Posted: Monday, October 28th 2002 at 7:58am
American diplomat slain
AMMAN, JORDAN — An American diplomat was gunned down in a hail of bullets outside his home Monday in the Jordanian capital, Jordan's information minister said.
Authorities are calling his death an assassination.
The diplomat, identified by Jordanian security officials as Laurence Foley of the U.S. Agency for International Development, was killed at 7:30 a.m. while walking to his car. The agency handles foreign aid and humanitarian programs.
``Gunmen sprayed the diplomat with several shots, killing him instantly,'' Information Minister Mohammed Affash Adwan said.
The assailants escaped and there was no immediate claim of responsibility.
Adwan said he did not know if Foley was killed by terrorists.
But, he added, ``This attack, regardless of its motives and reasons, is an aggression on Jordan and its national security. We will not tolerate that at all.''
U.S. Embassy officials were not answering telephone calls.
The security officials said Foley's wife called police after the attack outside his home in a middle-class district of Amman. Foley apparently was shot while walking toward his car.
He was hit at least seven times in the head and chest, according to a senior Jordanian security official, speaking on condition of anonymity. The bullets came from a 7 mm pistol, he said.
Jordan is known for its tight security, but several attacks have been directed against Israelis in Amman and along the Jordanian-Israel border. Jordan and Egypt are the two Arab states that have peace treaties with Israel.
The slaying comes at a tense time in the Middle East, with many in the Arab world angry at the United States for its push to topple Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and for what Arabs regard as biased U.S. support for Israel at the expense of the Palestinians.
The U.S. government said Sept. 27 it received uncorroborated information that a member of Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida terror network was considering kidnapping U.S. citizens in Jordan.
State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said the government had no information to determine the threat's credibility or any indication of the plan's timing. But he added that the U.S. Embassy in Jordan warned American residents in the Arab kingdom.
Jordan's alliance with the United States and its 1994 peace treaty with Israel have made the kingdom a target for Muslim militants.
Two years ago, 28 Arab men plotted to use poison gas and explosives in attacks against Americans and Israelis in hotels and tourist sites during New Year celebrations in Jordan. The plot was foiled in November 1999.
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