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Officials: Terrorist cells' activities mirror attackers' acts

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Recovery workers wait for heavy equipment to clear wreckage before searching for victims at the World Trade Center in New York on Friday.  


(CNN) -- Recent activities of known and suspected members of terrorist cells resemble those of the reputed hijackers and their associates in the days preceding the September 11 terrorist attacks, two senior U.S. law enforcement sources told CNN Friday.

There was no evidence of "a specific threat" against the country, the sources said. But, as one noted, recent information "adds to the sense of unease" among law enforcement and other government officials.

"There are people we are watching who are talking the same language -- things like "you will be happy soon" -- and other things reminiscent of pre-9-11 activities," one source said, referring to the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. "People talking the same language, circles of calls: things that are just very similar." (Full story)

Suspicious activities included travel in and out of Afghanistan, the second official said. Monitored conversations and other activities "much more overseas than here" in the United States also have raised red flags, the source said.

"People taking a trip, people not showing up for work: things that match the string we have put together as we re-create the events on and just before 9-11," have alerted authorities, the source said.

Law enforcement and intelligence officials believe the risk remains high that there could be another terrorist attack in the United States, especially if the country uses its military as part of the campaign against terrorism. (Full story)

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Latest developments:

• British Prime Minister Tony Blair says Pakistan has "made the right choice" in joining the international coalition fighting terrorism. (Full story)

• A man suspected of playing a key role in bankrolling the terrorist attacks in the United States was released from prison in India less than two years ago after hijackers of an Indian Airlines flight demanded his freedom, a senior-level U.S. government source told CNN. (Full story)

• Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld headed back to Washington Friday, concluding a whirlwind, three-day swing through the Middle East to solicit international support for the U.S.-led war on terrorism. He met with leaders in Saudi Arabia, Oman, Egypt, Uzbekistan and Turkey. (Full story)

• An Algerian pilot accused of training some of last month's suicide hijackers was denied bail in a British court Friday by a magistrate who said there is "substantial risk" of the man failing to surrender if he was released. Lotfi Raissi, 27, is facing extradition to the United States.

• About 1,000 U.S. soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division based in Fort Drum, New York, are headed for Uzbekistan, where they will provide security at an airfield. Uzbekistan is the most populous Muslim nation in Central Asia and a northern neighbor of Afghanistan. (Full story)

• British Prime Minister Tony Blair said Friday that Pakistan should be involved in the development of any new government in Afghanistan if the Taliban government falls. Blair made the comments at a news conference in Islamabad with Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf. The prime minister was to stop in India Friday night.

• The International Committee of the Red Cross said it has resumed distribution of food for displaced people in Mazar-e-Sharif in the Taliban-held area in northern Afghanistan. Meanwhile, many Afghans who fled the cities in recent weeks in fear of possible U.S.-led military strikes have begun to return to their homes, sources within the country said Friday.

• A Titan IV rocket blasted off Friday from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, carrying a top-secret payload, one that intelligence experts believe contains satellite imaging equipment capable of spying on suspected terrorists.

• The captain of a ship taking part in the recovery mission at the site of the crash of a Russian airliner in the Black Sea said Friday that pieces of the pilot's cabin appear to have three bullet holes. However, the assistant director of the Russian State Coordinating-Rescue Center urged caution in drawing any conclusions about what caused the crash, because the ship's captain is not skilled in forensic science.

• A Florida man died Friday after earlier contracting anthrax, hospital officials in Atlantis, Florida, said. Federal health authorities believe Robert Stevens contracted the disease naturally and do not think it is connected to an act of terrorism.

• The German government Friday proposed a central registry of bank accounts and a new federal agency to investigate money laundering as part of a new effort to choke off terrorist financing. "The financing patterns for terrorism show very similar patterns to the ones of money laundering," said Finance Minister Hans Eichel. (Full story)

• The head of security for the Federal Aviation Administration, Michael Canavan, is leaving his job after only 10 months, an agency spokesman said Friday. "It was a mutual decision between him and (FAA Administrator) Jane Garvey," FAA spokesman Paul Takemoto said. "He's going to pursue other opportunities outside the FAA." (Full story)

• White House spokesman Ari Fleischer on Friday termed "unacceptable" Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's warning to the United States not to "appease" Arab nations at Israel's expense. Sharon likened current events in the Middle East to Western acquiescence in 1938 to Nazi Germany's invasion of Czechoslovakia. (Full story)

• U.S. employers cut nearly 200,000 jobs last month, but the unemployment rate held steady, the government said Friday in a report that barely reflected the impact of last month's terrorist attacks. It was the largest number of job cuts since 259,000 in February 1991, when the United States was fighting the Gulf War and its economy was in a recession. (Full story)

• Afghanistan's exiled king, now in Rome, Italy, will send representatives to Pakistan and Iran to discuss Afghanistan's future political situation, his spokesman said Friday. (Full story)

• Delta Air Lines, joining other major carriers, said it would retrofit its cockpits to protect pilots from assailants. The company plans to install super-strong steel security bars that can withstand force of up to 1,500 pounds. (Full story)

• The General Accounting Office estimates that the airline industry will lose at least $5 billion and as much as $10.5 billion by the end of the year due to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Congress and the White House have approved a cash bailout of $5 billion for the airlines in addition to $10 billion in loan guarantees.

• Federal authorities will ease flight restrictions around New York City and Washington on Saturday to give owners of an estimated 41,000 privately owned aircraft a chance to remove them from airports where they have been grounded since the attacks. (Full story)

• Immigration officials believe many undocumented workers are among the victims of the World Trade Center attack, and are promising not to take action against friends or relatives who may also be in the United States illegally if they come forward with information on the missing. They've made a similar promise to their employers.

• The latest figures put the number of people confirmed dead in the attacks on the World Trade Center at 380. Of those, 310 have been identified. Police department figures indicate 4,979 people are missing. (Recovery information)



 
 
 
 



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