Al Qaeda Claims Responsibility For Bombings - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

11/10/05-Amman, Jordan

Al Qaeda Claims Responsibility For Bombings

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 Wednesday attacks at the Grand Hyatt, Radisson and Days Inn hotels in downtown Amman took their greatest toll on a wedding party.

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 Qaeda in Iraq, a group led by one of the United States' most wanted militants, claimed responsibility for the bombings in a Web site posting, and linked them to its Islamist beliefs.

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi leads the group that took credit for the explosions. 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.

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