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US Releases Pictures, Names of Suspected Hijackers

Federal investigators have released the photos of all 19 suspected hijackers involved in the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.

Attorney General John Ashcroft released the pictures and full names of the suspected hijackers at a Washington news conference. "It is our hope that the release of these photos will prompt others who may have seen the hijackers or been in contact with them to contact the FBI with any information they may have that would be helpful to the investigation," he said.

So far, federal investigators have received more than 100,000 tips in connection with the probe.

FBI Director Robert Mueller hopes the release of the photos of the hijackers will produce even more cooperation from the public. "Our primary focus is on preventing potential future attacks," he said. "We are working hard to identify and locate associates of the hijackers who may pose a threat to this nation. But I want to ask and urge Americans to join us in heading off any possible terrorist attacks in the future."

FBI Director Mueller has met with community leaders to assure them that anyone who targets Arab-Americans or others in connection with the terrorist attacks will be prosecuted. "To date, we have initiated approximately 90 hate crime investigations across the country in over 30 FBI field offices," he said. "We remain committed to working with the various Arab-American, Muslim-American and Sikh-American communities to assure that any such acts [of alleged violence] are vigorously investigated and prosecuted."

Mr. Mueller says that the investigation so far has shown that some of the hijackers did have contacts with the al-Qaida terrorist network associated with accused terrorist Osama bin Laden. He also says it appears some of the hijackers were related to one another.

On another matter, the FBI director says the arrests of several people for fraudulently obtaining licenses to transport hazardous materials are not related to the terrorist hijackings.