BREAKING: U.S. Counterterrorism Officials: Paris Attack Suspect Dead, Two in Custody

paris-manhunt

One of the suspects in the Paris attack on Charlie Hebdo magazine has been killed and the two others are in custody, two senior U.S. counterterrorism officials told NBC News on Wednesday.

Authorities earlier had identified the three men as Said Kouachi and Cherif Kouachi, both French and in their early 30s, and Hamyd Mourad, 18, whose nationality wasn’t immediately clear.

“They want to scare French citizens and prohibit any criticism of religion, so here we are to remind them that religion can be freely criticized.”

— Sasha Reingewirtz, 28, president of the Jewish Students Union

One of the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to publicly discuss the investigation, told The Associated Press that the men were linked to a Yemeni terrorist network. Cherif Kouachi was convicted in 2008 of terrorism charges for helping funnel fighters to Iraq’s insurgency and sentenced to 18 months in prison.

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Twelve people were killed in the attack by gunmen, armed with AK-47s, who attacked the offices of Charlie Hebdo, a publication that has enraged Muslims for publishing cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad.

On their way in, they killed a maintenance worker, then stormed into an editorial meeting, where they killed eight journalists.

not-afraid

A source familiar with the investigation told NBC News that the men targeted those magazine employees who had created or published cartoons showing Muhammad — asking for their victims by name. They executed editor and cartoonist Stephane Charbonnier, popularly known as Charb; Bernard Maris, a Bank of France economist who was a columnist for the magazine; and three cartoonists.

A security officer and a guest were also gunned down. As they fled, they killed a second police officer. Eleven other people were injured, four of them critically, officials said.

Because the masked, black-clad gunmen attacked with militaristic precision and left the scene with shouts of “Allahu Akbar,” the killers were suspected to be well-trained Islamic extremists.

Little information was immediately available about Mourad and Said Kouachi, but Cherif Kouachi has been suspected of involvement in terrorist groups for at least a decade. In January 2005, he and another French national were arrested in Paris as they were planning…(read more)

NBC News.com

Robert Windrem, Nancy Ing, Richard Esposito and Ed Kiernan of NBC News contributed to this report.



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