Aqaba rocket
Jordanian security inspecting the scene of a rocket strike in downtown Aqaba. Photo by AFP
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Jordan does not agree with the prime minister's version of the story, which blames Hamas for launching Grad-type Katyusha rockets at Aqaba and Eilat earlier this week.

A Jordanian political source told Haaretz yesterday that Jordan has exchanged intelligence with Egypt; the information Jordan now has suggests that it was not Hamas that fired the rockets, but a radical religious group that opposes the Palestinian Islamist group in charge of the Gaza Strip.

The assessment is that the group is Al-Tawhid wa al-Jihad, which collaborates with Sinai Bedouin who are at odds with the Egyptian authorities. The Jordanian source says Egypt is also not blaming Hamas but mentions "Palestinian factions" as responsible for the rocket attacks.

Hamas and Islamic Jihad have denied any link with the attacks.

In May, a group of Shi'ite separatists in Yemen sent Haaretz documents claiming that Sami al-Mutairi, a Kuwaiti citizen known as Abdullah al-Hajj, is in charge of Al-Qaida's activities against Israel from Palestinian territory. Mutairi was convicted of killing an American in Kuwait several years ago.

Mutairi, who was released from prison in 2007, sent to his supporters in the Gaza Strip a total of $850,000 through a Saudi citizen, Abdullah al-Dusri, who visited Gaza from Sinai carrying the money in a suitcase.

Mutairi gave orders to buy weapons in Sinai for militants in the Gaza Strip, and to purchase apartments in Khan Yunis and Rafah where the militants could hide.

The militant leader ordered his contacts in Gaza to hide the arms so they would not be confiscated by Hamas. One letter mentions that Al-Tawhid wa al-Jihad had already acquired 25 Grad-type Katyusha rockets, which it hid in plantations in Sinai and Gaza.

Egyptian authorities believe that the group is responsible for terrorist attacks in Sharm el-Sheikh in 2005 and Dahab in 2006, both in Sinai.

Hamas has also tried to counter groups like Al-Tawhid, and last year killed 20 members of Jund Ansar Allah in a mosque in Rafah. That group, with links to Al-Tawhid, had criticized Hamas for not turning up the heat in its fight against Israel.

Egypt initially denied that the rockets were fired from its territory but launched a large-scale operation to locate weapons in Sinai. The operation may prove difficult due to a lack of cooperation from Bedouin tribesmen who demand that the authorities release hundreds of their kinsmen arrested over the years without trial on suspicion of assisting radical groups.