BREAKING: At least 12 people were killed Wednesday morning when three Islamic extremists carrying Kalashnikov rifles and pump-action shotguns opened fire inside the Paris offices of a satirical French newspaper, the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
The editor of the French newspaper and lead cartoonist reportedly have been killed by the gunmen, who stormed the offices and requested their location and others’ locations by name. Witnesses say the gunmen yelled, “We’ve avenged the honor of the prophet!” before escaping. Police and several journalists reportedly are among the dead.
Officials told PPD that there is a surveillance tape with audio clearly showing the Islamic extremists firing and screaming, “Allahu Akbar!” during what officials say was a professionally, well-planned attack on unarmed civilians. But — H/T Martin Boudot — another civilian video surfaced showing the gunmen during the attack firing and screaming “Allahu Akbar!”
Charlie Hebdo had been threatened in the past for their satirical depiction of the Prophet Muhammad, and was already under extra police protection and surveillance. However, most local police in Paris choose not to carry firearms.
Their latest tweet — shown below — before the attack, was of a picture of Islamic State (ISIL or ISIL) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Meilleurs vœux, au fait. pic.twitter.com/a2JOhqJZJM
— Charlie Hebdo (@Charlie_Hebdo_) January 7, 2015
In remarks shortly after the shooting, French President Francois Hollande said the attack was an act of terrorism and claimed that several other potential terror attacks had been thwarted “in recent weeks.”
Police said that the gunmen fled in a stolen car driven by a fourth person and are still at large. At least one of the victims killed was a journalist, and police say three are considered “critical.”
Officials said the men walked into the ground floor of the newspaper’s offices and began shooting before making their way up to the first floor. As they fled the scene, they shot at arriving policemen.
Charlie Hebdo’s offices were firebombed in 2011 after a spoof issue featuring a caricature of the Prophet Muhammad on its cover. Nearly a year later, the magazine published crude Muhammad caricatures, drawing denunciations around the Muslim world.