An attack on the Paris headquarters of the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine has left at least 12 people dead, including the Jewish caricaturist Georges Wolinski.
Footage from the scene of Wednesday’s attack posted on the French news website Jssnews.com shows two heavily armed men exiting a black car and shooting a rifle at a police officer near the building. One of the masked assailants then approaches the officer and shoots him in the head.
Ten people also were wounded in the attack; five are in serious condition.
The assailants had cried out “Allah is the greatest” in Arabic and that their attack was to “avenge the prophet,” the French daily Le Monde reported. They reportedly fled in a hijacked car, running over a pedestrian and shooting at officers.
Charlie Hebdo, which regularly runs articles and caricatures critical of religion, has published a series of satirical cartoons of the Muslim prophet Mohammed.
The identities of the victims have not yet been made known.
Two of the reported fatalities were police officers, according to the French daily Le Monde. Employees of the satirical magazine also were reported killed.
Wolinski, 81, a French Jew who was born in Tunisia and moved to France at 13, has worked at leading publications such as L’Humanite, Le Nouvel Observateur and Paris Match.
French President Francois Hollande, speaking live near the scene of the shooting, said it was a terrorist attack, adding that “France is today in shock.”
Charlie Hebdo, he added, “was threatened several times in the past and we need to show we are a united country.” He also vowed that French authorities “will punish the attackers. We will look for the people responsible.”
In a statement, European Jewish Congress President Moshe Kantor called the attack part of “the beginning of a wave of terror on the streets of Europe” and “a war against freedom of speech and the European way of life which has already seen Jewish children gunned down at school and people murdered in cold blood while visiting a museum in Brussels.”
Sammy Ghozlan, president of the National Bureau for Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism, said in a statement that “France must wake up to the danger of Islamism and the terror it brings all over the world: In Paris, Toulouse, Sarcelles, Brussels, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, jihadists are acting on the same radical Islamist ideology that is used to manipulate them.”
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman sent his condolences to the French people and said that Israel sympathizes with France’s pain after the attack, The Jerusalem Post reported.
According to Le Monde, the attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices is the bloodiest to have taken place in France since 1835.
— JTA News & Features