Today's Developments, 10/15

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 Military Action: 

• AC-130 turboprop gunships were deployed over Afghanistan, marking the first acknowledged use of special forces aircraft in the conflict.

• Pakistan said Monday it did not, and had never, regarded Afghanistan's ruling Taliban as "terrorists" and wanted to see a short war waged by the United States in its hunt for Usama bin Laden. 

• The United States staged the biggest daylight raids so far on Afghanistan's capital. Jets pounded targets around Kabul, and attacked a military headquarters and a suspected terrorist training camp in eastern Afghanistan.

• Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said in a briefing Monday that Taliban claims of hundreds of civilians killed by U.S. airstrikes in Afghanistan is "ridiculous."

• President Bush said the U.S. demand that Afghanistan turn over Usama bin Laden was not negotiable. He said the Taliban leaders know they must turn over bin Laden and his cohorts and release any hostages they hold. On Sunday, the Taliban offered to discuss bin Laden's extradition to a third country if the bombing stopped and the U.S. disclosed the evidence it has against bin Laden. 

• The U.S.-British strikes are focusing on weakening Al Qaeda and Taliban ground troops, U.S. military sources tell Fox News. The targets hit include aircraft parked at Kabul airport, air defenses, the Taliban military academy, four garrisons, a training camp, and an artillery base. 

• Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar issued a call for leaders from the Northern Alliance to join the Taliban in the fight against America, the Pakistan-based Afghan Islamic Press reported.

• The Pentagon said an American bomb intended for a military target in Kabul went astray and hit a residential neighborhood. 

• The Taliban denied persistent reports that their fighters were defecting to the Afghan opposition. The militia's information minister called the reports "baseless." 


• New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani was named an honorary Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. Queen Elizabeth II also conferred honorary titles — Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire — on the city's police and fire commissioners. 

• British Prime Minister Tony Blair said that "a viable Palestinian state... is the end we desire," adding that he wants to see "Israel and Palestinians living side by side." 

• Secretary of State Colin Powell arrived in Pakistan and India, hoping to keep tensions between those nations from complicating the military campaign in neighboring Afghanistan. 

• Kuwait decided to strip Kuwaiti citizenship from the spokesman of the Al Qaeda group, Sulaiman abu Ghaith. Following its weekly meeting, the Kuwaiti government told Reuters that the cabinet approved the draft decree in line with the citizenship law and "the needs of national interests." 

• Bush, once loth to meddle in "nation building," has begun drawing up plans for an Afghan government that would succeed the Taliban, were the ruling Islamic clique to fall. 

• One person died and 10 were injured as police repelled a protesting crowd trying to storm an air base near the southern Pakistani city of Jacobabad. Islamic religious groups have threatened suicide attacks on the air base, where American military personnel are believed to be operating. 

The Anthrax Scare: 

• The 7-month-old son of an ABC News producer developed the skin form of anthrax after recently spending time in the New York newsroom, authorities and network officials said Monday.

• Florida state health officials announced that a second employee of American Media Inc. has been diagnosed with inhalation anthrax.

• A package sent to the office of Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle has tested positive for anthrax. Daschle says staffers are being treated with antibiotics.

• A New York City police officer and two lab technicians tested positive this weekend and are being treated with antibiotics. They had been investigating the case of NBC Nightly News anchorman Tom Brokaw's assistant, who developed a subcutaneous infection after handling a contaminated letter sent to Brokaw. 

• A second NBC employee is also being treated for possible symptoms of anthrax infection, but has not yet tested positive. 

• Five more employees of American Media, Inc., in Florida tested positive for exposure over the weekend. 

• Nevada officials said four people who may have come in contact with a contaminated letter at a Microsoft office tested negative. Results were not yet known for two others. The letter had been sent from Malaysia.

• The Miami Herald reported that an FBI agent said there was a link between the Florida anthrax cases and the Sept 11 attacks — the wife of an editor an American Media rented apartments to some of the Sept. 11 hijackers. 

• Fox News' reports that some of the Florida cases of anthrax exposure might be false positives — there was some doubt about the conclusions reached from those tests. 

The Investigation: 

The New York Times quotes senior law-enforcement officials as saying that of the nearly 700 people arrested in the U.S. as part of the terrorism probe, at least ten were part of Al Qaeda cells. The officials said they did not know if the arrests have foiled any specific terror plots. 

• Authorities in Singapore said they uncovered a plot by a Middle Eastern terrorist group to recruit Muslims and increase terrorist operations in Southeast Asia. 

• U.S. authorities said they had foiled four bombing plots overseas since September 11th. They identified the targets as the U.S. Embassy in Paris, an American building in Turkey, embassy buildings in Yemen and a NATO building in Belgium. But they said there's evidence that loosely knit terrorist groups are planning to strike again in the U.S. 

The Home Front: 

• The Holland Tunnel between New Jersey and Manhattan reopened Monday. Only vehicles carrying at least two people will be allowed to use the route. The tunnel's inbound lanes have been closed since the September eleventh attacks. 

• Many of the Sept. 11 hijackers checked out several dams and chemical plants before their last, fatal flights, law enforcement sources told Fox News. They were particularly interested in a truck-driving school in Henderson, Co., northeast of Denver, the sources said. 

• The FBI said an e-mail circulating on the Internet that warns people to avoid shopping malls on Halloween is a hoax. 

• The government checked the backgrounds of airport workers in charge of screening passengers at the nation's 20 largest airports. 

• Federal aviation officials relaxed restrictions on private planes in 15 metropolitan areas. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report