By Kim Hjelmgaard/USA TODAY
An injured person is evacuated from the office of the French satirical newspaper “Charlie Hebdo” on Jan. 7 in Paris. Twelve people were killed and 10 more wounded when gunmen firing automatic weapons stormed the office. (Photo: Thibault Camus, AP)
An apparent terrorist-related shooting at French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo left at least 12 people dead and wounded 10 more in Paris on Wednesday, police said.
French media reported that armed men wearing black hoods stormed the offices of the publication in a suburb of the city before firing automatic weapons in a scene that police described as “carnage.” The attack may be the deadliest to strike on French soil since a wave of bombings on trains in 1995.
Xavier Castaing, head of communications for the Paris police prefecture, confirmed the deaths, the Associated Press reported. Luc Poignant, an official of the SBP police union, said the attackers escaped in two vehicles.
Eyewitness images taken at the time of the attack allegedly show two gunmen apparently abandoning a car. They were heard shouting “Allahu Akbar,” an Islamic phrase that means “God is great.”
A massive manhunt is now underway across the French capital to find the perpetrators, who may still be heavily armed.
President Francois Hollande, appearing at the scene immediately following the incident, said the shooting was “undoubtedly a terrorist attack” and that several other terror attacks had been thwarted in recent weeks. He described the shooting as an act of terrorism against France.
Hollande announced that France’s terror alert level would now be raised to its highest level and that the assailants — thought to be armed with Kalashnikovs and possibly even a rocket-launcher — would be brought to justice. Security in Paris was immediately stepped up in public places, retail spots, transportation hubs and offices.
At least one police officer was shot and five people were said to be in a critical condition, the president said.
Three years ago, Charlie Hebdo‘s offices were the subject of an arson attack in response to its publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed on its cover.
Just a few hours before the attack took place, Charlie Hebdo published a new cartoon on Twitter that appears to show the Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. However, there is so far nothing to suggest the attackers were motivated by their allegiance to the group that has captured large swathes of Iraq and Syria.
French Europe 1 radio said one of the attackers was heard shouting that the “prophet was avenged.”
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