WASHINGTON – Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the bombings Wednesday at three hotels in Jordan are fresh evidence of the challenge facing the U.S. and its allies in the fight against terrorism.
"It again shows that people will take innocent life without any remorse," Rice said during a photo session with Jan Eliasson, president of the U.N. General Assembly.
Homicide bombers attacked three hotels frequented by Westerners in the Jordanian capital in nearly simultaneous explosions. Immediate suspicion fell on Al Qaeda, which has undertaken coordinated attacks on high-profile, Western targets in the past.
White House press secretary Scott McClellan said the United States will do whatever it can to help pursue those responsible.
"The president condemns in the strongest possible terms the vicious terrorist attacks against innocent civilians," McClellan said in a statement issued just over three hours after the bombings.
There was no immediate information about any American casualties, according to the State Department. Pentagon officials said they had no indication that any Defense Department employees were killed or injured.
The bombs exploded in Amman about 45 minutes before Bush held a ceremony to honor 14 recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Shortly after the ceremony, Bush was briefed on the attacks by Andrew Card, the White House chief of staff, and J.D. Crouch, his deputy national security adviser.
Bush issued condolences to the people of Jordan and King Abdullah, one of his strongest allies in the Middle East.
"Jordan is a close friend of the United States, and we will offer every possible form of cooperation in investigating these attacks and assisting in efforts to bring these terrorists to justice," McClellan said.