Iraq: Jordan Fury over First Death in Confrontation as a Deal over the United Nations Weapons Inspectors Takes Shape between Saddam Hussein And
Cockburn, Patrick, The Independent (London, England)
The first and so far only person to die as a direct result of the confrontation between Iraq and the US was shot dead in a demonstration in the desert town of Ma'an, south Jordan. He was Mohammed Abdullah al- Kateb, a 22-year-old student, killed by a bullet in the heart as he demonstrated in favour of Iraq near the main mosque in Ma'an on Friday.
His death led to two days of rioting during which townspeople used guns and fought off police to rescue Mr Kateb's body from the local hospital and carry it through the streets. A further 20 people were injured. During a visit, King Hussein said he would not tolerate violence and lamented that the riots should have started "in Ma'an, which was the town where the Kingdom (of Jordan) was founded".
By yesterday the army and police had declared a curfew. Bedouin soldiers had parked a truck mounting a heavy machine gun across the main entrance to Ma'an and were letting nobody through. "We are looking for arms and anybody who took part in the demonstrations," said a soldier. To prevent news of the riots spreading, the government shut the local telephone system. At another checkpoint, police, backed by an armoured car, said they were on the lookout for journalists, either foreign or Jordanian, and were under orders to turn them back. As we spoke, the hand radio of one policeman announced that some journalists had been seen "talking to the people" and that this was to be prevented. Despite the attempt to create a news blackout, the course of the riots in the Jordanian heartland appears clear. On Friday Leith Shubeilat, president of the Jordanian Engineers' Association, a major opposition figure known for his pro-Iraqi sympathies, gave a sermon in the mosque in Ma'an. Local people say that at a rally attended by about 150 people afterwards, police opened fire with tear gas and the demonstrators responded with stones. As the clashes escalated, police and rioters used guns and Mr Kateb was shot through the heart from behind, according to a doctor who saw his body in the hospital. …