Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Sept. 13, Breaking News Archive for the War on Terror. Thomas Crosbie Media.

TCM Archives > TCM Breaking News > 2001/09/13 > World

Thursday, September 13, 2001 :

MAIN TOPIC: War on Terrorism
11:22 PM Justice Department make three arrests » LATEST
10:47 PM Security officials remove 'suspicious package' from US Senate
10:21 PM Police evacuate US Senate
10:17 PM Miraculous rescue did not happen
9:50 PM NYC stock exchange to remain closed until Monday
9:23 PM No evidence of 'military involvement' in Pittsburg crash
9:07 PM Pentagon close in on 757's 'black box'
7:44 PM FBI says 18 hijackers were on board planes
7:25 PM Evacuation amid fears of new building collapse
7:04 PM '190 dead' in Pentagon attack
6:30 PM Body of hijacker 'found among cockpit wreckage'
6:21 PM Fourth Irish person confirmed dead in attack aftermath
6:11 PM US airspace re-opens
5:50 PM Five firefighters found alive in wreckage of World Trade Centre » NEWSFLASH
5:47 PM US Congress Nears Anti-Terrorism Bill
5:43 PM Bush vows US will 'lead the world to victory'
5:40 PM Sinn Fein President's friends killed in New York attack
4:45 PM Irish firefighters may join US rescue operations
4:29 PM Bush will visit New York tomorrow
4:23 PM Increased asbestos and dioxin in New York air - but 'no risk'
3:58 PM German police hold two over attacks
3:36 PM Pilot tried to warn of Trade Centre crash
3:11 PM U.S. talking to man in investigation of disasters
3:06 PM Mayor of New York says 4,763 are missing
2:51 PM Suspects 'filmed New York atrocities'
1:58 PM FBI question pilot » NEWSFLASH
1:44 PM 50 Irish may be missing and toll expected to rise » NEWSFLASH
1:34 PM Two Irishmen feared dead after New York attacks
1:25 PM Only one trade centre tower insured
1:08 PM US airspace to reopen this afternoon
12:53 PM Bin Laden's father 'uncontactable'
12:52 PM Irish books of condolence go online
12:32 PM FG offices to close tomorrow
12:29 PM More anti-Muslim attacks reported
12:20 PM Bin Laden is under house arrest: Taliban
12:17 PM 10 of 40 'infiltrators' still at large
12:11 PM Soccer: UEFA reschedules European ties
12:06 PM Co Tipperary man missing in NY » NEWSFLASH
12:03 PM Ahern backs US retaliation » NEWSFLASH
11:56 AM Stringent measures ordered at US airports
11:46 AM Afghanistan 'prepares for imminent attack'
11:27 AM German police aid hunt for hijack pilots
10:50 AM Three services planned for Pro-Cathedral
10:46 AM Five survivors pulled from wreckage
10:30 AM Transatlantic flights still grounded
10:14 AM World powers support US retaliation
10:00 AM Fears of huge Irish fatalities allayed
9:53 AM Loyalists to halt school protest for one day
9:41 AM Arab-Americans and Muslims assaulted
9:38 AM US soldiers prepare for war
8:48 AM Hundreds of British dead in Trade Centre
8:41 AM F1: US Grand Prix may switch countries
8:11 AM Suspected hijacker's photo unearthed
8:07 AM Taliban denies bin Laden's house arrest
8:00 AM 20,000 feared dead after New York attack
7:40 AM Golf: Monty says Ryder Cup should go ahead
7:27 AM Black box located in Pentagon
7:26 AM Memorial mass to be held in Pro-Cathedral
7:13 AM ‘Heroic effort' by passengers may have saved lived
7:11 AM Govt still trying to trace Irish people
6:37 AM Cowen vows to support Bush retaliation
6:33 AM Golf: Parvenik 'feared for his life'
6:32 AM Golf: Players back cancellation of World Golf Championships
6:12 AM 20 Irish people feared trapped
5:44 AM FBI ploughs all resources into investigation
5:33 AM Trade Centre rescue effort continues
5:31 AM Officials try to estimate death toll
5:29 AM Tragedy inspires charity
5:22 AM Washington 'warned of hijack risk to Pentagon'
5:01 AM Bin Laden under house arrest - claim
4:50 AM Flights expected to start landing
4:36 AM Building five is structurally stable
4:29 AM Resolution of resolve wording being debated
2:35 AM US Senate debate 'resolution of resolve'
1:50 AM Building number five still standing
1:35 AM FBI retrace footsteps to WTC bombing
1:15 AM Nine survivors pulled from WTC rubble
1:12 AM Building number five collapses completely - unconfirmed report
12:48 AM NATO enact 'mutual defence clause'
12:38 AM Prayer vigil held in US capital
12:21 AM WTC fires set of NYPD officers ammunition
12:18 AM Rescue attempts in New York halted
12:13 AM Military crews hang US flag from Pentagon
12:01 AM Pentagon death toll may be up to 200

Justice Department make three arrests

11:22:07 PM

The US Justice Department have made three arrests at JFK airport.

The Justice Department say the names of those detained match with a profile they have been screening for.

Officials have closed JFK airport.

Security officials remove 'suspicious package' from US Senate

10:47:39 PM

Security officials have removed a 'suspicious package' from the US Senate building.

Earlier the senate had been evacuated as a precaution.

Employees are being allowed to return to the building.

Police evacuate US Senate

10:21:17 PM

The US Senate has been evacuated.

Fire chiefs and police officers refused to tell those who they ordered out of the building why the evacuation had been ordered.

Security in and around the capital has been on high alert since Tuesday's attack.

Miraculous rescue did not happen

10:17:39 PM

Earlier reports that five firefighters were found alive in the wreckage of the World Trade Centre have been denied.

US officials have said the confusion was caused because there are so many people working in and around the WTC site.

The reported firefighters had fallen trough the remains of the WTC and needed to be rescued.

News of the miraculous rescue had raised moral in New York.

NYC stock exchange to remain closed until Monday

9:50:47 PM

The New York stock exchange will remain closed tomorrow.

The market has already been closed since Tuesday.

Traders hope to reopen on Monday.

No evidence of 'military involvement' in Pittsburg crash

9:23:17 PM

Bill Crowley, FBI, has told reporters in Pittsburg, that debris from the hi-jacked plane which crashed there has been found six miles away.

He also stated that there was "absolutely no evidence of military involvement."
Revering to earlier speculations that the US military brought the plane down by force to prevent it reaching it's target.

Pentagon close in on 757's 'black box'

9:07:56 PM

Rescue workers have closed in on the black box belonging to the 747 which crashed into the Pentagon.

Sgt Scot McKay, of the Arlington police force has said: "We picked up the signal from the transponder."

FBI says 18 hijackers were on board planes

7:44:12 PM

The FBI says 18 hijackers were on board the four planes involved in the US terrorist attacks.

The bureau's director Robert Mueller says two planes each had five hijackers on board and the remaining two passenger jets had four each.

Mr Mueller says all the hijackers were ticketed passengers.

US Attorney General John Ashcroft says the FBI tip-off hotline had so far received 2,055 phone calls.

He said: "Some of those leads have been helpful to the investigation. Our website has received more than 22,700 suggested tips. The FBI is working on thousands and thousands of leads."

Mr Ashcroft says none of the black-box flight recorders have been recovered.

He says retrieval of the black-box from the Pennsylvania crash site seems most feasible in the short term.

Evacuation amid fears of new building collapse

7:25:38 PM

Rescue workers are reportedly being evacuated from an area near the World Trade Centre amid fears a building is about to collapse.

The building, which houses American Express, is still standing but smoke is coming through the windows.

Emergency crews are being told to evacuate the area, west of the World Trade Centre remains.

A witness said: "The building is still standing, but there are fears it may collapse very soon.

"I can see smoke from the windows midway up the building, which is going upwards from floor to floor. Emergency workers are being pulled back."

'190 dead' in Pentagon attack

7:04:33 PM

About 190 people died in the terrorist attack on the Pentagon, according to the first official estimates. About 70 bodies have been removed.

The figures come as hopes fade of finding further survivors.

The death toll includes the 64 passengers and crew aboard the hijacked airliner that slammed into the US military headquarters in one of a series of attacks on Tuesday.

The twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York were destroyed by two hijacked airliners and another hijacked airliner crash-landed in Pennsylvania.

Officials said the Army suffered the largest losses, with more than 70 dead.

The Navy lost more than 40 people and the Defense Intelligence Agency lost about seven people. The official said some private contract workers were also killed.

The Marine Corps and the Air Force believe they suffered no losses.

FBI crews worked with emergency services, looking for evidence and the flight and voice recorders of the doomed airliner.

Fairfax County Fire Captain Jerry Roussillon, said today: "We're making inroads into the impact area foot by foot now."

Rescue teams worked through the night stabilising the damaged parts of the building.

A large American flag was draped over the side of the shattered building in defiance of the terrorists as President George W Bush visited the Pentagon to get a first-hand look at the damage.

Mr Bush shook hands with rescue workers who have been searching for survivors and said he was overwhelmed by the devastation.

There is a stark hole in the west of the building where the passenger jet flew directly into the massive complex.

Away from the immediate devastation, the walls are black with soot, the windows shattered and empty.

Surveying the scene of devastation Mr Bush vowed once more that the US would not be cowed by terrorism.

"Coming here makes me sad on the one hand, but it also makes me angry. Our country will, however, not be cowed by terrorists," he said.

The president shook his head as he was led through crowds of fire-fighters, soldiers and rescue teams, and said he was overwhelmed by the scene.

During his tour he was flanked by US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld,

"Secretary Rumsfeld told me when I talked to him that he felt the blast shake the Pentagon. Although he was on the other side of the Pentagon, the building rocked," he said. "Now I know why."

Meanwhile First Lady Laura Bush visited victims of the attack in a local hospital.

Despite the damage the Pentagon has reopened. It is the world's largest office building and accommodates more than 20,000 people.

Mr Bush later declared Friday a day of "prayer and remembrance".

"The Pentagon announced there were no more survivors"

Body of hijacker 'found among cockpit wreckage'

6:30:01 PM

The body of a suspected hijacker and an air stewardess with her hands tied have been found in the World Trade Centre's wreckage.

Rescuers found the cockpit of one of the planes among the rubble and in it was the body of a man who was not wearing a pilot's uniform.

Close by was the body of a woman believed to be a stewardess, whose hands were tied with wire.

Police could not confirm the bodies had been found.

The discoveries come after the Taliban regime in Afghanistan said prime suspect Osama bin Laden was innocent because the country had no facility to train pilots. The regime claimed a country that could train pilots was responsible.

It is unclear whether bin Laden has been placed under house arrest after a series of conflicting reports from Arabic and Pakistani newspapers.

Officials from the American Justice Department have said each of the planes had a hijacker on board who had trained as a pilot in America.

Flying schools in Florida and Oklahoma are believed to have been the training sites for the pilots, who held licences for jet aircraft.

FBI agents have interviewed staff at the schools, seized files and searched homes in Florida where two of the suspected hijackers are believed to have lived.

Fourth Irish person confirmed dead in attack aftermath

6:21:28 PM

A fourth Irish person has been confirmed as among the US terrorist attack fatalities.

Patrick Currivan, an Irish citizen who was resident in France, was on board the hijacked Flight A11 from Boston to Los Angeles, which slammed into the World Trade Centre.

Cork woman Ruth Clifford McCourt and her daughter Julianne were also on board one of the hijacked planes and were the first confirmed Irish dead.

Irish American priest Fr Michael Judge, who was chaplain to the New York Fire Department, is also among the victims.

It is believed he was administering the last rites to a fire officer when rubble collapsed on him.

US airspace re-opens

6:11:59 PM

US Transport Secretary Norman Mineta has re-opened US airspace to commercial flights.

Nearly all commercial aircraft in America had been grounded since the devastating terrorist attacks on the US on Tuesday.

But Mr Mineta said airspace had been reopened at 1100 EDT (5pm Irish time), with investigations ongoing to decide which flights will be permitted to fly through it.

"We will re-open airports and resume flights on a case-by-case basis, only after they implement our more stringent levels of security," said Mr Mineta, adding that the decision was good news for travellers, the economy and the for the restoration of the freedom of America's mobility.

Aer Lingus is still grounded for trans-atlantic flights to the US. They are waiting to hear from the American authorities for the date when they can resume normal service to America.

The terrorist attacks have caused chaos at airports around the world, as well as hitting at the heart of the US financial world.

The return to normal air services is expected to be very gradual.

Northwest: Flights at 2400 GMT ( 5am Irish time)

Delta: flights to resume from 1600 GMT (9pm Irish time)

New security measures

All knives banned

Strict screening measures

Vehicles more carefully monitored

No scissors

No kerbside check-ins

Boarding area off-limit to everyone but passengers

Armed plain-clothes guards on some flights

Each case will be reviewed on an individual basis, and airports will only be re-opened when they have proved that stringent new security checks are being met.

And US authorities plan to draft in Delta Force commandos to help protect civilian planes.

The US Government allowed limited flights on Wednesday so that planes diverted during the attacks could reach their original destination.

"Safety is always of paramount importance, and in these extraordinary times we intend to be vigilant as we remain committed to resuming commercial flights as soon as possible," said Mr Mineta.

The International Air Transport Association has estimated that this week's flight cancellations will cause the air industry $10bn.

Slow start for trans-atlantic flights

The resumption of flights will start the flow of a limited number of people out of airports already filled to bursting with stranded passengers.

It has been confirmed that an Alitalia Boeing 747 took off for the US at 1610 GMT.

In the UK, flight restrictions over London were lifted and London City Airport will open from midnight.

But British Airways said that three trans-atlantic flights scheduled to depart to America from Heathrow airport on Thursday night were now unlikely to fly.

Delta, Northwest and United Airlines said they tentatively planned to resume flights from Germany on Friday.

American Airlines says it will complete 153 of its flights that were diverted on Tuesday, while both United Airlines and Delta will begin a limited service from 1600 GMT.

Southwest airlines will not resume flights on Thursday, while Northwest expects to fly its first plane at midnight.

Lack of space

Industry specialists said restoring world air travel to normal is likely to be a prolonged affair, because of the need for extremely tight security measures, the lack of space for airplanes on the ground, and a necessary reshuffling of the location of planes that had been diverted.

Under normal circumstances, a large proportion of the world's planes are in the air rather than on the ground.

Space at airports is scarce, so landing planes within a narrow timeframe presents huge logistical difficulties.

An estimated 4,000 commercial aircraft - almost one third of the world's fleet - were grounded in the US shortly after the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

After what has been called "the blackest day aviation has ever had", the airline industry is also facing severe financial consequences.

Five firefighters found alive in wreckage of World Trade Centre » NEWSFLASH

5:50:29 PM

Five firefighters have just been found alive in the wreckage of the World Trade Centre.

After two days of digging rescue workers uncovered a SUV vehicle in the debris of the destroyed skyscrapers. To their amazement when they finished uncovering the vehicle they found the five firefighters alive inside.

Two of the firefighters were able to walk out of the vehicle.

US Congress Nears Anti-Terrorism Bill

5:47:32 PM

In an extraordinary show of bipartisan unity, congressional leaders said they intended to begin pushing an emergency anti-terrorism package through Congress on Thursday with a price tag that could exceed $20bn.

They said they also wanted quick approval this week of a separate measure stating Congress' support for the use of force by President Bush against the terrorists who crashed airliners into New York's World Trade Center and the Pentagon on Tuesday, inflicting massive casualties.

Top lawmakers and White House officials were hoping to nail down final details of both bills by late Thursday.

Bush sent House Speaker Dennis Hastert a formal request Thursday for $20bn and suggested he could request more money. Quick passage "will send a powerful signal of unity to our fellow Americans and to the world," Bush said.

"If additional resources are necessary, I will forward another request for additional funding," he said.

Bush vows US will 'lead the world to victory'

5:43:45 PM

President Bush says he will lead the world to victory in the fight against terrorism.

The Republican had tears in his eyes as he came to the end of a press conference at The Oval office.

He said he had received the support of other world leaders and said they understood the act of war could have been declared upon them.

He described it as the first war of the 21st century and said he believed there would be universal approval of the action the US government takes.

"We will not discuss intelligence matters or how we gather intelligence matters nor what we know about anybody."

He added: "Now is an opportunity, by coming together, of whipping terrorism, hunting it down, finding it and holding them accountable.

"They must understand this is now the focus of my administration. War has been declared upon us and we will lead the world to victory."

Sinn Fein President's friends killed in New York attack

5:40:47 PM

Irish-American friends of Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams are feared to be among the dead in New York.

They include a priest and a man who once organised a lunch on the top floor of the World Trade Centre to raise money for the party in Ireland.

A three-minute silence is to be held in Belfast and Derry tomorrow as a mark of respect by the people of Northern Ireland.

Special books of condolence have also been opened.

Mr Adams says he was told by friends in New York that there is little hope of finding them alive.

At a meeting of the Stormont Assembly, which was called to pass a motion condemning the atrocity, the Democratic Unionist Party leader, the Rev Ian Paisley, walked out in protest when Mr Adams got to his feet.

Mr Paisley said he and his party were not prepared to listen to the Sinn Fein president's "crocodile tears".

During the debate, Acting First Minister Sir Reg Empey said the terrible events in the United States had a particular resonance among the people in Northern Ireland who knew only too well what it meant to endure terrorist violence.

Mr Adams said he visited the north tower two years ago where people associated with Friends of Sinn Fein had organised a lunch in the Windows on the World restaurant on the top floor. Father Michael Judge, chaplain of the New York Fire Service, whom he had met there several times, perished in the terrorist strike.

Irish firefighters may join US rescue operations

4:45:34 PM

Irish firefighters are on stand-by to travel to the US if required to help in rescue operations.

Dublin Corporation has asked its firemen and women to volunteer for such duty if the request is made by authorities in New York.

The move follows an offer by the Taoiseach last night to provide practical assistance to US President George W Bush.

ESB workers, who have experience of working in disaster zones, are also available to leave for America at 24 hours notice.

Bush will visit New York tomorrow

4:29:03 PM

President Bush accepted an invitation from Gov George Pataki and New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani to observe the damage in New York; he will arrive Friday afternoon.

Bush says he has directed Attorney General John Ashcroft to expedite payment of benefits for firefighters and police officers injured or killed.

Meanwhile, rescuers in New York are searching for a survivor who contacted authorities via cell phone early Thursday morning. The survivor is believed to be in the basement of the northern World Trade Center tower.

Increased asbestos and dioxin in New York air - but 'no risk'

4:23:31 PM

Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said today there is no cause for alarm over increased levels of asbestos and dioxin in city's air following the destruction of the World Trade Center.

The levels remained within those considered as medically tolerable, he said.

Dioxin, a by-product of manufacturing processes, is an extremely toxic organic compound and asbestos, a highly heat resistant fibrous silicate mineral, is blamed by doctors for lung cancer cases.

Giuliani said short-term exposure to asbestos was not injurious to lungs, and that generally only breathing in the fibres over long periods of time caused any lasting damage to health.

The US environmental secretary, Christie Whitman, has said that the federal Environmental Agency (EPA) was checking air pollution levels round the clock, and that none of the upper limits for dangerous substances, including lead, had been exceeded or that counter-measures were necessary.

During the end of the 1960s and early 1970s, the time that the twin towers of the trade center were being built, lead was used in the production of paints and synthetic materials.

Unconfirmed reports have suggested that huge quantities of asbestos fibres were released into the air by the inferno and collapse of the two towers.

It was reported, however, today that the towers had been among the first US high-rise buildings in which the steel beams had not be insulated with asbestos.

Instead, a spray-on ceramic fire-proofing material had been used, according to the National Counsel of Structural Engineers Associations, a trade group that had studied the original plans.

EPA officials said Wednesday that testing, nevertheless, showed elevated asbestos levels in the rubble, perhaps from flooring materials or other substances.

Deep uncertainty remains about what sorts of environmental hazards may be contained in the rubble, especially with regard to dioxin.

Several experts have voiced fears that enormous heat generated by the explosion of fuel from the two aircraft, which bored into the towers, could have resulted in the release of large quantities of dioxin.

German police hold two over attacks

3:58:03 PM

Police in Hamburg, Germany, say they have detained a male airport worker and a woman in connection with the terror attacks in the US.

Germany's top prosecutor also revealed today that three men of Arab descent who died in the crashes are believed to have lived in the northern German city where they were members of a terrorist cell.

The German Federal Prosecutor's office said two suspects were enrolled as students in Hamburg Harburg Technical University.

A third suspect now being sought was also thought to have been enrolled there.

The prosecutor said another suspect, thought to have died in the crash of a hijacked plane in Pennsylvania, also may have lived in Hamburg and have been part of the same group.

The prosecutor's office, which has put more than 60 people on the investigation, said at present no evidence had been found linking the Hamburg suspects to Osama bin Laden, the Saudi millionaire accused by the United States of sponsoring terrorists.

Four apartments in Hamburg were searched by police on Thursday. The US Federal Bureau of Investigation had passed the request for the search -- along with names of the people connected to the apartment -- to its German counterpart, the BKA, the federal criminal agency.

The flat in which the male airport worker was detained had been used by a Moroccan man, who police had been seeking.

"We have in the search for a suspect of Moroccan origin searched an apartment in Hamburg and provisionally detained one person, a man," the head of the Hamburg state police, Gerhard Mueller, said.

Mueller, who said the man had been living in Germany legally, added: "He had a profession that appeared to be very interesting to us."

He said the man had a job "connected to air transport" and had worked at an airport, but refused to give further details.

No weapons or explosives were found during the searches, he said, and security officials had no information about any suspects preparing terrorist attacks while in Germany.

The FBI has been looking into the roles of Mohammed Atta and Marwan Youses Alshehhi in the attacks. Those men, who were living in Florida, resided in Hamburg and left in May. The FBI also said they had been students at Hamburg Harburg Technical University.

They attended Huffman Aviation flight school, in Venice, Florida, for about five months, according to Charlie Voss, a former employee of the school.

A Florida driver's licence was issued to Atta on May 2, 2001, and he previously held an Egyptian driver's licence.

A Mitsubushi car impounded at Logan Airport in Boston was rented by Atta, source said. The car contained materials, including flight manuals, written in Arabic that law enforcement sources called "helpful" to the investigation.

An apartment linked to Atta has been searched in Coral Springs, Florida. Investigators also said they were checking the phone records of each of the addresses searched. They are also attempting to obtain fingerprint and DNA samples, sources said.

A leading German intelligence officer said that Hamburg was home to Islamic extremists generating cash for Osama bin Laden, the exiled Saudi dissident.

Intelligence agencies believe bin Laden masterminded Tuesday's attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Reinhard Wagner, head of the Hamburg office of Germany's domestic intelligence service, said a number of bin Laden's fund-raisers were operating in the city.

"They perform logistic functions for bin Laden, possibly by providing contacts or places to stay," Wagner said.

"We estimate the number of Islamic extremists at over 1,000," Wagner said.

Pilot tried to warn of Trade Centre crash

3:36:05 PM

There are reports the pilot of one of the planes which crashed into the World Trade Centre was sending messages to air traffic controllers after the hijack.

It has been reported that the pilot of American Airlines flight 11 managed to send radio transmissions from the Boeing 767.

During the final few minutes of the flight, John Ogonowski's voice could hardly be heard but it is clear he was trying to convey the situation.

The pilot was seemingly triggering a talk button on the aircraft's control stick which enables him to steer while communicating.

It also indicates that Mr Ogonowski was in the pilot's seat for much of the journey.

"The button was being pushed intermittently most of the way to New York," an air traffic controller said.

"He wanted us to know something was wrong. When he pushed the button and the terrorist spoke, we knew. There was this voice that was threatening the pilot, and it was clearly threatening."

During the transmissions, the pilot's voice and the heavily-accented voice of a hijacker were clearly audible.

"One of the pilots keyed their mike so the conversation between the pilot and the person in the cockpit could be heard," a controller is quoted as saying.

"The person in the cockpit was speaking in English. He was saying something like, 'Don't do anything foolish. You're not going to get hurt."'

A man who had been identified by federal authorities as a possible hijacker involved in Tuesday's terrorist attacks is alive and cooperating with the FBI, sources said Thursday.

Adnan Bukhari, who had attended pilot training school in Vero Beach Florida, is in the custody of the FBI. A furniture salesman said he had seen Bukhari after the terrorist crashes and he contacted authorities.

Bukhari's brother, Ameer Bukhari, died in a small plane crash in Florida last year, according to a lawyer for the family.

Federal sources had initially identified the brothers as possible hijackers who had boarded one of the planes that originated in Boston. Their names had been tied to a car founded at Logan International Airport in Boston. But Bukhari's attorney said it appeared their identifications were stolen and said Bukhari had no role in the hijackings.

The revelation came as US agents continued to zero in on suspected pilots of the four hijacked jetliners. Two crashed into and destroyed the two World Trade Center towers, a third crashed into the Pentagon and a fourth crashed in rural Pennsylvania.

US Attorney General John Ashcroft said yesterday that authorities were deploying hundreds of US marshals and other agents to airports and airplanes today to increase security with the gradual resumption of commercial flights.

He was not specific on the agents' duties, nor would he say whether arrests of hijackers' accomplices were imminent. But he noted: "There's a sense of urgency that's understood by all of us."

"We are pursuing leads, we are developing information," Ashcroft added.

"These were acts of war, and very very methodical and we will be complete in developing understanding. ... as soon as we have capacity to bring to justice people who are associated with this ...we will do that."

The FBI is working on the assumption that there were between 12 and 14 hijackers directly involved in the attacks, and that there may have been as many as 50 people involved in the planning and execution of the attacks.

Sources also said all the hijackers may not have known one another, to prevent them from giving away information if they were captured and interrogated.

Law enforcement sources said the hijackers may have gone into action, performing pre-assigned roles, on receiving a signal.

Plane tickets for seven people suspected of being the hijackers were purchased with one credit card, information federal investigators deem extremely critical evidence.

The credit card apparently belonged to a material witness picked up in Boston, not one of the hijackers.

Two of the hijackers apparently came to the United States from Nova Scotia, Canada, crossing the border via a ferry to Bar Harbor, Maine, sources said.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Interpol are assisting US law enforcement in retracing their steps in Canada.

Authorities believe three to five hijackers were on board each of the four planes that crashed Tuesday, sources said.

Two jets slammed into the towers of New York's World Trade Center, one hit the Pentagon, and the fourth crashed in rural Pennsylvania.

After an initial review of passenger manifests from the flights involved, investigators began looking at several people, including at least one with suspected links to bin Laden, the wealthy Saudi exile living in Afghanistan accused of masterminding the 1998 bombings of two US embassies in Africa.

FBI agents search a car rental agency in Pompano Beach, Florida, where Adnan Bukhari was believed to have rented a car.

The four pilots suspected in Tuesday's attack were traced with the help of rental car records from cars left in Maine and Massachusetts.

Evidence found in a rental car left in Portland, Maine, led investigators to two houses in Vero Beach, Florida. One had been rented by two brothers from Saudi Arabia.

Inside the house was a photo of Adnan Bukhari and a pilot's certificate in his name. There was also a pilot's certificate in the name of his brother, Ameer Abbas Bukhari.

The landlord said Adnan Bukhari and another man who lived next door described themselves as Saudi pilots and lived with their wives and children.

Law enforcement sources believe the neighbour may have been one of the hijackers who piloted the plane commandeered from either Newark, New Jersey, or Washington's Dulles International Airport.

The landlord, Paul Stimeling, said the wife and the children of the next door neighbor of Adnan Bukhari moved out over the weekend. The Bukhari family, the landlord said, moved out at the end of August.

Investigators believe the Bukhari brothers died onboard the jetliners involved in the crashes. Law enforcement sources said the FBI is seeking to question the family members as material witnesses.

The two brothers rented a car, a silver-blue Nissan Altima, from an Alamo car rental at Boston's Logan Airport and drove to an airport in Portland, where they got on US Airways Flight 5930 at 6am Tuesday and headed back to Boston, the sources said.

Investigators are analyzing videotapes at the car rental facility and at the Maine airport.

Law enforcement sources said investigators searched the Florida houses for documents pertaining to other students at Flight Safety International, a Vero Beach aviation school.

FBI investigators also obtained the records of student pilots from other flight training schools in the area, including Embry-Riddle University in Daytona Beach and Huffman Aviation International in Venice.

Information found in another rental car left in Boston's Logan Airport -- where two of the hijacked flights originated -- led investigators to two more men who were pilots: Mohammed Atta and Marwan Yousef Alshehhii.

The two men held passports from the United Arab Emirates. A Florida driver's license was issued to Atta on May 2, 2001, and he previously held an Egyptian driver's license.

Federal investigators said both men received training at Huffman Aviation International.

The Mitsubishi sedan sources said was rented by Atta, contained materials written in Arabic, including flight manuals, that law enforcement sources called "helpful" to the investigation.

An apartment linked to Atta was searched in Coral Springs, Florida. Investigators also said they are checking the phone records of each of the addresses searched. They are also attempting to obtain fingerprint and DNA samples, sources said.

Police issued a lookout alert for two cars -- a 1989 two-door red Pontiac with the license plate D79-DDV or DVD and a four-door Oldsmobile with the license plate VEP-54N. A vehicle registration record showed the Pontiac was registered to Atta.

Heavily armed police and FBI agents swarmed the Westin Hotel in the Copley Square area of Boston Wednesday. Sources said three people were taken into custody as material witnesses. Others were picked up in Florida.

The individuals have not been arrested and they have not been described as suspects, but authorities said they could provide "important material information" related to the attacks.

Said one source: "They are talking."

A source said two of them may have "immigration status problems." Law enforcement sources said a cell has been operating for more than a year in the Springfield and Worcester areas, west of Boston.

Meanwhile, in Hamburg, Germany, the BKA, the federal criminal agency, searched one apartment at the request of the FBI, a police spokesman said Wednesday.

He said agents found that one of the apartments has been empty since February and the resident of the other did not match the name given by the FBI, so the second apartment was not searched.

Agents are taking evidence samples from the apartments, the spokesman said.

In another development, law enforcement sources said the United States intercepted two phone calls after the Tuesday attacks between members of al Qaeda, the terrorist network sponsored by suspected terrorist bin Laden.

In those conversations, the individuals discussed hitting two targets, the sources said.

In still another development, sources said that America Online turned over records of e-mails Wednesday for the accounts belonging to the suspected hijackers.

Mayor of New York says 4,763 are missing

3:06:41 PM

Mayor Giuliani in his latest press conference in New York today stated that 94 bodies have been recovered from the World Trade Centre rubble.

46 bodies of the 94 have been identified. There are also 70 body parts which have not been identified.

There are 4,763 known to be missing, this includes the four planes manifests and information from families and businesses that have notified authorities of those missing.

Suspects 'filmed New York atrocities'

2:51:49 PM

There are reports five men suspected of being involved in the attack on the World Trade Centre set up cameras to record the atrocity.

The men set up cameras by the Hudson River and trained them on the twin towers.

The New York Times reports they congratulated each other when the crashes occurred.

The five are under investigation by police in Union City, New Jersey, but it is unclear if any of them are in custody.

The allegation came as police in New Jersey told the New York Times the hijackers who left from Newark airport on the flight which crashed in Pennsylvania had received aid from associates in the area.

The paper reported law officials said the team was "aided by confederates in Newark who were responsible for logistical support, including money, rental cars, credit cards and lodging".

And it emerged that FBI investigators believe each team of hijackers acted independently from each other but under orders from a supreme commander.

The conclusion was reached after evidence from the flights' passenger lists, payphone records, evidence taken from the rental car seized in Boston and the frantic phone calls made from the hijacked planes.

It was the commander who selected the flights to be hijacked and orchestrated the attacks to occur at about the same time.

But the man has not been publicly identified by investigators, the New York Times reports. His whereabouts are currently unknown.

FBI question pilot » NEWSFLASH

1:58:12 PM

CNN is reporting that the FBI are questioning a Saudi pilot named Bukhari in connection with the attacks on the World Trade Centre.

50 Irish may be missing and toll expected to rise » NEWSFLASH

1:44:41 PM

A lawyer in New York claims to know of at least 50 Irish men who may have been working at the World Trade Centre.

So far a Cork woman, Ruth McCourt, and her four-year-old daughter Juliana as well as priest Fr Michael Judge, are the only confirmed Irish fatalities.

But a spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs said the list of Irish casualties will grow in the coming days and weeks.

Lawyer Denis Guerin, originally from Killarney, County Kerry, says many Irish men were working for the New York and New Jersey Port Authority, which maintained the towers.

Mr Guerin says others were working for two construction companies renovating the upper storeys of the buildings. His company deals with a lot of people from Ireland wanting to work in New York and his office draws up contracts for them.

Mr Guerin believes people working in the basement of the building would have had time to get out, but he knows of others on the 106th storey who would have been cut off from all escape routes as the planes crashed into the floors below them.

He said many construction workers are unaccounted for and he had been taking calls all day about who was in the building.

"I deal with all the contracts and I'd know all these people. I can't tell you names but I know people who are missing," he said.

Ireland's Department of Foreign Affairs is taking on extra staff at its consulate in New York to deal with the grim task of identifying victims. Its Dublin headquarters now has trauma counsellors, as families call to see if a loved one is among those missing.

A spokesman is appealling to anyone who has called them over the past two days to contact them again if they had been able to track down anyone missing, so they can be eliminated from their inquiries.

Two Irishmen feared dead after New York attacks

1:34:47 PM

Two Irishmen are missing and now feared dead following the collapse of the World Trade Centre in New York on Tuesday.

Martin Coughlan, who is in his early 50s and from Cappawhite, Co Tipperary, was working as a carpenter in the massive 110-storey office complex.

Mr Coughlan’s family in Ireland said he hasn’t telephoned home since the disaster.

Meanwhile, Sligoman Ciaran Gorman, who was also in the building at the time of the attack has not been heard of since.

Mr Gorman had just returned to New York the day before after a three-week holiday in Ireland.

Only one trade centre tower insured

1:25:14 PM

Only one of the twin World Trade Centre towers was insured because experts believed the chances of both collapsing simultaneously was too far-fetched, it emerged today.

The towers' owners, the Port Authority of New York, will only receive an insurance payout of around £1 billion, far below the £3.3bn value put on the towers before Tuesday’s terror attack, it was reported.

A spokesman for the US Insurance Information Institute told the Guardian newspaper: "The possibility of the loss of both structures was seen as so remote that cover was not taken out on those lines.’’

Insurance analysts yesterday said the terrorist attack on the US would be the most expensive man-made disaster ever and could cost the industry up to £27bn.

Lloyd's of London, the insurance market, would not comment on the extent of its exposure as it was still assessing the impact.

But analysts said the group would be hit hard as its aviation syndicates insure more than a third of the world’s planes.

Many Lloyd's "names", wealthy individuals who make up a significant proportion of the Lloyd’s market, have unlimited liability which could bankrupt them if claims spiral.

Lloyd’s chairman Saxon Riley said: "The situation in New York and Washington is evolving continually. The global social and economic effects are just starting to be felt.

:Any calculation of the total losses so soon after the event can only be deeply flawed."

Analysts said the terrorist attack would be far worse than Britain’s most expensive disaster involving the Piper Alpha oil rig in 1988, which cost the industry £3bn.

Others said the scale of costs could be double those caused by Hurricane Andrew in 1992 when the industry paid out around £13.5bn.

Richard Shaw, pan-European insurance analyst at Credit Lyonnais Securities, warned the full cost of the disaster was likely to be far higher than the initial estimates.

He said: "It will take a long time for the full extent of the cost to be known. It is going to be higher than 15bn (£10bn) and it could be higher than 40bn (£27bn)."

But insurance groups and analysts rejected suggestions that acts of terrorism may be excluded from policy cover, saying that while this was common practice in the UK it was unlikely to be the case in the US.

Mr Shaw said that the fact that companies were already giving estimates of the cost suggested there was no terrorist exclusion clause.

US airspace to reopen this afternoon

1:08:09 PM

It has been announced that US airspace is to re-open at 4pm Irish time.

However, it is expected that only a limited service of flights to the country will be allowed to operate.

No further details are available at the moment.

Bin Laden's father 'uncontactable'

12:53:35 PM

Efforts to contact the father of suspected World Trade Centre terrorist Osama bin Laden have so far been unsuccessful by our news department.

Thomas Crosbie Media's Deputy Editor Pamela Whelan contacted the offices of Saudi Arabian multi-millionaire Mohammed bin Laden several times yesterday to be told repeatedly he would be in his offices "within two hours".

By the end of the day his personal assistant said he was out of the country for the next 12 days and could not be contacted.

Mohammed bin Laden is a phenomenally wealthy construction magnate in Saudi Arabia. He is considered the source of Osama bin Laden's $250m fortune, settling the fortune on his 17th child before Osama left Saudi Arabia.

Irish books of condolence go online

12:52:54 PM

Books of condolence are being signed at public buildings all over the country.

Thomas Crosbie Media has put a book of condolence online for people to sign.

Click to sign.

FG offices to close tomorrow

12:32:48 PM

Fine Gael national and press offices will be closed tomorrow as a mark of respect to the victims of the Wolrd Trade Centre attacks.

More anti-Muslim attacks reported

12:29:37 PM

Dozens of anti-Muslim attacks are being reported throughout the United States and Canada today after Tuesday’s attacks by suspected Islamic extremists.

In Chicago, three demonstrators were arrested as 300 people tried to march on a mosque chanting USA!, USA!.

"I'm proud to be an American and I hate Arabs and I always have," one of the demonstrators said.

Elsewhere in Chicago, a petrol bomb was thrown at an Arab-American community centre.

Meanwhile, in Huntington, New York, a 75-year-old drunk man tried to run over a Pakistani woman in a shopping mall car park.

Police said the man then followed the woman into a store and threatened to kill her "for destroying my country".

Kuwaiti students living in the US have also been the victims of US harassment.

The director of a mosque in Virginia also said his congregation has been the target of insults and hate messages left on the office answering machine.

A mosque in Washington state was vandalised, while another in Montreal in Canada was damaged in a petrol bombing.

Bin Laden is under house arrest: Taliban

12:20:47 PM

Afghanistan's Taliban militia has now confirmed that Osama bin Laden is under house arrest.

He is suspected of masterminding the terrorist attacks on the US.

The militia earlier denied reports that bin Laden had been placed under house arrest.

He is being held in Qandahar in southern Afghanistan.

10 of 40 'infiltrators' still at large

12:17:00 PM

Agents in the US have identified around 40 infiltrators who had a hand in the attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon.

10 of those are believed to be still at large, while the others either died in the suicide attacks or are unaccounted for.

It has also emerged that the hijackers wrote suicide notes to their parents before the attacks. The notes were found at addresses across the east coast.

With most of the evidence pointing towards Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden, more than a dozen of the men who hijacked the four planes have now been identified.

Around 4,000 FBI agents worked to track down the men, with the investigation stretching from the Canadian border in the north to Florida in the south.

In total, 27 of the attackers are believed to have received flight training.

The FBI has searched addresses in the states of Massachusetts, New Jersey and Florida and have issued photographs of two of the men they believe were responsible for the attacks.

Computer equipment was seized from two houses in the Vero Beach area of Florida and one man, believed to be an acquaintance of the two suspects, was detained.

Both houses had been occupied by another two suspects, brothers who are believed to have been aboard one of the planes which smashed into the World Trade Centre.

Elsewhere, three men were taken into custody for questioning after an inter-city train from Boston was stopped and searched in Providence, Rhode Island.

Soccer: UEFA reschedules European ties

12:11:46 PM

UEFA has confirmed that this week’s postponed Champions League games will go ahead on October 10.

UEFA Cup games will go ahead on September 20.

The European football fixtures were cancelled yesterday as a mark of respect for the thousands of people who died in the attacks against the United States on Tuesday.

Co Tipperary man missing in NY » NEWSFLASH

12:06:11 PM

A Co Tipperary man is missing and feared dead following the collapse of the World Trade Centre in New York on Tuesday.

Martin Coughlan, who is in his early 50s and from Cappawhite, was working as a carpenter in the massive 110-storey office complex.

Mr Coughlan’s family in Ireland said he hasn’t telephoned home since the disaster.

Ahern backs US retaliation.» NEWSFLASH

12:03:33 PM

The Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, has said the Irish Government will fully support any retaliation the US takes against those suspected of organising Tuesday’s attacks.

The UN security council has passed a resolution backing any US attack on the organisers or those who aided them or harboured them.

Mr Ahern said the Irish Government supports and accepts this resolution.

Stringent measures ordered at US airports

11:56:33 AM

The Federal Aviation Administration ordered several stringent measures Wednesday to make the nation's airports and skies safer, while allowing limited air traffic to resume late in the day.

Flights diverted after Tuesday's terrorist attacks flew to their original destinations Wednesday, but the FAA grounded all other commercial air traffic for a second straight day.

Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta said the ban would be in effect until further notice and until officials assess airports' progress in implementing more stringent security guidelines.

The restrictions affect everything from curbside check-ins to a ban on knives in airport concourses to an increased security presence, both covert and overt.

In addition, the Justice Department said Wednesday night it was considering placing armed federal "skymarshals" on some commercial airline flights for the first time in more than 25 years.

The Customs Service, which says it expects to supply 400 agents to more than a dozen major airports, headed the skymarshals program from 1970 to 1973.

President Nixon ordered the armed federal agents to fly aboard random flights to deter hijackers until a system of magnetometers was in place at all airports.

Meanwhile, the State Department re-issued a worldwide warning Wednesday to Americans about traveling abroad -- the same caution in effect since last year's October 12 attack on the USS Cole in Yemen.

Those who do fly, nationally or internationally, will encounter several new scenes and experiences at the airport, per the new FAA regulations.

Among the restrictions:

* A total ban on knives of any material. Previously, knives with blades shorter than four inches had been allowed.

* Curbside and off-airport check-ins will be eliminated.

* The use of federal air marshals, common in the early 1970s during a spate of hijackings, will be stepped up both on the ground and, possibly, in the air.

* More officers will be on duty at the nation's airports.

* There will be more physical checks on passengers.

* All but ticketed passengers will be prohibited from proceeding past airport metal detectors.

* Airport security screeners will be required to meet higher standards, and the contractors who supply the security personnel will be required to report to the FAA.

Senior officials said that commercial air traffic will be phased back in Thursday, and will not return to a normal level until Thursday evening at the earliest.

Afghanistan 'prepares for imminent attack'

11:46:04 AM

Afghanistan's ruling Taliban militia is reportedly bracing itself for an imminent US attack.

Its top leader has been sent into hiding and artillery batteries, aircraft and other weapons have been made ready.

Afghanistan has provided a safe haven for reputed terrorist Osama bin Laden who is being linked with the US terror attacks.

The Washington Post, reporting Pakistani intelligence sources, says the radical Islamic movement's top leader, Mohammad Omar, has left his headquarters and is now in hiding.

A senior security official in Quetta, Pakistan, near the Afghanistan border told the newspaper: "We have definite reports that the Taliban are now preparing to meet a major US military onslaught.

"There is a warlike situation inside the Taliban military installations inside Afghanistan."

The Taliban have again denied bin Laden was behind the attacks which destroyed the World Trade Centre and damaged the Pentagon.

US officials say they have evidence linking bin Laden to Tuesday's attacks.

Meanwhile, members of the National Akali Dal have burnt an effigy of bin Laden near the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi.

They are demanding the extradition of the terrorist, who they say is being provided shelter by Islamic nations.

German police aid hunt for hijack pilots

11:27:38 AM

Police in Germany are questioning a man in Hamburg as part of the now international investigation into the World Trade Centre and Pentagon attacks.

The man is believed to have known two students who are among the suspected hijackers of four planes used in the terrorist attacks.

The two trained as pilots in Florida flight schools.

German police combed an apartment today where the two men are believed to have once lived.

A former employee at a flight school where some of the terrorists apparently trained said two students - Mohamed Atta and Marwan Alshehhi - had arrived from Germany in July 2000.

They attended Huffman Aviation for about five months, the former employee, Charlie Voss, said in Florida.

German police say the two men who lived in Germany were in Florida from July 2000 until January 2001.

The apartment in Hamburg has been empty since February this year, and recently renovated, making the search for forensic evidence more difficult, said police spokesman Reinhard Fallak. "We have not necessarily found a hot lead,’’ he said.

Neighbours told police that up to five men had been living in the apartment, located in a working-class district with many foreign residents.

Three services planned for Pro-Cathedral

10:50:56 AM

An ecumenical memorial service will be held in Dublin's Pro-Cathedral tomorrow at 10.45am.

The service will be interrupted at 11am for three minutes silence.

Members of all faiths are welcome to attend in sympathy with the victims of the World Trade Centre disaster.

Cardinal Desmond Connell will lead prayers at the service while Archbishop Walton Empey will deliver the homily.

"President Mary McAleese and Taoiseach Bertie Ahern will both attend," said spokesman Fr Damien McNiece.

Up to 1,200 people can be accommodated in the Pro-Cathedral.

In response to the Government’s declaration of a National Day of Mourning, Cardinal Connell is requesting that Masses or prayer services be organised in each of the 200 parishes of the diocese to coincide, if possible, with the Ecumenical Service (starting at 10.45 a.m).

Meanwhile, a prayer and music service will take place in the Pro-Cathedral between 8pm and 11pm tonight (Thursday).

"Tonight's service is particularly geared towards young people," said Fr McNiece.

"We are conscious that many young people visit the United States every summer and many of them visit the World Trade Centre.

We planned this service particularly with young Irish people in mind who may have made friends in the United States on visits there," he added.

On Sunday, Cardinal Desmond Connell will celebrate Mass at 12.30pm.

President McAleese and Bertie Ahern are again expected to attend that Mass.

Five survivors pulled from wreckage

10:46:33 AM

Five people have been pulled alive from the wreckage of the World Trade Centre.

Three of the survivors are police officers.

A Brooks Brothers clothing store has become a morgue, where workers bring any body parts they find.

Workers using bulldozers and shovels are investigating claims of mobile phone signals being received from the wreckage.

The devastation has turned the concrete canyons of lower Manhattan into a dust-covered ruin of girders and boulders of broken concrete.

Cranes and heavy machinery are being used, gingerly, for fear of dislodging wreckage and harming any survivors.

New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani says the best estimate is a few thousand victims will be left in each building.

The rubble at the trade centre has been taken by boat to a former Staten Island rubbish dump, where the FBI and other investigators are searching for evidence.

Transatlantic flights still grounded

10:30:24 AM

All flights from Ireland to the United States will remain grounded until further notice.

"We are awaiting further news from the Federal Aviation Authority on when they will reopen American airspace," said an Aer Rianta spokeswoman.

For Aer Lingus passengers seeking information, the number is 1800 222 221, while for Delta passengers, it is 1800 768 080.

World powers support US retaliation

10:14:53 AM

Australia, Japan and China have all thrown their support behind possible US retaliation for Tuesday’s unprecedented attacks on the centres of US financial and military might.

Deputy Australian Prime Minister John Anderson said his country could activate a clause in its military treaty with the US under which the attacks in the US could be deemed an attack on Australia.

Japan, which hosts 47,000 American soldiers and serves as a staging ground for US attacks in the Persian Gulf, promised full cooperation if the US retaliates.

China’s President, Jiang Zemin, also reportedly telephoned George W Bush to say Tuesday’s attacks were a challenge to the entire world.

Mr Jiang pledged to cooperate with the US to eradicate "terrorist violence.

Fears of huge Irish fatalities allayed

10:00:36 AM

The number of Irish killed in the terror attacks on America may not be as high as first feared, the Republic’s US Ambassador said today.

As Ireland prepares to shut down for a national day of mourning, Sean O’hUiginn allayed fears of a large contingent among the death toll following the strikes on New York and Washington.

He said: "In terms of Irish victims whose whereabouts are a cause of concern for us the number is not hugely high, but with the caveat we really don’t have the full picture.’’

So far a Cork woman, Ruth McCourt, and her four-year-old daughter Juliana as well as priest Fr Michael Judge, are the only confirmed Irish fatalities.

Although Mr O’hUiginn said his office has taken some 3,000 calls from anxious relatives and friends, he was ‘‘reasonably confident’’ no more Irish people were on board any of the four flights involved in the catastrophe.

His main concerns were focused on the still-to-emerge scale of victims caught in the New York carnage.

The family of a 35-year-old Co Sligo man, who was in one of the trade centre towers at the time of the attack, have confirmed he is missing.

Kieran Gorman, from Carrowcurragh, Lavagh, was among a group of labourers feared to have died when a plane crashed into the building where they had been working on the 97th floor.

But despite Irish or Irish-American losses predicted among the emergency services who perished amid the mayhem, Mr O’hUiginn believed only a ‘‘small number’’ of Irish people remained unaccounted for.

‘‘In terms of Irish victims the number I think would be regarded as low in terms of most people’s expectations, but we are treating it with caution,’’ he told RTE’s Morning Ireland.

In a bid to establish the number of Irish killed in the attacks, the Department of Foreign Affairs has urged all families who phoned to check on missing relatives that have since made contact to call back and tell officials those people are now safe.

The department has established freephone helplines: 1800 715165; 1800 715159; 1800 401800; 1800 385858. Callers from the UK should phone 00353 4082000.

Meanwhile, Tanaiste Mary Harney has urged all businesses to close down tomorrow in a show of solidarity with grief-stricken Americans.

Some small retailers have expressed concerns that they could suffer huge losses and hit out at the lack of warning for the public holiday.

But the Tanaiste insisted the 24-hour closure of shops, schools and all government departments, apart from the emergency services, was a small price to pay.

She said: ‘‘We recognise it’s going to cause significant problems for employers, especially given the short notice, and we didn’t lightly come to this decision.

‘‘But we felt it was important to have a clear response and appropriate response given the special relationship, and we are asking for community solidarity, for the community to share in the loss that occurred all over the United States."

Loyalists to halt school protest for one day

9:53:03 AM

The loyalist protest against Catholic schoolchildren and their parents in north Belfast is to be called off for one day as a mark of respect of those killed in the terror attacks in the US.

Protestant residents in the Glenbryn area of the city confirmed they will hold a short prayer service for the victims of the attacks in New York and Washington during the picket of the Holy Cross Primary School.

They will also suspend their protest for one day.

The move follows a short prayer service and one minute's silence by the Catholic children and their parents for the victims of the US attacks before being given a police escort to the school.

Loyalist protesters have in recent days maintained a silent protest as the children made their way to school but have sounded whistles and horns as their parents returned to the nationalist Ardoyne area.

The scenes have been a marked contrast to the violence which characterised the first three days of the Holy Cross dispute during which a pipe bomb was thrown injuring police officers.

Behind-the-scenes efforts involving the Government and mediators have been continuing to broker an end to the dispute between both sides.

The Government and the Northern Ireland Executive have proposed a community forum to tackle a range of problems affecting the loyalist and nationalist communities in Glenbryn and Ardoyne.

The suspension of the protest coincides with the Irish Government's decision to hold a national day of mourning for the victims of the US attacks.

Northern Ireland Assembly members will also gather at Stormont to debate the New York and Washington attacks.

Arab-Americans and Muslims assaulted

9:41:02 AM

Following the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, Arab-American, Muslim and Sikh leaders have reported assaults against their people in the US.

Mosque windows were shattered in Texas, a New York man was arrested for an alleged anti-Arab threat, and a prison fight broke out over Muslim slurs in Washington.

Nihad Awad, the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations is urging people not to play into the hands of the terrorists.

In Suffolk County, New York, a man was arrested for allegedly making an anti-Arab threat and pointing a handgun at a petrol station worker.

In Texas, at least six bullets shattered windows at the Islamic Centre of Irving. Police say windows at the Islamic Centre of Carrollton were also broken.

Authorities there and in several other areas are unsure whether the threats were related to the terrorist attacks.

In Asbury, New Jersey, Ramandeep Singh, a Sikh said he had rubbish and stones thrown at his car and stayed home from work.

In a Washington prison, a fight broke out during television reports of the attacks. A sheriff's spokesman said that one inmate loudly criticised Muslims and then a Muslim inmate threw him to the floor, causing a brain haemorrhage.

At the Kuwait Embassy in Washington, Tamara Alfson has been counselling frightened Kuwaiti students attending schools across the US.

Hate messages and insults were left on the answering machine of the Manassas Mosque in Virginia, said director Abu Nahidian.

US soldiers prepare for war

9:38:45 AM

US soldiers throughout the world are on high alert today as the world waits for George W Bush’s response to Tuesday’s attacks on the US cities of New York and Washington.

116,000 US military personnel and their families have been put on Threat Condition Delta, the highest state of readiness for war.

Soon after the troops were put on alert, 24 US navy warships left Mediterranean ports to patrol the seas.

Military police have replaced civilian security staff at the entrances to all American bases in Europe, while soldiers have been put on a curfew from midnight until 5.30am.

Hundreds of British dead in Trade Centrer

8:48:15 AM

Britain was one of 31 countries with offices in the World Trade Centre. It has now been confirmed that hundreds of British workers died in the attacks on Tuesday.

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has confirmed the number of confirmed deaths is approaching 100 and the total will be in the middle hundreds.

Mr Straw says the 100 British dead have had their identities confirmed but the total figures of numbers killed are still estimates.

He told a news conference: "This tragedy in America not only directly killed and injured American citizens but citizens from around the world.

"I understand the number of confirmed British deaths is approaching 100, and although these can be only imprecise estimates, the total number is unlikely to be less than the middle hundreds or higher."

A casualty bureau has been set up at Scotland Yard for worried relatives of missing Britons.

He also said the UN security council had passed a resolution pledging to hold those responsible accountable.

F1: US Grand Prix may switch countries

8:41:58 AM

The US Grand Prix may be moved to anther country.

Formula One bosses are considering the logistical nightmare of getting players, crews and cars into the States taking into account the current restrictions of travel.

The race had been planned to take place on September 30 in Indianapolis.

Suspected hijacker's photo unearthed

8:11:13 AM

A photograph of one of the suspected hijackers in the US terrorist attacks has been unearthed in Florida.

Amanullah Atta Mohammed, pictured in a State of Florida Division of Motor Vehicles driver's licence photograph, is being investigated by the FBI.

He is one of two men who allegedly attended a Florida flight training school a year ago.

The passport-size photo of the 33-year-old was seized by FBI agents who raided a one-bedroom ground-floor apartment he rented in Coral Springs, Florida.

It's thought the suspect and another man were trained at a nearby flying school.

The Miami Herald and local TV station WTJV-TV released the photo.

The FBI believe Atta took over the controls of one of the flights from Boston before steering it into the World Trade Centre.

A book-keeper at the school said: "The men claimed they were German cousins. They qualified in January and didn't mingle with other students."

Taliban denies bin Laden's house arrest

8:07:03 AM

Afghanistan's Taliban militia has denied that Osama bin Laden, the man suspected of masterminding the terrorist attacks on the US, is under house arrest.

Afghan Islamic Press said "Taliban sources" described the claims as "false and fabricated".

The original allegation, from the online Arabic newspaper Ilaf, said bin Laden was under house arrest by the Taliban.

Ilaf said there were a number of Afghan fighters are also under arrest "along with bin Laden".

Those under house arrest included bin Laden's military commander Muhammad Atef Al-Makni and the head of the Egyptian branch of fundamentalist terror group Al-Jihad, Ayman Al-Zawahri.

Earlier, a diplomat at the Taliban's embassy in Abu Dhabi said he was unable to confirm the report.

20,000 feared dead after New York attack

8:00:17 AM

Officials in New York say up to 20,000 people may have died in the suicide attacks on the city's World Trade Centre.

It is thought 10,000 died in a shopping mall in the centre and a further 10,000 may have perished in the twin towers.

Mayor Rudolph Giuliani says the best estimate is that "there will be a few thousand left in each building".

At a news conference he confirmed that the city had requested 6,000 body bags from federal officials.

Meanwhile, FBI investigators believe between 12 and 24 hijackers were invloved in seizing the four planes which crashed into the World Trade Centre, the Pentagon and outside Pittsburgh.

They also revealed that they believe up to 50 people were involved in planning and executing the attacks.

The FBI is following about 2,000 separate leads in their investigation.

Golf: Monty says Ryder Cup should go ahead

7:40:44 AM

Scotland's Colin Montgomerie has called for sport not to give in to terrorism by cancelling the Ryder Cup.

The $5m American Express World Golf Championship was cancelled in St Louis yesterday as a mark of respect for the thousands of people who died in Tuesday’s attacks on New York and Washington.

There are fears the Ryder Cup could follow the same fate, with American players understandably concerned about flying to England to compete at the Belfry.

However, Montgomerie said if the event is cancelled, it shows that the terrorists have achieved their goals.

Black box located in Pentagon

7:27:28 AM

Investigators have located the black box flight recorder from the hijacked plane which crashed into the Pentagon in Washington on Tuesday.

However, firefighters are unable to reach the recorder because the structure is still too dangerous.

It took 24 hours to extinguish the fire at the Pentagon, which has left a huge part of the building unstable and on the verge of collapse.

Memorial mass to be held in Pro-Cathedral

7:26:59 AM

A mass will be held in Dublin’s Pro-Cathedral tomorrow for the thousands of people who died in Tuesday’s attacks on New York and Washington.

Irish and Americans living in Dublin are expected to attend the service.

'Heroic effort' by passengers may have saved lived

7:13:28 AM

Just before United Flight 93 crashed, some of the passengers learned of the attacks on the World Trade Centre and may have tried to overpower their hijackers to keep the jetliner from hitting another landmark.

Authorities have not disclosed whether there was a struggle aboard the plane, and have not said what caused the airliner carrying 45 people to plunge into a Pennsylvania field.

There had been reports that it had been shot down by the American military, but these remain unconfirmed.

Some of the victims telephoned relatives from the plane and said that they had resolved to wrest control of the flight back from their captors.

Passenger Jeremy Glick, 31, telephoned his wife, Liz, after terrorists took over, Glick’s uncle Tom Crowley said. She conferenced the call to an emergency dispatcher, who told Glick about the New York attacks.

"Jeremy and the people around them found out about the flights into the World Trade Centre and decided that if their fate was to die, they should fight,’’ Mr Crowley said.

"At some point, Jeremy put the phone down and simply went and did what he could do" with the help of an unspecified number of other passengers, he said.

Among them was Thomas Burnett, a 38-year-old business executive from California.

In a series of four mobile phone calls, Burnett had his wife, Deena, conference in the FBI and calmly gathered information about the other hijacked flights.

Burnett said "a group of us are going to do something’’, his wife said, and he gave every indication that sacrificing the passengers wasn’t part of their plan.

‘‘He was coming home. He wasn’t leaving. He was going to solve this problem and come back to us,’’ she said at her home in San Ramon, California.

CNN reported obtaining a partial transcript of chatter from the plane recorded by air traffic controllers as the jetliner approached Cleveland. The network said tower workers heard someone in the cockpit shout: "Get out of here," through an open microphone.

A second transmission from the plane is heard amid sounds of scuffling with someone again yelling: ‘‘Get out of here.’’

Next to be heard is a voice saying: ‘‘There is a bomb on board. This is the captain speaking. Remain in your seat. There is a bomb on board. Stay quiet. We are meeting with their demands. We are returning to the airport.’’

CNN said an unidentified source who heard the tape claimed that transmission was of a voice speaking in broken English. The microphone then went dead, CNN reported.

United spokeswoman Liz Meagher had no comment on the transcript.

The three other hijacked planes in Tuesday’s attacks destroyed New York’s twin towers and severely damaged the Pentagon in Washington.

America officials have said the Secret Service feared the target of the United flight was Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland about 85 miles from the crash site. Others speculated that the White House or Pentagon could have been targets.

"It sure wasn’t going to go down in rural Pennsylvania. This wasn’t the target - the target was Washington DC," said Representative John Murtha. "Somebody made a heroic effort to keep the plane from hitting a populated area."

He added: "I would conclude there was a struggle and a heroic individual decided 'I'm going to die anyway, I might as well bring the plane down here'."

During the flight, other passengers screamed and shouted through mobile phones to share final words with their loved ones. Not Burnett, who seemed unshakable from his first call.

"He said 'I'm on the airplane, the airplane that's been hijacked, and they’ve already knifed a guy. They’re saying they have a bomb. Please call the authorities'," his wife said.

She called 911, who patched her through to the FBI. She was on the phone with agents when his second call came.

"I told him in the second call about the World Trade Centre and he was very curious about that and started asking questions. He wanted any information that I had to help him," she said.

By the third phone call "I could tell that he was formulating a plan and trying to figure out what to do next," she said. "You could tell that he was gathering information and trying to put the puzzle together."

In his last call, Burnett said he and some other passengers had decided to make a move. "I told him to please sit down and not draw attention to himself and he said no. He said no," Deena Burnett said, shaking her head with a half-smile.

In Washington, Attorney General John Ashcroft said each of the planes was seized by three to six hijackers armed with knives and craft knives.

Crowley said Glick described the terrorists as "looking and speaking Arabic" and reported that they were armed with knives and had a "large red box" they said contained a bomb.

The plane had left Newark, New Jersey, at about 8 am for San Francisco. But it banked sharply as it approached Cleveland and headed back over Pennsylvania, losing altitude and flying erratically.

It slammed nose-first into a field about 80 miles south-east of Pittsburgh at 10am (3pm Irish time) - an hour after the Trade Centre crashes and about 20 minutes after the Pentagon attack.

Hundreds of investigators were at the scene yesterday, hoping to recover the plane’s cockpit voice recorder and other clues.

Deena Burnett is sure her husband had something to do with the fact that with this plane, at least, no one on the ground was hurt.

"We may never know exactly how many helped him or exactly what they did, but I have no doubt that airplane was bound for some landmark and that whatever Tom did and whatever the guys who helped him did they saved many more lives," she said.

"And I’m so proud of him and so grateful," she said, breaking off to choke back a sob.

Govt still trying to trace Irish people

7:11:15 AM

The Department of Foreign Affairs has said it is still trying to trace several hundred Irish people in the New York and Washington areas.

Emergency helplines have been ringing non-stop since Tuesday’s tragedy, with worried relatives desperate for information about their loved ones.

The Government is coordinating its efforts to identify Irish victims with the Irish Embassy in the US and it is feared that several Irish-born, first-generation and second-generation Irish people will be among the dead.

Cowen vows to support Bush retaliation

6:37:46 AM

Foreign Minister Brian Cowen has vowed to support the United States in any action it takes to bring those responsible for Tuesday’s attacks to justice.

"We will do all we can to co-operate to identify those who are guilty and make sure the guilty face punishment for what has happened," he said.

The world is holding its breath in anticipation of what action George W Bush will take.

He has already secured the unconditional support of NATO and the UN security council.

America’s 18 NATO allies yesterday invoked article five of the North Atlantic Treaty, which says an attack on one NATO member will be treated by each member state as an attack on its own territory.

This effectively clears the way for any military action Mr Bush decides to take.

Golf: Parvenik 'feared for his life'

6:33:59 AM

Ryder Cup golfer Jesper Parnevik feared for his life as two hijacked planes ploughed into the World Trade Centre a kilometre from where he was staying.

The Swede was in Manhattan for a meeting with golf clothing designer Johan Lindeberg in the Plaza Hotel when the first aircraft struck the twin towers.

"The first hit we didn’t hear because of the thick walls in the hotel. But then we heard from reception what had happened," the two-time Open runner-up said in Swedish daily Expressen.

"Because the Plaza is a very well known building we thought they might go for us so we had to get out of there."

Leaving all his belongings, Parnevik ran from the lobby just as the second plane hit, making the ground shake beneath him.

"It was absolutely terrible. We were just running and waiting for the next hit. Of course you are afraid. I was thinking about my family and what might happen next."

Golf: Players back cancellation of World Golf Championships

6:32:32 AM

Golf’s top players have backed the decision to cancel the World Golf Championships in St Louis following the terrorist attacks on America.

Tournament officials acted by cancelling the event - and announcing that the 5million US dollars prize money (£3,400,000) would be donated to a relief fund set up as a result of Tuesday’s atrocities.

World number two Phil Mickelson had already withdrawn from the tournament at Bellerive Country Club while 21 players had yet to arrive after being caught up in the travel chaos in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks.

Colin Montgomerie felt that the right decision had been made to cancel the event after plans were announced for a national day of mourning across the United States.

Montgomerie said: ‘‘We were starting on Friday which was only right but you can’t play golf on a day of mourning.

"That was that. That changed the whole thing. It's just too early unfortunately."
Montgomerie also agreed with the decision to donate the prize fund to the relief effort, adding: "That is all we can do right now."

US Open champion Retief Goosen added: "It was a joint decision between the players, the sponsors and PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem and it was the right decision."

20 Irish people feared trapped

6:12:51 AM

There is still no further news on the fate of 20 Irish people thought trapped in the rubble of the World Trade Centre.

An Irish passport was found in the debris.

The family of a county Sligo man have confirmed that he is missing following the World Trade Centre attacks.

It is believed 35-year-old Kieran Gorman from Lava, Co Sligo, was working on the top floor of one of the towers when the attack happened.

Irish priest Fr Michael Judge is among the Irish people believed to have died in the aftermath of the blasts at the World Trade Centre.

Fr Judge was ministering to the injured when he died, according to reports.

There are also reports that a crew of Irish construction workers are missing.

Meanwhile, two cousins of Sligo-Leitrim TD Gerry Reynolds are also missing.

FBI ploughs all resources into investigation

5:44:03 AM

As rescue workers today continued to search the carnage in New York and Washington, the investigation to hunt down the men behind the world’s worst terrorist outrage began in earnest.

The New York Port Authority estimated the total death toll could reach 20,000.

Ten thousand shoppers in a mall under the WTC were feared killed and a further 10,000 in the towers themselves, the authority said.

With the finger of suspicion increasingly pointing at terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden, the identities of more than a dozen of the men who hijacked four planes with knives and threats of bombs has been ascertained, officials told reporters.

Some 4,000 FBI agents worked to track down the men, with the massive investigation stretching from the Canadian border, where they suspect some of the hijackers entered the country, to Florida, where some of the participants are believed to have learned how to fly commercial jetliners before the attacks.

At least six people were detained across the country on unrelated charges.

The FBI made clear none had been arrested on suspicion of the attack.

Houses in Massachusetts, New Jersey and Florida were searched for evidence and the FBI issued photos of two suspects who had stayed in Florida - Mohamed Atta and Marwan Alshehhi.

An FBI source said the two men had boarded a flight from Boston on Tuesday,

FBI officers searched two houses in the Vero Beach area of Florida and seized computer equipment. One man, believed to be an acquaintance of the two men, was detained.

Both houses had been occupied by two men who said they were Saudi pilots on a 15-month pilot’s course at the Huffman Aviation school in the state, according to reports.

An Arabic flight training manual and a copy of the Koran were discovered in a rented car at Boston’s Logan Airport, believed to have been hired by the two men.

A heavily-armed raid of a Boston hotel was staged but no one was detained.

Elsewhere three men were detained for questioning by state police, according to reprost, after an inter-city train from Boston was stopped and searched in Providence, Rhode Island.

It also emerged that the American Government believed there was a ‘‘credible threat’’ that the White House and Air Force One, the presidential jet, were targets for the terrorists.

A White House spokesman said intelligence now suggested the plane which crashed into the Pentagon was originally headed for the White House.

The spokesman said President George Bush landed in Louisiana and then went to Nebraska because his security in the air or in Washington could not be guaranteed.

US Secretary of State Colin Powell, who led allied troops in the Gulf conflict, described the attacks as ‘‘a war not just against the United States’’ but ‘‘a war against civilisation’’.

His comments were later backed up by Washington’s Nato allies who declared that the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington could be considered an attack on the whole alliance.

US Congress agreed a package of $20bn (£13.6bn) to aid rescue efforts, protect national security and help trace the terrorists responsible.

Across the globe there were fears of further attacks, of the damage that could be done to the world economy, and of the many long-term implications of a new and terrifying form of terrorism against which the US was defenceless.

But for thousands of families there was the terrible dread for loved ones who went to work or boarded planes but have not been heard of since.

Chilling accounts emerged of passengers on the hijacked jets making final calls to their loved ones just second before they died and evidence that some facing death went down fighting.

Establishing the death toll could take weeks. The four airliners alone had 266 people aboard and there were no survivors. Officials put the number of dead and wounded at the Pentagon at up to 200.

Trade Centre rescue effort continues

5:33:45 AM

The rescue effort was today continuing in the rubble of the World Trade Centre as emergency services picked through debris and battled with danger.

At least four buildings which had been part of the World Trade complex and which had survived the blast were in danger of collapse, prompting an evacuation of the area last night as one started to crumble.

But today exhausted firefighters and police were back digging at the ruins, desperately trying to find survivors and using sound locators and thermal imaging equipment to aid the search.

And as they searched they were also dealing with the dead bodies which litter the area, many of them unrecognisable as anything more than mangled corpses.

Late last night five more people had been pulled alive from the rubble, bringing the total to more than 15, and 82 bodies had been found. More than 3,000 injured people are estimated to have been treated by the city’s hospitals.

A total of 360 police and firefighters remain missing, presumed dead, among them the fire brigade’s commissioner, many of his top officers and the service’s chaplain.

Across the site workers used orange plastic to mark where they found body parts and one eyewitness said the mound of debris was covered in orange markers.

Thousands of rescue workers were on the scene, backed by a support effort which saw firefighters and police flock to the city from as far afield as Toronto.

Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said: "This is a really dangerous rescue effort.

"They are putting their lives at risk to find survivors, or deal with the remains of the dead.

"We are talking about recovering thousands of people and I think beyond that we can't say anything more."

Smoke still billowed from the site of the collapsed towers, while a fleet of lorries moved thousands of tonnes of rubble out to aid the search and queues of heavy lorries waited with lifting gear and cranes in the empty, silent streets of lower Manhattan.

Six thousand body bags have been ordered and a temporary mortuary set up on the Hudson River, where it is likely barges will be used to transport the dead to other centres in New Jersey and Staten Island, to the south of Manhattan.

Public health officials will also be working to prevent disease becoming a problem around the site of the tragedy, where emergency co-ordinators estimate workers will remain for the next two months.

Doctors said they were ‘‘dismayed’’ by the lack of patients to treat, knowing that each empty ambulance represented another bereaved family.

New Yorkers were queueing to give blood, backed by people across America, with President George Bush and his wife Laura among those preparing to donate.

The National Guard was on the city’s streets, some armed with machine guns and in full camouflage gear, but transport was beginning to return to normal for commuters who were expected to begin trying to get back to work today.

The city was also struggling to deal with the living and announced the opening of a centre for people to go for emergency grief counselling or to seek news of their loved ones.

But there was a message of defiance to the terrorists as Mayor Rudolph Giuliani pledged the World Trade Centre would rise again.

"We will rebuild the city and make it stronger than it ever was before,’’ said Mr Giuliani.

"We are going to get over this crisis, we are going to help everyone and we are somehow going to have to manage our huge grief and loss.

"The World Trade Centre will rise again. We don’t know in what form, but it will rise greater than it was before."

He was backed by New York senator and former First Lady Hillary Clinton, who said rebuilding would send a message to the terrorists that they could not defeat the city.

"Every business that ever had an operation in the buildings that are no longer there will find a place in New York City to open up, to build the future together," said Mrs Clinton.

"We will keep going and that is the greatest rebuke that we can show to them."

Churches, synagogues, temples and mosques across the city have opened their doors for prayers and police have mounted extra patrols in Muslim areas after fears of attacks because of the presumption that the attacks were masterminded by Osama bin Laden.

In the window of one closed shop a sign read: "Mr Bush, declare war on Afghanistan immediately."

Most poignantly of all, people had begun to take to the streets with pictures of missing friends and loved ones, trying to find answers.

One man had made a poster with pictures of his friend and was walking in Times Square, the heart of the city.

"He was working in World Trade Centre One," he cried. "We don't know where he is."

Officials try to estimate death toll

5:31:11 AM

With too many people missing for an accurate death count to begin, officials did their best yesterday to calculate the toll from the World Trade Centre attacks.

A frantic search was under way for the names of confirmed survivors so officials could begin to guess the number of dead.

"The best estimate we can make is that there will be a few thousand left in each building," Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said.

Asked about a report that the city had requested 6,000 body bags from federal officials, he replied: ‘‘Yes, I believe that’s correct.’’

Because of the difficulty of digging through the rubble, only 82 fatalities have so far been confirmed.

Airline officials said another 152 people were on the two planes that smashed into the towers.

The mayor said 202 firefighters and 57 police officers, as well as the World Trade Centre’s head of security, were among the missing.

In Tuesday’s other terrorist attacks, there were 45 people aboard a plane that was hijacked and crashed into a field in Pennsylvania

At the Pentagon, the military services said about 150 people - mostly soldiers - were unaccounted for, along with 64 passengers and crew from the plane that crashed into the building.

Operators at the New York mayor’s hotline were compiling the names of the missing and providing relatives with information about patients at city hospitals.

Two web sites listed thousands of names of people who worked or lived near the disaster.

"If you have survived the World Trade Centre attack or know someone who has, please add their name to our list," said a message on

It asked users to note the survivors’ conditions.

A similar web site was also established by Battery Park City, a residential complex near the site of the Manhattan disaster.

State officials were also counting. Nearly 200 state Government workers and an unknown number of private-sector employees couldn’t be located, Governor George Pataki said yesterday.

About 300 state workers and more than 3,000 employees of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey worked in the towers.

Also missing were some of the 900 people employed by the state Attorney General's office in a building near the World Trade Centre.

There was some good news from the towers’ largest tenant, the Morgan Stanley firm, which employed 3,500 people on 20 floors in both towers.

"It certainly looks like the vast majority of our people got out, and we are fortunate," said Ira Miller, Morgan Stanley’s branch manager in Rochester, New York.

Tragedy inspires charity

5:29:49 AM

People across America were today responding with prayers and donations to the tragedy which ripped into the nation’s heart.

In churches across the country people knelt in prayer, wiped away tears and lit candles.

And companies and individuals responded to the tragedy by offering donations of time, goods and money to the cities of New York and Washington.

A fund called the September 11th Fund, established by the United Way of America and The New York Community Trust, has been established and has already received a one million dollar donation from the Bank of America.

The fund will provide immediate support to emergency assistance agencies, such as the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army.

Both have brought hundreds of volunteers to the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon, working at everything from sifting through rubble to feeding exhausted workers.

Ken Lewis, chairman and chief executive of Bank of America, said: ‘‘We must do all we can to help the victims of this senseless violence.

"We don't yet know the full extent of damage and suffering, but today we are making a strong start toward helping people recover."

And across America, preparations were being made for a day of prayer and reflection for the victims of the terrorist atrocities and their relatives and friends.

An estimated 75,000 people in all 50 states were expected to participate in a national prayer vigil on Saturday afternoon.

One thousand churches had already signed up to the event and every religion and denomination was praying for the victims of the tragedy.

Commissioner Joe Noland of The Salvation Army said: ‘‘Our hearts are broken for the victims of Tuesday’s tragedies, their families, and for America.

‘‘Though the Salvation Army is on site providing assistance to our friends and neighbours who are the victims of this tragic event, our deepest desire would be that all Americans do what we have always done in times of national tragedy hold fast to our faith and pray for our president and all our nation’s leaders."

Dr Tim Clinton of the American Association of Christian Counsellors said: ‘‘We have specially trained counsellors with the crisis response skills necessary to help people who have suffered deep emotional wounds in this horrendous attack.

"We are calling upon them to step in and help where they can."

And late last night the two houses of Congress gathered together in the dome of the Capitol building for a service of prayer.

Congressional leaders swore the country’s oath of allegiance, sang God Bless America and prayed for the victims and the nation.

John Lewis, a congressman and civil rights hero said: "It is shocking, it is unbelievable, but it did happen.

"We stand together tonight, not as Democrats or Republicans, but as citizens of the world with pain and hurt. We are one people. We are one family. We are one nation."

Washington 'warned of hijack risk to Pentagon'

5:22:25 AM

The American Government was warned eight years ago that the Pentagon and White House were vulnerable to attack from hijacked jets, a military adviser has claimed.

Dr Marvin Cetron said he prepared a 250-page report for the US intelligence agencies in 1993 which detailed his concerns but it was ignored.

"I said look, you've got a major problem here with aircraft, they could hit the White House or the Pentagon it’s a simple matter of coming in and making a left turn at the Washington Monument and running directly into the White House, or a right turn and going into the Pentagon," Dr Cetron said.

He added: "They understood and they ignored it, they took it out of the final draft."

"I think the reason they didn’t want that published is because they felt they couldn’t do anything about it. It would scare people and the flying public, which it probably would have, and therefore why worry about it out of sight, out of mind."

Republican Senator Wayne Allard, a member of the US administration’s armed forces committee, told Newsnight he was part of various hearings where the suggestion of possible attacks from hijacked jets were made.

He said the warnings were similar to the events on Tuesday which saw four planes hijacked to deadly effect, but not exactly the same.

He added: "Obviously it's hard to evaluate the likelihood of something like that happening and I think it's a shock to all of us, even though we talked about various scenarios that terrorists may use to cripple the United States in some way."

Asked how clear were the warnings he got while sitting on the intelligence committee he replied: "They weren’t clear, they were just speculations. They were suggestions of what could happen.

"Then you’re faced with what is the likelihood - what’s a reasonable approach to try and defend yourself."

Bin Laden under house arrest - claim

5:01:00 AM

Osama bin Laden, the man suspected of having masterminded the terrorist attacks on the US, is under house arrest, it was claimed today.

The alleged terrorist commander was reported to have been placed under house arrest by Afghanistan’s ruling Taliban militia, online Arabic newspaper Ilaf claimed.

‘‘A number of Afghan fighters are under house arrest along with bin Laden," the newspaper said, according to a translation by Agence France Press.

Quoting ‘‘fundamentalist Arab sources", Ilaf said: "The Taliban have arrested Osama bin Laden before placing him under surveillance with several of his assistants."

The men under house arrest included bin Laden's military commander Muhammad Atef Al-Makni and the head of the Egyptian branch of fundamentalist terror group Al-Jihad, Ayman Al-Zawahri.

But a diplomat at the Taliban’s embassy in Abu Dhabi said he could not confirm AFP’s report.

The diplomat said: "All we know is that he is somewhere in Afghanistan, but we are not aware if he is under house arrest."

Bin Laden quickly emerged as the prime suspect in the terror attacks on New York and Washington using hijacked airliners.

But the FBI’s most-wanted suspect has reportedly denied his involvement in the attacks.

The chairman of the Afghan defence council claims the Saudi millionaire would not kill innocent people.

Mullah Sami Al Haq also claims bin Laden’s arms have been taken by the Taliban who are thought to be hiding him.

Al Haq told the BBC: "He is a real Muslim and I don’t think, therefore, that he could kill innocent people because it is un-Islamic.

"It's no secret that he doesn’t like America because America has made him a target. But he could never do something like this.

"His weapons have been taken by the Taliban and he doesn’t want to make things worse for them by doing something like this and he doesn’t want to give his hosts any more trouble.’’

The reported house arrest came as the FBI’s massive investigation got under way in America and around the world.

And today Time magazine reported in a special edition on the attack that two of the men believed to have been among the hijackers of the flight which destroyed a wing of the Pentagon had been allowed into the United States by mistake.

The men, who have yet to be named, slipped through the border despite being on a list given to immigration officers of people who should not be allowed into the country.

And the magazine also reported counter-terrorism officials have begun asking the airlines for fuel loads on the plane and aviation experts to calculate the explosive yield of each blast in kilotons, the measure of power used to grade nuclear weapons.

Bin Laden and his commander Atef have been indicted for the 1998 bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

One of their followers was due to be sentenced for his part in the Tanzanian bombing in Manhattan yesterday in a court yards from the World Trade Centre.

Flights expected to start landing

4:50:00 AM

Flights which had been diverted to Canada are expected to start landing in the States from 8am local time (1pm Irish time).

For Aer Lingus passengers seeking information, the number is 1800 222 221, while for Delta passengers, it is 1800 768 080.

Building five is structurally stable

4:36:07 AM

It has emerged that there is in fact no partial collapse at One Liberty Plaza, building number five at the World Trade Centre.

It had earlier been reported that the building was close to total collapse and had already partially fallen

Rescue workers and firefighters are still picking through debris in the area around the building in the continuing effort to find survivors.

Meanwhile, a massive amount of blood donations has provided enough blood for the moment for the injured.

An appeal for blood donations continues however, as much more will be needed as more people are rescued from the World Trade Centre and Pentagon debris.

Resolution of resolve wording being debated

4:29:01 AM

The White House has faxed the proposed wording of a "resolution of resolve" to Congressional leaders.

President Bush is hoping to get the backing of Congress to use force to retaliate for the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon.

Congressional leaders are considering the wording of the resolution.

Meanwhile, another resolution to free up $20bn to fund rescue efforts and the early stages of the investigation, is expected to be passed.

President Bush was earlier led around the devastated section of the Pentagon, which was the second target of terrorists on Tuesday.

It has emerged that the casualty toll at the defence building is now thought to be considerably lower that initially thought.

A spokesman said it was now believed that about 200 people, including the 64 aboard the plane which crashed into the building, had perished - that's far lower than the 800 initially thought dead.

Rescuers are, however, still combing the building so no firm death toll is yet available.

US Senate debate 'resolution of resolve'

2:35:42 AM

US officials in the House of Representatives and the US Senate are reported to be debating on whether any necessary force should be used by the White House.

Democrats and republicans from both side of the house are debating what is being called a " resolution of resolve".

If passed the resolution could lead to the White House having complete power to use military action at it's discretion.

Building number five still standing

1:50:09 AM

New York rescue workers have denied that building number five at the World Trade Centre has collapsed completely.

It had been reported earlier that the building, One Liberty Plaza, had collapsed entirely.

Late last night part of the building did fall but the remains are holding.

FBI retrace footsteps to WTC bombing

1:35:40 AM

FBI officials have retraced their footsteps as far back as the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Centre in the hope of finding any evidence which may provide a vital clue to the certain identity of the terrorists.

Investigating international leads the US law enforcement officials have also studied a case involving the Algerian group GIA.

GIA attempted to fly a jet into the Eiffel tower in the early nineties.

Nine survivors pulled from WTC rubble

1:15:46 AM

Nine survivors of Tuesday's terrorist attacks on the US have been pulled alive from the rubble of the World Trade Centre.

Rescue workers are working around the clock to try and find any remaining survivors.

Rescue attempts had to be halted yesterday evening as part of building number five at the World Trade Centre collapsed.

Building number five collapses completely - unconfirmed report

1:12:30 AM

There has been unconfirmed reports that another building at the World Trade Centre has collapsed.

Late yesterday evening building number five, One Liberty Plaza, at the complex had partially collapsed.

Rescue efforts have been pulled back until the collapse has been confirmed.

NATO enact 'mutual defence clause'

12:48:05 AM

Nato have confirmed that they security council has instigated a 'mutual defense clause'.

Speaking from Brussels, NATO Secretary General, Lord Robertson has said that the attack's on the US have forced the NATO security council to enforce the mutual defence clause.

The clause is designed to unite all member states of NATO in the event of an attack on one or all member states.

Prayer vigil held in US capital

12:38:29 AM

The US senate has held a prayer vigil in the US capital in memory of those who have lost their lives in Tuesday's terrorist attacks.

The vigil was lead by the Senate Chaplin, Rev Lloyd Ogilvie.

During the vigil the Rev Ogilvie said of those who had died, " death came as no conqueror at the end.

"Those who gave their lives freely and without question in attempts at rescuing their fellow Americans have humbled the nation with their heroism."

WTC fires set of NYPD officers ammunition

12:21:14 AM

Rescue workers have told reporters in New York that the continuing fires are setting off ammunition.

The ammunition is believed to have belonged to NYPD officers who have lost their lives in the terrorist attack while attempting to mount rescue efforts.

Rescue attempts in New York halted

12:18:29 AM

Rescue attempts at the World Trade Centre have been halted due to the danger imposed by the complex's partially collapsed building number five.

The building, One Liberty Plaza, partially collapsed late yesterday evening.

Military crews hang US flag from Pentagon

12:13:18 AM

Military crews have hung a large American flag from the Pentagon.

US senate spokesperson has said the demonstration is a move to raise hope and to show those responsible for Tuesday's terrorist attack that they may have caused horrific terror on US soil but the have not broken the US spirit.

Pentagon death toll may be up to 200

12:01:33 AM

Officials at the Pentagon have said the final death toll may be between 100 and 200 deaths.

US Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfield, said at a press briefing that the final death toll may not be as high as previously feared.

Earlier reports put the casualty figures close to 800.

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