President Barack Obama condemns terror attack in France
President Barack Obama “strongly” condemned the terror attack in Paris on Tuesday that claimed 12 lives and praised France for standing “shoulder to shoulder” in the fight against terrorism.
Obama said in a statement that the U.S. would provide “any assistance” to “America’s oldest ally” in bringing the terrorists to justice. Obama was briefed on the attack against French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo on Tuesday morning and senior U.S. national security officials have been in touch with their French counterparts. Three gunmen burst into the magazine’s headquarters on Tuesday morning and also fired at police officers in the streets outside while shouting “Allahu Akbar” — God is Great in Arabic.
“Time and again, the French people have stood up for the universal values that generations of our people have defended,” Obama said. “France, and the great city of Paris where this outrageous attack took place, offer the world a timeless example that will endure well beyond the hateful vision of these killers.”
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest also pointed to France as a “stalwart ally” in the fight against ISIS. France is a member of the U.S.-led coalition that has carried out attacks against ISIS and Earnest said that the U.S. is “keenly aware” of the “risk associated with that.”
He added that U.S. is still “trying to determine what happened,” but did point out that the U.S. and its allies are aware of the threat that foreign fighters joining ISIS in the Middle East could pose if they return to their home countries and carry out attacks using “that training, use that equipment.”
Earnest added that top national security officials have been in touch with their counterparts in France and that the U.S. will provide resources to investigate the attack.
“We are confident that the people of France are not going to be cowed by this threat,” Earnest said.
Earnest also highlighted the need for “leaders in the Muslim community” to stand up and proclaim the peaceful nature of their religion.
National Security officials monitoring, investigating
The Department of Homeland Security is “closely monitoring” the situation in Paris, a senior official from the department said in a statement.
“DHS will not hesitate to adjust our security posture, as appropriate, to protect the American people,” the official said. “We also encourage the public that “If You See Something, Say Something” and to report any suspicious activity in their communities to the appropriate law enforcement authorities.”
U.S. national security and intelligence agencies are rushing to see if they “missed any signs” or warnings of a terrorist attack against France, a senior U.S. official told CNN. For now, officials have found “nothing that matches.”
The official said the U.S. does not believe the attack suggests further attacks against Americans the U.S.
“Our major concern is to quickly identify the individuals involved,” in the attack the official said.
U.S. officials also pointed out that the attackers were wearing masks, contradicting reports that ISIS leadership told adherents to show their faces when carrying out attacks.
A U.S. official told CNN that French authorities are rapidly trying to find the alleged gunmen.
“If they can’t find these guys right away, then they will quickly be sharing any profile information or details with us,” the official said.
Members of Congress also woke up to reports of the terror attack and some took to Twitter to condemn the attack.
One of the only two Muslim members of Congress Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minnesota) condemned the attack and called for unity in the face of violence.
“I condemn the attack in Paris today. My thoughts are with the families of those killed. I urge swift justice for the people responsible,” Rep. Keith Ellison tweeted. “The goal of terror is to stoke hatred and division. We must stand united against people who choose violence.”
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) called the attack a “horrific situation” and said the U.S. needs to be “very vigilant” on MSNBC.
“There wont be another day in our life that we wont have to be vigilant about terrorist attacks in any place,” he said.
Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Florida) called the attackers “murderous extremists” on Twitter and Republican Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois also took to Twitter.
“Americans stand united with those around the world who value freedom of speech in mourning the victims of terrorism in Paris today,” Kirk said.
Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Connecticut) tweeted that he was “appalled by the attack.”
“My heart goes out to the victims & their families,” he wrote.
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