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Al-Qaida Claims Responsibility for Jordan Bombings

Al-Qaida has claimed responsibility for the suicide bombings of three hotels in Amman, Jordan, which killed at least 56 people and wounded more than 100.

The group linked to Jordanian terror mastermind Abu Musab al-Zarqawi says it carried out the bomb attacks on the Grand Hyatt, Radisson and Days Inn hotels in Amman.

His group, al-Qaida in Iraq, issued a statement on the Internet saying the targets were studied and chosen because they are - in the words of the statement - "a backyard garden for the enemies of the religion, Jews and Crusaders … a filthy place for traitors… and a center for prostitution."

Jordanian authorities say two of the attackers used suicide vests or concealed bombs, while the third hotel was attacked with a car bomb. They say they are hunting for suspects connected to the attacks, and following several leads. Jordan's borders were reopened Thursday amid heightened security. They had been closed off immediately after the attacks.

Jordanian officials say a number of foreigners are among the dead, but most of the casualties are Jordanian.

The blast at the Swedish-owned Radisson hit a wedding party. Reports from Amman say the father of the bride and the father of the groom were both killed, and many other members of both families were seriously injured.

Two senior Palestinian security officials are among the dead, including the Palestinian military intelligence chief. Beijing says three Chinese students were killed.

Security sources had named Abu Musab al-Zarqawi as the key suspect in the attack even before his group claimed responsibility. The Jordanian-born militant has been blamed for many of the most deadly suicide attacks in neighboring Iraq, and suicide bombings are seen as his hallmark. A Jordanian court sentenced him to death in absentia for the 2002 killing of a U.S. diplomat in Amman.

Al-Qaida in Iraq also claimed credit for a rocket attack in the Red Sea port of Aqaba in August that killed a Jordanian soldier.

Jordanian authorities say they have previously broken up several terrorist cells and foiled a number of attempted terrorist attacks, including at least one that also targeted the Radisson Hotel.