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At least 12 dead in Paris after attack on satirical newspaper

PARIS- - Hooded gunmen stormed the Paris offices of a weekly satirical magazine known for lampooning radical Islam, killing at least 12 people, including two police officers in the worst militant attack on French soil in recent decades.

One of the men was captured on video shouting "Allah!" as four shots rang out. Two assailants were then seen calmly leaving the scene.

A police union official said the assailants remained at liberty and there were fears of further attacks.

Charlie Hebdo (Charlie Weekly) is well known for courting controversy with satirical attacks on political and religious leaders and has published numerous cartoons ridiculing the Prophet Mohammad. The last tweet on its account mocked Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the militant Islamic State, which has taken control of large swathes of Iraq and Syria.

"This is a terrorist attack, there is no doubt about it," President Francois Hollande told reporters after rushing to the scene of the attack. His government raised France's security level to the highest notch and scheduled an emergency cabinet meeting.

A short amateur video broadcast by French television stations shows two hooded men outside the building. One of them sees a wounded policeman lying on the ground and strides over to him to shoot him dead at point-blank range. The two then walk over to a black saloon car and drive off.

In another clip on Television station iTELE, they are heard shouting: "We have killed Charlie Hebdo. We have avenged the Prophet Mohammad."

A police official said the gunmen fled towards the eastern Paris suburbs after holding up a car.

"There is a possibility of other attacks and other sites are being secured," Police union official Rocco Contento said.

Sirens could be heard across Paris as Prime Minister Manuel Valls said security would be ramped up at transport hubs, religious sites, media offices and department stores.

The White House said U.S. security officials were in contact with their French counterparts.

"If the perpetrators are still at large, we're going to track them down, and we're going to work with the French to do that," a White House spokesman told MSNBC television.

Another 20 people were injured in the attack, including four or five critically. Police union official Contento described the scene inside the offices as "carnage".

Ten members of the Charlie Hebdo staff died in the attack, prosecutors said. Sources at the weekly said the dead included co-founder Jean "Cabu" Cabut and editor-in-chief Stephane "Charb" Charbonnier

"About a half an hour ago two black-hooded men entered the building with Kalashnikovs (rifles)," witness Benoit Bringer told TV station iTELE. "A few minutes later we heard lots of shots."

In a video shot by journalist Martin Boudot from a rooftop near the magazine's offices, a man can be heard screaming "Allah"; then followed the sound of three or four shots.

"They're coming out. There are two of them," says a new voice on the video as two men appear in the frame, then raise their arms in a shooting posture.

France last year reinforced its anti-terrorism laws and is already on alert after calls from Islamist militants to attack its citizens and interests in reprisal for French military strikes on Islamist strongholds in the Middle East and Africa.

"I am extremely angry. These are criminals, barbarians. They have sold their soul to hell. This is not freedom. This is not Islam and I hope the french will come out united at the end of this," said Hassen Chalghoumi, imam of the Drancy mosque in Paris's Seine-Saint-Denis northern suburb.

GUNMEN FLED

Dozens of police and emergency services were at the site as police secured a wide perimeter around the shooting site, where a Reuters reporter saw a car riddled with bullet holes.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was among European leaders condemning the the shooting.

"This abominable act is not only an attack on the lives f French citizens and their security. It is also an attck on freedomof speech and the press, core elements of our free democratic culture."

Late last year, a man shouting "Allahu Akbar" ("God is greatest") injured 13 by ramming a vehicle into a crowd in the eastern city of Dijon. French officials say several attacks were prevented in recent weeks and Valls has said France had "never before faced such a high threat linked to terrorism".

A firebomb attack gutted the headquarters of Charlie Hebdo in November 2011 after it put an image of the Prophet Mohammad on its cover in what it described as a Shariah edition.

While there was no immediate claim for the shooting, one supporter of Islamic State suggested in a tweet the image of Mohammed was the reason for the attack.

The last major attack in Paris was in the mid-1990s when the Algerian Armed Islamic Group (GIA) carried out a spate of attacks, including the bombing of a commuter train in 1995 which killed eight people and injured 150.

Ribbon cutting launches new season of Tuesday Nights

page8b204MARIGOT--The 13th edition of "Les Mardis de Grand Case" kicked off Tuesday evening with a ribbon cutting outside the Lolos at 6:00 where scores of tourists had already descended on the main boulevard, making sure to come early to secure a parking spot for the first of what will be eight weekly events every Tuesday night in season.

Organized each year by Calypso Events, Tuesday Nights has become one of the most successful events in the calendar drawing tourists and locals alike to the boulevard that is transformed into a pedestrian-only street market. The unique ambiance is further enhanced by carnival parades, live bands and street performers.

Organizer Chantal Vernusse disclosed the entire length of the boulevard will be lined with 123 stall holders.

President of the Collectivité Aline Hanson cut the ribbon to open the event. Also present were MP Daniel Gibbs, President of St. Martin Tourism Office Jeanne Rogers- Vanterpool, Vice-Presidents Ramona Connor and Wendell Cocks, various Territorial Councillors, Philipe Thevenet from the St. Martin Hotel Association, and Jose Manriques from the Restaurants Association.

Prefet Philippe Chopin was not present but was represented by his Chef de Cabinet Emmanuel Effantin.

Opening remarks were made by Aline Hanson, Daniel Gibbs and Jeanne Rogers-Vanterpool.

While the event attracts between 2 to 3,000 persons each Tuesday night, this year it has been reduced from its normal run of 12 Tuesday nights down to eight with a smaller budget because of a lack of local sponsors.

Vernusse and her team of nine have said they prefer to organize eight events well rather than try to stretch out the last four which may turn out to be less than well organized.

"St. Martin Tourism Office and the Collectivité understand the importance of this event for locals and tourists and I invite Chantal to come to the tourism office so that we can take another look and see what we can do to help," said Rogers Vanterpool. "When it comes to animation for tourists this event is right up there and something we always promote with tour operators and travel agents."

The tourism office contributes 20,000 euros annually to the event.

Accident victim transferred to Guadeloupe in critical condition

MARIGOT--A young man who was seriously injured in a motorbike accident in French Quarter on Sunday morning was transferred to Guadeloupe for an emergency operation, after sustaining a head injury and remains in critical condition, the Gendarmerie confirmed.

Capitaine Sylvain Jouault indicated that a number of youths had been drag racing in French Quarter on Sunday morning around 10:00. The 17-year-old accident victim, who has not been named, was executing a wheelie whilst overtaking a car, but was struck head-on by another car coming in the opposite direction. He was not wearing a helmet.

The Gendarmerie did not confirm that the victim was run over by the car, as the social media reported.

The Gendarmerie, in cooperation with the Prefecture recently conducted an intervention in the Lycée to warn students of the dangers of riding scooters and motorbikes without helmets and protective clothing. It appears the warnings have gone unheeded. Black silhouettes to remember the victims of fatal accidents on two wheels were also placed around the French side.

In a separate incident last Friday evening in French Quarter, a drunk driver, who had reportedly stolen a car, crashed it into a passenger bus. The driver of the bus was injured in the accident and had to be assisted out of the vehicle. The intoxicated driver was said to be arrested. The Gendarmerie had no comment on this particular incident.

Neglected children taken into police care

COLE BAY--Three young children were taken into police care after they were found in a neglected state on Monday. The children, ages two to six, were said to have been locked inside a residential house in the Wellington Road area with no adult supervision, Police Spokesman Inspector Henson confirmed.

A neighbour became suspicious and observed the children through a window, before contacting police. According to the neighbour this is not the first time the children were left unattended.

The police took the children to a safe place and handed them over to the Court of Guardianship, Henson said. Officers are now looking to speak to the children's mother.

Suspect arrested in Rooftop Bar murder

PHILIPSBURG--A twenty-four-year-old man with the initials L.A.D. has recently been arrested on suspicion of being involved in the murder of Junior Bertin-Maurice, who was shot dead outside the Rooftop Bar on A. Th. Illidge Road on August 16, 2014.

Spokeswoman for the Prosecutors Office Tineke Kamps confirmed this on Monday. She said that the suspect in the case, which is known as the Calabash Investigation, was arrested in Pointe Blanche Prison, where he was serving a prison sentence for an unrelated case.

The man is now also in pre-trial detention for the murder. He will today be brought before the Judge of Instruction, who will test the legalities of the arrest before the pre-trial detention is confirmed. For the suspect, it will not make much of a difference as he is already serving a sentence.

In an invited comment, Kamps stated that the investigation team has carefully examined any potential links between the murder of Bertin-Maurice and a second murder, on September 1, 2014, in which Liscania Maduro was found murdered in the trunk of her own car, however, so far, no evidence has been found to suggest that the two cases were linked.

Rumours on the island suggested the two cases may be linked, as Bertin-Maurice, who had been inside the nightclub, had been called to come outside by a young woman shortly before he was shot.

Anyone with any information about the murder of Maduro, or about any other murder case, is asked to contact Philipsburg Police Station or call the anonymous tip-line on tel. 9300.

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