Attack Spotlight

WASHINGTON?American pilots bombed targets in Afghanistan day and night Tuesday, taking fresh aim at military targets and Osama bin Laden’s training camps. President Bush said the administration was ?responding as forcefully and actively as humanly possible? to threats of future terrorist acts.

?With the success of previous raids, we believe we are now able to carry out strikes more or less around the clock as we wish,? Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said at the Pentagon as the bombing runs continued through a third night. Anti aircraft fire could be heard in the Afghan capital, Kabul, and Taliban officials reported bombs falling around their headquarters in Kandahar and the northwestern city of Herat.

Even as the United States flew fresh air missions, a spokesman for the al Qaeda organization that is linked to bin Laden threatened future attacks on America.

?The jihad is today the duty of every Muslim,? said Sleiman Abou-Gheith, speaking on a videotape aired by Al-Jazeera, a satellite network in Qatar.

Referring to the suicide bombers who carried out the devastating attacks in New York and Washington on Sept. 11, he added, ?There are thousands of young people who look forward to death like the Americans look forward to living.?

Bush, asked about the progress of the military operation, declined when asked about the possible use of ground forces. ?I?m not going to tell you,? he said.

Other officials have said previously that U.S. special forces were in the region.

Bush coupled his statements with a stern lecture to members of Congress. He said he had recently restricted the flow of information to many lawmakers because at least one had failed to keep classified information confidential.

?I understand there may be some heartburn on Capitol Hill,? he said. ?But I suggest if they want to relieve that heartburn, they take their position very seriously.?

Bush spoke with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder at his side after talks in the White House. Germany is one of several nations that Bush has mentioned previously as willing to participate in military operations against terrorist targets in Afghanistan.

With federal agencies warning of the possibility of further terrorist strikes, Bush said, ?We?re on high alert on the governmental level. But the American people should go about their business.?

In a light moment, he suggested that Americans ought to feel ?comfortable going to see the mighty Houston Astros play,? a reference to the opening of the major league baseball playoffs. The government, he said, ?is responding as forcefully and actively as humanly possible? to safeguard the country.

Asked whether he still wants Osama bin Laden dead or alive, as he once remarked of the suspected mastermind behind the Sept. 11 attacks, Bush smiled. ?I want there to be justice,? he replied.

The president said he considered the military operation thus far to be a success. ?The skies are now free? over Afghanistan, he said.

He spoke a few hours after Rumsfeld and Gen. Richard Myers, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, offered an optimistic assessment of two nights of bombing.

?We feel like we have, essentially, air supremacy over Afghanistan now,? Myers said.

Rumsfeld, sharing the podium at the Pentagon, said the United States was also encouraging dissidents inside Afghanistan to ?heave the al Qaeda and the Taliban leadership?out of the country.?