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A Jordanian prosecutor on Wednesday revealed a previously unannounced plot by three alleged militants to assassinate US President George W. Bush during his last visit to the kingdom.
The military prosecutor charged the three Jordanians, Nidhal Musleh al-Momani, Sattam al-Zawahrah and Tharwat Daraj, with plotting to carry out terrorist attacks and the illegal possession of explosives. The three also were planning to attack the American and Danish embassies in Amman, the prosecutor alleged during the opening day of the trial.
The Jordanian authorities arrested the three men on Nov. 28, one day before Bush's arrival in Amman for talks with King Abdullah II and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. The prosecutor told the court the defendants were found with homemade bombs made by filling large plastic bottles with gasoline.
According to the prosecution's case, the three men are friends who met in the northeastern city of Zarqa in October to plan their attacks. He described them as adherents of the Takfiri ideology, an extremist doctrine that regards even non-militant Muslims as infidels.
The prosecutor provided no additional details about the case and it was not immediately clear how far along or how sophisticated the alleged plot was. Military courts in Jordan prohibit news organizations from releasing the names of prosecutors for security reasons.
The defendants did not plea to the charges on Wednesday but were assigned a lawyer, Abdul Jabar Abu-Gollah. He could not be reached for more details. If convicted the three men could face the death penalty.
The hearing was adjourned until March 14.