A vigil in New York, January 7, 2015.
Carlo Allegri / Courtesy Reuters

Early on January 7, masked gunmen stormed the editorial office of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and killed 12 people. The death toll may still rise. The attack coincided with an editorial meeting at the paper, with key staffers assembled. According to eyewitness reports, the perpetrators forced their way into a back office, calling out the names of the editor and cartoonists before shooting them. The assassins, presumed to be al Qaeda members, escaped.

The death toll makes this week’s attack the most significant on French soil since the Nazi occupation—a huge milestone in al Qaeda’s campaign against

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