Two masked and heavily armed gunmen stormed the Paris HQ of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo this morning, killing 12 and critically wounding four more.
The brazen attack took place in broad daylight. The gunmen fired their weapons methodically, letting out single or double tap shots rather than sustained bursts, moving from one target to the next in military fashion. They also executed a policeman in cold blood as the man lay wounded on the ground.
The gunmen then made good their escape in a getaway car, and they remained on the loose.
The offices of the satirical publication had been targeted in the past. An arson attack caused significant damage back in 2011, and several of its staff had previously received death threats.
It is believed that Islamic extremists are behind today’s attack, as the assailants shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ (‘God is greatest’) and ‘We have avenged the prophet Mohammed’ as they carried out their assault.
The dead include the magazine’s editor Stephane Charbonnier, known as “Charb,” and also three well known cartoonists, known by their pen names Cabu, Wolinski and Tignous.
As a direct result of this attack, France has raised its security alert to the highest level and put measures in place to protect transport hubs and other sensitive installations.