|Sept. 11 |
MSNBC STAFF AND WIRE REPORTS
Terrorists strike United States
Two hijacked jets topple World Trade Center
in N.Y.; Pentagon also hit
In the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history, two hijacked jetliners slammed into New York’s World Trade Center on Tuesday, toppling both 110-story towers where thousands of people had just arrived for work. An hour later, a third plane hit the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.
The United States will hunt down and punish those responsible, President Bush vowed as the White House, the Capitol and other federal buildings in Washington were evacuated.
BUSH, WHO WAS in Florida at the time of the attacks, did not return to Washington, but flew on Air Force One first to the Barksdale Air Force Base near Shreveport, La., and then to Offutt Air Force base outside Omaha, Neb., where he was taken to an underground bunker.
Military jets patrolled the nation’s skies and the FAA grounded all civilian aircraft until at least noon Wednesday but not before another hijacked plane, possibly headed for Camp David, crashed in Pennsylvania.
The images of devastation struck at the heart of two of the nation’s most prominent symbols of power and commerce.
In New York, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani estimated at least 2,250 peopled had been injured, many seriously. He would not estimate the number of deaths but a city police source said it could be in the hundreds or thousands.
Bush announced from Barksdale that the U.S. military was on high-alert status.
Freedom itself was attacked this morning and I assure you freedom will be defended, he told the nation in a brief statement.
Make no mistake. The United States will hunt down and punish those responsible for these cowardly actions.
Suspicion for the attacks immediately fell on Osama bin Laden, a Saudi terrorist thought to be living in Afghanistan.
An Arab language newspaper in London recently said he had been planning an unprecedented attack on the United States.
But a spokesman for Afghanistan’s ruling Taliban condemned the attacks and denied bin Laden was behind them, saying the sophistication of the coordinated assault required the expertise of a government.
Authorities in Washington immediately called out troops, including an infantry regiment. Security was tightened at strategic installations and along U.S. borders.
This is the second Pearl Harbor. I don’t think that I overstate it, said Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb.
Till next time ..Jim White firstname.lastname@example.org