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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Firefight in Fallujah, Iraq

Aired September 11, 2003 - 12:45   ET

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

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Our Nic Robertson is standing by right now in Baghdad. He's got some new developments unfolding in the Iraqi capital.
Nic -- tell our viewers what's going on.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, just to the west of Fallujah, about a 45 minutes' drive west of Baghdad, there was an attack apparently late this afternoon on a convoy of U.S. vehicles.

Now, according to reporters and eyewitnesses who were there, they say that the convoy had stopped moving, and then it was engaged by gunfire by multiple gunmen, some of them who had masks on.

Now, at this point, the coalition cannot confirm that this incident actually took place. However, the pictures from the scene do indicate that there was some damage to a convoy.

This is something that we've been finding here quite a lot lately, that the coalition's press service is very slow to be able to provide corroborating information with eyewitness accounts that come in from various places around the country.

But there does appear to have been an attack late this afternoon on U.S. troops. It's not yet clear how many were wounded, although the eyewitnesses do say that a number were wounded and taken away from the scene.

We've also seen here in Baghdad and around the country today memorial services for September the 11th as well -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Nic, is it a sense that they hold off on giving the kind of specifics that obviously the news media would like to receive, because they want to notify next of kin, they want to clarify exactly how many were wounded, how many were injured, how many were killed in any kind of incident? Or is it simply a matter of they're not very confident and don't necessarily get the news out as quickly as, of course, all of us would like to get it?

ROBERTSON: Well, I think, Wolf, you're right. Everybody would like to get the news as soon as possible. The information chain that the military goes through to get information from a base to Central Command and then through to the press office often does to us in here in Baghdad seem to take a long time.

Often, there is information which we have, witness accounts out in the field that is never actually formally corroborated but does turn out later to prove to be true. It's not clear exactly why that's happening, but it does seem to happen on a regular basis -- Wolf.

BLITZER: And one final question, Nic, before I let you go. We heard from our Walter Rodgers earlier, some commemorations, some memorial services, a candlelight ceremony that he covered earlier today on this second anniversary of 9/11. How much of an impact in Baghdad, how much of a buzz, if you will, does this anniversary have where you are?

ROBERTSON: Well, it's had a significant buzz exactly where I am in this particular hotel. This hotel is viewed as being one of those sorts of buildings in Baghdad that could be a target for terrorist attack. And it has been perceived by the coalition, by other security agencies here, to be a very high level of threat at this time, September the 11th, and in the coming days.

Security here has been significantly stepped up at this location and around Baghdad, and that has resulted in road closures, that has resulted in making it harder in some parts of town for Iraqis to get around the city. But it certainly made this location and a number of similar ones much more secure during this period -- Wolf.

BLITZER: CNN's Nic Robertson in Baghdad for us. Nic, we'll be checking back with you as you get some more details on this latest incident in Fallujah, just west of Baghdad. Nic Robertson doing a terrific job for us every day, not only today. Thanks, Nic, very much.

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