LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES
Jordanian Embassy in Iraq Bombed; Tactics Change in Saddam Hunt
Aired August 7, 2003 - 19:19 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: If anyone thought the level of violence in Iraq was tapering off this week, well, the last 24 hours suggest otherwise. And this time, the violence included the worst traditional terrorist-type attack since the war's end.
Harris Whitbeck is on that story for us tonight. And we're going to hear from Jane Arraf in a moment about new strategies in the hunt for Saddam Hussein.
But first, Harris Whitbeck on the new violence.
HARRIS WHITBECK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Another bomb in the Iraqi capital, this one against a non-U.S. target. The Jordanian Embassy in Baghdad was hit by a car bomb early Thursday morning, among the dead, Iraqis passing by and the Iraqi policeman assigned to guard the embassy compound.
"There was dust and smoke," says this eyewitness. "I saw burned and wounded men and women coming out of the rubble. They were Iraqis, not Jordanian."
U.S. military police quickly cordoned off the area, as investigators swept in. The question is why the Jordanian Embassy.
LT. GEN. RICARDO SANCHEZ, COALITION GROUND FORCES COMMANDER: Well, I think what this shows is that, in fact, we have got some terrorists that are operating here. It shows that we're still in a conflict zone.
WHITBECK: Jordan is perceived as being supportive of the U.S. occupation of Iraq. And many eyebrows were raised when Saddam Hussein's daughters were granted asylum by Jordan's King Abdullah.
Meanwhile, after four days of relative quiet, U.S. forces once again came under attack. Two U.S. soldiers were killed Wednesday evening during a firefight in Baghdad's Al-Rashid district. Assailants launched a rocket-propelled grenade against a U.S. Humvee as it drove through the Baghdad neighborhood or Karata. Several civilians and a U.S. soldier were wounded in the firefight that followed.
WHITBECK: The reality is that Baghdad is still a very dangerous place, not only for fighting troops, but also for international diplomats -- Anderson.
COOPER: Harris, when there is an incident like this, how does the U.S. military respond? Do they cordon off the whole neighborhood? Does it engender more searches?
WHITBECK: Well, that's exactly what they did. They cordoned off the entire neighborhood. They came out there with a rather large show of force, big tanks, Bradley Fighting Vehicles. They also went in there and investigated what was going on. Obviously, the U.S. is very interested in trying to find out who was behind these attacks to prevent further attacks.
COOPER: All right, Harris Whitbeck live in Baghdad -- thanks very much, Harris.
It is not clear who is behind the attacks, but if it ever was Hussein's sons, Uday and Qusay, well, it obviously isn't anymore.
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COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: I don't think anyone should have expected that just the death of the two sons would have completely resolved the security situation. And when in due course, we learn the fate of Saddam Hussein, I wouldn't expect that, in and of itself, to solve the security problem.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, that may be the case, but the U.S., of course, still wants very much to get its hands on Hussein.
And as CNN's Jane Arraf reports the Tikrit, the U.S. is changing its tactics.
JANE ARRAF, CNN BAGHDAD BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): His sons lie dead, his daughters prominently in exile. But Saddam Hussein himself seems everywhere and nowhere. The U.S. general in Saddam's palace, though, now says, finding the ousted leader is not his biggest priority.
MAJ. GEN. RAY ODIERNO, 4TH INFANTRY DIVISION: I want to make one thing clear, though, is -- that is not what we're focused on. Clearly, if we get leads we follow up on the leads, if we think he's in our area. And we will continue to follow up on the leads across my entire area of operation. But that's not really our sole focus.
ARRAF: It isn't Saddam, he says, ordering raids on U.S. forces. The military's focus is on finding the people who are.
ODIERNO: Mid-level people who first are planning and financing attacks against U.S. forces. We still believe that a lot of the attackers are simply being paid to conduct attacks against U.S. forces. ARRAF: The general says, four times as much as they were before, up to $5,000 per attack, an indication, he says, that it's getting harder to recruit people.
ODIERNO: I'm not going to tell you we're going to catch them in 48, 72, 96, a week or a month. I'm not going to tell you that, because I don't know. What I'm telling you is, we are taking down some of his infrastructure.
ARRAF: But it could be a long time before they completely dry up the places in this huge country where the man who ruled Iraq for almost three decades can hide.
Jane Arraf, CNN, Tikrit.
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