This information provided by The Federal Observer, http://www.federalobserver.com
By Fox News Network
Americans were reeling with horror and anger Tuesday after terrorists launched coordinated attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C., crashing hijacked airliners into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
In a day of infamy being compared to Pearl Harbor, the Twin Towers of New York's landmark World Trade Center crashed to the ground about an hour after airliners crashed into each of the 110-story buildings at around 9 a.m.
The Pentagon continued to burn out of control after a hijacked airplane crashed into it at 9:30, about a half hour after the World Trade Center assault.
A high-ranking New York police official said thousands of people could be dead or injured at the World Trade Center.
A fourth hijacked aircraft crashed in western Pennsylvania. An explosion also rocked the State Department.
Authorities went on alert from coast to coast, halting all air traffic, evacuating high-profile buildings and tightening security at strategic installations.
President Bush, flown from Florida to Barksdale Air Force Base in Northern Louisiana, said the nation's military had been placed on "high-alert status." Two warships were dispatched to New York Harbor to assist in the rescue.
"We will do what it takes, whatever's necessary to secure America and Americans," Bush said.
"Freedom itself was attacked this morning and I assure you freedom will be defended. Make no mistake. The United States will hunt down and pursue those responsible for these cowardly actions."
Abu Dhabi TV, in a broadcast heard from London, reported that "The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) claimed responsibility for the attack."
Afghanistan's hardline Taliban rulers condemned the attacks and rejected suggestions that Usama bin Laden could be behind them.
In June, a U.S. judge had set this Wednesday as the sentencing date for a bin Laden associate for his role in the 1998 bombing of a U.S. embassy in Tanzania that killed 213 people. The sentencing had been set for the federal courthouse near the World Trade Center. No one from the U.S. attorney's office could be reached Tuesday to comment on whether the sentencing was still on.
Abdel-Bari Atwan, editor of the Al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper, said he received a warning from Islamic fundamentalists close to bin Laden, but did not take the threat seriously. "They said it would be a huge and unprecedented attack but they did not specify," Atwan said in a telephone interview in London.
In the West Bank city of Nablus, thousands of Palestinians celebrated the attacks, chanting "God is Great" and handing out candy.
The White House, the Pentagon and the Capitol were evacuated along with other federal buildings in Washington and New York.
Evacuations were ordered at the United Nations in New York and at the Sears Tower in Chicago. Los Angeles mobilized its anti-terrorism division, and security was intensified around the naval installations in Hampton Roads, Va. Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., was evacuated. Major League Baseball cancelled its entire Tuesday schedule.
Authorities had been trying to evacuate the 50,000 people who work in the Twin Towers, but many were thought to be trapped. The skyscrapers of downtown Manhattan were mostly obscured by smoke from the World Trade Center collapse.
"I have a sense it's a horrendous number of lives lost," Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said. "I don't know yet. Right now we have to focus on saving as many lives as possible."
The Pentagon, the nerve center of the nation's military, burst into flames and a portion of one side of the five-sided structure collapsed when the plane struck in midmorning. Secondary explosions were reported in the aftermath of the attack and great billows of smoke drifted skyward toward the Potomac River and the city beyond.
Authorities in Washington immediately began deploying troops, including an infantry regiment. The Situation Room at the White House was in full operation. And authorities went on alert from coast to coast, halting all air traffic and tightening security at strategic installations.
"This is the second Pearl Harbor. I don't think that I overstate it," said Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb.
In Lima, Peru, Secretary of State Colin Powell cut short his first official visit to South America to return home. "A terrible, terrible tragedy has befallen my nation, but it has befallen all those who believe in democracy," Powell told the Organization of American States.
Key indexes sank on world stock markets and some European airlines canceled flights to the United States and recalled planes already in the air. Trading on Wall Street was suspended. Within an hour of the 9 a.m. twin crashes into the World Trade Center, an aircraft crashed on a helicopter landing pad near the Pentagon, a car bomb exploded outside the State Department, and the West Wing of the White House was evacuated amid threats of terrorism. And another explosion rocked New York about an hour after the crash.
The first hijacked plane that crashed into the Trade Center was American Airlines Flight 11, a Boeing 767 en route to Los Angeles from Boston, the airline said. There were 81 passengers, nine flight attendants and two pilots aboard the flight. Another plane crashed into the Twin Towers minutes later.
A second American plane, Flight 77 from Dulles, Va., to Los Angeles, a Boeing 757, also crashed. There were 58 passengers, four flight attendants and two pilots aboard.
In Pennsylvania, United Airlines Flight 93, a Boeing 757 en route from Newark, N.J., to San Francisco, crashed about 80 miles southeast of Pittsburgh. It was not clear if the crash was related to the disasters elsewhere.
Another United plane, Flight 175 from Boston to Los Angeles, also crashed. The Boeing 767 carried 56 passengers, two pilots and seven flight attendants.
It was not clear whether the second United plane or the second American plane were the ones that crashed into the World Trade Center or the Pentagon.
An emergency dispatcher in Westmoreland County, Pa., received a cell phone call at 9:58 a.m. from a man who said he was a passenger locked in the bathroom of United Flight 93, said dispatch supervisor Glenn Cramer.
"We are being hijacked, we are being hijacked!" Cramer quoted the man as saying. The man told dispatchers the plane "was going down. He heard some sort of explosion and saw white smoke coming from the plane and we lost contact with him," Cramer said.
In New York, the planes blasted fiery, gaping holes in the upper floors of the Twin Towers. A witness said he saw bodies falling and people jumping out. About an hour later, the southern tower collapsed with a roar and a huge cloud of smoke; the other tower fell about a half-hour after that.
The crashes at the World Trade Center happened minutes apart, beginning just before 9 a.m. Heavy black smoke billowed into the sky above one of New York City's most famous landmarks, and debris rained down on the street, one of the city's busiest work areas. When the second plane hit, a fireball of flame and smoke erupted, leaving a huge hole in the glass and steel tower.
John Axisa, who was getting off a commuter train to the World Trade Center, said he saw "bodies falling out" of the building. He said he ran outside, and watched people jump out of the first building. Then there was a second explosion, and he felt heat on the back of neck. WCBS-TV, citing an FBI agent, said five or six people jumped out of the windows. Witnesses on the street screamed every time another person leaped.
People ran down the stairs in panic and fled the building. Thousands of pieces of what appeared to be office paper drifted over Brooklyn, about three miles away.
Several subway lines were immediately shut down. New York's mayoral primary election was postponed. All bridges and tunnels into Manhattan were closed down.
David Reck was handing out literature for a candidate for public advocate a few blocks away when he saw a jet come in "very low, and then it made a slight twist and dove into the building."
Terrorist bombers struck the World Trade Center in February 1993, killing six people and injuring more than 1,000 others.
"A second occurrence is just beyond belief," said Ira Furber, former National Transportation Safety Board spokesman.
"It's just sick. It just shows how vulnerable we really are," said Keith Meyers, 39, of Ohio. "It kind of makes you want to go home and spend time with your family. It puts everything in perspective," Meyers said. He said he called to check in with his wife. They have two young children.
In New York, "we heard a large boom and then we saw all this debris just falling," said Harriet Grimm, who was inside a bookstore on the World Trade Center's first floor when the first explosion rocked the building.
In Sarasota, Fla., Bush was reading to children in a classroom at 9:05 a.m. when his chief of staff, Andrew Card, whispered into his ear. The president briefly turned somber before he resumed reading. He addressed the tragedy about a half-hour later.
copyright Fox News Network
The Associated Press contributed to this report.