(Paris, France — January 7, 2015) – Masked gunmen attacked the offices of French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo today, killing at least 12 and injuring an unknown number in this increasingly xenophobic country.
While the motive for the attack may appear unclear at this time, the three alleged perpetrators – Said Kouachi (34), Chérif Kouachi (32), and Hamyd Mourad (18) – proclaimed “We killed Charlie Hebdo!” as they fled, leaving no doubt about their intentions.
The weekly Charlie Hebdo began publishing in 1969, only to fold in 1981 and resume again in 1992, now faces an unknown publishing schedule.
“Since they killed our editor [Stephane Charbonnier], I really don’t know if we’ll be publishing next week’s issue,” said a Charlie Hebdo staffer, speaking on condition of anonymity. “Obviously, we’ve got other priorities at the moment.”
Some witnesses claimed to have heard the assailants screaming “Alahu Akbar!” during the attack. The phrase “Alahu Akbar” is often used by Islamic Fundamentalist terrorists and means “God is Great” in English.
Additionally, other witnesses said the assailants yelled, “We have avenged the prophet.” Charlie Hebdo often lambastes religions and religious figures – including the prophet Muhammad.
But neither of these conclusively proves that Islamic Fundamentalist terrorists were responsible for the attack.
“Would my telling you that some witnesses hearing the shooters say ‘We are Islamic Fundamentalist terrorists’ help convince you?” asked a French investigator, speaking on condition of anonymity.
But no credible claims of responsibility had yet been received at press time.
“We did hear from AQIC [Al-Qaeda in Cognito],” said a French investigator, speaking on condition of anonymity. “But they’re a paper tiger, and they often take credit for things they didn’t do. They just like to say that.”
For its part, the United States has pledged support both to the French government and the French people.
“Just because they didn’t back the 2003 invasion of Iraq doesn’t mean we still hate their guts,” said a State Department spokesman, speaking on condition of anonymity.
As for France’s response to its deadliest terror attack in 20 years, officials here are bracing for even more xenophobic behavior and demands from its citizens. Anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic sentiments have been increasing here for years.
“We may even choose to reinstate the Maginot Line,” said a French government official, speaking on condition of anonymity. “Just because it didn’t work in 1940 doesn’t mean it won’t work now.”
Other globally-known satirical publications were put on high alert. The Onion dismissed its staff early, and there’s no word if they will report to work tomorrow.
The world-renowned FLATLINEgov chose to ignore high alert status and will continue publishing as usual.
“We fundamentally don’t bow to the pressure of [Islamic or Christian] Fundamentalists,” said a spokesman for FLATLINEgov‘s publisher, the Sick Bird Publishing Company, speaking on condition of anonymity. “And that’s a fundamental truth.”