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Last Updated: Monday, 26 April, 2004, 19:39 GMT 20:39 UK
Jordan airs attack 'confession'
Azmi al-Jayusi
Azmi al-Jayusi was described as the leader of an al-Qaeda cell
Jordanian state TV has shown what it says is a confession by a detained militant linked to al-Qaeda who was planning deadly chemical attacks there.

One man is shown saying he worked for Abu Musa al-Zarqawi, who the US says is a senior al-Qaeda operative in Iraq.

Jordan said earlier this month it had foiled a chemical attack on its spy HQ that could have killed 20,000 people.

Reports quoting security officials on Monday said the planned attacks could have left up to 80,000 people dead.

House raided

The television broadcast showed a man who was identified as Azmi al-Jayusi.

He was described as the leader of an al-Qaeda cell operating in Jordan under orders to attack the intelligence agency headquarters.

Special forces Jordanian soldier
The suspects are alleged to have planned deadly gas attacks
The broadcast said the Jordanian authorities had uncovered the plot and raided the house on 20 April from which the alleged al-Qaeda cell was operating.

They killed four people and arrested six others, including Mr Jayusi.

The news report said the authorities found chemicals there which were to be used in the attack, though the type was not identified.

Another operation planned by the network was to use deadly gas against the US embassy and the prime minister's office in Amman, Jordanian officials have said.

'Divine protection'

Earlier this month, in a letter thanking his intelligence chief for uncovering the 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.

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 Palestinian rights.

The BBC's David Bamford
"These televised confessions have been carefully stage managed by the Jordanian authorities"

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