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#JeSuisCharlie garners over 105,000 mentions as Twitter users show solidarity for Charlie Hebdo attack victims

Following the attack on French magazine Charlie Hebdo earlier today (Wednesday 7 January) social media has been flooded with messages of support of the victims using the hashtag #JeSuisCharlie.

The hashtag, which is the number two trend in the UK, has been used more than 105,000 times in the last hour and translates as 'we are all Charlie' in English.

France24 reported on the spread of the #JeSuisCharlie hashtag early this afternoon and Dutch political cartoonist Ruben L. Oppenheimer used the number one trending hashtag #CharlieHebdo to share an image which likened today's attack with those of September 11 2001.

The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) called the attack an "attempt to assassinate the free press" and former Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan wrote: "The pen is mightier than the sword. #JeSuisCharlie" on his Twitter page.

Twitter user Mark Barry tweeted: “When a cartoon and satire can provoke a killing you know liberty is under threat and offence is no defence #jesuischarlie”.

Sarah Harvard, a writer at Slate, commented: “I’m a Muslim journalist. Although I disagree w/ anti-Islam cartoons, my faith compels me to respect the rights of others. #JeSuisCharlie.”

An old cartoon by Bob Mankoff for the New Yorker - which shows an empty square with the words ‘Please enjoy this culturally, ethically, religiously and politically correct cartoon responsibly. Thank You.' - is being tweeted by many users in response to the attack.

Private Eye editor Ian Hislop issued a statement in which he said he was "appalled and shocked" at today's events calling them "a murderous attack on free speech in the heart of Europe".

After the shooting the US Embassy France account (@USEmbassyFrance) changed its profile picture to a black and white image featuring the phrase ‘Je Suis Charlie’. The Telegraph tweeted that the Charlie Hebdo homepage has also been changed to the same image.

At present it has been reported that 12 people have died in the shooting at the Charlie Hebdo office which took place around 10:30am during the publication’s weekly editorial meeting. Those killed include four of the most famous cartoonists in France who had previously satirised Islam and the Prophet Mohammed.

Charlie Hebdo editor-in-chief Gerard Biard was not present at the time of the shooting because he was in London. Speaking to France Inter he said: “I am shocked that people have attacked a newspaper in France, a secular republic. I don’t understand it.

“I don’t understand how people can attack a newspaper with heavy weapons. A newspaper is not a weapon of war,” he added.

Just moments prior to the shooting the @CharlieHebdo account tweeted this cartoon of the Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi with a caption that the BBC has translated in in English as: "Best wishes. To you too, Al-Baghdadi," to which the al-Baghdadi replys: "And especially good health."

French President François Hollande, Prime Minister David Cameron and US President Barak Obama have all condemned the attack.

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