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Hollande: Our response will be solidarity

President Francois Hollande has addressed the French people and the world following a hostage drama in which the suspects in the Charlie Hebdo shooting were killed. A number of hostages were freed.

In an internationally televised address, French President Francois Hollande said Friday evening that his nation remained in shock following the terrorist attacks at Charlie Hebdo headquarters on Thursday. The editor-in-chief at the paper as well as a number of illustrators and security guards and police were killed.

Earlier on Friday, French police stormed one of two sites north of Paris where two brothers who attacked Charlie Hebdo had taken a hostage, killing both.

The attack, Wednesday, on the magazine, which has published cartoons of the prophet Mohammed, left 12 dead.

Heavily armed police also raided a kosher supemarket where an alleged associate of the brothers had taken several hostages, killing the gunman. Four other people died there.

Fresh condemnation of the attacks came from around the world - often from opposing sides of ideological and strategic divides.

Israel expressed concern over what it called a "terror offensive" in France.

"The terrorist offensive taking place over the past three days is not only against the French people or France's Jews but against the entire free world," Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said.

Israel's sworn enemies Iran and Hezbollah also condemned the attacks on Charlie Hebdo, saying they harmed the cause of Muslims around the world.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said "violence and terrorism is reprehensible whether in this region, in Europe or in the United States"

The chief of the powerful Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah, which is backed by Iran, said Sunni jihadists have caused more offence to Muslims than any book, cartoon or film.

March on Sunday

In his address, Hollande said he would be present on Sunday for march in remembrance for the victims. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, as well as a host of other EU leaders, have said they will also be in attendance.

"I think it is an important sign of the Franco-German friendship that we stand side by side at a time like this," Merkel said. "I am impressed with how the French people are standing together in the face of this barbaric attack."

glb/sb (AP, AFP, Reuters, dpa)

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