Alqaeda fires rockets from jordan hits israel
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U.S. Ships Escape Damage, Israel Hit in Jordan Rocket Attack
Aug 19 (Bloomberg) -- Rockets fired from Jordan landed near two U.S. warships killing a Jordanian soldier and striking a nearby Israeli town. The attack was claimed by an al-Qaeda group that said it bombed an Egyptian resort in the region on July 23.
Three Soviet-designed Katyusha rockets were used in the simultaneous assault on Jordan's Red Sea port of Aqaba and near an airport across the border in Israel that serves the town of Eilat, the Jordanian state-owned Petra news agency reported.
The soldier died and another was wounded when one of the rockets hit a Jordanian Armed Forces warehouse close to the U.S. naval vessels Ashland and Kearsarge, Petra said. No U.S. Marines or sailors were hurt and the ships pulled out to sea, U.S. Navy Fifth Fleet spokesman Lieutenant Commander Charlie Brown said by phone from Bahrain where the fleet is based.
A second rocket exploded near a military hospital, according to Petra. The rocket that targeted Eliat landed near an airport partly exploding and causing unspecified damage, an Israeli Defense Forces spokeswoman, who requested anonymity, said in a telephone interview from Jerusalem.
The al-Qaeda Organization in the Levant and Egypt claimed responsibility for the blasts in a statement posted on the Internet that warned of further attacks. The same group claimed the July 23 bombings in the Egyptian resort of Sharm al-Sheikh that killed 88 people, and the October 2004 bombings in Taba, another resort, in which 34 people died.
The last reported al-Qaeda linked attack on an American vessel in the region was in October 2000, when two suicide bombers crashed a launch boat laden with explosives into the USS Cole as it was refueling in Yemen. Seventeen people died and 39 others were wounded.
The Kearsarge, an assault ship, is the largest of all amphibious warfare vessels and resembles a small aircraft carrier, according to the Navy Web site. The USS Ashland, a dock landing ship, transports, embarks and lands Marines.
All three of the rockets were launched from a warehouse in Aqaba at about 8:30 a.m. local time that had recently been rented by four people carrying Iraqi and Egyptian passports, according to Petra.
The rocket which hit the Jordanian military warehouse ``flew over the bow of USS Ashland,'' Brown said, adding that the shrapnel was contained inside the building minimizing damage.
Aqaba and Eilat, about 9 miles (15 kilometers) apart at the northern end of the Red Sea, are popular with European tourists.
Last Updated: August 19, 2005 12:02 EDT