We woke up this morning to a real life horror show coming out of eastern Paris. The offices of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo were invaded by two men wearing black hoods and carrying automatic weapons. By the time the dust cleared a dozen people were dead, including two policemen, ten more injured and at least one (possibly two) of the suspects had escaped in a stolen car,
with one in custody. A police car was shot up with multiple rounds fired through the windshield. (Note: the initial article linked here was saying eleven dead, but that figure has been updated since then.)
Eleven people were killed in a terror attack Wednesday at a French satirical news magazine which has published cartoons of the Muslim Prophet Muhammad. France raised its national alert system to its highest level following the attack at Charlie Hebdo in central Paris.
French President Francois Hollande told reporters that 11 people had been killed and four others were critically injured. “We will find the people who did this,” Hollande said. “France is today shocked by this terrorist attack.”
Hollande said French officials had foiled multiple terror attacks in recent weeks and would response to the threat of terrorism “firmly but with international support.”
“This is a difficult moment,” he added.
Nobody is making it official at this hour, but there seems little doubt that this is the work of Islamic terrorists. The shooters allegedly went through the offices asking for specific employees by name, presumably the individuals who had created the “offensive” artwork. Outside the offices, the shooters were observed walking up to a police officer who was down and wounded on the sidewalk and almost casually executing him before getting back into their vehicle and leaving.
The newspaper had come under intense threats for various cartoons they have run, and their Twitter feed included artwork such as this:
The caption reads, “And especially health!”
Rather than taking on only Muhammad, the cartoon above is mocking the leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. This seems to be typical fare for the newspaper and it’s not the first time they have come under attack. In 2011, Muslim extremists firebombed the offices of the paper, completely destroying it and forcing them to rebuild from scratch. They have further reported receiving death threats and promises of violence from groups and individuals upset over the images published in their periodical.
Here’s the initial video report from the BBC:
More of the available video is available at the Irish Times.
More updates to come as details are made available.
UPDATE: (Jazz) Translation of one of the videos reveals that one of the shooters can be heard proclaiming, “We have avenged the prophet” as they left the scene. I don’t think we’re going to need to call in Sherlock Holmes to nail down the motive in this one. No conclusions drawn yet if the shooters are specifically attached to ISIS or just some more generic Muslim terrorists, AQ, etc.
UPDATE: (Jazz)Reports indicate that this was no spur of the moment attack. This was well planned with knowledge of the schedule of the newspaper staff.
This was a well-planned attack: the gunmen hit #CharlieHebdo in the middle of the weekly conference, with all staff present.
— Daphnée Denis (@daphneedenis) January 7, 2015
The original article was modified to remove an earlier report that one of the attackers was in custody. Multiple cable news outlets have stated that portion of the initial reporting was incorrect.