The Prime Minister Tony Blair, has cancelled his speech to the TUC Congress this afternoon after the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon were hit by passenger aircraft in an apparent terrorist attack.
The World Trade Centre twin towers were hit by two planes – believed to have been hijacked from Boston Airport on the eastern seaboard – at around 2 p.m. UK time (around 9 a.m. Eastern Standard Time). One of the twin towers collapsed around 3 p.m. UK time. The two towers are believed to house some 50,000 employees. No casualty figures are available at the present time.
The Pentagon, the United States military centre, has also been hit by an aircraft.
At the time of writing there are further early reports of:
- a further plane crash in Pennsylvania, believed to be a Boeing 747
- evacuation of the London Stock Exchange,
- evacuation of Israeli staff from U.S. diplomatic missions,
- evacuation of buildings in Chicago (possibly a security measure only),
- a hijacked plane targetted at Washington,
- F16 fighters are believed to have been scrambled
- car bomb explosions at the U.S. State Department.
- The second tower at the World Trade Centre is reported as having collapsed.
- Air transport in the USA is reported to have been shut down
- Aircraft are being re-routed to Canada
- Latest reports say that Canada is closing all of its air-routes but is accepting redirected traffic from the USA
- Phone connection with and amongst the USA eastern seaboard is very poor
- stock prices are reported as falling where markets are open
- oil prices have risen after the attack from $27 to $30 dollars a barrel
- The Talibahn are reported to have called an imminent news conference in Pakistan. Their spokeman has condemned the terrorist attack calling for a full investigation
Stories are unconfirmed.
A shocked Mr Blair told TUC delegates: “I’m afraid we can only imagine the terror and the carnage there, and the many, many innocent people that will have lost their lives.
“I know that you would want to join me in sending the deepest condolences to President Bush and to the American people on behalf of the British people at these terrible events.
He went on: “This mass terrorism is the new evil in our world today.
“It is perpetuated by fanatics who are utterly indifferent to the sanctity of human life and we, the democracies of this world, are going to have to come together to fight it together and eradicate this evil completely from our world.”
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