President Barack Obama late Friday called a string of attacks in Paris “an outrageous attempt to terrorize innocent civilians.”
“Once again we’ve seen an outrageous attempt to terrorize innocent civilians,” he said in a statement from the press briefing room of the White House. “This is an attack not just on Paris. It’s an attack not just on the people of France. But this is a a attack on all of humanity and the universal values that we share.”
The President declined to speculate on who was responsible for the attacks, which left at least 35 dead across three sites. Shootings were reported at a restaurant and a concert hall while explosions were reported outside the Stade de France, where the French and German national soccer teams faced off in a friendly match.
Obama minced no words in labelling the violence as terrorism, however.
“We are reminded in this time of tragedy that the bonds of liberté, égalité and fraternité are not only values that the French people care so deeply about, but they are values that we share,” he said. “Those values are going to endure far beyond any act of terrorism or the hateful vision of those who perpetrated the crimes this evening.”
Obama said he had not spoken to French President Francois Hollande since the attacks broke out but pledged U.S. assistance to his counterpart as he responds to the ongoing situation.
Beyond shared foundational values, he noted that the U.S. and its oldest ally share a bond over their respective experiences with terror attacks.
“This is a heartbreaking situation and obviously those of us here in the United States know what it’s like,” Obama said. “We’ve gone through these kinds of episodes ourselves. Whenever these kinds of attacks happened, we’ve always been able to count on the French people to stand with us. They have been an extraordinary counterterrorism partner and we intend to be there with them in that same fashion.”
Watch Obama’s statement:
This post has been updated.
Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at email@example.com.