, unwavering, to defeat the evil that threatens our people and way of life.”

There was no immediate information about any American casualties, according to the State Department. Pentagon officials said they had no indication that any Defense Department employees were killed or injured.

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan canceled plans to travel to Amman on Thursday. He had only chosen to visit Jordan after canceling a trip to Tehran when Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called for Israel to be “wiped off the map.”

The first blast was reported at about 8:50 p.m. at the luxury Grand Hyatt hotel, popular with tourists and diplomats, and shattered its stone entrance.

‘We thought it was fireworks’

The hotel is popular with American and Israeli tourists and was the target of a plot in 2000. Israel’s ambassador to Jordan, Yaakov Hadas, told Israel TV from Amman there were no reports of Israeli casualties.

“We thought it was fireworks for the wedding, but I saw people falling to the ground,” said Ahmed, a wedding guest who did not give his surname. “I saw blood. There were people killed. It was ugly.”

Dana Burde, from New York, was in the lobby of the Radisson at the time of that explosion.

“We were sort of blown out of the room, but the wall sort of caved in,” Burde told CNN. “There was a lot of debris. Certainly people were killed.”

A third explosion was reported at the Days Inn hotel, and police said there were casualties.

At the Grand Hyatt, an American businessman said the explosion occurred in the lobby of the five-star hotel. Witnesses saw smoke rising from the building.

The Grand Hyatt Amman has 316 guest rooms and 50 luxury residential apartments in the adjoining Hyatt Tower. The hotel, with a beige-and-cream facade and a shiny gold revolving door, is located in the heart of Amman’s business and diplomatic district on Hussein Bin Ali Street.

The five-star Radisson SAS Hotel has 260 guest rooms. Its main entrance is covered by a white portico with several dozen international flags lining the top.

Jordan, a close U.S. ally, has arrested scores of Islamic militants for plotting to carry out attacks in the moderate Arab kingdom. It has also sentenced numerous militants to death in absentia, including al-Zarqawi.

Second attack in months

This is the second attack in Jordan in the last three months. Attackers fired three rockets at a U.S. assault ship docked at the Red Sea resort of Aqaba in August, missing the ship but killing a Jordanian soldier. It was the most serious attack on the U.S. Navy by militants since the USS Cole was bombed in 2000. Two Syrians and an Iraqi were captured during those attacks.

Jordan is also home to the Iraqi police training academy. American police officers are overseeing their training.

There has been an increased anti-American sentiment on the streets in Jordan as a result of the current policy concerning Iraq, and a perceived lack of progress in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. With an estimated 2.7 million Palestinians living there, Jordan is home to the largest number of Palestinians in the world.

In July, prosecutors indicted five Jordanians in an alleged conspiracy to attack intelligence agents, tourists and hotels in Amman. Al-Zarqawi has not been linked to the alleged plot.

Radisson was in cross hairs before

U.S. officials believe al-Zarqawi and Osama bin Laden operations chief Abu Zubaydah were chief organizers of a foiled plot to bomb the Radisson SAS.

The attack was to take place during millennium celebrations, but Jordanian authorities stopped it in late 1999. Abu Zubaydah was captured in March 2002 in Faisalabad, Pakistan, in a raid by the CIA, FBI and Pakistani authorities. Al-Zarqawi remains at large.

The last major terrorist attack blamed on Islamic militants was the July 7 bombings of the London transit system that killed 56 people, including four bombers. The most recent major attack linked to al-Qaida was the Madrid subway bombings that killed 191 people on March 11, 2004.

Both the Hyatt and Radisson hotels are owned by Palestinians. The Hyatt is owned by Sabir Masri, said to be one of the wealthiest families in Jordan. The Radisson Hotel is owned by the Nazal family, which is from Ramallah, in the West Bank.

Security increased at other sites

The Hyatt hotel is home to numerous travelers from the Persian Gulf region, as well as American businesspeople and government officials traveling in and out of Iraq. It is one of the few hotels in Amman totally accessible from the road, as is the Radisson.

Other U.S. hotels such as the Sheraton, Marriott, Four Seasons and Intercontinental have stepped up their security in recent months for fear of attacks. They are set back from the roads, unlike the hotels attacked Wednesday.

In July, prosecutors indicted five Jordanians in an alleged conspiracy to attack intelligence agents, tourists and hotels in Amman.

Al-Zarqawi has not been linked to the alleged plot.

The attack was to take place during millennium celebrations, but Jordanian authorities stopped it in late 1999. Abu Zubaydah was captured in March in Faisalabad, Pakistan, in a raid by the CIA, FBI and Pakistani authorities. Al-Zarqawi remains at large.

The date of Wednesday’s attack, Nov. 9, would be written as 9/11 in the Middle East, which puts the day before the month.

The Associated Press, Reuters and NBC News bureau chief Mofaq Khatib contributed to this report.

© 2005 MSNBC.com

URL: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9979747

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Al Qaeda Claims Responsibility

For Suicide Bombings in Jordan

A WALL STREET JOURNAL ONLINE NEWS ROUNDUP

November 10, 2005 8:33 a.m.

AMMAN, Jordan – Al Qaeda claimed responsibility in an Internet posting Thursday for three suicide attacks on Western hotels that killed at least 57 people, as police clamped down on security and began running DNA tests to try to identify the bombers.

The nearly simultaneous attacks late Wednesday also wounded more than 115 people, police said. Several arrests were made overnight, although it was unclear if they were of suspects or witnesses.

The claim of responsibility, signed in the name of the spokesman for the group Al Qaeda in Iraq, said that "after studying and watching the targets, places were chosen to carry out an attack on some hotels that the tyrant of Jordan has made the backyard garden for the enemy of the religion -- Jews and crusaders." Its authenticity could not be immediately determined.

Jordan's King Abdullah II chaired a meeting with his security chiefs, just hours after returning home from a trip abroad and inspecting the still-smoldering sites.

A security official said several people were rounded up overnight, but would not provide other details. He said authorities had tips on suspects who are being hunted down, including possible sleeper cells or individuals who may have assisted the attackers and later fled in a vehicle bearing Iraqi license plates. The official, insisting on anonymity because he is not allowed to speak to the press, said that DNA tests were being carried out to determine the identity of the perpetrators, including two suicide bombers who blew themselves up in two of the separate hotel attacks. A third suicide attacker used a car to attack the third hotel.

The dead and wounded were mainly Jordanians, said Jordan's Deputy Prime Minister Marwan Muahser.

WALL STREET JOURNAL VIDEO

[Go to Video]1

WSJ's Gerald Seib and retired Army Col. Ken Allard discuss2 the attacks.

Other victims included three Chinese, all from China's elite training university, who were visiting the kingdom and four Palestinians, including two top security officials, a senior Palestinian banker and the commercial attache at the Palestinian embassy in Cairo.

Maj. Gen. Bashir Nafeh, the head of military intelligence in the West Bank, and Col. Abed Allun, a high-ranking Preventive Security forces official, were killed in the attack at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, the Palestinian envoy to Amman, Ambassador Attala Kheri, told the AP in a telephone interview.

Israel's Foreign Ministry confirmed that an Israeli was killed in the bombings, but had no other details. The Army Radio said that the man was living at one of the hotels, but declined to say which.

The government was quick to lay blame on al Qaeda's Iraq chief, Abu-Musab al-Zarqawi, who heads the al Qaeda in Iraq group, for the attacks that rocked the U.S. hotel chains Grand Hyatt and Days Inn and the Swedish Radisson SAS late Wednesday, sending smoke billowing into the skies of Amman.

The state Jordan Television showed King Abdullah inspecting the sites of the blasts after returning home early Thursday, cutting short an official visit to Kazakhstan. He later presided over a meeting of his security chiefs, including police and intelligence.

The security official said Jordan was exploring al Qaeda's involvement because the attacks, which occurred nearly simultaneously, and the targets carried the trademarks of the terror group. The hotels, usually frequented by Israelis and Americans, have long been on al Qaeda's hit list.

Jordanian Deputy Prime Minister Marwan Muasher said Mr. Zarqawi was a "prime suspect" in the attacks. He said two suicide bombers attacked the Hyatt and the nearby Radisson SAS. The Days Inn attack was carried out by an explosives-laden vehicle that blew up outside the hotel after failing to cross a police line.

Bombings to Test Pro-West Stance

The attacks in Jordan – a country long in terrorists' cross hairs for its pro-Western leanings – will further complicate its attempts to balance warm ties to the U.S. with a population that is highly critical of American policies in the region. Jordan is sandwiched between two of the most turbulent conflicts in the Middle East, with the Israeli-occupied West Bank on one side and Iraq on another. It long has been a key U.S. ally in the region, and is one of only two Arab countries to recognize Israel.

While often critical of U.S. policies in Iraq, King Abdullah has turned his country into an important staging area for Iraq's reconstruction, hosting the headquarters of many companies and aid groups that have pulled their operations out of Iraq because of safety concerns. He also has worked closely with U.S. officials on Israeli-Palestinian issues.

Those policies have made Jordan a high priority for enemies ranging from al Qaeda Islamists to Iraqi insurgents. The country's security services have foiled several major attacks in which the capital was targeted, including a massive plot to blow up hotels during celebrations for the turn of the millennium. "Jordan being pro-American and pro-Western has made it a target," said Farid El-Khazen, a professor of Arab politics at the American University in Beirut and a member of Lebanon's Parliament.

Public opinion in Jordan also has run deeply against many U.S. policies, particularly American support for Israel and the invasion and occupation of Iraq. King Abdullah has grown increasingly unpopular because of his support of U.S. forces in Iraq. Bedouin tribes in the south also have been disquieted by King Abdullah's support of the war. Many of these tribal members share ethnic and religious ties to Sunni Muslims who live in Western Iraq.

Meanwhile, the failure of Israel and the Palestinians to reach a lasting peace has continued to radicalize Palestinians, who make up about 60% of Jordan's population. A number of al Qaeda's leading ideologues, including Osama bin Laden's mentor, Abdullah Azzam, hail from the refugee camps where most of the Palestinians live.

Jordan has had problems with other homegrown terrorist threats. Mr. Zarqawi, considered to be the leader of a significant wing of the Iraqi insurgency, is a Jordanian national. In August, a missile attack on U.S. ships in the Gulf of Aqaba was carried out from Jordanian territory.

Senior Jordanian security officials said in recent interviews that they have expected Mr. Zarqawi and al Qaeda continue to attempt strikes inside Jordan, particularly in Amman. These officials said the men who struck Aqaba originally planned to hit the headquarters of Jordan's General Intelligence Department in the capital, as well as the U.S. and Israeli embassies in Amman. Tight security and the arrival of U.S. naval ships in Aqaba caused the terrorists to switch plans.

"Abu Musab wants to widen the conflict" outside of Iraq, said a senior Jordanian official deeply involved in tracking Mr. Zarqawi. "He wants to re-establish his presence in Jordan. He wants to raise morale."

Mr. Zarqawi is a native of Zarqa, Jordan, and described by people who have met him as obsessed with dislodging the Hashemite monarchy that has ruled Jordan since the nation's creation after World War I. The 39-year-old was arrested in his teens for petty crime, before setting off for stints in Afghanistan where he met senior al Qaeda commanders. He was imprisoned in the 1990s in Jordan for conspiring against the government.

Jordanian officials said the August missile attack was the second time agents sent by Mr. Zarqawi had tried to hit Amman in recent years. In April 2004, Jordanian police broke up a 13-man al Qaeda cell headed by Mr. Zarqawi that was allegedly planning to use 20 tons of chemicals to attack Amman in an operation that could have claimed 20,000 lives, Jordanian officials say.

"We live in a very bad neighborhood," said Ali Shukri, a former national-security adviser to the late King Hussein, father of the current monarch. "You have Iraqis and Palestinians all coming into Jordan."

Still, observers say Jordan's leadership likely will continue to press the fight against terrorist groups they say would be the likely alternative to their own rule. "I don't think it will change anyone's policy; if anything it hardens it," said Paul Salem, a Beirut-based political analyst. "It emphasis the extent to which this is a regional threat and has to be faced.

Source: WSJ.com

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I'm shocked that chom hasn't posted in this thread blaming this one on Bush too.

Really, you need to read posts before you sprout off nonsense and dribble. What did this post add to the discussion? As a matter of fact, what do ANY of your posts add to the discussion?

As for my thoughts, it seems oftly strange that Israeli intel would evacuate all the Israelies from the hotel and say nothing about it. . . seems strange indeed, but then again, I'm not all that suprised. They've been real good at infultrating Hezbola, the PLO and other terrorists organizations in the past.

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Really, you need to read posts before you sprout off nonsense and dribble. What did this post add to the discussion? As a matter of fact, what do ANY of your posts add to the discussion?

As for my thoughts, it seems oftly strange that Israeli intel would evacuate all the Israelies from the hotel and say nothing about it. . . seems strange indeed, but then again, I'm not all that suprised. They've been real good at infultrating Hezbola, the PLO and other terrorists organizations in the past.

Johnny on the spot, as expected.

Your track record is known in the Tailgate. Your "Blame Everything on Bush" mantra isn't getting old, it is old. I don't believe you posted that other thread just to "illicit responses". You are a left wing extremist joke.

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I certainly wouldn't blaim Bush. I will however question those on the right who have been saying either we're winning the war on terrorism or terrorism is on the decline as a result of our war in Iraq (including the one bogus report last year that failed to count terrorist strikes for the last two months of a year to show a decline versus the year before).

Clearly the numbers worldwide don't show that, and haven't. I don't blaim Bush. I don't even make the asssertion that the increase in terrorism is because we are in Iraq. I simply question some of the assertions made here on the board and in occassional speaches about how we are making the world a safer place from terrorism.

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Johnny on the spot, as expected.

Your track record is known in the Tailgate. Your "Blame Everything on Bush" mantra isn't getting old, it is old. I don't believe you posted that other thread just to "illicit responses". You are a left wing extremist joke.

Nelms, certain posters like you and NavyDave pop off all the time with your hostile little right wing circle jerk, spouting so much nonsense and outright lies that it is amazing. You all hate Chomerics because he has the stamina to actually research the facts and call you out for your simplistic drivel, over and over again. Then you attack him personally.

If it wasn't for Chomerics, the discourse on this board would be limited to idiots like you posting: "LOL - Teddy Kennedy is a fat drunk, am I rite, fellas, ami I rite??" and NavyDave responding: "Yeah, and he's probably a fudgepacking faggot too! LOL." That is all you contribute here.

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Nelms, certain posters like you and NavyDave pop off all the time with your hostile little right wing circle jerk, spouting so much nonsense and outright lies that it is amazing. You all hate Chomerics because he has the stamina to actually research the facts and call you out for your simplistic drivel, over and over again. Then you attack him personally.

If it wasn't for Chomerics, the discourse on this board would be limited to idiots like you posting: "LOL - Teddy Kennedy is a fat drunk, am I rite, fellas, ami I rite??" and NavyDave responding: "Yeah, and he's probably a fudgepacking faggot too! LOL." That is all you contribute here.

STFU! How's that for simplistic drivel.

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Hmmm, perhaps Zarqawi made a teeny, little mistake this time. ;-)

Terror attacks spark fury in Jordan

Amman stunned by suicide bombings

AMMAN, Jordan (CNN) -- Three terror bombings that killed at least 56 people in Jordan's capital sparked furious protests against al Qaeda on Thursday after a Web site carried a claim that the group was behind the attacks.

Jordanians flooded Amman blaring car horns and waving the nation's flag to protest the suicide attacks at three hotels with Western connections.

The Associated Press reported that hundreds of angry Jordanians rallied shouting, "Burn in hell, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi!" after the terrorist group he leads claimed responsibility for the blasts.

The Wednesday attacks at the Grand Hyatt, Radisson and Days Inn hotels in downtown Amman took their greatest toll on a wedding party. (Watch what the explosion left behind -- 4:39)

The wedding reception of Ashraf al-Akhras and his bride Nadia Alami at the Radisson was targeted by one of the bombers. The explosion killed both of their fathers, a number of guests and wounded the newlyweds.

"There were between 250 and 280 people in the wedding party. The suicide bomber blew himself up as the bride and groom prepared to enter the ballroom," Radisson senior manager Bassem al-Banna told Agence France-Presse.

Some Middle Eastern nations are accustomed to suicide bombings, but Jordan is not. Wednesday's blasts that wounded more than 100 people shook the country's confidence about its security.

National leaders convened shortly after the explosions.

"This is something that Jordan is not used to," Deputy Prime Minister Marwan Muasher said, taking a break from the meeting. "Obviously, we are not happy about what happened and we are going to take whatever measures we can to guard against these terrorist activities."

Jordanian television, government offices and schools closed Thursday to regroup after the attacks.

'Bodies and blood all over'

Randa Jaaqoub said she was the Grand Hyatt's lobby with her fiance when that blast occurred.

"Everything just exploded, and we had fire and smoke all over," the Jordanian American from Chicago said. "We saw the bodies and blood all over."

Outside the Days Inn, Anwar Dabass said he "saw three people in the street. They weren't dead. They were moving. We were one of the first people there and there were some body parts in the street."

Protesters also rejected the idea that the explosions were carried out to protect Islam.

Groom al-Akhras said, "The world has to know that this has nothing to do with Islam."

Al Qaeda in Iraq boasts of attack

Al-Zarqawi's Al Qaeda in Iraq claimed responsibility for the bombings in a Web site posting, and linked them to its Islamist beliefs.

The Pentagon has had a $25 million bounty on his head since 2004.

CNN cannot verify the authenticity of the Web site claims, but U.S. intelligence officials said they "view that claim as credible."

CNN also has learned from a source with detailed knowledge of the investigation that two of the bombers have been identified as Iraqis, prompting Jordanian police to narrow their focus on possible facilitators they believe are still in the country.

The Web site posting boasts that the attacks happened at "retreats that were planted in the land of Muslims in Amman" -- a reference to the hotels that Westerners frequents.

It continues: "After studying the targets and watching, we chose the places to carry the mission on some of the hotels, which the Jordanian dictator turned into a backyard for the enemies of faith -- the Jews and the Crusaders."

Jordan's King Abdullah II has close relationships with Israel and the United States.

Pentagon officials said that before the explosions, a former hostage revealed that his captors had talked about such attacks on Western targets.

But Jordanians accounted for most of the casualties from the Wednesday attacks, and Jordanian officials said they viewed the blasts as attacks against their country. The State Department said one American was among the dead and two were among the wounded.

A senior Jordanian intelligence said suicide attackers with explosive belts caused the blasts and contrary to earlier reports, no vehicles were involved.

Palestinian officials among dead

Jordanian Embassy officials in Washington said the blasts came without warning, and Jordanian government officials were not among the casualties.

Officials from other governments, however, were among the dead. Four Palestinians, including Maj. Gen. Bashir Nafeh, head of Palestinian military intelligence, died in the blast at the Grand Hyatt, said chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat.

Also killed was Col. Abed Allun; Jihad Fattouh, the brother of the Palestinian parliament speaker; and Mosab Khoma, Erakat said. The four were on their way back from Cairo, Egypt, he said, adding his condemnation of the attacks.

Three Chinese were killed and one wounded in the attacks, according to the Chinese news agency Xinhua, which cited a press release on the Chinese Foreign Ministry's Web site. They were members of a delegation from China's University of National Defense and were staying at one of the hotels, according to the report. The report did not specify which hotel.

Copyright 2005 CNN. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Associated Press contributed to this report.

Find this article at:

http://www.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/meast/11/10/jordan.blasts/index.html

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I certainly wouldn't blaim Bush. I will however question those on the right who have been saying either we're winning the war on terrorism or terrorism is on the decline as a result of our war in Iraq (including the one bogus report last year that failed to count terrorist strikes for the last two months of a year to show a decline versus the year before).

Clearly the numbers worldwide don't show that, and haven't. I don't blaim Bush. I don't even make the asssertion that the increase in terrorism is because we are in Iraq. I simply question some of the assertions made here on the board and in occassional speaches about how we are making the world a safer place from terrorism.

The "right", or anybody on this board on the "right", will not touch that subject.

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