Hundreds of Iraqi Shias have staged protests in Baghdad and Karbala against the alleged involvement of a Jordanian in a devastating bombing in al-Hilla two weeks ago. Crowds gathered outside the Jordanian embassy in Baghdad on Sunday shouting: "No, no to Jordan, close your embassy, we do not want to see you here."
They urged the government to file charges against the family of Raed al-Banna. They also demanded compensation for victims from Amman, which rejected the accusations against it and insisted it condemned the al-Hilla bombing, the worst single attack in Iraq since the US-led invasion in
Also, AFP is reporting that the father of the bomber is denying his son might have been involved in the attack:
"He [the father] said he received a phone call on 3 March from someone speaking with an Iraqi accent telling him his son had become "a martyr." Al-Banna’s family says it had not heard from him since mid-February when he went to Saudi Arabia and called them to say he had found work in the oil-rich kingdom.
His relatives say he was a devout Muslim who became more religious about six months ago, but denied that he had links to Jordanian born Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, blamed for attacks in the violence-torn
Meanwhile, the Jordanian government is denying claims that Jordanian-Iraqi relations are "threatened under Iraqi bloodshed." Shia religious leaders in Iraq issued a statement saying they were surprised by the Iraqi interim government’s "silence over Jordan’s interference in Iraq’s internal affairs by instigating violence and hatred among Iraqis … and sending their terrorists to Iraq."
Al-Ghad, on the other hand, published a statement (in Arabic) from the Iraqi embassy in Jordan saying there were no Americans killed in the attack as the paper previously reported. In addition, King Abdallah visited the paper yesterday, urging the press (Arabic) to "denounce violence."
I have also noticed that over the last two days al-Ghad has been running a series of editorials from different writers denouncing the attacks on civilians in Iraq. Very interesting no? It seems that the paper is learning from this huge mistake.
I’m still hoping, however, that the paper publishes a formal apology. What is interesting here is that in this day and age, media — primarily Arab media — cannot get away with publishing half-truths. Now, in this world connected by the Internet, satellites and blogging, everything reported is being scrutinized and analyzed. The media can no longer get away with publishing inflammatory articles. People are always watching!