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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

U.S. Airstrikes Hit Iraqi Positions Above Kalak

Aired March 31, 2003 - 03:09   ET

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

DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: We're going to move north of where Walter is and check in with Jane Arraf. She is in Kalak. It is a Kurdish-held northern area of Iraq, and there's bombing in this area; also an attack on a suspected terrorist group compound.
Jane -- hello.

JANE ARRAF, CNN BAGHDAD BUREAU CHIEF: Hello.

Well, you're right. There was intense bombing overnight, particularly in this ridge just behind us, which is indeed the Iraqi front line. Explosions so hard we could feel the windows shake here.

And following that bombing, a group of Iraqi soldiers have surrendered. Our producer, James Martone, went to the Kurdish checkpoint, the headquarters where they are being held and saw eight of them.

Now, officials there say 15 of these young soldiers walked in very early this morning, feeling cold, tired and hungry. James said that they, in fact, looked tired, but one had been taken to the hospital for exhaustion, but otherwise looked relatively well. One of them hid his face, but the rest actually said "hello" and smiled.

Now, we could not show their faces. They did not want their photographs taken, nor did Kurdish officials, because they still have families in places like Baghdad and Mosul. But it's an indication that small groups of Iraqi soldiers are surrendering following that intense bombing.

Some of the most intense of the bombing was in the city of Mosul, which is about 25 miles, about 40 kilometers from here. That came under very heavy bombardment during the night. And it's one of the two main places that is the focus of this current campaign. The other being the oil city of Kirkuk, where the Iraqi front lines are shifting as Iraqi forces withdraw towards the city.

KAGAN: Jane Arraf joining us from northern Iraq -- Jane, thank you very much for that report.

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