News / Europe

    1 of 3 Suspects in Paris Shootings Surrenders

    • People hold posters reading "I am Charlie" as they gather to express solidarity with those killed in an attack at the Paris offices of the weekly paper Charlie Hebdo, in Nice, southeastern France, Jan. 7, 2015.
    • People gather near candles lit to commemorate the victims of a deadly attack at the Paris offices of French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo in Lyon, central France, Jan. 7, 2015.
    • People in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin hold placards that read "I am Charlie," to pay tribute to the victims of a massacre that killed more than 12 people in Paris, France, Jan. 7, 2015.
    • French President Francois Hollande, center, flanked with security forces gestures, as he arrives outside the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo's office, in Paris, Jan. 7, 2015.
    • A person holds a placard that reads "I am Charlie" to pay tribute during a gathering in Strasbourg, France, following a shooting by terrorists at the offices of the weekly satirical Charlie Hebdo in Paris, Jan. 7, 2015.
    • An injured person is given medical care outside the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris, Jan. 7, 2015.
    • A local resident distributes coffee to reporters gathered at the scene after terrorists stormed a French weekly, killing at least 12 people, in Paris, Jan. 7, 2015.
    • Ambulances rush to the offices of Charlie Hebdo, after a deadly terrorist attack, in Paris, Jan. 7, 2015.
    • Forensic experts examine the car believed to have been used as the escape vehicle by gunmen who attacked the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo's office in Paris, Jan. 7, 2015.
    • Firefighters carry a victim on a stretcher after a terror attack at the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical weekly paper, Jan. 7, 2015.
    • French President Francois Hollande leaves the Elysee Palace after a shooting at a French satirical weekly paper, in Paris, Jan. 7, 2015.
    • French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, center left, and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, center right, arrive at the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo's office, in Paris, Jan. 7, 2015.
    • A bullet's impact is seen on a window at the scene after a shooting at the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical newspaper, Jan. 7, 2015.
    • Firefighters carry an injured man on a stretcher in front of the offices of the French satirical weekly paper Charlie Hebdo, after armed gunmen stormed the offices leaving at least 12 dead, according to a police source, in Paris, Jan. 7, 2015.
    Lisa Bryant

    The youngest suspect identified in Wednesday's mass slaying at the office of a French satirical magazine in Paris has surrendered.

    Sources told news agencies that Hamyd Mourad, 18, gave himself up to police after a daylong manhunt for him and two brothers suspected of carrying out the massacre. Details of his surrender were unavailable.

    Mourad is from the northeastern French city of Reims, where reports said anti-terrorism police had been carrying out an operation.

    The search for the two other suspects — Said Kouachi, 34, and his brother, Cherif, 32, both of Paris — was continuing.

    Police identified the suspects after one of them left his identity card in the car used to leave the scene of Wednesday's killings: the Paris headquarters of the satirical weekly paper "Charlie Hebdo."

    Police said the shootings left at least 12 people dead. Two of the victims were police officers.

    French President Francois Hollande denounced the shootings as a terrorist attack and said France's best defense against such "barbarity" was unity. That unity was later displayed when thousands staged a peaceful protest in Paris in defense of free expression.

    Hollande declared Thursday would be a national day of mourning.

    Hooded invaders

    Late Wednesday morning, black-hooded gunmen carrying Kalashnikov rifles and a pump-action shotgun stormed the weekly's offices, bursting into an editorial staff meeting and opening fire. Terrorism experts said the gunmen appeared to have carried out their attack methodically.

    FILE - Stephane Charbonnier, right, editor-in-chief of 'Charlie Hebdo,' was interviewed in 2012 by VOA's Arzu Çakır.FILE - Stephane Charbonnier, right, editor-in-chief of 'Charlie Hebdo,' was interviewed in 2012 by VOA's Arzu Çakır.
    x
    FILE - Stephane Charbonnier, right, editor-in-chief of 'Charlie Hebdo,' was interviewed in 2012 by VOA's Arzu Çakır.
    FILE - Stephane Charbonnier, right, editor-in-chief of 'Charlie Hebdo,' was interviewed in 2012 by VOA's Arzu Çakır.

    Among the dead on the "Charlie Hebdo" staff were three cartoonists, including co-founder Jean “Cabu” Cabut and editor-in-chief Stephane “Charb” Charbonnier.

    The gunmen said "Allahu akbar" and that they were avenging the Prophet Muhammed, Paris prosecutor Francois Molins told reporters.

    After dozens of shots rang out, two assailants were seen calmly leaving the scene in a video. One police officer was seen being shot as he lay wounded.

    At least 11 others were injured in the attack, including at least four critically. Police union official Rocco Contento described the scene inside the offices as “carnage.”

    There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the killings, but jihadists online had repeatedly warned that "Charlie Hebdo" — well-known for courting controversy with satirical attacks on political and religious leaders and publishing numerous cartoons ridiculing the Prophet Muhammed — would pay for its ridicule.

    A police union official said there were fears of further attacks. The government declared the highest state of alert, increasing security at transport hubs, religious sites, media offices and department stores as the search for the assailants got under way.

    Charlie Hebdo, ParisCharlie Hebdo, Paris
    x
    Charlie Hebdo, Paris
    Charlie Hebdo, Paris

    Hollande addressed the nation on television late Wednesday, saying that "an act of indescribable barbarity has just been committed today in Paris,” but insisting that "no act of barbarity will ever extinguish freedom of the press."

    He said several other terror plots had been foiled in recent weeks. "We were being threatened because we are a country of freedom," he said. "And because we are a country of freedom, we will fight against these threats and we will punish the aggressors."

    He said, “Today, [the slain journalists] are our heroes. And that is why tomorrow will be a day of national mourning, a decreed day. At 12 o'clock there will be a moment of contemplation in all public services."

    France last year reinforced its anti-terrorism laws and was already on alert after calls from Islamist militants to attack its citizens and interests in reprisal for French military strikes on Islamist strongholds in the Middle East and Africa.

    Hassen Chalghoumi, imam of the Drancy mosque in the north Paris suburb of  Seine-Saint-Denis, said of the attack, "I am extremely angry. These are criminals, barbarians. They have sold their soul to hell. This is not freedom. This is not Islam, and I hope the French will come out united at the end of this."

    Chalghoumi said of the gunmen: “We must be firm with them, because they want terror, they want racism, they want to pit people against each other.”

    The imam of one of France's major cities, Bordeaux, urged Muslims to take to the streets in protest of the Paris attack, calling it "almost an act
    of war." Tareq Oubrou said after meeting Pope Francis at the Vatican on Wednesday that the attack on "Charlie Hebdo" was "tantamount to what September 11 meant to America."

    Wednesday's public protest in Paris occurred at the Place de la Republique. Agathe Bayeurte was there with her mother, Catherine.

    Bayeurte said France was a country where people could say what they think, and that she was there to defend that right.

    Retired history professor Francois Mareschal arrived at the rally clasping an old copy of "Charlie Hebdo."  The satirical weekly may have been targeted for mocking Islam, but Mareschal was holding an old edition that mocked Christianity.

    Mareschal said he joined many in Paris in denouncing fundamentalism in all its forms. The assailants, he said, had killed some of the best cartoonists in France.

    U.S., world reaction

    The White House strongly condemned the attack.

    "France and the great city of Paris where this outrageous attack took place offer the world a timeless example that will endure well beyond the hateful vision of these killers," President Barack Obama said, adding that America's thoughts and prayers were with the victims of the terrorist attack.

    The White House said Obama had directed the administration to provide any assistance needed "to help bring these terrorists to justice."

    Watch related video report by VOA's Sharon Behn

    World Leaders, Others, Condemn Attack On Charlie Hebdoi
    X
    Sharon Behn
    January 07, 2015 11:55 PM
    World leaders and free speech supporters from around the world swiftly condemned Wednesday's attack on the French satirical publication Charlie Hebdo, that left nine journalists and two policemen dead, and a number of others wounded. The weekly newspaper, which often targeted the world's religions for satire, had published cartoons of the Muslim Prophet Muhammad. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.

    In a joint appearance with Polish Foreign Minister Grzegorz Schetyna, Secretary of State John Kerry condemned the Paris attack, saying, "Each and every American stands with you today."

    Kerry said the U.S. stood with France in "solidarity and commitment" in "confronting extremism."

    He also addressed the people of France in French.

    Schetyna said his country was "deeply touched" by the attack, saying, "We stand together with France today."

    British Prime Minister David Cameron said the attack was "sickening," while German Chancellor Angela Merkel called it "despicable.”

    “This abominable act is not only an attack on the lives of French citizens and their security. It is also an attack on freedom of speech and the press, core elements of our free democratic culture," Merkel said.

    Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi paid his respects to the French ambassador in Rome. He called the Paris shooting an attack against the free world.

    Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott called the attack a "horrific atrocity" but said more like it could be expected because Islamic State militants had declared war on the world.

    European Union foreign ministers will discuss the fight against terrorism at their next meeting.

    "The fight against terrorism, in all its forms, is regularly at the heart of the work of [EU] foreign ministers' meetings. These tragic events reinforce my determination in this sense, and I will put this point on the agenda for the next foreign ministers' meeting on January 19," EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said in a statement.

    U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said such violence should be a unifying force.

    "This horrific attack is meant to divide; we must not fall into that trap. This is a moment for solidarity around the world. We must stand strong for freedom of expression and tolerance and stand against forces of division and hate," he said.

    Watch related video report by VOA's Jeff Custer:

    12 Dead in Paris Terror Attacki
    X
    Jeff Custer
    January 07, 2015 5:06 PM
    At least 12 people are dead in Paris in an attack on the offices of the satirical weekly paper Charlie Hebdo. VOA's Jeff Custer reports

    The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists described the attack as a brazen assault on free expression.

    The scale of the violence is appalling,” said CPJ Deputy Director Robert Mahoney. “Journalists must now stand together to send the message that such murderous attempts to silence us will not stand.”

    The U.N. Security Council condemned the "barbaric and cowardly terrorist attack" at the Paris weekly's offices and called for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.

    "The members of the Security Council strongly condemned this intolerable terrorist act targeting journalists and a newspaper," the 15-member council said in a statement.

    U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein joined a global chorus of condemnation against the "hideous crime," in Paris. But while calling for the arrest and punishment of those responsible, Zeid cautioned against reacting with "discrimination and prejudice" against a wider group.

    Eyewitness accounts

    Upon entering the building, two gunmen headed straight for the paper's editor, Charbonnier, killing him and his police bodyguard first, Christophe Crepin, a police union spokesman, told The Associated Press.

    A journalist from a press agency located just across the street described the scene to French radio, saying many shots were fired from Kalashnikov rifles. He then saw two armed and masked people leaving the building.

    After fleeing into the street, the gunmen exchanged fire with officers in the first police car to respond to emergency calls and with two policemen on mountain bikes before firing repeatedly at a second patrol car.

    The eyewitness said he heard yelling and shots being fired on the street, and that police and emergency services arrived a few minutes later.

    Amateur video filmed from a nearby rooftop showed a gunman walking up to a wounded policeman, who had staggered from the car to a nearby sidewalk, and shooting him dead point-blank.

    The gunmen drove off toward northeastern Paris. They collided with a motorist before abandoning their car on a busy square and hijacking another vehicle as they escaped into the northern suburbs.

    Wednesday's attack is considered one of the worst terrorist attacks on French soil in decades.

    Late last year, a man shouting “Allahu Akbar” injured 13 people by ramming a vehicle into a crowd in the eastern city of Dijon. In 2012, seven people were killed in attacks that targeted French soldiers and Jewish civilians. In 1995, a series of attacks were carried out, including a commuter train bombing that killed eight and injured 150.

    'Charlie Hebdo' supporters

    Thousands of people took to Facebook and Twitter in support of the publication, saying freedom of expression must be defended.

    "Charlie Hebdo's" offices were firebombed in 2011 after it published an issue poking fun at the Muslim prophet.

    Muslims also denounced the weekly for later publishing a series of crude comics of the prophet.

    Wednesday's shooting coincided with the launch of a controversial French book depicting France's election of its first Muslim president. "Charlie Hebdo" has featured the cover of the book, "Submission," on its cover.

    Meanwhile, Danish media group JP/Politikens Hus, whose newspaper Jyllands-Posten published cartoons in 2005 depicting the Prophet Muhammed,  increased its security level because of the Paris shooting, an internal email showed.

    Jyllands-Posten's publishing of the cartoons sparked a wave of protests across the Muslim world in which at least 50 died.

    Victoria Macchi contributed to this report from Washington. Some material for this report came from Reuters and AFP.

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    by: Marcus Aurelius II from: NJ USA
    January 08, 2015 10:45 PM
    All of Europe's chickens are coming home to roost....and all at the same time. What a show folks, what a show. Only don't get too close. It's very unstable, very unpredictable. Almost anything can happen so keep a safe distance....and get ready to run like hell.

    by: Marcus Aurelius II from: NJ USA
    January 08, 2015 8:02 PM
    12 people killed by Islamic terrorists. In many Moslem countries in the Mideast that would be considered a slow day.

    by: Tony Suzy from: Nigeria
    January 08, 2015 1:37 AM
    This is so sad that a human who wants to live would kill another. What can I say. RIP to the dead. God help us
    In Response

    by: Jim
    January 08, 2015 6:12 AM
    And? I'm not really sure how this is any different to any other shoot out in Paris, it seem to be somehow hysterical due to political interest.

    by: Maha from: Saudi Arabia
    January 08, 2015 12:29 AM
    God I hate these vicious murderers and I hope they catch them sooner better than later and put them away forever!
    These horrible extremist monsters are evil in our countries and now they are everywhere. These evil doers know no race or relgion and you can see the policeman killed was Muslim but they killed him too. This tells you what they are. They kill people based on their ill agenda that no sane person gets. I am so deeply sorry for all the French society. We love you so much and it saddens us to see this happen. My sincere prayers to the victims and their families

    by: williweb from: Phoenix Arizona USA
    January 07, 2015 10:50 PM
    Napalm Raqqa! That would be a fitting symbolic gesture for these muslim psychopaths to ponder. Drop flyers to make sure they knew French planes took part.

    by: LOLouder from: New York
    January 07, 2015 10:26 PM
    Once again the world leaders huff and puff...and do nothing.

    The unnecessary deaths of 12 people is bad enough. But what about the daily enforced rape of hundreds of prepubescent girls (and thousands of teens) by ISIS fighters (as plunder of war).

    Surely this alone is a good enough reason to seriously attack and destroy ISIS!

    Where are the annoying, noisy politician opportunists, moralists and feminists and all those who profit from the over-developed "child abuse" hysteria of USA and other anglo countries.

    HYPOCRITES! Your silence is deafening. Shame on you all!

    by: Marcus Aurelius II from: NJ USA
    January 07, 2015 10:18 PM
    France hasn't had its 9-11 moment yet. Maybe if they blow up the Eiffel Tower the French will wake up. Is that what it takes to get them out of the cafes?

    by: Marcus Aurelius II from: NJ USA
    January 07, 2015 10:00 PM
    Thousands of Parisians marched in a candle light vigil. All they left out was singing Kumbaya, Kumbaya. Islamic terrorists watching this must be laughing their asses off at them.

    by: Roger Ramstein from: London
    January 07, 2015 10:00 PM
    France allowed muslims into the country and continues to allow them in. When will France and the rest of Europe stand up to the leftist diatribe regards refugees. They should stay in their own country and should be immediately returned upon arrival in Europe. Stop the boats - stop the terrorists. If Europe continues on this route it will have a really serious problem - far more serious than the present one. It will ferment war and the public will once again back a final solution. This act in Paris was an act of war - nothing less. France now needs to act. No muslim who has been involved in the ME conflicts should ever be allowed to return and if they do so they should be permanently imprisoned.

    by: Marcus Aurelius II from: NJ USA
    January 07, 2015 9:58 PM
    Britain sold out Czechoslovakia to Hitler and was attacked by the Nazis. France sold out Israel to Hamas at the UN last week and was attacked by Islamic terrorists. Same principle, same result. Europe doesn't seem to learn.
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