Terrorists Target Israeli Convoy in Jordan

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JERUSALEM, Israel - Security officials said faulty timing of a remotely detonated roadside bomb saved the lives of Israeli passengers in a diplomatic convoy en route to Israel from the embassy in Amman.

At approximately 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, terrorists detonated a massive bomb as the two-car convoy, carrying four Israeli diplomats and two security guards, passed a village along the winding road some 13 miles from the Allenby Bridge. Ambassador Danny Nevo was not traveling with the convoy.

Jordanian authorities said they're questioning a taxi driver in connection with the botched attempt, which left a three-foot deep crater at the side of the road and damaged the guard rail. There were no injuries or damage to the convoy.

"An explosive device exploded on the side of the road leading to the Jordan Valley. This happened as some civilian vehicles were passing by, including two Israeli diplomatic cars," Jordanian Information Minister Nabil Sharif said. "There were no injuries, and authorities have launched an investigation," he said.

Israeli diplomats in Jordan, who are subject to continuous terror threats, do not leave the embassy grounds without security forces.

While no group has claimed responsibility for the attack, its style is typical of the Lebanese-based Hezbollah terror organization. It is the first time a roadside bomb has been used in Jordan in place of suicide bombings or drive-by shootings.

As the second anniversary of the February 2007 assassination of senior Hezbollah commander Imad Mughniyeh approaches, Israeli security officials are on high alert.

Though Mughniyeh's widow claimed Syria masterminded the bombing that killed her husband, Hezbollah blamed Israel, promising to avenge his death on Jewish and Israeli targets inside Israel and worldwide.

Thursday's botched attack in Jordan will no doubt heighten security precautions for Israeli diplomats traveling to and from the embassy in Amman.

Security officials from both countries usually accompany Israeli convoys, which vary their routes and departure times to help avoid such attacks.

"It's important to change the routine, change the travel routes and the vehicles in which one travels," Danny Yatom, former head of Mossad, told Army Radio.

"This is the responsibility of the Foreign Ministry's defense establishment, under the guidance of the Shin Bet [Israel Security Agency]," he said.

"This activity is very complex because everyone knows exactly where the embassy is located," Yatom said.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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