Gunmen open fire at French satirical newspaper

At least 12 people were killed when gunmen armed with Kalashnikovs and a rocket launcher opened fire in the offices of French satirical weekly,  Charlie Hebdo, on Wednesday, Paris prosecutors said.

“At this stage” 12 people are dead, said the prosecutor’s office, without detailing how many had been injured.

Some of the best-known cartoonists in France were among those killed, a judicial source said. Publishing director Stephane Charbonnier, known as Charb, and the cartoonists known as Cabu, Tignous and Wolinski were killed in the attack on the paper.

Deputy Mayor of Paris Bruno Julliard had said earlier that “six people are seriously injured”, including a police officer. 

Warning: This video clip of the terror attack on Charlie Hebdo headquarters may disturb sensitive viewers.


French President Francois Hollande was on his way to the scene of the shooting and called an emergency cabinet meeting, the presidency said.

A source close to the investigation said two men “armed with a Kalashnikov and a rocket launcher” stormed the building in central Paris and “fire was exchanged with security forces.”

The source said gunmen had hijacked a car and knocked over a pedestrian as he sped away.

The publication’s cartoonist Renaud Luzier earlier told Agence France-Presse that there were “casualties” after the incident.

Prophet Muhammad cartoon
The satirical magazine gained notoriety in February 2006 when it reprinted cartoons of Islamic Prophet Muhammad that had originally appeared in Danish daily Jyllands-Posten, causing fury across the Muslim world.

Its offices were fire-bombed in November 2011 when it published a cartoon of the Prophet under the title “Charia Hebdo”.

Despite being taken to court under anti-racism laws, the magazine continued to publish controversial cartoons of the Prophet.

In September 2012 Charlie Hebdo published cartoons of the Prophet naked as violent protests were taking place in several countries over a low-budget film, titled Innocence of Muslims, which was made in the United States and insulted the Prophet.

French schools, consulates and cultural centres in 20 Muslim countries were briefly closed along with embassies for fear of retaliatory attacks.

Editor Stephane Charbonnier has received death threats and lives under police protection.

France has raised the Paris alert status to highest level after the shooting. – AFP, Reuters

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Related stories

Meet Katoto, Museveni’s big fan

The TV cartoon character — think Homer Simpson meets Robin Hood — with added propaganda

Argentina ex-president Macri accused of spying on 400 journalists

The complaint states that the background checks on journalists were "neither ordered nor authorised by any magistrate"

Cartoon: Carlos on the wolves at the door

Knock, knock: it's Hunger

Cartoon: Carlos on the demise of SAA

The airline that ate the poor and subsidised the rich

Manchester City owners score silver

Club’s parent company awarded global record valuation after United States investment
Advertising

Vaccine trial results due in December

If successful, it will then have to be manufactured and distributed

White men still rule and earn more

Women and black people occupy only a few seats at the JSE table, the latest PwC report has found

The PPE scandal that the Treasury hasn’t touched

Many government officials have been talking tough about dealing with rampant corruption in PPE procurement but the majority won't even release names of who has benefited from the R10-billion spend

ANC still at odds over how to tackle leaders facing...

The ANC’s top six has been mandated to work closely with its integrity committee to tackle claims of corruption against senior party members
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday