Charlie Hebo attack: President Obama speaks out to condemn 'outrageous attack' on America's 'oldest ally'

Secretary of State, John Kerry, said that the thoughts of every American was with France

Click to follow

The United States today vowed to help France pursue those responsible for the attack on a satirical magazine that left 12 people dead and put Paris into a state of high terrorist alert.

Condemning the “horrific shooting”, President Barack Obama called France America’s “oldest ally”. In a statement, he 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”.

The message of the president was echoed shortly afterwards by US Secretary of State, John Kerry. At a press conference at the State Department where he spoke in both French and English, Mr Kerry said that the thoughts of every American was with France.

The French and European union flags fly at half-mast at the French Embassy in Washington, DC (Getty)

“I would like to say directly to the people of Paris and of all of France that each and every American stands with you today - not just in horror or in anger or in outrage at this vicious act of violence - but we stand with you in solidarity and in commitment both to the cause of confronting extremism and in the cause which the extremists fear so much,” he said.

The White House spokesman Josh Earnest confirmed that the US was closely monitoring events in Paris. In television interviews he stressed that it was too soon to draw conclusions about who was behind the attacks.

“We're at the very early stages of what happened and who was responsible,” he said, while noting that there are “strong ties” between the al-Qaeda network and the Islamic State extremists. “We are obviously trying to monitor what we consider to be a very important threat,” he said.

“This is an attack on the basic freedoms of freedom of speech and freedom of the press,” Mr Earnest said in interviews on CNN and MSNBC television.