-- Police detained several suspects Saturday as the search widened for the attackers who fired and supplied the rockets used in a failed strike on a U.S. Navy ship anchored at this Red Sea port.
The suspects arrested included Iraqis, Syrians, Egyptians and Jordanians, according to a Jordanian security official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment publicly. He declined to give the number of detainees.
Interior Minister Awni Yirfas said security forces had found the launcher used early Friday to fire the three Katyusha rockets.
Police found four more rockets, all defused, when they seized the launcher in a warehouse in an industrial zone on a hillside overlooking Aqaba, state TV reported Saturday.
The Gulf of Aqaba, a narrow northern extension of the Red Sea, is bordered by Egypt, Israel, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, with the frontiers of the four countries touching or within view of one another.
A further outbreak of terrorism in the region would be particularly worrisome for the United States, not only because of Navy targets in the area but also because Muslim extremists want to topple the governments in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan, all longtime U.S. allies. Egypt and Jordan have peace treaties with Israel.
The Abdullah Azzam Brigades -- a group linked to al Qaeda -- said in an Internet statement that its fighters had fired the rockets, bolstering concerns that Islamic extremists had opened a new front in the region. The brigades had earlier asserted responsibility for bombings that killed at least 64 people at Sharm el-Sheikh in July and 34 people at two other Egyptian resorts in October.
Authorities said the warehouse where the notoriously inaccurate rockets were launched Friday had been rented days before by four men carrying Iraqi and Egyptian identity papers.
The security official who disclosed Saturday's arrests said an Iraqi detainee was suspected of taking part in the attack, but he cautioned against assuming that the others arrested were involved in the same capacity.
A Jordanian soldier was killed and another wounded when one Katyusha rocket flew across the bow of the USS Ashland and hit a warehouse used by the Americans to store goods headed to Iraq.
Two rockets were fired toward Israel. One fell short and hit the wall of a Jordanian military hospital. The other landed in Israel close to the Eilat airport, lightly wounding a taxi driver.
Police said Saturday that they were searching for as many as six people -- Egyptians, Iraqis and one Syrian -- who escaped in a vehicle with Kuwaiti license plates.
Security was tightened nationwide, including in the capital, Amman, which has been the target of several failed al Qaeda plots. Police at roadblocks were stopping cars and checking identity papers. Pictures of suspects were distributed to border checkpoints.
The Navy decided to sail the USS Ashland and the USS Kearsarge out of Aqaba bay as a precaution. They had arrived earlier in the week for a military exercise with the Jordanian navy.