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Three armed men have attacked a French satirical magazine based in Paris, killing at least 12 people, including four cartoonists and two policemen, officials have said.|
The lawyer of the magazine confirmed that four cartoonists working with the publication, including the publisher Stephane Charbonnier, known as 'Charb', were among the dead.
The cartoonists known as Cabu, Tignous and Wolinski were also killed in the attack, AFP news agency quoted a judicial source as saying.
Charlie Hebdo has drawn repeated threats for its caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed, among other controversial sketches.President Francois Hollande, speaking outside the office of the magazine, described the attack as having been carried out by barbaric people.
"This is an attack on free speech." he told reporters. "No one can harm the spirit of this country which is this newspaper".
Rowland said that a terrorism alert has been raised to its highest level in the wake of the attack.
The magazine had tweeted a cartoon of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group, minutes before the attack.
Benoit Bringer, a journalist with Agence Premiere Ligne who saw the attack, told the iTele network he saw several masked men armed with machine guns.
Hollande held a cabinet meeting at Elysee Palace over the incident on Wednesday.
US President Barack Obama's spokesman said the US "condemns [the attack] in the strongest terms".
Josh Earnest said US officials have been in close contact to assist the French in the wake of the incident.
Earnest said the French have been "stalwart allies" in the US fight against the ISIL, adding: "We know they are not going to be cowed by this terrible act.