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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Jordan Embassy Blast in Baghdad

Aired August 7, 2003 - 05:41   ET

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

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Of course we're following many international stories this morning, including that deadly explosion outside of the Jordanian Embassy in Baghdad.
Our senior international editor David Clinch is here now.

We're trying to get Harris Whitbeck up, but we're having problems with the videophone.

DAVID CLINCH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL EDITOR: Yes, Carol. Right, problems with the videophone. He's there at the scene now.

What's happened, an explosion outside the Jordanian Embassy in Baghdad.

COSTELLO: One second, David. We just got Harris Whitbeck now?

CLINCH: You got him?

COSTELLO: Let's go to him now.

CLINCH: OK.

COSTELLO: Harris, what's happening there? Harris, can you hear us?

All right, David, we thought we had Harris Whitbeck, but apparently we're having audio troubles. Thought I saw his mouth move.

CLINCH: Yes, sorry.

COSTELLO: But go on, tell us more.

CLINCH: Welcome to my life.

COSTELLO: Yes.

CLINCH: You know these are the things. We'll sort this out shortly.

I can tell you what's going on here, an explosion outside the embassy of Jordan in Baghdad. The tensions between Iraq, or many Iraqis, and Jordan have been going on for a long time, particularly now since the U.S. military intervention. But many Iraqis, particularly obviously Saddam Hussein supporters, saying that Jordan offered support. Some of them even say it actively militarily supported the U.S. military intervention. We don't know who has carried out this attack, a car bomb attack outside the embassy, apparently killing mostly Iraqi policemen guarding the embassy. But we do know that you see the angry crowds out there. Obviously tensions with Jordan very, very high.

COSTELLO: Boy, you're not kidding.

OK, we're going to try to go to Harris Whitbeck again.

CLINCH: All right.

COSTELLO: There's a long delay, so we're going to be patient this time.

Harris Whitbeck, tell us what you see.

HARRIS WHITBECK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Where are we? What's going on? What's going on? No, I have no -- what?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The signal -- the microphone signal...

COSTELLO: OK, we're going to -- we're going to like continue to work on that.

CLINCH: Not working.

COSTELLO: Continue on, David, I'm sorry.

CLINCH: I'm sorry. That's OK. I mean unfortunately technical problems there. We'll get it sorted out.

The attack, we don't know who has carried this out. Unlikely to be exactly the same types of people in groups that are attacking the U.S. military, but obviously, presumably related to the same kind of thing. You've got groups in Iraq still supporting Saddam Hussein, still supporting his regime who are attacking the U.S. military. The same kinds of people very angry at the Jordanians for what they see as support for the U.S. military intervention.

And also you'll remember Jane Arraf did an interview with Saddam Hussein's daughters in Jordan, now having asylum in Jordan, not the kind of thing that makes those kind of people happy. So perhaps not a surprise, although the ability of these people to go and carry out an attack against a heavily armed embassy quite scary, I think, for the U.S. military.

COSTELLO: There were Iraqi police officers surrounding it, heavy security.

CLINCH: Absolutely.

COSTELLO: And I guess the truck didn't get beyond the gates of the embassy,...

CLINCH: Right.

COSTELLO: ... so the embassy itself is not heavily damaged.

CLINCH: Not too badly damaged, although apparently, and this was very interesting to see the pictures, that the angry Iraqi crowd that gathered outside the embassy after the attack managed to get into the embassy, tear down pictures of King Abdullah and his father, deceased King Hussein, tear them up, burn them in the streets outside the embassy. So the point here being that not just those that carried out the attack, but obviously still many other Iraqis very angry at the Jordanians.

COSTELLO: And the other point, no one really was inside the Jordanian embassy because the United States isn't allowing diplomats into Iraq as of yet.

CLINCH: Right. Yes, there are diplomats around, but the embassies are not functioning, even the Arab ones.

And obviously we're still covering the continuing search for Saddam Hussein. We talked about this yesterday that every time there is a raid the potential that they'll catch Saddam, not so far. But apparently they did capture some guerrilla type leaders they're calling them who were responsible for the attacks on the American soldiers within the last few weeks up near Tikrit. So we're still on that story.

And again, as you mentioned, just very briefly, the story of the guilty verdict against Amrotsy (ph), the Indonesian terrorist thought to be behind the Bali attack of last year. Bringing up the whole problem, you find these terrorists, you bring them to court, you have a verdict. Then what happens, they go to prison, but there are any number of other Amrotsy's out there willing to carry out terrorist attacks, as we saw in Jakarta just a couple of days ago.

COSTELLO: We're going to let you get back to trying to fix...

CLINCH: Right.

COSTELLO: ... that videophone for us...

CLINCH: I'll go to it.

COSTELLO: ... so you can get to Harris Whitbeck.

Thank you -- David.

CLINCH: All right.

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