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Jordan to Indict al-Zarqawi for Bombings

March 14, 2006

AMMAN, Jordan (AP) _ Jordan’s military prosecutor plans to indict al-Qaida in Iraq chief Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and 10 others for last year’s hotel bombings in the capital that killed dozens of people, according to court documents obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press.

The draft indictment said an Iraqi woman who tried to detonate explosives strapped to her body would be the only one of those indicted who will stand trial in Jordan’s military State Security Court. That woman has been identified as Sajida Mubarak al-Rishawi, 35.

The remaining 10 include Jordanian-born al-Zarqawi, another Jordanian male fugitive and five Iraqis, who also are on the run and include a second woman, according to the documents.

Charges are expected to be dropped against the three suicide bombers, including al-Rishawi’s husband.

The draft indictment will become formal once presented to the military tribunal that will try the case. Court officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case, said the military prosecutor is likely to present the indictment to the court within weeks.

No trial date has been set.

The 11 are charged with illegally possessing explosives and conspiring to commit terrorist attacks, which led to death of innocent civilians _ crimes that are punishable by death.

Al-Zarqawi has claimed responsibility for the Nov. 9 attacks against the Radisson, Grand Hyatt and Days Inn hotels in Amman that killed at least 60 people and the three bombers. Scores of people were injured.

The highest death toll occurred at the Radisson, where a suicide bomber detonated his belt of explosives at a wedding party, killing at least 30 people.

The bombings carried out by three Iraqis were the deadliest terror attacks in Jordan and shook the kingdom’s long-standing reputation for stability. Al-Zarqawi’s group vowed more strikes against Jordan, a staunch U.S. Arab ally and a peace partner with Israel.

Al-Rishawi made televised confessions four days after the blasts, detailing how she, her husband Ali Hussein Ali al-Shamari and two other Iraqi bombers _ identified as Rawad Jassem Mohammed Abed and Safaa Mohammed Ali _ planned the attacks.

Jordan has been the target of several al-Qaida terror plots because of its moderate stance and vocal criticism of extremist Muslim groups.

Jordanian government officials say al-Zarqawi holds a grudge against his native Jordan because he was jailed here in the 1990s.

Jordan’s military court has so far sentenced al-Zarqawi to death in absentia three times for his involvement in different terror plots against the country, including one which led to the killing of U.S. aid worker Laurence Foley, who was gunned down outside his Amman home in October 2002.

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