- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 20, 2003

AMMAN, Jordan, March 20 (UPI) — A Jordanian truck driver became the first confirmed civilian killed in the United States war on Iraq, according to Information Minister Mohammed Edwan.

The driver was killed on the Baghdad-Amman highway in the early hours of Thursday by a U.S. missile strike, Edwan told United Press International.

"We can confirm that one Jordanian driver was killed inside Iraqi territory near the Jordanian border and close to an Iraqi telecommunications center," he said.

The minister said he had no further information.

Edwan told UPI Jordan was watching developments closely and making an effort to stop the war and its possible catastrophic consequences. He said his government regretted the failure of diplomatic efforts to reach a peaceful settlement of the Iraqi crisis within the framework of the United Nations.

In Baghdad, Iraqi Information Minister Muhammad Saeed al-Sahhaf said Thursday one Iraqi civilian was killed and a number of others injured by the U.S. air strikes. He told a news that the United States had bombed the Customs Department in Rutba, on the Baghdad-Amman highway, a small state-owned radio and television compound in Anbar and two civilian locations in Dora, an eastern suburb of Baghdad.

Dressed in a military uniform, the minister said the U.S. declaration that 40 cruise missiles had targeted Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was a "declaration that they're assassins, a gang of outlaws."

In Lebanon the Palestine Liberation Front announced that one of its officers, 1st Lt. Ahmed Walid Raguib al-Baz, was killed in the missile attacks on Iraq. The PLF was responsible for seizing the Italian liner Achille Lauro and the murder of one of its passengers, Leon Klinghoffer, in 1985.

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