On Wednesday, the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo, the French satirical magazine, were attacked by gunmen, who killed 12 people and wounded nearly a dozen others.
According to a number of reports, the three attackers, bearing Kalashnikovs and a rocket launcher, entered the building shouting "Allahu akbar!" and started firing shortly after noon local time. The men escaped by car and later exchanged gunfire with police; there is currently a major manhunt underway in Paris.
French President Francois Hollande characterized the attack as being both “of exceptional barbarity” and "a terrorist attack without doubt." He added, "We are threatened because we are a country of liberty."
In the 45-year history of Charlie Hebdo (minus an 11-year absence from 1981-1992), the magazine, like many satirical outfits, has run all kinds of material that has invited controversy and provoked ire, much of it simply irreverent, some of it political and stridently anti-religious.
Most notably, in 2006, the magazine republished the infamous cartoons of Mohammed that ran in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten as well as another caricature of the Islamic prophet in 2011. After the latter episode, the magazine's offices were firebombed.
Stéphane "Charb" Charbonnier, the magazine's editor who was said to have been killed in the attack along with a number of well-known French cartoonists, appeared on "al-Qaeda's Most Wanted" list in 2013.