France gears itself for solemn tribute to Charlie Hebdo victims

By REUTERS
January 4, 2016 11:43

 
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France this week solemnly marks the anniversary of the Islamist assault on the Paris offices of the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, the first of two such deadly attacks which bookended a bloody 2015 of unprecedented violence in the French capital.

Subdued ceremonies are to take place under heavy security to mark the attacks on the weekly and a kosher supermarket in which three gunmen killed 17 people - an event which proved to be a grim forerunner of the suicide bombings and shootings 10 months later in which 130 people were killed.

Charlie Hebdo, known for satirical covers lampooning Islam and other religions as well as politicians, lost many of its top editorial staff in the Jan. 7 attacks when Islamist militants opened fire on journalists inside the newsroom.

The three gunmen were themselves shot dead by security police during three days of violence which ended with a hostage-taking at a Jewish deli in which four hostages were also killed.

The attacks prompted a worldwide solidarity movement, with the "Je Suis Charlie" slogan going viral on social media.

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