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Last Updated: Monday, 22 August 2005, 21:40 GMT 22:40 UK
Jordan holds rocket 'mastermind'
Jordanian security forces guard rocket launch site
Jordanian security forces have been on alert since the attacks
Security forces in Jordan have arrested a man they believe masterminded a series of rocket attacks launched from the southern port city of Aqaba.

A televised statement named Mohammed Hassan Abdullah al-Sihly, a Syrian, as prime suspect for the attacks.

Three others accused of involvement in an Iraq-based terror group fled into Iraq on Friday, the statement said.

One rocket narrowly missed a US warship in port, another hit a hospital and a third landed in Israel.

According to the statement, Mr al-Sihly planned and carried out the attacks alongside two of his sons and an Iraqi man.

They are thought to be the three men who escaped into Iraq on Friday, the day after the attacks, using forged identity documents and passports.

The government statement alleged that the Katyusha rockets used in the attacks were smuggled into Jordan hidden in the fuel tank of a Mercedes car.

Triple strike

Mr Sihly lives in the Jordanian capital, Amman, but was accused of visiting Aqaba to scout for potential launch sites for two weeks before the rocket attacks.

Three Katyusha ground-to-air rockets were fired from an industrial area of Aqaba on Friday.

One narrowly missed the USS Ashland warship moored close to the port city, but killed a Jordanian soldier.

The second rocket also passed close to the warship but landed near a military hospital.

It was seen as potentially the most dangerous attack on a US marine vessel since the bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen in 2000.

The third crossed the nearby international border and landed near an airport close to the Israeli city of Eilat.

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