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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Car Bomb Kills 5 U.S. Troops in Najaf

Aired March 29, 2003 - 06:00   ET

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

(NEWS ALERT)
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: And you are looking at live pictures from Baghdad where it is 2:02 in the afternoon. Good morning, it is Saturday, March 29. From CNN's global headquarters in Atlanta, I'm Anderson Cooper.

DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: And live from Kuwait City, I'm Daryn Kagan.

Let's go to a map right now and give you a visual sense of where some of the hot spots are inside of Iraq. First, to central Iraq, Najaf is where that car bomb attack took place that we just told you about. We're going to keep you updated on that situation. We're also taking you to Nasiriya for an update on the new fighting there. And in northern Iraq, we'll check in with our Jane Arraf who's with U.S. troops setting up shop at Harir Airfield -- Anderson.

COOPER: Well, Daryn, turning now for an early briefing on stories that will be news later today. U.S. Central Command will give its daily news brief one hour from now at 7:00 a.m. Eastern. As always, we'll bring it to you live.

Americans are again planning to take to the streets to voice their opinions about the war. There'll be anti-war protests, as well as rallies for the troops, in cities across the country today.

And it's Family Day at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, in the 101st Airborne Division. With them deep in Iraq, members, the families back at the base are hoping to try to ease tensions with some well-deserved family fun.

For the latest right now, we want to go to Tom Mintier who is at CENTCOM in Doha, Qatar -- Tom.

TOM MINTIER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, within the last hour, we did have confirmation from CENTCOM officials here of that incident in Najaf, where apparently a vehicle laden with explosives was detonated at a military checkpoint. The Associated Press and the "Jerusalem Post" are reporting that five American soldiers were killed in that incident. Here at CENTCOM, they are not releasing any figures but do say there were casualties.

Apparently this vehicle pulled up to the military checkpoint. The driver came out and was waiving his arms. As the soldiers approached the vehicle, it was apparently detonated. So we heard from the Information Minister in Iraq in the last hour that they would ambush the coalition forces wherever they could, talked about kidnapping, but apparently now car bombs are part of the inventory of what is happening on the battlefield here. A fairly disturbing thing to report on that the tactics.

Again, here at CENTCOM, for the past few days they have been criticizing Iraqi military for what they term cowardice on the battlefield. Saying that they're hiding behind women, they're raising white flags and then raising their rifles with the other hand. Now we have an incident where a car bomb was detonated at a military checkpoint.

Anderson, back to you.

COOPER: Tom, I guess it is not surprising for military planners, but it is shocking, nevertheless, to hear. Tom Mintier live in Doha, Qatar. We'll hear more from you later on as the CENTCOM briefing approaches in about 55 minutes.

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