Shaken European Press Puts Continent on Alert | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 08.07.2005
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Shaken European Press Puts Continent on Alert

Europe's press reacted with horror Friday to the string of terrorist attacks in London, which left at least 37 people dead. Some media warned that the atrocities represented a threat far beyond Britain's capital.


British papers responded with a mixture of sorrow and defiance

Several German papers saw the London attacks as aimed against non-Muslims in general more than simply its British targets.

"Don't be fooled by the message of revenge," said the conservative Die Welt daily in its Friday edition. The attacks in London were not acts of punishment against the British "Crusader government," which was being punished for its participation in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, it said.

In fact, the paper wrote, the Islamists "are following an ancestral eschatology, which distinguishes between the good faithful and the sub-human deniers of Allah's truth, unworthy of living, who are to be converted, subjugated or killed."

"The attacks on London do nothing to change the fact that Germany has for a long time been one of the possible targets for terrorism," the center-left Berliner Zeitung said.

The business daily Handelsblatt said it was repugnant that the attacks occurred as G8 leaders were meeting in Britain deciding to make a great effort in the fight against poverty.

"This shows the extent to which Islamist terrorism is divorced from western concepts," it said.

Londoners a model of courage and dignity

Spain's El Mundo stressed that the Spanish government had been placed on "a state of alert" following the London attacks. Spain strongly condemned the "savage attacks" in London and reached out to the British people.

Bombenanschläge in Madrid Miniquiz März 2004

The bombings in Spain last year also hit the Atocha railway station in Madrid

It recalled similar train bombings in March 2004 in Madrid, which killed 191 people and injured 1,900 in what was Spain's worst such attack.

The Paris-edited International Herald Tribune (IHT) said in an editorial that it was impossible to miss the twin ironies of Thursday's horrific bombings in London.

"Terrorists struck just as leaders of the major industrialized nations gathered in Scotland to talk about alleviating the misery of poverty around the world, and right after Londoners celebrated winning the proud right to stage the Olympics, the greatest quadrennial display of international understanding," the IHT said.

"The familiarity of these scenes does nothing to mitigate the pain of those who have been injured by the unforgivable crimes of bombings directed at innocents, or who lost loved ones in the attacks," the IHT said. "Londoners know terrorism well from their long struggle with the IRA, and their response yesterday was a model of courage and dignity."

Bombers will not break Britain's resolve

Britain's newspapers responded Friday to the bomb attacks in London with a mixture of sorrow and blitz-like defiance, vowing never to bow to terrorists. In an editorial, The Times expressed "revulsion and resolve" and called for extra vigilance.

"Despite the shock, horror and outrage, the calm shown in London was exemplary," the editorial said. "The terrorists have only strengthened the resolve of Britain and its people."

"Our spirit will never be broken," read the front-page of The Sun, the nation's best-selling tabloid. Neither Nazi German bombing nor Irish Republican Army attacks had broken the city's spirit, it said.

Terroranschlag in London BdT

The Edgware Road station in London was also a target

Thursday's blasts, Britain's worst peacetime attack, would only "make this nation ever more determined that those who violate our way of life must never win," The Sun said.

"If the terrorists want a fight, by God, we'll give it them," the newspaper vowed in its editorial.

London's Daily Telegraph picked up the theme that the London attacks were a warning for other Western nations.

"Once again, they have demonstrated that they can strike at the heart of a major Western power," the paper said.

Britain's impressive composure

The French left-wing Liberation daily praised the calm reaction of Londoners to the terrorist blasts. There was no expectation that British Prime Minister Tony Blair would change his policy on Iraq following the London blasts, it said.

"His refusal to be intimidated is a perfect reflection of the sang-froid seen yesterday on the streets of the London capital," Liberation said. "An absence of panic and an impressive composure is the measure of a people whose spirit of resistance we have become familiar with since at least 1940."

Meanwhile France's main sports daily L'Equipe broke with tradition by splashing world news onto its front page. Its banner headline "Everyone behind London" against a black background was in sharp contrast to Wednesday's headline "Why London?" which referred to the decision to award the 2012 Olympics to the British capital rather than Paris.

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