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12 dead in Charlie Hebdo magazine attack in alleged Isis retaliation

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By John McCarthy | Media editor

January 7, 2015 | 4 min read

Ten journalists and two police officers have been shot dead by masked men in Paris.

The gunmen escaping in a stolen car

The offices of weekly satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which had previously been firebombed in 2011 for tweeting a cartoon of the prophet Mohammed, has become a site of "butchery" according to French police officials.

An eye witness told French TV channel Itele that just before lunchtime “two black-hooded men entered the building with Kalashnikovs” after which they fired “lots of shots” and shouted "Allahu Akbar". Staff members reportedly took shelter on the roof until the attack concluded.

French authorities are on the hunt for the gunmen. Furthermore four people remain seriously injured from the attack.

President Hollande, from the scene stated that the reporters were “murdered in a cowardly manner". Meanwhile David Cameron condemned the attacks in a tweet published not long after.

Minutes before the attack the firm tweeted a cartoon of Islamic State militant group leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, wishing him a happy new year, following which Isis issued a threat to France on Wednesday morning, according to BBC News.

A Twitter campaign #JeSuisCharlie was launched not long after the attacks to stand in solidarity with the publication and the friends and families of those affected.

Michelle Stanistreet, general secretary of the National Union of Journalists, said: "The assassination of journalists at Charlie Hebdo, cynically targeted on press day to maximise casualties, is an attempt to assassinate the free press. Our hearts go out to the families of the 10 journalists and police officers killed in this despicable raid.

"The newspaper had already been the subject of attacks by people who want to supress democracy and freedom of speech. These journalists have now paid with their lives; the perpetrators must swiftly be brought to justice."

Stanistreet concluded: "Supporters of free speech and civil liberties must stand together with governments to condemn this act and defend the right of all journalists to do their job without fear of threats, intimidation and brutal murder."

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