New pro-Israel Australian premier rails against terrorism

That letter, he said, expressed his sympathy for the victims of recent Hamas terrorism and his wholehearted backing of the peace process.

The new Australian leader also sent a message to be read in synagogues on the day he was sworn into office.

That letter reflected the same sentiments, Howard indicated.

Meanwhile, Alexander Downer, a former Liberal Party leader who is now foreign minister, instructed senior Department of Foreign Affairs officials to meet with the charge d'affaires at the Iranian Embassy in Canberra.

The purpose of that session was to convey "our concern at the Iranian approach to terrorism and to seek from Iran an explicit and specific condemnation of the recent attacks in Israel."