Police identify three suspects after terror attack in Paris leaves 12 dead

An injured person is evacuated outside the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo's office, in Paris
An injured person is evacuated outside the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo's office, in Paris

French police say they have identified three men as suspects in the deadly attack on a French satirical magazine which killed 12 people.

The suspects were named as brothers Said Kouachi and Cherif Kouachi, French nationals in their early 30s, and 18-year-old Hamyd Mourad, whose nationality is unclear.

One official said the men were linked to a Yemeni terrorist network.

France’s president Francois Hollande has declared a national day of mourning today following the bloody raid on the Paris headquarters of the magazine Charlie Hebdo, which angered some Muslims after publishing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.

In the UK, Home Secretary Theresa May will chair a meeting of the government’s emergency committee Cobra today, while Prime Minister David Cameron has offered the assistance of British spies to help French agencies investigate the atrocity.

Hundreds of people last night filled London’s Trafalgar Square at a silent vigil for those killed at the massacre and there were similar scenes in Paris and other French and European cities.

Many held pens, pencils and notebooks in the air to show their solidarity for the journalists and police murdered at Charlie Hebdo.

Others held aloft makeshift placards reading “Je suis Charlie” which translates as “I am Charlie”.

One of the suspects in the attack, Cherif Kouachi, was convicted in 2008 of terrorism charges for helping funnel fighters to Iraq’s insurgency and sentenced to 18 months in prison.

The dead are reported to include the magazine’s editor Stephane “Charb” Charbonnier, and two policemen.

Cartoonists Jean Cabu, Bernard “Tignous” Verlhac and Georges Wolinski and economist Bernard Maris were also reported to be among the dead.

Mr Charbonnier was included in a 2013 ‘Wanted Dead Or Alive For Crimes Against Islam’ article in Inspire, the terrorist propaganda magazine published by al Qaida.

Charlie Hebdo’s editor-in-chief Gerard Biard, who was in London at the time of the attack, spoke of his shock.

He told France Inter: “I don’t understand how people can attack a newspaper with heavy weapons. A newspaper is not a weapon of war.”

He said the magazine had not received threats of violence: “Not to my knowledge, and I don’t think anyone had received them as individuals, because they would have talked about it. There was no particular tension at the moment.”

Survivor and Charlie Hebdo cartoonist Corinne “Coco” Rey was quoted by French newspaper L’Humanite as saying: “I had gone to collect my daughter from day care and as I arrived in front of the door of the paper’s building two hooded and armed men threatened us. They wanted to go inside, to go upstairs. I entered the code.

“They fired on Wolinski, Cabu ... it lasted five minutes ... I sheltered under a desk ... They spoke perfect French ... claimed to be from al Qaida.”

Gilles Boulanger saw the men firing in the street. “It was really upsetting,” he said. “You’d think it was a war zone.”

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 and Ben Lowry comment, page 19