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Homeland Security


Jordan Televises Bomber Confession

13 November 2005

Jordan has broadcast the confession of a woman who authorities say was a fourth would-be suicide bomber in the attacks on three international hotels Wednesday in Amman. The deputy prime minister says the attacker in custody is the wife of one of the other bombers.

Jordanian Deputy Prime Minister Marwan Muasher says the woman authorities arrested was supposed to be the fourth suicide bomber, although he did not say where, when or how they caught up with her.

He says the woman's husband blew himself up at the Radisson hotel in the middle of a wedding party, and she was supposed to do the same, but her explosive belt failed to detonate. After his announcement, Jordanian state TV broadcast a brief videotaped confession by the woman, identified as Sajida Mubarak Atrous Al-Rishawi.

She appeared calm, wearing a white headscarf and a black abaya, or robe, as she explained how her husband had outfitted her with the suicide belt.

She says, "There were two explosive belts. He put one on me, and he wore one. He taught me how to use it." The woman says she and her husband went to the hotel by car. She uses the word "execute" to describe triggering the explosives.

She says, "My husband and I entered the hotel. He took a corner, and I took a corner. The hotel had a wedding party, children, women and men. My husband executed," she says. "I tried to execute. It did not explode." She then says she ran out of the hotel alongside panicked guests.

Jordanian television also showed the explosive belt itself, wrapped around a woman's waist. The deputy prime minister said the couple dressed like wedding guests, indicating that they knew they would be attacking a wedding party.

Mr. Muasher displayed photographs of the suicide belt that Mrs. Rishawi wore, which was filled with ball-bearings to produce shrapnel. "As you can see, an enlarged picture here also shows the metal balls that were also attached to the belt, so that they can inflict the largest number of casualties," said Mr. Muasher.

Mr. Muasher said the suicide vest was found with her. He said she is the sister of a slain al-Qaida militant from Anbar province in Iraq. Mr. Muasher said her brother, who was killed in the Iraqi city of Fallujah, was once the right-hand man of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, whose terrorist group, al-Qaida in Iraq, has claimed responsibility for the hotel bombings.

Her husband, the bomber who died at the Radisson, was identified as Ali Hussein al-Shimeri. The other two attackers were named as Safar Mohammed Ali and Rawadd Jasim Mohammed Abid.

He says all of them were Iraqi nationals. The attacks on the Radisson, Grand Hyatt, and Days Inn hotels killed 57 people, and sparked outraged protests on the streets of Jordan.

The televised confession comes amid reports that some Jordanians were doubting that Mr. Zarqawi's group had really carried out the attacks, preferring to blame Israel instead. Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi was born in Jordan and has been sentenced to death in absentia for the 2002 assassination of a U.S. diplomat in Amman.

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