GUAM OFFICIALS IN SHOCK OVER U.S. TERRORIST ATTACKS, AIRPORT CLOSED

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Pacific Daily News Staff

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (September 12, 2001 – Pacific Daily News)---Local government officials expressed shock and flights out of Guam were cancelled after numerous terrorists attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C. last night.

"I’m quite shaken about this incident," acting Gov. Madeleine Bordallo said just a little after midnight today.

"We are a strategic island in the Pacific and very much alone. I’m just hoping nothing else happens there or here."

There will be two special Masses for victims of today's terrorist attacks, said Father Dave Quitugua, vicar general of the Catholic Archdiocese of Hagåtña.

The special masses are scheduled for 5:45 a.m. and 6 p.m. at the Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral-Basilica in Hagåtña.

"The masses will be held to pray for the safety of the United States and the victims who may have been affected," Quitugua said. "I am appealing to our people of Guam to pray."

John Ryan, spokesman for Gov. Carl Gutierrez, said he spoke with the governor, who is in China and who was watching events unfold on television.

"He’s obviously concerned. His thoughts and prayers are obviously with the people back on the mainland," Ryan said.

Bordallo was alerted to the television by her chief of staff James Sablan, whom she instructed to call the Guam airport to put them on alert.

Sablan said he called Guam Customs and Quarantine Agency Director John Quinata and Guam Police Department Chief Ed Kabina to put their officers on alert.

Guam’s airport, which was experiencing one of its busiest times of day while the attacks were occurring, was still landing planes as of press time last night, although all U.S. airports were closed once events began to unfold last night.

"The airport is accepting inbound flights, but no flights are taking off," Ryan said.

Local Air Force spokesman Capt. Mike Escudie said that as of 12:10 a.m., Andersen Air Force Base was reviewing its security procedures.

"I think a heightened state of alert is imminent … an increase in our security posture is imminent," Escudie said, although he said Andersen was not yet prepared to make an official statement on what procedures it was taking in response to the events on the mainland.

For additional reports from the Pacific Daily News, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/Pacific Daily News (Guam).

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