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Wednesday, 12 September, 2001, 11:10 GMT 12:10 UK
World shock at US attacks
fire at the Pentagon
Hundreds died in the attack on the Pentagon
The attacks on New York and Washington have brought swift reactions of horror and condemnation from around the world.

Expressions of support and condolences poured in from Washington's closest allies, many of whom called for concerted international efforts to eradicate terrorism.

We completely condemn this serious operation... We were completely shocked. It's unbelievable, unbelievable, unbelievable.

Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat
Libya's Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat - critics of US support for Israel - expressed their horror at the attacks.

Mr Arafat conveyed his condolences for a "terrible act".

"We completely condemn this serious operation... We were completely shocked. It's unbelievable, unbelievable, unbelievable."

Mr Gaddafi said "everyone should put human considerations above political differences and stances and offer aid to the victims of this gruesome act".

The Pope, at his weekly audience in St Peter's Square, Rome, condemned the attacks, saying: "To the president of the United States and to all American citizens I express my heartfelt sorrow.

"In the face of such unspeakable horror we cannot but be deeply disturbed.

"Yesterday was a dark day in the history of humanity, a terrible affront to human dignity."

He added: "In a special way I reach out to the families of the dead and the injured, and assure them of my spiritual closeness."

Communist-run Cuba, a longtime political foe of the United States, expressed its "solidarity" and "pain" over the attacks and offered air and medical facilities to help.

'US to blame'

But Iraq and the militant Palestinian Hamas movement said that Washington had only itself to blame for the terror attacks.

It is the worst attack on the United States since Pearl Harbor

EU Commissioner Chris Patten

Iraqi television played a patriotic song that begins "Down with America!" as it showed the World Trade Center's towers falling.

It said "the American cowboy is reaping the fruits of his crimes against humanity".

And it described the attacks as "a painful slap in the face for US politicians".

The founder of Hamas, Sheikh Ahmad Yassin, said there was "no doubt that this is the outcome of the injustice that the United States exercises against the oppressed people in the world".

The militant Islamic Jihad movement distanced itself from the attacks, but also said they were a consequence of US policy in the Middle East.

Thousands of Palestinians in Lebanese refugee camps, as well as in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza, celebrated the attacks on the US, chanting "God is Great", handing out sweets and firing their guns in the air.

'New evil'

Among the many expressions of support for the United States, there were offers of help in fighting international terrorism.

"This mass terrorism is the new evil in our world today," said the UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair.

No words can adequately express my feelings in response to these barbaric acts of terrorism

EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana

"It is perpetrated by fanatics who are utterly indifferent to the sanctity of human life and we, the democracies of this world, are going to have to come together and fight it together."

Nato Secretary General George Robertson said the multiple terrorist attacks underlined the need for the alliance's forces to unite against terrorism.

The Russian President, Vladimir Putin, called on the world to unite to combat the threat of terrorism, "the plague of the 21st century".

Israeli solidarity

And the Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, said "the fight against terror is an international struggle of the free world against the forces of darkness, who seek to destroy our liberty and our way of life".

"I believe that together we can defeat these forces of evil. At this most difficult hour, all Israelis stand as one with the American people."

The EU foreign ministers scheduled an emergency meeting to be held on Wednesday.

French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin said he was "horrified" by the terror attacks.

And Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said: "I am shocked by the terrifying and insane terrorist attack which has hit the people of a friendly country and the conscience of the entire world."

The UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, condemned the attacks "utterly" and said terrorism must be "fought resolutely wherever it appears".

'Act of war'

And Pope John Paul II said he was praying for the victims' souls and offering his comfort to their families.

Chinese President Jiang Zemin sent a message to President Bush, expressing sympathy over the attacks and "grave concern" for the safety of Chinese in the United States, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

In the Middle East, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Iran all condemned the attacks.

Chris Patten, the European Union's External Relations Commissioner, described the attacks as "an act of war by madmen."

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

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