Multiple sources are reporting that an al Qaeda-linked group has claimed responsibility for rocket attacks Friday that targeted but missed two U.S. military ships in the Jordanian Red Sea port of Aqaba. According to the reports, three rockets hit a warehouse and a hospital in Aqaba, killing a Jordanian soldier, and struck the nearby Israeli port city of Eilat.
A second Jordanian soldier was severely wounded, but no U.S. military personnel were reported injured.
According to the Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/Commander, U.S. 5th Fleet Public Affairs, no U.S. Sailors and Marines of USS Ashland (LSD 48) and USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) were injured in an apparent rocket attack that occurred while the ships were in the port of Aqaba, Jordan.
At approximately 8:44 a.m. local time, a suspected mortar rocket flew over Ashland's bow and impacted in a warehouse on the pier in the vicinity of Ashland and Kearsarge. The warehouse sustained an approximate 8 foot hole in the roof of the building.
A Jordanian official source stated the following:
Three katyusha rockets were fired about 8:30 am Friday, August 19, 2005, from a warehouse in Aqaba area where the first hit a warehouse for the Jordan Armed Forces in the port and resulted in martyring the Jordanian soldier Ahmad Jamal Najdawi and wounding another, and the second exploded near the military hospital where the third exploded in Eilat area in Israel.
First-hand investigations pointed that the warehouse was rented few days ago by four persons carrying the Iraqi and Egyptian nationalities.
The casualties reportedly occurred when one rocket flew over the bow of the USS Ashland and struck a warehouse used by the Jordanian military, officials said.
The 844-feet, 40,500-ton USS Kearsarge is staffed with nearly 2,000 Marines and more than 1,000 sailors. The 609-feet, 16,000-ton USS Ashland carries more than 400 Marines and more than 400 sailors.