Maaytah’s Suspected Assassins Identified
BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) _ Three Palestinians have been arrested in the assassination of a senior Jordanian diplomat, police said.
Naeb Imran Maaytah, the Jordanian Embassy’s first secretary, was shot seven times in the head and neck on Jan. 29 in Beirut. The gunman and an accomplice escaped.
The suspects were identified today as Youssef Mahmoud Shaaban, who uses the name Wael Mohammed Ali, Bassam Abdallah Atiyeh and Salim Kassem Mehio. A fourth suspect, an unnamed Palestinian woman, was freed for lack of evidence, said a police spokesman who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The spokesman said Shaaban is suspected of pulling the trigger and the other two were accomplices. He did not give the affiliations or motives of the suspects.
But security officials said previously that at least three Palestinians allegedly belonging to terrorist mastermind Abu Nidal’s group were arrested in the case. The group, Fatah-Revolutionary Council, issued a statement denying any involvement in the killing.
Maaytah was the first foreign diplomat assassinated in Beirut since the end of Lebanon’s 15-year civil war in 1990.
His slaying was a blow to Prime Minister Rafik Hariri’s efforts to clean up Lebanon’s image as a haven for assassins, kidnappers, bombers and hijackers.