After a series of attacks erupted across Paris on Friday, President Obama characterized the events as “an outrageous attempt to terrorize innocent civilians” and said the United States was ready to support France in anyway it could.
The attacks began with two explosions outside the Stade de France, where France’s soccer team was playing Germany’s. Mass shootings were also reported at a restaurant in the city’s 10th arrondissement and at Le Bataclan, a concert hall where the American band Eagles of Death Metal was scheduled to play a show.
The death toll continued to mount on Friday evening; as Obama spoke, the tally stood at at least 40 dead, with at least 100 more still held hostage inside the Bataclan.
“This is an attack not just on Paris, it’s an attack not just on the people France, but this is an attack on all of humanity and the universal values we share,” Obama said. “We stand prepared and ready to provide whatever assistance that the government and the people of France need to respond.”
“France is our oldest ally. The French people have stood shoulder to shoulder with the United States time and again, and we want to be very clear that we stand together with them in the fight against terror and extremism.”
The president said he believed it was too early to speculate further about the attacks themselves, but said, unequivocally, “We’re going to do whatever it takes to work with the French people and with nations around the world to bring these terrorists to justice and to go after any terrorist networks that go after our people.”
“We don’t yet know all the details of what has happened. We have been in contact with French officials to communicate our deepest condolences to the families of those have been killed, and offer our prayers and thoughts to those who’ve been wounded. We have offered our full support to them.”
Obama said that he had not yet reached out to President Hollande, who was himself at the Stade de France watching the soccer match when explosions detonated outside the arena.
“My expectation is that he is very busy at the moment,” Obama said, adding that he and the French president spoke Friday morning in preparation for the G20 Summit in Istanbul, which is set to begin in two days.
Obama is also scheduled to travel to Paris later this month for the climate talks. “This is a heartbreaking situation and obviously those of us here in the United States know what it is like —we’ve gone through these sorts of episodes ourselves, and whenever these kinds of attacks happened, we’ve always been able to count on the French people to stand with us,” Obama said. “We intend to be there with them in that same fashion”