PARIS (AFP, REUTERS) - French anti-terror police launched a late-night raid in a north-eastern city on Wednesday in a frantic manhunt for masked gunmen who shouted “Allahu akbar” as they killed 12 people at a satirical weekly in Paris, sparking global outrage.
Local television showed black-clad sharpshooters from the elite police unit in the streets of Reims, in France’s Champagne region, as unconfirmed media reports named three suspects in the attack, including two brothers.
Several thousand police were deployed to find the gunmen and parts of the French capital were in lockdown as the killers remained on the loose.
Police issued a document to forces across the region, saying three men were being sought for murder in relation to the Charlie Hebdo attack.
The document, reviewed by a Reuters correspondent, named them as Said Kouachi, 34, Cherif Kouachi, 32, and Hamyd Mourad, 18. The police source said one of them had been identified by his identity card which had been left in the getaway car.
The Kouachi brothers were from the Paris region while Mourad was from the north-eastern city of Reims, said reports. One of the brothers had previously been tried on terrorism charges, said a police source.
The hooded attackers stormed the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo, a weekly known for lampooning Islam and other religions, in the most deadly militant attack on French soil in decades.
Famous French cartoonists Cabu, Charb, Tignous and Wolinski were killed in the attack. Charb, or Mr Stephane Charbonnier, was the publishing editor of the magazine.
The attack took place during the weekly's editorial meeting, when all the journalists were supposed to be present, according to a France TV source.
Another 20 people were injured in the attack, including four or five critically.