Major Developments: Tuesday, September 18


Afghanistan's ruling Taliban movement called for volunteers to fight a holy war if the United States attacked the country, Reuters reported. The Taliban rulers discussed conditions for possibly extraditing Usama bin Laden to a country other than the United States, a Pakistani government source said Tuesday. The conditions include international recognition of the Taliban government and lifting of U.N. sanctions.

A Pakistani delegation returned from Afghanistan after trying to convince the Taliban of the danger they face from a possible U.S. attack.

Many Pakistanis living near the border with Afghanistan say they are ready to join a holy war against America if the U.S. attacks Afghanistan. Religious leaders are calling for a general strike and street protests Friday to oppose military action. 

Iran has sent a message to the United States via Canada saying it will not oppose targeted military strikes against those believed responsible for last week's terror attacks, a Canadian newspaper said Tuesday. But Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei officially condemned the attacks, saying that to punish Afghanistan would cause a human catastrophe. 

Iraqi President Saddam Hussein on Tuesday condemned U.S. threats of war to avenge last week's suicide attacks, saying Washington did not have enough evidence to identify those who carried them out. "The United States has made the accusation before possessing the minimum evidence," he said, adding that America is using the attacks as a pretext to settle old scores with Islamic countries.

Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat said he is unilaterally enforcing a cease-fire, and Israel responded by ordering a halt to military operations. Both sides have been under pressure from the United States to work out a truce. Washington is trying to forge an international anti-terror coalition and is seeking support from Arab countries. New Mideast fighting would hamper such efforts, the U.S. says.


President Bush signed into law Tuesday a $40 billion package to rebuild after the terrorist attacks. He also put his signature to the congressional resolution authorizing him to use military force against those responsible and to legislation expediting benefit payments to injured firefighters and police, or to the survivors of public safety officers killed at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld raised doubts Tuesday about whether the surrender of Usama bin Laden would be enough to avert a U.S.-led military campaign against terrorism. "Clearly you begin on a journey with one step, and he would be one step," Rumsfeld said. But he added, "If bin Laden were not there, the organization would continue doing what it's been doing. So clearly the problem is much bigger than bin Laden." 

The Investigation:

Attorney General John Ashcroft says officials are investigating the possibility that more than four planes had been targeted by the hijackers -- and that the hijackers' associates might still be in the United States.

The attorney general announced new rules allowing suspected illegal immigrants to be detained for 48 hours, double the old period. He also announced the creation of an anti-terrorism task force to wage "a concerted national assault" against terrorists.

New York City's police commissioner confirms that a grand jury has begun work in White Plains, New York -- to investigate the World Trade Center attacks. Commissioner Bernard Kerik says there will be similar investigations around the country. The scope of the New York grand jury probe isn't yet known.

 Attorney General John Ashcroft says the FBI has detained 75 people for questioning and on immigration charges and has arrested at least four material witnesses in the terrorist investigation. Nearly 200 others are being sought.

 Authorities filed the first criminal charges in the terror investigation after finding three men in a house with false immigrations papers and airport diagrams. The arrests in Michigan occurred when FBI agents raided a residence in Detroit looking for one of the almost 200 witnesses being tracked down. Instead, they found the three men and a cache of documents. The three were charged with having false immigration papers.

The FBI has taken a San Antonio, Texas doctor to New York for questioning, as the probe continues into last week's terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. An unidentified federal source tells The Dallas Morning News there's an apparent link between the doctor and two men removed from an Amtrak train in Fort Worth, Texas last week.

Five men suspected of hijacking the jet that crashed into the Pentagon were regulars at a Gold's Gym in Greenbelt, Md. One of them flew three training flights from a small airport in Bowie, Md., in early August.

German police broadened their hunt on Tuesday for traces of two suspects linked to three suspected hijackers in last week's attacks. Police said they were still seeking two men, one of whom, Said Bahaji, may have coordinated logistics for the attacks on New York and Washington. Investigators believe Bahaji is now in Pakistan, while the other man's whereabouts are unknown. 

The Victims: 

President Bush led the White House staff in a moment of silence to mark the one-week anniversary of the attack. New Yorkers paused for two minutes of silence and radio stations across the country played patriotic songs at 8:48 a.m. today -- the exact moment that the first hijacked jetliner slammed into the north tower of World Trade Center.

New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said the chances of finding survivors in the rubble was "very, very small," but pledged to continue the ongoing rescue and recovery operation. 

Hundreds of World Trade Center disaster workers unwound aboard the USNS Comfort, a 894-foot U.S. Navy hospital ship docked off Manhattan that offers workers a hot meal, fresh clothes, and a pillow. 

The toll so far: 

New York: World Trade Center, 5,422 missing, 218 confirmed dead. Figure includes 92 passengers on American Flight 11 and 65 on United Flight 175. 

Washington: Pentagon, 189 believed killed. Figure includes 64 passengers on hijacked American Flight 77. 

Pennsylvania: Hijacked United Flight 93 — 44 killed. 


Wall Street found some stability Tuesday, a day after the biggest one-day point drop in history. The Dow closed down 17.30 points at 8,903.40. The Nasdaq fell 24.47 to 1,555.08, and the Standard & Poor's 500 index declined 6.03 to 1,032.74.

The Chicago Board Options Exchange, the world's largest options market, is investigating reports of unusual trading activity before last week's terrorist attacks, but declined to elaborate on the investigation. The Wall Street Journal reports that the Securities and Exchange Commission received information from other U.S. agencies about possible trading by terrorists in industries affected by the bombing, including insurance and the airlines, and also about possible put-option or futures-index trading. German and Japanese regulators also have said they're looking into claims of suspicious selling just before the attacks.

Japan's central bank lowered a symbolic but key interest rate Tuesday to show its solidarity with the United States and Europe. The Bank of Japan lowered the official discount rate to 0.10 percent from 0.25 percent and took other measures to make more money available in the market. 

Tokyo stocks closed higher Tuesday, after half-point interest-rate cuts in the United States and Europe helped to buoy sentiment despite an overnight decline on Wall Street. The dollar was higher against the yen. 

Stocks rallied in Asia-Pacific region early Tuesday. 

The Bush administration says it aims to deliver an aid package by early next week for airlines battered by last week's terror attacks. Leo Mullin, CEO of Delta Airlines, says unless his industry gets help soon, there's no way it can survive.

American Airlines says an announcement of "significant" staff reductions will likely be announced at mid-week.


International Olympic Committee (IOC) director general Francois Carrard said Tuesday that the executive board had agreed the Winter Games should go ahead as planned in Salt Lake City next February.

Baseball: Play resumed last night following a weeklong layoff due to the terrorist attacks. American League teams will be back on the fields today.

The NFL's security director says the league will implement a series of new security measures starting this weekend. Parking spaces may be further from the stadium, fans won't be allowed to take bags into stadiums, and tailgaters may have to head into stadiums and get to their seats much earlier than in the past.

The Associated Press contributed to this report