Paris shooting: Car found, manhunt launched

France is in shock and a nationwide search has been launched for the three gunmen.

A victim is evacuated on a stretcher on 7 January, 2015 after armed gunmen stormed the offices of the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris, leaving at least 11 people dead. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - French police have now recovered a car similar to the vehicle used by gunmen who opened fire on journalists at satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris.

French police are hunting for three gunmen behind Wednesday's attack.

The publication's Editor-in-Chief Stephane Charbonnier was killed along with nine colleagues.

She was hailed as a brave, beloved leader and a great satirist.

Picture: A combination of file photos made on January 7, 2015 shows (from L) French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo's deputy chief editor Bernard Maris and cartoonists Georges Wolinski, Jean Cabut, aka Cabu, Charb and Tignous. Picture: AFP.

Two police officers were killed in the attack and four others were in a critical condition.

The alleged terror attack took place near the centre of the French capital.

French President Francois Hollande called an emergency Cabinet meeting.

"We need to find the perpetrators of this act, they have to be arrested and brought before the law as soon as possible. France is shocked today."

Post by FB Newswire.

Several videos showed the gunmen shouting "We have avenged the prophet" shortly before opening fire.

The suspects entered the building armed with a rocket launcher and rifles.

A firebomb attack gutted the headquarters of Charlie Hebdo in November 2011 after it put an image of Prophet Mohammad on its cover.

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 shooting.

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

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists described the attack as a brazen assault on free expression.

The scale of the violence is appalling," said CPJ Deputy Director Robert Mahoney. "Journalists must now stand together to send the message that such murderous attempts to silence us will not stand."

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".

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.

Additional reporting by Reuters.

Video: WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT Paris shooting caught on camera.