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Rym Brahimi: Were human shields attacked?

CNN's Rym Brahimi
CNN's Rym Brahimi

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•  Commanders: U.S. | Iraq
•  Weapons: 3D Models

AMMAN, Jordan (CNN) -- CNN Correspondent Rym Brahimi, reporting from Jordan, spoke with CNN Anchor Carol Costello in Atlanta about developments Tuesday in the war in Iraq.

Iraqi Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf said Tuesday that a U.S. warplane opened fire on two buses carrying human shields in western Iraq. U.S. Central Command said it is "not aware of any reports" of such a U.S. airstrike.

COSTELLO: Just a few minutes ago, there was a press briefing in Baghdad from Iraq's information minister. ...

Rym, this is very confusing, and we're trying to determine what exactly the information minister meant by this. Apparently, he said, coalition forces attacked two buses going into Jordan, and as he put it, there were American shields involved. What can you make of this?

BRAHIMI: Carol, my understanding from the briefing of the minister of information is that in those two buses there were human shields -- you know, a number of volunteers from around the world. They call themselves peace volunteers [and] had been to Baghdad in the weeks building up to the war.

And they had been staying in Baghdad at various areas, mainly a lot of facilities that are called vital facilities like water treatment plants or electrical plants. Some of them had been placed, I understand, also in oil refineries. So it depends.

They were all spread out through Baghdad. There are dozens of them in fact. We met a few when we were in Iraq as well. And they've been slowly coming out of the country. It's not clear whether they have been asked to leave by the Iraqi authorities or whether they have been leaving of their own will.

Now some of the convoys have come through in the past few days. Apparently, this convoy was made of two buses, including carrying human shields. The buses apparently fell under fire by a U.S. shooting, according to the minister of information of Iraq.

He said that some of the American human shields that were on those buses were injured and were taken to a hospital in Rutba, which is some 100 kilometers, maybe an hour-and-a-half drive before reaching the border with Jordan on the Iraqi side.

Interestingly, Carol, I know a human shield I spoke to [Monday] said that she had just come on that same road and there had been a car accident, but they had managed to make it safely, but it was a totally devastated highway.

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