The Slatest

Witnesses Say Charlie Hebdo Gunmen Identified Selves as Yemeni al-Qaida

Outside the Charlie Hedbo offices.

Philippe Wojazer/Reuters

The U.K. Telegraph reports via French media that a staffer at Charlie Hebdo says the gunmen who attacked the magazine identified themselves as members of al-Qaida. (Three gunmen are believed to have been involved in the assault.) Cartoonist Corinne “Coco” Rey also says she helped let the attackers into the magazine’s office under threat of force:

“I had gone to get my daughter at nursery. When I arrived in front of the door of the building of the paper, two men hooded and armed brutally threatened us. They wanted to come in, go up. I pressed in the code. They shot on Wolinski, Cabu… it lasted 5 minutes… I had hidden under my desk… they spoke French perfectly… they said they we’re al-Qaeda.” (sic)


Another Telegraph reporter found a witness who says the attackers specifically claimed affiliation with the terrorist group’s Yemeni branch: 


Cédric Le Béchec, a 33-year-old estate agent, witnessed the attack on the satirical magazine.

He said that the men arrived in a black car, stopping in the middle of the street. One of them was carrying a rocket-propelled grenade. They were dressed in black military-style clothing.

Mr Le Bechec said that before launching the assault, the attackers approached another man in the street saying, “Tell the media that this is Al Qaeda in Yemen.”

As of this moment, 12 people are reported to have been killed in the attack, with four more in critical condition. All three attackers are at large.

Read more of Slate’s coverage on the Paris shootings.