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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Civilian Curfew Imposed in Baghdad

Aired April 6, 2003 - 06:11   ET

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

BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: The word we're getting out of Baghdad right now is that a curfew will be -- now be imposed against the civilian population between 6:00 p.m. in the evening, local time, in Baghdad and 6:00 in the morning. How this will impact those trying to get out of the city or to get back in we not have a clear read on that.
But Rym Brahimi has been watching this. She's live in Jordan, back with us again.

Rym, what are you hearing inside Baghdad?

RYM BRAHIMI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Bill, what I'm hearing about that curfew is that for now it doesn't seem that it will effect people that much because, in effect, people don't really go out after nightfall. Those activity just totally stops. Now people have been moving out of the Iraqi capital, not a mass exodus, but some people have been leaving through the north. There's also been movement of people going from neighborhood to stay at another neighborhood where they have family and where they feel more safe. Other people yet coming in from the outskirts of Baghdad toward the inside of the capital.

I'd just like to mention also, Bill, that I've just spoken to an official from the Red Cross. We're still waiting to hear more details on today's casualties. But yesterday what was interesting, he mentioned that until two days ago the regular number of casualties were something like 100 every day. Well after yesterday's airport battle, that shot up to 100 casualties an hour. And there's a lot of concern as to how the hospitals will be able to manage that. There's a huge hospital system in place in Baghdad, but if there is street fighting that could be affected.

In terms of bombings, the bombings started at midnight overnight, started at midnight, a lot of loud explosions in the center and the south of the capital. It stopped at dawn and then it resumed earlier on this morning at about 10:00 a.m. Lots of loud explosions, again, mainly in the southern outskirts of Baghdad. Artillery fire was also heard coming from that distance, and there's been a constant roll of planes hovering over the Iraqi capital all morning -- Bill.

HEMMER: Rym, ultimately there is the question about Saddam Hussein and his fate right now and what the U.S. may or may not know and what the Iraqi people may or may not know. What are you learning on that?

BRAHIMI: Well again, a lot of questions there. Let me just also start by saying that there has been a question of are there U.S. troops in town or not. A lot of people I spoke to said they hadn't seen U.S. troops, but they had heard from word of mouth that somebody had seen U.S. troops on the outskirts of Baghdad but not actually inside the capital for the moment.

In terms of President Saddam Hussein, well people -- the electricity has been cut off, as you well know, so it's been restored partially. It keeps coming back so people have been intermittently watching TV.

An interesting story, however, somebody I spoke to went into the neighborhood where President Saddam Hussein was seen talking to cheering crowds and shaking hands with people. Well apparently the people in the neighborhood say it was him and they saw him. They said they were amazed to see that the man that was the most wanted on earth was walking around in Baghdad like that. Some people said they shook his hand. A lot of astonishment, if you will, and some people saying that they were very happy to see their president come and greet them as well -- Bill.

HEMMER: Rym, thanks. Rym Brahimi watching the front there from Jordan.

Again, ultimately the question is where is Saddam Hussein and where has he gone and is he still in the capital city of Baghdad?

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