Troops, Embassies on Alert Amid Attacks

American installations around the world stepped up security measures, and military forces were redeployed after Tuesday's terrorist attacks on targets in New York City and Washington D.C.

Roughly 25 percent of U.S. embassies were closed today, according to The Associated Press, as foreign diplomats reacted to Tuesday's terrorist attacks on the United States.

Secretary of State Colin Powell spoke this afternoon and said he expected the offices to resume operations as "soon as possible."

Offices in Italy, Japan, Sweden and Egypt are among the 50 or so affected.

In the meantime, people in other nations are showing their support for the victims by leaving flowers at embassies around the world, including hundreds of bouquets in Berlin with candles placed on the street.

Back home, the American military was strengthening its presence. The aircraft carrier USS George Washington moved into position off the coast of New York to protect the city from further aerial attacks, and five other ships — guided-missile destroyers and frigates — put to sea in support. The USS Comfort left its port in Baltimore with a medical crew from Bethesda Naval Hospital, presumably to help in rescue efforts in New York.

The National Guard mobilized all its troops in the New York City area as well.

In Washington, authorities deployed soldiers, including a regiment of light infantry.

On High Alert

American military installations abroad said they were at a high level of alert.

Fighters, airborne radar and refueling planes around the nation were scrambled, all unnecessary military flights were canceled, and North American Aerospace Defense Command was on its highest alert.

At military bases across the country, officials said only essential military personnel would be given access.

In Europe, NATO and SHAPE, NATO's operational school in Oberammergau, Germany, said they had not received any specific threat, but evacuated all nonessential personnel as a protective measure.

NATO ambassadors in Brussels, Belgium, declared the attacks a strike against the whole alliance — meaning the United States has the backing of its 18 NATO allies for military actions if the attacks were committed by foreigners.

The U.S. European Command in Stuttgart, Germany, said all U.S. forces in Europe had "taken increased forces protection measures" and had gone to Force Protection Level Delta, among the highest levels of alert.

The U.S. permanent air fighter base in Aviano, Italy, which gets orders from Stuttgart, confirmed that it was on a Delta state of alert.

Information was unavailable for the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet, based in Manama, Bahrain.

"We are not releasing any information at this juncture. We have no comments to make," an official with the U.S. Navy Central Command said Tuesday.

The aircraft carrier USS Enterprise, which was due to come home from the Persian Gulf, was ordered to remain in the area indefinitely. A second carrier, the USS Carl Vinson, remains in the area as well, an official told The Associated Press.

One of the Fifth Fleet's boats, the guided-missile frigate USS Nicholas, left Malta early Tuesday after arriving Monday for a four-day visit.

The U.S. Embassy in Valletta, the Maltese capital, had no comment. Security was increased around the British aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious, which was also in Valletta harbor.

The embassy in Rome and consulates around Italy were closed out of respect for the victims in Tuesday's deadly attack.

In Cairo, Egypt, the embassy sent a warning to U.S. citizens urging them not to send their children to school today.