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Bush declares U.S. still wages war on terror

By Associated Press,
© St. Petersburg Times
published May 18, 2003

WASHINGTON - With explosions in Morocco providing a fresh reminder of terrorism's reach, President Bush said Saturday that the United States will not relent in its pursuit of al-Qaida operatives and other terrorists.

"The enemies of freedom are not idle, and neither are we," Bush said in his weekly radio address. "Our government is taking unprecedented measures to defend the homeland. And from Pakistan to the Philippines, to the Horn of Africa, we are hunting down al-Qaida killers."

Bush, spending the weekend at the Camp David presidential retreat in Maryland, was briefed on the five nearly simultaneous attacks in Casablanca. U.S. officials strongly suspect al-Qaida was behind the bombings.

Although the FBI knew of no Americans killed, Bush said the United States was offering Morocco assistance in finding those responsible for the attacks that killed dozens and wounded at least 100. He noted that Casablanca is a city well known for tolerance and a diverse range of religious and ethnic communities.

"These acts of murder show, once again, that terrorism respects no boundaries nor borders," he said in a statement. "These acts demonstrate that the war against terror goes on."

Secretary of State Colin Powell also thanked Morocco for its help in fighting terrorism and said the United States "will continue to stand together with Morocco against this threat to both our nations and all peace-loving people."

Monday, a series of suicide bombings in the Saudi capital of Riyadh killed 34 people, including eight Americans, at three foreigners' housing compounds. Linking those attacks to al-Qaida and citing new threats in Africa and Asia, U.S. counterterrorism officials had warned of a coordinated effort by Osama bin Laden's terror network to hit targets around the world.

"The terrorist attacks this week in Saudi Arabia, which killed innocent civilians from more than half a dozen countries, including our own, provide a stark reminder that the war on terror continues," said Bush, who recorded his address Friday before explosions in Morocco.

Noting that Saturday was Armed Forces Day, Bush focused his radio address on praising the U.S. military and paying tribute to American troops killed and wounded in Iraq. There has been no evidence of a connection between Saddam Hussein's government and the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Still, Bush grouped the U.S. military success in Iraq with the campaign in Afghanistan, calling both battles that provided key victories in the global fight against terrorism.

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