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World shares U.S. grief

LONDON, England (CNN) -- Countries around the world are sharing the grief of the U.S. as it becomes clear that hundreds of their citizens were caught in the terrorist attacks on New York.

The United Kingdom, Japan and Australia have confirmed the deaths of dozens of its citizens after two hijacked planes slammed into the twin towers of the World Trade Centers. Hundreds are still missing.

The European Union declared Friday a day of mourning throughout its 15 member states.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, who said she had watched the attacks "with disbelief and total shock," attended a special service at St Paul's Cathedral in London.

A special changing of the guard took place outside Buckingham Palace on Thursday, to the sound of the U.S. National Anthem. It followed a two-minute silence.

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About 100 Britons are known to have died in the New York attacks, and the final toll could reach the "middle hundreds" if not higher, UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said.

Russia and NATO issued a rare joint statement on Thursday that they would join forces to find the culprits of Tuesday's attack, so they do not go unpunished.

A statement from the NATO-Russia Permanent Joint Council said: "While (NATO) allies and Russia have suffered from terrorist attacks against civilians, the horrific scale of the attacks of 11 September is without precedent in modern history.

"NATO and Russia are united in their resolve not to let those responsible for such an inhuman act go unpunished."

The military alliance voted unanimously late on Wednesday to invoke Chapter 5 of its charter, which would allow the 19-nation bloc to give any form of support to the U.S., on the grounds that if one member is attacked, they all are.

NATO Secretary-General George Robertson denounced the "terrible, dreadful attack."


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  

But German Defence Minister Rudolf Scharping cautioned against any hasty retaliatory action.

He was reported by Reuters as telling German television on Thursday: "I hope we all remain calm and do not now speak of a state of alarm. We not face a war. We face the question of what is an appropriate response."

Acting Australian Prime Minister John Anderson said his country may activate a similar clause to NATO's in its military treaty with the U.S. which equates an attack on U.S. soil with an attack on Australia.

"I again say that the Australian government will participate in whatever action is needed internationally," The Associated Press reported.

Nine Australians have been confirmed dead, with a further 85 missing.

Japan, which still has 100 nationals unaccounted for, promised full co-operation if the U.S. retaliates.

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

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

"Nothing will ever be the same."

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

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

Pakistan, one of the few countries that recognises Afghanistan, gave its support to the U.S.. Afghanistan is believed to be the home of the prime suspect in the attacks, Osama bin Laden

Pakistan's military ruler General Pervez Musharraf said in a television address: "All countries must join hands in this common cause."

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

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

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.

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.

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."

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

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 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."

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.

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.

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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