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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Baghdad Bombing

Aired March 29, 2003 - 03:14   ET

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

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: We're going to get an update now from Rym Brahimi, who is in Amman, Jordan, and has been observing both the reaction to and results of the Baghdad bombing.
So -- Rym.

RYM BRAHIMI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, indeed hospital sources I have spoken to are putting the number of killed people in that marketplace bombing, it's anything between 47 and 57 people. We're waiting to hear confirmation on that issue as well. Lots of, lots of wounded. They're also expecting the death toll, they say, to rise, because there were many people that were wounded, severely wounded in that blast.

Now, it appears that that marketplace bombing occurred in a very, very popular area, a very poor neighborhood of Baghdad. As it turns out, what happened was the people went at 6:00 p.m. It happened. 6:00 p.m. is really rush hour, Anderson. This is when people really go and do their shopping in Baghdad at any time of the year (UNINTELLIGIBLE) this is a time for people to go out and make sure they can, you know, bring enough food home.

Well, at that point, the bomb exploded. The wounded were taken to a hospital nearby. It turned out the bomb exploded -- the attack took place at a place that's right near the hospital where they were already treating the wounded from the previous marketplace bombing. And so all of a sudden they received this rush of other civilians. Again, this is what I'm told from hospital sources in Baghdad.

Now, it appears that also, as you were seeing pictures earlier on, the Ministry of Information in Baghdad was hit, a very important building, something the Pentagon has called a legitimate target, in the weeks before the bombing began even. That building hosts, as you know, a lot of international media, a lot of local staff that works for international media, it hosts international journalists, and it hosts all of the government employees -- Iraqi government employees of the Ministry of Information. So we'll have to wait and see what the next briefing from that ministry tells us to hear more details.

Meanwhile, Anderson, just a quick word on the atmosphere. I spoke to some people in Baghdad. Telecommunications have been hardly hit except for one or two areas inside the city. The rest of the city's phone links are all down; this, after the bombing of three communication buildings apparently in Baghdad the day before. So a very tense atmosphere.

People are finding it harder and harder to find food. The supermarkets have almost nothing left in them, and it's very difficult for people to be able to find food to eat right now.

Back to you -- Anderson.

COOPER: Rym, just briefly, any sense of whether Iraqi television or satellite television is still on the air?

BRAHIMI: Well, I've been seeing Iraqi satellite television. That's still on the air. And I've been told that Iraqi TV is still on the air, as is Iraqi radio, state radio. So that doesn't seem for now to have been affected, although we obviously know and the U.S. officials haven't made a secret of the fact they do think it's something that they would want to target as well.

They tried to target the satellite channel at one point, if you remember a few days ago, but a couple of hours later -- it did knock the signal off the air for a couple of hours maybe, but then the signal came back quickly.

This is probably also something that the Ministry of Information and the Ministry of Telecommunications have been expecting. They are, after all, obvious targets. If you consider that the aim of the U.S. administration is to remove the regime, well, obviously they will go first for those kinds of targets -- telecommunications, information as well.

Back to you -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right, Rym Brahimi live in Amman, Jordan. It will be interesting to see, Rym, you know, this is often -- in the next couple of hours is when we often see these press conferences coming out of Baghdad. It will be interesting to see if they have a press conference as they have the last several mornings.

Rym, thanks a lot. We'll check in with you shortly.

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