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Jordan 'failed bomber' confesses on TV

'I tried to detonate mine but I failed,' woman tells interrogators

Saijida Mubarak Atrous al-Rishawi makes a confession on Jordanian television, which aired on Sunday.


Acts of terror

AMMAN, Jordan (CNN) -- An Iraqi woman detained Sunday and accused of planning to be the fourth suicide bomber in last week's deadly attacks at Amman hotels confessed her participation in a televised video.

"My husband detonated his bomb, and I tried to detonate mine but failed," Saijida Mubarak Atrous al-Rishawi said on Jordanian television. "People fled running, and I left running with them."

She stood up to display a belt that she and investigators said she had planned to use in the attacks.

Wearing a white head scarf and black dress, she described with apparent calm her role in a plot to kill herself and others. (Watch the woman describe the plans for the attack -- 1:03)

Jordanian authorities say al-Rishawi, 35, and her husband, Hussein Ali al-Shamari, went to carry out their bombings at the Radisson hotel. His explosives went off, killing 38 people attending a wedding reception in the ballroom.

Three male bombers and 57 bystanders were killed at three hotels Wednesday.

Authorities said that in addition to al-Rishawi, 12 people have been detained in connection with the investigation.

Thousands of Jordanians took to the streets Sunday, demonstrating against the violence that rocked the capital.

Jordanian authorities say the attacks were carried out by four Iraqis and orchestrated by the terrorist group al Qaeda in Iraq, led by Jordanian-born militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

A posting on a Web site used by al Qaeda in Iraq claimed responsibility for the attacks, and a later posting said the bombers included a husband-and-wife team.

The latter posting identified the participants as "the leader Abu Hobeib, Abu Moadh and Abu Omeir, and the fourth is our good sister Om Omeir, who chose to accompany her husband on his road to martyrdom."

Al-Rishawi said during her televised confession, "My husband is the one who organized everything."

Jordan's Deputy Prime Minister Marwan Muasher said al-Rishawi is the sister of Zarqawi's "right-hand man," who was killed in Falluja, Iraq. He did not identify the Zarqawi lieutenant.

Muasher identified the other two bombers as 23-year-old Iraqis Rawad Jassem Mohammed Abed and Safaa Mohammed Ali.

He told CNN that al-Rishawi was not wearing an explosives belt when she was apprehended, but two were found with her. One was filled with the explosive RDX, the other with ball bearings -- a technique used by the three bombers who killed themselves Wednesday.

"The aim was to inflict the largest number of casualties," he said.

Muasher said information gathered by Jordanian authorities suggests that al-Rishawi's husband "asked her to step out of the room" when her explosives did not detonate. That description seems to conflict with al-Rishawi's assertion that she fled.

In her confession, al-Rishawi said she and her husband stood at opposite sides of the room for the scheduled double-bombing. (Read the woman's full statement)

She identified herself by name and said she is an Iraqi who lives in Ramadi. She and her husband left November 5 for Jordan, using fake passports.

"We waited in Iraq, and a white car picked us up," she said. "There was a driver and a passenger. We entered Jordan together."

"We rented an apartment," she said, adding that her husband taught her how to use her explosives belt.

Describing her target, she said, "There was a wedding ceremony in the hotel. There were women, men and children."

It was not immediately clear whom al-Rishawi was talking to in the video or exactly what had preceded it.

Muasher: Calming public key

Muasher told CNN that the confession was televised because "it is very important for the public to know exactly what happened. I think the public was a bit relieved also to know that there were no Jordanians involved."

He added, "Right now the important thing for us is to calm down our public. Our public has not been used to such attacks."

He denied that there was anything improper in airing her confession, and promised "she will go through a fair trial."

Jordanian authorities said the apartment al-Rishawi referred to has been searched.

Jordan's King Abdullah II announced the woman's arrest earlier in the day.

"Obviously, the tragedies that happened in Jordan have happened in many parts of the world, from Asia to Georgia to all Muslim Arab countries to Europe and America," he said at a news conference.

"This is a phenomenon that brings us closer together, because we know this is the only way that we will be able to overcome these extremists, is if we are united and one."

Although most suicide bombers are male, there have been female suicide bombers as well, including Palestinians and Chechnyan Muslim separatists.

Terrorism experts say this may be the first known married couple to have planned to carry out a single, joint suicide bombing.

Jordan's Queen Rania told ABC's "This Week" she was not surprised that a woman allegedly planned to be a suicide bomber in Amman.

"What does surprise me is the nature of these acts, the fact that they could walk into a wedding and target innocent civilians," she said.

"I think this kind of terror knows no gender," she said.

Rania and Abdullah have openly opposed terrorism, including terrorist attacks in neighboring Israel, although they have frequently called on Israel to alter its responses to such attacks.

Rania told ABC that Jordanian officials hoped al-Rishawi will "be able to give us more clues and more understanding."

Clintons visit

Former President Clinton, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and their daughter, Chelsea, interrupted a trip to Israel to visit Amman Sunday.

Standing in the Radisson, the former president said the visit's purpose was "to express our sympathy with the victims, their family members, our solidarity with the people of Jordan and our support for doing whatever is necessary to fight against and defeat this kind of destructive terror."

Sen. Clinton, a New York Democrat, called on "all people everywhere" to condemn "this horrible, destructive, evil act."

She said she was "impressed" at the quick response to the attacks from local authorities.

"I think that says a great deal about Jordan's capacity to care for its people," she said.

CNN's Brent Sadler, Barbara Starr, Nic Robertson, Henry Schuster and Kristen Gillespie contributed to this report.

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