Amman Radisson Targeted in Foiled Millennium Attack

ByABC News

Nov. 9, 2005 — -- One of the three hotels bombed today in the Jordanian capital of Amman was targeted five years ago in a thwarted terror plot, ABC News learned at the time.

Three bombs were detonated today at the Radisson, Grand Hyatt and Days Inn hotels in Amman, leaving at least 18 people dead. Authorities believed suicide bombers were responsible.

U.S. and Jordanian intelligence sources told ABC News the plotters planned to place a bomb at the Radisson Hotel on Dec. 31, 1999, which was filled with American and Western tourists celebrating start of the new millennium.

Investigators in Jordan said they found thousands of pounds of chemicals used to make explosives and radio-controlled detonators.

According to the plan, teams of men with machine guns were supposed to attack Christian religious services in a church at Mount Nebo, where Moses is said to have been buried and at the site where the Bible says Jesus was baptized.

If any of the attackers survived, they were to machine-gun tour buses at an Israeli border crossing. The 13 suspected gunmen and bombers were picked up as they arrived at the airport in Amman on Dec. 5, 1999.

Khalil Deek -- a naturalized American citizen -- was arrested days later in Pakistan, charged with providing the team with bomb-making instructions. The FBI believes the man behind the plan was fugitive al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

Deek admitted in a Jordanian courtroom that he received military training in Afghanistan, where bin Laden once maintained his camps and said that he once shared a bank account with a man U.S. investigators say was bin Laden's chief of military operations. Intelligence sources said that Deek's home in Peshawar, Pakistan, was a way station for recruits going to and from bin Laden's camps.

National security officials believe bin Laden planned two separate New Year's Eve attacks -- one possibly in Seattle and this plot in Jordan, both foiled through a combination of good intelligence and good luck.

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