Nov. 10, 2005 A well-known merchant from Jordan, now living on St. Thomas, is grieving the loss of 16 relatives after terrorists attacked three hotels in the Middle East.
Fathi Yusuf, the owner of Plaza Extra Supermarkets, said death struck after a bomb exploded in the middle of a wedding celebration at the Radisson Hotel on Wednesday in Jordan. Miraculously, Yusuf's brother and his nephew, who had traveled to the celebration from St. Martin, escaped unharmed.
Yusuf said Thursday most of those who died were his cousins, including members of the wedding party.
The groom, the son of a Yusuf's neice, and the bride survived the attack, but the groom's father died, as did the mother and the father of the bride.
The deaths also affected the managers of the Food Center supermarket on St. Thomas's east end, said Delegate to Congress Donna Christensen. "You never think that something that far away from the Virgin Islands would touch us so personally, and it really has," she said.
Christensen said she had stayed at one of the hotels struck by terrorists in Amman, Jordan. The Radisson, the Grand Hyatt, and the Day's Inn there were all bombed within moments of each other in what authorities there called a coordinated attack.
"You will remember that the Committee on Homeland Security traveled to the Middle East and we went to Jordan," she said. "The purpose of our trip and our discussions were to work together and prevent just this very kind of thing from happening. It shows us how vulnerable we are and how connected we are."
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