A man holds a placard which reads "I am Charlie" to pay tribute during a gathering at the Place de la Republique in Paris
A man holds a placard which reads "I am Charlie" to pay tribute during a gathering at the Place de la Republique in Paris January 7, 2015, following a shooting by gunmen at the offices of the magazine. Gunmen stormed the Paris offices of the weekly satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, renowned for lampooning radical Islam, killing at least 12 people, including two police officers in the worst militant attack on French soil in recent decades. The French President headed to the scene of the attack and the government said it was raising France's security level to the highest notch. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

U.S. President Barack Obama condemned the terror attack in France. Gunman opened fire at the offices of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical magazine in Paris, and killed 12 on Wednesday.

Obama offered prayers for the terror the people of France and the victims of the attack. "France is America's oldest ally, and has stood shoulder to shoulder with the United States in the fight against terrorists who threaten our shared security and the world," USA Today quotes Obama, "Time and again, the French people have stood up for the universal values that generations of our people have defended." The U.S. president also offered help to France for tracking down the killers. Obama said the officials from U.S. national security were in touch with their French counterparts. He said that he had directed his administration to be available for any help bring the "terrorists" to justice. Even though Obama has not opened up about the motives behind the terror attack, it is believed that the attack may have been retaliation for the magazine publishing satirical cartoons of Prophet Muhammad. The magazine used the name of the Islamic prophet as its "guest editor" for its November 2011 edition. Charlie Hebdo earlier reprinted 12 cartoons of Prophet Muhammad in 2007 that had first been shown in a Danish newspaper. Even though the magazine was sued for provoking racism, it was cleared by a Paris court.

Stéphane Charbonnier, believed to be one of the 12 victims killed in the attack, was a cartoonist who had defended the cartoons which caused huge controversy in the Islamic world. His name was included in an al Qaeda "Wanted Dead or Alive" list in 2013. According to the magazine's lawyer Richard Malka, Charbonnier aka Charb lived under police protection as he faced constant threats. The Telegraph reports that, according to Charbonnier's colleagues, the Charlie Hebdo publishing director was not really concerned about the threats. He often moved around without security guards. Charbonnier argued that the publishing the cartoons was evidence that free speech was still alive in the country.

The French magazine tweeted a satirical cartoon of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of Islamic States, on New Year. Even though no group has claimed the responsibility of the attack yet, CBS News reports that IS supporters appreciated the attack.

Contact the writer: s.mukhopadhyay@IBTimes.com.au