| The USS Kearsarge leaves Aqaba in Jordan after the rocket attack. (Reuters)
Amman, Aug. 19 (Reuters): Rockets were fired at two US warships in Jordan’s Red Sea Aqaba port today, but missed their targets and killed a Jordanian soldier on land.
The three Katyusha missiles instead landed on a warehouse, a hospital and the neighbouring Israeli port of Eilat. A Jordanian security source said authorities were searching for three men after the attack, which was launched from an industrial warehouse area.
“We are searching for a Syrian and two Iraqis who are in Aqaba and used Kuwaiti (car) number plates,” the source said. Another source said the warehouse from which the rockets were launched had been leased a few days ago by three Iraqis and an Egyptian.
A group claiming links to al Qaida, the Abdullah al-Azzam Brigades of the al Qaida Organisation in the Levant and Egypt, said it had carried out the attack.
The statement could not be authenticated and was carried on an Islamist website not often used by other groups which say they are linked to Osama bin Laden’s network.
Jordanian security forces cordoned off Aqaba and its industrial zone, the sources said, but the port, a logistics hub for Iraq used by the US military, was operating normally.
The incident was the most serious attack on US targets in close ally Jordan since the killing of US diplomat Lawrence Foley in Amman in 2002.
Immediately after the attack, the two US amphibious assault ships weighed anchor and headed for the safety of open water. The US Fifth Fleet said one missile narrowly missed the USS Ashland.