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Wednesday, 12 September, 2001, 22:31 GMT 23:31 UK
UK death toll 'may reach hundreds'
Tony Blair speaks in Number 10 on Wednesday
Tony Blair would not be drawn about US retaliation
The number of British casualties caught up in the terrorist attacks in the US could run into hundreds, Downing Street has said.

A spokesman said there had been a "massive" number of calls to Scotland Yard's casualty bureau, which is being run on behalf of the Foreign Office.

Emergency number
For Britons worried about friends and relatives in the US: 020 7008 0000
The news was broken to Prime Minister Tony Blair at the Civil Contingencies Committee - the summit of senior ministers, intelligence chiefs and defence staff.

Mr Blair had already branded the US terror atrocities as an attack on the entire democratic world.

Relatives called

A Downing Street spokesman warned the death toll of Britons caught up in the attacks could be high.

He said: "As a result [of the calls] it is feared that the death toll of British citizens could run into hundreds."

It has emerged that a young British merchant banker rang his family from the World Trade Center just after the first plane hit, and has not been heard from since.

Security steps
Airports on alert
All private planes grounded
No flights over central London
Police across UK on alert
Defence facilities across world on alert
Business and finance institutions advised on extra measures
Co-operating with US, EU and other allies on security issues

Derek Sword, 29, from Dundee was on the 89th floor of the south tower and is missing.

It is understood Mr Sword's fiancée is in New York checking hospital admission lists trying to find him.

Security precautions remain in place across the UK and Parliament is being recalled on Friday - the same day as an EU-wide day of mourning.

Earlier, as the flags flew at half mast in Downing Street, Mr Blair pledged concerted international action to identify and dismantle the "machinery of terror" and confirmed Parliament was being recalled from its summer break.

On Wednesday night the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation invoked Article Five of its treaty, saying that an attack on a member state is an attack against the 19-nation alliance.

Nato Secretary General George Robertson said this meant that the United States had the support from its Nato partners for military action if it is determined that the attacks were directed from abroad.

Royal tribute

Meanwhile Chancellor Gordon Brown pledged that the financial world would show resilience in the face of terrorism and would take the necessary steps to ensure economic stability.

"The terrorists should know that we will never surrender or succumb to terrorist attacks on the financial community," he said.

Prince Charles signs a book of condolences at the US embassy in London
Prince Charles signs a book of condolences
The Queen is cutting short her holiday in Balmoral to attend a special memorial service in St Paul's Cathedral on Friday, which has been declared a day of mourning across the European Union.

Prince Charles said the victims and their families were in his prayers, recalling his own feelings when his uncle Lord Mountbatten was killed by the IRA.

Home Secretary Jack Straw urged all citizens of the 15 European member states to abide by a three-minute silence from 1100BST as he emerged from a meeting with his EU counterparts.

In an unprecedented move the US National Anthem will be played during a special changing of the guard ceremony to be held at Buckingham Palace at 1130BST on Thursday.

Members of Parliament will return to Westminster on Friday morning to hear a statement from Mr Blair and to debate the implications of the atrocities.

Solidarity pledge

The terrible waiting game being faced by friends, colleagues and families of the missing was underlined by London-based company Risk Waters.

They said they had been unable to establish the whereabouts of any of the attendees at a conference it was holding on the 106th floor of the World Trade Center when the attacks were launched.

US Ambassador to Britain, William Farish, views floral tributes in London
People have been leaving flowers outside the US embassy in London
The company has issued a helpline number for relatives seeking information - 020 7484 9815.

Mr Blair stressed Britain's solidarity with America.

Parliament has been recalled on 18 occasions since 1948 and it will prove a testing moment for the new leader of the Conservative Party, who is due to be named on Thursday.

Bush call

Mr Blair, who spoke after the media conference to President George Bush by telephone for 20 minutes, also welcomed Muslim condemnation of the attacks.

Previous recalls of parliament
1998 - Omagh bombing
1995 - sending troops to Bosnia
1992 - Britain's exit from the ERM
1990- Gulf crisis
1982 - Falklands invasion
1973 - oil crisis
1961 - building of the Berlin Wall
1956 - Suez crisis
"This is not a situation in which we should see this as a cause between the Muslim faith and the world, but between terrorism and the rest of the world, including the Muslim faith."

All government buildings, military bases and financial institutions have been placed on red alert and British people abroad have been advised to take extra precautions over their personal safety.

About 1,000 extra police officers have been deployed on the streets of London "to reassure the public".

Prime Minister Tony Blair
"The world now knows the full evil and capability of international terrorism"
The BBC's Niall Dickson
"Britons and Americans together sharing the pain"
The BBC's Mark Mardell
"Mr Blair would back hard, stern action"
See also:

12 Sep 01 | Americas
Nato backs US
12 Sep 01 | Business
UK firms assess human costs
12 Sep 01 | UK Politics
Spotlight on 'Special Relationship'
12 Sep 01 | Scotland
Missing son phoned from skyscraper
12 Sep 01 | Northern Ireland
Survivors' family die in tragic twist
12 Sep 01 | UK
UK on high security alert
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