Prisoner’s freedom sought for abducted Jordan ambassador

Updated 16 April 2014

Prisoner’s freedom sought for abducted Jordan ambassador

TRIPOLI: Jordan’s ambassador to Libya was kidnapped on Tuesday by gunmen who demanded a radical militant be released from a Jordanian jail in exchange for the diplomat’s freedom.
The masked gunmen shot and wounded the driver of Ambassador Fawaz Al-Itan’s car as they snatched the diplomat from a street in the capital Tripoli, Libya’s Foreign Ministry said.
Essam Baitelmel, a member of the Libyan team investigating the abduction, said the kidnappers had demanded the release of Mohamed Dersi, a Libyan militant jailed for life in 2007 for plotting to blow up the main airport in Jordan.
The kidnappers made their demands in a call to the ambassador’s own cellphone, which was left behind in the car after the abduction, Baitelmel said. They said the diplomat was unharmed.
Jordanian Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour told Parliament the government would take “all necessary measures to protect his life and release him.” But agreeing to the kidnappers’ demand could set a dangerous precedent for Jordan.
“Jordan has currently locked up some of the top global Al-Qaeda scholars and jihadis like Mohammad Al-Makdisi and Abu Qatada. A deal over Dersi may encourage other jihadis to follow suit, so, very tricky,” a Jordanian intelligence official said.
Royal Jordanian Airlines suspended flights to Tripoli after the kidnap.


Iran scientist linked to military nuclear program killed

Updated 20 min 1 sec ago

Iran scientist linked to military nuclear program killed

  • Fakhrizadeh led Iran's so-called “Amad,” or “Hope” program
  • Israel and the West have alleged it was a military operation looking at the feasibility of building a nuclear weapon in Iran

DUBAI: An Iranian scientist that Israel alleged led the Islamic Republic's military nuclear program until its disbanding in the early 2000s was “assassinated” Friday, state television said.
Israel declined to immediately comment on the killing of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, who Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu once called out in a news conference saying: “Remember that name.” Israel has long been suspected of carrying out a series of targeted killings of Iranian nuclear scientists nearly a decade ago.
State TV Friday cited sources confirming the death. It said it would offer more information shortly.
The semiofficial Fars news agency, believed to be close to the country's Revolutionary Guard, said the attack happened in Absard, a small city just east of the capital, Tehran. It said witnesses heard the sound of an explosion and then machine gun fire. The attack targeted a car that Fakhrizadeh was in, the agency said.
Those wounded, including Fakhrizadeh's bodyguards, were later taken to a local hospital, the agency said.
State television on its website later published a photograph of security forces blocking off the road. Photos and video shared online showed a Nissan sedan with bullet holes through windshield and blood pooled on the road.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack. However, Iranian media all noted the interest that Netanyahu had previously shown in Fakhrizadeh.
Fakhrizadeh led Iran's so-called “Amad,” or “Hope” program. Israel and the West have alleged it was a military operation looking at the feasibility of building a nuclear weapon in Iran. Tehran long has maintained its nuclear program is peaceful.
The International Atomic Energy Agency says that “Amad” program ended in the early 2000s. IAEA inspectors now monitor Iranian nuclear sites as part of Iran's now-unraveling nuclear deal with world powers.