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On September 11, Trump Vows to Eliminate Terrorist Safe Havens | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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US President Donald Trump places a wreath during a memorial service at the Pentagon. (AFP)

Washington– On the 16th anniversary of 9/11, US President Donald Trump vowed to chase down all terrorists and extremists, and to make sure they will not find any safe haven in the region or any place in the world.

Speaking at the US State of Defense, the Pentagon, Trump said that US forces are relentlessly pursuing and destroying the enemies of all civilized people, ensuring they never again have a safe haven to launch attacks against the US.

“We are making plain to these savage killers that there is no dark corner beyond our reach, no sanctuary beyond our grasp, and nowhere to hide anywhere on this very large Earth,” added Trump.

Trump stated that nearly 7,000 US soldiers have given their lives fighting terrorists around the globe.

“They came from all backgrounds, all races, all faiths, but they were all there to dedicate their lives, and they defend our one great American flag,” said the president.

He indicated that the terrorists who attacked thought they could incite fear and weaken their spirits, but the US cannot be intimidated, and those who try will soon join the long list of “vanquished enemies who dared to test our mettle.”

Trump described 9/11 as the worst attack since Pearl Harbor and “even worse because this was an attack on civilians, innocent men, women, and children whose lives were taken so needlessly.”

He reiterated that the entire nation mourns the innocent souls of the 2,977 citizens who were murdered by terrorists 16 years ago.

Melania Trump, the first lady, also attended the ceremony at the Pentagon and the President laid a wreath where a memorial marks the spot where 184 people were killed when a plane rammed into the building. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford and Secretary of Defense James Mattis also attended the ceremony and spoke before the crowd of service members and the families of those who died.

At the White House, at 8:46, Trump and Melania led a moment of silence to mark the moment 8:46 when the first airliner struck one of the towers.

At Ground Zero, location of attack, thousands of family members, survivors, rescuers and others gathered for the reading of victims’ names at the World Trade Center of both the 1993 and 2011 attacks.

There was also be a city-wide moment of silence at 8.46 am, the time American Airlines flight 11 crashed into the North Tower. A second moment of silence was observed at 9.03 am, when United Airlines flight 175 struck the South Tower.

More moments of silence were observed at 9.37 am for the American Airlines flight 77 which hit the Pentagon, 9.59 am when the South Tower fell, 10.03 am when United Flight 93 hit the ground in Pennsylvania and 10.28 am when the North Tower collapsed.

Also on Monday, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson paid tribute to the victims and survivors of 9/11.

“Today we remember the victims of the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001, and honor the heroes who valiantly saved many lives that day, even sacrificing their own. Their courage on that day remains an example of the character of the American people in the face of evil. Though our country was wounded that day, today we remind the world that terrorism will never defeat the United States,” the secretary said.

Tillerson said that the day also marks a tragedy where four US nationals, including two of State Department colleagues, were killed in a terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya.

“We remain committed to stopping those extremists who plot, enable, and carry out attacks on the innocent,” Tillerson reiterated.

Meanwhile, al-Qaeda announced the release of four statements commemorating the attack. In previous years, Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri issued statements commemorating the attack and over the past two years, reports indicated that Hamza bin Laden, Osama min Laden’s son, could lead the terrorist organization.