A Paris shooting has taken the lives of at least 12 people at the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. French officials raised the nation’s terrorism threat level to the highest level, according to CNBC, as police said the magazine published satirical cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.
Details on the Paris shooting
According to the Associated Press’ Twitter feed, a prosecutor said the cartoonist and editor are among those killed in the Paris shooting.
Police said 12 people died and five are seriously injured, reports The Guardian. French media named four journalists believed to have been killed in the deadly attack. They are: editor and cartoonist Stephane Charbonnier, also known as Charb, and cartoonists Cabu, Georges Wolinski and Bernard Verlhac, who is also known as Tignous.
Reuters reports that journalist Benoit Bringer told iTELE that two men wearing black hoods entered the magazine’s headquarters. Just minutes later, he said they heard “lots of shots,” and then the men reportedly fled the scene.
Reactions to the Paris shooting
French Islamic leaders were reportedly at the scene and condemned the attack. German Chancellor Angela Merkel released this statement about the Paris shooting: “This abominable act is not only an attack on the lives of French citizens and their security. It is also an attack on freedom of speech and the press, core elements of our free democratic culture. In no way can this be justified.
According to the Press Association, Charlie Hebdo Editor-in-Chief Gerard Biard was in London at the time of the attack, so he survived. Biard reportedly told France Inter, “I am shocked that people can have attacked a newspaper in France, a secular republic. I don’t understand it. I don’t understand how people can attack a newspaper with heavy weapons. A newspaper is not a weapon of war.”
Many around the world are showing solidarity with the Paris shooting victims using the hashtag #JeSuisCharlie. Thierry Puget was one of the first to use that hashtag, tweeting an image many are now sharing to express their solidarity. At least 70,000 tweets have been posted using the #JeSuisCharlie hashtag.
A motive for the Paris shooting?
Biard reportedly said he doesn’t think the attack was a reaction to Charlie Hebdo’s newest font page. Novelist Michel Houellebecq was featured on the front page. The writer has in the past created controversy for making comments about Islam. The editor-in-chief said they hadn’t received any threats recently, to his knowledge. This isn’t the first time the magazine has been targeted by terrorists. After publishing a Muhammad carton in 2011, its offices were firebombed.
French President Francois Hollande said they had already foiled several terrorist attacks in in the last several weeks. A police union official said it’s possible other attacks may be planned and that they are currently securing other potential targets.
Also Reuters is reporting that the headquarters of RPT media group Prisa, which is located in Madrid, has been evacuated after a “suspicious package” arrived.