PARIS SHOOTING: Witness Claims Gunmen Claim To Be AL-QAEDA, 3 Gunmen On Loose







Twelve people have been shot dead at the headquarters of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris, say police. Three masked gunmen stormed the offices of the controversial publication, which has previously been attacked over its portrayal of the Prophet Mohammed. They were armed with Kalashnikov rifles and are also believed to have had a rocket-propelled grenade According to the AFP news agency, the attackers shouted: "We have avenged the prophet." They are believed to have called out the victims by name. A spokeswoman for the Paris prosecutor says the editor and a cartoonist for the satirical newspaper, who went by the pen names Charb and Cabu, were among the 12 people killed in the attack, including two police officers. Some 20 people have also been injured, at least four seriously. A manhunt is under way for the gunmen, who escaped after a shootout in the street with police. Shocking footage has emerged of a wounded police officer being shot in the head as he lies on the ground, holding his hands up. After the killing, the killers calmly return to their getaway car and shouted: "We have avenged the Prophet Mohammed, we have killed Charlie Hebdo." The vehicle was later found abandoned. Another video taken from the top of a building shows a firefight in the street below, shouting and gunfire can be heard and gunmen can be seen levelling weapons. A dramatic image has also been published of two men dressed in black standing either side of a vehicle, pointing their weapons at a police car. According to reports, three officers had initially arrived on pushbikes, but left when they realised how heavily-armed the raiders were. The gunmen are believed to have left several minutes later and attempted to car-jack a vehicle. Benoit Bringer, a journalist with Agence Premiere Ligne who saw the attack, told the iTele network he saw several masked men armed with machine guns. Henry Samuel, the Daily Telegraph's Paris correspondent, told Sky News: “According to people on the ground, two masked gunmen burst into the offices very heavily armed, (with) Kalashnikovs, apparently even with a rocket-propelled grenade, and opened fire, leaving several minutes later. “Somebody who was nearby on the roof and saw much of the incident said three policemen then arrived on a pushbike. "When they saw how armed these men were they left and then there was a kind of gunfight in the street.” He added: "Then the gunmen escaped and are currently on the run, being pursued. They moved towards the east of Paris. While fleeing they wounded a policeman and a passer-by was also hit. "They've changed cars. They were in a black (Citroen) DS, now they've taken somebody else's vehicle." French President Francois Hollande has visited the scene. He said the security level in Paris had been raised to its highest level, and the gunmen were being hunted. "An act of barbarism has been committed against a newspaper in Paris," he said. "We have to be firm, we have to be strong. "We will punish the attackers." He added: "France is in shock. We are a united country." Mr Hollande also said 40 people had been "saved" at the scene.




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