Paris shooting ‘product of West’s conflict with ISIS’ – Foreign Sec Hammond

British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond. (AFP Photo/Lehtikuva/Markku Ulander)
The British Foreign Secretary has blamed the shooting at the Paris offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo on the West’s intervention in the Middle East, according to a Russian news agency.

According to TASS, Philip Hammond was speaking at a joint press conference with Finnish Minister for Foreign Affairs Erkki Tuomioja, during his tour of the Baltic States, where he claimed the attack on Charlie Hebdo was a result of the conflict in the Middle East between the West and the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL).

Hammond was in Finland on Wednesday, as part of a scheduled visit to discuss EU reform with the Minister for Foreign Affairs, as the Paris shooting took place.

“The facts are still being established, we still don't know who exactly was behind the attack,” Hammond is reported to have said. “There were several people involved in this terrorist attack, i.e. there was an element of organization in this. But we have yet to determine if these people received orders externally.”

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The Foreign Secretary then went on to say “confidently” that the events were “clearly motivated” by events in the Middle East.

“What we can currently see happening – the conflict between Western values and destructive ‘values’ of the Islamic State,” said Hammond.

TASS also reports that Hammond said the attack in France is a reminder that similar incidents could take place anywhere, and that the effects of the war against ISIS in Iraq and Syria are spreading throughout the world.

“We support the people of France, we will fight terrorism wherever it manifests itself and will give a response to the threat to our values, our way of life and standard of life,” he said.

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Tuomioja added that the tragedy showed “terrorism has no borders” and “nobody is protected from it.

We must all now strengthen our readiness to repel terrorist attacks, until we have more information,” he stated.

When questioned about the speech, a Foreign Office spokesperson said Hammond had not made an official comment on the Paris shootings, and said the only comment he has made was in a tweet sent on Wednesday, in which he expressed his sadness at the attack.

French media sources have claimed one of the attackers shouted, “tell the media we are Al-Qaida” as they attacked the building, suggesting they do not have links to IS.

No terrorist group has officially claimed responsibility for the attack.