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Friday, November 03, 2006

Jordan charges Hamas-linked suspects with terror plots

AMMAN (AFP) - Jordan's military prosecutor has indicted three Jordanians suspected of being in the Islamist Palestinian Hamas movement of plotting terror attacks in the kingdom.

According to the charge sheet, a copy of which was obtained by AFP, the three suspects were charged with "conspiracy to carry out terrorist acts", and illegal possession of explosives and weapons.

They face the death penalty if convicted in their trial, a date for which has not yet been announced.

The three were arrested in April and May as part of a sweep that netted 20 people, and on May 11 confessed on state television that they had plotted to kill senior officials in Jordan's intelligence services.

At the time, Ayman Naji Hamadallah, a 34-year-old identified as the plot's mastermind, spoke of his links to Hamas and said he had staked out the home of an intelligence officer who was to be targeted.

Hamadallah, who said he made frequent trips to
Syria, said that after his arrest he tipped off the authorities about a weapons cache in northern Jordan.

Footage of the seized weapons, including Iranian-made Katyusha rockets, was also shown on television.

The other two suspects are Ahmad Abu Rabieh, 27, and Ahmed Abu Diab, 29, who has been described as a Muslim preacher from Mafraq, a border town with Syria.

Iran, Syria and Hamas have denied any involvement with the alleged plot, and Jordan has not accused Tehran or Damascus of implication.

But officials have said the suspects were members of Hamas who entered the country from Syria, and placed full responsibility on the Palestinian radical group for the attempts to destabilise Jordan.

Last month King Abdullah II pardonned 250 prisoners to mark the festival of Eid al-Fitr ending the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. Among them were eight detainees apparently involved in the case, official sources said.
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