Washington: Strongly condemning the horrific terror attack in France, US President Barack Obama on Wednesday directed his officials to provide any assistance needed to bring to justice perpetrators of such a "cowardly" and "evil" assault.
"I strongly condemn the horrific shooting at the offices of Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris that has reportedly killed 12 people. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of this terrorist attack and the people of France at this difficult time," Obama said in a statement.
Heavily-armed gunmen shouting Islamist slogans stormed a Paris satirical newspaper office today and shot dead at least 12 people in the deadliest attack in France in four decades.
"France is America's oldest ally, and has stood shoulder to shoulder with the US in the fight against terrorists who threaten our shared security and the world. Time and again, the French people have stood up for the universal values that generations of our people have defended," 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," said the US President.
"We are in touch with French officials and I have directed my Administration to provide any assistance needed to help bring these terrorists to justice," Obama said.
"The fact that this was an attack on journalists; it's an attack on our free press....These terrorists fear freedom of speech and freedom of the press," Obama told reporters in the Oval Office of the White House ahead of his meeting with Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry.
The meeting will take stock and review the situation in the aftermath of the terrorist attack in Paris.
"For us to see the kind of cowardly, evil attacks that took place today, I think reinforces once again why it's so important for us to stand in solidarity with them (French people), just as they stand in solidarity with us," Obama said.
"One of the things I'll be discussing with Secretary Kerry today is to make sure that we remain vigilant, not just with respect to Americans living in Paris, but Americans living in Europe and in other parts of the world ...And to hunt down and bring the perpetrators of this specific act to justice and to roll up the networks that helped to advance these kinds of plots," said the US President.
Obama is also expected to call the French President.
Obama expressed his deepest sympathies to the people of France for the terrible terrorist attack.
"I think that all of us recognise that France is one of our oldest allies, our strongest allies. They have been with us at every moment from 9/11 on -- dealing with some of the terrorist organisations around the world that threaten us," he said.
Obama asserted that he is very confident that the values that the two countries share, a belief, a universal belief in freedom of expression, is something that cannot be silenced because of the senseless violence of the few.
"Our counter-terrorism cooperation with France is excellent. We will provide them with every bit of assistance that we can going forward. I think it's going to be important for us to make sure that we recognise these kinds of attacks can happen anywhere in the world," he said.
"We will stand with the people of France through this very, very difficult time," Obama said.