Australia condemns `barbaric` attack on French newspaper

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott condemned on Thursday the "barbaric act" in Paris, in which an attack on a satirical weekly magazine left 12 people dead.

AFP| Updated: Jan 08, 2015, 03:40 AM IST

Sydney: Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott condemned on Thursday the "barbaric act" in Paris, in which an attack on a satirical weekly magazine left 12 people dead.

"Australia stands with the people and the government of France at this difficult time," Abbott said in a statement.

"The thoughts of all Australians are with the families of those who have lost their lives in this barbaric act.

"Freedom of expression is the cornerstone of a free society," he added.

Masked men armed with Kalashnikov automatic rifles opened fire at the central Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo in the worst attack in France in decades.

The weekly newspaper had a history of lampooning Islam`s prophet Mohammed and police said the gunmen were heard to shout "we have avenged the prophet" and "Allahu akbar" (God is greatest).

In a post on Twitter earlier Thursday, Abbott labelled the attack an "atrocity".

"If you don`t like something, you don`t read it; you don`t kill people you disagree with," he said.

In Australia, the terrorism alert level remains high with two hostages and an Islamist gunman killed when he kidnapped 17 people in a Sydney cafe siege last month.