Terrorists attacked New York and Washington in an unprecedented widespread scale this morning, destroying the twin towers of the World Trade Center and Pentagon in Washington by three airplanes, with a fourth plane crashed in Pennsylvania.
In the first attack, a plane hit the north tower of the World Trade Center in Manhattan around 8:45 (eastern time), followed by another plane into the second tower about 20 minutes later. Both towers collapsed, no figure of either casualties or injuries were available while an average 15,000 persons, including tourists, visited the towers.
American Airlines confirmed that it lost two planes in “tragic accidents”. Flight 11 from Boston with 81 passengers and 11 crew aboard and Flight 77 from Washington Dulles airport with 58 passengers and six crew aboard. Both planes were en route to Los Angeles.
About an hour later, a plane crashed into the Pentagon, part of which later collapsed.
United Airlines Flight 93 airliner headed from Newark, New Jersey to San Francisco, crashed near Somerset, Pennsylvania. Police said initial reports indicated no survivors. It was not known if this was connected to the attacks. United also said it was "”deeply concerned” about Flight 175 from Boston to Los Angeles.
The Pentagon, the White House, the State Department, the Justice Department, the Capitol, the CIA and all other government buildings in Washington evacuated.
In the first ever national ground stop of aircraft, all flights nationwide have been stopped at their departure airports. All international flights were diverted to Canada.
Israel has evacuated all its missions around the world.
President George W. Bush cancelled an appearance in Florida to return to Washington, calling the crashes “apparent terrorists attacks” and “a national tragedy.”
In Chicago, the Sears Tower was evacuated, United Nations in New York evacuated.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta was evacuated. CDC was preparing bioterrorism teams in case they became necessary.
The New York Port authority said it had closed all bridges and tunnels into the city. And US stock markets were closed after the New York attacks.
(Xinhua News Agency 09/12/2001)