AMMAN, Jordan (AP) – Suicide bombers attacked three hotels frequented by Westerners in the Jordanian capital last night, and at least 57 people were killed and more than 120 wounded in the near-simultaneous explosions, police said.
Maj. Bashir al-Da’aja said officials believe all three blasts were carried out by suicide bombers. The explosions indicated the involvement of al-Qaida, which has launched coordinated attacks on high-profile, Western targets in the past, a police official said.
One explosion occurred in a wedding hall where 300 guests were celebrating. Black smoke rose into the night and wounded stumbled out of the hotels.
A U.S. counterterrorism official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said no one has claimed responsibility for the attacks.
However, the official said, the strong suspicion is that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian-born leader of the al-Qaida in Iraq terrorist group, was involved because of his known animosity for Jordan and the fact that suicide bombers were involved, one of his hallmarks.
The first blast was reported at about 8:50 p.m. at the luxury Grand Hyatt hotel, popular with tourists and diplomats, and completely shattered its stone entrance.