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Byline: Louise Day and Abby Alford

PENTAGON officials were due to meet a South Wales defence company on Friday to look at state-of-the-art anti-terrorism detection.

But yesterday's devastation on New York and Washington by suicide plane hijackers has thrown the meeting into doubt.

Representatives from the American government had timetabled talks at the Wales Office in Cardiff with Bridgend firm Biotrace. They had expressed interest in the firm's products, which detect the presence of biological weapons in terrorist attacks.

But a spokesman for Biotrace said today it was unknown if the discussions would still go ahead.

Ian Johnson - chief executive of the company, which also has a North American office just one hour away from the World Trade Centre devastation in New York - said: "Our detection equipment wouldn't have prevented this disaster but it does raise the issue of increasing concerns of terrorist attacks which can include the use of biological weapons."

Biotrace already supplies Britain's Ministry of Defence with agents able to detect the presence of substances in the air emitted by bombs.

Mr Johnson said: "We were due to meet representatives from the Pentagon in the Wales Office on Friday to discuss the company's biological weapon detection.

"We have an office in New Jersey which is about one hour away from New York but we are not concerned about it at this stage."

As yet, no group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

The leader of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) denied his group was involved. Qais Abdel Rahim was reacting to reports that two Arab satellite stations in the Gulf had received anonymous claims of responsibility on behalf of the DFLP, a radical PLO faction.

Abdel Rahim said his group condemned the attacks.


CONCERNED Biotrace chief executive Ian Johnson and, above, firefighters tackle the blazing Pentagon building. MAIN PICTURE: Allsport UK/ALLSPORT
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Sep 12, 2001
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