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HEIDELBERG, Germany — The Army’s top commander in Europe is warning troops and family members to be alert for potential terrorist attacks at home while encouraging prayers for those deployed to the front lines.

“Our soldiers’ sacrifices are great,” wrote Gen. B.B. Bell in a message to forces throughout Europe released late Friday. “These patriots need and deserve our spiritual support.”

Bell said it was no secret, however, that America’s enemies could try to spill blood far from the battle zones.

“Here at home there is potential for acts of terror. We all know this,” said Bell, encouraging troops and family members to report anything suspicious.

Bell said he trusted local authorities to provide protection, but added “I have equal confidence in our military force protection measures.”

The bottom line: “Our commitment to protect you is total.”

Bell’s comments came as the Pentagon’s top general defended America’s first pre-emptive attack on another country while promising final victory.

“Taking the fight to the enemy has always been a key part of our military strategy,” wrote Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Richard Myers in a message to the troops. “We will demonstrate to all that we fight not to impose our will, but to defend our freedom, and to extend that freedom and hope to the Iraqi people.”

Myers told troops going battle to keep the faith — faith in their training, each other and the nation.

“As you enter this fight, be confident that you are well-prepared, well-trained and well-supported in the mission that lies ahead. Your families, your loved ones — indeed, your nation — stand united behind you. Take pride in the legitimacy and the necessity of your mission; show compassion for the lives this war will forever change; and rest assured the outcome is not in doubt.”

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