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Jerrold Kessel: Killing shocks Jordan

CNN's Jerrold Kessel
CNN's Jerrold Kessel

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AMMAN, Jordan (CNN) -- Jordanian authorities are investigating Monday's fatal shooting of a U.S. diplomat outside his home in Amman. The attack stunned Jordanians and the capital's diplomatic community.

CNN Correspondent Jerrold Kessel reported by videophone Monday from outside the diplomat's house as police searched for a gunman and a motive.

KESSEL: [There has been] no claim of responsibility yet for the killing here in this upper-class Amman neighborhood, where the American diplomat was gunned down [Monday] morning.

But there's no mistaking the shock in the Jordanian capital at this -- the first-ever killing, we are told, of a Western diplomat in Jordan. It's a shock both among Jordanians and among the Western diplomatic community in Amman.

Now there's a good deal of security here. ... [at] the home of the gunned-down diplomat Laurence Foley. ...

But just a short while ago, a tanker truck drove up from the U.S. Embassy to wash down the blood in the area just behind me in the parkway where the car was parked.

At 7:30 [Monday] morning, this was the scene: Mr. Foley, an executive from the [U.S. Agency for International Development], going out to his car heading for work, and a gunman -- at first it was believed possibly two assailants -- attacked him outside his car.

But later from forensics, we understand that all of the bullets, seven or eight, ... came from the same gun. So the Jordanian authorities -- security authorities -- believe that there was only one assailant, but he might well have had accomplices.

Mrs. Foley came out, although there was no noise, we understand from neighbors. ... There was no real noise, but she had heard some commotion. She came outside. Shocked, she rushed back in to telephone the police and the U.S. Embassy.

The U.S. Embassy has put out a very strong statement of outrage ... calling it an "incomprehensible act" and warning U.S. citizens -- as the U.S. Embassy itself goes onto an even higher alert -- to be especially vigilant in this volatile time when it says U.S. interests may come under attack.

Two Jordanian ministers, including the minister of foreign affairs, Marwan Al-Muasher, visited the embassy to express their condolences. They said that Jordan would lose no time in trying to track down the assailants, and they expressed the view that this was a lone act and in no way reflected Jordanian opinion.

The U.S. Embassy tells us that they are cooperating in full with the security authorities of Jordan. But the real concern here goes beyond this attack itself because what perhaps it exposes is the fragility of the situation of Jordan, a key U.S. ally in the region, at what is a very volatile time in the Middle East.

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