7 New Developments in Paris Terror Attack

Massive manhunt still underway for two suspects after mass shooting killed 12 and injured 11 others

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A massive manhunt continues in and around Paris for two men suspected of carrying out a terrorist attack at the offices of satirist newspaper Charlie Hebdo, leaving 12 people dead and 11 others injured.

Police say brothers Cherif Kouachi, 32, and Said Kouachi, 34, were the perpetrators behind the mass shooting on Wednesday morning.

Authorities believe the killers were part of a well-trained Islamic extremist network due to their militaristic precision in carrying out the attack.

One suspect, an 18-year-old, turned himself in to police on Wednesday. But as the search for the other two suspects intensifies, several new developments have unfolded.

Here are seven new developments since the tragedy.

1. Charlie Hebdo Suspects Were on U.S. No-Fly List ‘for Years’
According to multiple media reports, including NBC News, CBS News and CNN, a Homeland Security official said the two brothers are in the U.S. Terrorism Database and have been on the No-Fly List “for years.” The younger brother, Cherif Kouachi, was previously sentenced to a year and a half in France after a Paris court found him guilty of helping recruit fighters to go to Iraq to join jihadist groups there.

Police are seeking Said Kouachi, left, and Cherif Kouachi, right
Police are seeking Said Kouachi, left, and Cherif Kouachi, right

2. Both Brothers Had Jihadist Ties
While Cherif Kouachi served jail time for helping recruit for the jihadist cause, older brother Said Kouachi actually spent time in Yemen being trained by Al-Qaeda affiliates before returning to France. Kouachi spent a few months in Yemen in 2011 and was trained in small arms combat and marksmanship, among other skills, a senior US official told The New York Times. Both American and French officials were aware of Kouachi’s training in Yemen, according to the paper, which occurred at a time when many young men were lured there by the American-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki. Before his death, al-Awlaki often encouraged the killings of cartoonists who lampooned the prophet Muhammad.

3. Suspects Go Into the Woods
Police are now searching wooded areas of northern France’s Picardy region, where a helicopter may have spotted the two men, CNN reported Thursday. Police also stormed into the neighborhood of Crepy-en-Valois after a gas station attendant reported the brothers, who were armed at the time, threatened him, stole gas and food from his business, and drove away Thursday morning. Also on Thursday, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls put the Picardy region on the highest alert level, the same level Paris has been under since Wednesday.

Paris Terror Attack: 5 New Developments
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4. The Eiffel Tower Goes Dark in Moving Tribute
As thousands continued to pour into the streets to participate in vigils and demonstrations in support of the victims throughout France, touting the now famous tagline “Je Suis Charlie” (“I Am Charlie”), the Eiffel Tower went dark Thursday night at 8 p.m. local time in honor of the victims. Thursday was declared a national day of mourning and hours earlier, demonstrators bowed their heads as the bells of Notre Dame rang out during a minute of silence. The hashtag #JeSuisCharlie continued to dominate social media, while Ahmed Merabet, a police officer also killed in the attack, who was reportedly Muslim, spawned his own tribute hashtag, #IAmAhmed.

5. Political Ramifications
The death penalty has been outlawed in France since 1981, but in the wake of the Wednesday attack, one political party is lobbying to bring it back. Marine Le Pen, leader of the far-right National Front party, has called for a referendum to have it reinstated, according to Al Jazeera America. Jim Shields, head of French studies at Aston University in Birmingham, England believes the attack will garner further support for Le Pen and the National Front, which has “been rising steadily and this event will play into the party’s anti-immigration, anti-Islam agenda,” as he told Newsweek.

6. Praise for the Attackers from Terrorist Groups
While no organized terrorist organization has come forward to claim credit for the attack, many have praised the gunmen. An ISIS radio host called the brothers “brave jihadists,” according to multiple media reports. “The lions of Islam have avenged our Prophet,” Abu Mussab, a Syrian ISIS fighter, told Reuters.

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7. President Obama Pays Respects at French Embassy
In a show of solidarity with the people of France, President Barack Obama visited the French embassy in Washington, D.C.  Thursday.

As French Ambassador Gerard Araud stood nearby, Obama wrote: “On behalf of all Americans, I extend our deepest sympathy and solidarity to the people of France following the terrible terrorist attack in Paris.”