Blast near Israeli convoy in Jordan

Explosion near diplomats' car on bridge linking Jordan and occupied West Bank.

    There is little Israeli popularity among
    the public in Jordan [AFP]

    "While cars, including two Israeli Embassy cars, were travelling near the town of Naur on the road between Amman and the Jordan Valley a bomb exploded without causing casualties or damage," Nabil Sharif, the information minister, said.

    "The cars were not damaged by the blast."

    Jordanian officials said that they were investigating the incident.

    Neighbourly relations

    Al Jazeera's Nisreen al-Shamyleh, reporting from the site of the attacks, said: "This took place near the King Hussein Bridge, also called Allenby in Israel, on the Jordanian side.

    "Right now security is heavy in this area.

    "Security personnel and police are on the road trying to identify the explosive material. There is some damage to the road."

    Al-Shamyleh said it could have implications for relations between the two nations if it was found that the Israeli convoy was the target of the attack.

    "What it means is diplomats are being watched. People know their movements and to a certain extent know how to target them. So it has implications for Israeli diplomats' safety," she said.

    Al-Shamyleh added that it was unknown what kind of explosives or bomb was used as yet.

    Palestinian sympathy

    Jordan signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1994 - the second Arab state to do so after Egypt.

    However, the treaty is widely rejected by the Jordanian population. Up to 60 per cent of Jordan's population is of Palestinian origin.

    Jacky Rowland, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Jerusalem, said: "Relations have been cool at best, hostile at worst since the peace treaty was signed just over 15 years ago.

    "Obviously there is a lot of sympathy and empathy in Jordan with the Palestinian people in the occupied territories.

    "I think the point at which relations really started to cool was as people in Jordan really saw that no progress was being made in efforts to have a peace treaty between Israel and Palestinians.

    "Then, relations hit an all-time low with the Israeli crackdown on the Palestinian uprising which began in 2000, and since then the Israeli seige on Gaza and the war on Gaza just over year ago.

    "In a recent opinion poll in Jordan not a single person interviewed gave Israel a favourable rating or said they were willing to accept Israel or engage with it in any way."

    The Allenby/King Hussein Bridge is 50km west of Amman.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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