Gunmen identified; kill 12 at Paris newspaper known for satire about Islam

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PARIS (AP) — Graphic video (in player above) shows masked gunmen running in the streets of Paris, killing a police officer as he pleaded for mercy after he was wounded in a gun battle with the terrorists who killed 12 people at the satirical newspaper, called Charlie Hebdo.

Witnesses told FOX News that the gunmen yelled, "We've avenged the honor of the prophet!" before escaping.

French President Francois Hollande says the attack on the Charlie Hebdo weekly, which has frequently drawn condemnation from Muslims, is "a terrorist attack, without a doubt," and says several other attacks have been thwarted "in recent weeks."

French police officials say they have identified three men as suspects in the deadly attack. Two officials named the suspects as Frenchmen Said Kouachi and Cherif Kouachi, in their early 30s, as well as 18-year-old Hamyd Mourad, whose nationality wasn't immediately clear.

One of the officials said they were linked to a Yemeni terrorist network.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to publicly discuss the sensitive and ongoing investigation.

Cherif Kouachi was convicted in 2008 of terrorism charges for helping funnel fighters to Iraq's insurgency and sentenced to 18 months in prison.

No arrests have been confirmed in the hunt for the attackers. It was the deadliest attack in France in half a century.

France has raised its alert to the highest level, and reinforced security at houses of worship, stores, media offices and transportation.

Even though the French newspaper that was the target of the attack had prompted threats from radical Muslims in the past, it hadn't stopped poking fun at the extremists.

Just minutes before the attack, the newspaper had tweeted a cartoon in which the leader of the Islamic State group is seen giving New Year's wishes.

Another cartoon, which appeared in this week's issue, was entitled, "Still No Attacks in France." It had a caricature of an extremist fighter saying, "Just wait -- we have until the end of January to present our New Year's wishes."

Among those killed today was the newspaper's chief editor -- who was also a cartoonist and went by the pen name Charb -- and a cartoonist known as Cabu.

The offices of the newspaper were firebombed in November of 2011 after it published a spoof issue that "invited" the Prophet Muhammad to be its guest editor. His caricature was on the cover.

A year later, the newspaper published more Muhammad drawings amid an uproar over an anti-Muslim film. The cartoons depicted Muhammad naked and in demeaning or pornographic poses.

The French government defended free speech even as it rebuked Charlie Hebdo for fanning tensions.

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