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Bush Says Terrorist Attack On Los Angeles Thwarted

George W. Bush (file photo) (epa) 9 February 2006 -- U.S. President George W. Bush said the United States and partner countries thwarted an Al-Qaeda plot to fly a hijacked airplane into the tallest building in Los Angeles in 2002.

In a speech in Washington aimed at highlighting successes in the war on terrorism, Bush said the plot was planned by Khalid Sheikh Muhammad, the alleged mastermind of the 11 September 2001 attacks.

"We now know that in October 2001, Khalid Sheikh Muhammad, the mastermind of the 11 September attacks, had already set in motion a plan to have terrorist operatives hijack an airplane using shoe bombs to breach the cockpit door and fly the plane into the tallest building on the West Coast. We believe the intended target was the [Library] Tower in Los Angeles, California," Bush said.

Muhammad was later captured in Pakistan in 2003.

Bush's speech today comes amid growing criticism in the United States of a highly controversial domestic eavesdropping scheme that the Bush administration says is helping to locate terrorists.

Bush said that Al-Qaeda has been weakened and fractured by the war on terror, but is still lethal.

(compiled from agency reports)