American Diplomat Shot Dead In Amman

By Julie Stahl | July 7, 2008 | 8:12 PM EDT

Jerusalem ( - An American diplomat was shot dead outside his home in Amman, Jordan, on Monday morning. Fellow diplomats identified him as Lawrence Foley, who worked for U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

Press reports say Foley was shot several times, apparently in the garage of his home as he was leaving for work. No one has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, and the gunman got away.

Jordanian Information Minister Mohammad Adwan said he did not know if the incident was a terror attack but regardless it was "an aggression on Jordan and its national security" that would not be tolerated.

Security, already tight, was strengthened at the both the U.S. Embassy in Amman and at other western embassies.

Jordan, which sided with Iraq during the first Gulf War, is one of Washington's staunchest allies in the region.

The tiny kingdom became the second Arab nation to sign a full peace agreement with Israel in 1994, following the Egyptian treaty of 1979.

Nevertheless, there is a great deal of animosity and incitement against America and Israel in Jordan right now because of the expected American strike against Iraq and the perceived U.S. bias toward Israel in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

U.S. troops are currently taking part in multi-lateral military exercises in Jordan with Jordanian and other unspecified Arab countries.

Dubbed "Early Victor," the exercises are part of routine war games scheduled in advance. U.S. and Jordanian officials have insisted that the exercises have nothing to do with a possible U.S. attack on Iraq.

Two Israeli diplomats have been shot and wounded in Amman during the last two years, prompting the Foreign Ministry to recall the families of diplomats. An Israeli businessman was murdered there in the last year.

But Jordanian security officials reportedly said this is the first assassination of a Western diplomat.