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Terror in the City of Lights

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On January 7, 2015, a mere week into the New Year, a hub of western civilization was attacked barbarically by Al-Qaida affiliated terrorists. Paris, France is still reeling from the attacks that left 12 people dead at a local satirical newspaper titled Charlie Hebdo, and many more victims throughout France.

The attacks, which were executed by two gunmen who used “precision military tactics,” came as a retaliation from the group which claimed Charlie Hebdo had insulted the prophet Muhammad in recent publications. Charlie Hebdo has previously been the target of verbal threats from the radical Islamic world due to the profanity and offensive jokes utilized by the magazine.

The gunmen were reportedly shouting things such as “the prophet has been avenged” and “Allahu Akbar” in French. Both are popular jihadist terms used around the radical Islamic world. The duo were said to be after the editor in chief of Charlie Hebdo, and an eyewitness stated the two specifically asked for the man by name after inquiring as to where the Charlie Hebdo editors meeting was taking place.

After separating the men from the women employees, the men were lined up and executed one by one until the terrorists made their way to an escape vehicle.

During the escape an officer was gunned down, and so began the search for the Paris gunmen, as the jihadists made their way out of the city in a getaway car. Meanwhile, a separate attack took place as an unrelated sleeper cell jihadist gunned down another police officer and wounded a local street sweeper.

Fear was mounting that multiple attacks could come from the large Islamic community that makes up portions of France. As 88,000 officers swarmed the streets of France, millions gathered in the streets to show their support for the victims of Charlie Hebdo. Slogans such as “Je suis Charlie” began popping up on the picket signs of concerned French citizens.

Security forces swelled with public support, and the outraged masses of Paris began to hold marches day and night in the name of free speech. By late Wednesday, the attackers were identified as Cherif Kouachi, 32, and Said Kouachi, 34, as well as a suspected accomplice, 18-year-old Mourad Hamyd. Hamyd, whom turned himself in the day of the attack and was subsequently held by French officials for questioning.

In a small gas station in an industrial town, the two brothers held out against anti-terror units with a hostage present. The two told police that they wished to die as martyrs. Meanwhile, a separate gunmen representing Islamic radicalism held hostages in a kosher grocery store in eastern Paris. The separate gunman was identified as Amedy Coulibaly and was then linked to the Kouachi brothers and a female accomplice named Hayat Boumeddiene.

Coulibaly informed police that he would kill the remaining hostages in the grocery store if the brothers were attacked by police officers. By Friday at 5:00 p.m., the two brothers finally turned a corner from behind a printing plant with their guns blazing, they were killed by police officers and their hostages were released. Within minutes police stormed the grocery store and gunned down Amedy Coulibaly. Four hostages were lost in the raid, while 15 were saved by counter-terrorism officials.

Charlie Hebdo has recently stated that they will continue to write freely, not just for their own interest, but in the name of free speech. The French people have overwhelmingly supported the rights of the organization to continue their work. The leading theme of the protest is the protection of free speech rather than retaliation for the attacks, a sentiment that the French people have been repeating vigorously since the attacks on January 7.

Shortly after the attack was completed, Al-Qaida in Yemen informed Western media that the attacks were staged by their “sleeper cell” units, and warned that more sleeper cell attacks were imminent. As French society rallies for action in their own defense, more terror attacks could be plausible.

While a concise response has yet to be decided upon, it is a safe bet to say that the French civilization is now directly at war with radical Islam and any group affiliated with terrorism. This could mean big changes in the Middle East if France wishes to pursue military action as backlash, greatly influencing the political dynamics of a part of the world that is already in shambles.


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Terror in the City of Lights