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Three terrosists fired against the offices of the French satirical magazine on wednesday. They allegedly shouted: “We have avenged the prophet!”
Gunmen have shot dead 12 people at the Paris office of French satirical magazine ‘Charlie Hebdo’ in an apparent militant Islamist attack.
Four of the magazine's well-known cartoonists, including its editor, were among those killed, as well as two police officers. A major police operation started right after the attack to find three gunmen who fled by car, killing two policemen after leaving the building.
The masked attackers opened fire with assault rifles in the office and exchanged shots with police in the street outside before escaping by car. They later abandoned the car in Rue de Meaux, northern Paris, where they hijacked a second car.
The attack took place during the magazine’s weekly editorial meeting. The editor Stéphane Charbonnier and three other cartoonists are reported to have been killed. French media have named the three other cartoonists killed in the attack as Cabu, Tignous and Wolinski, as well as Charlie Hebdo contributor and French economist Bernard Maris.
A police source quoted a survivor as saying the attackers shouted: “We have avenged the prophet!” and “Allah Akbar”.
President François Hollande said there was no doubt it had been a terrorist attack “of exceptional barbarity”.
The French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve in a statement to the media talked about the hunt for “trois criminels”, confirming there were three attackers.
The government said it was raising France’s security level to the highest notch and the prime minister’s office confirmed extra security has been put in place at official buildings, media offices, churches and department stores.
In 2011, the publication came under attack after naming the Prophet Muhammad as its “editor-in-chief”. Since then the magazine had received many threats and the building was usually under police protection.
It is believed to be the deadliest attack in France since 1961, when right-wingers who wanted to keep Algeria French bombed a train, killing 28 people.
Many social network users on the internet are showing their support to the magazine with the hashtag #JeSuisCharlie.