Paris — The suspects behind today’s attack in Paris have been identified as Said Kouachi, 34, Cherif Kouachi, 32, and Hamyd Mourad, 18. Two of them are brothers. Mourad is now in police custody.
Police fanned out across France in search of three hooded gunmen who attacked employees of the satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, Wednesday, and killed 12 people before escaping onto the streets of Paris.
“Everything will be done to arrest (the attackers),” French President Francois Hollande said in a speech Wednesday night. “We also have to protect all public places. Security forces will be deployed everywhere there can be a threat.”
The French magazine targeted by gunmen who killed journalists and police in a brazen lunchtime attack is no stranger to controversy. In 2011, the office of the magazine was badly damaged by a firebomb after it published a spoof issue “guest edited” by the Prophet Muhammad to salute the victory of an Islamist party in Tunisian elections. It had announced plans to publish a special issue renamed “Charia Hebdo,” a play on the word in French for Shariah law.
In today’s attack, the dead included Georges Wolinski, who worked under the pen name Wolinski, Jean “Cabu” Cabut, Bernard “Tignous” Verlhac, and Philippe Honore, known as Honore — ranked among the most popular and best-known members of a provocative staff whose cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in recent years angered some Muslims.
In a 2012 interview, Charlie Hebdo magazine editor, Stephane “Charb” Charbonnier, said the magazine only faced problems when Muslims were mentioned. He said that was a problem.
Charbonnier was killed when hooded attackers carrying assault rifles burst in and shouted “Allahu Akbar,” Arabic for “God is great,” as they opened fire.
The terrorist attack by masked gunmen on the newspaper, left 12 people dead — including the top editor, prominent cartoonists, and police officers — and was among the deadliest in postwar France.
Officials said at least two gunmen carried out the attack with automatic weapons with an unusual degree of military-style precision. They also said the gunmen called out the name of each victim before they were shot.
French police characterized this attach as a “slaughter.”
Charbonnier, once famously said, “I’d rather die standing than on my knees.” He also said, in the face of animosity from extremists, “I live under French law, not Koranic law.”