President Barack Obama said he “strongly” condemned Wednesday’s fatal attack at a satirical magazine in Paris that reportedly killed 12 people, including two police officers.
“We are in touch with French officials and I have directed my administration to provide any assistance needed to help bring these terrorists to justice,” he wrote in a statement.
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Gunmen killed 12 people Wednesday in eastern Paris when they stormed Charlie Hebdo, a French satirical news magazine that has published cartoons of the Muslim Prophet Muhammad. The shooters remain on the loose. French President Francois Hollande said there is “no doubt this is a terrorist attack.”
Earlier on Wednesday, White House press secretary Josh Earnest appeared on “Morning Joe” and shared the president’s initial thoughts on the issue.
“This is a terrible act of violence, and one that we condemn in the strongest possible terms,” he said.
The French have been “stalwart allies” as the United States continues to work to destroy the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Earnest said. Last fall, the United States began leading a coalition in Syria in attempts to defeat the Islamic militants.
“The United States stands ready to work very closely with the French, as we have in a variety of areas, to help them conduct this investigation,” he said, adding that the White House will help to track down the shooters if they continue to remain at large.
In his statement, Obama noted that France is America’s oldest ally, and has stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the United States in the fight against terrorists who threaten shared security and the world.
The attack occurred in proximity to the U.S. Embassy in Paris. Senior national security officials at the White House have been in contact with their counterparts in France. There were no immediate plans to evacuate the embassy.
“The French people have shown tremendous bravery and courage as the international community has confronted the threat from ISIL. We know that they are not going to be cowed by this terrible act of violence,” Earnest said.
The incident is under investigation as officials are in the early stages of finding out what happened, who the shooters are, and what their motivation was.
“But,” Earnest added, “we are very cognizant of this threat that’s posed by foreign fighters, that’s posed by ISIL’s attempts to use social media in a sophisticated way to try to inspire people around the globe to commit other acts of violence.”