12 dead in terrorist attack on French satire magazine Charlie Hebdo, 3 gunmen loose in Paris

by Staff, |
Firefighters carry a victim on a stretcher at the scene after a shooting at the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical newspaper, Jan. 7, 2015. At least 12 people were killed and 10 injured in shooting at the Paris offices of the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, already the target of a firebombing in 2011 after publishing cartoons deriding Prophet Mohammad on its cover, police spokesman said. Separately, the government said it was raising France's national security level to the highest notch. | REUTERS/Jacky Naegelen

PARIS (Christian Examiner) -- At least three masked men armed with automatic weapons stormed French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo (Charlie Weekly) Wednesday, killing 12 people including two policemen, the co-founder and the editor-in-chief of the publication. 20 others were injured in the hail of gunfire, with four to five bystanders in critical condition.

The brazen attack on Charlie Hebdo was videotaped by a nearby journalist on a rooftop, and the assailants were seen shouting "Allah!" and "we have avenged the Prophet Mohammad" during and after the shootings. The publication was known for mocking religious leaders and has published numerous cartoons ridiculing the Prophet Mohammad. Its Twitter account most recently made fun of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the militant Islamic State.

During the assault on the newspaper, two policemen came on the scene, but were killed. Some have pointed out that the Islamic extremists seemed to have been professionally trained, as they used cover fire to protect themselves and calmly drove away from the scene in a black car. The terrorists are still at large.

President Francois Hollande condemned the attacks and has increased security at transport hubs, religious sites, media offices and department stores.

"An act of indescribable barbarity has just been committed today in Paris," he said. "Measures have been taken to find those responsible, they will be hunted for as long as it takes to catch them and bring them to justice."

President Obama also strongly condemned the attacks, calling France "our oldest ally" and promising that the U.S. would "provide any assistance needed to help bring these terrorists to justice."

10 staff members of Charlie Hebdo died in the attack, Reuters reported.

Co-founder Jean "Cabu" Cabut and editor-in-chief Stephane "Charb" Charbonnier were killed in the attack. Two other cartoonists, Tignous and Wolinski, were also listed among the dead, according to BBC. Though some of the staff works remotely, they were all in the office Wednesday for an editorial meeting.

The last major attack in Paris was in the mid-1990s when the Algerian Armed Islamic Group (GIA) carried out a spate of attacks, including the bombing of a commuter train in 1995 which killed eight people and injured 150.