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US's Ashcroft Warns Further Terrorist Attacks

by Selwyn Manning

The United States is preparing for a second wave of terrorist attacks after its attorney general John Ashcroft warned today the the public must be on alert.

Ashcroft said suspects potentially linked to the September 12 [New Zealand time] terrorist attacks on the United States had obtained licenses to transport hazardous materials. He said this has raised fears that terrorists may use trucks full with chemicle weapons or explosives to attack American civilians.

Ashcroft told reporters: "Today I can report to you that our investigation has uncovered several individuals, including individuals who may have links to the hijackers, who fraudulently have obtained or attempted to obtain hazardous material transportation licenses," Ashcroft told the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee.

"Given the current threat environment, the FBI has advised all law enforcement agencies to remain alert to these threats." Ashcroft said.

The US Bush administration had earlier banned flights by top-dresser planes. It lifted that ban today. It had been concerned such aircraft could be used in chemical or biological weapon attacks on cities and large population zones in the United States. But Ashcroft warned the US must not let its guard down.

"And I urge Americans to notify immediately the FBI of any suspicious circumstances that may come to your attention regarding hazardous materials, crop-dusting aircraft or any possible terrorist threat," he said.

About 20 individuals have been charged or arrested in the past two weeks with fraudulently obtaining a commercial license to haul hazardous materials.

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