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VOA On the Scene: Jordanian Embassy Bombed in Baghdad - 2003-08-07

A powerful explosion outside the Jordanian embassy in Baghdad has left at least seven people dead. VOA's Dale Gavlak went to the scene shortly after the explosion and described what she saw for VOA's Al Pessin in London.

PESSIN: Dale, I know you're standing right across from the Jordanian embassy in Baghdad that's just been bombed. Can you describe the scene for us please?

GAVLAK: There are about three or four cars, I saw three but people say there were four cars that actually have been bombed out. And pieces, bits of those cars are on the street in a median that is separating the two lanes. It's like a two-lane highway street. I've actually seen bits of human flesh as well. It's a horrific situation. People say they don't know who may have been involved in the bombing. I've been asking people if they saw anyone suspicious hanging around the embassy just beforehand and no one noticed anyone unusual. But, I am now speaking to you from a house, which is located across the street from the embassy. People are trying to clean up piles of broken glass. All of the front windows in this house have been shattered and this house is about 70 meters away from the blast. You can imagine it was a very powerful blast to have that effect.

PESSIN: Can you see any damage to the embassy itself?

GAVLAK: It's hard for me because basically they've got tanks, U.S. military tanks are parked directly in front of the embassy. So, I haven't even been able to get in front of the embassy to see the damage there to be honest. But, I see the cars that have been blown up as a result of this explosion.

PESSIN: And, has anybody described for you what it was like during those first moments when the blast happened?

GAVLAK: They said that they just heard this huge, huge blast and of course there was a violent shaking as well. They were just shocked because no one was expecting anything to happen. As one gentleman I spoke to said, Why is this happening? People are on their way to work. There were cars traveling on that road going to work or conducting business as they needed to get to as well as embassy cars as well as people inside that embassy. Everyone was really taken aback by what's happened today.

PESSIN: I imagine there are relief efforts going on. Can you see any of that?

GAVLAK: I have been told, I have not seen it but, I've been told by a Reuters TV man that those who were injured have been taken to the Yarmouk Hospital and that the dead have been taken to another hospital, he did not give the name, which is nearby. But, at this time I don't see any other relief services. There are just a lot of U-S soldiers and tanks in the area now that have cordoned the area off and are stationed in front of the embassy.

PESSIN: Does anybody there have any idea as to why, apparently, the Jordanian embassy was targeted?

GAVLAK: I've asked people that question and people don't know what to say about it. There is some anti-Jordanian feeling in this country but to go to the extent of putting a car bomb outside the embassy, I mean why, at this time, is really the question.

PESSIN: All right, Dale. Well, the bombing only happened a short time ago. I'm sure we'll get answers to more of these questions as the days go by.