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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Two Explosions in Erbil, Northern Iraq

Aired March 28, 2003 - 03:27   ET

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

DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: I want to take the opportunity right now, Carol, to check in with our Brent Sadler. He is in northern Iraq near Erbil, and he brought use those incredible pictures yesterday of those paratroopers, 1,000 paratroopers dropping into northern Iraq to secure the Harir airfield. We want to check in on the progress of that.
Brent -- are you with us?

BRENT SADLER, CNN BEIRUT BUREAU CHIEF: Yes, Daryn, I am. Good morning.

An incident has happened here within the past half-hour or so which has caused some concern among the regional authorities here.

We heard a small explosion and saw a puff -- a large puff of white smoke not far from a press conference that was about to start with the interior minister, Mr. Karim Sinjari (ph). Well, Mr. Sinjari (ph) has just told reporters here that this was a terrorist attack. He says that two explosive devices had been set in an uninhabited area about a mile away from where the press conference was to be held, and that these explosive devices, one has gone off, creating this smoke- cloud effect, a cloud of white smoke which we saw rising over the buildings.

Now, they donít know what it is. The second device did not explode, but he did say, Mr. Sinjari (ph), the interior minister here, that he thought it was a terrorist attack. Pretty sure, he said, it was a terrorist attack. And that the white smoke effect might have been an attempt to imitate a chemical weapon detonation, and he said if that was the case, it was seen that those who perpetrated this act were intent on -- quote -- "terrifying the civilian population of northern Iraq."

Now, this incident comes 24 hours after the regional authorities here were urging Kurds who fled their homes and cities in the past few weeks to perhaps consider returning to their homes now that the American paratroopers I was reporting on yesterday are on the ground here in northern Iraq.

So investigations are going on. One reporter asked the interior minister if there was the expertise on the ground here to check whether or not there were any chemical or biological involvement in this detonation, and he said -- quote -- "Our experts are now investigating the device that did not detonate."

So an interesting incident here. It gives you an insight really on the way that the authorities here believe there are elements, terror elements in northern Iraq that will and can create disturbance and sow seeds of terror in the population at appropriate times.

Back to you -- Daryn.

KAGAN: All right, Brent Sadler with the latest from Erbil. Thank you very much. We're going to check on more on that in just a few bit.

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