A Paris shooting inside the offices of French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo has left 12 people dead and four seriously injured on Wednesday. French security officials have confirmed that three gunmen carried out the attack and then escaped by car. The unidentified gunmen, who spoke perfect, unaccented French, opened fire on Charlie Hebdo, shooting at least 15 staff members.
The editor and a cartoonist are among those murdered.
Charlie Hebdo is the same paper that was firebombed in 2011 in response to a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammad. According to the Weekly Standard, witnesses to Wednesday’s attack reported hearing one of the gunmen shout, “Allahu Akbar,” and a video captured the terrorists frequently shouting the same phrase.
The gunmen remained at large on Wednesday afternoon. Local police said that the attackers fled in two different vehicles after the shooting, and an eyewitness told a French TV network that he saw several masked men carrying automatic weapons in the newspaper’s central Paris office. There are also reports that a rocket propelled grenade and petrol bombs may have been used during the assault on the newspaper.
French President Francois Hollande rushed to the scene in Paris and was quick to label the shooting a terrorist attack. He also revealed that a number of other attacks in recent weeks have been thwarted by law enforcement and security officials.
Hollande is expected to give a nationally televised address to the nation on Wednesday evening.
France remained on its highest possible security alert into local evening time, and media offices, transportation modes, and houses of worship were all under tight watch. All schools in Paris shut down, but a crowd of thousands of mourners gathered in Republique Square near the scene of the shooting.
Charlie Hebdo is a weekly satirical newspaper with its head offices in Paris that has been threatened many times in the past for its controversial drawings that included depictions of the Prophet Muhammed.
Renowned author Salman Rushdie, who has lived for more than two decades with a death fatwa over his head for his book, The Satanic Verses, expressed his solidarity with the people killed in today’s terror attack.
Salman Rushdie: “I stand with #CharlieHebdo, as we all must, to defend the art of satire, which has always been a force for liberty”
— Josh Glancy (@joshglancy) January 7, 2015
Update: Many major media outlets, including Fox News and The Weekly Standard are now calling brutal murders of 12 people in Paris at the offices of Charlie Hebdo an “Islamist Terror Attack.”
[Image Via Video Capture]