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Egypt Offers Advice on US Response - 2001-09-16

While the United States has been receiving condolences and support from around the world following Tuesday's terrorist attacks, it is also getting some advice and warnings regarding how it should respond.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak says he would support the United States for "very tough action" in response to Tuesday's terrorist attacks in the United States.

Mr. Mubarak told NBC news Sunday that "punishing those who committed the crime is a must, and revenge should be very well calculated." However, he warned, there should not be a jump to conclusions regarding who may be responsible.

The Egyptian president said, once the investigation produces a positive identification of the attackers, Egypt would stand behind the United States.

Mostapha el-Fekki, is a member of the Egyptian parliament and deputy of the Foreign Committee which handles international relations. He is also a former Egyptian ambassador to Vienna.

He has his own warning for the United States regarding any use of force in response to the terrorist attacks. Mr. el-Fekki says the United States must first secure international approval.

"International legality," he says, "is very important, or it would be taken as an excuse, or justification, to avenge under the umbrella of confronting terrorism, even though," he says, "the goal is noble, which is saving humanity from a dark danger that threatens it."

In the meantime, five days after Tuesday's terror, the militant Shiite Muslim group, Hezbollah, made its first public statements regarding the attack.

In a statement faxed to the Associated Press, the group said it regretted the loss of innocent lives, but said the reason for this level of hate was what it called Washington's oppressive polices all over the world.

The group warned Washington against taking advantage of Tuesday's attacks to inflict what it termed aggression and terrorism under the pretext of fighting it.

Hezbollah was backed by Iran during a guerrilla war against Israeli forces occupying southern Lebanon, until Israel's withdrawal last year.

The U.S. State Department lists Hezbollah as a terrorist group suspected of masterminding a series of bombings and kidnappings during Lebanon's 15-year civil war, which began in 1975.