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World mourns attack victims

LONDON, England (CNN) -- Governments throughout the world are bolstering security measures as world leaders expressed solidarity with the U.S..

As the scale of the U.S. attacks sank deeper, even old enemies like Syria, Cuba, Libya, Iran -- with Iraq the exception -- stood by America.

Japan's Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said he could not forgive the suicide attackers.

Europe embraced America, although some countries gently urged the world's wounded superpower, in a grim mood for vengeance, to think calmly before it unleashed retaliation.

"In the darkest days of European history, America stood close by us and today we stand close by America," European Commission President Romano Prodi said after the most serious assault on the United States since Pearl Harbor in 1941.

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"Nothing will ever be the same."

Diplomats said NATO planned to declare that the strikes fell under the mutual defence clause of the world's most powerful military alliance -- meaning European allies would react to the attack on America as if it were an attack on themselves.

European Union foreign ministers offered immediate search and rescue help and total solidarity.

The European Union has declared Friday a day of mourning throughout its 15 member states in solidarity with the victims of the attacks.

At noon Brussels time, three minutes of silence will be observed and all activity will cease.

NATO's Brussels headquarters and the allied forces headquarters at Mons, also in Belgium, have been placed on a state of maximum alert as NATO Secretary-General George Robertson denounced the "terrible, dreadful attack."

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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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Mideast response mixed  

Europe reacts with with shock and horror  

China sends condolences to U.S.  

Asia pledges cooperation in search for attackers  

Analysis: Europe shows solidarity  
 

British PM Tony Blair said the attacks on New York and Washington were "an attack on the free and democratic world everywhere."

As the world recoiled with horror from Tuesday's events, Blair said it was important for the countries of the free world to show they were prepared to stand shoulder to shoulder with the U.S. to defeat the terrorists.

Frankfurt's Messeturm, Germany's equivalent of the World Trade Center, was evacuated Wednesday morning following a bomb threat, but employees returned to their offices. Four thousand people, mainly investment bankers, work in the building.

The German foreign ministry in Berlin was also evacuated after a bomb threat, but staff were allowed to safely return.

Belgium announced meanwhile that it was sending a medical contingent to the U.S. -- doctors from Neder-over-Heembeek Hospital in Brussels, a hospital that specialises in burn treatment and five members of the federal police who are specialists in identifying corpses.

Leaders and public figures around the globe meanwhile expressed horror at the attacks, and sent messages of support and condolence to the American people.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II sent a message of condolence to Bush expressing her "disbelief and total shock." She will attend a memorial service at St Pauls cathedral on Friday.

Pope John Paul II sent a telegram to President George W. Bush. "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," he said.

Speaking at his Wednesday audience, he said Americans should have the courage to persevere because "evil and death will not have the last word."

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."

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."

He described Wednesday September 11, 2001 as a "day that will change the 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."

Worldwide horror

Canada tightened security in major cities and along the U.S. border.

Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien, in a statement released through his office, said he had "expressed his horror at the news that the United States has been the victim of multiple terrorist attacks."

He added: "It is impossible to fully comprehend the evil that would have conjured up such a cowardly and depraved assault upon thousands of innocent people."

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."

Mexico's President Vicente Fox reiterated his country's "total, categorical rejection of forms of violence, of all forms of terrorism."

In the Middle East Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat expressed their condolences for the attack.

Sharon said: "The fight against terrorism is an international struggle of the free world against the forces of darkness."

He said that Israel was standing-by to provide the U.S. with any help it may need.

Arafat said: "We are completely shocked. It's unbelievable. We completely condemn this very dangerous attack, and I convey my condolences to the American people, to the American president and to the American administration, not only in my name but on behalf of the Palestinian people."

Universal condemnation

Even those countries that do not traditionally enjoy a close relationship with the U.S. were swift to condemn the attack and offer their condolences.

President Putin said the attacks should not go
President Putin said the attacks should not go "unpunished"  

Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque said: "Cuba laments and expresses its profound sadness for the loss of so many innocent lives and expresses our absolute rejection of acts of terrorism, wherever they may come from."

The Cuban official also offered airspace and airports to any aircraft from the United States or elsewhere that needs it.

Chinese President Jiang Zemin sent a message to Bush expressing sympathy over the deadly attacks, Xinhua news agency was reported by Reuters as saying.

"This incident in the United States is extremely cowardly and is beyond what any words can describe," Japan's Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi was reported by Reuters as saying.

In Kabul, Afghanistan, Wakeel Ahmed Mutawakel, the foreign minister of Afghanistan's ruling Taliban government, told the Arab television network Al Jazeera, "We denounce this terrorist attack, whoever is behind it."

Mohammad Khatami, the Iranian president, said he felt "deep regret and sympathy with the victims."

Even Libyan President Muammar Gadhafi expressed his shock at the attack.

Mutawakel denounced the attacks
Mutawakel denounced the attacks  

But many Palestinians expressed their approval for the attacks, despite Yasser Arafat's condemnation.

In Baghdad, Iraqi state television hailed the attacks as "a natural reaction to American rulers hegemony, deception and foolishness."

In a broadcast monitored by the BBC the television station said: "The American cowboy is reaping the fruits of his crimes against humanity."

Sheikh Yassin, leader of the Islamic militant group Hamas, said: "No doubt this is a result of injustice the U.S practices against the weak in the world."

From Gaza, Islamic Jihad official Nafez Azzam said: "What happened in the United States today is a consequence of American policies in this region."


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