Jordan investigating possible rocket attack after explosion in Aqaba

By Jamal Halaby, AP
Thursday, April 22, 2010

Jordan investigating possible rocket attack

AMMAN, Jordan — An explosion struck an industrial area in the Red Sea port of Aqaba on Thursday, and authorities were investigating whether rockets had been fired toward the area, a senior Jordanian security official said Thursday.

Government spokesman Nabil Sharif said only that a refrigerated warehouse was damaged in the Aqaba explosion but no injuries were reported.

Police found the remains of a Katyusha rocket and were trying to determine the launch site and who might have been behind the attack, the security official said.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity while the investigation was ongoing, declined to say if the remains of the rocket were found at the warehouse or elsewhere in Aqaba.

Residents reported hearing at least two early morning explosions.

Israeli media also reported that two rocket attacks hit Aqaba and Israel’s nearby port Eilat.

The Israeli army says it searched the Eilat area after hearing the reports but found no evidence of anything landing in Israel.

The incident occurred as jitters were high a week after Israel issued an “urgent” warning to its citizens to leave Egypt’s nearby Sinai Peninsula immediately, citing “concrete evidence of an expected terrorist attempt to kidnap Israelis in Sinai.”

An Egyptian security official, who also spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to release information to the media, denied reports that rockets were fired from Sinai on Thursday.

The damaged warehouse was at an industrial complex at the entrance of Aqaba, 210 miles (350 kilometers) south of the Jordanian capital, Amman. In 2005, the area was used by al-Qaida terrorists, who fired Katyusha rockets at a U.S. warship docked in the port.

The rockets missed the ship but hit a Jordanian army warehouse, killing a Jordanian soldier. Eight al-Qaida terrorists were arrested and later received prison terms ranging from seven years to death.

Israel’s anti-terror office issued the warning last week and maintains a standing travel advisory telling Israelis to stay out of the Sinai desert because of the threat of terror attacks.

will not be displayed