John Kerry offers ‘big hug’ to Paris after Charlie Hebdo attack

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Paris | Updated: January 16, 2015 4:28 PM

US Secretary of State John Kerry is meeting top officials in France to express America's solidarity with the French people after last week's deadly terrorist attacks.

US Secretary of State John Kerry is meeting top officials in France to express America’s solidarity with the French people after last week’s deadly terrorist attacks.

“I think you know that you have the full and heartfelt condolences of the American people and I know you know that we share the pain and the horror of everything that you went through,” Kerry said as he greeted French President Francois Hollande today.

“Our hearts are with you.” Kerry, who had said he was coming “to share a big hug with Paris,” and the French president hugged each other.

Hollande said the French people “were the victims of an exceptional terrorist attack. We must therefore together find the necessary response.”

Kerry was seeing Hollande and Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius this morning before laying wreaths at the sites of the two attacks. Kerry will then join the mayor of the city at an event that is to include a short performance by musician James Taylor.

Kerry’s visit comes amid lingering criticism of the Barack Obama administration’s failure to send a cabinet-level official to Paris for last Sunday’s unity march that attracted some 40 world leaders and more than a million demonstrators.

Meanwhile, Paris police said a major train station there had been closed and evacuated after a bomb threat. And the Paris prosecutor’s office said that 10 people have been arrested in anti-terrorism raids in the region, targeting people linked to a gunman who attacked a kosher supermarket and claimed ties to the Islamic State.

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