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CNN BREAKING NEWS

U.S. Marines Capture Suspected Suicide Bomber

Aired April 11, 2003 - 09:31   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: We go straight to Baghdad right now where Walt Rodgers has breaking news for us. Walter, good morning. What's up?
WALTER RODGERS, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Paula.

I spoke with the U.S. Marines just a few seconds ago. They said they just thwarted, stopped another would-be suicide bomber headed for one of their positions. It was an Iraqi civilian, dressed in civilian clothes, carrying a black briefcase, and the Marines say the briefcase was to be a suicide bomb aimed at hurting more U.S. Marines.

It was just about 24 hours ago that three Marines and a sailor fell casualties to a would-be suicide bomber. That suicide bomber, it turns out, was carrying a hand grenade and the Marines and sailor who were injured yesterday are not as badly wounded as previously thought they were. Cut by grenade fragments. They were -- did receive medical treatment but it was not as serious attack as previously indicated.

The U.S. Marines here in Baghdad are also telling me they have been on the lookout for suicide bombers all day and thanks to the collaboration of the local Iraqi civilians, they came across a suicide bomb factory, actually two. In one of those suicide bomb factories, the Iraqis were using heavy black leather motorcycle jackets packing those full of explosives. And of course, the Marines broke that up.

And the second incident, they said -- and this from a marine corps captain telling me -- that the Iraqi would-be suicide bombers, the paramilitaries were taking children's dolls, packing them with explosives, children's toys. They were going to use those in suicide bomb attacks -- Paula.

ZAHN: So haunting to think about how easy for any civilian to blend into the population there. Is it the briefcase? Was that the only thing that gave this potential suicide bomber away?

RODGERS: I'm not sure what it was, but, of course, the Marines on a high state of alert.

One very interesting thing -- perhaps you can notice behind me civilian vehicular traffic passing around this traffic circle now, cars and trucks and so forth. What that means is the Marines have pulled out of this position. And they have pulled out of this position for two reasons. One, for security because of the threat of suicide bombers and the other reason, of course, is they are trying to maintain a lower military profile here so there can be some restoration of normality to the city of Baghdad and the Iraqi people don't feel occupied -- Paula.

ZAHN: Walter, finally, what is the level of concern among journalists who have made the choice to take on these assignments and stay in areas where maybe even the Marines have evacuated?

RODGERS: I think it's heightened, Paula. I know the CNN crew on -0- at this particular intersection is already discussing moving our truck, certainly perhaps by nightfall. We're looking for a more secure position. We're discussing that at this point. It is a very real threat. Any Westerner here associated with the military -- of course, some of us have been embedded with the Army and the Marines -- any Western target is always a target of opportunity for someone who wants to kill themselves and make a name for themselves and spill Western, American, coalition blood, whatever you have -- Paula.

ZAHN: Walt Rodgers, we hope you take all the necessary precautions you need to. Thank you very much for that live update.

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