Charlie Hebdo attack: France’s worst terrorist attack in a generation leaves 12 dead
January 7, 2015
With ruthless precision, two masked al-Qaeda gunmen calmly fire eight shots at an unarmed policeman as a terrorist attack of “indescribable barbarity” nears its end. Moments after this image was taken, the policeman, lying mortally wounded on the pavement of a Parisian boulevard, held up a hand in a plea for mercy. A second later, one terrorist jogged past and shot him in the head without breaking stride, just one more act of brutality in an attack that left 12 dead. Earlier two gunmen armed with automatic rifles stormed the office of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, a target for Islamist terrorists since it printed cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in 2006 and 2011, and killed cartoonists and satirists whose names were called out as they were shot dead in turn.
“We have avenged the Prophet!” the killers shouted in accentless French as they left the building, having identified themselves as acting on behalf of “al-Qaeda in Yemen”. France’s worst terrorist attack in a generation was also its most meticulously planned; the killers had not only memorised the names of those they wanted to kill, they also planned their getaway well enough to evade the police. A nationwide manhunt is now underway after a raid in Reims proved fruitless. The killers were named in the French media as Said and Chérif Kouachi, brothers aged 34 and 32, and Hamid Mourad, 18. Chérif was reportedly part of an Iraqi jihadist network dismantled in the nearby 19th arrondissement. He was jailed for three years on terror charges in May 2008.
SOURCE = The Telegraph
January 7, 2015
PARIS, Jan 7 (Reuters) – French President Francois Hollande will go to the scene of a shooting at satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and then hold an emergency government meeting, a source at his office said on Wednesday. Eleven people were killed and 10 people wounded, five of them seriously, in the shooting in eastern Paris, according to the Paris prefecture. (Reporting By Elizbeth Pineau. Writing by Alexandria Sage. Editing by John Irish.)
Copyright © 2015 Thomson Reuters Foundation
January 7, 2015
The cowardly murders in Paris today have taken terrorism to another level. They made my blood run cold. I have not seen anything like this from a terrorist organisation before. This was military warfare and they had clear targets at Charlie Hebdo, innocent civilians who had done nothing more than use their right to free speech. Watching the footage you can tell these terrorists are calm, collected and well drilled. It is obvious from their movements. You have to be trained repeatedly to keep moving forward when you are engaging an armed target. These men never hesitated, even after they put that police officer down. He was on the floor with his hands in the air but they showed no compassion whatsoever. The killer did not flinch. There was no emotion, no pause for thought. It was cold, mechanical and automatic. You can only do that if you have been drilled again and again. I think these men have killed before. It reminded me of seeing those police officers lined up and executed in Iraq.
Everything was so clinical. You can see the killer’s partner standing giving him covering fire down the street, ready to engage any threats that emerge. And the bullet holes in the windscreen of the police car are grouped very close together. These men have clearly had extensive practice firing an AK47 and are very competent. They even had the presence of mind to leave the car running so they could make a quick getaway and you can see one of them pick something off the floor, possibly a magazine. He is making sure he leaves no evidence.
SOURCE = The Daily Mirror
January 7, 2015
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Revenge attacks and retaliation begin: Mosques come under fire with guns and ‘grenades’ in France… and kebab shop near another Muslim temple is blown up
January 8, 2015
Revenge attacks on Muslim places of worship have begun in France following yesterday’s massacre at the office of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris. Mosques, a prayer hall and a kebab shop near a Muslim temple were targeted in the early hours of the morning following the terrorist attack – in which 12 people were murdered by suspected Islamist fanatics. The retaliation comes as French citizens, and the international community, attempt to come to terms with yesterday’s shocking and deadly assault on free speech.
In the city of Le Mans, west of Paris, three blank grenades were thrown at a mosque shortly after midnight – and a bullet was also fired through one of the windows. In the Port-la-Nouvelle district, near Narbonne in southern France, several shots were fired in the direction of a Muslim prayer hall shortly after evening prayers. According to French prosecutors, the hall was empty and no-one was injured. A kebab shop, located near a mosque in the eastern French town of Villefranche-sur-Saone, was also blown up. Again, there were no casualties.
SOURCE = The Daily Mail
January 9, 2015
PARIS — It was a day of sirens, helicopters in the air, frantic news bulletins; of police cordons and anxious crowds; of young children led away from schools to safety. It was a day, like the previous two, of blood and horror in and around Paris, one that ended with France unsure whether this drama is now truly over or a predictor of more cultural, religious and political violence to come. France has been profoundly shaken by the killings of famous cartoonists and editors on Wednesday in an act of violent religious extremism, followed by an extensive manhunt that could have been staged by Hollywood, and then the bloody denouement on Friday: Muslim extremists killed, hostages dead in a kosher market busy on the eve of the Jewish Sabbath, and others badly wounded.
If this was France’s 9/11, as some said, the shock was that much greater for having come not at the hands of foreigners, but French citizens fluent in the language of Voltaire and Pascal. “We are all worried,” said Arnaud Delaytermoz, 32, a law student from Bordeaux who was in the subway near the market when he heard large explosions and came out to see what had happened. “It was going to happen one moment or another, in Paris, Bordeaux, anywhere.” The images could hardly have been more jarring, especially in a city with Paris’s history. When it became clear that the assailant at the kosher shop had chosen it to target Jews, Rue des Rosiers, a street known for its Jewish shops and restaurants — and for the deportation of its citizens during World War II — was shut down by the police.
SOURCE = The New York Times
January 10, 2015
Two stand-offs involving hostages came to a violent denouement in Paris and at an industrial building miles away from the country’s main airport. After an hours-long stalemate, gunfire and explosions were heard at a print works in Dammartin-en-Goele, some 30 miles northeast of the city. Two brothers were holed-up there after being hunted by police over the Charlie Hebdo magazine killings in the capital on Wednesday. Said and Cherif Kouachi, 34 and 32, came out firing when police stormed the building they were in and authorities have confirmed they were killed.
Minutes later at a kosher grocery in east Paris, the siege in Paris was also reaching a bloody end with the death of at least three hostages and a jihadist gunman. The Kouachi brothers had a 26-year-old man as a hostage. A local MP told media the “fugitives have said they want to die as martyrs”. Their confrontation with police came after a 48-hour manhunt during which almost 90,000 French police officers and soldiers were mobilised for the manhunt. The brothers had fled the capital on Wednesday after their attack, in which they stormed the offices of the satirical magazine before shooting dead a police officer in the street.
SOURCE = Sky News
January 11, 2015
PARIS — More than a million people joined over 40 presidents and prime ministers on the streets of Paris on Sunday in the most striking show of solidarity in the West against the threat of Islamic extremism since the Sept. 11 attacks. Responding to terrorist strikes that killed 17 people in France and riveted worldwide attention, Jews, Muslims, Christians, atheists and people of all races, ages and political stripes swarmed central Paris beneath a bright blue sky, calling for peace and an end to violent extremism. The Interior Ministry described the demonstration as the largest in modern French history, with as many as 1.6 million people. Many waved the tricolor French flag and brandished pens in raised fists to commemorate those killed Wednesday in an attack on the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, as well as four others killed at a Jewish supermarket on Friday. Thousands hoisted black and white signs bearing three words that have ricocheted through social media as a slogan of unity and defiance: “Je suis Charlie.”
The crowd included Pascale Trager-Lewis, 45, a lawyer, and her husband, Christian Chevalier, 45, who brought their two daughters because they wanted them to witness a historic event. “We came because my husband is an authentic French person; I am Jewish,” Ms. Trager-Lewis said. “My elder daughter’s godmother is a Muslim, and my closest friend almost became a nun. I came for the Jews who were killed, for the freedom of speech, for religious tolerance.” The world leaders — including President François Hollande of France, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority and Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain — joined the march in a solemn line. They moved slowly, clasping arms to show solidarity with the victims. The crowd roared in approval.
SOURCE = The New York Times
January 12, 2015
France is mobilising 10,000 troops to boost security, as security forces search for what the French prime minister called a “probable” accomplice to three days of bloodshed in and around the capital. After a crisis meeting on Monday, Manuel Valls said the search is urgent because “the threat is still present” after the attacks that left 17 people dead – journalists at the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, hostages at a kosher supermarket and three police officers. All three attackers died on Friday in nearly simultaneous raids by security forces.
Video emerged on Sunday of one of the attackers explaining how the raids would unfold and police want to find the person who shot and posted the video. Valls told BFM television on Monday that France is at war against “terrorism, against jihadism, against radical Islam”. France will deploy nearly 5,000 security forces and police to protect the 700 Jewish schools in the country, Vall said. Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said the total number of deployed forces at high-risk areas across the country will reach 10,000. In the days after the attacks, police launched a search operation to track down the partner of one of the attackers. Since then, it has been revealed that she was probably not in France at the time of the attacks.
SOURCE = Al Jazeera