Rocket explosion slams Aqaba, 1 dead, 5 injured, Eilat, Egypt denies

[03-08-2010 12:00 AM]

Ammon News - * GRAD rocket fell near Intercontinental Hotel
* 1 dead, 4 injured
* Team of Explosives experts arrives in Aqaba
* Projectiles suspected launched from southwest
* 4 rockets reported in Eilat

AMMONNEWS - A GRAD missile fell in the southern Jordanian port city of Aqaba Monday morning, injuring four people, Minister of State for Media Affairs and Communications Ali Al Ayed said.

Al Ayed said in statements to 'Ammon News' that the missile fell at 7:45 AM on Monday, injuring four citizens, and killing 51-year old Subhi Yousef Alawneh.

He added later that the initial probe showed that the rocket was fired from outside Jordanian territory, and that security forces are investigating the source of the rocket attack.

An official close to the investigation said the rocket was fired from a location "southwest" of Aqaba indicating the Sinai desert.

'Ammon News' learned that a security team of explosives experts arrived in Aqaba to investigate the incident.

Meanwhile, a security official denied in statements to 'Ammon News' reports published earlier by 'Yedioth Ahronoth' on its electronic website, Ynetnews, that five Jordanians were killed in the blast, noting that the blast led to five injuries, 4 were rushed to Princess Haya Military Hospital in Aqaba and another to a private hospital.

The security official said that two of the injured are taxi drivers, and 2 others work in the Intercontinental Hotel. Later reports confirmed that a fifth person was hit with shrapnel in his legs and was rushed to Al Hadith Hospital.


A high level source had confirmed earlier that four people were injured Monday morning after a rocket fell on a public road in the southern Jordanian port city of Aqaba, with projectiles suspected to have been fired from the west/southwest.

The rocket fell at nearly 7:40 AM, the official told 'Ammon News', adding that it fell on a taxi cab and a vehicle belonging to a private bank parked in front of the Intercontinental Hotel in Aqaba causing flames to erupt and the injury of a number of people who were rushed to the nearby hospital, the official told 'Ammon News.'

He did not disclose whether the injuries were caused by the missile or the cars burning in flames.

The official did not give further details, but noted that the incident is similar to the rockets incident that occurred several months ago.

The source noted that Public Security Directorate (PSD) Chief Major General Hussein Majali and Director of the Civil Defense Directorate (CDD) Abdullah Hamadneh arrived in Aqaba on Monday morning to investigate the incident.

Eyewitnesses told 'Ammon News' that security forces intensified presence in the area and sealed the area surrounding where the rocket fell with police tape to prevent people from getting close to the scene.


To that, Reuters reported from Radio Israel that preliminary information by Israeli police revealed that at least three rockets fell on the Israeli southern port city of Eilat and nearby areas on Monday morning, causing no casualties.

Israeli Army Radio said that it believed that five rockets were launched on the southern Israeli resort city of Eilat, one of which fell inside Jordanian territory.

Spokesperson of Israeli Police Mickey Rosenfeld told AFP that he "heard a number of explosions in and around Eilat," adding that no casualties or material damage resulted and that "nothing has been found on the ground."

An IDF statement said that some rockets failed to hit land targets and fell in the Red Sea waters instead.


An Egyptian security official said Monday that five rockets that slammed into the Red Sea ports of Eilat and Aqaba didn't come from Egypt, AFP reported.

"The rockets didn't come from Sinai. To launch rockets from Sinai would need a great deal of logistics and equipment and that is impossible considering the heavy security presence in the Sinai peninsula," the official said.

"We have a heavy security presence in Sinai, particularly along the Egyptian Israeli border," he said. "No suspicious activity has been reported anywhere in Sinai.


The incident bears the imprints of the rockets that targeted the popular tourist cities of Aqaba and Eilat on April 22, causing no casualties but hitting a empty warehouse in Aqaba. Jordanian officials maintained that the rockets were fired from outside Jordan while Israeli media indicated Egypt's Sinai as a possible launch point.

Last Friday (July 30) a Grad rocker exploded in the city of Ashqelon, causing damage, and on Saturday (July 31) a Kassam rocket was fired towards the area of the Negev Regional Council. In response the Israeli Air Force targeted a weapons manufacturing facility and weapons smuggling tunnels in the Gaza Strip, an IDF statement said.

In 2005, rockets were fired at US warships in Aqaba's port but missed their target and killed a Jordanian soldier on land. A group claiming links to al Qaeda said it was behind the attack.

'Ammon News' and Agencies

* REUTERS photo Wreckage of cars damaged by a rocket attack is seen at a hotel area in the Jordan's Red Sea city of Aqaba August 2, 2010.

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