11 Jordanian officials resign after bombings

Eleven top Jordanian officials, including the kingdom’s national security adviser, resigned today in the wake of last week’s triple hotel bombings, state-run TV announced.

King Abdullah II appointed Marouf al-Bakhit, Jordan’s ambassador to Israel, to replace outgoing security chief Saad Kheir, a former chief of Jordan’s intelligence department.

No details were given for the resignation of Kheir and 10 others, including Royal Court chief and former prime minister Faisal Fayez, one of the king’s closest confidants, and prominent religious advisers to Abdullah.

But a limited shake-up had been expected for some time.

Fayez was expected to be appointed speaker of the 40-member senate, a body appointed by the king that liaises with Jordan’s 110-member elected parliament.

Senate appointments were expected this week, according to Jordanian newspapers.

The TV announcement made no reference to last Wednesday’s attacks on three Amman hotels that killed 61 people and dented the reputation of the country’s revered security services.

But the bombings sparked national outrage and raised concerns over the handling of the country’s national security services.

There has also been criticism over how the four Iraqi cell members entered Jordan on Nov. 5 without being detected before carrying out their attacks.

Kheir co-ordinated between the king and different security apparatuses on national security issues such as counterterrorism, crime and border controls.

The bombings were claimed by al Qaida in Iraq, which is headed by Jordanian-born Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.


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