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Homeland Security

US Remains a Target of Terrorism, says Senior Official
VOA News
03 Aug 2003, 16:35 UTC

U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge says the United States remains a target of terrorism but is having success in making the country safer.

Mr. Ridge made the comments Sunday on NBC television's Meet the Press program, in response to an audio tape, purportedly made by a top al-Qaida official, warning that the real battle against the United States has yet to begin.

Mr. Ridge said his department works hard every day to prevent terror attacks, but said it will be probably take years to fully build the system needed to protect Americans.

On Saturday, his department tightened transit visa requirements for foreign travelers following reports that terrorist organizations, including al-Qaida, may be plotting to carry out plane hijackings or bombings

U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft said he is unsure if the taped warning aired on the Arab television station Al-Arabiya is real. But he told ABC's This Week television program on Sunday that such messages show the war against terrorism is still underway.

Mr. Ashcroft said he believes the United States has disrupted over a hundred terrorist-related attacks since the September 2001 attacks.

The voice on the audio tape has not been independently confirmed, but is alleged to be that of Ayman al-Zawahiri, the top deputy of al-Qaida terror leader Osama bin Laden.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters and AP.

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