Aqaba -- Terrorists fired a pair of Katyusah missiles at US Navy Warships docked at the Red Sea resort of Aqaba, but missed. "My God," said Lieutenant Commander Gilligan Giles, "The USS Ashland is a sitting duck! We're bigger than a city block!. How could anyone possibly miss? Jordan, which quickly rounded up the renegade rocketeers, reportedly sent them home to Iraq for additional target practice after giving them a stern warning about pissing off the U.S. Navy.
Two additional rockets were shot toward nearby Israel, again, hitting nothing but dirt. "I don't know where they got their fire-control guys," said Jordan's minister for homeland security, "Next to the rocket bases we found a pair of white canes and sunglasses."
An al-Qaeda group that previously claimed responsibility for terrorist bombings in three Egyptian resorts said it staged the Aqaba attack. Then again, more than a dozen other groups claimed responsibility for the attack as well, including the Jordanian Almond Growers association, which is currently in dispute with American theater owners over the thickness of the chocolate and candy coating on their confection.
According to the Al-Quaida group's communique, "Your aggressive young men have Playstations and X-boxes with which to relieve their pent up frustration. All we have is these obsolete Katusya missiles, left over from the Crimean war. Their accuracy is no better than a potato cannon. We had hoped by targeting the largest boats in the harbor we might at least get a near-miss."
One rocket reportedly sailed over the bow of the USS Ashland, said Lieutenant Commander Charlie Brown, a spokesman for the US 5th Fleet in Bahrain.
The missile hit a nearby Jordanian military warehouse that US forces use to store liquor and Kevlar vests bound for Iraq, Jordanian officials said. The blast killed one Jordanian soldier and wounded another, the state Petra news agency reported. No Americans were injured.
Brown said the Ashland had docked on August 13 with the helicopter carrier USS Kearsarge at Aqaba's port, south of the city, for joint exercises with Jordan's military. Rolling contests, "largest torpoedo," and best improvised bong are some of the exercises planned.
The Bush administration laughed off the attack, but said it would invade Iran anyway. "We've got to give these guys credit for trying," said White House Spokesperson Scott McClellan. "It's kinda like the last great act of defiance cartoon, where the mouse flips off the Eagle. We're the Eagle."
All three rockets fired yesterday appeared to have been fired from a treehouse in the hills on Aqaba's northern edge, about eight kilometres from the port, said a Jordanian intelligence official who showed journalists the site. A single round from the Ashland's cannons would have leveled it.
Aqaba, at the northern end of the Red Sea, is Jordan's only sea port. The Israeli city of Eilat, which also got missed, is about 15km (9 miles) away. Why the US Navy is harboring ships there is anyone's guess, aside from America's apparently insatiable appetite to get involved in MIddle Eastern Conflicts.