Journalist: Jordan attacks 'inevitable'
Jordanian security forces stand guard at the main entrance to the Radisson after Wednesday's attack.
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AMMAN, Jordan (CNN) -- Dozens of people were killed and more than 150 wounded in three suspected suicide blasts Wednesday night in or near downtown hotels, all of which were part of U.S.-based chains, officials said.
Journalist Kristen Gillespie is a reporter in Amman and was close to one of the hotels when the nearly simultaneous blasts occurred. She tells CNN's Kyra Phillips that the attacks came in an area popular with both locals and foreigners.
GILLESPIE: I got to the Grand Hyatt in downtown Amman a few minutes after the explosion. The authorities hadn't yet had the chance to seal off the scene. Ambulances -- dozens of ambulances -- were rushing to the scene, were removing bodies that had been moved from inside the lobby to outside the lobby.
PHILLIPS: Which hotel were you staying in, Kristen?
GILLESPIE: Near the Grand Hyatt, which is in downtown Amman. There's a center -- there's a part of Amman that has a lot of hotels where foreigners and contractors and Jordanians go to eat and to stay. And I went to the scene and saw them. The explosion had been inside the lobby, not outside.
PHILLIPS: Now, do you feel safe where you are? What are security officials telling you? What are people around you telling you as a journalist, as an American about what to do right now?
GILLESPIE: Right now, everybody seems to be in shock. This is the first time that anything like this has happened in Jordan. It's a country noted for its stability. The guests who were staying in the Hyatt seem to be completely bewildered by what had happened. They didn't know what had happened. They heard an explosion. They went outside.
... At least five were killed.
PHILLIPS: Are you getting information as we're talking right now, or you have other co-workers there able to bring you updated numbers and details?
GILLESPIE: Right now what we're getting is a smattering of eyewitness accounts. One person said that dozens had been wounded in the lobby, that the lobby was full. It was about 9 at night here, and it's prime time for people to be having dinner and milling around. Others are saying scores were wounded in the other explosions, as well. What I can say for sure is I saw at least five bodies being removed from the Hyatt who -- that were probably killed in the explosion. (Watch witness accounts of the explosions -- 2:46)
PHILLIPS: Now, Kristen, getting mixed reports from various people that have worked and lived in this area. Some saying it's always been a very safe area. Others saying, no, you're always looking over your shoulder when you're working and living within that area due to the threat of terrorism nowadays, especially that part of the country. I mean, you have been working there. I don't know how long you've been in the region. Maybe you can tell me that. And tell me, you know, is this something that you worried about on a regular basis?
GILLESPIE: Well, I've been here on and off for about five years in Jordan. And it's always been in the back of my mind, because Jordan is a country that borders Syria, Saudi Arabia, the West Bank, Israel and Iraq. So it's definitely in a complicated place geographically. At the same time, the government has always worked hard to clamp down on any potential dissent or al Qaeda or militants. And up until today, they had done a pretty good job. But I really think that it was inevitable that something like this happened at some point in Jordan.
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