A tragedy is unfolding in Paris at the moment where armed men stormed the Paris offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday morning, killing “at least 12 people” and injuring more, said a police officer. As a reminder, it was in November 2011 when the Charlie Hebdo’s headquarters were gutted by fire, hours before a special issue of the weekly featuring the Prophet Muhammad appeared on newsstands. Since then, the weekly moved to a new location, which was guarded by police, who were also shot at Wednesday morning. The shooters opened fire inside the magazine’s offices using automatic AK-47 rifles before fleeing, said the officer, cited by the WSJ. The attackers, described as "a commando with Kalasnikov and pump action... they went in there to kill" are believed to still be at large as France is "in shock" according to its president.
More details from AP:
Masked gunmen stormed the offices of a French satirical newspaper Wednesday, killing 11 people before escaping, police and a witness said. The weekly has previously drawn condemnation from Muslims.
French President Francois Hollande called the slayings a terrorist attack and said that several other terror attacks have been thwarted "in recent weeks."
Xavier Castaing, head of communications for the Paris police prefecture, confirmed the deaths in the shooting at the offices of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical weekly that been repeatedly threatened for publishing caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad, among other controversial sketches.
Hollande rushed to the scene and top government officials planned an emergency meeting.
Luc Poignant, an official of the SBP police union, said the attackers escaped in two vehicles.
A witness to the attack, Benoit Bringer, told the iTele network he saw multiple masked men armed with automatic weapons at the newspaper's office in central Paris.
In this video one can hear gun shots as the commentator remarks it is an automatic weapon. A woman can be seen running down the street and diving for cover between two cars.
A snapshot of what the alleged attackers look like via @Zaidbenjamin:
As Guardian's Alexandra Topping writes: "The journalist Martin Boudot, from the Premières Lignes agency, has posted this video from the roof of a building situated close to the Charlie Hebdo building. we can hear gunshots and voices who cry ‘Allahu akbar’. In the distance we can see at least two people who appear to be fleeing.
Other newspapers in Paris have been placed under police protection, according to Le Monde.
French president Francois Hollande quickly arrived at the scene of what he called is clearly a terrorist attack. The latest headline updates from Bloomberg as they come in:
- HOLLANDE SAYS 11 PEOPLE KILLED IN PARIS SHOOTINGS
- PARIS ON HIGH TERRORIST ALERT, HOLLANDE SAYS
- FRANCE’S HOLLANDE SAYS THE ATTACK IS A TERRORIST ACTION
- HOLLANDE: SEVERAL TERRORIST ATTACKS FOILED IN RECENT WEEKS
- HOLLANDE: FOUR PEOPLE ARE ’BETWEEN LIFE AND DEATH’
The latest from Guardian:
A French police official says 11 people are dead in a shooting at a satirical weekly newspaper in central Paris.
Xavier Castaing, head of communications for the Paris police prefecture, confirmed the deaths.
French President Francois Hollande was headed to the scene of Wednesday’s shooting at Charlie Hebdo, a satirical weekly that has drawn repeated threats for its caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed, among other controversial sketches.
Hollande's full statement:
Francois Hollande has been speaking to the media. He said that 11 people had been killed and four people seriously injured but 40 people had been rescued.
Hollande said that the security level had been increased in Paris and a number of terrorist plots had been foiled in recent weeks.
An emergency meeting will be held at the Elysees Palace in the next hour.
Hollande said France had experienced “an exceptional act of barbarism committed against a newspaper”.
France was facing a “shock”, he added. “We need to show we are a united country,” he said.
France had to be “firm and strong” adding: “We will fight these threats and we will punish the attackers.”
France had been targeted because it was a country of freedom but no one would be allowed to go against “the spirit of the republic” in this way.
Key updates via Twitter:
Police now say 12 killed in Paris attack including police officers #cbc— Nahlah Ayed (@NahlahAyed) January 7, 2015
The eleven dead in #CharlieHebdo attack are reportedly nine journalists and two police officers.— Mark MacKinnon (@markmackinnon) January 7, 2015
Police say it was carnage "a butchery" inside Charlie Hebdo. Can see police car riddled with bullets.— Kim Willsher (@kimwillsher1) January 7, 2015
Police spokes. "It was a commando with Kalasnikov and pump action ...they went in there to kill".— Kim Willsher (@kimwillsher1) January 7, 2015
Paris attackers believed to still be at large ... Hollande says france is in shock #cbc— Nahlah Ayed (@NahlahAyed) January 7, 2015
France on highest alert after Paris terror attack - AP— Breaking News Feed (@PzFeed) January 7, 2015
Meilleurs vœux, au fait. pic.twitter.com/a2JOhqJZJM— Charlie Hebdo (@Charlie_Hebdo_) January 7, 2015
More on the controversial history of Charlie Hebdo via the Guardian:
Charlie Hebdo has a long record of taking its satire seriously. The weekly magazine’s response to previous efforts at intimidation was to be even more controversial or outrageous, defying the constraints of religious sensitivity or political correctness.
In November 2011, its offices were fire-bombed after it had published a special edition, supposedly guest-edited by the Prophet Mohammed and temporarily renamed ‘Charia Hebdo’. The cover was a cartoon of Mohammed threatening the readers with ‘a hundred lashes if you don’t die laughing’.
The petrol bomb attack completely destroyed the Paris offices, the magazine’s website was hacked and the staff were subjected to death threats. But six days later, it published a new front page depicting a male Charlie Hebdo cartoonist passionately kissing a bearded Muslim man in front of the charred aftermath of the bombing. The headline this time was: L’Amour plus fort que la haine (Love is stronger than hate).
Less than a year after that, it published more cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, including images of him naked and a cover showing him being pushed along in a wheelchair by an Orthodox Jew. The French government had appealed to the magazine not to go ahead with publication, and shut down embassies and schools in twenty countries when it went ahead anyway, out of fear of reprisals.
Live webcast from France 24: