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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Powell Arrived Short Time Ago in Saudi Arabia

Aired May 13, 2003 - 05:30   ET

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

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Secretary of State Colin Powell says this attack in Riyadh is a sign the terror war is still with us. Powell spoke in Amman, where he'd just finished talks with Jordanian officials. Powell signed an agreement providing Jordan with $700 million in additional U.S. aid. The funds make up for Jordan's lost trade with Iraq. But the Saudi attack took focus at the post-signing news conference.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, it has the earmarks of al Qaeda and I think it's just part of al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations' willingness to kill innocent people in order to push forward a criminal agenda, a terrorist agenda that very often has no purpose, has no meaning other than to strike out in rage.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSTELLO: As we've told you, Powell did not delay his trip. He arrived a short time ago in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, about an hour and a half ago.

We do have a CNN crew en route. We'll have a live update for you in our next hour.

An eyewitness to that bombing at one Riyadh compound called into CNN to describe the scene. Helen is a six year resident of the compound. She didn't want her full name used because her husband works for a U.S. military contractor, but listen to what she has to say.

HELEN: There's been ambulances non-stop. We also have a hospital here on the compound that has been apparently just cram packed with people injured. I don't know about any deaths, but there is debris all over the compound. The water tanks have been blown out because they're up at the rear of the compound. And the majority of the workers are housed all up there, as well, so what has come of them, god only knows.

A lot of the residents started running about the compound, I think in just shock. We didn't venture out much, of course, because we didn't know if there were people on here, terrorists within the grounds. You know, it's a big compound. There are 440 villas. We're, you know, a big estate. It's like a big holiday resort, you know? So there's ample places they could be hiding.

But we've been assured that no one has come in and basically they didn't make it past the front gates.

COSTELLO: In case you're wondering, about 12,000 Americans live in Riyadh. The State Department has now advised U.S. citizens there to stay home for the time being.

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