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Charlie Hebdo attack: Barack Obama calls Francois Hollande, offers condolences

French President Francois Hollande delivers a speech at the Elysee Palace after a shooting at the Paris headquarters of satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo killing at least 12 people and injuring many, on Wednesday.

French President Francois Hollande delivers a speech at the Elysee Palace after a shooting at the Paris headquarters of satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo killing at least 12 people and injuring many, on Wednesday.  

U.S. President Barack Obama has telephoned his French counterpart Francois Hollande to express condolences over the deadly attack targeting a satirical magazine in Paris that left 12 dead, offering assistance in bringing the attackers to justice.

“President Obama called French President Hollande from Air Force One this afternoon to personally offer his condolences and to express solidarity after this morning’s horrific terrorist attack in Paris,” the White House said on Wednesday..

Mr. Obama offered the resources of the United States as France works to identify, apprehend, and bring to justice the perpetrators and anyone who helped plan or enable this terrorist attack.

“President Hollande thanked the President for his words of support and provided an update on steps being taken to care for the victims and to arrest those responsible. He affirmed that France will never waver when faced with such adversity and will continue to defend the values of freedom and tolerance that the French republic and its people so nobly embody,” it said.

U.S. Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel, in a statement, offered his condolences to the families and friends of those lost in the terrorist attack in Paris.

“We condemn this barbaric and cowardly act. The United States and France have stood together, time and again, for the universal values we share and in opposition to the terror we deplore. We do so again today,” he said.

Mr. Hagel said the Department of Defence, including through our European Command, will continue to monitor the situation in Paris closely, and we stand ready to assist France in the aftermath of the attack.

Twelve people were killed on Wednesday after three hooded individuals armed with Kalashnikovs and a rocket-launcher opened fire in the offices of French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo.

In a statement, the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) condemned the attack.

“We condemn this barbaric attack which was seemingly done to undermine freedom of speech. Speech, even when it is offensive to our religious traditions and sensibilities, can never be a justification to kill,” said ISNA president Azhar Azeez.

Top American lawmakers condemned the terrorist attack.

“Sadly, this is not the first time terrorists have attacked this satirical newspaper for exercising free speech — a pillar of the civilised world. Today’s brutality is another crude reminder of the terrorist threat to all those living in free societies,” said Congressman Ed Royce, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

“I have no doubt they will ultimately fail, but the question is how many will be injured or killed before that day arrives?” Senator Lindsey Graham said.

“President Obama should immediately change his interrogation and detention policies as we are gradually losing the ability to detect, disrupt and prevent future terrorist attacks. In addition, it is time to restore the necessary funding to our intelligence-gathering and national security operations,” he demanded.

An attack against this newspaper — against journalists, cartoonists, and editors — is a strike at the most fundamental ideals of freedom and democracy, said Senator Chris Murphy.

“These terrorists don’t hate cartoons, they hate freedom. They’re willing to target anyone and destroy anything in the name of intimidating free people and spreading their cruel and hateful dogmas. It is important for the United States — and free nations everywhere — to oppose these forces with strength and vigilance,” said Senator Marco Rubio.

“Every day there are reminders of the diverse nature of the terrorist threat that we face. Today it was the deadly terrorist attack in Paris. Yesterday it was a bombing of an NAACP office in Colorado Springs, and just last month it was the Sony cyber attack.

“These incidents show us that it is critical for the key agency of the Federal government that Americans look to detect, deter, and respond to terrorism has the resources it needs,” said Congressman Bennie G. Thompson.

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Printable version | May 28, 2020 2:20:23 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/world/charlie-hebdo-attack-barack-obama-calls-francois-hollande-offers-condolences/article6767143.ece

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