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Thursday, August 20, 1998 Published at 18:39 GMT 19:39 UK

World: Africa

US attacks 'terrorist targets'

Clinton: returning to Washington

United States armed forces have struck at "terrorist facilities" in Afghanistan and Sudan in response to the embassy bombings in Africa.

President Clinton: We have struck back
US forces attacked a terrorist base in Afghanistan and a chemical weapons facility in Sudan.

Speaking on national television, US President Bill Clinton said there was convincing evidence that the two facilities had a role in the recent bombings of the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

[ image:  ]
He also said he had evidence that further attacks on American interests were scheduled.

The Afghan target was made up of seven sites in one complex. It was 94 miles south of Kabul, close to the border with Pakistan. US Defence Secretary, William Cohen said it was a training camp for terrorists linked to one of the main suspects of the Africa bombings, Osama bin Laden.

[ image:  ]
The second attack was directed against a pharmaceutical plant in the Sudanese capital Khartoum.

Eyewitnesses said that four explosions lit up the sky in the north of the city about 20 minutes before Mr Clinton's television announcement.

Ahmed Wali Masoud of the Afghanistan Embassy in London
The Sudanese Interior Minister, Abdul Rahim, later confirmed that two American aircraft had attacked targets near the city.

He said that the target had been a private factory, which manufactured medical goods, and had nothing to do with chemical weapons. He said that Sudan had no chemical weapons factories.

The president said the groups that were attacked were "seeking to acquire chemical weapons and other dangerous weapons."

Mr Clinton made the announcement in an unscheduled broadcast from Martha's Vineyard, in Massachusetts, where he was on holiday.

He is on his way to Washington where he said he would be to supervising further action.

Defence Secretary Cohen later said the attacks had a clear message; that those who attack the American people could find no safe refuge.

Mr Cohen said that the orders to attack had been given personally by President Clinton. He said that the attacks had been planned for several days.

The American administration believed that several specific attacks against US targets were being planned.

He said he was satisfied that the American strikes would prevent further American deaths.

Mr Cohen said that Mr bin Laden had been directly involved in the east African bombings, and was planning further attacks on American interests.

[ image: Bin Laden: denies charges]
Bin Laden: denies charges
However he said that at the time of the attacks he did not know the exact whereabouts of Mr bin Laden, who is in exile in Afghanistan.

Mr bin Laden, a Saudi millionaire dissident, spoke to the BBC by satellite phone one hour before the attack denying involvement in the bombings.

However, earlier he said he would continue his war against the Americans and the Jews until the liberation of the Islamic holy places.

Earlier international aid agencies pulled staff out of Afghanistan following an American warning that they could be in danger.

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