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Bush: All missions being 'executed as planned'

Bush: "Our war on terrorism has nothing to do with differences in faith. It has everything to do with people of all faiths coming together to condemn hate and evil and murder and prejudice."  

(CNN) -- One month after the deadliest terrorist attack in history, President Bush said Thursday the United States has accomplished "a great deal" in its war on terrorism, striking al Qaeda terrorist training camps in Afghanistan, weakening the Taliban regime and destroying their air defenses.

"All missions are being executed as planned on the military front," Bush said.

The president urged Americans to continue to "go about their business," despite the threats of more potential terrorist attacks.

He said an FBI alert issued Thursday that more attacks may occur over the next several days in the United States and against U.S. interests overseas was due to a "general threat."

Bush said Americans should "take comfort" from knowing their government is "doing everything we possibly can do to run down every possible lead."

As an example, the president said that in recent weeks the United States "received knowledge" that an al Qaeda operative was ready to use a crop-duster plane for a potential chemical or biological attack "on the American people."

Authorities immediately contacted all crop-dusting outfits and grounded those planes.

On the humanitarian side, Bush said he was asking all American children to donate $1 that would be used to buy food and medicine for the many starving and malnourished Afghan children. (Full story) (Transcript)

Latest developments

• The FBI warned Thursday the government has "reason to believe" terrorist attacks may occur over the next several days within the United States and against U.S. interests overseas. In a statement posted on the FBI's Web site, the bureau said the warning was prompted by "certain information" that was "not specific as to target." Other U.S. officials cited a "high probability" of such attacks by individuals linked to Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda terrorist network. (Full story)

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• Taliban supreme leader Mullah Mohammed Omar is quoted in a Saudi magazine article as pledging "death or victory" against the United States and other nations mounting airstrikes in Afghanistan. Omar also said the Taliban would never hand over suspected terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden. (Full story)

• Knowledgeable U.S. officials say Mohammed Atta -- one of the suicide hijackers -- had not one but two meetings with Iraqi intelligence officers in Prague. In both cases Atta met in Prague with Iraqi intelligence officers operating undercover as diplomats.

• U.S. military forces unleashed another round of punishing airstrikes Thursday, putting what Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld characterized as "continuous pressure" on bin Laden's al Qaeda terrorist network and Afghanistan's Taliban rulers.

Rumsfeld said U.S. forces were targeting what remained of the Taliban's air defense capabilities, including airports, planes and helicopters. He said military installations and assets were also being targeted, including tanks, trucks, training camps and command and control facilities. (Full story)

• The Senate passed aviation security legislation Thursday that calls for federal marshals on airplanes, increases cockpit security and hijack training for pilots. The bill faces an uncertain fate in House, where Republican leaders oppose a provision federalizing the airport security workforce.

• President Bush will hold a news conference at 8 p.m. EDT Thursday "to discuss with the American people the latest developments in the war against terrorism," the White House announced. (Full story )

• The head of the Federal Aviation Administration promised Thursday to deploy more bomb-detection units at U.S. airports within 90 days. FAA Administrator Jane Garvey admitted to a congressional panel that 19 CTX bomb detection machines, costing $1 million apiece and $1.5 million each to install, are still in warehouses.

• The Bush administration is currently reviewing offers from NATO allies to expand their role in the U.S. war against terrorism, a senior administration official said Thursday. The official said Italy and Spain have joined Britain, Canada, France and Germany with offers of substantial support.

• At least nine of the 19 alleged hijackers in the September 11 attacks were in the United States legally that day, the Immigration and Naturalization Service said Thursday. Four others had been granted nonimmigrant visas, but at least three had overstayed those visas, the INS said. (Full story)

• Vice President Dick Cheney, who had not been seen since the U.S.-led airstrikes in Afghanistan began Sunday, showed up at the White House Thursday as a Cabinet meeting was under way. The White House has said he has been staying at a "secure location" for security reasons.

• The opposition Northern Alliance said Thursday it had captured the north-central province of Ghowr in Afghanistan. The alliance said it repelled a Taliban attack in Samangan province and gained ground in a province near the Afghan-Turkmenistan border. (Full story)

• The U.N. High Commissioners for Refugees expressed his frustration Thursday over obstacles to urgent preparations for a possible influx of refugees into countries bordering Afghanistan. "Unfortunately we are not receiving the support -- in the region or internationally -- that we need," said Ruud Lubbers.

• President Bush attended a memorial service Thursday at the Pentagon where 189 people died when a hijacked jetliner slammed into the building. "To all of you who lost someone here, I want to say, you are not alone," he said. "We know the loneliness you feel in your loss. The entire nation shares in your sadness." (Full story)

• At Ground Zero, where the World Trade Center once stood in New York, Mayor Rudy Giuliani joined rescue workers and clergy Thursday for a memorial service that included a moment of silence at 8:48 a.m., the moment the first hijacked airliner hit the Trade Center's north tower. (Full story)

Giuliani said later Thursday the city would not accept a $10 million donation toward disaster relief from Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal after the prince suggested the U.S. government's policies in the Middle East were a factor leading to the attack. "I entirely reject that statement," Giuliani said.

• The Taliban ambassador to Pakistan, Abdul Salam Zaeef, said Thursday that American bombs hit a village near the eastern city of Jalalabad, destroying a mosque and killing 100 people. While these figures cannot be independently confirmed, Zaeef added that more than 170 Afghan civilians had been killed since the U.S. bombing began on Sunday. He said the Pentagon is "lying to the world" when it says it is not "targeting civilians." (Full story)

• The chief of Britain's defense staff said Thursday that the military campaign in Afghanistan will go from "winter into next summer at the very least." Adm. Sir Michael Boyce said that operations "will continue to such time as we achieve our objectives." (Full story)

• CNN has confirmed the first U.S. death in Operation Enduring Freedom; Air Force Master Sgt. Evander Earl Andrews, from Mountain Home AFB, Idaho, who was killed in an accident on the northern Arabian Peninsula.

• Sources told CNN hundreds of civilians were fleeing the Taliban stronghold of Kandahar, in southern Afghanistan, after the city was shaken by more than 30 explosions in a two-hour period Wednesday night. Military fuel depots, barracks, and heavy armor were targeted.

• Investigators have found no evidence linking the presence of anthrax at the offices of a supermarket tabloid publisher in Florida with terrorist attacks against the United States, an FBI official said Thursday. (Full story)

• Authorities have dropped criminal charges against one of three Arab men arrested last month in connection with the terrorist attacks. Farouk Ali-Haimoud, 21, had been charged with identity fraud, misuse of visas and conspiracy to commit those violations. (Full story)

• One of three San Diego, California, college students detained as material witnesses in the investigation went home Thursday. Yazeed al-Salmi, who lived at the same boarding house as one of the suspected hijackers, was never charged with any crime.

• U.S. stocks rallied Thursday with the Nasdaq and Standard & Poor's 500 hitting their pre-September 11 levels. (Full story)

• Indonesia weathered a fourth consecutive day of anti-American protests Thursday as police braced for even larger demonstrations expected to follow Friday prayers. Across Indonesia radical Islamic groups areactively recruiting the student movement to join in demonstrations against the U.S.-led strikes on Afghanistan. (Full story)

• Senior Pakistani officials said Thursday a logistical operation was under way at Jacobabad airport in central Pakistan. Responding to media reports of U.S. military moves at the airport, a Pakistani official said: "These are operational areas. Logistical support is being provided to the United States. Any other further comments could jeopardize the tactical planning and secretiveness of what is going on." (Full story)

• Islamic leaders meeting in Qatar on Thursday issued a statement condemning terrorism, but they said nothing about the U.S.-led airstrikes against targets in Afghanistan. (Full story)

• Iraq has brushed aside warnings from the United States not to use the current situation to launch attacks. In a return letter, Iraq described the U.S. threats as naive, silly and arrogant. (Full story)

• The U.S. Capitol Police cordoned off a 40-city block area in the nation's capital Thursday and began rerouting some commercial, agricultural and recreational vehicles from the area. (Full story)

• More than 5,100 people are presumed dead a month after the attacks on the World Trade Center, New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani said on Thursday. Giuliani said that 4,776 people have been reported missing and 442 confirmed dead. Of those, 384 bodies have been identified.


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