Black-hooded gunmen reportedly shouting “we’ve avenged the honor of the prophet” have slaughtered at least a dozen people at the offices of a French satirical newspaper known for lampooning radical Islamists.
Fox News reports that, in addition to the 12 known dead, as many as 15 others were injured by the shooters who stormed the Paris headquarters of “Charlie Hebdo:”
…the newspaper known for challenging Muslim terrorists with a 2011 caricature of Prophet Mohammed on its cover and which recently tweeted a cartoon of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Two policemen and several journalists were among the dead.
Meilleurs vœux, au fait. pic.twitter.com/a2JOhqJZJM
— Charlie Hebdo (@Charlie_Hebdo_) January 7, 2015
Officials said the black-clad assailants walked into the newspaper’s offices — which were already under police protection because of past threats — and began shooting with automatic weapons. As they fled the scene, they fired at arriving policemen before escaping in a stolen car.
French President Francois Hollande branded the attack an act of terrorism and claimed that several other potential terror attacks had been thwarted “in recent weeks.”
According to the Fox News report, the publication had been the target of previous attacks by radical Islamists angered by what the newspaper had printed about the Prophet Mohammed:
…the French newspaper’s offices were firebombed in 2011 after a spoof issue featuring a caricature of the Prophet Muhammad on its cover. Nearly a year later, the magazine published crude Muhammad caricatures, drawing denunciations around the Muslim world.
An image published at the British website bbc.com apparently shows the masked gunmen preparing to make their escape outside the offices where they had just massacred the newspaper employees.
The BBC also reports that police have now warned French media outlets to be on alert and pay close attention to security.
France was already on guard against Islamist attacks after several reported incidents just before Christmas, which prompted French authorities to deploy several hundred soldiers around Paris.
A major police operation is now underway around Paris to find the 2 or possibly 3 gunmen who carried out the deadly attack.
Image Credits: bbc.com & twittet
BCN editor’s note: This article first appeared at Western Journalism.