Twelve people were killed today when gunmen carried out a massacre at the offices of a notoriously anti-Islamist newspaper in Paris – including a police officer who was executed as he begged for mercy on the pavement.
Masked attackers brandishing Kalashnikovs burst into the Charlie Hebdo headquarters, opening fire on staff after seeking out journalists by name. Clad all in black with hoods and speaking flawless French, the militants forced one of the cartoonists – who was at the office with her young daughter – to open the door. Witnesses said the suspected Al Qaeda gunmen were heard to shout ‘the Prophet has been avenged’ and ‘Allahu akbar!’ – Arabic for ‘God is great’ – as they stalked the building. They headed straight for the paper’s editor and cartoonist, Stephane Charbonnier, killing him and his police bodyguard, who had recruited to protect him following earlier threats.
They also killed three other renowned cartoonists – men who had regularly satirised Islam and the Prophet Mohammed – and the newspaper’s deputy chief editor. Horrific footage emerged showing an injured police officer slumped on the pavement as two gunmen approached him outside the office minutes later. In an apparent desperate plea for his life, the officer is seen slowly raising his hand towards one of the attackers, who responds by callously shooting him in the head at point-blank range. Despite a shoot-out with armed officers, the ‘calm and highly disciplined’ men were able to escape in a hijacked car and remain on the loose. (Source: Daily Mail, UK).