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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Interview With Helen, Eyewitness to Riyadh Bombing

Aired May 12, 2003 - 20:00   ET

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

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: We have more on those explosions in the Saudi capital of Riyadh. A U.S. officials tells CNN the U.S. suspects the blast, quote, "could very well be the work of al Qaeda." This is based on the simultaneous blasts and previous intelligence reports.
We're joined on the phone night now from Riyadh by Helen who asked that we not reveal her full name and says she was an eye witness. Helen, what did you see?

HELEN, EYEWITNESS: Hi. I was sitting in my lounge at about 11:20 p.m. and I could hear gunfire which I thought was -- be the regular wedding celebrations here. But it seemed to go on a bit longer and several guns 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 just orange light. My villa which is about 4,500 square foot of concrete shook like a cardboard box. Power cut out, Windows blown out. I jumped to the ground and 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 just could hear fire and gunfire. 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? Or have you seen...

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: There has been -- there's been -- or about an hour and a half there was just ambulances constantly leaving the premises. So I'm assuming taking away casualties. We also have a medical clinic here in the compound. I believe there were four.

The area has been closed off by police. We've had helicopters flying over. We've had -- we have 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, which, obviously shooting at the terrorists upon (UNINTELLIGIBLE) approach, bearing two trucks.

COOPER: Helen, we very much -- we 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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