Chemical terrorist attack foiled

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Jordanian authorities believe the plot could have killed thousands, with the US embassy, the Jordanian Prime Minister’s office and the national intelligence headquarters prime targets.

The attack plan is believed to have been masterminded by senior al-Qaeda operative Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Palestinian with Jordanian citizenship who is wanted by US authorities for a series of deadly terrorist attacks in Iraq in recent months.

Details of the planned Amman assault came as Zarqawi issued a statement condemning John Howard, who made a lightning visit to Baghdad for Anzac Day.

After a series of arrests earlier this month, Jordanian officials now say the plan involved the use of truck bombs and an estimated 20 tonnes of explosives against key targets in Amman.

Jordan’s King Abdullah has described the plot as a “major, major operation” that would have “decapitated” the Government.

Six members of the network were arrested and four others killed in a series of raids, the last of which took place on April 20, according to Jordanian officials.