US casualties 'unavoidable'

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General Joseph Ralston, NATO's supreme allied commander in Europe has said that American casualties would be "unavoidable" in the retaliation for the terror attack on America.

He said: "We must all recognise that this is not a risk-free operation that we are embarking upon. There will be casualties. That is a necessary part of any military operation."

"We cannot be in the mindset of a zero-casualty operation. That's not what we are about. We have to get the mission done. We will take all prudent measures to protect our people as best we can. But the mission will go on and we will accomplish the mission."

General Ralston added that he was happy with the level of support that America had received from its allies.

He said: "I have absolutely nothing but praise for the members of the alliance and other members of the European Community who have come forward with very substantial support."