Various reports from around the world

Barry Stoller bstoller at
Tue Sep 11 14:08:18 MDT 2001

AP; Reuters; APF. 11 September 2001. Arafat Horrified by Attacks; U.S.
Embassies Authorized to Close; Taliban Tell U.S. That Bin Laden
Innocent; Muslim - Americans Fear Backlash; Cuba offers humanitarian aid
for United States, condemns attacks. Combined reports.

Palestinians celebrated Tuesday's terror attacks in the United States,
chanting "God is Great" and distributing candy to passers-by, even as
their leader, Yasser Arafat, said he was horrified.

In the West Bank town of Nablus, about 3,000 people poured into the
street shortly after the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York
and government targets in Washington.

Demonstrators distributed candy in a traditional gesture of celebration.
Several Palestinian gunmen shot in the air, while other marchers carried
Palestinian flags. Nawal Abdel Fatah, 48, wearing a long, black dress,
threw sweets in the air, saying she was happy because "America is the
head of the snake, America always stands by Israel in its war against

Her daughter Maysoon, 22, said she hoped the next attack would be
launched against Tel Aviv.

In traditionally Arab east Jerusalem, there was a smaller gathering of
about two dozen people, many of them young children led in chants by
adults. Some drivers passing the scene honked their horns and flashed
victory signs from their windows.

In the West Bank, meanwhile, the leader the Democratic Front for the
Liberation of Palestine denied his group was involved in the attacks.

Qais Abdel Rahim was reacting to reports that two Arab satellite
stations in the Gulf had received anonymous claims of responsibility on
behalf of the DFLP, a radical PLO faction. Abdel Rahim said his group
condemned the attacks.

In response to the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, the
State Department gave U.S. embassies worldwide the authority to shut
down and urged them to take all necessary security precautions.

Several U.S. embassies in the Middle East decided to close indefinitely.

In Cairo, Egypt, the U.S. Embassy decided to suspend nonessential
operations at government facilities in Cairo and Alexandria on
Wednesday, according to a message posted on the embassy Web site.

The embassy strongly recommended that U.S. citizens in Egypt keep their
travel to a minimum, and avoid public places and large gatherings.

The embassies in Yemen, Kuwait and Oman and the United Arab Emirates
announced that as of Wednesday, they were closing indefinitely. The
embassy in Qatar was undecided.

The U.S. Embassy in Kuwait was closing as a sign of mourning for the
fatalities of Tuesday's terror attacks, Egypt's Middle East News Agency

In Zagreb, Croatia, the embassy said it was closing Wednesday "out of
respect for the victims of the tragic terrorist incidents."

The U.S. Embassy in Sweden closed early Tuesday and was to remain closed
to the public Wednesday. The downtown building and the ambassador's
residence were cordoned off by riot police.

The U.S. Embassy in Japan decided to remain shut on Wednesday.

NATO and European Union institutions also took special security
measures, including partial evacuations.

[Meanwhile,] Afghanistan's Taliban rulers moved quickly to deny that
Saudi militant Osama bin Laden, whom they are sheltering, was capable of
causing Tuesday's colossal terror assault on the United States.

Taliban supreme leader Mullah Mohammad Omar and other officials of his
hard-line Islamic movement condemned the attacks as terrorist acts and
said they were too complex to have been organized by bin Laden from

A statement by Omar, quoted by CNN late Tuesday night, said he believed
bin Laden could not have been responsible for such a complex act of

He also said that Afghanistan, being a poor country, could also in no
way be involved in such a complicated act.

"What happened in the United States was not a job of ordinary people,"
Taliban spokesman Abdul Hai Mutmaen told Reuters earlier from the
southern city of Kandahar. "It could have been the work of governments.
Osama bin Laden cannot do this work, neither us," he said.

U.S. authorities have not accused anyone of orchestrating the attacks,
but commentators immediately drew parallels with bin Laden's alleged
role in the almost simultaneous destruction of two U.S. embassies in
East Africa in 1998 that killed more than 200 people.

[In the U.S., American-] Muslims worried about a possible backlash
against them after Tuesday's terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center
and Pentagon, while clergy from other denominations urged their
congregations to pray for the dead.

Gahzi Khankan, a Muslim leader, said he has been here before, sitting in
his home watching TV images of a building turned to dust -- the federal
building in Oklahoma City.

On Tuesday, he recalled the attacks against his fellow Muslims after
that 1995 bombing by disgruntled Army veteran Timothy McVeigh. The
Council on American-Islamic Relations says more than 200 Arab- and
Muslim-Americans were victimized.

"Please do not start speculating and pointing the finger at us," said
Khankan, a New York leader of the council.

The Islamic Association of Raleigh, N.C., and other groups representing
Muslim- and Arab-Americans in that city, shut down a mosque and closed
an Islamic school after receiving anonymous threats, said Wael Masri, an
association member.

"There's a sense of fear, of panic," Masri said.

[Elsewhere, t]he Cuban government Tuesday offered to provide medical and
humanitarian aid to the United States, and condemned the massive
terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.

The Cuban people, are ready to cooperate "with health institutions, or
any other institution of a medical or humanitarian nature," the
government said in a statement.

"At this bitter hour, our people are in solidarity with the people of
the United States and express their total willingness to cooperate,
within the measure of their modest possibilities," the statement said.

The statement said the aid would be directed toward "attention, care and
rehabilitation of the victims."

The government expressed its "sincere condolences to the North American
people," and stressed Cuba firmly opposed "any form of terrorism."

Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque earlier condemned the attacks.

"We feel very grieved by these acts," he said.

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Barry Stoller
Updates throughout the day with photo attachments.

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