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12 dead in shooting at French satirical weekly

Paris attack

Paris: At least nine repoters and two police were killed when gunmen armed with Kalashnikovs and a rocket-launcher opened fire in the offices of French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo today, Paris prosecutors said.

“At this stage” 10 people are dead, said the prosecutor’s office, without detailing how many had been injured.

Deputy Mayor of Paris Bruno Julliard earlier said “six people are seriously injured”, including a policeman. It was not clear whether these now figured among the dead.

French President Francois Hollande was on his way to the scene of the shooting and called an emergency cabinet meeting, the presidency said.

A source close to the investigation said two men “armed with a Kalashnikov and a rocket-launcher” stormed the building in central Paris and “fire was exchanged with security forces.”

The source said gunmen had hijacked a car and knocked over a pedestrian as he sped away.

The publication’s cartoonist Renaud Luzier earlier told AFP there were “casualties” after the incident.

The satirical magazine gained notoriety in February 2006 when it reprinted cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed that had originally appeared in Danish daily Jyllands-Posten, causing fury across the Muslim world.

Its offices were fire-bombed in November 2011 when it published a cartoon of the Prophet and under the title “Charia Hebdo”.

Despite being taken to court under anti-racism laws, the magazine continued to publish controversial cartoons of the Muslim prophet.

In September 2012 Charlie Hebdo published cartoons of the Prophet as violent protests were taking place in several countries over a low-budget film, titled “Innocence of Muslims”, which was made in the US and insulted the Prophet.

French schools, consulates and cultural centres in 20 Muslim countries were briefly closed along with embassies for fear of retaliatory attacks.

Editor Stephane Charbonnier has received death threats and lives under police protection.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi terms terror attack in Paris as condemnable and despicable act, says “our solidarity with people of France”.

President Pranab Mukherjee today strongly condemned the terrorist attack on a media office in Paris and expressed anguish over the loss of innocent lives.

The President said terror and violence have no place in any corner of the world. “The world community must unite to root out terror from every country and society,” he was quoted as saying in a press release issued by Rashtrapati Bhavan.

France Chronology

Paris attack France’s deadliest in decades

Paris: Gunmen killed 12 people in an attack today in the offices of the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, the worst such attack in France in at least 40 years.

Here is a rundown of previous major attacks.

May 20, 1978: Palestinian militants open fire at Orly airport south of Paris, targeting passengers for a flight to Tel Aviv. Eight people die, including three gunmen, two police officers and three passengers.

October 3, 1980: A bomb explodes in front of a Paris synagogue, killing four people and wounding some 20.

March 29, 1982: An attack on a train between Toulouse and Paris on which then Paris mayor Jacques Chirac was supposed to travel kills five people and wounds 77. International
terrorist Carlos is suspected of involvement.

August 9, 1982: Five people open fire and throw grenades during an attack on the Goldenberg restaurant, on rue des Rosiers in the Jewish quarter of Paris. Six people die and 22 are wounded. The crime has never been solved.

July 15, 1983: A bomb explodes at the Turkish Airlines counter at Orly airport, killing eight and wounding 54. Three Armenian nationals are convicted of the attack in March 1985.

December 31, 1983: Two people die and 34 are wounded when a bomb explodes at the Saint Charles train station in Marseille, southern France. A few minutes earlier, another bomb on a high-speed train travelling between Paris and Marseille kills three people. Both attacks are claimed by an Arab group linked to Carlos.

September 17, 1986: A bomb placed in front of a Tati department store in Paris kills seven people and wounds around 55. It is the worst of 15 such attacks, three of which were foiled, committed by a pro-Iranian group in 1985-86 that killed a total of 13 people and wounded 303.

July 25, 1995: A bomb in an RER express commuter train explodes at the Saint Michel metro station in Paris, killing eight people and wounding 119. It is the worst of nine attacks generally attributed to Algerian extremists that killed a total of eight people and wounded more than 200 that summer.

Two men are convicted in 2002 of three attacks and sentenced to life in prison.

December 3, 1996: Another bomb explodes along the same RER line, one station away at Port Royal, killing four people and wounding 91. Carried out using gas canisters, the attack is similar to the wave of attacks in 1995.

March 11, 2012: On March 11 and 15, Mohamed Merah, 23, shoots three soldiers dead in Toulouse, and Montauban, southern France, before killing three students and a teacher at a Jewish school in Toulouse on the 19th.

Merah is killed on March 22 in a shootout following the siege of his apartment by French police.

Outside France, an attack on a DC-10 airliner that belonged to the French airline UTA on September 19, 1989, as it flew over Niger killed 170 people, of which 54 were French.

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