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GOP chairman: 'America stands with France'

House Armed Services Committee Chairman-elect Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) called for the “free world” to stand together following a terrorist attack against a French newspaper that killed 12 people.

"America stands with France,” Thornberry said. 

"We do so not just because the French are our friends and allies, but because it is important for the free world to stand together against those who seek to intimidate us." 

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Three masked gunmen with AK-47 rifles stormed the building of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. Witnesses said the gunmen shouted, "God is Great!" in Arabic as they fired, according to French reports. 

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but websites and Twitter accounts associated with extremist groups applauded the attack and called it revenge for the paper's satirical pieces on Islam, according to The New York Times. 

Thornberry lauded the French for their partnership with the U.S. in the war against terrorism. 

"The French have bravely stood up in the fight against terrorists. Their soldiers have fought shoulder-to-shoulder with Americans in places like Afghanistan, Mali, and the Horn of Africa," he said. 

France is a partner in the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and was the first country to sign up for airstrikes against ISIS. 

Conservative British defense expert Nile Gardiner said although there is a percentage of the French public that is anti-war, he predicted that there would be pressure for French President François Hollande to respond to the attack. 

"This attack is likely to increase French participation in the coalition against ISIS," said Gardiner, director of the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom at the Heritage Foundation. 

Gardiner said the attack was intended to sow fear and terror in the capital cities of the West and that the attack should be a "wake-up call" for Europe. 

"All over Europe, there have been a great deal of complacency with regard to the Islamist threat," said Gardner. 

"What is significant about this attack is that it took place in the heart of Paris, it was an attack directly on a media outlet so it was attack on the freedom of speech, and the Islamists are sending a message they can attack anywhere basically," he said.