New York/PARIS - United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the attacks in Paris on Friday that killed at least 127 people and called for any hostages to be immediately released.

"The secretary-general condemns the despicable terrorist attacks carried out today in various locations in and around Paris," according to a statement from his spokesman. "The secretary-general extends his deepest condolences to the families of the victims and wishes a speedy recovery to those injured. He stands with the government and people of France." The UN Security Council also condemned what it called "the barbaric and cowardly terrorist attacks."

Mourners across the globe reacted to the attacks in Paris with tears, shows of solidarity and condemnations of those who carried out the series of bloody assaults.

Among politicians, there were loud calls for the world to ratchet up the fight against terrorism. Bouquets, candles and messages of condolence were laid at French embassies worldwide. Buildings ranging from the Sydney Opera House in Australia to One World Trade Center in New York were lit up in the colours of the French flag.

In Madrid and Barcelona, hundreds stood for a minute’s silence outside city hall. “We are reminded in this time of tragedy that the bonds of liberte, egalite, fraternite, are not just the values French people share, but we share,” said US President Barack Obama, citing France’s national motto.

The coordinated killings reverberated around the world after the shootings by gunmen shouting “Allahu akbar”, explosions and a hostage-taking at a popular concert venue on Friday in the French capital. French President Francois Hollande received calls from world leaders including Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey.

Queen Elizabeth II said she and her spouse Prince Philip were “deeply shocked,” and British Prime Minister David Cameron offered Britain’s help. Indian Premier Narendra Modi called the attacks “anguishing and dreadful” and Hassan Rouhani of Iran condemned the attacks as “crimes against humanity.”

“We share the sadness and the pain of the French people,” said Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. “The Paris tragedy requires of us all to unite in the fight against extremism.” Chinese President Xi Jinping said: “In these tragic times for the French people, I want to condemn in the strongest ways this barbarous act.” The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for a “blessed attack on Crusader France,” which included an assault on the national sports stadium and the Bataclan concert hall.

France is part of a US-led coalition conducting an air war against IS in Syria and Iraq, where IS declared a caliphate last year after seizing swathes of both countries.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said that French policy had contributed to the “spread of terrorism” that culminated in the Paris attacks. “The terrorist attacks that targeted the French capital Paris cannot be separated from what happened in the Lebanese capital Beirut lately and from what has been happening in Syria for the past five years and in other areas,” he said.

The outpouring of support for France generated massive amounts of posts on social media, with the hashtags #prayforparis and #jesuisparis going viral. One user, @emilymiddlemas_ , wrote “I am so heartbroken! All my love and prayers go out to everyone affected by this horrible attack, when will this stop.” Mourners were also sharing a peace symbol that includes Paris’s iconic Eiffel Tower.