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Europe reacts with shock and horror

LONDON, England (CNN) -- Shockwaves from Tuesday's terrorist attacks on the U.S. have reverberated around Europe.

Messages of support, shock and condolence have poured in from European leaders.

Pope John Paul II sent a telegram to President George W. Bush saying: "I hurry to express to you and your fellow citizens my profound sorrow and my closeness in prayer for the nation at this dark and tragic moment.''

Russian President Vladimir Putin also sent a telegram to Bush. "Dear George," he wrote, "such an inhuman act must not go unpunished."

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan called the attacks "deliberate acts of terrorism, carefully planned and co-ordinated."

CNN's Christiane Amanpour: Shock and fear is growing around the world
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CNN's Diana Muriel in Brussels: Response here is one of absolute shock
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CNN's Jim Bitterman in Paris: ''News is dominated by the attack''
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Analysis: Europe shows solidarity  

A sombre British Prime Minister Tony Blair said that "this was not an attack on America alone. This was an attack on the free and democratic world. And it is a responsibility the free and democratic world has to shoulder together."

He added that "to committ acts of this nature requires a fanaticism and ruthlessness beyond our comprehension."

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said: "This is an event of such horrifying, unimaginable proportions that I believe it is one where shock grows with time rather than diminishes."

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II also sent a message of condolence to Bush expressing her "disbelief and total shock."

European Union foreign ministers will hold an emergency meeting on Wednesday to consider their response to the attacks.

EU International Affairs Minister Javier Solana said: "We are very, very close to the suffering of the families. Whatever the U.S. decides to do we are ready to co-operate with them in the fight against terrorists."

EU External Relations Commissioner Chris Patten told Reuters."This is an act of war by madmen."

He compared the attack with that deployed by the Japanese at the U.S. naval base Pearl Harbor in 1941.

"This is one of those few days in life that one can actually say will change everything," he added.

NATO Secretary-General George Robertson called it an "intolerable aggression against democracy," Reuters reported.

Guy Verhofstadt, the prime minister of Belgium, which currently holds the chair of the EU, expressed "deep shock and dismay" on hearing of the attacks.

"On behalf of the European Union, [we] condemn in the strongest possible terms this type of cowardly attack on innocent civilians," he said.

German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said: "This is not only an attack on the United States but an attack on the civilised world."

Italian and EU flags flew at half-mast at the office of Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, who said Italy joined the U.S. in condemning "these monstrous criminals who have demonstrated a vile and brutal affront against humanity," The Associated Press said.

French President Jacques Chirac, in a live televised address, condemned the attacks as "monstrous," AP said, while prime minister Lionel Jospin talked of his "sadness and horror."

Spain's Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar cut short a trip to the Baltic States to return home for an emergency cabinet meeting, while Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit was reported by Reuters as saying: "The United States of America is face to face with one of the greatest tragedies in its history, something that could affect the entire world."

Normal people, too, reacted with horror and dismay to the attacks. In London and many other cities people gathered outside U.S. embassies for candlelit vigils.

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