Friday, December 08, 2006

4 To Die For Attack On US Ship

Jordan’s State Security Court sentenced four suspects to death after finding them guilty of a rocket attack on a US warship in the Red Sea port of Aqaba in Aug. 19, 2005. The four — three Syrians and an Iraqi — were among 12 defendants charged with carrying out the operation that targeted the warship that was docking at the Jordanian port last year. The rocket missed the warship, but hit a Jordanian Army warehouse killing one soldier. The only militant in custody to be sentenced to death was Syrian Mohammad Hassan Al-Sahli. The 53-year-old man denied involvement in the attack. Sahli has been living in Jordan for 20 years, judicial sources said. Two of his son — Abdul Rahman Al-Sahli and Abdullah Al-Sahli — were sentenced to death along with the network’s leader, the Iraqi Ammar Samarrai, they added. The three managed to escape to Iraq. The court also sentenced two Jordanians to 10 years in prison and acquitted two Syrians in custody.
USS Ashland LSD 48
The attack, which narrowly missed the USS Ashland and its sister ship the USS Kearsarge, was the most serious on US targets in Jordan since the killing of US diplomat Lawrence Foley in Amman in 2002. It was claimed by Al-Qaeda’s leader in Iraq at the time, Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi. The militants in custody pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to wage terror attacks that caused the death of an individual, possession of explosives to use illegally and acts to undermine relations with a foreign country. Prosecutors said the suspects had initially planned to attack the heavily fortified US Embassy in Amman. The sources said Sahli had been a member of an Al-Qaeda sleeper cell in Amman. He was arrested shortly after his sons and the Iraqi accomplice fled across the border to Iraq. Prosecutors say Sahli had sent his sons to fight US forces in Iraq to become battle-hardened with the help of Sunni insurgents. Sahli’s lawyer Sameeh Khrees said he would appeal the verdict.

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