Masked gunmen killed 12 people at a Paris magazine today and wounded seven, in a terrorist attack believed to be revenge for the satirical paper’s cartoons about Islam.
President Francois Hollande called it a terrorist attack of “exceptional barbarity.”
The BBC reported that the gunmen shouted “We have avenged the Prophet Muhammad” as they fled in a car.
There were three gunmen, according to The Associated Press. They are still at large.
Four cartoonists for the magazine Charlie Hebdo were slaughtered, including its cartoonist-editor, Stephane Charbonnier. Also killed were cartoonists Georges Wolinski, Bernard “Tignous” Verlhac and Jean Cabut.
The London Daily Mail reported that the assassins asked for victims by name.
Two policemen were killed outside the building.
A video has been posted on the Internet showing one gunman executing a wounded policeman with a shot to the head.
The massacre came at about 11:30 a.m. Paris time, apparently during the magazine’s daily editorial meeting.
European newspapers report that the killers, armed with Kalashnikovs, continued to battle police as they fled.
Citing police sources, Reuters said the gunmen are believed to be Said Kouachi, born in 1980, Cherif Kouachi, born in 1982, and Hamyd Mourad, born in 1996. Reuters reported that one of them had been identified by an identity card left in the getaway car.
The Kouachi brothers were from the Paris region; Mourad was from the area of the northeastern city of Reims, Reuters reported.
Charlie Hebdo, or Charlie Weekly, was firebombed in November 2011 the day after it printed a cartoon about the Prophet Muhammad. Its editor Charbonnier had received death threats and was assigned police protection.
The cover of the magazine’s latest edition, published today, is a full-page caricature of novelist Michel Houllebecq, saying, “In 2022, I will do Ramadan.” His latest novel is set in a future, polygamous France run by Muslims.
The last tweet before the massacre on the magazine’s site was a cartoon of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, according to the BBC.
Charlie Hebdo is named after the comic strip character Charlie Brown.
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