Twelve people were shot dead on Wednesday in Paris, at the offices of the satirical French newspaper Charlie Hebdo. The newspaper's editor, Stephane Charbonnier (known as Charb), was among those who died. Several cartoonists, including Jean Cabut (known as Cabu), were also killed.
This is possibly the most violent attack ever committed against a media organisation. The killers were Islamic extremists, and Charlie Hebdo is notorious for its provocative caricatures of Mohammed. Last year, the newspaper was sued for blasphemy, and its offices were firebombed in 2011 after its Charia Hebdo edition. (The German newspaper Berliner Kurier yesterday featured a new cartoon of Muhammed in a bath of blood, holding a copy of Charia Hebdo.)
Charlie Hebdo published its first Mohammed cartoon in 2002. This was followed by a front-page Mohammed caricature in 2006, one of many Mohammed cartoons printed in Europe after the Jyllands-Posten controversy. In 2012, it printed a cartoon of Mohammed naked. In 2013, it produced a comic-book biography of Mohammed (La Vie De Mahomet, part 1 and part 2), with an expanded edition in 2014. Most recently, its 1st October 2014 edition featured a highly provocative front-page cartoon by Charb depicting an Islamic State terrorist beheading Mohammed.