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Saturday 17 August 2019

World leaders condemn Paris terrorist attacks

President Barack Obama pauses as he speaks about attacks in Paris from the briefing room of the White House (AP)
President Barack Obama pauses as he speaks about attacks in Paris from the briefing room of the White House (AP)

World leaders including David Cameron and Barack Obama have expressed their shock and outrage at the atrocities in Paris.

The Prime Minister vowed the UK will do "whatever we can to help" following the attacks.

US president Mr Obama said the violence in the French capital was "was an attack on all of humanity".

German chancellor Angela Merkel is "deeply shocked" by the attacks, and has conveyed her sympathy and solidarity, the foreign ministry in Berlin said.

Mr Cameron said: "I am shocked by events in Paris tonight.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the French people. We will do whatever we can to help."

The US president told a press conference: "Those who think they can terrorise the people of France and the values they stand for are wrong."

The UK's Ambassador to France, Peter Ricketts, said: "We are fully mobilised in the Embassy dealing with appalling events in Paris.

"Solidarity with France."

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn added his condemnation of the "heinous and immoral" attacks.

"My thoughts are with the people of Paris tonight," the Labour leader said.

"We stand in solidarity with the French.

"Such acts are heinous and immoral."

London mayor Boris Johnson said: "Saddened to hear the terrible news from Paris - my thoughts and those of Londoners are with Parisians tonight."

Archbishop of Canterbury Most Rev Justin Welby said: "Tragic Paris, desperate news of deep tragedy, with heartbreak for so many. We weep with those affected, pray for deliverance and justice."

A spokesman for United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said: " The Secretary-General extends his deepest condolences to the families of the victims and wishes a speedy recovery to those injured. He stands with the government and people of France."

Intelligence experts gave their views on the motives behind the massacre.

John Cohen, a former US Homeland Security Department counter-terrorism co-ordinator, said the presence of multiple attack scenes at the same time suggested a co-ordinated effort to "send a message" and raises immediate terror concerns, including for other cities in Europe and potentially the United States as well.

He said both al Qaida and Islamic State have relied on the strategy of co-ordinated attacks in the past.

Former CIA director R James Woolsey said France was being punished for supporting the fight against extremism.

He told BBC News: "The fact that France has been a good ally of the US and Britain in this struggle with ISIS to try to hold things down has worked to France's detriment because it's a lot easier to get to France from Syria and so forth than it is to get to the United States or even Britain.

"I think there is a very good chance that a flow of refugees, war refugees, whatever you want to characterise them as, out of the Middle East and especially out of Syria has created the background which makes something like what we're seeing here possible."

He added: "What's interesting to me is the multi-point operation here, hostage taking in one place, gun fights in others, executions.

"This is put together not just by a group of crazy, emotional terrorists but by something looking a bit like part of a government that plans things carefully.

"I would think it would probably be ISIS. It wants to be a government."

US Secretary of State John Kerry said the attacks were "heinous, evil" and "vile", while vice president Joe Biden said: "Such savagery can never threaten who we are."

The spire of One World Trade Centre in New York will be lit up in red, white and blue in honour of those who died in Paris, the city's governor Andrew Cuomo said.

US Attorney General Loretta Lynch said America stands in solidarity with France.

" This is a devastating attack on our shared values and we at the Department of Justice will do everything within our power to assist and work in partnership with our French law enforcement colleagues," she said.

Dr Shuja Shafi, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain, said: "The attacks once again in Paris are horrific and abhorrent, and we condemn this violence in the strongest possible terms. My thoughts and prayers for the families of those killed and injured and for the people of France, our neighbours.

"This week we have once again witnessed outrageous attacks, be that in Beirut earlier in the week or Paris today - there is no justification for such carnage whatsoever. We hope those responsible are brought to justice and face the full force of the law."

In a message on Twitter, media mogul Rupert Murdoch said: "Paris outrage not an attack on all humanity, but an attack on us - i.e., Western civilisation!"

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood has sent condolences to those affected by the attacks in Paris and called for calm in the city and across the world in the face of tragic and dreadful events.

She said it was a time for solidarity and communities across the world should stand united to defeat those who wish to incite fear and terror.

"This is a tragic and dreadful event clearly designed to incite fear and terror into the French population," she said.

"In the light of these attacks on people in Paris, we stand united with all those people in the communities that have been affected by these horrific acts of violence."

The Union Flag was lowered to half-mast over the UK's embassy in Paris to honour the victims of the "atrocious attacks", the ambassador said.

Sir Peter wrote on Twitter: "Embassy team have been working through the night in support of any British nationals needing consular help."

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said he had spoken to his French counterpart Laurent Fabius about the attack.

Mr Hammond wrote on Twitter: "Have just conveyed my condolences to LaurentFabius for the horrific ParisAttacks death toll. UK stands w/ France."

Ukip leader Nigel Farage said the Paris attack should prompt a "rethink".

He said: "Profoundly shocked by the events in Paris. We need a rethink."

Following the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris in January, Mr Farage blamed a "fifth column" within Europe opposed to Western ideals.

PA Media

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