Masked gunmen storm Paris headquarters with AK-47s shouting ‘Allahu akbar!’ and ‘the Prophet has been avenged’
Stalked building asking for people’s names before killing the editor, three cartoonists and the deputy chief editor
Editor Stephane Charbonnier had famously shrugged off threats, saying: ‘I’d rather die standing than live kneeling’
Horrific footage shows a police officer begging for his life before being shot in the head at point-blank range
Cartoonist Corrine Rey told how she cowered with her young daughter as she watched two colleagues gunned down
Killers fled in stolen car across eastern Paris after a ‘mass shoot-out’ with police officers and remain on the loose
Militants believed to be from Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula which was behind plane bomb plots in U.S. and UK
Newspaper had earlier posted a picture of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi on its Twitter account
Publication’s offices were firebombed in 2011 for publishing satirical cartoon of Prophet Mohammed
White House had previously criticised Charlie Hebdo in 2012 for publishing its religiously sensitive cartoons
Here are the names and identities of the Muslim terrorists:
— Infosdefense (@Infosdefense) January 7, 2015
UK Daily Mail Masked attackers brandishing Kalashnikovs burst into the Charlie Hebdo headquarters, opening fire on staff after seeking out journalists by name in France’s deadliest post-war terrorist attack. Clad all in black with hoods and speaking flawless French, the militants forced one of the cartoonists – who was at the office with her young daughter – to open the door.
Witnesses said the gunmen were heard shouting ‘we are from the Al Qaeda in Yemen’, ‘the Prophet has been avenged’ and ‘Allahu akbar!’ – Arabic for ‘God is great’ – as they stalked the building.
They headed straight for the paper’s editor and cartoonist, Stephane Charbonnier, killing him and his police bodyguard, who had been recruited to protect him after extremists firebombed the offices in 2011 over a satirical cartoon about the Prophet Mohammed.
The terrorists also killed three other renowned cartoonists – men who had regularly satirised Islam – and the newspaper’s deputy chief editor.
Despite a shoot-out with armed officers, the gunmen escaped in a hijacked car and remain on the loose this evening, leaving the French capital in virtual lockdown as police and soldiers flooded the streets to join the search.
Barack Obama offered U.S. help in pursuing the gunmen, saying they had attacked freedom of expression. But it also emerged that the White House had previously criticised Charlie Hebdo in 2012 over its Prophet Mohammed cartoon, saying the images would be ‘deeply offensive to many and have the potential to be inflammatory.’
Meanwhile, horrific footage emerged showing an injured police officer slumped on the pavement as two gunmen approached him outside the office minutes later. In an apparent desperate plea for his life, the officer is seen slowly raising his hand towards one of the attackers, who responds by callously shooting him in the head at point-blank range.
The men ‘spoke French perfectly’ and ‘claimed they were ‘Al Qaeda terrorists’. Gunmen reportedly told another witness: ‘You say to the media, it was Al Qaeda in Yemen.’ A police source told the Liberation newspaper the gunmen were asking for the Mr Charbonnier by name, shouting: ‘Where is Charb? Where is Charb?’ The source added: ‘They killed him then sprayed everyone else.’
Mr Charbonnier was included in a 2013 Wanted Dead or Alive for Crimes Against Islam article published by Inspire, the terrorist propaganda magazine published by Al Qaeda.
The latest tweet published by the newspaper’s official Twitter account earlier in the day featured a cartoon of Abu Baghdadi, the leader of Islamic State, who wishes everyone ‘good health’.
Cartoonists Cabu, Tignous and Wolinski were all also reported dead. Radio France chief executive Mathieu Gilet later announced on Twitter that a contributor, Bernard Maris, was another of the victims.
Meanwhile, there were reports of a car explosion outside a synagogue in Sarcelles, a commune in the northern suburbs of Paris, just hours after the Charlie Hebdo attack.