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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Reaction From Iraqi Information Minister's News Briefing

Aired March 29, 2003 - 06:05   ET

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

DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: Anderson, we have a chance right now to check in with our Rym Brahimi. She's in Amman, Jordan. She was with us about an hour ago when we were listening to the latest news briefing by Iraq's Information Minister. She has more on that, along with reaction to what we heard both in English and Arabic.
Rym, hello.

RYM BRAHIMI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello to you, Daryn.

Well their Minister of Information briefed reporters making several points. The first point he made was appearing in a briefing room inside the Ministry of Information. The Ministry of Information, as you know, was bombed at about 1:00 a.m. overnight. So clearly making a point that it is still functioning.

The other points he made, he said that a group of lawyers were getting together, a group of Arab and other lawyers, to sue President Bush and to take him to court over war crimes. He also said that the U.S.-led forces had destroyed a place in Basra, the southern town of Basra, where Iraq kept food supplies. He said 75,000 tons of supplies were destroyed that way.

He also refuted the allegations or accusations that Iraq was using its military as civilians. Or rather, that its military were dressed as civilians and that they were in that way using unconventional fighting methods. He said that was absolutely not true.

Finally, a couple of other points. He said that in the southern town of Najaf, a factory where clothes are made was bombed and that an ambulance carrying a person that needed an operation was also bombed by -- attacked by a cluster bomb killing both the driver and the person that needed hospital care. All in all in that town, 122 wounded, said the minister, and 35 killed in recent fighting.

He also said that Iraq had destroyed some unmanned drones, one of them in the town of El Ramadi towards the west.

Finally, he gave the count of causalities in Baghdad from yesterday's marketplace and other attacks in the city. He said 107 people were wounded and 68 killed or martyred is the word he used -- Daryn.

KAGAN: Rym, can you tell us a little bit more about that -- excuse me -- about that marketplace bombing, exactly where that marketplace was and the significance of that attack, please? BRAHIMI: Well the marketplace, it's a very significant bombing because it, of course, happened, first, at rush hour. Six p.m. is where everybody gets out to get some food supplies, especially at a time like this when food supplies, I understand from people in Baghdad, are quite rare. A lot of people were there. It was also located near a hospital where doctors were apparently treating the wounded from a previous attack in the marketplace. A very, very popular area. It seemed to have shocked a lot of people.

The minister also spoke about the Ministry of Information. As you know now, that building was hit overnight. The Minister of Information, he said that was an -- he said that was a deliberate attempt on the part of the U.S.-led forces to prevent journalists from doing their work. As you know, Daryn, a lot of the international media works out of the Ministry of Information, as well as the local staff that works for international news outlets.

Back to you -- Daryn.

KAGAN: Rym Brahimi bringing us the latest from Amman, Jordan. Thank you very much.

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