The confirmation of the arrests came four days after the release by the US State Department of a worldwide warning to Americans travelling abroad to be especially vigilant at the turn of the year. Washington said it had credible evidence that Americans were being targeted for terror attacks. The White House added that the 13 arrested in Jordan were believed to be connected with the Saudi exile, Osama bin Laden. They said that they had come to Jordan from Afghanistan where bin Laden is thought to be in hiding and where they allegedly received military training.
"We certainly believe these were members of bin Laden's organisation that posed a threat to Americans," Joe Lockhart, President Clinton's spokesman, said.