Paris, France, Jan 13 – French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo defied the attackers in last week’s bloodbath by putting a cartoon of a weeping Prophet Mohammed on its next cover, as the government on Monday announced the deployment of 10,000 soldiers to boost security.
The no-holds-barred publication released the front page of what it called the “survivors’ issue”, due out Wednesday, featuring Mohammed in a white turban and holding a sign that reads “Je suis Charlie” under the words: “All is forgiven.”
The issue will be the first since two Islamist gunmen stormed Charlie Hebdo’s Paris office on January 7 and massacred 12 people, saying they were taking revenge for previous publications of Mohammed cartoons — considered deeply offensive to many Muslims.
In a further show of defiance, the magazine announced it would print three million copies — not the usual 60,000 — when it reappears on newsstands this week.
Charlie Hebdo has become an international symbol of free speech since the massacre and a second attack two days later at a Jewish supermarket. A total of 17 people were killed in the twin rampages.
Nearly four million people — including 1.5 million in Paris in the biggest rally in French history — demonstrated across France on Sunday to denounce the killings. Many carried signs with the now internationally familiar slogan “Je suis Charlie” (I am Charlie).
Seeking to reassure a jittery nation after the attacks, French officials announced the unprecedented deployment of thousands of soldiers to boost security, including at Jewish schools.
“We have decided… to mobilise 10,000 men to protect sensitive sites in the whole country” from Tuesday evening, Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said after an emergency security meeting.
“This is the first time that our troops have been mobilised to such an extent on our own soil,” he added.
Another 5,000 security officers were also part of the reinforcements.
– Hunt goes on –
As investigators look into possible intelligence failures behind the attacks, a debate is gathering pace over whether France’s security bodies need greater powers to combat home-grown terrorism and the flow of jihadists back and forth from Syria.
Prime Minister Manuel Valls said Amedy Coulibaly, who gunned down a policewoman and four Jewish shoppers at the kosher supermarket, likely received help from others.
“We think there are in fact probably accomplices,” Valls told French radio. “The hunt will go on.”