The assault on Charlie Hebdo headquarters in a quiet Paris neighborhood sparked a massive manhunt as the two gunmen managed to escape, executing a wounded police officer as they fled.
The men remained on the run in the early evening, with few clues on their whereabouts and parts of the French capital in lockdown.
Prosecutors said witnesses heard the gunmen shout “we have avenged the Prophet” and “Allahu Akbar” as they carried out the attack. Police said the calm, calculated manner of the assault showed they were highly trained.
Victims included four prominent cartoonists, including the chief editor, who had been holding a morning meeting when the assailants armed with Kalashnikovs burst in and opened fire, officials said.
The Kingdom condemned the attack as “a cowardly terrorist” act. “The Kingdom has been following the terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo weekly with deep sorrow,” an official source said, adding that Islam and other religions reject such heinous crimes. Riyadh expressed its condolences to the families of victims as well as to the government and people of France.
President Francois Hollande immediately rushed to the scene of what he called “an act of exceptional barbarism” and “undoubtedly a terrorist attack.”
Amateur video shot after the bloodbath showed two men masked and dressed head-to-toe running toward a wounded policeman as he lay on the pavement. The attacker says “you wanted to kill me?” before shooting the officer in the head execution style.