Jordan: Al-Qaida Members Killed Diplomat (AP) By Shafika Mattar AMMAN, JORDAN 12/14/02 3:01 PM)
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AMMAN, Jordan –– Jordanian police arrested a Libyan and a Jordanian
accused in the killing of a U.S. diplomat in October, officials
announced Saturday, saying a top al-Qaida operative supplied the two
men with guns and money for a terrorist campaign in Jordan.
The daylight shooting of Laurence Foley, 60, in front of his home in
Amman shocked Jordanians and the American expatriate community, which
regarded Jordan as one of the safer countries in the troubled Middle
The two suspects, Salem Saad bin Suweid from Libya and Jordanian
Yasser Fatih Ibrahim, both admitted belonging to al-Qaida and having
links to a top figure in the terror network, Information Minister
Mohammad Affash Adwan said in a statement broadcast on Jordanian
Foreign Minister Marwan Muasher said the two men also had confessed
to Foley´s slaying, and Adwan said they had planned to carry out
further attacks against embassies and foreign diplomats in the
According to Adwan´s statement, the two men were connected to Ahmed
al-Kalaylah, a Jordanian better known as Abu Musaab al-Zarqawi.
German officials have said al-Zarqawi is an al-Qaida commander
assigned to orchestrate attacks on Europe. He is thought to be among
the top 25 in the terror organization´s hierarchy.
Adwan said officials had been aware of the Ibrahim and bin Suweid´s
involvement in Foley´s slaying for some time but withheld information
while the investigation continued. A source close to the
investigation said the two men were arrested Dec. 3.
The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the two were
charged with conspiring to carry out terrorist attacks, belonging to
an illegal organization, al-Qaida, and possessing arms and
explosives – charges that carry the death penalty.
Adwan said the pair targeted Foley, an administrator with the U.S.
Agency for International Development that coordinates American aid,
because he did not have a heavy security detail.
The minister´s statement described in detail the Oct. 28 slaying,
saying the suspects went to Foley´s home in a rented car and bin
Suweid hid outside, armed with a 7mm gun with a silencer, tear has,
wearing a bulletproof vest and blue jeans and masked with a keffiyeh,
or Arab headdress.
"When Foley came out and intended to open his car door, bin Suweid
fired all the bullets in his gun at Foley," Adwan´s statement said.
He said bin Suweid had trained in al-Qaida camps in Afghanistan and
entered Jordan on a fake Tunisian passport.
The U.S. Embassy in Jordan issued a statement praising the Jordanian
government for its "diligence and aggressiveness" in pursuing the
In Washington, U.S. State Department spokesman Louis Fintor was asked
about possible extradition of the two suspects but said he had no
information about American plans for prosecuting the men.
The detained men were found with ammunition and the gun used in the
Foley attack as well as a plan for attacking other "important
targets" in Jordan, Adwan´s statement said. It said the men admitted
their al-Qaida cell had unfulfilled plans to smuggle surface to air
missiles into the country.
The statement said the fugitive al-Qaida official al-Zarqawi supplied
the two suspects with machine guns, grenades and money to carry out
terrorist attacks against embassies and foreign diplomats.
U.S. officials have said that al-Zarqawi was in Afghanistan when the
United States began bombing there in late 2001. During the military
action he fled to Iran, then to Baghdad in Iraq for medical
treatment, and then on to Syria, the American officials said.
In Jordan, Al-Zarqawi was sentenced in absentia to 15 years in prison
for smuggling weapons into the country and being part of a foiled
conspiracy to bomb tourist sites during millennium celebrations.
The killing of Foley shocked Jordan, which has long and close ties to
the United States. King Abdullah II and his wife, Queen Rania,
visited the U.S. Embassy the day after the shooting to offer
condolences and met briefly with Foley´s widow. Foley, born in
Boston, had later lived in Oakland, Calif.
Anti-American demonstrations are less common and smaller in Amman
than in other Arab capitals, and usually tied to protests against
Israel. More than half of Jordan´s 5 million people are of
Palestinian origin. Jordan also has close commercial links to Iraq.
(© 2002 The Associated Press 12/14/02)
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