Terrorists have taken hostages at the Bataclan concert hall, gunmen opened fire at a cafe near Rue Charonne, and three explosions rocked the Stade de France stadium during a match between the French and German national teams, according to multiple reports.
Obama, who referred to France as “our oldest ally,” said the possibly ongoing, coordinated attack is “not just on Paris, not just on the people of France, but this is an attack on all of humanity and the universal values that we share.”
Obama added, “Those who think that they can terrorize the people of France or the values that they stand for are wrong.”
He said that “the French people have stood shoulder to shoulder with the United States people again and again.”
He added, “This is a heartbreaking situation and obviously those of us here in the United States know what it’s like. We’ve gone through these kinds of episodes ourselves.”
French President Fran ois Hollande has declared a state of emergency and closed the country’s borders in the wake of the attacks.
The White House revealed that Obama spoke by phone on Friday with Hollande to offer condolences and reiterated the United States’ steadfast, unwavering support for the people of France, “our oldest ally and friend”, and reaffirmed the offer of any necessary support to the French investigation. The two leaders pledged to work together, and with nations around the world, to defeat the scourge of terrorism.
Vice President Joe Biden also joined Obama in offering his “deepest condolences” to those wounded in the situation in Paris.
“It’s heartbreaking. Outrageous. The American people understand and share the pain the people of Paris are going through,” he said.
He added: “As these tragic events unfold, the investigation continues, and we learn all of the details of what’s happened, the United States stands ready to support the French government and the people of Paris. And, as we ve done before, in the face of dangers and threats, we will look out for one another. We will stand together. “