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Witness: Villa shook like cardboard

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(CNN) -- Explosions rocked the Saudi Arabian capital, Riyadh, late Monday. At least three of them targeted housing compounds that are home to Americans and other non-Saudis.

An Australian woman who lives in one of the targeted compounds spoke by phone Monday to CNN anchor Anderson Cooper about what she saw and heard.

COOPER: U.S. officials tell CNN [that] the U.S. suspects the blast "could very well be the work of al Qaeda." We're joined on the phone now from Riyadh by Helen, who asked that we not reveal her full name and says she was an eyewitness. Helen, what did you see?

HELEN: Hi. I was sitting in my lounge at about 11:20 p.m., and I could hear gunfire which I thought was [part of] the regular wedding celebrations here. But it seemed to go on a bit longer, and several guns [could be heard], which was unusual.

For a second I thought of calling up security and finding out what's happening when this -- just an incredible, loud explosion went off, and the sky was filled with orange light.

My villa, which is about 4,500 square feet of concrete, shook like a cardboard box. [The] power [was] cut out. Windows [were] blown out. I ran for cover.

COOPER: After you got up, what did you see? What was the aftermath? What was it like?

HELEN: Well, first of all, I was hiding because I don't know if the compound had been penetrated by terrorists. So we had to hide. The whole compound was blackened -- well, my side, anyway, of the compound. And to be quite honest, it was a shocking -- I couldn't think past just trying to save myself.

COOPER: And are you still hiding?

HELEN: No, I'm not.

COOPER: And have you seen the aftermath? Have you seen any casualties? We've had some reports of casualties, though not a specified number.

HELEN: For about an hour-and-a-half, there was just ambulances constantly leaving the premises. So I'm assuming [they were] taking away casualties. We also have a medical clinic here in the compound.

The area has been closed off by police. We've had helicopters flying over. We've had a great amount of military security surrounding the compound.

We are actually a military compound, so we do have 24 hours a day, seven days a week, military security.

COOPER: Helen, we very much appreciate you joining us. I know you have to go. But we appreciate you taking the time to speak with us.

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