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Israeli Diplomats Targeted in Failed Attack in Jordan

  • Robert Berger

Israeli and Jordanian authorities are investigating a failed attack in Jordan that targeted Israeli diplomats.

A convoy of Israeli diplomats was driving on a desert road in Jordan on their way home for the weekend when a roadside bomb exploded. No one was hurt, but the incident exposed a serious security breach. Israeli diplomats usually travel under tight security in Jordan and use different routes and departure times, but whoever set off the remote control bomb was able to track their movements.

Jordanian media said a "professional terror cell" was behind the attack, possibly a Palestinian group or al-Qaida. One newspaper said the bombing was a message that Islamic militant groups are capable of infiltrating Jordan's security establishment and hitting strategic assets.

Former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said Israeli diplomats are on the front lines of the terror threat.

Livni told Israel Radio that the attack shows there are terrorist elements in Jordan that want "to attack the official symbols of the State of Israel and harm the strategic ties" between the two countries.

There is close security cooperation between the two Middle East neighbors, but there is also growing anti-Israel sentiment in Jordan since the Gaza War a year ago. The peace process is stalled and polls show that most Jordanians now oppose the peace treaty with Israel signed in 1994.

Livni says Israeli diplomats in Arab countries face a dilemma.

She said Israel wants to demonstrate a presence but diplomats also need to protect themselves and their families. She said a delicate balance can usually be found by stepping up security.

Jordan is concerned about such attacks because militant groups targeting Israel can also destabilize the Jordanian regime. In 2005, al-Qaida claimed responsibility for a triple bombing at luxury hotels in the Jordanian capital Amman that left 60 people dead.