12 Dead in Paris Newspaper Attack

12 Dead in Paris Newspaper Attack12 Dead in Paris Newspaper Attack

Hooded gunmen attacked the Paris office of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, killing at least 12 people, including two police officers in the worst militant attack on French soil in recent decades. Seven people were also reported injured.

French President Francois Hollande arrived at the scene of the shooting, and said will shortly hold an emergency government meeting. He said there was no doubt it had been a terrorist attack "of exceptional barbarity," BBC reported.

"This is a terrorist attack; there is no doubt about it. People had been murdered in a cowardly manner", Hollande told reporters at the scene. "We are threatened because we are a country of liberty." He added that at least 40 were “saved” while appealing for national unity. A major police operation is under way in the Paris area to catch the killers.

Four of the magazine's well-known cartoonists, including its editor-in-chief Stephane Charbonnier were reported among those killed. Charbonnier, 47, had received death threats in the past and was living under police protection. Reports say the attack took place during the magazine's daily editorial meeting.

The satirical weekly has courted controversy in the past with its take on news and current affairs. It was fire-bombed in November 2011 a day after it published a caricature of the Prophet Muhammad. The latest post on Charlie Hebdo's Twitter account was a cartoon of the Islamic State militant group leader, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi.

The gunmen fled towards the eastern Paris suburbs after holding up a car, police officials said. "There is possibility of other attacks and other sites are being secured," Police union official Rocco Contento said.

Sirens could be heard across Paris as Prime Minister Manuel Valls said security would be ramped up at transport hubs, religious sites, media offices and department stores.

US President Barack Obama condemned the "horrific shooting" and said, "Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of this terrorist attack and the people of France at this difficult time."

UK Prime Minister David Cameron also condemned the attack."The murders in Paris are sickening. We stand with the French people in the fight against terror and defending the freedom of the press."