AMMAN, Jordan – Al Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and seven other people were indicted Tuesday in Jordan's worst-ever terror bombing, the near-simultaneous attacks at three Amman hotels in November.
Among those indicted by Jordan's military prosecutor was Sajida Mubarak al-Rishawi, a woman who was meant to be one of four Iraqi bombers but fled when her explosives belt failed to detonate.
Al-Rishawi is the only one of the eight indicted people who is in custody. She will stand trial before Jordan's military State Security Court, the 13-page indictment said.
Al Qaeda in Iraq claimed responsibility for the Nov. 9 attacks, in which homicide attackers detonated their bombs in the three hotels, killing at least 60 people. Al-Zarqawi's group vowed more strikes against Jordan, a staunch U.S. ally that signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1994 and has been the target of several Al Qaeda terror plots because of its moderate stance and vocal criticism of extremist Muslim groups.
Al-Rishawi, 35, fled the Radisson Hotel after her husband set off his explosives and she was soon captured. Four days later, she made televised confessions detailing how she, her husband and the two other Iraqi bombers planned their attacks.
No date has been set for her trial to be held in the State Court, which tries cases considered a threat to national security.
The eight people indicted Tuesday are charged with illegally possessing explosives and conspiring to commit terrorist attacks that led to the death of innocent civilians; crimes punishable by death.
They include a Jordanian man who is a fugitive and five Iraqis, including a second Iraqi woman.
The three suicide bombers who died in the blasts were indicted in a draft of the charges but dropped from the final indictment.
The State Security Court already has sentenced al-Zarqawi to death in absentia three times for his involvement in terror plots against his native country, including one that led to the killing of U.S. aid official Laurence Foley, who was gunned down outside his Amman home in October 2002.
The same court Tuesday also convicted seven militants in a separate case for sending fighters through Syria to Iraq and plotting to carry out suicide bombings against U.S. and Iraqi forces there.
It was unclear if the defendants had links to al-Zarqawi.
The plot leader, a 27-year-old Palestinian, and five others were sentenced to five years in prison, though the judge immediately reduced the sentences to three or four years.
The seventh suspect was initially sentenced to more than three years in jail, which was quickly commuted to 20 months.