Four of France’s most revered cartoonists – Stephane Charbonnier, Georges Wolinski, Bernard ‘Tignous’ Verlhac and Jean Cabut – were among 12 people executed by masked gunmen in Paris today at the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
Two masked men brandishing Kalashnikovs burst into the magazine’s headquarters this morning, opening fire on staff, also shooting dead contributor Bernard Maris.
Police officers were involved in a gunfight with the ‘calm and highly disciplined men’, who escaped in a hijacked car, speeding away towards east Paris. They remain on the loose, along with a third armed man.
Charbonnier, 47, known by his pen name Charb, was the editor of the weekly magazine, and once famously said ‘I’d prefer to die standing than live on my knees’. He also declared, in the face of animosity from extremists, ‘I live under French law, not Koranic law’.
Cabut, also called Cabu, was Charlie Hebdo’s lead cartoonist and Wolinski an 80-year-old satirist who had been drawing cartoons since the 1960s.