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Iraq: Killers of Jordanian embassy driver arrested

January 7, 1997

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) _ Saudi and Jordanian gang members have been arrested in connection with the killing of a Jordanian embassy driver, the official Iraqi News Agency reported Tuesday.

The Nov. 11 attack about 100 miles outside of Baghdad sparked protests from Jordan, which accused Iraq of failing to protect travelers on the 600-mile highway linking the capitals of the two neighboring countries.

Jordanian officials on Tuesday said they had not been officially notified of the arrests so they could not comment.

The two suspects, identified as Zibbin Battah Hayech al-Roweli, a Saudi, and Nasr Hantour al-Bashir, a Jordanian, have confessed to killing the driver and stealing the car, the news agency said.

A third man, a Syrian named Tarad al-Halaby, escaped into either Syria or Jordan, the news agency said.

Iraqi authorities claim the gang to which the suspects belonged was involved in drug trafficking between Turkey and Saudi Arabia, and entered Iraq from Jordan in a Saudi car.

At least five Jordanians were killed last year on the highway, which has been Iraq’s main link with the outside world since the United Nations imposed sanctions on the country for its 1990 invasion of Kuwait.

Update hourly