Twelve people were killed in the assault. One of the attackers shouted Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula ordered the hit. Al Qaeda in Yemen later took credit. The magazine was targeted because it had published cartoons of the Muslim Prophet Muhammad, believed to be inappropriate by many Muslims.
Two days later another terrorist attack took place against a kosher market in Paris just as the two suspects in the Charlie Hebdo incident were being killed in a shoot out with police in another part of France. Four French Jews were killed in the attack on the market and the police killed the attacker during an assault. The killer at the kosher market claimed earlier that ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) assisted him.
The three assailants were two French brothers, Cherif and Said Kouachi, who assaulted the magazine; and Amedy Coulibaly, a French citizen who was blamed for the kosher market attack.
The three had met while in jail for pro-terrorist activities years before. They had coordinated their assaults. The Kouachi brothers had ties to Al Qaeda. At least one of them went to Yemen for training.
The fact that all three men were French has revealed a whole set of problems that make all of Europe vulnerable to terrorist attacks. It has been reported that about 3,000 Europeans are fighting for ISIS in Syria and Iraq. About 950 French nationals are involved in jihad. At least 1,500 British Muslims are fighting for ISIS and about 100 to 200 Americans are said to be fighting for the extreme Islamic group. What happens when the Europeans and Americans return home? Will they be wreaking havoc?
Immediately after the Charlie Hebdo attack Belgium authorities started an investigation to determine if any accomplices may have fled to Belgium. During their reconnaissance they came upon one cell that was planning an imminent attack in Belgium. Authorities stormed the cell killing two and capturing one. Suddenly, Belgium police were searching for cells that could do damage in Belgium. Authorities in Europe are now seeking out information about possible cells in their country. The same is the case in the United States. In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo massacre, Spanish police have arrested members of jihadist groups who are activity recruiting potential ISIS combatants. Just a few days after the assaults in Paris, cooperation between countries in the war against jihadists has become essential.
Sometimes we forget that the war against Islamic extremists is truly a worldwide affair. The same day that the Charlie Hebdo offices were attacked another extreme Muslim group, Boko Haram, killed hundreds, perhaps thousands of people in Nigeria. This is the same group that kidnapped girls from a school in Nigeria and still holds them. The attacks continue as Amnesty International claim that hundreds of thousands of Nigerians remain at risk.
The world media hardly covered the Boko Haram massacre when it happened. Whatever the reason why, it should be apparent that attacks by extreme Islamists throughout the world are connected and part of the war on terror we are all involved in.
Immediately after the Charlie Hebdo episode the world showed its solidarity with the journalists killed with demonstrations supporting the freedom of the press. People showed their support with signs and tweets proclaiming, “Je suis Charlie” (I am Charlie).
The focus of the demonstrations was in Paris where 3.7 million people gathered. At the event were the presidents of most of the major countries of the world – French President Francois Hollande, British Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Angele Merkel, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, and more.
Conspicuous by his absence was U.S. President Barack Obama. He was criticized for his absence and he admitted that he should have been there. Whether he was there or not, solidarity is what to expect from the leaders of all countries involved in the worldwide coalition against ISIS and its cronies.