US Embassy in Jordan warns of 'possible imminent threat' in port city of Aqaba

AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — The U.S. embassies in Jordan and Israel warned Americans Wednesday of a "possible imminent threat" in the Red Sea port of Aqaba and recommended avoiding the Jordanian resort city for the next 48 hours.

However, Jordan tried to dampen fears of a terrorist threat, saying its own assessment differed.

In Washington, two U.S. officials said the warning was issued after getting credible intelligence from the Israelis about a possible imminent attack.

But the officials said the threat has since passed and that the embassy in Amman will be putting out a revised statement soon. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about intelligence matters.

In Jordan, an Amman-based Western diplomat confirmed that the warning was prompted by Israeli intelligence about a possible rocket attack on Aqaba.

The diplomat said he had no other details and spoke on condition of anonymity, citing the sensitivity of intelligence information.

Last month, a rocket struck the center of Aqaba — the second such attack in months — killing one Jordanian and wounding four. Egypt admitted that the rocket was fired from its Sinai Peninsula.

Hours after the U.S. warden message, Jordanian Information Minister Ali Ayed said the security situation in the kingdom was "stable."

He said there was "no threat on the national level, including Aqaba," one of Jordan's main tourist destinations.

In its warden message, the U.S. Embassy in Jordan said it received "credible information" of a potential terrorist attack in the Gulf of Aqaba region. It provided no details.

It recommended Americans delay all nonofficial and personal travel to Aqaba for "at least the next 48 hours."

It also urged Americans living in Aqaba to avoid the downtown and port areas.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv drew attention to the warning issued in Jordan.

"The U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv reminds U.S. citizens in Israel to be aware of security risks and to follow the advice of the Government of Israel's office of Homefront Command," it said in a separate warden message also posted on the Internet.

____

Associated Press Writers Mathhew Lee in Washington and Dale Gavlak in Amman contributed to this report.

_____

On the Net: Warden messages

US Embassy in Jordan: http://jordan.usembassy.gov/acs_wmsg_091510.html

US Embassy in Israel: http://telaviv.usembassy.gov/Warden_Message/September15,2010.aspx