The hashtag #JeSuisCharlie began trending on Twitter as a message of solidarity after 12 people were killed in a shooting at the Paris offices of satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo Wednesday in what French President Francois Hollande called "a terrorist attack without a doubt."
Three masked gunman stormed the offices of Charlie Hebdo -- a satirical publication that pokes fun at prominent figures in politics and religion and has previously been targeted for its cartoons portraying the Islamic prophet Muhammad -- and began shooting. Witnesses reportedly told police the gunmen shouted, "We have avenged the prophet," Agence France Presse noted. Four cartoonists, and at least eight others, were killed. The gunmen were still at large late Wednesday afternoon local time.
#JeSuisCharlie, or "I am Charlie," began trending after the attack. Thousands of Twitter users posted the hashtag in support of those killed and freedom of the press.
— jean jullien (@jean_jullien) January 7, 2015
While it is most unusual to stand Shoulder-unto-Shoulder with Frenchmen, an Attack 'pon Satire is an Attack 'pon LIBERTY #JeSuisCharlie
— Samuel Johnson (@DrSamuelJohnson) January 7, 2015
I am heartbroken by the loss of life and attack on freedom of expression. #JeSuisCharlie
— Julianne Moore (@_juliannemoore) January 7, 2015
— Andrew McLaughlin (@McAndrew) January 7, 2015
RIP victims of massacre at Charlie Hebdo magazine offices in Paris
— Ivan Watson (@IvanCNN) January 7, 2015
From Plato to Swift, Orwell, Bulgakov, even Matt Stone and Trey Parker. Satire has always been crucial to healthy debate. #JeSuisCharlie
— Jess Shankleman (@JessicaBG) January 7, 2015
I'm a Muslim journalist. Although I disagree w/ anti-Islam cartoons, my faith compels me to respect the rights of others. #JeSuisCharlie
— Sarah Harvard (@sarah_harvard) January 7, 2015
The more I read the more gut wrenchingly depressing it is. Killing people for fun using religion as an excuse. Tossers
— Robert Llewellyn (@bobbyllew) January 7, 2015
'Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed: everything else is public relations' - Orwell #JeSuisCharlie
— Rupert Myers (@RupertMyers) January 7, 2015
Every single publication in the world should publish the cartoon that led to that horrible attack. CharlieHebdo #JeSuisCharlie
— Kumail Nanjiani (@kumailn) January 7, 2015
This by @davpope
— kristyan benedict (@KreaseChan) January 7, 2015
The publication's website also prominently featured the words.
The U.S. embassy in France changed its main Twitter photo to a text image reading "Je suis Charlie." President Barack Obama condemned the "horrific shooting" in a statement, saying, "Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of this terrorist attack and the people of France at this difficult time."
Editor-in-Chief Stéphane Charbonnier, who used the pen-name "Charb," was one of the individuals killed in the shooting. In 2013, his name appeared on a "Wanted Dead or Alive for Crimes Against Islam" published in al Qaeda's terrorism propaganda publication, Inspire, because of his cartoons depicting Muhammad, according to the Telegraph. Although he was placed under police protection, he was not scared by the threats.
“Muhammad isn't sacred to me. I don't blame Muslims for not laughing at our drawings. I live under French law. I don't live under Quranic law," he said in 2012 following an uproar over an illustration. Adding: "The freedom of the press, is that a provocation? I'm not asking strict Muslims to read Charlie Hebdo, just like I wouldn't go to a mosque to listen to speeches that go against everything I believe."
01/09/2015 11:02 PM EST
Pro-Israel Rally In Amsterdam Scrapped
A pro-Israel rally set for January 11 in Amsterdam was "postponed because of the current situation in Paris," the organizers Holland4Israel announced. A new date for the event was not given.
01/09/2015 9:24 PM EST
Prosecutor Reveals Details From Sieges
Paris prosecutor Francois Molins revealed more details of the siege that killed the Kouachi brothers and Amedy Coulibaly, the Telegraph reports.
- The brothers had a loaded M82 rocket launcher, two Kalashnikov machine guns and two automatic pistols.
- Coulibaly had a Kalashnikov assault rifle, a Skorpion military pistol.
"On the body of one of the terrorists, the demining teams also found a grenade that had been positioned as a trap," Molins said.
01/09/2015 9:16 PM EST
Police Continue Search For Possible Accomplice
French police continued to search for Hayat Boumeddiene, a 26-year-old woman who is suspected of being an accomplice in the Paris attacks, ITV reports.
As of early Saturday morning, Boumeddiene is believed to still be on the run. She is a suspect in the killing of female police officer in Paris on Thursday, and is thought to have been the girlfriend of Amedy Coulibaly, who was killed by police on Friday.
01/09/2015 9:09 PM EST
'Paris is Charlie' Projected On Paris' Arc De Triomphe
01/09/2015 8:23 PM EST
Hacktivist Group Anonymous Vows Revenge For Charlie Hebdo Attack
Hacktivist group Anonymous released a video in which it states that it will shut down jihadist websites to avenge the Charlie Hebdo attack.
01/09/2015 8:20 PM EST
Prosecutor: Brothers Extensively Coordinated With Other Suspects
Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said that the Kouachi brothers had spoken on the phone more than 500 times with Amedy Coulibaly and his girlfriend Hayat Boumedienne, prior to the Paris attacks, the Guardian reports.
Both the Kouach brothers and Coulibaly were killed in dual sieges on Friday.
01/09/2015 8:15 PM EST
Memorial Outside Charlie Hebdo Offices In Paris
Pens, flowers, a flag, and a bottle of wine. Vive la France... pic.twitter.com/6MBaXWHkjd— Mark MacKinnon (@markmackinnon) January 10, 2015
01/09/2015 6:14 PM EST
Footage Of French Raid On Terror Suspects In Dammartin
France's National Gendarmerie released footage of its special forces raiding the printing house in Dammartin-en-Goele where the two Charlie Hebdo attack suspects were holding a person hostage.
The National Gendarmerie also released a picture of the hostage, with their face blurred, being led to safety after the raid. Both of the suspects were killed.
01/09/2015 5:44 PM EST
Yemen Launches Investigation Into Al Qaeda Link To France Attacks
Yemen's Spokesperson in Washington Mohammed Albasha writes on Twitter that Yemen has launched an investigation into possible connections between Al Qaeda's branch in the country, and the attacks in France.
01/09/2015 5:37 PM EST
Al Qaeda In Yemen's Statement On The Attacks
Al Qaeda's Yemen branch released an audio statement on the attacks in France, after a member of the group told the Associated Press they had "directed" the assault on Charlie Hebdo.
Soon after, the branch's senior cleric Sheikh Harith al-Nadhari issued a recording on the group's Twitter feed commenting on the "blessed raid on Paris." He denounced the "filthy" French and called them "the heads of infidelity who insult the prophets." He praised the "hero mujahedeen" who he said "taught them a lesson and the limits of freedom of speech."
Al-Nadhari stopped short of directly claiming responsibility for the attack, but added, "How can we not fight those who hurt our prophet, slandered our religion and fought the faithful."
Addressing the French, he said, "It better for you to stop striking Muslims so you can live in peace. But if you only wish for war, then rejoice, you will not enjoy peace as long as you wage war on God and his prophets and fight Muslims."
It was not immediately clear why al-Nadhari did not outright said al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula was behind the attack. The member told the AP that the group as delaying its official declaration of responsibility for "security reasons."