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World Sympathy And Higher Security

CBS News | July 7, 2005

European leaders condemned the deadly attacks on London's transport system Thursday as "barbaric," "odious" and "despicable" in a globe-spanning pledge of solidarity and vowed to cooperate to track down the terrorists.

Flashing back to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in New York and the train bombings in Madrid last year, countries around the world stepped up security, fearing more terror could be in the offing.

In Washington, the U.S. Homeland Security Department asked authorities in major cities for heightened vigilance of major transport systems.

Spain, also bitterly familiar with terror, put its security forces on maximum alert, posting army and police units to watch over airports, train stations and shopping centers. The government of Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero offered its "unconditional help to chase the criminals who perpetrated such a repugnant attack." The March 11, 2004, train bombings in Madrid killed 191 people.

A similar response came from France, the object of attacks in the 1990s. Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin ordered the alert level raised a notch and promised Britain the "immediate, full and complete collaboration" of French intelligence.

The French terror alert is now at red, the second-highest level in France's four-step system, reports CBS News Correspondent Elaine Cobbe. That means more police and soldiers in train stations, airports and on the streets.

"It is a drama for Great Britain. It is a drama for all of Europe," Villepin said, recalling the Madrid bombings.

Later, Villepin held an emergency meeting with his interior, defense and foreign affairs ministers, reports Cobbe. He asked the first two to come up with a plan to beef up security at France's most vulnerable sites.

"What happened today demonstrates yet again that we are doing too little to unite our efforts in the most effective way in the battle against terrorism," said Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G8 summit.

He has in the past criticized other countries for underestimating the ties of Chechen separatist rebels in Russia to other terrorists.

German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder stressed the need for fighting terrorism "with all the means at our disposal." Security was raised for the subway, bus and local train service, reports CBS News' Peter Bild, and the overall alert was raised to 2 out of three levels.

Like British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Schroeder said the terror "clearly was aimed at the summit" in Gleneagles, Scotland, and hailed the Blair's decision not to cancel the meeting.

"What has happened is the tragic confirmation that terrorism strikes once more at the heart of Europe," said Italian Franco Frattini, Europe's commissioner for justice and home affairs.

Frattini said intelligence and police services must immediately coordinate "and offer England all the help possible."

As in many other European countries, from Scandinavia to the east, Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt was calling an emergency response group meeting to assess security measures in Brussels, which houses the European Union and NATO.

In Strasbourg, France, seat of the European Parliament, European Parliament President Josep Borrell expressed condolences "to all suffering consequences of these barbaric attacks."

"As a citizen of a country that only last year experienced the horrors of such terrible attacks, I want to send a message of solidarity with British people .... We will never let atrocities or terrorism defeat the values of peace and democracy."

At Vatican City, Pope Benedict XVI called the attacks "barbaric acts against humanity," and said in a telegram to Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor, archbishop of Westminster, that he was praying for families of the victims.

"This is all wanton violence," said Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern after an audience with the pope.

Then, posing the question on the minds of all, he asked, "What does it mean ...? It is a black mark on society and a devastating blow against people."

In Denmark, former Foreign Minister Mogens Lykketoft said what others were remembering with likely dread: "This is the continuation of Sept. 11 and the attacks in Madrid ... No one can feel safe."

Security in Copenhagen's new driverless underground system was stepped up, and, in Norway, the Foreign Ministry summoned its crisis team to review the situation there. In the Swedish capital, Stockholm, top police chiefs met to discuss whether to heighten security.

Eastern European countries, many now members of the European Union, also expressed solidarity, and concern.

Candles began appearing in front of the British Embassy in Warsaw shortly after news of the attacks flashed around the world.

"There are some who want to disrupt a country's success and a country's calm in an unacceptable manner," said Hungarian Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany.

Albanian Prime Minister Fatos Nano reaffirmed his country's determination "to continue the joint global fight, together with our allies, Great Britain included, against terrorism and its elements."

Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon called the British ambassador to express his country's condolences and solidarity, and said that the entire world must unite in the war against terrorism, the purpose of which is to murder innocent people.

In Turkey, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul urged greater international cooperation against terrorism, saying it is a mistake "if we make a distinction between 'my terrorist and his terrorist."'

Across the globe in Australia, the national counterterrorism group met while Canberra set up a hot line for relatives of the some 300,000 Australians who live in Britain.

Stocks sank in Europe on Thursday after the explosions. Insurance and travel-related stocks in particular declined sharply, and the British pound fell to a 19-month low against the dollar.

 

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