The three men - described by a police union spokesman as “commandos” – are on the run after walking into the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris’s 11th arrondissement at about midday on Wednesday and fleeing in a getaway car driven by a fourth.
The death toll includes 10 journalists and two police officers. At least five people are seriously injured.
A policeman walks near the site of an armed attack at the headquarters of French satirical magazine 'Charlie Hebdo', in Paris, France, 07 January 2015. According to news reports, several people have been killed in a shooting attack at satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris. EPA/ETIENNE LAURENT
A policeman walks near the site of the attack Photograph: Etienne Laurent/EPA
Rocco Contento, a spokesman for the Unité police union, said “it was a real butchery” in the building. He said the Charlie Hebdo offices were guarded and protection was increased in recent weeks because of fresh threats against the magazine, but the attackers had entered the building intending to kill.
Charlie Hebdo’s offices were firebombed in 2011 after a spoof issue featuring a caricature of the prophet Mohammed on its cover.