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The world at war
By Aaron Wherry
Americans, already terrified by the attacks of Sept. 11 and the ongoing bioterrorism crisis, were put on the highest alert Monday evening, after the FBI warned that fresh terrorist attacks are possible within a week.
"The administration has concluded based on information that has been developed that there may be additional terrorist attacks within the United States and against U.S. interests over the next week," said U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft.
"We believe this threat to be credible and for that reason is should be taken seriously," he added.
Ashcroft said there was no specific information on the target of the new threat.
The directive was the second high-security alert issued by the FBI since the Sept. 11 airliner assaults.
Meanwhile, American officials struggled to grasp the extent of the current anthrax crisis, while the Taliban accused the United States of committing "genocide of Afghanistan people."
New evidence of anthrax contamination in Washington, D.C. forced U.S. Supreme Court justices to set up shop in an alternative courtroom, while positive tests were identified from the State Department and at least two other government buildings.
Spores have now been found in at least 36 locations nationwide, including positive tests in Florida, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Virginia and Washington, D.C..
Eight cases of inhalation anthrax have been identified, including three deaths. A large number of possible cases of inhalation infection have been deemed suspicious pending further investigation.
As many as eight Americans have contracted the less harmful skin form of anthrax infection and at least 37 people have been exposed to the bacteria.
It is unknown how many anthrax-tainted letters or packages are responsible for these cases.
Numerous mail facilities have been closed in the Washington, D.C. area, while anthrax testing is conducted and thousands of mail workers across the U.S. are being treated with medication as a preventative measure.
On the military front, in Islamabad, Pakistan, Taliban Ambassador Abdul Salam Zaeef dismissed the first three weeks of America's military campaign.
"[The campaign] had achieved no significant achievement that the Pentagon wished to achieve, except the genocide of Afghanistan people," he said.
The supreme leader of the Taliban, Mullah Mohammed Omar, warned the U.S. will learn a "tougher lesson" in Afghanistan than the Soviet Union did in previous conflicts.
"We will never welcome them with flowers," he told Algerian newspaper El Youm. "They will receive a tougher lesson than that of their Russian predecessors."
U.S. Senator John McCain has said he wants the bombing campaign to intensify dramatically, while Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf has advised U.S. President George W. Bush to attempt negotiations if military goals cannot be achieved quickly.
For his part, Bush said the American people understood patience is required during this time of conflict.
"They understand that it's going to take a while to achieve our objective and I appreciate that patience," he said, before meeting with his homeland security council.
with files from Associated Press and Canadian Press