January 7, 2015 - Updated on January 20, 2016

Black Wednesday: at least 12 shot dead in attack on French magazine Charlie Hebdo

Masked gunmen attacked the offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris early today, killing at least 12 people and seriously wounding four.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF)@ is deeply shocked by this deadly attack. "Attacking a newsroom with lethal weapons is the kind of violence we see in Iraq, Somalia and Pakistan,” said Christophe Deloire, Reporters Without Borders Secretary General, speaking at the scene of the attack.

“Could we have expected such horror in France? It was a nightmare that became reality. This terrorist attack is a black day in the history of France.”

French news organizations reported that masked men armed with automatic weapons and a grenade launcher stormed the headquarters of Charlie Hebdo, in the ninth district in central Paris, at about 11:30 am local time. The suspects fled and are still on the run.

French President Francois Hollande rushed to the scene where he described the attack as an act of "exceptional barbarism". He added: "No barbaric act will ever kill freedom of the press". He said France’s security alert level had been raised after the shooting.

Charlie Hebdo had been under police protection since 2011 when the magazine was firebombed after publishing a cartoon depicting the Prophet Mohammed.