File Photo: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. (Agence France-Presse)
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday condemned the "horrendous" attack on French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, branding it an assault on the media and freedom of expression.
"It was a horrendous, unjustifiable and cold-blooded crime. It was also a direct assault on a cornerstone of democracy, on the media and on freedom of expression," Mr Ban told reporters at UN headquarters.
Twelve people including the weekly's chief editor and three cartoonists were killed when gunmen burst into the publication's Paris offices and opened fire, shouting "Allahu Akbar" (God is greatest).
"We stand with the people and the government of France," said the UN chief, who offered condolences to the families of the victims.
"This horrific attack is meant to divide. We must not fall into that trap," he added.
"This is a moment for solidarity around the world. We must stand strong for freedom of expression and tolerance and stand against the forces of division and hate."
The attack took place at a time of heightened fears in France and other European capitals over fallout from the wars in Iraq and Syria, where hundreds of European citizens have joined the ranks of the radical Islamic State group.