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Obama condemns 'horrific' attack on French newspaper

[WASHINGTON] US President Barack Obama condemned an attack in Paris Wednesday on the offices of a satirical newspaper that left 12 dead, calling it a "terrorist attack" and pledging US assistance.

"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," he said.

Gunmen shouting Islamist slogans stormed the offices of the Charlie Hebdo newspaper in Paris, armed with an AK-47 assault rifle and a grenade launcher.

The weekly's editor-in-chief Stephane Charbonnier, and three cartoonists were among those killed in the attack, a judicial source in Paris said.

The weekly had attracted controversy by publishing satirical cartoons of the prophet Mohammed.

"I strongly condemn the horrific shooting at the offices of Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris that has reportedly killed 12 people," Mr Obama said.

The US president praised France as "America's oldest ally" and a partner "in the fight against terrorists who threaten our shared security and the world."

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of this terrorist attack and the people of France at this difficult time," he said.

"Time and again, the French people have stood up for the universal values that generations of our people have defended. 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."