BATTLE STATIONS; Bush Finalises Plans for Military Strategy

Wales On Sunday (Cardiff, Wales), September 23, 2001 | Go to article overview

BATTLE STATIONS; Bush Finalises Plans for Military Strategy


Byline: BY ANDREW WOODCOCK

US PRESIDENT George W Bush was last night finalising his plans for military action in the declared war on terrorism.

Yesterday he acknowledged the scale of the blow delivered by last week's terror attacks, but insisted: "We're still the greatest nation on the face of the Earth and no terrorist will ever be able to decide our fate."

Mr Bush spent the day in talks with advisers at his rural retreat Camp David, near Washington, finalising the military strategy which is expected to be implemented within days.

US warships continued to gather in the Arabian Sea and reports suggested that special forces had taken up positions near the borders of Afghanistan, ready for raids to target Osama bin Laden, the prime suspect for the September 11 atrocities.

In Afghanistan, Taliban authorities claimed their soldiers had shot down an unmanned spy plane over the north of the country, but had been unable to identify which country it belonged to. US authorities refused to comment on the claim.

Pope John Paul II arrived amid tight security in the mainly Muslim central Asian republic of Kazakhstan for a four-day visit, during which any action against nearby Afghanistan is thought highly unlikely.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Tony Blair was at Chequers following his hectic week of shuttle diplomacy.

Downing Street sources said he was working on the crisis, but had had no high-profile contacts with other world leaders.

Anti-terrorist police continued to question four people arrested on Friday in connection with the US attacks. A man aged 27 and a 25-yearold woman arrested in Berkshire and a man in his 40s arrested in Birmingham were all being held at central London police stations.

A 29-year-old man was also arrested in west London but was released last night without charge.

Police will have to apply today to magistrates for permission to extend their custody, if no charges have been brought within 48 hours of the arrests.

Two men were arrested in Belgium and seven in France as authorities across the continent stepped up their investigations into European links with the terror attacks.

President Bush used his weekly radio address to affirm that his nation was bloodied but unbowed after the suicide attacks on New York and Washington.

He said: "We're still the greatest nation on the face of the Earth, and no terrorist will ever be able to decide our fate.

"Our economy has had a shock.

Many workers lost their jobs this week, especially in the airline and hospitality industries, in restaurants and in tourism, as companies struggle to remain afloat. …

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