Classified information received in Jerusalem over the weekend warns of a plan by terror group al-Qaeda to abduct Israeli citizens in Jordan, execute them and later publish photos of the murder, Israel's leading newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported Monday.
According to the information, al-Qaeda chief in Iraq Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is behind the plan, aimed at boosting his image in the eyes of Al-Qaeda's top leader Osama Bin Laden. Bin Laden has for years been pressuring his group members to carry out attacks against Israel and cause damage to Jordan, where he was incarcerated for many years.
Another warning received in Israel refers to a plan of al-Qaeda's Iraqi branch to carry out a mega terror attack at the industrial factories in Irbid, Jordan, located on the border with Israel.
Numerous Israeli factories operate in the Irbid area, employing thousands of Jordanian nationals. The products of Irbid are sold in the American market custom free and salaries in the factories provide a living for thousands of families.
"If such a terror attack is successful, the Jordanians, the Israelis and the Americans will all be affected," a senior defense official in Amman said.
Severe security warning
Jordanian security forces have apprehended during the weekend a Zarqawi terror cell sent to the country in order to blow up a hotel, a power plant and a shopping center. four suspects were arrested in the raid.
Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said that the large attack foiled in Jordan exemplifies the growing threat of global Jihad organizations to Israel and its neighbors. Mofaz added that the exposure of the terror cell was behind the Israeli Counter Terror Bureau's decision last week to put out a severe warning to Israelis to avoid from traveling to Sinai and Jordan.
Defense officials in Israel have also expressed concern over signs of al-Qaeda nearing Israel and the Palestinian Authority's borders. They say the violent clashes between Sunnis and Shiites in Iraq bring al-Qaeda closer to the country.
Security sources reported that reliable intelligence information received by Israel revealed that al-Qaeda activists have succeeded in infiltrating the Gaza strip and that they were establishing local cells there. In addition, warnings that the group may infiltrate the West bank are also imminent.
Meanwhile, Bin Laden's deputy Ayman al-Zawahri called on Hamas not to recognize the peace agreements signed between Israel and the PA. Al-Zawahri made the statement in a video tape broadcast by Qatari-based television channel al-Jazeera on Saturday.
Itamar Eichner contributed to the report