Paris- As many as 12 people have been killed after masked gunmen bombarded the offices of the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday and opened fire. At least 20 people have been reported injured.
The New York Times reported that Xavier Castaing, the head of communications for the Paris Police Headquarters, said that three armed men carrying AK-47s forced entry into the newspaper’s offices and fired shots into the lobby. The attack reportedly lasted for several minutes before the gunmen fled in a vehicle. Multiple news reports have stated that the incident was a terrorist attack. A U.S. official stated that the attackers had said that the Prophet Muhammed had been “avenged” according to social media reports.
Charlie Hebdo is known for its satirical cartoons mocking political and religious figures, including the Prophet Muhammed. The offices of the paper were attacked previously in 2011 in a firebomb attack after an issue of Charlie Hebdo, titled “Charia Hebdo”, was published with Prophet Muhammed jokingly credited as the “guest editor”.
A lawyer for Charlie Hebdo stated that several editors, staffers and cartoonists were killed, including the paper’s editor, publisher and cartoonist Stéphane Charbonnier, and cartoonists Jean Cabut, Georges Wolinski and Bernard Verlhac. Two police officers were also killed.
The gunmen have not yet been found.
“An act of indescribable barbarity has just been committed today in Paris,” said President Francois Hollande. “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.”
“I am extremely angry,” said Hassen Chalghoumi, the imam of the Drancy mosque in Paris. “These are criminals, barbarians. They have sold their soul to hell. This is not freedom. This is not Islam and I hope the French will come out united at the end of this.”
President Obama released a statement saying that “France, and the great city of Paris where this outrageous attack took place, offer the world a timeless example that will endure well beyond the hateful vision of these killers. We are in touch with French officials, and I have directed my administration to provide any assistance needed to help bring these terrorists to justice.”