12 Dead In Attack On French Satirical Magazine Charlie Hebdo
At least 12 people, including ten journalists and two police officers, are reported dead in an attack by gunmen on the Paris offices of left wing satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo ('Charlie Weekly') on Wednesday morning. Le Parisien reports that cartoonists Stephane 'Charb' Charbonnier, Jean 'Cabu' Cabut, Georges Wolinski, and Bernhard 'Tignous' Verlhac are among the dead. Charb was also the magazine's editor-in-chief.
At least ten more were injured in the attack, with five said to be in critical condition. The same magazine was firebombed in 2011 following the publication of a satirical cartoon featuring the prophet Muhammed.
Eyewitness reports claim that three attackers armed with assault rifles and possibly a rocket launcher entered the offices of Charlie Hebdo on Rue Nicolas-Appert on the morning of Wednesday January 7. They opened fire in the offices, with reports claiming between thirty and fifty shots were heard, before fleeing the scene by car. The police officers who were killed appear to have been present as security in response to threats issued against the magazine.
Charlie Hebdo is known for its bitingly irreverent tone and its condemnation of religions. The attackers are believed to claim to represent Islam, with one eyewitness saying one of the attackers shouted, "the prophet is avenged" after the attacks. In the past, Charb defended the magazine's decision to publish cartoons mocking the prophet Muhammed by saying, "Muhammad isn't sacred to me."
French President Francois Hollande visited the scene earlier today, and condemned the attack for its "exceptional cruelty" and pledged that the perpetrators would be "hunted down as long as necessary." The mayor of Paris, Ann Hidalgo, has called for a march on Wednesday evening in defiance of the attack.
We will update this story as more information becomes available.