What To Know About the Paris Shooting

This morning tragedy struck in Paris as gunmen opened fire at the headquarters of French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo. Here’s what you need to know so far about the terrorist attacks. We express our deepest condolences to the victims and to their families.

The Target

Charlie Hebdo is a satirical weekly magazine that has anti-religious and extremely leftist viewpoints, which means that through their content they’ve put on the spot everyone in politics, Catholicism, Judaism, and Islam, amongst others.

Due to its content the magazine has been subject to attacks before: in 2011 the offices were firebombed after they published cartoons of the prophet Muhammad and in 2012 security had to be reinforced after they published more cartoons of Muhammad, this time naked.

The magazine’s last tweet was a cartoon of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, with the text in the tweet saying “Best wishes, by the way,” and the cartoon text reading, “Greetings from al-Baghdadi as well” and “…and especially health.”

The Attack

Two masked gunmen entered the offices of the magazine at 11:30 am, killing one person in the lobby before ascending to the second floor where an editorial meeting was taking place. The attackers then opened fire using Kalashnikov rifles while shouting, “Allahu Akbar (God is the greatest)” and that “they were avenging the Prophet Muhammad.” Twelve were killed, eleven wounded, and four more are in critical condition.

Five of the victims who were murdered have been identified: Stéphane Charbonnier (editor and cartoonist), Bernard Maris (economist and writer), Jean Cabu (cartoonist), Georges Wolinski (cartoonist), and Bernard Verlhac (cartoonist). May they rest in peace.

The gunmen shot at police on the streets before escaping by car, which they later abandoned, opting to hijack a second car. As of now police are on the hunt for three criminals.

The Response

The horrific event has garnered responses from various people. The Queen of England and Prince Philip sent their condolences via a message to the French President François Hollande. The United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, called the attack a “direct assault on democracy, media, and freedom of expression…This is a moment for solidarity…We must stand against the forces of division and hate.” British prime minister David Cameron and German chancellor Angela Merkel are also amongst other leaders who have issued statements.

For his part President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry have both extended their support to the French government, with Obama saying, “I have directed my administration to provide any assistance needed to help bring these terrorists to justice.”

Meanwhile, hundreds have gathered at the Place de la Republique in Paris, holding candlelight vigils and signs that read “Je Suis Charlie (I am Charlie)” in support of the victims.

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