Charlie Hebdo: Terrorists cry 'Allah is great' in French satire newspaper massacre

by Joni B. Hannigan, Editorial 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) – Twelve people were killed today in an attack by supposed Islamist radicals at the Paris offices of a French satirical newspaper.

"We have avenged the Prophet Muhammad," witnesses said three masked gunmen shouted, after firing assault rifles in the office and shooting up police cars and a police officer on the street outside before fleeing.

In a video provided by the weekly standard, shouts of "Allahu Akbar"—meaning "Allah is great" can be heard during the gunfire.

A report by BBC quoted France's President Francois Holland with saying the attack was "of exceptional barbarity."

The Guardian reported 10 journalists and two police officers are dead and at least five people are seriously injured.

"It's a massacre. There are dead!" an employee of the newspaper told a French media outlet, before the call was disconnected, according to news.

In 2008, Charlie Hebdo ran Danish cartoons that caricatured the prophet Mohammed, defending the publication of the cartoons as freedom of expression, the Guardian reported.

The security level is at the highest after the attack and newspaper offices, museums, shopping centers, and other public places in France are under increased police watch, according to reports.

This is not the first time the newspapers' offices have been attacked. The facilities were firebombed in 2011 after they ran a caricature of the prophet Mohammed on the cover of its paper.

Stephane Charbonnier, 47, the newspapers editor-in-chief and a cartoonist, who had received death threats in the past, according to the BBC, was reported among those killed, along with Cabu, Tignous, and Wolinski, three other cartoonists at the paper.

A member of the media makes images of the front page of Charlie Hebdo which shows a caricature of French author Michel Houellebecq near the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical newspaper, after a shooting Jan. 7, 2015. Twelve people including two police officers were killed in a shooting at the Paris offices of the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday, a police spokesman said in an update on the death toll. The French president described the shooting as without doubt a terrorist attack. | REUTERS/Jacky Naegelen

President Barack Obama in a statement condemned the "horrific shooting" and noted "France is America's oldest ally." He offered condolences and said officials would be in touch and provide assistance.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron said in a tweet: "The murders in Paris are sickening. We stand with the French people in the fight against terror and defending the freedom of the press."

Appearing on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said U.S. intelligence and security agency officials are working with their French counterparts to help in the investigation.

Further, the Department of Homeland Security is "closely monitoring the events unfolding in Paris" and won't "hesitate to adjust our security posture, as appropriate, to protect the American people."