Jordanians emerging in active al Qaeda role

A prominent Jordanian-Palestinian militant recently killed in Afghanistan was a medical school dropout.

Updated: Dec 22, 2010, 23:20 PM IST

Amman: A prominent
Jordanian-Palestinian militant recently killed in Afghanistan
was a medical school dropout, who joined al Qaeda after his
heart was broken in a failed love affair, his friends and a
counter-terrorism official said on Wednesday.

Haitham Mohammed al-Khayat, 26, better known in
extremist circles as Abu Kandahar al-Zarqawi, was an
administrator of the online jihadi forum, Al Hesbah, according
to Islamist militant websites.

The sites announced that he was killed by US forces on
Friday. He was among eight Jordanians killed or arrested in
the militant hotbeds of Afghanistan, Iraq and Yemen over
recent weeks.

The killings and arrests highlight the active role
Jordanian militants play in the al Qaeda terror network,
undermining efforts by their pro-American leader, King
Abdullah II, to support the US war on terrorism.

The websites and the official said al-Khayat was an
associate of the Jordanian-born doctor who blew himself up in
a CIA outpost in eastern Afghanistan a year ago, killing seven
CIA employees and a Jordanian intelligence officer.

Humam Khalil Abu Mulal al-Balawi, also known as Abu
Dujana al-Khurasani, was a triple agent, recruited by
Jordanian intelligence to provide information to the CIA on
al Qaeda’s number 2, Ayman al-Zawahri, who turned on his

Al-Khayat knew al-Balawi from their hometown of Zarqa,
the birthplace of slain al Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab
al-Zarqawi, the counter-terrorism official said.

The official declined to provide details on
al-Khayat`s death, citing classified intelligence data. But he
said the terrorist was an "al Qaeda operative, who knew many
in the terror group`s top echelon."

"He was sought in Jordan for his militant ideology and
articles he published on the Internet," he said, adding that
al-Khayat was arrested a few times between 2000 and 2005, but
never indicted on terrorism-related charges.

Government records showed that al-Khayat was born to a
Palestinian family from the Gaza Strip, with ties to the West
Bank town of Hebron.

Three of his friends, insisting on anonymity for fear
of police reprisal, said he studied medicine in the Ukraine,
but never completed his degree.

One said he had a "bad relationship" with his father,
who insisted he abandon extremism. He said al-Khayat had a
love affair with Jordanian-Palestinian woman, whose father
refused his marriage proposal "because of his hard-line
religious views."

His troubled relationships were confirmed by another
friend who posted an emotional letter of condolence on the