Two men convicted of killing an American official were hanged before dawn Saturday in Jordan’s first execution of militants linked to Al Qaeda.
Salem Saad Suweid, a Libyan, and Yasser Freihat, a Jordanian, were executed for gunning down Laurence Foley, a 60-year-old administrator with the U.S. Agency for International Development, outside his Amman home in 2002. The plot was blamed on Abu Musab Zarqawi, the Jordanian who heads the militant group known as Al Qaeda in Iraq.
Suweid was convicted of shooting Foley and Freihat with driving the getaway car.
Jordan, a U.S. ally and the target of Al Qaeda plots such as hotel bombings that killed 60 people last year, has sentenced scores of militants to death in recent years, but those executed were Islamists not linked to known terrorist groups.
About 2,000 people protested in the West Bank village of Freihat’s family. Freihat’s father is a colonel in the Palestinian security forces. Islamic Jihad and Fatah militants set fire to photos of Jordan’s King Abdullah II and chanted, “Death to USA, death to Israel, death to the betrayer Abdullah!”
Suweid and Freihat were said to be part of an 11-member cell headed by Zarqawi.