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Saturday, 15 September, 2001, 07:43 GMT 08:43 UK
Bush rallies New York
The visit was a gesture of solidarity with the scarred city
Bush praised the work of the firefighters
President George W Bush has visited the devastated site of the World Trade Center for the first time since the terrorist attacks on Tuesday.

Standing on a twisted piece of rubble amid cheers of "USA, USA" from rescue workers, Mr Bush vowed that those behind the destruction would soon hear from America.

The people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon

President Bush
After talking to state officials and emergency teams in New York, the president flew to Camp David for what a senior US official called a "decision-making meeting" later on Saturday with top advisors.

Federal authorities, meanwhile, revealed they made their first arrest in the worldwide investigation into the attacks on Friday.

In other developments:

  • The cockpit voice recorder from the hi-jacked plane which crashed in Pennsylvania is discovered "in fairly good shape"
  • The US Department of Justice releases the names of 19 suspected hijackers
  • President Bush approves the call-up of up to 50,000 army reserves to help recovery and security efforts
  • Congress approves use of all necessary and appropriate force against perpetrators of Tuesday's attacks and a $40bn emergency package to finance aid and counter-terrorism measures
  • Non-American airlines receive permission to resume flights to the US

Helicopter tour

Mr Bush began his visit to New York with an aerial tour of the destroyed site accompanied by New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and New York Governor George Pataki.

Emergency workers sift through the rubble
The task of searching through tonnes of rubble continues
Amid tight security, the president touched down at a landing site in south Manhattan before driving into the city in a convoy of cars.

The president walked around the disaster site, speaking to some of the workers, shaking hands with others and was briefed by senior emergency officials.

He then spoke through a loudspeaker as mud-covered rescue workers chanted, "USA! USA!"

"The nation shares its love and compassion. Thank you for your hard work, thank you for making the nation proud. And may God bless America," he said.

As workers shouted they could not hear him, Mr Bush replied: "I can hear you and the rest of the world hears you and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon."

Camp David

Mr Bush flew on to the presidential retreat at Camp David, for a meeting with Secretary of State Colin Powell, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and national security adviser Condoleezza Rice.

Death toll
All 266 on board the four planes
About 190 feared dead at the Pentagon
94 bodies found at the World Trade Center
Up to 5,000 feared dead
Nearly 100 Britons confirmed dead
At least 259 rescue workers missing, feared dead

An unnamed official told Reuters news agency the president would use his regular Saturday radio address at 1400 GMT to "educate the public about the struggle that lies ahead".

In the first major breakthrough in their search for the perpetrators of the attacks, federal authorities have arrested what they described as a "material" witness.

Click here for a graphic of the destruction in lower Manhattan.

An unnamed police source told Associated Press news agency he is the same man who was detained at John F Kennedy Airport on Thursday found to have a pilot's licence issued to his brother.

Mayor Giuliani said on Friday that there was still hope that survivors might be found in the Manhattan rubble.

But two days have now passed since the last survivor was found. About 4,700 are missing.

Early on Saturday, clouds of dust continued to drift up from the rubble of what were once New York's tallest buildings, and a stench rose from the site.

Osama Bin Laden
Osama Bin Laden: Suspected organiser
Emergency workers have repeatedly been forced into retreat by heavy rain and winds which have turned dust into mud and further destabilised buildings in the vicinity.

The Department of Defence said 125 of its employees had died or were missing after the airborne suicide attack on the Pentagon, as well as 64 people on the crashed airliner.

Meanwhile, 59 out of 124 bodies recovered from the wreckage of the World Trade Center have been identified, and 4,717 people are still missing, according to figures released on Friday night.

Secretary of State Colin Powell has warned that America will make no distinction between those that carried out the attacks and those that harbour them.

In a briefing, he said the White House was continuing to build an international coalition in support of whatever action it might choose to take against the terrorists.

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The BBC's Jane Standley
"Alongside the anger, the grief"
The BBC's Philippa Thomas
reports as George W Bush visits the former site of the World Trade Center
President George W Bush
"Today we express our nation's sorrow"


Political uncertainty






See also:

14 Sep 01 | Americas
14 Sep 01 | Business
14 Sep 01 | Americas
14 Sep 01 | Europe
14 Sep 01 | Africa
14 Sep 01 | Europe
14 Sep 01 | South Asia
14 Sep 01 | Asia-Pacific
13 Sep 01 | Americas
15 Sep 01 | Americas
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