Corinne Rey, a Charlie Hebdo cartoonist know as “Coco” who was the first to encounter the terrorists that massacred twelve at the satirical magazine’s headquarters, told French media that the men identified themselves as Al Qaeda and threatened the life of her daughter in order to get through.
Speaking to the French newspaper L’Humanité via telephone and cited by multiple sources in English, Rey explained that she encountered the terrorists at the door of the building with her daughter, who she had just picked up from kindergarten. “Arriving at the door of the newspaper building, two hooded and armed men brutally threatened us,” she notes, adding that they forced her to type the security code in to the upstairs floors. The terrorists forced the pair to crouch down, and in that position Rey notes that she saw the terrorists kill two of her coworkers. “They shot Wolinski, Cabu… it lasted five minutes… I had taken refuge under a desk,” she recounts.
Rey testifies that they “spoke French perfectly” and identified themselves as “Al-Qaida.”
Rey’s is the first testimony to the press recounting the events that transpired in Paris, when a group of three Islamist terrorists raided the magazine’s headquarters and killed ten of the publication’s staff and two policemen, apparently in retaliation for a number of illustrated covers the magazine has done satirizing Muhammad, the prophet of Islam. The Guardian notes that their high level of organization is evidenced not only by the fact that they had the exact names of those they wanted to kill on hand upon entering the building, but that they chose Charlie Hebdo‘s publication day to attack and prevent a new edition from publishing.
The magazine has announced that they will go on printing issues and in defiance print one million issues of their new edition next Wednesday. The magazine usually publishes 30,000-60,000 copies of any given issue. The magazine has responded similarly in the past to Islamist violence, including repeatedly satirizing Muhammad after being firebombed and having their offices burnt down in 2011.
At least one of the terrorists attacking Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday is still at large. One suspect, 18-year-old Hamyd Mourad, has surrendered to authorities. The other two suspects, both in their 30s, are still at large, reportedly robbing a gas station in the early morning hours to continue their flight. Police have shut down major roads to Paris in an attempt to find the suspects, as well as the suspects of another police shooting toda. Officials say they have yet to find evidence to tie the Charlie Hebdo massacre to this incident.