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Obama vows to wipe out al-Qaeda safe havens

Obama says not to rule out future al-Qaeda attack on US soil

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President Barack Obama promised on Tuesday to target al-Qaeda wherever it takes root and to wipe out safe havens where Osama bin Laden's network can plan attacks on the United States.

Obama told intelligence analysts at the National Counterterrorism Center in suburban Virginia that he could not rule out a future attack on U.S. soil, but would do everything in his power to thwart one.

"We know that al-Qaeda and its extremist allies threaten us from different corners of the globe, from Pakistan, but also from East Africa, Southeast Asia, from Europe and the Gulf," Obama said.

"That is why we are applying focus and relentless pressure on al-Qaeda," Obama said, without specifically mentioning Afghanistan, the focus of an exhaustive administration review of U.S. war and counter-terrorism policy.

"We will target al-Qaeda wherever they take root, we will not yield in our pursuit," Obama said.

The president said al-Qaeda was the "principal threat to the American people," but that his administration was making real progress in its mission to disrupt, dismantle and defeat the group.

The National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) was set up following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, after it emerged that vital data on the pending strikes was not shared swiftly between various U.S. intelligence agencies.

Its mission is to synchronize the fight against terrorist threats within the United States and abroad, and to coordinate and share data with U.S. government departments and agencies and U.S. foreign partners.

The president said the center was a vital cog in the arrest of Afghan immigrant Najibullah Zazi, 24, who was arrested last month and accused of preparing a bombing spree in New York.

Obama told an audience of NCTC employees that they were working well together and had helped to save American lives by thwarting terrorist strikes before they took place.

"You are one team ... you are more integrated, and more collaborative and more effective than ever before," Obama said.

We know that al-Qaeda and its extremist allies threaten us from different corners of the globe, from Pakistan, but also from East Africa, Southeast Asia, from Europe and the Gulf

U.S. President Barack Obama