JERUSALEM – Two high-ranking Palestinian security officials killed this week in the hotel bombings in Jordan had just concluded a meeting about al-Qaida with security officers from Saudi Arabia and Jordan, WND has learned.
About 15 minutes before the blast, the Saudi and Jordanian security officers departed the hotel, according to sources close to the Palestinian Authority.
Maj. Gen. Bashir Nafeh, head of PA military intelligence in the West Bank, and Col. Abed Allun, a high-ranking Palestinian Preventive Security forces official, were killed in the suicide attack at Amman’s Grand Hyatt Hotel Wednesday night. Two other U.S. owned hotels – the Radisson and Days Inn – also were hit in nearly simultaneous blasts.
A source close to the PA told WND the two officials were meeting in a hotel suite with the Saudi and Jordanian security officials about coordinating joint security measures. At the top of the meeting’s agenda, the source said, was al-Qaida’s regional infiltration.
“The meeting ended less than 20 minutes before the suicide bombers struck the Hyatt. Unfortunately, the Palestinians stayed at the hotel, while the other officials departed,” he said.
A PA official said he does not believe either the Jordanian or Saudi security officers were tipped off about the bombing.
“It was just one of those coincidences you hear about with these attacks,” the official told WND.
Also killed in the Hyatt bombing were Jihad Fatouh, the commercial attache at the Palestinian Embassy in Cairo, and Mosab Khorma, deputy chairman of Cairo-Amman Bank in the West Bank and Gaza.
The reports come as a group claiming to speak for al-Qaida in Iraq announced in an Internet statement today the attacks that killed at least 57 people were carried out by three Iraqi men and one of their wives.
“A group of martyrdom-seekers carried out the planning and implementation. They comprised three men and a woman who decided to accompany her husband on the path to martyrdom,” said the statement posted on a site often used by al Qaida in Iraq.
“It was agreed to use suicide belts for precision and to cause maximum damage,” the statement continued.
It said the bombers were all Iraqis and gave their names.
Yesterday, al-Qaida’s Iraq terror network led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi claimed responsibility for the attacks, saying the hotels were used by “American and Israeli spies.”
The claims’ authenticity could not be verified, but senior security officials tell WND the attack bears all the hallmarks of an al-Zarqawi-led offensive.