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Investigation concerning attacks underway
The suicide attacks in America began around 8:45 a.m. last Tuesday, with an airplane crashing into one of the World Trade Center towers in New York City. Less than twenty minutes later, a second airplane was flown into the tower that remained in tact. Shortly after, an airplane slammed into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and a fourth crashed outside of Somerset, Pennsylvania.
The world watched in horror as scenes from the mornings attacks were replayed on television, the most disturbing of them all being the video of the second plane hitting the World Trade Center. The twin towers then collapsed, taking a piece of America’s history with them.
266 people, including crew and passengers, were killed aboard the four airlines used in the highjackings. There is an estimate of 190 people dead after the attack on the Pentagon.
President George W. Bush was reported to have demanded his staff to return him to the nation’s capitol, so that he could handle the crisis from the White House. Instead he was brought to secure locations, including the Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana. That evening, he addressed the nation from the Oval Office. “The search is under way for those who are behind these evil acts,” said Bush. “We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts, and those who harbor them,” he continued.
Since the President’s speech, the search for the perpetrators of Tuesday’s action has been in full force. The first arrest came on Friday, September 14. According to the MSNBC website, a material witness, an individual who is not necessarily a suspect in the investigation but is believed to have information about the attack, was arrested after being detained Thursday after an altercation in a New York airport.
Ayoub Aki Khan, 51, and Mohammed Jaweed Asman, 47, were reported to have been transferred to Washington on Friday, to be questioned by the FBI. On Tuesday, the two men were arrested after boarding an Amtrak train in San Antonio, Texas. They were reported as possessing box cutters with them, the same weapon that was used in the highjackings that morning.
According to MSNBC, NBC’s Kerry Sanders reported that a letter had been received by a Cayman Islands radio station. An individual was convinced that three Afghan men were in the Caymans and they were the agents of Osama bin Laden, the exiled Saudi millionaire. The writer warned that the men, who were in the islands illegally, were planning a terrorist attack “via an airline or airlines.”
The radio station sent the letter to Cayman Island officials on Thursday, September 6, however the letter was treated “merely as speculation,” until the attacks on Tuesday. According to Sanders, the author of the letter has been identified and questioned. Three Afghan men are being held on the islands for immigration charges.
A short list of suspects were released to the public on Friday. The list included names of those believed to have been the highjackers involved in the terrorist attacks. According to the MSNBC website, the men believed to have been on the flight that crashed into the Pentagon were Khalid Al-Midhar, who was in the United States on a visa; Majed Moqed; Nawaq Alhamzi and Salem Alhamzi, who were indicated to be possible residents of Fort Lee, New Jersey; and Hani Hanjour, a pilot who possibly lived in Phoenix and San Diego.
The suspects that are believed to have been on board one of the planes that hit one tower of the World Trade Center were Waleed M. Alshehri, Wail Alshehri and Mohamed Atta, all believed to have residences in Florida and Hamburg, Germany. Atta was identified by German officials as being “tied to an Islamic fundamentalist group that planned attacks on U.S. targets.” Also on the list were Abdulaziz Alomari and Satam Al Suqami.
Among those suspected to have highjacked United Airlines Flight 175, which also crashed into the World Trade Center are Marwan Al Shehhi, a pilot who was in the United States on a visa, as well as Fayez Ahmed, Mohald Alshehri, Hamza Alghamdi and Ahmed Alghamdi, all of whom had addresses in Delray Beach, Fla.
The hijackers aboard the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania were reported as being Ahmed Alhaznawi, Ahmed Alnami and Saeed Alghamdi, all possible residents of Delray Beach; and Ziad Jarrahi, a pilot.
Federal investigators made the names available to the public in hopes of “flushing out other people who may have similar information,” reports the MSNBC website. They also sent out a list of 100 names to local and federal law enforcement agencies, in hoping that they can obtain those individuals for questioning. “We believe they may have information that might be helpful to the investigation,” said Attorney General John Ashcroft on Friday.
Meanwhile, as the investigation continues, so does the relief effort, especially in New York City. President Bush visited the site of the collapsed World Trade Center buildings on Friday, meeting and praying with those who have been affected by the tragedy.
Firefighters, emergency medical technicians, police, doctors, and other volunteers have been called to the sight of the destroyed towers, and the building collapsing around them. Many of the volunteers are now trying to work through the debris to find missing persons, while the rest of the country hopes that they will find some survivors.
As the volunteers continue the relief effort, American citizens are reaching out a helping hand. In Connecticut, one of many collections of resources needed for the relief efforts took place in Branford. Volunteers, including a group of local boy scouts, collected six 18-wheel trucks full of bottles of water to send to New York City.