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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Italian Police say 12 Dead in Explosion

Aired November 12, 2003 - 06:01   ET

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

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: The United Nations, the Red Cross, the Turkish and Jordanian embassies, and now the Italian Military Police, they are targets of a bombing in Iraq this morning, and there are deaths.
Let's head live to and Ben Wedeman. He has the latest for us -- Ben.

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN CAIRO BUREAU CHIEF: Yes, Carol, the latest death toll, according to ANSA, the official Italian news agency, is 12 from that blast that took place about three hours ago in this southern Iraqi city of Nasiriyah, apparently just outside the headquarters of the Italian Carbinieri, the paramilitary police.

Now, we do understand that at least six of those dead are Italian. Others may include Iraqis.

Now, there are multiple reports that this bomb was caused by some sort of truck -- a truck containing clearly some sort of high explosives. Communications with Nasiriyah has been fairly difficult as a result of this blast. The Italians, of course, report to the British-controlled headquarters of the coalition in the southern part of the country. They've got somewhere between 2,500 to 3,000 troops in that area.

Meanwhile, here in Baghdad on Tuesday -- late Tuesday night, one soldier was killed, yet again, by a roadside bomb. No further details on that available.

Now, we do hear from Tikrit from the 4th Infantry Division that last night some of their soldiers carried out extensive raids in that area -- the biggest raids, they say, within the last two months. They rounded up at least 36 people believed to have been involved in attacks on coalition forces, including, according to a spokesman, a man they suspect had something to do with the shooting down of that Black Hawk helicopter that left six U.S. personnel dead.

Now, it's believed that the weapon used in that attack was a surface-to-air missile -- those missiles being a serious cause of concern among the coalition.

Now, these latest attacks bring to almost 50, Carol, the number of U.S. and coalition troops who have been killed in Iraq just since the beginning of November in the last 12 days, a very high death toll indeed -- Carol.

COSTELLO: Certainly. Ben Wedeman reporting live from Baghdad this morning.

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