The horrific shooting at the Paris offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo has claimed the lives of four of France’s most respected cartoonists.
On Wednesday morning, at least two gunmen opened fire at the magazine’s offices, killing 12 – 10 journalists and two police officers – and injuring eight more. Four are in critical condition and are currently in surgery at Hopital Pitié-Salpêtrière
Among the dead are Jean Cabut, better known as Cabu, and Georges Wolinski.
Cabut, who was 76, regularly appeared on French television. His art has been featured in a range of publications, from Charlie Hebdo to the newspaper Le Figaro.
A founder of Charlie Hebdo, Wolinski, 80, was the dean of French political and shock cartoonists and famous for his graphic images. A true libertine, he first began cartooning in 1960.
Cartoonists Stéphane Charbonnier and Bernard Verlhac, known as Charb and Tignous respectively, were also killed in the terror attack.
Charbonnier had been the director of Charlie Hebdo since May 2009 and was a major driver in the paper’s controversial stand against Islamic fundamentalism. He was just 47 years old at the time of his death, while Verlhac was 57.
The publication has been the target of repeated threats largely thanks to its caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed.
In fact, just seconds before the attack occurred, the magazine published a facetious greeting card to its Twitter account that depicts ISIS leader Al-Baghdadi giving “best wishes” for 2015 (and “especially health”).
According to reports, witnesses to the attack say it involved two well-prepared gunmen who began shooting in the entryway, then systematically penetrated the magazine’s offices, attacking the weekly editorial meeting that was in progress. Some staffers were able to seek refuge on the roof while the killings continued below.
Video captured by eyewitnesses show two fleeing gunmen approach and shoot a wounded policeman before shouting: “We have avenged the Prophet Mohammed! We’ve killed Charlie Hebdo!”
The French government is now suggesting that three individuals may have been involved in the attack
France’s President François Hollande, who arrived at the magazine’s offices within an hour of the shootings, will address the nation this evening.
Former president Nicolas Sarkozy denounced the attack, saying: “Those who committed this act must be pursued and punished. Our democracy has been attacked and we must defend it without weakness.
“We must not give an inch of ground.”