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Two stabbed near former Charlie Hebdo offices in cartoon reprint revenge attack

Protesters chant slogans and hold signs against France and the French President in Istanbul, on September 13, 2020, [OZAN KOSE/AFP via Getty Images]
Protesters chant slogans and hold signs against France and the French President in Istanbul, on September 13, 2020, [OZAN KOSE/AFP via Getty Images]

Two people were stabbed in Paris near the former Charlie Hebdo offices on Friday, in an attack directed at the magazine over its republication of cartoons mocking the Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) earlier this month.

The French satirical magazine originally published the cartoons in January 2015, inspiring two terror attacks, which left 17 people dead.

One of the attacks took place when two brothers stormed the Charlie Hebdo offices, fatally shooting 12 people, among them nine cartoonists and journalists.

The magazine chose to reprint the cartoons earlier this month, to mark the beginning of the long-awaited trial of 14 alleged accomplices for their involvement in the 2015 attack on the publication.

Friday’s attack has widely been seen as a retaliation for the republication of the cartoons, though the theory has not yet been confirmed by French security officials.

The main suspect, an 18-year-old man of Pakistani origins, was arrested near the site of the stabbings, which took place next to a mural paying tribute to the victims of the 2015 attacks.

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A judicial official, cited by the New York Times, said the 18-year-old, who arrived in France as an unaccompanied minor in 2017, had explained his motives for the attack.

The French authorities, however, have not yet publicly confirmed the suspect’s statement.

Local television reports said the 18-year-old had not previously been identified as a radical Islamist, despite being arrested during the summer for possession of a screwdriver.

A further six suspects, including a 33-year-old Algerian national and five others of Pakistani origin, have been remanded in custody and are being questioned, according to the BBC.

The six were reportedly discovered during a search of a property, thought to be the home of the primary suspect, in northern Paris.

In response to Friday’s stabbings, the Charlie Hebdo magazine, which moved offices and started using police protection for its editorial team after the 2015 attack, tweeted its “support and solidarity with its former neighbours… and the people affected by this odious attack”.

The attack victims were two employees of the Premieres Lignes news production agency, which has offices on a street perpendicular to the former Charlie Hebdo headquarters.

The conditions of the two victims have not been made public, however, reporters at the scene were told by French Prime Minister Jean Castex, their lives were not in danger.

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