Charlie Hebdo gunman suspect ‘arrested after handing himself into police’ | Daily Mail Online

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Teenage suspect ‘arrested after handing himself into police’ over Paris
magazine massacre that left 12 dead – as anti-terror unit raids building
in hunt for two brothers ‘trained in Yemen as assassins’ 

  • Gunmen identified as Said Kouachi, 34, and brother Cherif, 32, both from Paris, and Hamyd Mourad, 18, from Reims
  • Police published pictures of two brothers saying they were ‘armed and dangerous’ as Mourad handed himself in
  • Masked gunmen stormed Paris headquarters with AK-47s shouting ‘Allahu akbar!’ and ‘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 US and UK
  • US counter-terror officials said earlier one suspect was killed and two others in custody, but this was not confirmed
  • Newspaper had earlier posted a picture of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi on its Twitter account
  • Publication’s offices werefirebombed in 2011 for publishing satirical cartoon of Prophet Mohammed

By

Mark Duell

and
Simon Tomlinson

and
Peter Allen

and
Jay Akbar

and
Chris Pleasance for MailOnline

Published:
11:16 GMT, 7 January 2015

|
Updated:
08:04 GMT, 8 January 2015

Two brothers and a teenager were last night revealed as the three
suspects linked to a deadly terrorist attack on an anti-Islamist
newspaper in France.

Said Kouachi, 34, and Cherif Kouachi, 32,
both from Paris, were identified along with Hamyd Mourad, 18, from the
north-eastern city of Reims.

Anti-terrorism officers hunting the terrorists issued photographs of the two brothers describing them as ‘armed and dangerous’.

It
came as a French official close to the case said Mourad had surrendered
to police ‘after seeing his name on social media’ and was arrested at
an undisclosed location.  

It appeared last night that the hunt
for the other men had turned to the Croix Rouge region of Reims, some
two hours by car from Paris.

Dozens of members from France’s elite
anti-terror unit surrounded an apartment building and there were
reports a flat had been searched.

Scroll down for videos and audio

Cherif Kouachi
Said Kouachi

Suspects: The three men were named as Cherif Kouachi
(left), 32, his brother Said Kouachi (right), 34, and Hamyd Mourad, 18,
of Gennevilliers

Response: Police are seen during an operation in the Croix-Rouge suburb of Reims, northern France, early this morning following the attacks

Response: Police are seen during an operation in the
Croix-Rouge suburb of Reims, northern France, early this morning
following the attacks

A raid by France’s elite anti-terrorist unit was underway late
yesterday in Reims as part of the hunt for the gunmen who attacked the
newspaper

Either the suspects will be able to escape, or ‘there will be a
showdown’, said a member of the unit, urging reporters at the scene to
be ‘vigilant’

Police officers stand guard outside a building in Reims while forensics look for evidence relating to the three suspects of the Paris attack

Police officers stand guard outside a building in Reims
while forensics look for evidence relating to the three suspects of the
Paris attack

Forensic police officers look for evidence
Forensic police officers look for evidence relating to the three suspects in an apartment located in the Croix Rouge neigborhood in Reims, France

Forensic police officers look for evidence relating to
the three suspects in an apartment located in the Croix Rouge
neigborhood in Reims

Live television pictures showed police Swat teams holding positions around the building, with onlookers taking photographs.

Either
the suspects will be able to escape, or ‘there will be a showdown’,
said a member of the unit, urging journalists at the scene to remain
‘vigilant’.

Some 100,000 people gathered across France last night
to back the publication, Charlie Hebdo, as a huge manhunt was launched
to find the attackers.

The suspected Al Qaeda militants massacred
12 people in Paris yesterday, and among those slaughtered was a police
officer as he begged for mercy.

One of the dead officers was named yesterday as Ahmed Merabet, who is believed to have been a Muslim.

Last
night, thousands of people went to Republique Square near the scene to
honour the victims, holding signs reading ‘Je suis Charlie’ – ‘I am
Charlie’.

The three suspects were last night said by Metronews to be all French citizens – with Mourad reported to be homeless.

'Massacre': The gunmen are seen brandishing Kalashnikovs as they move in on the injured police officer from their vehicle outside the office

‘Massacre’: The gunmen are seen brandishing Kalashnikovs as
they move in on the injured police officer from their vehicle outside
the office

Gunned down in cold blood: Horrific footage shows the injured police officer slumped on the pavement as two of the gunmen approach. In a desperate plea for his life, the officer slowly raises his hand towards one of the attackers, who callously shoots him at point-blank range

Gunned down in cold blood: Horrific footage shows the
injured police officer slumped on the pavement as two of the gunmen
approach. In a desperate plea for his life, the officer slowly raises
his hand towards one of the attackers, who callously shoots him at
point-blank range

Brutal execution: A police officer pleads for mercy on the pavement in Paris before being shot in the head by masked gunmen during an attack on the headquarters of the French satirical publication Charlie Hebdo, a notoriously anti-Islamic publication

Brutal execution: A police officer pleads for mercy on the
pavement in Paris before being shot in the head by masked gunmen during
an attack on the headquarters of the French satirical publication
Charlie Hebdo, a notoriously anti-Islamic publication

Running away: Gunmen shoot dead a wounded police officer on the ground at point-blank range as they flee the offices of Charlie Hebdo

Running away: Gunmen shoot dead a wounded police officer on
the ground at point-blank range as they flee the offices of Charlie
Hebdo

Vigil: People gather around candles and pens at the Place de la Republique in Paris in support of the victims after the terrorist attack

Vigil: People gather around candles and pens at the Place
de la Republique in Paris in support of the victims after the terrorist
attack

There were disputed claims that the three men had been arrested 100 miles away in Reims, following a report by Libération. This could not be verified.

Cherif
Kouachi was convicted in 2008 of terrorism charges for helping funnel
fighters to Iraq’s insurgency and sentenced to 18 months in prison.

Two senior US counter-terrorism officials told NBC News that one suspect was killed and the others in custody – but this could also not be confirmed.

A
government official told Reuters there had been no arrests, and it
appeared early this morning that police were still hunting for the three
men.

Clad all in black with hoods and speaking French, the
militants forced one of the cartoonists – at the office with her young
daughter – to open the door.

Witnesses said the gunmen shouted ‘we
are from the Al Qaeda in Yemen’, and ‘Allahu akbar!’ – Arabic for ‘God
is great’ – as they stalked the building.

They were also said to have yelled ‘the Prophet has been avenged’, during what was France’s deadliest post-war terrorist attack.

The attackers headed straight for the paper’s editor and cartoonist, Stephane Charbonnier, killing him and his police bodyguard.

People gather in Toulouse last night to show their solidarity for the victims of the attack by gunmen on the offices of the satirical publication

People gather in Toulouse last night to show their
solidarity for the victims of the attack by gunmen on the offices of the
satirical publication

Elsewhere: People gather at the Place Royale in Nantes to show their solidarity for the victims of the attack  on the offices of the satirical weekly

Elsewhere: People gather at the Place Royale in Nantes to
show their solidarity for the victims of the attack on the offices of
the satirical weekly

Standing together: People hold up pens and posters reading 'I am Charlie' in French as they take part in a vigil in Trafalgar Square, London

Standing together: People hold up pens and posters reading
‘I am Charlie’ in French as they take part in a vigil in Trafalgar
Square, London

People gather near candles lit to commemorate the victims of the deadly attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices, in Lyon, central France

People gather near candles lit to commemorate the victims
of the deadly attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices, in Lyon, central
France

'Not afraid': People gather to pay their respects for the victims of the terror attack against the satirical newspaper, in Paris last night

‘Not afraid’: People gather to pay their respects for the
victims of the terror attack against the satirical newspaper, in Paris
last night

The security had been recruited to protect him
after extremists firebombed the offices in 2011 over a satirical cartoon
about the Prophet Mohammed.

A year later, Mr Charbonnier
famously dismissed threats against his life, declaring: ‘I would rather
die standing than live kneeling.’

The militants 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 remained on the loose yesterday evening.

This left the French capital in virtual lockdown as police and soldiers flooded the streets to join the search.

President Barack Obama offered US 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.

At the time it had said that the images would be ‘deeply offensive to many and have the potential to be inflammatory’.

Emergency: Police officers and firefighters gather in front of the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris yesterday after gunmen stormed the building

Emergency: Police officers and firefighters gather in front
of the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris yesterday after gunmen stormed
the building

Critical: Firefighters carry an injured man on a stretcher in front of the offices of French satirical paper Charlie Hebdo after the shooting

Critical: Firefighters carry an injured man on a stretcher
in front of the offices of French satirical paper Charlie Hebdo after
the shooting

Faces of the victims: Among the journalists killed were (l to r) Charlie Hebdo's deputy chief editor  Bernard Maris and cartoonists Georges Wolinski, Jean Cabut, aka Cabu, Stephane Charbonnier, who is also editor-in-chief, and Bernard Verlhac, also known as Tignous

Faces of the victims: Among the journalists killed were (l
to r) Charlie Hebdo’s deputy chief editor Bernard Maris and cartoonists
Georges Wolinski, Jean Cabut, aka Cabu, Stephane Charbonnier, who is
also editor-in-chief, and Bernard Verlhac, also known as Tignous

Meanwhile,
horrific footage emerged showing an injured police officer slumped on
the pavement as two gunmen approached him outside the office.

In
an apparent desperate plea for life, the officer is seen slowly raising
his hand towards an attacker, who shoots him in the head at point-blank
range.

Despite a fierce firefight with police, the men got away in
a hijacked car, and, within an hour of the atrocity, appeared to have
vanished without trace.

France raised its security alert to the
highest level and reinforced protective measures at houses of worship,
stores, media offices and transportation. 

President Francois
Hollande called the bloodbath a ‘barbaric attack against France and
against journalists’ and vowed to hunt down those responsible.

Jacques Myard, French MP with opposition party UMP (Union for a Popular Movement), said: ‘We knew something would happen.

‘The (security) services used to say to us it’s not if but when and where. We know that we are at war.

‘The Western nations – like Britain, France, Germany – we are at war.’

The Queen yesterday sent her ‘sincere condolences to the families of those who have been killed’ in the attack.

And Prime Minister David Cameron described the murders as ‘sickening’.

Last night: French forensic experts and police officers examine evidence outside the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo's office, in Paris

Last night: French forensic experts and police officers
examine evidence outside the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo’s office,
in Paris

At large: The gunmen are seen near the offices of the French newspaper Charlie Hebdo before fleeing in a car. They remain on the loose

At large: The gunmen are seen near the offices of the
French newspaper Charlie Hebdo before fleeing in a car. They remain on
the loose

Forensic experts examine the car believed to have been used as the escape vehicle by gunmen who attacked the Charlie Hebdo office

Forensic experts examine the car believed to have been used
as the escape vehicle by gunmen who attacked the Charlie Hebdo office

Twitter
users responded to the Charlie Hebdo massacre with an outpouring of
solidarity using the hashtag #jesuischarlie, which is trending online.

By
4.15pm, nearly five hours after the attack, it had already been tweeted
more than 250,000 times, according to one social analytics website.

Guy
Verhofstadt, the President of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats
for Europe tweeted: ‘A tragic day for the freedom of speech
#jesuischarlie.’

Marches have also been organised through Paris and London in support of journalistic freedom.

As well as the AK47 assault rifles, there were also reports of a rocket-propelled grenade being used in the attack.

It
took place during the publication’s weekly editorial meeting at around
12pm (11am GMT), meaning all the journalists would have been present.

A
young mother and cartoonist, known as ‘Coco’, who survived the massacre
told how she had let the suspected Al Qaeda killers into the office.

Corrine
Rey said she had returned from picking up her daughter from a nursery
when she was confronted by two armed men wearing balaclavas.

‘I
had gone to pick up my daughter at day care, arriving in front of the
building, where two masked and armed men brutally threatened us,’ said
Ms Rey.

‘They said they wanted to go up to the offices, so I
tapped in the code,’ said Ms Rey, referring to the digi-code security
system on the interphone.

A police photographer (partially hidden) works with investigators as they examine the impacts from machine gun fire on a police vehicle

A police photographer (partially hidden) works with
investigators as they examine the impacts from machine gun fire on a
police vehicle

Life-threatening: An injured person is evacuated outside the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo's office

Life-threatening: An injured person is evacuated outside the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo’s office

Ms Rey and her daughter hid under a desk, from where they saw two other cartoonists being executed.

‘They shot Wolinski and Cabu,’ she said. ‘It lasted five minutes. I had taken refuge under a desk.’

Ms Rey said 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 Al Qaeda propaganda magazine
Inspire.

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.

In it, he 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.  

Shell-shocked: A woman cries outside the office. Witnesses reported hearing loud gunfire and at least one explosion during the attack

Shell-shocked: A woman cries outside the office. Witnesses
reported hearing loud gunfire and at least one explosion during the
attack

Trail of destruction: Police inspect the damage after a collision between police cars at the scene during a firefight with Islamic militants

Trail of destruction: Police inspect the damage after a
collision between police cars at the scene during a firefight with
Islamic militants

Meanwhile, there were reports of a car
explosion outside a synagogue in Sarcelles, in northern Paris, just
hours after the Charlie Hebdo attack.

The blast, at about 1.30pm
GMT, is not thought to be connected to the massacre, according to Paris
Metro which quoted the mayor of Sarcelles.

Florence Pouvil, a
saleswoman at Lunas France on Rue Nicolas Appert, opposite the Charlie
Hebdo offices, spoke of her shock at the attack.

She told
MailOnline: ‘I saw two people with big guns, like Kalashnikovs outside
our office and then we heard firing. We were very confused.

‘There were two guys who came out of the building and shot everywhere. We hid on the floor, we were terrified.

‘They came from the building opposite with big guns. It has a bunch of different companies inside.

‘Some of our co-workers work there so we were frightened for them. They weren’t just firing inside the Charlie Hebdo offices.

‘They were firing in the street too.  We feared for our lives so we hid under our desks so they wouldn’t see us.

‘Both men were dressed in black from head to toe and their faces were covered so I didn’t see them.

‘They were wearing military clothes, it wasn’t common clothing, like they were soldiers.’ 

ARE PARIS GUNMEN FROM YEMENI AL QAEDA CELL BEHIND PLANE BOMB PLOTS IN THE U.S. AND BRITAIN?

The
gunmen being hunted by police over the Charlie Hebdo attack are
believed to be from militant group Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula
(AQAP).

The group was established by Yusef al-Ayeri in 2003 in
Saudi Arabia, but was forced to flee to Yemen after a series of attacks
drove them back.

Yemen’s weak government allowed the group to
rally and gain members, though they are only thought to have around 400
troops today.

While their attacks initially focused on targets in
the Middle East, such as an attempted suicide attack on Saudi Minister
Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, they quickly spread to Western targets.

On
Christmas Day in 2009, they were implicated in the underwear bomb plot
after Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was discovered on a Detroit-bound plane
trying to detonate liquid explosives in his underpants.

The
following year AQAP also took responsibility for a plot to blow up two
devices hidden inside printer cartridges loaded on to cargo planes
travelling from Yemen to the United States.

One device was discovered during a stopover at East Midlands Airport in Britain, while another was uncovered in Dubai.

According
to Stanford University the group is currently lead by Yemen-born Nasser
al-Wuhayshi, who is an apprentice of Osama Bin Laden and was imprisoned
for a time in Yemen, but escaped in 2006 along with 22 others.

The
group has a global jihadist agenda. Like ISIS, they aim to create a
single Arab caliphate, covering Pakistan Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen and
the Levant – the area encompassing Lebanon, Jordan, Syria and Israel.

If
yesterday’s attack is confirmed as coming from AQAP, it will be the
first time the group has used lone-wolf style tactics, in which gunmen
act alone or in small groups to attack targets.

Benoit Bringer, a journalist with Agence Premiere Ligne, told the iTele network he saw several masked men armed with machine guns

Benoit Bringer, a journalist with Agence Premiere Ligne,
told the iTele network he saw several masked men armed with machine guns

Carnage: A police official, Luc Poignant, said he was aware of one journalist dead and several injured, including three police officers

Carnage: A police official, Luc Poignant, said he was aware
of one journalist dead and several injured, including three police
officers

The New York Times reported that a journalist at
the Charlie Hebdo office, who asked not to be named, texted a friend
after the attack to say: ‘I’m alive.

‘There is death all around me. Yes, I am there. The jihadists spared me.’

Another
witness, Gilles Boulanger, who works in the same building, told Itele:
‘A neighbour called to warn me that there were armed men in the building
and that we had to shut all the doors.

‘And several minutes later, there were several shots heard in the building from automatic weapons firing in all directions.

‘So
then we looked out of the window and saw the shooting was on Boulevard
Richard-Lenoir, with the police. It was really upsetting. You’d think it
was a war zone.’

French journalist, Stefan De Vries, told Sky
News: ‘There was protection at the door but they killed the police
officers, they executed them and they started shooting in the offices.’

An
unnamed eyewitness told the BBC World Service: ‘When I arrived at the
scene it was quite disturbing as you can imagine. There were several
corpses on the floor.

‘We saw the number of casualties was very
high, so we just tried to help as we could – there were a lot of people
down on the floor and there was blood everywhere.

‘I’m very
traumatised by this attack and everything and now we’re in psychological
hell where we’re being attended to by professionals.’

Terror: In footage filmed from a rooftop, people are seen running for cover as the gunmen rampage through the building

Terror: In footage filmed from a rooftop, people are seen running for cover as the gunmen rampage through the building

A picture posted on Twitter appearing to show people taking refuge on the roof of the Charlie Hebdo office

A picture posted on Twitter appearing to show people taking refuge on the roof of the Charlie Hebdo office

Benoit
Bringer, a journalist at the scene who works next door, took refuge on
the roof of the building, which is in the 11th arrondissement of Paris.

He
said: ‘There were very many people in the building. We evacuated via
the roof just next to the office. After around ten minutes we saw two
heavily armed, masked men in the street’.

Another witness said:
‘There was a loud gunfire and at least one explosion. When police
arrived there was a mass shoot-out. The men got away by car, stealing a
car.’

A police official, Luc Poignant, said: ‘It’s carnage.’

After
the shooting, hundreds of comments were posted on the Charlie Hebdo
Twitter page, with one user, David Rault, writing: ‘A sad day for
freedom of expression.’

Charlie Hebdo’s editor-in-chief Gerard Biard escaped the massacre because he was in London.

He
told France Inter: ‘I am shocked that people can have attacked a
newspaper in France, a secular republic. I don’t understand it.

‘I don’t understand how people can attack a newspaper with heavy weapons. A newspaper is not a weapon of war.’

Targeted: A picture posted on Twitter reportedly showing bullets in one of the windows of the Charlie Hebdo offices

Targeted: A picture posted on Twitter reportedly showing bullets in one of the windows of the Charlie Hebdo offices

High alert: French soldiers patrol at the Eiffel Tower after the Charlie Hebdo shooting as the militants are hunted across the city

High alert: French soldiers patrol at the Eiffel Tower
after the Charlie Hebdo shooting as the militants are hunted across the
city

French soldiers disembark at Le Bourget Airport, north of Paris, as part of a deployment of soldiers to enhance security in Paris last night

French soldiers disembark at Le Bourget Airport, north of
Paris, as part of a deployment of soldiers to enhance security in Paris
last night

Mr Biard said he did not believe the attack was
linked to the newspaper’s latest front page, which featured novelist
Michel Houellebecq, who has previously sparked controversy with comments
about Islam.

And he said the newspaper had not received threats
of violence: ‘Not to my knowledge, and I don’t think anyone had received
them as individuals, because they would have talked about it. There was
no particular tension at the moment.’

A visibly shocked French
President François Hollande, speaking live near the scene of the
shooting, said: ‘France is today in shock, in front of a terrorist
attack.

‘This newspaper was threatened several rimes in the past and we need to show we are a united country.

‘We have to be firm, and we have to be stand strong with the international community in the coming days and weeks.

‘We are at a very difficult moment following several terrorist attacks. We are threated because we are a country of freedom

‘We will punish the attackers. We will look for the people responsible.’

Yesterday,
Mr Cameron said: ‘We stand with the French people in the fight against
terror and defending the freedom of the press.’

US President
Barack Obama has condemned the ‘horrific shooting’, offering to provide
any assistance needed ‘to help bring these terrorists to justice’.

And United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said: ‘It was a horrendous, unjustifiable and cold-blooded crime.

‘It was also a direct assault on a cornerstone of democracy, on the media and on freedom of expression.’

The
British Foreign Office immediately updated is advice for travellers
heading to Pairs, warning: ‘There is a high threat from terrorism.’

Defiant: Stephane Charbonnier, known by his pen name Charb, was editor of Charlie Hebdo, and gunned down by men with assault weapons

Defiant: Stephane Charbonnier, known by his pen name Charb, was
editor of Charlie Hebdo, and gunned down by men with assault weapons

Mr Charbonnier was named as one of nine men the extreme
Islamist group were targetting (pictured centre right). Their
photographs were printed alongside the caption ‘a bullet a day keeps the
infidel away’

Tragic: Cartoonist Georges Wolinski was named by officials as one of those shot dead at the offices of Charlie Hebdo

Tragic: Cartoonist Georges Wolinski was named by officials as one of those shot dead at the offices of Charlie Hebdo

Cartoonist Cabu
Bernard 'Tignous' Verlhac was gunned down by terrorists

Lead cartoonist Jean ‘Cabu’ Cabut (left) was among the 12
massacred by terrorists in Paris, along with Bernard ‘Tignous’ Verlhac
(right)

Radio France chief executive Mathieu Gilet announced on Twitter that a contributor, Bernard Maris (above right) was another of the victims

Radio France chief executive Mathieu Gilet announced on Twitter
that a contributor, Bernard Maris (above right) was another of the
victims

It added: ‘If you’re in Paris or the Ile de France area take extra care and follow advice of French authorities.’ 

Luce
Lapin and Laurent Leger, who have both worked at Charlie Hebdo, were
using Twitter hours before the attack, with the most recent tweet posted
by Lapin praising cartoonist Cabu.

It read: ‘Cabu, a great man! And honest, he doesn’t eat foie gras.’

While Leger’s made a political point about taxes.

It
said: ‘Macron [French ministry of economy] wants more billionaires in
France, the same that use tricks for not paying ISF [solidarity tax on
wealth].’

Mohammed Moussaoui, president of the Union of French
mosques, condemned the ‘hateful act,’ and urged Muslims and Christians
‘to intensify their actions to give more strength to this dialogue to
make a united front against extremism’.

It is believed to be the
deadliest attack in France since 1961, when right-wingers who wanted to
keep Algeria French bombed a train, killing 28 people.

The number
of attackers was initially reported to be two, but the French Interior
Minister later said security services were hunting three ‘criminals’.

Bernard Cazeneuve added that Paris had been placed on the highest alert.

Security
expert Professor Anthony Glees, from the University of Buckingham,
said: ‘The French have signally failed to keep their country safe.’

He
told MailOnline: ‘We in the great western democracies could now be on
the verge of a sustained series of Al-Qaeda-IS attacks, generated by the
hold that Islamists have in many places in the world, not least the IS
state itself.

‘We cannot appease this movement – we have to win the security war against it and contain it, otherwise big trouble lies ahead.

Location: Officers were involved in a gunfight with the men,
who escaped in a hijacked car and sped away from the office towards east
Paris

'We have to be stand strong with the international community': A visibly shocked French President François Hollande arrives at the scene, where he promised to bring those responsible to justice

‘We have to be stand strong with the international
community’: A visibly shocked French President François Hollande arrives
at the scene, where he promised to bring those responsible to justice

‘100 LASHES IF YOU DON’T DIE OF LAUGHTER’: HOW CHARLIE HEBDO HAS BECOME A BYWORD FOR ANTI-ISLAMISM

Charlie Hebdo has become a byword for offensive statements in France after taking several highly provocative swipes at Islam.

The
newspaper once named Prophet Mohammed as its guest editor, published
cartoons of the holy figure in the nude, and once renamed itself Sharia
Hebdo with the cover slogan ‘100 lashes if you don’t die of laughter’.

The
controversy began in 2006 when the publication reprinted now-infamous
cartoons of Prophet Mohammed by Danish artist Kurt Westergaard.

When
the images originally appeared they lead to days of protests across the
Middle East and in Western cities. The decision to reprint the images
landed the then-editor in court under anti-terror laws, though he was
later acquitted.

The Hebdo offices were burned to the ground in
2011 when attackers used Molotov cocktails to start a blaze early in the
morning of November 2.

There was nobody in the building at the
time, and the target was instead thought to be the newspaper’s computer
system, which was completely destroyed.

Riot police were forced to
stand guard outside the building for days following the attack, as the
editors took a defiant stance, choosing to reprint the cartoon images
multiple times.

In 2012 they again printed cartoons of the Prophet
Mohammed as a deliberately provocative gesture while violent protests
were taking place across the Middle East.

The following year the
newspaper’s office again had to be surrounded by riot officers after
they published a cartoon booklet depicting the Prohpet naked as a baby
and being pushed in a wheelchair.

On the final page of the booklet
there was a note from the editor, Stephane Charbonnier, saying the
images were ‘halal’ because Muslims had worked on them, and that they
were factually accurate as they had been derived from descriptions in
the Koran.

The satirical publication, widely seen as France’s
answer to Private Eye, prides itself on a mixture of tongue-in-cheek
reporting and investigative journalism.

Hebdo’s current office building has no notices on the door to prevent a repeat of the attacks that have occurred in the past.

In
an interview with De Volkskrant in January 2013, Mr Charbonnier
revealed he had been placed under constant police protection for four
months after one of the cartoon issues was published.

He shrugged
off criticism that he was only publishing the images to gain notoriety
for Hebdo, and insisted that he was instead defending the right to free
speech.

Mr Charbonnier pointed out that the newspaper had poked
fun at feminism, nuclear energy and homeland security, but the Islam
issues always attracted the most publicity.

‘We need more and better intelligence-led activity at home and we need to defeat the IS state abroad.

‘It’s not surprising that so many people in Europe are demonstrating against what they see as the Islamisation of Europe.

‘However,
their target should not be the vast majority of European Muslims who
want nothing to do with Islamism, but the political movement it has
produced.

‘This isn’t about religion or faith communities, it’s about revolutionary politics and violence and only force can overcome it.’

The
offices of the same newspaper were burnt down in a petrol attack in
2011 after running a magazine cover of the Prophet Mohammed as a cartoon
character.

At the time, the editor-in-chief, Stephane Charbonnier, said Islam could not be excluded from freedom of the press.

He
said: ‘If we can poke fun at everything in France, if we can talk about
anything in France apart from Islam or the consequences of Islamism,
that is annoying.’

Mr Charbonnier, also known as Charb, said he
did not see the attack on the newspaper as the work of French Muslims,
but of what he called ‘idiot extremists’.

The cover showed Mohammed saying: ‘100 lashes if you are not dying of laughter’.

This
week’s Charlie Hebdo also featured the author Houellebecq, whose new
novel imagines Muslims taking over the French government in 2022.

Inside,
there was an editorial, attributed to the Prophet Muhammad, and more
cartoons – one showing the Prophet with a clown’s red nose.

Depiction of the Prophet is strictly prohibited in Islam, but the newspaper denied it was trying to be provocative.

A
firebomb attack gutted the headquarters of Charlie Hebdo in November
2011 after it put an image of the Prophet Mohammed on its cover.

HOW ATTACK ON CHARLIE HEBDO HQ UNFOLDED

10.28am –
The satirical magazine updates its Twitter page with a cartoon of
Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. In it, he wishes everyone
‘good health’.

10.57am – The AFP news agency reports shots have been fired at the French weekly magazine, on Boulevard Richard Lenoir.

11.17am – Eyewitness accounts emerge showing the immediate aftermath of the scene.

11.22am
– AFP confirms the first death as a result of the shooting. Three
minutes later it confirms the death toll has risen to 10.

11.31am – President Francois Hollande is en-route to visit the magazine’s offices shortly, officials say

11.36am – The death toll is increased to 11 and then to 12.

11.46am – Paris is put on maximum alert following the attacks.

11.49am
– Prime Minister David Cameron condemns the attack: ‘The murders in
Paris are sickening. We stand with the French people in the fight
against terror and defending the freedom of the press.’

11.54am –
Mr Hollande, in an address near the scene of the massacre, says the
shooting was ‘undoubtedly a terrorist attack’. He adds: ‘We fight
threats and we will punish the attackers.’

11.59am – The first
tweet is posted containing the hashtag #JeSuisCharlie in solidarity with
the victims, the magazine and its supporters.

12.26pm – French
officials confirm gunmen who carried out the attack are still at large.
At least two criminals are believed to be involved.

12.38pm – The White House condemns Paris attack in the ‘strongest possible terms’.

1.30pm – AFP says dead include three cartoonists and editor-in-chief Stephane Charbonnier, known as Charb.

2.13pm – French internal minister Bernard Cazeneuve says ‘three criminals’ were involved in the attack. They remain at large.  

 | Daily Mail Online

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