BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Persian Pashto Turkish French
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Middle East  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
Monday, 28 October, 2002, 16:43 GMT
US diplomat shot dead in Jordan
Police officers at the murder scene
Lawrence Foley was killed as he left his home
A senior US embassy official has been assassinated in the Jordanian capital Amman in the first known killing of a Western diplomat in the Middle Eastern city.

Lawrence Foley, an executive officer of USAid, the American development agency, was shot dead outside his home in western Amman's middle-class residential area.

Lawrence Foley (Picture: US Embassy in Jordan)
Foley's killing has led to increased security in other diplomatic missions
A BBC correspondent in the region says the killing comes at a time of rising anti-American sentiment in Jordan and the rest of the Arab world.

White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said US authorities were investigating the murder and that terrorism had not been ruled out.

He said the Jordanian authorities had been "very helpful" in the investigation.

Jordanian Information Minister Mohammad Adwan deplored the killing as "an attack on the country and its national security", state news agency Petra reported.

The shooting has prompted increased security at diplomatic missions throughout the city, and the US embassy has urged American nationals in Jordan to be vigilant.

Crime scene

Mr Foley, 62, was shot several times in the chest and head while he walked towards his car at 0720 local time (0520 GMT).

His wife found his body outside their home and raised the alarm.


The Jordanian security services will deal firmly and seriously with this abominable crime

Marwan Moasher, Jordanian Foreign minister

Police sealed off the area and investigators searched for fingerprints and other evidence.

Blood stains were seen on the ground near the driver's side door of Mr Foley's red Mercedes, parked in front of the two-storey white stone house where he lived.

There was no broken glass, indicating he was shot before he got into the car, correspondents said.

And the Associated Press reported that neighbours said they had not heard any gunshots, suggesting a silencer may have been used.

According to some officials, the preliminary investigation indicated there was one gunman, working with accomplices.

Nobody has so far claimed responsibility for the attack, and Mr Adwan said it was premature to speculate about who was behind it.

Outrage

Jordan's Foreign Minister, Marwan Moasher, and other senior officials visited the US embassy to offer condolences and support.

"The Jordanian security services will deal firmly and seriously with this abominable crime and arrest the perpetrator as soon as possible in order to refer him to justice," Mr Moasher said.

Forensic experts at the scene of killing
Investigators searched the scene for evidence

Special forces with machine guns mounted on jeeps were seen escorting diplomatic vehicles through the city after the attack.

In September, the US Government said it had received uncorroborated information indicating that a member of al-Qaeda was considering a plan to kidnap US citizens in Jordan.

The US State Department said then that the government had no information to determine the credibility of the threat or any indication of the timing.

One Israeli businessman was shot and killed last year in the same neighbourhood as Mr Foley. In 2000, two Israeli diplomats were shot and wounded elsewhere in Amman.

The BBC correspondent in Cairo, Heba Saleh, says anti-American sentiment has been rising in the Arab world.

America's perceived support for Israel and its threatened military campaign against Iraq have provoked hostile feelings across the region.

Arab leaders have repeatedly warned that US policies could destabilise allies like Jordan.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Richard Slee
"The Jordanian government has caled the attack a treacherous assassination"
Jordanian Information Minister Mohammed Adwan
"It looks like it could have had a political motive"
See also:

08 Oct 02 | Country profiles
29 Jul 02 | Middle East
05 Jul 02 | Middle East
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Middle East stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Middle East stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes