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This week's In the News investigates the US military strike against targets linked to international terrorism. The eight resources discussed provide analysis, commentary, and recent news. On August 7, simultaneous bombings of US embassies in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, injured thousands of civilians and killed more than 250, including a dozen Americans. In a reprisal on August 20, based on "compelling evidence" from US intelligence agencies, President Clinton ordered a Tomahawk cruise missile attack on several sites suspected of being connected to the terrorist network responsible for the embassy bombings. The targets of the assault included six sites within the distributed Zhawar Kili al-Badr guerrilla camp near Khost, Afghanistan, and the El Shifa Pharmaceutical Plant near Khartoum, Sudan--assumed to be a manufacturing center for chemical weapons. Both locations are believed to be supported by Osama Bin Muhammad Bin Laden, who is, according to the Pentagon, linked to the embassy bombings and considered the "world's leading individual sponsor of terrorism against Americans." The transnational missile attack marks the most powerful military offensive against a private sponsor of confederate terrorist groups. The US called the assault a pre-emptive measure against terrorism and justified its use of force under Article 51 of the UN charter, which authorizes nations to act in self-defense if they anticipate aggression. US Defense Secretary William Cohen acknowledged that the military retaliation "will not eliminate the problem" of terrorism, but he believes the disruption and destruction of terrorist sanctuaries sends a clear message that the US will be steadfast in defense of its citizens "against these cowardly attacks."
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