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CNN BREAKING NEWS
Coalition Launches Air Strike in Fallujah
Aired June 25, 2004 - 12:58 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Kyra Phillips in the Atlanta headquarters. Breaking news for you right now. We're getting word a coalition air strike on a purported safe house of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. You remember this is the man with close ties to Osama bin Laden, the man also taking responsibility for the beheading of American Nicholas Berg. Our Barbara Starr live from the Pentagon now.
What can you tell us about this attack, Barbara?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Kyra, CNN has learned from a senior U.S. defense official just a few moments ago that this latest attack on a safe house in Fallujah came very close, in the words of one official, to possibly killing Abu Musab Zarqawi, but he got away.
This official describes a scenario in which U.S. war planes were targeting a house in Fallujah. As they began to drop 500-pound bombs on this house, a convoy of cars, including a security group rolled up to the house. A man got out. The bombs dropped. The man was thrown to the ground. He was then put back into the convoy of cars, and the cars drove away. This official says, to their knowledge, Abu Musab Zarqawi is the only person in that network of terrorist insurgents that travels with that level of security.
Now, this official emphasizes to CNN that the man they saw fall to the ground and then be put back in the group of cars, as the official says, he wasn't wearing a name tag, but they do believe that it was very close to being -- pardon me. We were having technical problems. The man was not wearing a name tag, but they believe it was possibly Abu Musab Zarqawi.
PHILLIPS: Barbara, once again, let's put this in perspective for viewers just tuning in. Five hundred-pound bombs on the purported safe house of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, obviously, not enough. You're telling us troops very close to getting him, but reportedly he has gotten away. This is a man not only claiming responsibility for the beheading of American Nicholas Berg, but this is also the man claiming responsibility for a string of attacks on U.S. troops and also Iraqi civilians.
STARR: Let's be very clear, Kyra. That's all exactly right. U.S. war planes have been targeting a number of safe houses in Fallujah for the last several days. They have fresh intelligence, we are told. That Zarqawi continues to use Fallujah as his base of operations, and they believe, they believe that the man they saw fall to the ground after these bombs hit a house earlier today, they say he wasn't wearing a name tag, but they believe it may have been him -- Kyra.
PHILLIPS: We'll continue to follow the breaking news at the top of the hour.
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