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Charlie Hebdo: A nation's jesters murdered where they sat as they planned next publication

Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack: In pictures Close

The two gunmen brandishing assault rifles on a Paris street after their attack on the magazine offices

The two gunmen brandishing assault rifles on a Paris street after their attack on the magazine offices

French riot officers patrol in Longpont, north of Paris, France, Thursday, Jan. 8, 2015. Scattered gunfire and explosions shook France on Thursday as its frightened yet defiant citizens held a day of mourning for 12 people slain at a Paris newspaper. French police hunted down the two heavily armed brothers suspected in the massacre to make sure they don't strike again. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

French riot officers patrol in Longpont, north of Paris, France, Thursday, Jan. 8, 2015. Scattered gunfire and explosions shook France on Thursday as its frightened yet defiant citizens held a day of mourning for 12 people slain at a Paris newspaper. French police hunted down the two heavily armed brothers suspected in the massacre to make sure they don't strike again. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

AP

Masked gunman run towards a victim of their gun fire  outside the  French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo's office, in Paris, Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015.  (AP Photo)

Masked gunman run towards a victim of their gun fire outside the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo's office, in Paris, Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015. (AP Photo)

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Charlie Hebdo bloodbath: An injured person is evacuated outside the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo's office in Paris following a shooting at the French satirical newspaper. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

Charlie Hebdo bloodbath: An injured person is evacuated outside the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo's office in Paris following a shooting at the French satirical newspaper. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

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Said Kouachi (left) and Cherif Kouachi, the two prime suspects in the Paris terror attack

Said Kouachi (left) and Cherif Kouachi, the two prime suspects in the Paris terror attack

Mourners gather during a rally in support of Charlie Hebdo, a French satirical weekly newspaper that fell victim to an terrorist attack, Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015, at Union Square in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Mourners gather during a rally in support of Charlie Hebdo, a French satirical weekly newspaper that fell victim to an terrorist attack, Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015, at Union Square in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

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Mourners hold signs depicting victim's eyes during a rally in support of Charlie Hebdo, a French satirical weekly newspaper that fell victim to an terrorist attack, Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015, at Union Square in New York. French officials say 12 people were killed when masked gunmen stormed the Paris offices of the periodical that had caricatured the Prophet Muhammad. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Mourners hold signs depicting victim's eyes during a rally in support of Charlie Hebdo, a French satirical weekly newspaper that fell victim to an terrorist attack, Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015, at Union Square in New York. French officials say 12 people were killed when masked gunmen stormed the Paris offices of the periodical that had caricatured the Prophet Muhammad. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

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Mourners attend a rally in support of Charlie Hebdo, a French satirical weekly newspaper that fell victim to an terrorist attack, Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015, at Union Square in New York. French officials say 12 people were killed when masked gunmen stormed the Paris offices of the periodical that had caricatured the Prophet Muhammad. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Mourners attend a rally in support of Charlie Hebdo, a French satirical weekly newspaper that fell victim to an terrorist attack, Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015, at Union Square in New York. French officials say 12 people were killed when masked gunmen stormed the Paris offices of the periodical that had caricatured the Prophet Muhammad. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

AP

A man lights a candle during a demonstration in solidarity with those killed in an attack at the Paris offices of the weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo  in Kosovo capital Pristina, Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015. Masked gunmen stormed the the satirical newspaper methodically killing at least 12 people Wednesday, including the editor, before escaping in a car. It was France's deadliest postwar terrorist attack. (AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu)

A man lights a candle during a demonstration in solidarity with those killed in an attack at the Paris offices of the weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Kosovo capital Pristina, Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015. Masked gunmen stormed the the satirical newspaper methodically killing at least 12 people Wednesday, including the editor, before escaping in a car. It was France's deadliest postwar terrorist attack. (AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu)

AP

People gather at Union Square in reaction to the terrorist attack on French newspaper Charlie Hebdo on January 07, 2015 in New York City. Twelve people were killed, including two police officers, after gunmen opened fire at the offices of the French satirical publication Charlie Hebdo. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)

People gather at Union Square in reaction to the terrorist attack on French newspaper Charlie Hebdo on January 07, 2015 in New York City. Twelve people were killed, including two police officers, after gunmen opened fire at the offices of the French satirical publication Charlie Hebdo. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)

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People gather at Union Square in reaction to the terrorist attack on French newspaper Charlie Hebdo on January 07, 2015 in New York City. Twelve people were killed, including two police officers, after gunmen opened fire at the offices of the French satirical publication Charlie Hebdo. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)

People gather at Union Square in reaction to the terrorist attack on French newspaper Charlie Hebdo on January 07, 2015 in New York City. Twelve people were killed, including two police officers, after gunmen opened fire at the offices of the French satirical publication Charlie Hebdo. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)

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People hold a vigil at the Place de la Republique (Republic Square) for victims of the terrorist attack, on January 7, 2015  in Paris, France. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

People hold a vigil at the Place de la Republique (Republic Square) for victims of the terrorist attack, on January 7, 2015 in Paris, France. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

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People gather around candles and pens at the Place de la Republique (Republic square) in support of the victims after the terrorist attack earlier today on January 7, 2015 in Paris, France.   (Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images)

People gather around candles and pens at the Place de la Republique (Republic square) in support of the victims after the terrorist attack earlier today on January 7, 2015 in Paris, France. (Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images)

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A candle is lit near a paper with the written words "I am Charlie" in french at a vigil in front of the French Embassy following the terrorist attack in Paris on January 7, 2015 in Berlin, Germany. Twelve people were killed including two police officers as two gunmen opened fire at the offices of the French satirical publication Charlie Hebdo.  (Photo by Carsten Koall/Getty Images)

A candle is lit near a paper with the written words "I am Charlie" in french at a vigil in front of the French Embassy following the terrorist attack in Paris on January 7, 2015 in Berlin, Germany. Twelve people were killed including two police officers as two gunmen opened fire at the offices of the French satirical publication Charlie Hebdo. (Photo by Carsten Koall/Getty Images)

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PARIS, FRANCE - JANUARY 07:  A woman holds a candle during a gathering at the Place de la Republique (Republic square)  in support of the victims after the terrorist attack earlier today on January 7, 2015 in Paris, France. Twelve people were killed including two police officers as two gunmen opened fire at the offices of the French satirical publication Charlie Hebdo.  (Photo by Thierry Chesnot/Getty Images)

PARIS, FRANCE - JANUARY 07: A woman holds a candle during a gathering at the Place de la Republique (Republic square) in support of the victims after the terrorist attack earlier today on January 7, 2015 in Paris, France. Twelve people were killed including two police officers as two gunmen opened fire at the offices of the French satirical publication Charlie Hebdo. (Photo by Thierry Chesnot/Getty Images)

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LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 07:  People hold pens aloft during a vigil in Trafalgar Square for victims of the terrorist attack in Paris on January 7, 2015 in London, United Kingdom. Twelve people were killed including two police officers as two gunmen opened fire at the offices of the French satirical publication Charlie Hebdo.  (Photo by Rob Stothard/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 07: People hold pens aloft during a vigil in Trafalgar Square for victims of the terrorist attack in Paris on January 7, 2015 in London, United Kingdom. Twelve people were killed including two police officers as two gunmen opened fire at the offices of the French satirical publication Charlie Hebdo. (Photo by Rob Stothard/Getty Images)

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Ambulances gather in the street outside the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo's office, in Paris, Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015. Masked gunmen stormed the offices of a French satirical newspaper Wednesday, killing at least 11 people before escaping, police and a witness said. The weekly has previously drawn condemnation from Muslims. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

Ambulances gather in the street outside the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo's office, in Paris, Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015. Masked gunmen stormed the offices of a French satirical newspaper Wednesday, killing at least 11 people before escaping, police and a witness said. The weekly has previously drawn condemnation from Muslims. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

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Video footage appears to show two gunmen  shooting a policeman on the footpath outside the Paris office of Charlie Hebdo

Video footage appears to show two gunmen shooting a policeman on the footpath outside the Paris office of Charlie Hebdo

ADDS FULL NAME - FILE - In this Sept.19, 2012 file photo, Stephane Charbonnier also known as Charb , the publishing director of the satyric weekly Charlie Hebdo, displays the front page of the newspaper as he poses for photographers in Paris. Masked gunmen shouting Allahu akbar! stormed the Paris offices of a satirical newspaper Wednesday Jan.7, 2015, killing 12 people including Charb, before escaping. It was France's deadliest terror attack in at least two decades.  (AP Photo/Michel Euler, File)

ADDS FULL NAME - FILE - In this Sept.19, 2012 file photo, Stephane Charbonnier also known as Charb , the publishing director of the satyric weekly Charlie Hebdo, displays the front page of the newspaper as he poses for photographers in Paris. Masked gunmen shouting Allahu akbar! stormed the Paris offices of a satirical newspaper Wednesday Jan.7, 2015, killing 12 people including Charb, before escaping. It was France's deadliest terror attack in at least two decades. (AP Photo/Michel Euler, File)

AP

French soldiers patrols next to the Eiffel Tower after a shooting at a French satirical newspaper, in Paris, France, Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015. France reinforced security at houses of worship, stores, media offices and transportation after masked gunmen stormed the offices of a French satirical newspaper Wednesday, killing at least 11 people before escaping, police and a witness said. The weekly has previously drawn condemnation from Muslims. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

French soldiers patrols next to the Eiffel Tower after a shooting at a French satirical newspaper, in Paris, France, Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015. France reinforced security at houses of worship, stores, media offices and transportation after masked gunmen stormed the offices of a French satirical newspaper Wednesday, killing at least 11 people before escaping, police and a witness said. The weekly has previously drawn condemnation from Muslims. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

AP

Forensic officers at the scene at a police station on Montrose Street in Clydebank, Scotland, where a woman apparently set herself on fire. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday January 7, 2015. The incident happened in a public area of the police office and she is believed to have suffered burns and was taken to Glasgow Royal Infirmary by ambulance. See PA story POLICE Woman. Photo credit should read: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

Forensic officers at the scene at a police station on Montrose Street in Clydebank, Scotland, where a woman apparently set herself on fire. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday January 7, 2015. The incident happened in a public area of the police office and she is believed to have suffered burns and was taken to Glasgow Royal Infirmary by ambulance. See PA story POLICE Woman. Photo credit should read: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

PA

Screen grabbed image taken from Instagram of posts featuring #JeSuisCharlie as social media users showed their support for satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo following today's bloody attack in France. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Wednesday January 7, 2015. A Twitter campaign pledging support to the victims and the French magazine had already gained traction within moments of the first #JeSuisCharlie hashtag being posted. See PA story POLICE Magazine SocialMedia. Photo credit should read: Instagram/PA Wire

NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.

Screen grabbed image taken from Instagram of posts featuring #JeSuisCharlie as social media users showed their support for satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo following today's bloody attack in France. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Wednesday January 7, 2015. A Twitter campaign pledging support to the victims and the French magazine had already gained traction within moments of the first #JeSuisCharlie hashtag being posted. See PA story POLICE Magazine SocialMedia. Photo credit should read: Instagram/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.

PA

People stand outside the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo's office after a shooting, in Paris, Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015. Masked gunmen stormed the offices of a French satirical newspaper Wednesday, killing at least 11 people before escaping, police and a witness said. The weekly has previously drawn condemnation from Muslims. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

People stand outside the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo's office after a shooting, in Paris, Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015. Masked gunmen stormed the offices of a French satirical newspaper Wednesday, killing at least 11 people before escaping, police and a witness said. The weekly has previously drawn condemnation from Muslims. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

AP

Police officers arrive at the scene after gunmen stormed a French newspaper, killing at least 12 peoplet, in Paris, France, Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015. Masked gunmen stormed the offices of a French satirical newspaper Wednesday, killing at least 11 people before escaping, police and a witness said. The weekly has previously drawn condemnation from Muslims. (AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere)

Police officers arrive at the scene after gunmen stormed a French newspaper, killing at least 12 peoplet, in Paris, France, Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015. Masked gunmen stormed the offices of a French satirical newspaper Wednesday, killing at least 11 people before escaping, police and a witness said. The weekly has previously drawn condemnation from Muslims. (AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere)

AP

People hold up pens and posters reading 'I am Charlie' in French as they take part in a vigil of people, including many who were French, to show solidarity with those killed in an attack at the Paris offices of weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo, in Trafalgar Square, London, Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015. Masked gunmen stormed the Paris offices of a weekly newspaper that caricatured the Prophet Muhammad, methodically killing 12 people Wednesday, including the editor, before escaping in a car. It was France's deadliest postwar terrorist attack. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

People hold up pens and posters reading 'I am Charlie' in French as they take part in a vigil of people, including many who were French, to show solidarity with those killed in an attack at the Paris offices of weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo, in Trafalgar Square, London, Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015. Masked gunmen stormed the Paris offices of a weekly newspaper that caricatured the Prophet Muhammad, methodically killing 12 people Wednesday, including the editor, before escaping in a car. It was France's deadliest postwar terrorist attack. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

AP

A French soldier patrols at the Montparnasse railway station in Paris, France, Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015. France reinforced security at houses of worship, stores, media offices and transportation after masked gunmen stormed the offices of a French satirical newspaper Wednesday, killing at least 11 people before escaping, police and a witness said. The weekly has previously drawn condemnation from Muslims. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

A French soldier patrols at the Montparnasse railway station in Paris, France, Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015. France reinforced security at houses of worship, stores, media offices and transportation after masked gunmen stormed the offices of a French satirical newspaper Wednesday, killing at least 11 people before escaping, police and a witness said. The weekly has previously drawn condemnation from Muslims. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

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French forensic experts and Police officers examine evidence outside the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo's office, in Paris, Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015. Masked gunmen stormed the offices of a French satirical newspaper Wednesday, killing at least 12 people before escaping, police and a witness said. The weekly has previously drawn condemnation from Muslims. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

French forensic experts and Police officers examine evidence outside the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo's office, in Paris, Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015. Masked gunmen stormed the offices of a French satirical newspaper Wednesday, killing at least 12 people before escaping, police and a witness said. The weekly has previously drawn condemnation from Muslims. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

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Forensic experts examine the car believed to have been used as the escape vehicle by gunmen who attacked the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo's office, in Paris, France, Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015. Masked gunmen stormed the offices of a French satirical newspaper Wednesday, killing at least 11 people before escaping, police and a witness said. The weekly has previously drawn condemnation from Muslims. (AP Photo)

Forensic experts examine the car believed to have been used as the escape vehicle by gunmen who attacked the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo's office, in Paris, France, Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015. Masked gunmen stormed the offices of a French satirical newspaper Wednesday, killing at least 11 people before escaping, police and a witness said. The weekly has previously drawn condemnation from Muslims. (AP Photo)

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A bullet impact is seen in a window of a building next to the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo's office, in Paris, Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015.  Masked gunmen shouting "Allahu akbar!" stormed the Paris offices of a satirical newspaper Wednesday, killing at least 12 people, including the paper's editor, before escaping in a getaway car.  (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

A bullet impact is seen in a window of a building next to the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo's office, in Paris, Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015. Masked gunmen shouting "Allahu akbar!" stormed the Paris offices of a satirical newspaper Wednesday, killing at least 12 people, including the paper's editor, before escaping in a getaway car. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

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People hug each other outside the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo's office, in Paris, Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015. Masked gunmen stormed the offices of a French satirical newspaper Wednesday, killing at least 11 people before escaping, police and a witness said. The weekly has previously drawn condemnation from Muslims. (AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere)

People hug each other outside the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo's office, in Paris, Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015. Masked gunmen stormed the offices of a French satirical newspaper Wednesday, killing at least 11 people before escaping, police and a witness said. The weekly has previously drawn condemnation from Muslims. (AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere)

AP

French soldiers patrols at the Eiffel Tower after a shooting at a French satirical newspaper, in Paris, France, Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015. France reinforced security at houses of worship, stores, media offices and transportation after masked gunmen stormed the offices of a French satirical newspaper Wednesday, killing at least 11 people before escaping, police and a witness said. The weekly has previously drawn condemnation from Muslims. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

French soldiers patrols at the Eiffel Tower after a shooting at a French satirical newspaper, in Paris, France, Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015. France reinforced security at houses of worship, stores, media offices and transportation after masked gunmen stormed the offices of a French satirical newspaper Wednesday, killing at least 11 people before escaping, police and a witness said. The weekly has previously drawn condemnation from Muslims. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

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French President Francois Hollande, center, flanked with security forces gestures, as he arrives outside the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo's office, in Paris, Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015. Masked gunmen stormed the offices of a French satirical newspaper Wednesday, killing at least 11 people before escaping, police and a witness said. The weekly has previously drawn condemnation from Muslims. (AP Photo/Remy De La Mauviniere)

French President Francois Hollande, center, flanked with security forces gestures, as he arrives outside the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo's office, in Paris, Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015. Masked gunmen stormed the offices of a French satirical newspaper Wednesday, killing at least 11 people before escaping, police and a witness said. The weekly has previously drawn condemnation from Muslims. (AP Photo/Remy De La Mauviniere)

AP

An injured person is transported to an ambulance after a shooting, at the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo's office, in Paris, Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015. Masked gunmen stormed the offices of a French satirical newspaper Wednesday, killing at least 11 people before escaping, police and a witness said. The weekly has previously drawn condemnation from Muslims. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

An injured person is transported to an ambulance after a shooting, at the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo's office, in Paris, Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015. Masked gunmen stormed the offices of a French satirical newspaper Wednesday, killing at least 11 people before escaping, police and a witness said. The weekly has previously drawn condemnation from Muslims. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

AP

Signs saying 'Je suis Charlie' are held up as crowds gather at 'Place de la Republique' for a vigil following the terrorist attack on January 7, 2015 in Paris

Signs saying 'Je suis Charlie' are held up as crowds gather at 'Place de la Republique' for a vigil following the terrorist attack on January 7, 2015 in Paris

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PARIS, FRANCE - JANUARY 07: People hold signs saying 'Je suis Charlie' as crowds gather at 'Place de la Republique' for a vigil following the terrorist attack earlier today on January 7, 2015 in Paris, France. Twelve people were killed, including two police officers, as two gunmen opened fire at the offices of the French satirical publication Charlie Hebdo.  (Photo by Marc Piasecki/Getty Images)

PARIS, FRANCE - JANUARY 07: People hold signs saying 'Je suis Charlie' as crowds gather at 'Place de la Republique' for a vigil following the terrorist attack earlier today on January 7, 2015 in Paris, France. Twelve people were killed, including two police officers, as two gunmen opened fire at the offices of the French satirical publication Charlie Hebdo. (Photo by Marc Piasecki/Getty Images)

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BARCELONA, SPAIN - JANUARY 07:  People light candles on a Charlie Hebdo Magazine during a gathering of people showing their support for the victims of the terrorist attack at French magazine Charlie Hebdo, in front of the Consulate of France on January 7, 2015 in Barcelona, Spain. Twelve people were killed, including two police officers, as two gunmen opened fire at the magazine offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris, France.   (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

BARCELONA, SPAIN - JANUARY 07: People light candles on a Charlie Hebdo Magazine during a gathering of people showing their support for the victims of the terrorist attack at French magazine Charlie Hebdo, in front of the Consulate of France on January 7, 2015 in Barcelona, Spain. Twelve people were killed, including two police officers, as two gunmen opened fire at the magazine offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris, France. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

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BARCELONA, SPAIN - JANUARY 07:  People hold pencils up during a gathering of people showing their support for the victims of the terrorist attack at French magazine Charlie Hebdo, in front of the Consulate of France on January 7, 2015 in Barcelona, Spain. Twelve people were killed, including two police officers, as two gunmen opened fire at the magazine offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris, France.   (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

BARCELONA, SPAIN - JANUARY 07: People hold pencils up during a gathering of people showing their support for the victims of the terrorist attack at French magazine Charlie Hebdo, in front of the Consulate of France on January 7, 2015 in Barcelona, Spain. Twelve people were killed, including two police officers, as two gunmen opened fire at the magazine offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris, France. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

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BARCELONA, SPAIN - JANUARY 07:  People gather showing their support for the victims of the terrorist attack at French magazine Charlie Hebdo, in front of the Consulate of France on January 7, 2015 in Barcelona, Spain. Twelve people were killed, including two police officers, as two gunmen opened fire at the magazine offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris, France.   (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

BARCELONA, SPAIN - JANUARY 07: People gather showing their support for the victims of the terrorist attack at French magazine Charlie Hebdo, in front of the Consulate of France on January 7, 2015 in Barcelona, Spain. Twelve people were killed, including two police officers, as two gunmen opened fire at the magazine offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris, France. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

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PARIS, FRANCE - JANUARY 07:  Police officers evacuate dead bodies at the offices of the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Nicolas Appert street on January 7, 2015 in Paris, France. Armed gunmen stormed the offices leaving twelve dead, including two police officers, according to French officials.  (Photo by Antoine Antoniol/Getty Images)

PARIS, FRANCE - JANUARY 07: Police officers evacuate dead bodies at the offices of the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Nicolas Appert street on January 7, 2015 in Paris, France. Armed gunmen stormed the offices leaving twelve dead, including two police officers, according to French officials. (Photo by Antoine Antoniol/Getty Images)

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PARIS, FRANCE - JANUARY 07: Ambulances and police officers gather in front of the offices of the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo on January 7, 2015 in Paris, France. Armed gunmen stormed the offices leaving twelve dead, including two police officers, according to French officials. (Photo by Antoine Antoniol/Getty Images)

PARIS, FRANCE - JANUARY 07: Ambulances and police officers gather in front of the offices of the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo on January 7, 2015 in Paris, France. Armed gunmen stormed the offices leaving twelve dead, including two police officers, according to French officials. (Photo by Antoine Antoniol/Getty Images)

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Ambulances and police officers gather in front of the offices of the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo on January 7, 2015 in Paris, France. Armed gunmen stormed the offices leaving twelve dead, including two police officers, according to French officials.  (Photo by Antoine Antoniol/Getty Images)

Ambulances and police officers gather in front of the offices of the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo on January 7, 2015 in Paris, France. Armed gunmen stormed the offices leaving twelve dead, including two police officers, according to French officials. (Photo by Antoine Antoniol/Getty Images)

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PARIS, FRANCE - JANUARY 07:  French Prime Minister Manuel Valls (C) arrives at  the offices of the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo on January 7, 2015 in Paris, France. Armed gunmen stormed the offices leaving twelve dead, including two police officers, according to French officials.  (Photo by Antoine Antoniol/Getty Images)

PARIS, FRANCE - JANUARY 07: French Prime Minister Manuel Valls (C) arrives at the offices of the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo on January 7, 2015 in Paris, France. Armed gunmen stormed the offices leaving twelve dead, including two police officers, according to French officials. (Photo by Antoine Antoniol/Getty Images)

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PARIS, FRANCE - JANUARY 07:  Ambulances and police officers gather in front of the offices of the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo on January 7, 2015 in Paris, France. Armed gunmen stormed the offices leaving twelve dead, including two police officers, according to French officials.  (Photo by Antoine Antoniol/Getty Images)

PARIS, FRANCE - JANUARY 07: Ambulances and police officers gather in front of the offices of the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo on January 7, 2015 in Paris, France. Armed gunmen stormed the offices leaving twelve dead, including two police officers, according to French officials. (Photo by Antoine Antoniol/Getty Images)

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French President Francois Hollande leaves the Elysee Palace after a shooting at a French satirical newspaper, in Paris, France, Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015.  Police official says 11 dead in shooting at French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

French President Francois Hollande leaves the Elysee Palace after a shooting at a French satirical newspaper, in Paris, France, Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015. Police official says 11 dead in shooting at French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

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The scene in Paris, France, after ten people were shot dead in an attack at the offices of a French satirical magazine which angered some Muslims after publishing crude caricatures of Islam's Prophet Mohammed, according to reports. Pic Twitter/@Lestatmp

The scene in Paris, France, after ten people were shot dead in an attack at the offices of a French satirical magazine which angered some Muslims after publishing crude caricatures of Islam's Prophet Mohammed, according to reports. Pic Twitter/@Lestatmp

PA

The two gunmen brandishing assault rifles on a Paris street after their attack on the magazine offices

It takes a special kind of brutality to murder a nation's jesters. At 11.30am yesterday Charlie Hebdo's editorial staff - a loose constellation of mostly freelance lampooners - had gathered to decide what might make their 40,000 readers chuckle this week.

They were considering returning to one of their favourite subjects, the comical absurdities of extremist Islam.

Three gunmen, dressed in black combat fatigues and hoods, burst into the small offices at 10 Rue Nicolas-Appert in the 11th arrondissement. Was the first reaction of the cartoonists and writers to think this must be a joke? The gunmen, according to one witness, "spoke perfect French". They shouted something about al-Qaida and the Prophet Mohammed.

A police protection officer rose to intervene, he was shot down. The three men opened fire with automatic weapons. They kept on firing for five minutes. When they left, 20 members of the Charlie Hebdo team were dead or severely wounded. In no democratic country in the world has there ever been such slaughter of journalists in their own editorial offices.

As the three men returned to the street, they were caught on amateur video footage. In one clip, a gunman shouted "Allahu Akbar" (God is great). In another TV clip, another is heard shouting: "We have killed Charlie Hebdo. We have avenged the Prophet Mohammed."

In November 2011 Charlie Hebdo published a special magazine "edited by the Prophet Mohammed". The offices were firebombed that week.

The three gunmen who came back to finish the job yesterday escaped in a small Citroen. Their route was almost immediately blocked by a police car, patrolling the area as part of a permanent protection for Charlie Hebdo.

Mobile phone pictures taken from surrounding buildings show two of the gunmen jumping out of the car and riddling the police vehicle with bullets. The police retreated. The gunmen escaped. In the next street, they shot another police officer. He lay on the pavement, wounded. Chilling footage shot by a passer-by shows a gunman strolling across the street to shoot him in the head.

The escape car was found in the 19th arrondissement, about a mile away. It appeared to have been involved in an accident. The gunmen are thought to have hijacked another car and crossed the Boulevard Périphérique, the motorway that surrounds Paris. Heading that way they would have rapidly reached Seine-Saint-Denis, the area around the Stade de France. This is one of the most heavily Muslim-populated Parisian suburbs.

A huge police and army operation was under way last night to try to pick up their trail.

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A manhunt is underway for the Charlie Hebdo killers

A manhunt is underway for the Charlie Hebdo killers

A manhunt is underway for the Charlie Hebdo killers

France, and the world, are praying they are successful.

Further Reading

Belfast Telegraph