Jordan Bride's Mother Dies

Jordan's Queen Rania attends a signing ceremony for the 59 victims of the Amman blasts of Nov. 9, 2005 at the entrance of Radisson SAS hotel November 17, 2005 in Amman, Jordan.
The mother of the bride whose wedding was being celebrated at one of three Amman hotels hit by suicide bombers last week died Thursday of her wounds.

Hala al-Faroukah's death brings the number of people killed in the Nov. 9 terror attacks to 62, including the three bombers. Al Qaeda in Iraq, led by the Jordanian-born Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, claimed responsibility for the coordinated bombings.

Al-Faroukah, in her late 50s, had suffered severe injuries to her spinal cord, said a doctor at Amman Surgical Hospital. She had been in a coma.

Her daughter's wedding party was under way at the Radisson SAS hotel when an Iraqi, identified as Ali Hussein Ali al-Shamari, walked into the ballroom and detonated the explosives belt he was wearing. The attack caused the greatest number of casualties of the three hotel bombings, which also targeted the Grand Hyatt and Days Inn.

The bride and groom, Ashraf and Nadia Akhras, survived without injury. But the blast killed the bride's father, Khaled al-Alami, and nine other relatives. The groom also lost his father and 16 other family members.

The groom told The Associated Press that his mother-in-law had been in a coma since she was admitted to the hospital shortly after the attack. He and his wife had visited her in the hospital Wednesday night.

The Radisson hotel bomber's wife, Sajida Mubarak Atrous al-Rishawi, was arrested Sunday. She confessed on television that she tried to detonate her own bomb belt, but it failed to explode and she fled the scene.

Since last week's deadly hotel bombings, metal detectors have been erected at restaurants and shopping centers, and body searches and ID checks have become routine.

Jordan had prided itself on being one of the most stable and safest countries in a region racked by violence and instability. Security checks, while normal in countries like Israel, Iraq, Lebanon and Egypt, had been alien to Jordanian society.

But authorities say the new security measures are a necessity following the Nov. 9 triple hotel bombings that rattled this once-tranquil Middle Eastern country.

Some have expressed concern that the measures would infringe on civil liberties and political freedoms, calling on the government to strike a balance between ensuring public safety and safeguarding civil rights.

"Our authorities must observe our treaty commitments on how far we may go to ensure the safety and security of the public and the country," said an editorial Thursday in the English-language Jordan Times daily.

Asma Khader, a former Cabinet minister who served as government spokeswoman, said the extra security was meant to ensure that "what happened does not happen again" and would stay in place "as long as Jordan is under threat."

"The measures are undoubtedly a nuisance, but it is a much bigger nuisance to have such attacks occur again," she said.