Paris: Paris was put on the highest terrorist alert after France’s worst attack in decades killed at least 12 people in shootings at the office of satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo in the city’s east.
France Info radio also said police had confirmed a toll of 10 dead and five injured. Reuters had no immediate official confirmation of deaths. Reuters quoting the news channel quoted a witness as saying he saw the incident from a building nearby in the heart of the French capital.
Emergency Cabinet meeting called in France
“France is in a state of shock after this terrorist attack,” French President Francois Hollande told reporters. “An act of exceptional barbarity has been perpetrated against a newspaper, against liberty of expression, against journalists.” His government raised France’s security level to the highest notch and scheduled an emergency cabinet meeting.
The attackers are on the run, he said. All potential terrorist targets have been put under the highest protection, Hollande said, adding that several possible incidents have been foiled in recent weeks.
France’s last major terrorist violence came in 1995, when eight bombings struck public places between July and October, including the Saint Michel metro station in the heart of Paris. Bombs also exploded in the Place de l’Etoile in Paris. In all, eight were killed and about 200 were injured. They were blamed on an Algerian rebel group.
The gunmen fled towards the eastern Paris suburbs after holding up a car, police officials said.
Most of today’s victims were part of the magazine’s newsroom, said Matthieu Lamarre, a spokesman for the Paris mayor’s office. At least one of the dead is a police officer, he said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has tweeted condemning the killing at Charlie Hebdo. “Condemnable & despicable attack in Paris. Our solidarity with people of France. My thoughts are with families of those who lost their lives,” the PM tweeted.