France has raised its alert status for Paris to the highest level after a deadly shooting attack on the office of satirical weekly, Charlie Hebdo, in the heart of the capital.
The national security alert system was set to “attack alert” following the killings in central Paris, officials said.
At least twelve people were killed and eight others injured, four of whom have been reported to be in critical condition.
The attack saw three masked men armed with automatic weapons storming the office of the magazine on Wednesday.
Judicial sources say four cartoonists, including the chief editor, have been killed in the attack.
Rocco Contento, a Paris police spokesman, confirmed that three attackers entered the magazine’s offices at around 11:30 a.m. local time (1030 GMT), carrying pump-action shotguns and Kalashnikovs.
French President Francois Hollande has called an emergency cabinet meeting on the shooting, which he described as a terrorist attack. He has said France had experienced “an exceptional act of barbarism committed against a newspaper.”
It is not clear who the assailants are, but the ISIL Takfiri terrorist group, which has been waging wars in Syria and Iraq, had threatened to attack France. Minutes before the Wednesday attack, the magazine had tweeted a satirical cartoon of the ISIL leader, Ibrahim al-Sammarrai also known as Abubakr al-Baghdadi.