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Charlie Hebdo Cover Artist to Leave Publication

FILE - The new chief editor of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, Gerard Biard (l), and Cartoonist Renald Luzier, known as Luz, leave after a press conference in Paris, France, Jan. 13, 2015.

The cartoonist who drew Islam's Prophet Mohammad for the cover of the French satirical Charlie Hebdo magazine, which was targeted for a mass shooting in January, says he is leaving the publication.

Cartoonist Renald Luzier, who is known professionally as "Luz," told the French newspaper Liberation Tuesday that he can no longer handle the pressure of drawing for Charlie Hebdo because of stress and staff shortages. He said since the attack he has drawn many of the cover illustrations because no one else is available to do it.

Luzier drew the illustration on the cover of the first issue of Charlie Hebdo after the shooting rampage at the magazine's Paris headquarters January 7. Two Islamic radicals entered the building and began a shooting in an attack that took the lives of 12 people, including several cartoonists and other staff members.

The first cover following the attack featured a drawing of the Prophet Muhammad holding a sign saying "I am Charlie." The caption for the drawing read "All is Forgiven."

The phrase "I am Charlie Hebdo" became a symbol of solidarity among those who sought to show support for the victims of the shooting, and for media freedom.

That issue of the magazine sold far more than its usual 60,000 copies, with the final print run topping out at eight million.

Luzier and other magazine staff members now live under police protection.

Starting with the attacks on Charlie Hebdo, the Islamic radicals responsible for the shootings began a three-day spree of violence in and around Paris that ended with 20 people dead.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.