Jordanians take to streets shouting death to al-Zarqawi

Hundreds of Jordanians took to the streets of their capital Thursday, shouting "Burn in hell, Abu-Musab al-Zarqawi." "We sacrifice our lives for you Amman," chanted the protesters, who gathered near one of three hotels that were hit by suicide bombings Wednesday in attacks claimed by the Jordanian-born al-Zarqawi's al-Qaida in Iraq group.

Jordanian officials said 56 people, mainly Jordanians, were killed in the attacks on the Grand Hyatt, the Radisson SAS and the Days Inn.

"Death to al-Zarqawi, the villain and the traitor," shouted the angry crowd - Jordanians of all backgrounds, including women and children.

Drivers of vehicles decorated with the colorful Jordanian flags and posters of Jordan's King Abdullah II honked their horns. A helicopter hovered overhead.

About 115 people also were wounded in near-simultaneous attacks shortly before 9 p.m. Wednesday.

Other rallies were held across the kingdom, including one in the Red Sea port of Aqaba, where attackers using Katyusha rockets narrowly missed a U.S. ship and killed a Jordanian soldier in August. Others were in al-Zarqawi's hometown of Zarqa and the southern city of Maan which is known to be a hub for Muslim fundamentalists, the AP reports.

The Amman protest was organized by Jordan's 14 professional and trade unions - made up of both hard-line Islamic groups and leftist political organizations - traditionally a vocal critic of King Abdullah's moderate and pro-western policies.

Businessman Mohammed Daoud Mheirat said: "This rotten group and those killers have nothing to do with our religion."

The streets of the capital appeared deserted early Thursday, which was declared a day of mourning. Public and private offices were closed under government instructions, apparently to allow tightened security measures to take hold. A.M.

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