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Saturday, August 20, 2005

Jordanians arrest suspects in missile attack on Navy ship

Reported here:
Police detained several suspects on Saturday as the hunt widened for the militants who fired and supplied the Katyusha rockets that narrowly missed a U.S. Navy ship anchored in the bay of this sleepy Red Sea port best known for beach vacations and Mideast summits.

Those arrested included Iraqis, Syrians, Egyptians and Jordanians, according to a Jordanian security official, who spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to comment. He would not give the number of detainees.

In what he called a breakthrough, Interior Minister Awni Yirfas told The Associated Press that security forces had found the launcher used to fire the three rockets.
Orignal post in this topic here (and see Update5 for the first announcement of the finding of the launcher).

UPDATE: CBS implies here that "arrest" may be too strong.
Jordanian police rounded up several people Saturday and uncovered the launcher used by militants to fire three Katyusha rockets a day earlier...

UPDATE2: CNN says "arrests".

UPDATE3: NY Times reports some confusion in the reports:
Several arrests were reported in the case on Saturday, but news agencies and Arab satellite stations gave conflicting reports about their number and significance. Mr. Yirfas would not comment on the reports, and it was unclear whether any of the arrests included the six men - including Iraqis, Egyptians and a Syrian - being actively sought by security forces in the attack.

UPDATE4: More details MSNBC
Police found four more rockets when they seized the launcher in a warehouse in an industrial zone on a hillside overlooking Aqaba, state TV reported Saturday. The four rockets were defused, the report said.

UPDATE5: Ineffective rockateer terrorist wannabes have "Worst Acronym" problem. Plus we- uh- laugh- in their general direction.

UPDATE6: James Dunnigan seems to have gotten some information from somewhere that makes sense:
In Jordan, there was a rare terrorist act, when three BM-21 122mm rockets were fired from a warehouse in the southern city of Aqaba. The Gulf of Aqaba is the northern tip of the Red Sea. It is here that the borders of Egypt, Israel, Jordan and Saudi Arabia are all close together, either touching or within view of one another. One rocket was aimed at an American amphibious assault ship docked at the port. That rocket missed the ship and hit a warehouse, killing one of the Jordanian soldiers guarding it. The other two rockets were aimed at Israel, which is about 16 kilometers away. These two rockets hit nothing of significance, one landing outside an airport, the other near a hospital. The 150 pound, 122mm Russian designed BM-21 rocket is nine feet long and has a range of 20 kilometers and a 45 pound warhead. Developed in the late 1930s by Russia, the 122mm rocket is normally fired in large numbers from many launchers at spread-out targets. That's because the rockets are unguided. Aim lots of them at a target and you'll hit something. Aim a few of them at something, and you usually won't, But the rockets are made by many countries, relatively easy to get, and favored by terrorists for attacks that terrorize, rather than actually do any damage.

The 42 pound, 107mm, 33 inch long, Russian BM-12 is more commonly used for these attacks. This rocket has a range of about six kilometers and three pounds of explosives in its warhead. rocket. While easier to move around, the BM-12 would not have been able to reach nearby Israel.

The Jordanian police, the most efficient in the Middle East, immediately went into action. They soon found four more rockets in a nearby warehouse, and arrested at least six men, including Iraqis, Syrians, Egyptians and Jordanians.

UPDATE 8/21/05: Prime suspect nabbed!

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