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Rocket Attacks Miss U.S. Navy Ships

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 19, 2005 – No U.S. sailors or Marines were injured in an apparent rocket attack today that missed two U.S. Navy ships in the Red Sea port of Aqaba, Jordan, officials reported.

"At approximately 8:44 a.m. local time, a suspected mortar rocket flew over the USS Ashland's bow and impacted in a warehouse on the pier in the vicinity of the Ashland and the USS Kearsarge," U.S. 5th Fleet officials said in a statement. "The warehouse sustained an approximate 8-foot hole in the roof of the building."

According to news reports, a Jordanian soldier was killed and another severely wounded when the rocket hit the warehouse. A second rocket hit near a Jordanian hospital and a third partially exploded, damaging a road and a car. A third rocket reportedly landed in the nearby Israeli city of Eilat, with no casualties and only minor damage.

The ships were in Aqaba supporting the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit training with the Jordanians, fleet officials said. The two ships, which appeared to be undamaged by shrapnel from the building, have left the port. The Ashland is an amphibious landing ship; the Kearsarge is an amphibious assault ship that also serves as command ship of an amphibious ready group.

The U.S. military said the attack is currently under investigation. News sources cite a Jordanian government release that states three Katyusha rockets were fired from a warehouse in Aqaba close to the port.

Information available on the Web said the Katyusha was originally a World War II-era Soviet rocket. However, references now to the weapon mean not just one type of rocket, but a whole range of different artillery rockets, whether from old Soviet or other-nation stock. The Katyusha reportedly has been used in a number of insurgencies, including those in Iraq.

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Related Sites:
U.S. Navy 5th Fleet
USS Ashland
USS Kearsarge


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