Twelve dead in shooting at offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo

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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

At least twelve people have been killed today in a shooting at the Paris offices of the satirical weekly French magazine Charlie Hebdo. Three men in hoods armed with Kalashnikov rifles entered the magazine's office in the 11th arrondissement and shot dead ten journalists and two police officers before making a getaway in a car driven by a fourth collaborator. Five people have been seriously injured in the attack. A member of the police said after leaving the scene the attackers drove to the northeastern suburbs of Paris where they abandoned their vehicle and hijacked another car.

French police union Unité spokesman Rocco Contento said of the crime scene, "it was a real butchery". The French Government have raised the country's security level to the maximum. President François Hollande told reporters: "This is a terrorist attack, there is no doubt about it".

The French news website is reporting one eyewitness claimed that as the attackers approached the magazine's office, they shouted: "you say to the media that it is al-Qaeda in Yemen" ((fr))French language: ‍vous direz aux médias que c'est Al-Qaïda au Yémen.

Gérard Biard, the editor-in-chief of Charlie Hebdo, stated: "I don't understand how people can attack a newspaper with heavy weapons. A newspaper is not a weapon of war." The magazine recently posted a cartoon on Twitter depicting Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, a leader of the Islamic State militant group.

US President Barack Obama gave a statement condemning 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. Time and again, the French people have stood up for the universal values that generations of our people have defended." Obama also said that the US would provide assistance "to help bring these terrorists to justice".

British Prime Minister David Cameron tweeted: "The murders in Paris are sickening. We stand with the French people in the fight against terror and defending the freedom of the press."

The Arab League and the Cairo-based Al-Azhar University have also condemned the attack.

In 2006, Charlie Hebdo ran the cartoons depicting Muhammad that originally appeared in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten. In 2011, it published another cartoon depiction of Muhammed subtitled "Charia Hebdo", a pun on sharia. The magazine's office was subsequently firebombed. Following the bombing, the magazine's website was hacked and death threats were made against their staff. The magazine responded by publishing on their front page an image showing both the remains of the magazine's offices and one of their cartoonists kissing a bearded Muslim man. The cover contained the headline "Love is stronger than hate" ((fr))French language: ‍L'Amour plus fort que la haine.