Jordan disputes Khost bomber status

Jordan says bomber who killed CIA agents in Afghanistan was not double agent.

    A suicide bomber who attacked a US base in Afghanistan killing eight people last week was an informant and not a double CIA-Jordanian intelligence agent, as had been previously reported, a Jordanian official told Al Jazeera.

    Hammam Khalil al-Balawi, identified by Al Jazeera sources in Afghanistan on Tuesday, killed seven CIA employees and a Jordanian intelligence officer at a US base in Khost province on Wednesday last week.

    Al-Balawi allegedly attacked the base as an al-Qaeda operative, with US media and intelligence reports saying on Tuesday that he was a "double agent" working for Jordanian intelligence.

    Nisreen el-Shamayleh, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Amman, the Jordanian capital, said: "A Jordanian official told me that al-Balawi was an informant, and that he offered himself as an informant. He offered dangerous and important information which the authorities said they had to take seriously.

    "This was an indirect denial that al-Balawi was recruited by the Jordanian authorities or the CIA and was instead only a trusted source who went onto the base without inspection."

    "He only offered information to Jordanian authorities that the intelligence service said they had to take seriously like any other agency around the world."

    Meanwhile, al-Balawi's mother said that she had not heard from her son for the past ten months and had not known whether he was dead or alive.

    However, Shanara Fadel al-Balawi, 64, added that he was "never an extremist".

    Key asset

    Al-Balawi is thought to have been recruited by Jordanian intelligence to help track down Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qaeda's second-in-command, because of his connections with the group.

    He was previously imprisoned in Jordan and released after authorities failed to find enough evidence to inciminate him as an al-Qaeda operative.

    Al-Balawi is thought to have been recruited by Jordan intelligence to help fight al-Qaeda
    He assumed the online persona of Abu Dujana al-Khorasani, an outspoken opponent of US operations in Iraq and Afghanistan who was described as one of the top five jihadists on the web.

    He had apparently duped his employers into believing that the statements he had made in the past on websites about wanting to die as a martyr, were part of his cover.

    The US monitoring service SITE Intelligence said that al-Balawi was a prolific contributor to such websites, even after his release from custody when he was supposed to be working as a Jordanian agent.

    In a September 2009 posting on an al-Qaeda-linked website, he wrote: "If [a Muslim] dies in the cause of Allah, he will grant his words glory that will be permanent marks on the path to guide to jihad, with permission from Allah," according to Site.
    "If love of jihad enters a man's heart, it will not leave him even if he wants to do so. Indeed, what he sees of luxurious palaces will remind him of positions of the martyrs in the higher heaven."

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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