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World marks September 11 attacks

Pope Benedict XVI has prayed for the victims of the September 11 terror attacks and called on world leaders and others to resist what he calls the "temptation towards hatred".

The pontiff noted the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks during remarks to the faithful at the end of an outdoor Mass he was celebrating in the Italian coastal town of Ancona.

Benedict said he is urging leaders and "men of good will" to swear off violence forever as a way to solve problems and instead work for solidarity, justice and peace. The Pope sent a letter on Saturday to New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan insisting that violence never be carried out in God's name.

His comments came as commemorations marking the 10th anniversary of the attacks got under way across the world.

In New Zealand, players from the American Eagles rugby team joined hundreds of others at a memorial service in the town of New Plymouth. The team is in the country to play in the Rugby World Cup tournament. US ambassador David Huebner also attended the service at St Andrews Church.

Leaders in Pakistan, which has been a victim of al Qaida terrorism but is also accused of not doing enough to crack down on militants, said they joined the people of the US in honouring the memory of those killed 10 years ago.

"As a country that has been severely affected by terrorism, we reaffirm our national resolve to strengthening international co-operation for the elimination of terrorism," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

The Taliban marked the anniversary by vowing to keep fighting against US forces in Afghanistan and saying they had no role in the September 11 attacks. "Each year, 9/11 reminds the Afghans of an event in which they had no role whatsoever," a statement emailed to news organisations said. "American colonialism shed the blood of tens of thousands of miserable and innocent Afghans."

Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad claimed the US used the September 11 attacks as an excuse for launching wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He said the attacks were a "complicated, designed game" to affect people's emotions and pave the way for the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. He also said the US launched those wars to solve its own economic problems.

Supporters of an Islamist political party in Pakistan used the anniversary to stage anti-American protests. In Islamabad, about 100 people chanted and held up banners that repeated conspiracy theories alleging American or Israeli involvement in the attacks. Such theories have been commonly aired among Islamists and militant sympathisers since the attacks in 2001.

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