On the September 11 anniversary, the U.S. State Department has issued a new worldwide
terrorism alert, warning that al-Qaida may be striving for new operations "more
devastating" than the September 2001 attacks in the United States.
The State Department global alert, citing the recent pattern of attacks by
al-Qaida and associated groups, warned that European and Eurasian locations
could be venues for the next round of attacks, possibly to coincide closely
with the 9-11 anniversary.
In some of the strongest language seen in such advisories, the statement
said U.S. officials are seeing increasing indications that al-Qaida is preparing
to strike U.S. interests abroad, and that they expect al-Qaida to "strive for" new
attacks that will be more devastating than the 9-11 operations.
It said these could possibly involve non-conventional weapons, such as chemical
or biological agents, and said U.S. officials "cannot rule out the potential" for
the group to attempt a another catastrophic attack within the United States.
The warning came as State Department employees held a memorial event, at
which Secretary of State Colin Powell extolled the international progress made
in the fight against terrorism since what he described as acts of "unimaginable
horror" and "unspeakable cruelty" on that day in 2001.
"We did not just react in grief and rage," he said. "Under President Bush's
leadership, we took decisive action. Led by the United States, nations all
around the globe have come together in a historic world-wide effort to wipe
terrorism from the face of the earth."
Mr. Powell said faithful friends and former foes of the United States alike
have come together against terrorism. He said the Bush administration is bringing "every
tool of statecraft" to bear against it, including the military, intelligence
community and U.S. diplomacy.