Obama calls French shooting ‘cowardly evil attacks’
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama called Wednesday’s deadly shooting at a satirical newspaper in Paris “cowardly evil attacks” on journalists and a free press and vowed to help France pursue the terrorists who went on the run.
Obama said the attack that left 12 dead in France’s deadliest terror attack in at least two decades is a reminder that such tragedies can occur anywhere in the world. He promised to stay vigilant and “hunt down and bring the perpetrators of this specific act to justice, and to roll up the networks that help to advance these kinds of plots.”
“The fact that this was an attack on journalists, attack on our free press, also underscores the degree to which these terrorists fear freedom of speech and freedom of the press,” Obama said from the Oval Office during a meeting with Secretary of State John Kerry and Vice President Joe Biden.
“But the one thing that I’m very confident about is that the values that we share with the French people, a belief — a universal belief in the freedom of expression, is something that can’t be silenced because of the senseless violence of the few,” he added.
Obama later telephoned French President Francois Hollande from Air Force One en route to Detroit for a speech. Obama offered his condolences and expressed solidarity with Hollande and the people of France, the White House said in a statement. Obama also offered help from the United States as France tries to bring the perpetrators of the attack, and any possible accomplices, to justice.
Hollande thanked Obama for his support and updated the president on steps to care for victims and arrest those responsible, the White House said.
Three masked gunmen stormed the office of the satirical weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo at noon-time on Wednesday and then escaped in a car. Charlie Hebdo has been repeatedly threatened for its caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad and other controversial sketches.
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