Shooters storm Paris headquarters of satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, which has stoked Islamist anger over its depictions of the Prophet
(SOURCE) Twelve people were killed when at least three gunmen stormed the offices of the French satirical weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris Wednesday and opened fire on employees with Kalashnikov rifles and RPGs.
The death toll was confirmed by Paris prosecutor’s spokeswoman Agnes Thibault-Lecuivre. A source cited by AFP said there were two police officers among the dead.
The shooters fled the scene, and may have taken a hostage with them, initial French reports said. Luc Poignant, an official of the SBP police union, said the attackers escaped in two vehicles.
The French government raised the security alert in the country to the highest level in the wake of the attack and reinforced security at houses of worship, stores, media offices and public transportation.
The editor-in-chief of the paper, Stephane Charbonnier, was killed in the attack, the daily Le Figaro reported.
French President Francois Hollande confirmed that the shooting was a “terror attack without a doubt” and said that his country’s authorities had thwarted several attacks “in recent weeks.” Hollande rushed to the scene and top government officials planned an emergency meeting later Wednesday.
Video images on the website of public broadcaster France Televisions showed two gunmen in black at a crossroads who appeared to fire down one of the streets. A cry of “Allahu akbar!” — Arabic for “God is great”— could be heard among the gunshots.
The extremist Islamic State group has threatened to attack France, and minutes before the attack Charlie Hebdo had tweeted a satirical cartoon of that extremist group’s leader giving New Year’s wishes. The cartoon entitled “Still No Attacks in France” had a caricature of an extremist fighter saying “Just wait — we have until the end of January to present our New Year’s wishes.”