Bush issues 'most wanted' list of terrorists

President Bush issued a new "Most Wanted" list today, stepping up the worldwide pressure on 22 suspected terrorists, some of whom have been at large for years.

"We list their names, we publicize their pictures, we rob them of their secrecy," the President said at FBI headquarters.

On the list are Osama bin Laden, his two top deputies and several members of his al-Qaida network implicated in earlier bombings overseas against U.S. interests.

"They have blood on their hands from Sept. 11 and from other acts against America in Kenya, Tanzania and Yemen," said Secretary of State Colin Powell, who also announced a State Department reward program offering large bounties for assistance that leads to the terrorists' arrests.

The 22 indicted suspects are the most dangerous terrorists, Bush said, "the leaders key supporters planners and strategists. They must be found, they will be stopped."

Attorney General John Ashcroft also created a "9/11 Task Force" within the Justice Department that will handle terrorism case prosecutions and focus on preventing further attacks.

As the investigation into the Sept. 11 attacks continued to progress across the globe, law enforcement officials said they were beginning to narrow their focus on possible collaborators to a much smaller group among the estimated 600 people, mostly Middle Easterners, who have been arrested or detained. An additional group of about 200 people continue to be sought for questioning.

Meanwhile, heavy explosions were heard from around Kabul's airport, and Taliban anti-aircraft batteries opened fire on high- flying jets over the Afghan capital today in the fourth night of the U.S.-led air campaign.

Taliban gunners opened fire from at least three positions near the center of Kabul. Most of the firing appeared to be from the west of the city around Rishkore and Kargah--both areas where bin Laden is believed to have terrorist training camps. Within minutes, anti-aircraft fire appeared to be stepping up from every direction and the roar of jets could be heard overhead.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec