Paris stabbing suspect says he targeted Charlie Hebdo

Multiple news outlets have reported that the stabbing attack on Friday, September 25, 2020, was connected to Charlie Hebdo publishing caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad.

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The BBC reports that the man was armed with a meat cleaver.

The stabbing suspect, an 18-year-old Pakistan-born male, says he aimed to target the offices of Charlie Hebdo. The attack came as a high-profile trial was underway of 14 people accused of aiding and abetting two jihadists carry out the 2015 attack on Charlie Hebdo’s Paris office.

The suspect said he was angered by the republished caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad, which original publishings led to the attack on the Charlie Hebdo newsroom in 2015.

The suspect stabbed two employees of TV production agency Premieres Lignes, whose offices are on the same block as Charlie Hebdo’s former office.

The suspect thought that Charlie Hebdo’s offices were still in the same location as the 2015 attack and wanted to attack employees from the magazine.

After the 2015 attack, Charlie Hebdo vacated their offices to an undisclosed location for security reasons.

Eight individuals have since been arrested in connection to the stabbing on Friday.

Charlie Hebdo republished these caricatures September 2020 on the eve of the first trial for the 2015 attack on Charlie Hebdo and, two days later, a Jewish supermarket. The magazine stated, “history cannot be rewritten nor erased.

In recent years the paper had declined to publish caricatures of Muhammad since the attacks in 2015 but said doing so for the trial was necessary. It is reported that the trial will be filmed for posterity, which is a rarity in France reserved for proceedings of historical significance.

In an editorial from Charlie Hebdo in English, the author Riss discusses that day in 2015 and the current trial. 

France’s Interior Minister Comments

Since the most recent attack on Friday, France’s Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said he had ordered security to be stepped up around synagogues in France this weekend for Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar.

The Interior Minister called the attack “a new bloody attack against our country, against journalists” and “clearly an act of Islamist terrorism”

He added that the suspect was not known for being radicalized, but had been previously arrested for carrying a screwdriver, but gave no further details of the situation.

Attacks on Charlie Hebdo

Charlie Hebdo was also the target of a terrorist attack in 2011 for reportedly publishing on the cover of the magazine a caricature of the Prophet making a “facetious comment”. The office of the magazine was petrol-bombed. 

In the 2011 attack, the edition of the paper was called “Charia Hebdo”, supposedly a play on the word ‘sharia’. The cover showed the Prophet Muhammad saying, “100 lashes if you are not dying of laughter”.

The magazine responded to the 2011 attack with another cover which translates to “love stronger than hate,”,

On January 7, 2015, the magazine was again attacked when gunmen wearing masks and bulletproof vests entered the news office during the paper’s weekly editorial meeting and killed twelve people. Eight were journalists, including four well-known cartoonists; two police officers; a building maintenance worker; and a guest of the editorial board.

A day after the January 7th attack, a gunman dressed similar to those in the Charlie Hebdo attack, shoots and kills a female police officer in the Paris suburb of Montrouge.

The next day on January 9th, four more people are killed when a gunman enters a Jewish grocery store in the suburb of Porte de Vincennes.

More details to come. 

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