The civilized world woke up to the horror of a massacre in Paris on Wednesday as 12 people lay slain in the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo‘s office.
The gunmen identified later as Said Kouachi (34), Cherif Kouachi (32) and Hamyd Mourad (18) entered the premises of Charlie Hebdo at around 11:30 am and started indiscriminately shooting whoever they saw. Aside from 12 killed, 11 more people were wounded.
The newspaper reportedly twitted a cartoon mocking the ISIS leader’s New Year’s address a few minutes before the attack. However, the latest twit does not seem to be the immediate reason for retaliation by the terrorists. The attack carried out by three Middle Easterners who wore special forces uniforms and gear, appears to be well organized.
The law enforcement officials stated that two suspects drove up to the building in a Citroen C3. They then killed the doorman on the spot and entered the premises while the third suspect stayed outside. They were allegedly confronted by the police officer who had reportedly been assigned to guard the building. Charlie Hebdo had been subject to a number of threats in the past due to its mocking of various Islamic leaders and personalities, but mainly and particularly, Prophet Muhammed. According to various reports referring to witness accounts also confirm that the staff of the satirical magazine was holding a meeting when the terrorists made their way in.
The massacre lasted for about 5 minutes, after which the suspects came back outside and fled the scene. In a shootout with police on the street, one officer was shot. The raw video of the shooting has been posted on this website. (*Viewer discretion is advised as some images may be disturbing.)
The suspects then fled the scene. In the mid afternoon, their vehicle was found in Porte de Pantin neighborhood of Paris. In the evening, as the hunt for the killers continued, President Francois Hollande addressed the nation. He said the victims were targeted for “their independence.”
By the end of the day, one of the suspects, the youngest in the group, Hamyd Mourad, turned himself in. The other two are on the run as the largest hunt for criminals in recent French history continues.
President Obama and a number of US officials have issued statements offering condolences to the President Hollande and the families of victims. Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson stated the attack on Charlie Hebdo “underscores the increasingly complex threat the world faces,” according to CNN.
Authorities have issued the highest degree of alert in Paris and surroundings while the hunt for the suspects continues. France is home to many minorities from Muslim countries, mostly from Northern African states which were once its colonies. Law enforcement does not rule out the suspects might have had accomplices and that there might be new potential attacks.
Below is a video report by The Telegraph.