AMMAN, Jordan (AP) – The U.S. military announced Monday it arrested and later released an Iraqi whose name matches that of one of the Ammam hotel suicide bombers, saying there was no “compelling evidence” that he posed a security threat.
The American military command could not confirm if the man it arrested last year, identified as Safaa Mohammed Ali, was among the three al-Qaida in Iraq militants who carried out the attacks Wednesday on the Radisson SAS, Grand Hyatt and Days Inn hotels. The blasts killed 57 other people.
The statement came as Jordanians – from the groom whose bombed wedding turned into a nightmare to local shopkeepers – voiced anger and joy at the capture and riveting televised confession of a would-be fourth Iraqi bomber, wife of one of the suicide attackers.
Many even doubted Sajida Mubarak Atrous al-Rishawi, 35, had anything to do with bombing the Radisson wedding party, saying her version of events contradicted accounts given by Jordanian authorities.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met Jordan’s King Abdullah to offer condolences over the attacks, which killed three Americans.
“There is no justification for the wanton killing of innocents, and we stand in solidarity with the people of Jordan, the people around the world who have suffered similar tragedies, and we will stand firm,” Rice said during a tour of the Radisson.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas also visited the Radisson, where he said the suicide bombers “deserve all of God’s wrath.”
The questioning of al-Rishawi was going slowly, apparently because she was suffering from the shock of the attacks and her arrest, a security official said.
But police believe al-Rishawi, from the volatile western Iraqi city of Ramadi, may provide vital clues to al-Qaida in Iraq and possibly the whereabouts of its fugitive Jordanian-born leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
Jordanian officials say al-Rishawi has provided no motive for her involvement. She said in her televised confession that her husband brought her to Jordan and equipped her with a 22-pound explosives belt.