World leaders were quick to condemn the attacks on the editorial offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris on Wednesday.
Ten journalists and two police officers were killed when at least two attackers went on the rampage with Kalashnikov rifles before fleeing the scene.
French President François Holland said the attacks were an act of “exceptional barbarism”.
Speaking outside the offices shortly after the incident, he said: “This is an act against journalists who had always wanted to show that in France it was possible to defend one’s ideas, and exercise their rights guaranteed and protected by the Republic.”
Reaction came also from across the world. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon voiced outrage as what he called an “horrendous, unjustifiable and cold-blooded crime”.
US President Barack Obama said: “Time and again, the French people have stood up for the universal values that generations of our people have defended,” adding that the French offer a “a timeless example that will endure well beyond the hateful vision of these killers”.
"I strongly condemn the horrific shooting at the offices of Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris" —President Obama pic.twitter.com/qr9zeGU04o— The White House (@WhiteHouse) January 7, 2015
The murders in Paris are sickening. We stand with the French people in the fight against terror and defending the freedom of the press.— David Cameron (@David_Cameron) 7 Janvier 2015
Angela Merkel, who was in London for talks, expressed her shock at the attacks which she said, was not only against French citizens but on “freedoms of press and speech, a foundation of our free and democratic culture”.
The Arab League and top Islamic University Al-Azhar also condemned the attack. Al-Azhar said “Islam denounces any violence”.
“I am profoundly shocked by this brutal and inhuman attack,” said European Union President Jean-Claude Juncker, while the Pope said the shooting was “abominable”.
Back in France, Marine Le Pen, head of the far right Front National Party, said: “Today it is the time for compassion for the victims, police officers, journalists, their families, wounded, facing what we must call a terrorist attack by Islamic fundamentalists.”
“It is not the first attack in France in recent weeks, or even in a number of Western countries that have suffered, I am thinking of Canada and Great Britain.”
The French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM) condemned what it called “barbaric act against democracy and freedom of the press”.
The head of the Paris Mosque said the killings were a “declaration of war”. “The times have changed,” said Dalil Boubakeur. “We are entering a new period in this confrontation. We are horrified by the brutality and savagery that took place in the Charlie Hebdo office.”