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U.S. diplomat killed in Jordan

Foley, left, had recently received an award from Edward Gnehm, U.S. ambassador to Jordan.

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The Jordanian information minister says that an American diplomat was shot and killed outside his residence in Amman, Jordan. (October 28)
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U.S. diplomat Laurence Foley was shot to death near his residence in Amman, Jordan, by a masked gunman. CNN's Jerrold Kessel reports (October 28)
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AMMAN, Jordan (CNN) -- A U.S. diplomat was shot dead Monday by an unknown assailant near his home in Amman, Jordan's information minister said.

The Information Ministry said the masked gunman opened fire as Laurence Foley, an official with the U.S. Agency for International Development, was leaving for the U.S. Embassy, striking him with six bullets as he was getting into his car.

Later, police officials said that seven or eight bullets had been fired from a single weapon. The slaying occurred about 7:20 a.m. (12:20 a.m. EST).

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, and U.S. officials said they did not know whether terrorism was involved.

"I believe the wife of the diplomat informed the authorities," Information Minister Mohammed al-Adwan said. "Unfortunately, she is under shock right now. Authorities have not been able to talk to her in detail about this."

The agency's Web site lists Foley as USAID/Jordan executive officer.

In addition to his wife, Foley, who was said to be in his 50s, is survived by three children and a number of grandchildren, according to the USAID office in Amman.

State Department officials said security would be beefed up around the U.S. Embassy in Amman, the residences of U.S. diplomats and schools attended by American children.

The U.S. Embassy in Jordan said it was working closely with Jordanian officials to investigate the shooting.

"All of us in the American community convey our condolences to the Foley family on the death of such a warm and loving man," a statement from the U.S. Embassy in Amman said. "We are outraged by this incomprehensible act."

The embassy statement called on Americans in Jordan to remain vigilant in light of the attack.

The U.S. Agency for International Development is an independent agency that provides economic, development and humanitarian assistance around the world in support of the foreign policy goals of the United States, according to its Web site.

"Amman is usually a very secure city," al-Adwan said. "We give priority to all diplomatic missions, especially the United States mission in Jordan.

"We are fairly certain that we will catch the perpetrators and will [bring] them to justice."

Jordan is a major Middle Eastern ally of the United States.

State Department Producer Elise Labott contributed to this report.

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