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US troops killed in Baghdad Green Zone -

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US troops killed in Baghdad Green Zone

AM - Friday, 15 October , 2004 08:00:00

Reporter: Alison Caldwell

TONY EASTLEY: At least four Americans and six Iraqis have died in two attacks in what's supposed to
be one of the safest places in Iraq. Insurgents penetrated the heavily protected Green Zone in
Baghdad to detonate their bombs.

The Green Zone, a 10 square kilometre area in the heart of the capital, is where Australia is
currently building its new Embassy. These attacks, in an area that's supposed to be the next safest
place after the airport, have exposed serious security problems.

Alison Caldwell reports.

ALISON CALDWELL: The terrorists struck at the very heart of what's meant to be the one of the
safest places in Iraq. Just before one o'clock in the afternoon, two men entered a popular cafe in
the heavily fortified Green Zone, home to the coalition headquarters as well as the US embassy.

This man who doesn't want to be identified says he witnessed the attacks.

WITNESS (translated): I entered the restaurant and I saw them sitting on the table. Suddenly the
workers in the restaurant came to us and told us that two people were acting suspiciously, so we
called the US soldiers to check them. One of the workers asked them about their nationality. He was
told they were Jordanian and not Iraqis.

After ten seconds of the arrival of the American troops, the first explosion happened and that was
followed by a second explosion in ten or fifteen seconds. I fell down and I checked myself and I
was okay. I saw the injured people being helped by the restaurant workers and then I saw the
destruction around me.

ALISON CALDWELL: Shopping is considered too dangerous in Baghdad, so a market was opened inside the
compound recently, with market traders allowed to come and go. A bomb was found in a café as
recently as last week.

Larry Kaplow is a journalist with Cox Newspapers. He's spoken to people who witnessed the attacks.
He says the two men entered the cafe and ordered tea.

LARRY KAPLOW: One of the men sat down and, they said, kept a hand on the table and other hand in
his... in the bag, in one of the bags. And the other man spent most of the time, according to this
witness, standing next to him and talking to him very fervently about something that they said they
didn't overhear, and they said afterwards they think it was sort of encouraging him, brainwashing
him, coaxing him into blowing himself up.

ALISON CALDWELL: Twenty-five minutes later, one of the men put a bag over his shoulder, walked out
of the restaurant and, according to a restaurant employee, climbed into a taxi.

Larry Kaplow again.

LARRY KAPLOW: A few minutes after that they heard the blast at the bazaar, a few hundred metres
from there and people were just sort of taking that in when according to them the man who was
sitting there blew up his bag.

ALISON CALDWELL: A mobile phone camera captured images inside the cafe, a scene of utter
devastation.

LARRY KAPLOW: There was a lot of debris just from plastic chairs and plastic tables and windows and
a lot of shattered glass, but also food and what looked like flesh or sinewy pieces out on the
road, which was about fifty feet from the blast.

ALISON CALDWELL: Just over a kilometre away from the blast site, US embassy staff have been told to
remain inside the embassy compound until further notice.

At least four Americans and six Iraqis were killed in the attacks.

The US citizens were security staff with a private company, on contract to protect the US embassy.
Two State Department employees were also injured.

US State Department spokesman Richard Boucher condemned the attacks.

RICHARD BOUCHER: There's an effort that we are making to try to help the Iraqi people rebuild their
country. That's another example of where there are terrorists who want to attack the Iraqis, who
want to attack us, who want to attack anybody who is trying to establish opportunity and freedom
for the Iraqi people.

We know that's the situation, there are people who go out or know that they are serving in
dangerous circumstances. But it's obviously very sad and unfortunate when something happens to
them, frankly, when something happens to the Iraqis, who we are working with in the Green Zone and
elsewhere in the country.

ALISON CALDWELL: In a statement posted on an Islamic website, the group led by Jordanian terrorist
Abu Mussab Al-Zarqawi claims responsibility for the blasts. It describes the attack as one of their
most successful operations yet. The US military said it fears more attacks over the holy month of
Ramadan.

TONY EASTLEY: Alison Caldwell there.