No suspects in slaying of U.S. diplomat in Jordan

Thursday, October 31, 2002

AMMAN, Jordan -- With bagpipes and military salutes, the body of slain U.S. diplomat Laurence Foley was sent home Wednesday, while Jordanian officials conceded they had no suspects despite interrogating dozens of Islamic extremists.

In a tearful airport ceremony, U.S. Marines and embassy colleagues carried Foley's flag-draped coffin past a Jordanian army honor guard and military band, wearing kaffiyeh headscarves, and onto a U.S. Air Force C-141 military transport.

Foley's widow, Virginia, wearing a Palestinian cross-stitch sweater given to her by her husband, hugged embassy staff and friends goodbye on the tarmac before boarding the plane. The Foleys' golden retriever, Bogart, also was aboard for the trip to Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, with a refueling stop in Germany.

Jordanian government and military officials also offered their condolences, along with Prince Faisal, brother of Jordan's King Abdullah II.

Praising work

Minister of Planning and Development Bassem Awadallah praised Foley, who worked with the U.S. aid agency office in Amman, and his devotion to improving the lives of poor Jordanians.

Foley, 60, was shot by a lone gunman at close range Monday as he walked to his car in front of his home in Amman. The gunman escaped.

Jordanian officials have said the politically motivated slaying was aimed at destabilizing Jordan and its close ties to the United States.

"We must see to it that the intended consequences of this despicable act are never materialized," Awadallah said.

U.S. Ambassador Edward Gnehm also reaffirmed the "abiding bonds" between Jordan and the United States. "Together we will confront those who would seek to damage those ties," he said.

U.S. and Jordanian investigators have been working closely but no leads were reported, despite interrogating dozens of Islamic extremists.

"We are questioning all individuals and groups" known to police, Jordanian Information Minister Mohammad Affash Adwan told reporters.

He declined to identify those questioned or say how many had been brought in, but said no one had been charged.

"We're going after all possible leads and motives and we're not leaving any stone unturned," he said.

A Jordanian official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said most of those detained were Jordanians of Palestinian origin who belonged to militant Islamic cells, known for virulently anti-American views.

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