Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
World

12 People Dead After Attack On French Satirical Magazine

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

French police now say that they've identified the three men who committed mass murder today at a satirical weekly in Paris. This morning, the men, dressed all in black, entered the offices of Charlie Hebdo and shot 10 employees to death - among them, the editor-in-chief and some of France's most famous cartoonists. They also shot two police officers, and the attackers then escaped.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Charlie Hebdo has faced multiple threats from Muslim extremists angry over caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed. The weekly newspaper's offices were firebombed in 2011.

Today, French president Francois Hollande said our republic has been attacked. Here he is with translation from the BBC.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

PRESIDENT FRANCOIS HOLLANDE: (Through translator) These men, this woman, died for the idea they had of France, that there is freedom.

BLOCK: President Hollande declared tomorrow a day of national mourning. And this evening, people filled the streets of Paris and other European cities waving signs that read Je suis Charlie - or I am Charlie.

SIEGEL: For the latest on this story from Paris, we've reach reporter Jamey Keaten of the Associated Press. Welcome to the program. And tell us what you've been able to find out about who these three men were.

JAMEY KEATEN: Well, French police officials have told us that two brothers, whose names are Said Kouachi and Cherif Kouachi - who are men in their early 30s - and a young man named Hamyd Mourad, who's 18 years old, are their leading suspects at the moment.

SIEGEL: And, Cherif Kouachi, I gather, has a history with the police.

KEATEN: Yes. Cherif Kouachi actually was convicted in 2008 of terrorism charges for helping funnel fighters to Iraq's insurgency. And he was sentenced to 18 months in prison.

SIEGEL: Much has been made of what people have seen in the videos, the calm with which these gunmen seemed to go about their business. Suggesting they might have been trained militarily. Do we know if they actually fought in Iraq or Syria?

KEATEN: We're still working to confirm those details, but what we do know is, as you mentioned, in the video that we have seen from the shooting, these black clad shooters, these gunmen, proceeded very methodically in shooting a police - a French policeman. And even at one point, while they clambered back into a black car to get away, one of them appeared to toss what looked like a shoe into the car, very calmly, very coolly. And even some police and intelligences officials here have been noting how coolheaded these attackers appeared to be.

SIEGEL: The police have told you, the AP, who the suspects they're looking for are but they don't have them in custody, do they?

KEATEN: For the moment, they do not, as far as we know. There have been a number of police raids and actions around the Paris area from what I've been told. But for the moment, they have not detained the main suspects.

SIEGEL: Now, among the dead in this assault was the publication's editor-in-chief. We'll hear more about him in a moment. But just briefly, tell us a bit about the others who have been confirmed dead.

KEATEN: Right, so the - just to get a quick background on this newspaper - it's a satirical newspaper that is known for pillorying many different types of political leaders. It has repeatedly tweaked the Prophet Mohammed and Catholic religious leaders and others. And it's known particularly for its cartoons. So two of the cartoonists were shot as well - and killed - as well as the newspaper's editor, who was under police bodyguard because he had come under threats in the past.

SIEGEL: OK. Jamey Keaten, thanks a lot for updating us. That's reporter Jamey Keaten of The Associated Press in Paris, with the news again that the police have identified the three suspects they're looking for for the killings of those at Charlie Abdo. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.