Friday night's terrorist attack in Paris drew critical attention to President Obama's comments from earlier in the day about recent successes against the Islamic State.

While it wasn't clear who was behind the Paris attacks, early reports said there were shouts of "Allahu akbar" just before the killing began, and other cries including, "This is for Syria." Other late reports indicated the Islamic State was behind the attack.

Friday morning, President Obama was touting a successful airstrike that was thought to have killed "Jihadi John," a British citizen who carried out several murders on behalf of the Islamic State.

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Obama also said the Islamic State was "contained." White House spokesman Josh Earnest clarified that Obama's comments, recorded Thursday but aired Friday morning, were limited to the progress made in containing the Islamic State's territorial gains in Iraq and Syria.

But the administration's claim of progress in the Middle East stood in stark contrast to the mayhem that unfolded in Paris, and will likely raise new questions about how western countries can protect themselves from the group. France responded almost immediately by closing off its borders.

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