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Satirical French Newspaper Faces Deadly Attack

The satirical French newspaper Charlie Hebdo was attacked earlier today leaving an estimated 12 people dead. The attack is alleged to have been motivated by anger over the publication’s criticism of Islam with politicians in France and the European Union condemning the attack as religious terrorism. French authorities claimed that several terrorist attacks have been recently stopped before they could be launched.

If today’s attack was Islamic terrorism it would not be the first time the satirical paper had been targeted. Charlie Hebdo was firebombed in 2011 due to its involvement in the controversy surrounding the Muhammad cartoons crisis.

Xavier Castaing, the head of communications for the Paris Police Headquarters, said that 11 people had died, The Associated Press reported. However, a senior French prosecutor said the toll was 12, including two police officers, in the early afternoon….

Mr. Castaing, the police spokesman, said that the three armed men, wearing masks, had forced their way into the offices of the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo and had fired indiscriminately at people in the lobby, hitting many. He said that they were carrying AK-47 weapons, and that the attack had lasted several minutes before the attackers fled by car.

The cover of today’s edition of the newspaper is being seen as a possible motive for the attacks – it includes references to a work called “Submission” which warns about the threat of Muslims in France. The fear of Islam in French society has been heightened by the rise of ISIS and the backlash from the French government supporting the US-led air campaign against ISIS in Syria and Iraq. Nearly 1,000 French citizens have reportedly joined the fight in Syria.

If the attack is proved to have been a result of Islamic terrorism it will likely provide more support for the French far right that is already on the ascendency in France in the form of the National Front. Whether the recent wave of attacks and attempted attacks will alter France’s foreign policy is unknown.

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Dan Wright

Dan Wright

Daniel Wright is a longtime blogger and currently writes for Shadowproof. He lives in New Jersey, by choice.