Aqaba, Jordan
Photo: Reuters

Jordan says it was target of Russian-made missile

Information minister says investigations indicate missile that hit refrigerated warehouse in Aqaba was Grad fired from outside Hashemite Kingdom's borders

A Russian-designed missile struck a refrigerated warehouse in the Red Sea port of Aqaba, the Jordanian information minister said Thursday.


Nabil al-Sharif said investigations indicate the missile was a Russian-designed Grad that was fired from somewhere outside Jordan. He said Jordanian authorities continue to look into the explosion to determine where the missile was launched from.


Al-Sharif, who is also a government spokesman, told The Associated Press that the missile damaged a refrigerated warehouse on Aqaba's northern outskirts. No deaths or injuries were reported.


Earlier Thursday, police said they found the remains of what they thought was a Katyusha rocket. They said they were trying to determine the launch site and who might have been behind the attack.


Aqaba residents reported hearing at least two early morning explosions in the city.


Israeli media also reported that two rockets hit Aqaba and Israel's nearby port of Eilat.


The Israeli army said it searched the Eilat area after the reports surfaced but found no evidence of anything landing in Israel.


The incident occurred as jitters were high a week after Israel issued an "urgent" warning to its citizens to leave Egypt's nearby Sinai Peninsula immediately, citing "concrete evidence of an expected terrorist attempt to kidnap Israelis in Sinai."


An Egyptian security official, who also spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to release information to the media, denied reports that rockets were fired from Sinai on Thursday.


The damaged warehouse was at an industrial complex at the entrance of Aqaba, 210 miles (350 kilometers) south of the Jordanian capital, Amman.


In 2005, al-Qaeda terrorists used the area to fire Katyusha rockets at a US warship docked in the port there.


The rockets missed the ship but hit a Jordanian army warehouse, killing a Jordanian soldier. Eight al-Qaida terrorists were arrested and later received prison terms ranging from seven years to death sentences.


Travel alert

Israel's anti-terror office issued the warning last week and maintains a standing travel advisory telling Israelis to stay out of the Sinai desert because of the threat of terror attacks.


Meanwhile, the Israeli defense establishment is looking into whether the missile was aimed at Eilat and who is responsible for it. Terrorist cells in the Sinai area may be responsible, and this is being examined as a possible lead. As of now, it is unclear if the missile firing is an isolated incident or if it is likely to develop. It was reported that another missile may have landed in the Red Sea.


Osnat, who is vacationing in Eilat, said she had clearly heard explosions at around 5 am.


"Everything shook. Initially I thought it was an earthquake. I woke my husband up and we went downstairs to the hotel lobby. We later heard on the news that there was an apparent attempt to attack Eilat.


"I am very frightened. I live in the Nahariya area, and for a moment there it evoked memories of the Second Lebanon War, when everyone fled to Eilat. I'm glad Eilat wasn't hit, but on the other hand the fact that they (terrorists) were able to fire three rockets is very frightening. No place is safe," she said. 


פרסום ראשון: 04.22.10, 19:11
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