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Obama cuts European trip short to travel to Dallas next week

President Barack Obama observes a ceremony to honour NATO soldiers killed in the line of duty prior to the meeting of the North Atlantic Council at the Warsaw NATO Summit on July 8, 2016 in Warsaw, Poland. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

President Barack Obama plans to cut his European trip short so he can travel to Dallas, where a sniper “horrified” the nation with what the president called “a vicious, calculated and despicable attack on law enforcement.”

“The President has accepted an invitation from Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings to travel to Dallas early next week,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said in a written statement issued Friday evening.

“Later in the week, at the White House, the President will continue the work to bring people together to support our police officers and communities, and find common ground by discussing policy ideas for addressing the persistent racial disparities in our criminal justice system,” Earnest said. “We’ll have more details about next week’s activities as soon as they are available.”

Earlier in the day during a stop in Warsaw, Obama spoke of the ambush, in which a sniper killed five police officers and wounded seven others.

“I spoke this morning with Mayor Rawlings of Dallas to convey the deepest condolences of the American people,” the president said. “I told him that the federal government will provide whatever assistance Dallas may need as it deals with this tremendous tragedy.

“We still don’t know all the facts. What we do know is that there has been a vicious, calculated and despicable attack on law enforcement. Police in Dallas were on duty, doing their jobs, keeping people safe during peaceful protests. These law enforcement officers were targeted, and nearly a dozen officers were shot. Five were killed. Other officers and at least one civilian were wounded — some are in serious condition, and we are praying for their recovery.

“As I told Mayor Rawlings, I believe that I speak for every single American when I say that we are horrified over these events, and that we stand united with the people and the police department in Dallas. According to police, there are multiple suspects. We will learn more, undoubtedly, about their twisted motivations. But let’s be clear: There is no possible justification for these kinds of attacks or any violence against law enforcement.”

Obama will travel to Madrid, Spain on Saturday and spend the night.

“The President will participate in meetings with his Spanish counterpart and other government officials on Sunday then travel to Rota as previously scheduled to speak to military personnel serving there,” Earnest said. “The President will return to Washington on Sunday night – one day earlier than planned. The President will no longer travel to Seville.”