BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh

 You are in: World: Americas
Front Page 
Middle East 
South Asia 
From Our Own Correspondent 
Letter From America 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

Wednesday, 12 September, 2001, 11:04 GMT 12:04 UK
Bush: Culprits will be punished
New York at dawn
New York as dawn broke
A grim-faced President Bush has mourned the deaths of thousands of Americans in the country's worst ever terrorist attack, vowing to find those responsible.

"Thousands of lives were suddenly ended by evil, despicable acts of terror," Mr Bush told the nation on television.

The World Trade Center in New York was destroyed and the Pentagon in Washington seriously damaged when hijacked airliners slammed into them on Tuesday.

The Taleban authorities in Afghanistan have reportedly offered to consider extraditing the chief suspect, Osama Bin Laden, once they have studied the evidence against him.

People flee the scene
People fled screaming
Mr Bush warned the US would make "no distinction between the terrorists who committed the attacks and those who harbour them".

Arlington County Fire Chief Edward Plaugher, in charge of fighting the fire at the Pentagon, said between 100 and 800 people had died there.

About 265 of the firefighters sent to the World Trade Center initially are now presumed dead, and New York police reported that 85 of their officers were missing.


The full resources of the US intelligence community and law enforcement agencies were searching for those who organised the attacks, Mr Bush said.

These acts shatter steel, but cannot shatter the steel of American resolve

President Bush

US navy aircraft carriers and missile destroyers are being deployed in the waters around New York and Washington.

"We have been attacked like we haven't since Pearl Harbor," Admiral Robert J Natter, commander of the US Atlantic Fleet in Norfolk, said, according to the Associated Press news agency.

Death toll
All 266 on board the four planes are feared dead
Between 100 and 800 are believed to have died at the Pentagon
41 people are known to have died so far in the WTC. 10,000 to 20,000 were estimated to be inside when the first plane crashed
At least 202 firefighters and 259 uniformed service members are missing in the WTC, feared dead

Thousands are feared to have died inside the buildings and about 260 more are presumed to have perished on board the planes.

US officials voiced suspicions that the Saudi dissident and Islamic militant Osama Bin Laden - who is based in Afghanistan - may have been responsible for the attacks.

But a Pakistan newspaper used by Mr Bin Laden has published a statement in which he denies involvement in the American attacks - although he said he fully supported them.

The Taleban's ambassador to neighbouring Pakistan, Abdul Salam Zaeef, told reporters when asked about Mr Bin Laden's possible extradition: "We can study the evidence and take action in light of that".

The United Nations says it is immediately evacuating all its staff in Afghanistan. A spokesman said staff would be withdrawn temporarily as a precautionary measure.

US missile strikes on Afghanistan followed the bombing of American embassies in East Africa in 1998.


As dawn broke over New York on Wednesday, dust clouds from where the World Trade Center once stood were still enveloping the district of Manhattan.

Overnight rescue operations were able to rescue only two survivors.

The American nightmare began just before 0900 (1300GMT) on Tuesday when two huge explosions rocked the World Trade Center as horrified onlookers watched two passenger jets plunge into its towers.

Panicking office workers jumped from windows in the skyscraper as it collapsed during attempts to evacuate the building.

Another nearby building, Salomon Brothers 7, collapsed several hours after the original catastrophe.

A fourth hijacked passenger jet crashed in Pennsylvania, south-east of Pittsburgh, with all 45 people on board feared dead.

The plane's intended target was believed to be the Maryland presidential retreat, Camp David.

Emergency measures
Government buildings including White House evacuated
Lower Manhattan evacuated and National Guard brought in
All commercial flights to and from US suspended until noon Wednesday (1600 GMT)
Warplanes ordered to attack any suspicious aircraft flying over US
Seven US warships sailed to New York, two aircraft-carriers to help in rescue efforts

European stock markets recovered on Wednesday morning, raising hopes of an end to the turmoil that has beset exchanges worldwide since the New York and Pentagon attacks.

International flights face more disruption.

New York's Mayor, Rudolph Giuliani, said a "tremendous" number of lives had been lost in the city.

There are reports that people in the basement of the collapsed World Trade Center have been making cellphone calls to relatives, telling them where they are.

See also:

12 Sep 01 | Americas
Arabic clue to attacks
Links to more Americas stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Americas stories