Brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi wanted over murder of 12 people in Paris

Brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi wanted over murder of 12 people in Paris

ANTI-TERROR police in France have made seven arrests as they hunt for two brothers over the horrific attack in Paris on staff at a satirical magazine.

The seven, heavily linked to the two main suspects, were detained in the towns of Reims and Charleville-Mezieres, as well as in the Paris area, police said.

Photos were released of two brothers suspected of involvement in the attack.

France is mourning the 12 people killed when Charlie Hebdo was targeted by gunmen shouting Islamist slogans.

A gunman fired on police in the south Paris suburb of Montrouge on Thursday morning, injuring an officer before fleeing, security sources say. It is not known whether the incident is linked to the attack on Charlie Hebdo.

French President Francois Hollande has presided over an emergency cabinet meeting in Paris.

A minute’s silence will be observed at midday across the country and the bells of Notre Dame in the capital will toll.

Arrest warrants were issued for Cherif and Said Kouachi, said to be “armed and dangerous”. A third suspect has surrendered.

Cherif Kouachi was sentenced in 2008 to three years in prison for belonging to a Paris-based group sending jihadist fighters to Iraq.

A third suspect, 18-year-old Hamyd Mourad handed himself in to police in Charleville-Mezieres. He reportedly surrendered after hearing his name on the news.

The victims

  • Charlie Hebdo editor and cartoonist Stephane “Charb” Charbonnier, 47, who had been living under police protection since receiving death threats
  • Cartoonists Jean “Cabu” Cabut, 76, Bernard “Tignous” Verlhac, 57, Georges Wolinski, 80, and Philippe Honore, 73
  • Economist and regular magazine columnist Bernard Maris, 68, known to readers as Uncle Bernard
  • Mustapha Ourrad, proof-reader
  • Elsa Cayat, psychoanalyst and columnist, the only woman killed
  • Michel Renaud, who was visiting from the city of Clermont-Ferrand
  • Frederic Boisseau, 42, caretaker, who was in the reception area at the time of the attack
  • Police officers Franck Brinsolaro, who acted as Charb’s bodyguard, and Ahmed Merabet, 42, who was shot dead while on the ground

Paris has been placed on the highest terror alert and extra troops have been deployed to guard media offices, places of worship, transport and other sensitive areas.

Eight journalists – including the magazine’s editor – died along with a caretaker and a visitor when masked men armed with assault rifles stormed the Charlie Hebdo offices during an editorial meeting. Eleven people were also wounded, some seriously.

Two policemen were killed on the street outside as the gunmen made their escape by car.

The magazine’s office was firebombed in 2011. It had angered some Muslims by printing cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad as part of its irreverent take on news and current affairs.

Witnesses say the gunmen shouted “we have avenged the Prophet Muhammad” and “we killed Charlie Hebdo”, as well as “God is Great” in Arabic.

The attackers fled to northern Paris before abandoning their car and hijacking a second one, police say.

Pencil tributes

Vigils were held through the night in Paris and cities worldwide in tribute to the dead. many demonstrators held up placards reading “Je suis Charlie” (I am Charlie) in solidarity with the victims.

President Hollande said the country’s tradition of free speech had been attacked and called on all French people to stand together.

“Today the French Republic as a whole was the target,” he said in a televised speech.

Piles of pens – symbolising freedom of expression – and candles were laid across the Place de la Republique square in Paris where thousands of people had gathered.

Thursday’s national day of mourning is only the fifth held in France in the past 50 years.

World leaders swiftly condemned the attack with US President Barack Obama offering to help France track down those responsible.

Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Sunni Islam’s leading centre of learning, called the attack “criminal” and said Islam denounced “any violence”. The Arab League also condemned the attack.

Pope Francis called the massacre “abominable”.

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