Wednesday, September 12, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

10,000 feared dead in attacks on US targets
* 3 planes hit key installations * Trade Center towers collapse
* Emergency declared

Smoke billows from the two World Trade Center towers after planes crashed into each tower in New York on Tuesday.
Smoke billows from the two World Trade Center towers after planes crashed into each tower in New York on Tuesday.
— Reuters photo

New York, September 11
Up to 10,000 persons were either feared killed or injured in terrorist attacks in New York and Washington when three hijacked planes were forcibly crashed into Manhattan’s landmark World Trade Center and the US Defence Department sending shock waves across the world.

In all four Boeing commercial aircraft with 266 persons crashed on a day of terrorist carnage on the US skies. An American Airlines Boeing 757 and Boeing 767 tore into the 110-storey twin towers where up to 50,000 persons work but it was not known how many were inside when the disaster occured.

Almost simultaneously American Airlines 757 hit Pentagon while another plane crashed near Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania.

Firemen work around the World Trade Center after both towers collapsed in New York on Tuesday.
Firemen work around the World Trade Center after both towers collapsed in New York on Tuesday.

People react after one of the World Trade Center towers collapsed on Tuesday.
People react after one of the World Trade Center towers collapsed on Tuesday. — Reuters photos

The casualty figures were given by a US Congressman Jim Moran in Washington as reported by American networks, but there was no official confirmation. Mayor of New York Rudi Giuliani said he could not hazard a guess on the casualty figures.

Moran said the casualty figures could go up.

President George W.Bush, who was in Florida when the strikes took place, was airborne without a destination immediately as a safety measure. Then he was flown to an airforce base in Louisiana flanked by fighter jets. To record a message he vowed to “hunt down and punish the killers”.

Later he was put in a plane and taken to a secret place. Mrs Bush was in Washington and spoke to the President over the phone.

A state of emergency has been declared in Washington following the worst ever terrorist attacks in the world. The USA closed its skies for air traffic and shut its missions all over the world as a precautionary measure.

Countries across the world went on maximum alert even as leaders expressed shock and outrage over the audacious terrorist strikes and pledged all assistance to the USA in this hour of grief.

As details of the attacks poured in there was demand for an emergency session of the US Congress at a “safe” place.

Congressional leaders said the attacks pointed to a thorough intelligence failure.

Speculation among the media commentators hovered around the possible involvement of Saudi fugitive Osama bin Laden who lives in Afghanistan.

American experts said Laden specialised in training terrorists as pilots on suicide missions.

The White House, the Capitol, the Supreme Court and other key government buildings were evacuated as the nation ground to a virtual halt and panic spread throughout the country. Authorities grounded all planes in the United States, an unprecedented step.

Early reports said all three planes used in the attacks were hijacked, two of them from Boston.

The first plane crashed into one of the twin towers of New York’s World Trade Center as thousands of workers arrived to begin their day.

An eyewitness said he saw bodies falling from the 110-storey towers and people jumping out.

Two explosions rocked the side of the Pentagon, a witness said.

“I heard two loud booms — one large, one small,” said Lisa Burgess, a reporter for Stars and Stripes newspaper.

She said she saw smoke billowing from one side of the building.

Hundreds of people rushed for the exits of the world’s largest office building after being ordered to evacuate.

The planes that slammed into the Trade Center blasted fiery, gaping holes in the upper floors of the twin towers. The southern tower collapsed with a roar about an hour later.

“This is perhaps the most audacious terrorist attack that’s ever taken place in the world,” said Chris Yatnes, an aviation expert at Jane’s Transpoet in London. “It takes a logistics operation from the terror group involved that is second to none. Only a very small handful of terror groups is on that list.... I would name at the top of the list Osama bin Laden.

All bridges and tunnels into Manhattan were closed down.

The twin disaster at the World Trade Center happened shortly before 9 a.m. (6.30 p.m. IST) and then right around 9 a.m.

Heavy black smoke billowed into the sky above the gaping holes in the sides of the twin towers, one of New York city’s most famous landmarks, and debris rained down upon the street, one of the city’s busiest work areas. When the second plane hit, a fireball of flame and smoke erupted, leaving a huge hole in the glass and steel tower.

John Axisa, who was getting off a path train to the World Trade Center, said he saw “bodies falling out” of the building. He said he ran outside, and watched people jump out of the first building, and then there was a second explosion, and he felt heat on the back of his neck. PTI, AP


Attacks to ‘avenge’ dead of Hiroshima

Amman, September 11
An anonymous caller today claimed responsibility for the spate of attacks in the USA on behalf of Japan’s Red Army militant group to “avenge the dead of Hiroshima”.

“An anonymous caller speaking Arabic like a foreigner claimed responsibility for the attacks in a call to our newspaper,” the Editor of the weekly Al-Wahdeh newspaper, Fakhri Kawar, told AFP here. AFP


USA cancels air traffic

Washington, September 11
The US Government ordered all commercial air traffic nationwide cancelled after today’s apparent terrorist crashing of two planes into New York’s World Trade Center, according to media reports.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) took the action after a third explosion, according to some reports also a crashed plane, rocked the Pentagon near Washington. DPA


Chicago skyscrapers evacuated

Chicago, September 11
Tall office buildings, businesses, stock and commodities exchanges were evacuated in Chicago today after two planes crashed into New York’s World Trade Center and there were explosions in Washington.

While no incidents were reported in Chicago, people poured out of the tallest building in the city, Sears Tower, as companies decided to close and send their workers home.

“The building is closed,” a security guard at Sears Tower told newsmen.

Chicago’s two major futures exchanges, the Chicago Board of Trade and Chicago Mercantile Exchange, suspended all trading after New York trading was suspended.

“The fewer people in this building, the better, until we can better ascertain what’s going on,” said Mark Cermak, a senior trader with O’Connor and Co. and a member of the board of the CBOT. Reuters

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