Two rockets strike Jordan near Israeli border

Thursday 22 April 2010 16.14
Jordan - Explosion at port
Jordan - Explosion at port

Authorities are investigating the source of two rockets which struck in and near Jordan's port of Aqaba early this morning.

One rocket landed and exploded in a warehouse and the other splashed into the Red Sea. No injuries were caused.

A Jordanian security official said preliminary investigations determined that an explosion in the port of Aqaba was due to a Katyusha rocket.

A second military-grade rocket was found in Jordanian territorial waters of the Red Sea.

Jordan Prime Minister Samir Rifai said he is '100% sure' that the Katyusha-type rocket that damaged the warehouse 'was not fired from its territory'.

Israeli media had reported that a Katyusha rocket splashed into the Red Sea off the Israeli resort of Eilat, less than 10km from Aqaba, and that another had exploded on the outskirts of the Jordanian port.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said the incident and the source of the launch was under investigation.

Channel 10 initially said the rockets were fired from Jordan but later said it was also possible they were launched from Egypt's Sinai peninsula.

Egyptian security officials denied that any rockets had been fired from the Sinai peninsula, a rugged territory that borders southern Israel and Hamas-ruled Gaza.

The Sinai was the site of a wave of attacks on tourists between 2004 and 2006 that killed more than 100 people, and last week hundreds of Israelis rushed home from there after an Israeli security alert.

The travel warning concerned an alleged plot to kidnap Israeli tourists.

Aqaba and Eilat are the neighbouring Red Sea ports of Jordan and Israel, which signed a peace agreement in October 1994 after decades of strained ties and conflict.

The two ports are nestled in the Gulf of Aqaba, a narrow stretch of water bordered on one side by Egypt's Sinai Peninsula and the other by Saudi Arabia.