Israel on Wednesday denounced the deadly attack on a French satirical magazine, amid a wave of condemnations from world leaders and French Muslim organizations.
Earlier in the day three gunmen stormed the Paris offices of the Charlie Hebdo magazine, killing 12, including several prominent French satirical cartoonists, and injuring others.
“On behalf of the citizens of Israel, I offer condolences to the President of France, the bereaved families and the French people,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a press statement issued after the attack.
“Israel stands with you on this difficult day. Two years ago we saw a great intensification of international terrorism and terror that originates from radical Islam. Radical Islamic terrorism knows no bounds, and therefore the struggle which must know no borders,” he continued.
“I stood at the UN podium a few months ago, and I said that if the terrorist fanatics of Hamas, Hezbollah, the Islamic State and al-Qaeda will not be stopped here, [the attacks] will spread all over the world, and if we do not fight it consistently, determinedly and unitedly, these horrible acts that we have seen today in Paris, will not be the last, and they will be horrible and difficult.”
Netanyahu said the motive of Islamist terrorists was to “destroy society and nations, to uproot human culture which is based of freedom, and the freedom to choose.”
Therefore, the prime minister continued, “free societies and all civilized people must unite and combat this terrorism.”
“Combating them means physically fighting, fighting against their false arguments, and under no circumstances accepting the various justifications for their motives,” he concluded.
RT: Radical Islamic terrorism knows no bounds. The struggle must be cross-border pic.twitter.com/wZ7vgRmugh
— Benjamin Netanyahu (@netanyahu) January 7, 2015
Former president Shimon Peres expressed shock over the shooting and said the attack highlighted the need to protect the values of freedom and liberty.
“France, a nation that has placed human liberty as its top priority, was attacked today because of its values,” Peres said in a statement.
“We send our condolences to the twelve victims’ families, they are soldiers who guarded freedom and fell in the line of duty. This is a real battle between the civilized world and the world of darkness which indiscriminately murders.”
“The choice we face is either freedom or terrorism, the two of them together cannot exist. I am sure that despite the pain, liberty will prevail, we must all mobilize everywhere in every way to cut off the head of the snake,” he said.
Earlier, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman sent his condolences to the French people in the wake of the attack.
“Israel sympathizes with France’s pain,” he said, according to a statement by his spokesperson.
“The world must not allow terrorists to intimidate the free world and the West is obligated to stand united and determined against this threat,” Liberman said.
The EU, Germany, Russia, Canada and the US also strongly condemned the terror attack in which gunmen stormed the magazine’s building and killed its employees.
President Barack Obama called it “horrific,” “cowardly” and “evil” and pledged US support to bring the terrorists responsible to justice.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker called it an act of “barbarism.”
“I am profoundly shocked by the brutal and inhuman attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo. This is an intolerable act, an act of barbarism which challenges us all as human and Europeans,” Juncker said in a statement issued by the 28-nation EU.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel condemned the “despicable” attack in a condolence letter to French President Francois Hollande.
“I was shocked to learn of the despicable attack on the newspaper in Paris,” the German leader wrote.
Merkel said “this repulsive act” was “not only an attack on the lives of French citizens and France’s national security.”
“It is also an attack on freedom of expression and the press — a key component of our free democratic culture — which cannot be justified,” she said.
“I would like to express to you and your compatriots in this hour of suffering the sympathy of the German people as well my own sorrow, and convey my condolences to the victims’ loved ones.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin condemned “terrorism” in all its forms, his spokesman said Wednesday.
“Moscow resolutely condemns terrorism in all its forms,” Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told TASS news agency, adding: “Nothing can justify terrorist attacks.”
“President Putin… expresses his deep condolences to the relatives and loved ones of the dead and also to the people of Paris and all the French,” Peskov said.
“We are convinced that the fight with terrorism is impossible without cooperation between many sides,” Putin’s spokesman said in a separate comment to RIA Novosti state news agency. “Not one country can fight this evil alone.”
The US and Canada swiftly condemned the massacre as well.
“Everybody here at the White House are with the families of those who were killed or injured in this attack,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said, speaking on MSNBC.
“Senior officials at the White House have been in close touch with their counterparts in France this morning,” he added.
“The United States stand ready to work closely with the French” to help investigate the attack.
In Canada, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said he was “horrified by the barbaric attacks in France.”
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families,” Harper said.
The French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM) umbrella group strongly decried the “barbaric” attack on the magazine, and the Union des organisations islamiques de France (UOIF) “condemns in the strongest terms this criminal attack, and these horrible murders,” according to a statement on its website.
Some of the best-known cartoonists in France were among the 12 killed when gunmen stormed the office of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris, a judicial source said.
Editor-in-chief Stephane Charbonnier, known as Charb, and the cartoonists known as Cabu, Tignous and Wolinski were killed in the attack on the paper, which had repeatedly published caricatures of the Muslim prophet Mohammed. Two policemen were also killed in the shooting.