Charlie Hebdo: Two stabbed outside magazine’s former offices in Paris after cartoons republished

Charlie Hebdo: Two stabbed outside magazine’s former offices in Paris after cartoons republished
At least two people have been seriously wounded in a knife attack near the former offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris.

Two suspects were arrested near the Bastille plaza in the city centre. 

A blade was recovered from the scene – police sources have reported it was a machete or meat cleaver.

Thousands of children in nearby schools were shut in as a precaution while the Paris Metro closed lines in the area.

One witness told radio station Europe 1: “I was in my office. I heard screams in the road. I looked out of the window and saw a woman who was lying on the floor and had taken a whack in the face from what was possibly a machete … I saw a second neighbour on the floor and I went to help.”

Police initially reported four people had been injured in the stabbings but they later revised the figures down with no explanation.

France’s counter-terror police have opened an investigation into “attempted murder in relation with a terrorist enterprise”. It is not yet clear what motivated the attack.

Jean Castex, France’s prime minister, said the victims’ lives were not in danger. He said he “immediately” met the country’s interior minister to “take stock of the situation”.

The attack comes after Charlie Hebdo republished controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad to mark the start of a trial of suspected accomplices of terrorist gunmen who attacked its offices in January 2015.

Rue Nicolas-Appert, the street in Paris’s 11th arrondissement on which the satirical magazine was formerly based, was cordoned off on Friday.

Cordons on the streets surrounding former Charlie Hebdo offices(Reuters)

Paris police told the public to avoid the area and await further instructions. 

A suspicious package was also found, but officers said it was checked for explosives and none were found.

In this month’s trial, 14 people are accused of obtaining weapons and providing logistical support for the 2015 attacks, which happened over three days and left 17 people dead and dozens more injured. The three attackers were killed by police.

More than 140 witnesses are set to be called to give evidence in court. 

The trial was due to start in March but was delayed until earlier this month by the coronavirus pandemic.

Additional reporting by agencies

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