Jordanian national killed in multiple militant rocket strike

Jordanian national killed in multiple militant rocket strike
# 02 August 2010 19:51 (UTC +04:00)
Baku – APA. Israel has accused Muslim extremists of trying to derail proposed peace talks with the Palestinian leadership after a Jordanian national was killed in a multiple rocket strike near a resort popular with Western tourists, APA reports quoting “Telegraph”.
An unidentified militant group launched a barrage of short-range rockets in the direction of the Israeli resort city of Eilat on Monday morning. But one of the missiles, believed to be a Graduate-type Katyusha, detonated near the Intercontinental Hotel in the Jordanian city of Aqaba, on the other side of the bay.
The hotel was undamaged but three men travelling in a taxi nearby were wounded, while a fourth, who was in the same vehicle, later died of his injuries. All of the victims were Jordanian.
Both Aqaba and Eilat are popular with Israeli and Western tourists drawn by the snorkelling and diving opportunities afforded by the Red Sea.
Four other rockets were fired, three of which landed in the sea, while the other detonated harmlessly on open ground on the outskirts of Eilat.
No group claimed responsibility for the attack, which mirrored an earlier strike in April when another stray rocket aimed at Eilat landed in Aqaba. It caused no injuries.
Shimon Peres, the Israeli president, said the attack appeared to be aimed at disrupting the possible resumption of direct peace talks between the Israeli and Palestinian leaderships for the first time in over 18 months.
“There is a real struggle in the Middle East between the peace camp of moderate countries and the camp of extremists, who want to sabotage any chance of peace,” Peres said.
Last week, Arab foreign ministers gave their endorsement to the concept of direct talks, raising hopes of a breakthrough.
But over the weekend, militants in Gaza fired a rocket into a suburb of the Israeli city of Ashqelon, the first such attack in over a year, prompting Israeli air strikes that killed a Hamas commander.
The attack on Ashqelon is thought to have been carried out by one of the smaller, more militant groups in Gaza, rather than by Hamas, which has largely observed a ceasefire since the end of Israel’s military offensive in the territory in January last year.
Yesterday’s rocket barrage is thought to have been launched from Egypt’s Sinai peninsula, according to Israeli and Jordanian officials. Neither Hamas, nor Hizbollah, the Islamist group based in southern Lebanon, are thought to be the most likely culprits, with suspicion instead falling on more extremist groups linked to al-Qaeda or Islamic Jihad.
Egypt denied the attack had been launched from its territory.