On Wednesday Chancellor Angela Merkel wrote to the French President François Hollande that she was "deeply shocked by the news of the despicable attack" on the editorial office of the newspaper in Paris. "At this difficult time we stand side by side with our French friends," assured the Chancellor.
On Wednesday morning two heavily armed men forced their way into the Paris office of the satirical magazine "Charlie Hebdo", which has made headlines in the past with its critical caricatures that have also targeted Islam. The gunmen opened fire, killing at least twelve people. The Greater Paris area was put on maximum terrorist alert by the French government.
In her letter of condolence the Chancellor expressed the profound sorrow of the people in Germany, and her own personal sympathy. She offered her most sincere condolences to the families of the victims.
An attack on freedom of opinion
This "abominable act" is not only an attack on the lives of French citizens and on France’s internal security. "It is also an attack on freedom of opinion and freedom of the press, a core element of our liberal and democratic culture, that cannot be justified under any circumstances," declared the Chancellor unequivocally.
Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier "appalled"
Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier also roundly condemned the attack. "I am deeply shocked – indeed, I am absolutely appalled – by the bloody attack on the office of 'Charlie Hebdo' magazine in Paris."
This is a "direct attack on our European values and on the freedom of our societies," declared Frank-Walter Steinmeier. "At this difficult time we stand even more closely side by side with our friends in France."
"Attack on the very heart of our democracy"
"This is also an attack on the freedom of the press and thus an attack on the heart of our democracy," said Federal Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière. "I am in touch with my French colleagues and friends. Our security authorities are in close contact. We will be sharing information, as far as possible at this early stage."
With respect to any potential threat in Germany, Thomas de Maizière added, "We have no specific indications that any comparable attacks are being planned in Germany or indeed any concrete indications of terrorist attacks in general in Germany. But we are all part of one body with shared democratic values. That means that we are all at threat as a community and as democracies." The situation is serious, he said. There are good grounds for concern and for taking precautions, but there are no grounds for panic.