AMMAN (AP)-[off the wire, no link]-Investigators were looking into a possible al-Qaida role in a rocket attack that barely missed U.S. warships docked in Aqaba port as police made more arrests, security officials said Monday.
Police are hunting for a group of two Syrians, two Iraqis and possibly other nationalities - including Egyptians and a Jordanian - believed to be the prime suspects in Friday's attack, said one official.
Authorities made more arrests Sunday and Monday after an initial roundup of suspects for questioning immediately after the attack, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to speak to the press.
Investigations appear to be pointing to al-Qaida involvement, the official said. He declined to elaborate.
He refused to give the number of arrests but said the new group involved similar nationalities as the first, including Iraqis, Egyptians, Syrians and Jordanians.
So far none of those arrested appear to be among the group of prime suspects. Some of those initially detained have been released, the official said.
"Progress is being made in the interrogation process," Interior Minister Awni Yirfas said Monday. He said authorities were questioning suspects, but he wouldn't provide details, saying it could harm the investigation.
On Friday, assailants fired three rockets from a seaview window at a warehouse in a poor industrial area in Aqaba, usually a quiet Red Sea resort and an attraction to Western and Israeli tourists. The warehouse was rented to four Egyptians and Iraqis early last week.
One rocket narrowly missed two U.S. Naval ships docked in Aqaba port for joint exercises with the Jordanian military. The second rocket landed outside an airport in neighboring Israel, but didn't explode.
One Jordanian soldier died in the attack, the most serious threat against the U.S. navy since the 2000 al-Qaida bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen.
It was also the first attack targeting U.S. personnel in Jordan since the October 2002 slaying of U.S. aid worker Laurence Foley outside his Amman home - which was blamed on Iraq's al-Qaida point man, Jordanian-born Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
An al-Qaida group, called the Abdullah Azzam Brigades, claimed responsibility for Friday's rocket attack, saying it mainly targeted the U.S. warships.
The U.S. is being kept abreast of developments in the investigation, another security official said, also insisting on anonymity. He stressed that Jordanian investigators have the "leading role" in the probe - a clear suggestion that the U.S. was also taking part. But the official refused to comment further.
The U.S. Embassy in Amman also declined comment.
Hours after the rocket attack, the embassy issued a warden message warning U.S. government personnel against traveling to Aqaba and other U.S. citizens to "exercise caution."
Yirfas, the Jordanian interior minister, called the warden message "unnecessary," saying life in Aqaba was "normal" and "the security situation is under control."
Copyright © 2005 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.(AP-DJ)--08-22-05 1016EDT