Jordan said Monday that it would spend $85 million to improve security at its border with Iraq, announcing the plan 11 days after a Katyusha rocket allegedly smuggled into the country from Iraq narrowly missed a U.S. Navy ship in a Jordanian port.
Jordan also said authorities at the border crossing with Iraq were working at 10 times capacity, checking 1,500 vehicles and 5,000 passengers from Iraq daily.
Eleven days ago, the rocket missed the Navy ship in the Red Sea port of Aqaba. A Jordanian soldier was killed when the rocket slammed into a nearby warehouse.
A second rocket exploded near a Jordanian hospital, and a third slammed into a taxi outside the Eilat airport in neighboring Israel but did not explode. The driver was wounded.
Jordanian officials have said that three Al Qaeda terrorists smuggled seven Katyusha rockets into the kingdom in the modified gasoline tank of a Mercedes-Benz sedan.
Four rockets were later found in the warehouse from which the attack was launched.
Deputy Prime Minister Marwan Muasher, who is also the government spokesman, said computers at the Karama crossing would be linked to a central system to monitor travelers entering and leaving the country.
He also said detection equipment was being upgraded to carry out thorough searches of vehicles.
After the Aqaba rocket attack, Jordanian police arrested Mohammed Hassan Abdullah Sihly, a Syrian citizen who lives in Amman, the capital. Three others, including Sihly’s two sons and the alleged Iraqi leader of the group, Mohammed Hamid Hussein, are believed to have fled to Iraq.