At least 12 people are dead and authorities are on the hunt for three attackers after masked gunmen stormed the Paris offices of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, the Associated Press reported Wednesday morning, citing French officials.
According to the French prosecutor, the gunmen killed ten people in the newspaper's conference room, as well as the doorman and policeman, ABC reported Wednesday afternoon.
Four of Charlie Hebdo's cartoonists, including its editor-in-chief, are among those killed. According to the BBC, which cites French media, editor Stephane Charbonnier and cartoonists Cabu, Tignous and Wolinski were killed in the attack.
The BBC has more on the attack:
Three masked attackers opened fire with assault rifles in the office and exchanged shots with police in the street outside before escaping by car.
The gunmen shouted "we have avenged the Prophet Muhammad", witnesses say.
Warning: The images below from the attack are graphic.
French President Francois Hollande called the assault on the weekly newspaper "a terrorist attack, without a doubt," and said several other attacks have been thwarted "in recent weeks," the AP reported.
Following the attack, Twitter erupted with the hashtag #JeSuisCharlie, meaning "I am Charlie" in French, as people stood in solidarity with the journalists who were attacked.
The hashtag, which quickly gained steam on social media, has also become the new default website for Charlie Hebdo.
After the attack France raised its security alert to the highest level, according to the AP. It also reinforced security at houses of worship and media offices, among other high-profile areas. However, the U.S. Embassy in Paris, and out diplomatic facilities in France, planned to remain open.
"I would like to say directly to the people of Paris and all of France, each and every American stands with you today," U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said in a press conference Wednesday morning, adding that "No country knows better than France that freedom has a price."
President Obama condemned the attack, calling France America's "oldest ally."
He also spoke from the White House Wednesday afternoon.
Charlie Hebdo has a history of challenging the Muslim faith, as well as all religions.
In 2011, its offices were firebombed after it published a satirical issue “guest edited” by the Prophet Muhammad, The New York Times reported at the time.
The White House has also addressed Charlie Hebdo in the past, commenting on the magazine's cartoons that mocked the Prophet Muhammad.
David Kaye, an expert from the United Nations on freedom of opinion and expression, called on satirists to continue publishing
As world leaders pledged their support for the French, crowds gathered in Paris Wednesday night to show solidarity for those attacked and to show they refuse to back down to extremists.
Abby Rogers is a feminist who is completely content being a crazy cat lady. She reads everything, but only in real book form — no e-readers thank you very much.