In what could turn out to be a stunning development, Jordanian authorities have foiled an al Qaeda plot to attack the U.S. embassy and other targets in Amman with chemical weapons that apparently came from Syria:
On April 1, Jordanian officials announced the arrest of several terrorist suspects, saying they were still hunting for two cars filled with explosives.
Five days later, the State Department revealed that the attackers were linked to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian-based terrorist considered to be one of al-Qaida’s most dangerous. One of Zarqawi’s targets was the U.S. Embassy in Amman.
By Saturday morning European news services were quoting an unnamed Jordanian official, who revealed that the al-Qaida plotters planned to use weapons of mass destruction in the foiled attack.
“We found primary materials to make a chemical bomb which, if it had exploded, would have made nearly 20,000 deaths … in an area of one square kilometre,” the official told Agence France-Press.
Another operation planned by the network was to use “deadly gas against the US embassy and the prime minister’s office in Amman,” he added.
A car belonging to the al-Qaida plotters, containing a chemical bomb and poisonous gas, was intercepted. On April 1, Jordanian officials announced the arrest of several terrorist suspects, saying they were still hunting for two cars filled with explosives.
The obvious question is whether the chemical weapons originated in Iraq and, as many suspect, were shipped to Syria before the war began. If so, the next question is whether Saddam (or perhaps his henchmen) intended from the beginning to get the weapons into al Qaeda’s hands.
UPDATE by BIG TRUNK: Here’s the AP version of the story: “Officials: Attacks in Jordan averted.” (Courtesy of Petrified Truth.)