A Jordanian citizen was killed and three others were wounded by Grad rockets fired on Monday from Egyptian territory at the Gulf of Eilat and Aqaba. One rocket struck open space north of Eilat, three struck Aqaba's hotel area, one rocket apparently landed in the sea and one landed in Sinai.
On an Army Radio show on Monday morning, the presenter, a well-known comic, ridiculed the rocket launchers for having bad aim and mistakenly hitting Aqaba. But the perpetrators, apparently members of the group known as Global Jihad, intended to hit Aqaba no less than Eilat. They consider the Hashemite kingdom to be as legitimate a target as Israel, if not more so.
Aqaba has become an attractive destination for European, American and even Israeli tourists in recent years, and is an important source of income for Jordan. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been invested in new hotels in the area, which is what makes it attractive to terrorists.
This is not the first time Aqaba has appeared on the map of Islamic terror. As recently as April, two Grad rockets were fired at Eilat and Aqaba, causing no injuries. Jordan itself has had several serious terror attacks, the most deadly of which was in Amman, when three suicide bombers blew themselves up simultaneously in a hotel, killing almost 60 people.
Concern over possible missile strikes or major terror attacks has spurred the Jordanians to closer security collaboration with Israel, despite this past year's rift between the Israeli government and the Jordanian monarchy. Throughout this period, the parties have continued coordinating on security matters; the information on more than one occasion thwarted an attack on Israeli or Jordanian soil. It seems that quite a few people in Israel are unaware that they owe their lives to Jordanian security forces.
The authorities haven't determined from where the Grads were launched. Israeli sources think they were fired from Sinai, a charge the Egyptians have roundly denied. The Egyptians say this couldn't happen when Egyptian security forces are so effectively deployed in Sinai. But Sinai was and still is a hotbed for Global Jihad. Weapons are being smuggled from Sinai into Gaza, including Grad missiles. Some of these missiles presumably remain in Sinai, waiting to be launched.
A Grad missile was fired at Ashkelon Friday, causing no injuries. Radical Islamist groups in Gaza could be behind both attacks. There are at least five groups identified with Al-Qaida or Global Jihad: Jaish al-Umma (army of the nation ), which first appeared in the Gaza Strip in June 2007, although it was officially established only two years ago; Jaish al-Islam (the army of Islam ) - a group associated with the Dughmush clan; and Jund Ansar Allah (army of the supporters of Allah ), which clashed with Hamas a year ago in Rafah, ending in Hamas killing 24 of its activists after the group declared an Islamic emirate in Gaza. This group was assisted by non-Palestinian Global Jihad activists; Jaish al-Momaminin (the army of the believers ); Al-Qaida Palestine, which took responsibility for the attack on the American school in Gaza; and Kataib al-Suyuf al-Haq al-Islamiyah (the brigades of the swords of Islamic justice ).
Global Jihad activists have come to the Gaza Strip, trained there, armed themselves and returned to Sinai to commit acts of terror against tourist targets in Sinai and elsewhere in Egypt. That may be the case this time as well.
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