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Kerry Marks Terrorism Anniversary Without Mentioning Terrorism

Secretary of State John Kerry sets a floral wreath at Charlie Hebdo on Jan. 16, 2015. (State Department photo)

Secretary of State John Kerry marked the first anniversary of the Charlie Hebdo and Jewish market attacks in Paris without mentioning terrorism.

Saïd and Chérif Kouachi killed 11 people and wounded 11 more at the newsroom of the satirical magazine on Jan. 7, 2015. Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula claimed responsibility for the massacre. The cartoonists at the magazine were on their hit lists for drawing Mohammad.

Two days later, the Kouachis’ friend Amedy Coulibaly killed four and wounded nine at the Hypercacher kosher market in Porte de Vincennes. He pledged allegiance to ISIS. Coulibaly is also believed to have shot and wounded a jogger on Jan. 7, 2015, and shot two people on Jan. 8, killing a policewoman.

“We honor the victims of this tragedy and share the sadness of their loss,” Kerry said in a statement Thursday evening. “Their legacy endures as a challenge and inspiration to all of us. Charlie Hebdo continues to publish, and journalists around the world continue in their essential mission to tell the stories that people everywhere need to hear.”

“No country knows better than France that freedom has a price, and that no rationale can justify attacks on innocent men, women, and children,” he continued. “But what was intended to sow fear and division has, in fact, brought us together. We must remain committed to protect each other and renew our determination to turn this moment of profound loss into a lasting commitment.”

“Just as we tackle today’s most daunting challenges side by side, the United States and France will always stand together.”

Over at the White House, press secretary Josh Earnest did put the T-word with the anniversary.

“This is a fateful anniversary, and we did see one year ago today terrorists attack innocent people in Paris, and there are innocent people who over the course of two or three days who lost their lives, you know, whether they were cartoonists who were, you know, exercising their right to the freedom of expression or just innocent people who were shopping for groceries,” Earnest said at Thursday’s press briefing.

“And it is certainly a sad thing to remember, but it’s also a way to remember the resolve that the French people have shown through a difficult year, and it certainly is a — an opportunity to remember once again that France is the oldest ally of the United States, and we stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the people of France as they confront the terrorist threat to their nation,” he added.

“And even on the days when we remember the sad events of a year ago, the French people can know that the American people and the American government is standing right there with them.”

Asked if the world was a less safe place today, Earnest replied, “I think a broad generalization like that is a difficult one to make.”

“Certainly, the United States and France have been working together quite a lot over the last year to deal with the threats that are out there. And certainly President Obama is mindful of them, I’m confident that President Hollande is mindful of them as well,” he said. “President Obama obviously spends a lot of time thinking about, talking to his staff and making decision that are directly related to the safety and security of the American people, the U.S. homeland and our interests around the world.”