WASHINGTON, D.C., SEPT. 12, 2001 (Zenit.org).- U.S. authorities said they believed the terrorists who struck Tuesday had had other targets: the White House and the president´s Air Force One jetliner.
“We had specific credible information that both were intended terrorist targets, and that the plane that hit the Pentagon may have been headed for the White House,” said Sean McCormack, spokesman for President George W. Bush´s National Security Council, according to the Associated Press.
In Brussels, Belgium, NATO invoked the part of its charter that allows retaliation for any attack against one of its members.
The organization invoked Article 5 in support of the United States one day after terrorists destroyed New York´s World Trade Center and damaged the Pentagon. The decision opens the way for NATO military and logistic support to any U.S. retaliation.
After the attack in New York, Cardinal Edward Egan covered his clerical robes with green surgical garb and administered last rites to a dozen people at St. Vincent´s Hospital.
“For all of us,” the archbishop said Tuesday, “this has been a terrible day. I wish this day had never happened.”
New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said the final death toll in the World Trade Center attacks could amount to a few thousand in each of the two towers. He said the missing include 260 police officers and firefighters who rushed to the scene shortly before the towers collapsed.
Rescue workers continued to dig for bodies in a five-story mountain of rubble that used to be a pair of gleaming 110-story towers.
“It is unimaginable, devastating, unspeakable carnage,” said Scott O´Grady, a firefighter, told the Associated Press. “To say it looks like a war zone and to tell you about bodies lying in the street and blood and steel beams blocking roads would not begin to describe what it´s like. It´s horrible.”