Al Qaeda-Hizballah Bomb Team on Amman Revenge Mission for Hamas

The building in the picture, the five-star Le Meridien Hotel, in the Shmeisani district of Amman, walking distance from the Hussein sports center and the Palace of Culture, was projected for reduction to charred rubble Friday, April 2 by a joint Hizballah-al Qaeda bomb team. This is revealed by debkafile‘s exclusive counter-terror sources. But part of that team was captured by Jordanian forces as it entered the kingdom from Syria at the Rahmtha crossing Wednesday, March 31, driving a suspicious looking pickup truck found on examination to be loaded with hundreds of kilos of explosives. The four detainees, questioned at Jordanian army security headquarters in Amman, soon gave the game away. They also disclosed that another one or two explosives-laden trucks with the rest of the terror team had managed to slip into Jordan before them and was at large – whereupon the royal security forces shot into pursuit mode and placed armed guards on the palaces, the US and Israeli embassies and strategic sites.
Amid the hue and cry, King Abdullah put in calls to the United States and Israel to report the captured terrorists had also divulged they were on their way to carry out a mega-strike against at least two hotels and a large Amman shopping mall to avenge Israel’s killing of Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin in the Gaza Strip on March 22.
The al Qaeda-Hizballah terrorist plot would have left several hundreds of people dead in Amman – a catastrophe several times greater than the Madrid train bombings. According to our Jordanian sources, the captured terrorists claimed that because the Hamas, Hizballah and al Qaeda were prevented thus far from carrying out a mass-casualty attack in any Israeli city by its heavy security build-up, they opted for the Jordanian capital as target. Initial input from the Jordanian inquiry has been relayed to Washington and Jerusalem.
The terrorists driving the missing truck or trucks were to have rendezvoused at an unknown location with a second team of fellow al Qaeda operatives who were to have collected the explosives and used them for suicide car bombings inside Amman. The truck seized at the border was to have blown up Le Meridien.
debkafile‘s military sources add: the Jordanian army, police and security services have been on high alert for three days, special units reinforcing security at the royal palaces and for heads of government and economy. Royal Air Force craft are swooping up and down the kingdom hoping to spot the missing bomb vehicles and terrorists before they gain access to any Jordanian town. First thing Thursday, April 1, when they had still not been located, the king telephoned Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah in Riyadh and Hosni Mubarak in Sharm el Sheikh with bitter recriminations against Syrian President Bashar Assad for failing to avert the attempted assault on his capital city. He said the trucks could not have been packed with explosives on the outskirts of Damascus and then set off for the Jordanian frontier without the knowledge of Syrian military intelligence. Indeed, the captured terrorists admitted they had been assured they would not be bothered at the Syrian border crossing because the border guards had been told not to search the trucks.
Then and there, to avoid the embarrassment of shaking hands with the accused Syrian leader, the Egyptian president ordered their meeting later that morning to be cancelled. In case Assad turned up anyway, Mubarak took to the air and flew out of the Sinai resort to Cairo.
Had the Le Meridien Hotel hit been achieved on behalf of Hamas, debkafile‘s counter-terror sources sketch the resulting scenario:
1. Hamas would have claimed its vow to avenge its dead leader vindicated with the help of forces outside the country.
2. The pick-up truck or trucks still loose might still strike an Israeli target such as the Israeli embassy in Amman or an Israeli-Jordanian factory in the kingdom.
3. Jordan would carry the brand of the most loyal ally of America and Israel in the Middle East.
4. Even though the Hamas had no direct role in the operation, its leaders would claim that its reach had crossed national Palestinian borders and the movement was now part of the al Qaeda-Hizballah terrorist network in the Middle East and beyond.
Jordanian media named the notorious al Qaeda operative Musab Zarqawi as the suspected mastermind of the attempted al Qaeda-Hizballah Hamas mega-strike in Amman. debkafile‘s terror experts note that the familiar al Qaeda names bandied about after every terrorist action belong to the fundamentalist network’s command level current until the end of 2002. They are yesterday’s men. A new generation has meanwhile risen from the middle ranks whose names are unknown. Their anonymity has become the biggest obstacle facing Western intelligence in fighting or predicting al Qaeda actions. Zarqawi is a Jordanian himself and still active, but it is hardly credible that one man is capable of wreaking devastation over a short period in Baghdad, Karbala, Irbil, Madrid, Amman, Istanbul and every other world site targeted for terror.

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