|Western embassies in Jordan close over security concerns
|Three Western embassies in Jordan have closed for security reasons "until further notice," warning of possible new attacks on Western targets in the kingdom. The Canadian and Australian embassies on Sunday followed Britain in announcing the closure of their missions in the Jordanian capital, Amman.
The move comes two months after bomb attacks claimed by Al-Qaeda against three luxury hotels in Amman killed 60 people along with the three bombers, and wounded another 100.
The Australian Embassy warned travelers of the threat of new attacks on Western targets in the kingdom. "Reports suggest terrorists may be in the final stages of planning attacks against Westerners and places frequented by Westerners in Jordan," the embassy said. "The Australian Embassy in Jordan will be closed until further notice due to the security situation."
An official from the Canadian Embassy in Jordan told AFP the embassy would remain closed "until further notice" due to security reasons.
Sources close to the embassies said the British mission had received a threatening e-mail on its Web site that it had handed to the Jordanian authorities.
The sources said no direct threats were received by the Australian or Canadian embassies.
Nasser Jawdeh, a spokesman for the Jordanian government, said the kingdom "is confident in the capacities of its securityservices which have studied the threat and evaluated it."
He reiterated the government's position following the British announcement.
"The security services believe that does not necessitate the closure of embassies, nevertheless we take any threat seriously, and that's why we have reinforced security around these embassies," he said.
The British Embassy in Jordan announced Saturday it would remain closed "until further notice" and warned of the threat of new attacks on Western targets in the kingdom.
The November 9 attacks were claimed by the Al-Qaeda in Iraq group of Jordanian-born Islamist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who has threatened new attacks on his homeland.
The Australian Embassy referred to a statement by Zarqawi, saying he had suggested "Al-Qaeda's targets in Jordan might include a number of places frequented by foreigners, including tourist hotels, embassies and consulates."
Zarqawi, in an audiotape attributed to him and posted on the Internet in November, warned of more attacks if Amman did not meet his demands.
The voice on the tape demanded the departure of British and U.S. troops, the closure of the American and Israeli embassies, and an end to training in Jordan for Iraq's fledgling security forces.
The Daily Star