10 things to know about the Charlie Hebdo shooting

Posted at 12:29 PM, Jan 07, 2015
and last updated 2015-01-07 16:39:28-05

Black-clad gunmen stormed the offices of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris on Wednesday, killing 12.

Here are 10 things to know about the attack:

  • Charlie Hebdo is a satirical newspaper started in 1969. From 1981-1992, the newspaper was out of publication. It restarted in 1992.
  • The newspaper published cartoons lampooning Muslim Prophet Muhammad in 2011, and the publication’s building has since been firebombed twice.
  • The newspaper's last tweet before the attack mocked Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the militant Islamic State. Islamic State recently called for "lone wolf" attacks on French soil. The cartoon image of al-Baghdadi includes a caption of a New Year's greeting. In France, it is common to extend New Year's greetings through the month of January. Translation: "Best wishes. To you too, Al-Baghdadi." Al-Baghdadi is depicted as replying: "And especially good health." 


  • Charlie Hebdo's recent cartoons and headlines concerning Islam are in line with what the paper has published in the past, including cartoons lampooning French political figures as well as Christian groups. Charlie Hebdo is part of a French journalism tradition going back to the scandal sheets that denounced Marie-Antoinette in the run-up to the French Revolution.

    The tradition combines left-wing radicalism with a provocative scurrility that often borders on the obscene, according tothe BBC.

  • Twelve people were killed, including four well-known cartoonists and two police officers. Eight others were injured, four critically. The attackers opened fire with assault rifles in the office and exchanged shots with police in the street outside before escaping by car. They later abandoned the car in Rue de Meaux, northern Paris and hijacked a second car.
  • One cartoonist killed in the attack was on al-Qaeda's most wanted list, according to The Telegraph. Stéphane Charbonnier, the Charlie Hebdo publishing director and cartoonist known as Charb, lived under police protection.


  • French President Francoise Hollande has called the shooting a terrorist attack of "exceptional barbarity." Witnesses at the scene reported hearing the shooters yelling "Allah Akbar!" (God is great!) and "We have avenged the prophet!" No specific group has yet claimed responsibility for the shooting. Supporters of Islamic State and other jihadist groups have voiced approval online.
  • France's security level has been raised to "attack alert."
  • Three gunmen are on the loose. 
  • According to Time, at least 3,000 police officers are searching for the gunmen.