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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 April, 2004, 00:10 GMT 01:10 UK
Jordan 'thwarts terrorist attack'
By Dale Gavlak
Amman, Jordan

Special forces Jordanian soldier
It is believed that explosives were smuggled over the border
King Abdullah has said that a potentially massive attack on Jordan was thwarted by the arrest of a group of suspected terrorists.

The king said the assault could have killed thousands of civilians.

Authorities in the capital Amman have arrested a number of terror suspects over the past two weeks but had been searching for a remaining man.

But officials say all the group members have now been caught and a large amount of explosives has been seized.

Divine protection has thwarted the plans of these criminals and saved the lives of thousands of civilians
King Abdullah

In a letter thanking his intelligence chief for uncovering the terrorist plot, King Abdullah said Jordan had "lived through an extremely delicate situation in recent days".

"But divine protection has thwarted the plans of these criminals and saved the lives of thousands of civilians in what would have been a crime never before seen in the kingdom," he argued.

He said the huge number of explosives discovered recently suggested the magnitude of the attack that was being planned.

Al-Qaeda suspicions

The king did not specify the name of the group involved. But the US state department attributes the plot to al-Qaeda.

It said that the group's members planned to hit the US embassy in Amman.

The intelligence chief General Saad Khair said the group used religion as a pretext for its actions, but their plans were anything but religious.

He thought that they wanted to attack Jordan's position on upholding Arab causes, especially Palestinan rights. He said mop-up operations were continuing.

Last Saturday, the authorities in Jordan said they had found cars carrying explosives by an underground group planning to attack US interests in the kingdom.

And earlier this month, cars with explosives had been driven into Jordan from Syria. Although the border is patrolled, the authorities said smugglers had managed to slip in.




SEE ALSO:
Jordan seizes explosives in cars
10 Apr 04  |  Middle East
Jordan militants sentenced to die
06 Apr 04  |  Middle East
Jordan embassy blast inquiry
08 Aug 03  |  Middle East
Country profile: Jordan
04 Nov 03  |  Country profiles


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