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Australia Will Back US Retaliation to Terrorist Attacks

Australia says it will back a lethal response against those responsible for the terrorist attacks Tuesday against the United States. Australian Prime Minister John Howard is stranded in Washington as a result of security measures in the aftermath of the attacks.

Australia has offered its full support to the United States in tracking down and punishing the terrorists responsible for Tuesday's attacks in New York and Washington. Visiting Australian Prime Minister John Howard told reporters in Washington that it is time for a calm but lethal response.

Mr. Howard has been in the United States for several days on an official visit. He had been scheduled to address Congress but has been forced to cut short his trip. Although with all flights grounded in the United States, it is uncertain how soon Mr. Howard will be able to leave the country.

The prime minister says the terrorist attacks were not just on the United States, but on all civilized countries. He told an Australian radio station he has extended his country's sympathy to the American people. The prime minister said, "Words aren't very adequate but they are a sign that we feel for our American friends, that we will stand by them. We will help them. We will support actions they take to properly retaliate, in relation to these acts of bastardry [dastardly acts] against their citizens and against what they stand for."

Australia has stepped up security around diplomatic missions and Commonwealth buildings in response to the attacks. An exclusion zone has been thrown around the U.S. Embassy in Canberra. Other missions are under special police protection, including the Israeli embassy.

Both the Australian cabinet and its counterterrorism committee have held emergency meetings.