French president declares day of national mourning

Eight journalists, including the editor and cartoonists of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and two policemen, were among the 12 people shot dead at the paper’s Paris headquarters during an editorial board meeting by hooded Islamist gunmen Wednesday. President Francois Hollande called it a "cowardly murder" of “brave and talented journalists, as a massive manhunt went into high gear for three heavily armed terrorists.

One of the police officers was killed execution style as he lay wounded on the sidewalk.

In a live televised address to the nation, he called on the French people to take part in a minute’s silence at midday Thursday, which would be a national day of mourning. Flags will fly at half-mast for three days. The president said the country's tradition of free speech had been attacked and called on all French people to stand together.

Security has been stepped up across France and among its neighbors in Europe in the wake of the attack. Spontaneous protests over the killings are being held in cities across France. It is the country's deadliest attack in decades. Shocked condemnations and condolences pour into Paris from world governments.

 

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