News / 

Sanchez Calls Iraq Terrorism Battleground

Sanchez Calls Iraq Terrorism Battleground

Save Story
Leer en espaƱol

Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes

This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- Iraq has become the next key battleground in the U.S. war on terrorism that began after the Sept. 11 attacks, and the fight will go on for a long time, the commander of U.S. forces there said Thursday.

For that reason, Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez was not surprised by a new videotape that appeared on the eve of the second anniversary of Sept. 11 in which Osama bin Laden issues a new threat against Americans.

"There is a threat, a terrorist threat here in this country. There are people that are infiltrating into the country to attack the coalition and American forces. So that would not be unexpected," Sanchez said at a news conference.

American officials repeatedly have claimed foreign terrorist fighters were infiltrating the country but have not produced any captives to support the allegations. But there have been five bombings -- two of them believed to be the work of suicide attackers -- in as many weeks.

"It's clear to me that this is the next battleground in the global war on terrorism that we have been on now for two years," Sanchez said. "It's a war that will continue for some time. But there's absolutely no question in my mind that the American people are committed to winning this war and that we in fact shall succeed."

In the first new video image of bin Laden broadcast in nearly two years, the al-Qaida leader was shown walking through rocky terrain with his top aide. The tape was aired on the Qatar-based Arab satellite broadcaster Al-Jazeera on Wednesday.

In an eight-minute audiotape accompanying the video footage, a speaker identified as bin Laden praises the "great damage to the enemy" on Sept. 11. On a second tape, a voice said to be that of chief deputy Ayman al-Zawahri threatens more attacks on Americans and calls on Iraqi guerrillas to "bury" U.S. troops.

Earlier Thursday, the U.S. administrator for Iraq and Sanchez joined about 100 civilians and soldiers for a moment of silence at Saddam Hussein's former Republican Palace in Baghdad to mark the Sept. 11 anniversary.

L. Paul Bremer and Sanchez stood with the others to bow their heads as a bagpiper played "Amazing Grace."

"Let us attune our hearts to the voices crying out from Sept. 11, 2001, compelling us to eradicate terrorism in our world and restore justice and dignity to creation," U.S. Army chaplain Col. Frank Wismer said.

In Saddam's hometown of Tikrit, the 4th Infantry Division held a similar memorial service.

The ceremony, attended by division commander Maj. Gen. Ray T. Odierno and about 150 people, was held at Saddam's main palace, taken over by the division after the invasion of Iraq.

"We are here to liberate this country from a brutal dictator ... to build a bright and better future for the children of Iraq. All those people who lost their lives on Sept. 11 would like nothing more. We will not allow them to have died in vain. Don't ever forget those attacks or why they happened," Odierno said.

In the latest Tikrit raid, 4th Infantry troops shut down two bombmaking factories and detained five Iraqis Thursday, the division said in a statement. The raid was one of seven in Iraq's three northeastern provinces, during which U.S. troops detained 48 people, six of whom were targeted suspects, and confiscated guns, explosives and ammunition.

Al-Jazeera reported Thursday that one of its correspondents, taken into custody by American forces the day before, had been released.

The U.S. military said early Thursday the reporter was arrested for having broken unspecified "ground rules." Al-Jazeera said Baghdad correspondent Atwar Bahjat was detained while she was covering explosions in the western part of the city.

Also in Baghdad, the U.S.-led civilian coalition announced the Baghdad city council had chosen a new chairman, calling it the "first orderly, democratic transfer of power for any public office in Baghdad in more than 35 years."

The new chairman is Adnan Abdul Sahib Hassan, 52, an import-export agent of foodstuffs. He holds a bachelor's degree in English literature from Baghdad University.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Most recent News stories


Get informative articles and interesting stories delivered to your inbox weekly. Subscribe to the Trending 5.
By subscribing, you acknowledge and agree to's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

KSL Weather Forecast