Twelve people have been killed in an attack on the headquarters of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in central Paris, per a police rep; the toll includes 10 journalists and two police officers. A witness to today's attack tells the iTele network that he saw two men armed with Kalashnikovs enter the office: "A few minutes later we heard lots of shots." Says police rep Rocco Contento, "It's carnage." The latest:
- Contento puts the number of attackers at three and says they exited the scene in a car driven by a fourth person; the group then left their vehicle in Paris' northeast, he says, where they hijacked a second car.
- The Telegraph reports four "famous French cartoonists" are among the dead, and the Wall Street Journal identifies two of them as Jean Cabut (known as Cabu) and editor Stéphane Charbonnier, who goes by Charb. The Guardian reports Charb's life had previously been threatened, and he lived under police protection.
- President Francois Hollande, who quickly arrived on the scene, called it an "an exceptional act of barbarism," per the Guardian; he noted that France has prevented several other attacks "in recent weeks." Contento says the magazine had upped its security recently due to an uptick in threats.
- Meanwhile, the AP reports that with the gunmen still at large, Paris is at its highest alert; security has been ramped up at various locations, including houses of worship and media offices.
The satirical weekly has drawn repeated threats for its caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed
, among other controversial sketches. (The BBC notes that its last tweet, an hour ago, was a cartoon
of ISIS honcho Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.) In November 2011 its offices were firebombed after it made
the Prophet Mohammed a "guest editor"; in response, the magazine published an issue whose cover depicted an image
of a Muslim planting a kiss on a figure meant to represent Charlie Hebdo
. Above the embrace were the words: "Love is stronger than hate."