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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Explosions Reported out of Baghdad

Aired November 4, 2003 - 11:55   ET

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

DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: Once again, we want to get back to our breaking news coming out of Baghdad. A series of explosions heard in and around the Iraqi capital. This would be the second straight night of explosions.
Our Matthew Chance is in Baghdad and perhaps can tell us more about what is taking place there -- Matthew.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Daryn, it seems like every night there is some other kind of event or incident that takes place that further undermines the very fragile sense of security that exists in this city of Baghdad, the capital of Iraq.

Over the course of the past few minutes, we've heard a few more explosions, very close to the hotel where we're speaking to you from the center of the Iraqi capital. We understand they might have come from the vicinity of some coalition headquarters, forces in some part of the city.

Certainly, that's been the pattern over the past few days and weeks. The coalition authorities, the troops on the ground have been coming under regular attack from the insurgents opposed to the presence of those coalition forces on the ground.

What we actually heard was three loud explosions. They sounded like mortars detonating or rockets detonating. A similar kind of thing that we experienced just last night, where we understand, according to coalition officials, that the insurgent lobbed three projectiles into the Green Zone, the heavily-secured area in the center of Baghdad that the coalition authority has made its headquarters.

This is the area which incorporated the former palaces of Saddam Hussein. We're not clear at this stage what the target was, if there were any injuries or damage. But we're sending out a team and hopefully we'll have that information coming to us in the minutes ahead -- Daryn.

KAGAN: Just so I understand, do you understand or do you have a feel for where these explosions took place tonight?

CHANCE: No, we don't. All we can say is they sounded like a short distance away from the hotel here in the center of Baghdad, certainly a lot closer than the ones we witnessed last night.

But I think these explosions really serve to illustrate one of the other stories that we've been reporting today, which is the Spanish government has announced a withdrawal of its diplomatic staff, or the majority of its diplomatic staff, at least, form the Iraqi capital of Baghdad.

They say they're going out of the country for consultations. But it's security reasons here in the Iraqi capital that this country of Spain has decided to downscale the number of personnel it has working here. Quite simply for the Spanish embassy, which will remain open, it's simply not safe enough here to have such a large staff.

Indeed, that's been the judgment of many international organizations, as well, who were previously based here.

KAGAN: Spain had to feel a significant loss in order to make that decision. Wasn't it one of their chief diplomats that was killed recently?

CHANCE: Absolutely. Well, I mean, certainly, the United Nations and the Red Cross Organizations that are usually sort of immune from this kind of insurgency have been, in fact, targeted by these insurgents.

The big question is, who are the insurgents carrying out these kinds of regular, increasingly confident attacks against the coalition authorities and against the people of Iraq, as well?

Certainly, there are communities in Iraq. Only last night big explosion, a bomb detonated outside the hotel in the town of Karbala about 60 miles to the south of Baghdad. Now it seems there that Iraqi Shi'ite civilians were targeted.

And so, perhaps, that's of the reasons that this insurgency that we're all witnessing doesn't have a kind of general, popular support amongst all Iraqis. It only has sort of pockets of support, particularly that area which we're calling the Sunni Triangle where people are very, very opposed to presence of the U.S. forces and these kind of attacks are immensely popular amongst ordinary people.

KAGAN: All right, Matthew, thank you for bringing us the latest on that breaking news out of Baghdad. As Matthew was telling us, a series of three explosions heard around the Iraqi capital. I'm sure we'll hear much more from Matthew throughout our day here in the United States.

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