AS politicians and religious leaders across Europe and the world
expressed their shock at the attack on the French magazine
Charlie Hebdo, police brought two hostage sieges involving
suspects linked to the massacre to an end.
Two men, named by the French authorities as brothers Chérif and
Saïd Kouachi, were chased across Paris following the shooting on
Wednesday and were cornered inside an industrial estate in the
commuter town of Dammartin-en-Goële, north-east of the capital.
They took one person hostage.
On Friday afternoon around 6 p.m. local time police stormed the
building, which ended in the deaths of both brothers. Some reports
said that the hostage they had taken had been freed alive by the
police action, but this had not been officially confirmed.
Separately, another man attacked a kosher supermarket in eastern
Paris and also took hostages. Shots were fired, and the AFP agency
is reporting two people may have been killed. The gunman was
believed to also be responsible for shooting dead a policewoman
yesterday in Montrouge, south of the city centre.
Minutes after the security forces stormed the industrial estate,
armed police rushed into the supermarket. The gunman was killed but
the fate of the hostages was unclear. Unconfirmed reports by French
media and news agencies suggested some of the civilians inside the
shop may have died.
Jewish businesses in the area had been told to close and schools
and businesses close to the supermarket are being evacuated by the
Responding to the latest developments, the president of Israel,
Benjamin Netanyahu ordered that Israeli embassies tighten their
security. In a statement earlier on Friday, he said: "My message,
in Paris, in Jerusalem, anywhere: first rule in fighting terrorism
is to refuse to be afraid." His foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman
said that the attacks were not just against the French or French
Jews but against "the entire free world".
The British Chief Rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis said on Twitter that he
was hoping "this Shabbat [will] see a peaceful end to the dramas
unfolding in Paris". On Wednesday, he has issued a statement saying
he had found cartoons published in Charlie Hebdo
offensive, but this did not diminish his "outrage" at the
The President of France, Francois Hollande, speaking outside the
offices shortly after the attack, said: "This is an act of
exceptional barbarism. Nobody in France should think that they can
behave against the principle of the Republic and harm the spirit of
the Republic, embodied by a newspaper."
The Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, described the victims as
"martyrs of liberty". On Wednesday evening tens of thousands of
Parisians gathered in the city's Place de la Republique in protest
against the killings. Many carried candles or posters which
declared "Je suis Charlie". Other vigils were held across
France and around the world, including in London's Trafalgar
President Hollande has organised a rally in Paris on Sunday to
demonstrate "national unity". David Cameron has said he has
accepted an invitation to attend the demonstration, writing on
Twitter that he wanted to celebrate the values
behind Charlie Hebdo.
The Archbishop of Canterbury released a statement on Wednesday
evening, in both French and English, urging the French to come
together after the "vile attack".
"This is an act of the most extraordinary brutality and
barbarity. This violence is demonic in its attack on the innocent,
and cowardly in its denial of the basic human right of freedom of
"The people of France, a country in which I have lived, which I
know and love, will rise courageously above
the challenge of this vile attack and continue to
demonstrate strength and confidence arising out of their great
history," he said.
"Our prayers and thoughts are especially with those
who have been killed and injured and their families. I pray
also for those involved in pursuing the terrorists."
The Queen wrote to President Hollande: "Prince Philip and I send
our sincere condolences to the families of those who have been
killed and to those who have been injured in the attack in Paris. .
. We send our thoughts and prayers to all those who have been
On Twitter, David Cameron wrote: "The murders in Paris are
sickening. We stand with the French people in the fight against
terror and defending the freedom of the press."
Witnesses have told news agencies that they heard the men say:
"We have avenged the Prophet Muhammad". In one amateur video of the
attack they can be heard shouting "Allahu Akbar" ("God is greatest"
Charlie Hebdo has frequently poked fun at Islamist
extremists, and was firebombed in 2011 after it printed a
caricature of Muhammad. The last tweet sent before the attack was a
cartoon of the leader of Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
The French authorities ordered extra security for places of
worship, newspapers, and shopping centres in the aftermath of the
attack. France's terror alert was raised to its highest level, and
soldiers were deployed on the streets in Paris in public
The American Cathedral in Paris was closed after the
announcement that France had been put on its highest terror alert.
The Dean, the Very Revd Lucinda Laird, wrote on the cathedral's
website: "We are all in shock and grief following today's brutal
shootings at Charlie Hebdo. I do want you to know
that everything is normal here at the Cathedral, although we are of
course on the alert."
The presiding Bishop of the Convocation of Episocopal Churches
in Europe, the Rt Revd Pierre Whalon, said in a statement on
Thursday that the terrorists had been trying to divide people, but
"Certainly, Charlie Hebdo is adept at satirizing
religion, including my own. This is their right. Freedom of
expression is the only guarantor of liberty, including the freedom
of worship, however."
Bishop Whalon also praised Muslim leaders who had been quick to
condemn the attack. "Among them was Imam Hassen Chalghoumi, whom I
have known and admired for many years. I join with him in deploring
this ungodly attack 'unworthy of Islam', and echo his call not to
confuse Muslims with the 'criminals' who perpetrated this vile
act." He ended his statement with an expression of solidarity with
the satirical magazine: "We are all Charlie".
Speaking to the Reuters news agency at the scene of the attack
Mr Chalghoumi said of the gunmen: "We must be firm with them,
because they want terror, they want racism, they want to pit people
against each other."
A group of French imams were attending Pope Francis's general
audience in St Peter's Square, Rome, on the morning of the attack.
The Daily Telegraph reported that the imams called the tragedy "a
vile attack, criminal and unpardonable". A Vatican spokesman, Fr
Ciro Benedettini, described it as a "double act of violence:
abominable, because it is both an attack against people as well as
against freedom of the press".
Speaking shortly after the attack, the Chaplain of St George's,
Paris, the Revd Matthew Harrison, said that he hoped that the
French would not fall into the trap of blaming peaceful
"These people are terrorists; so the first danger is the danger
of fear. They get their ends, which is to put fear and terror into
people. There is also, maybe, a risk of increasing that situation
[of demonising Islam].
"These people weren't just attacking journalists: there will be
many other people they want to attack as well - maybe even Western
society as a whole. But most of the people killed by extremist
Islamic violence are fellow Muslims. We have got to remember
A spokesman for the RC Bishops' Conference of France, Mgr
Olivier Ribadeau Dumas, said that "nothing can justify" the
Manchester Cathedral has set up a special prayer station to
remember the 12 who were killed in the attack.
A statement from the European Council of Religious Leaders
(ECRL) condemned the atrocity as "an attack on humanity itself."
"ECRL condemn without reservation this extreme violent act,
especially if the perpetrators claim to be protecting the honour of
their religion or their religious values," it continued.
The editor of Private Eye, Ian Hislop, said on
Wednesday that he was appalled and shocked. "I offer my condolences
to the families and friends of those killed - the cartoonists,
journalists and those who were trying to protect them. They paid a
very high price for exercising their comic liberty. Very little
seems funny today."
Speaking in 2012, one of the magazine's journalists, Laurent
Leger, said: "The aim is to laugh. We want to laugh at the
extremists - every extremist. They can be Muslim, Jewish, Catholic.
Everyone can be religious, but extremist thoughts and acts we