At least 11 people have been killed in Paris after two masked gunmen stormed the offices of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday, French President Francois Hollande confirmed. The newspaper attracted controversy and was burned in 2011 after it published a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad, deemed insulting to the Muslim world.
Hollande called the shooting a terrorist attack, according to The Associated Press, and noted that several other terror attacks have apparently been thwarted in France in recent weeks.
Another 10 people are believed to have been injured in the shooting.
AFP reported that a source close to the Paris police investigation said that the attackers were “armed with a Kalashnikov and a rocket-launcher.” The men apparently exchanged fire with security forces after they stormed the building, located in a central part of the city.
French news channel BFMTV said that a worker in the office opposite of Charlie Hebdo saw two hooded men dressed in black enter the building, carrying Kalashnikovs.
“We then heard them open fire inside, with many shots,” the witness said. “We were all evacuated to the roof. After several minutes, the men fled, after having continued firing in the middle of the street.”
The witness, who wasn’t named, said that he also saw a rocket launcher in the gunmen’s possession.
It is not yet clear what happened to the gunmen, and if they are still at large.
Police union official Rocco Contento said that the scene inside the offices was “carnage,” Reuters noted.
Charlie Hebdo has a long history of attracting controversy for its drawings, and has been accused of insulting Islam. In February 2006, it reprinted caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed that had originally appeared in Danish daily Jyllands-Posten.
In November 2011 Charlie Hebdo was hit by a fire-bomb after it published more cartoons of Muslim Prophet Mohammed, and in September 2012 it depicted the Islamic prophet in a naked state. The published cartoons caused French schools, consulates and cultural centers in 20 Islamic countries to fear retaliatory attacks.
Islamic militants have also reportedly vowed to attack French citizens because of the government’s continued military operations against terrorists, including aiding the U.S.-led coalition in the Middle East.
The eastern city of Dijon experienced an attack in late 2014, after a man shouting “Allahu Akbar” rammed a vehicle into a crowd, and injured 13 people.
Source: Christian Post