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Bush Vows Again to Bring Osama bin Laden to Justice - 2001-12-18


President Bush is vowing to find Osama bin Laden and bring him to justice. Mr. Bush spoke following a ceremony at the White House in honor of Eid al-Fitr - the Muslim holiday that marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

The president's comments underscore the uncertainty that now exists concerning the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden.

There are reports he may have fled eastern Afghanistan and perhaps crossed into Pakistan. President Bush will only say that no matter where he is, the al-Qaida leader eventually will be found. "We get all kinds of reports - that he is in a cave, that he is not in a cave, that he has escaped, that he has not escaped," he said. "There is all kind of speculation. But when the dust clears, we will find out where he is and he will be brought to justice."

Mr. Bush emphasizes that the United States is looking not just for Osama bin Laden, but all the men at the top of al-Qaida. He says Pakistan is helping with the search. "The Pakistanis will help us, and they are helping us to look for not only Osama bin Laden, but all al-Qaida murderers and killers," said the president.

With the last al-Qaida holdouts on the run in Afghanistan, the president is keeping quiet about the next front in the war on terrorism. He says he will not speculate in public about future plans. "One of the things I will not do, of course, is tell the enemy what our next move will be," he said.

President Bush spoke with reporters after an Eid al-Fitr reception attended by 20 Muslim children from the Washington area. The Bush administration has emphasized constantly that its war on terrorism is not a war on Islam, which the president has described as a religion of peace.

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