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Marines search media's Baghdad hotel

'To look for people who are not friendly to the United States'

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) --Teams of U.S. Marines looked "for unauthorized weapons" and people "not friendly to the United States" in a search Tuesday at a Baghdad hotel that is a home base for many journalists, a military source told CNN's Michael Holmes.

The Palestine Hotel houses about 2,000 international journalists who are covering the war. It has been the site of two firefights.

Arrests were made, but information on the number and nationalities of those detained was not immediately available. Sources at the hotel said the Marines searched at least the ninth and 17th floors.

"This operation was to look for people who are not friendly to the United States," the source said. "Our intelligence is that there may be such people staying in the Palestine Hotel."

A U.S. attack on the hotel last week killed two journalists. U.S. Central Command said U.S. forces came under "significant enemy fire" from the facility and responded "consistent with the inherent right of self-defense." A tank from the Army's 3rd Infantry Division fired into the hotel in response.

CNN Producer Linda Roth was in her room on the hotel's 17th floor when the search began.

"I heard a slight tap, tap, tap at the door," she said. "It was the U.S. military, weapons drawn. They ordered me into the room and to get down. They came in, they searched the room, the closets, every single room and asked to see my IDs and my passport."

Roth said a Marine stood guard at her door as the search continued throughout the floor.

"There was definitely tension, and they were definitely looking for someone," she said.

A source said the Marines want to make sure the hotel is more secure. Steps to do so probably will include moving people out of the hotel who are not accredited journalists or U.S. service members.

The source said the military is not sure how many people that may be. The number, however, is believed to be small.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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