UK

Charlie Hebdo Attackers Identified By French Police, One Suspect Hands Himself In

07/01/2015 22:19 GMT | Updated 08/01/2015 08:59 GMT

The youngest of the three suspects in the terror attack on a French satirical magazine in which 12 people died has handed himself in to police, according to reports. Hamyd Mourad, 18, was named as one of the main suspects in the massacre, alongside brothers Said Kouachi and Cherif Kouachi, who are both in their 30s.

Agence France-Presse, the country's national news agency, tweeted:"Youngest of three suspects in Paris attack surrenders to police, sources say."

french suspects

Two heavily armed brothers are suspected of the gun attack

Earlier, French police confirmed they had identified three men as suspects in the deadly attack on the magazine. The suspects were named as brothers Said Kouachi and Cherif Kouachi, French nationals in their early 30s, and 18-year-old Hamyd Mourad, whose nationality is unclear. One official said the men were linked to a Yemeni terrorist network.

France's president Francois Hollande has declared a national day of mourning on Thursday following the bloody raid on the Paris headquarters of the magazine Charlie Hebdo, which angered some Muslims after publishing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.

In the UK, Home Secretary Theresa May will chair a meeting of the Government's emergency committee Cobra today, while Prime Minister David Cameron has offered the assistance of British spies to help French agencies investigate the atrocity.

One of the suspects in the attack, Cherif Kouachi, was convicted in 2008 of terrorism charges for helping funnel fighters to Iraq's insurgency and sentenced to 18 months in prison. According to the AP, Kouachi told the court at the time that he was outraged by images that revealed the torture of Iraqi inmates by US guards at the Abu Ghraib prison.

The Prime Minister said he had offered Hollande "any assistance our intelligence agencies can give" following the "barbaric" raid at Charlie Hebdo.

The Queen sent her "sincere condolences" to the victims' relatives.

At a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Downing Street, Cameron said the two leaders had been briefed on the situation by the British security agencies. The pair also spoke to Hollande from the Prime Minister's office in No 10, a call Merkel described as a "very moving moment".

Although it is unusual for a foreign leader to be given a briefing by the British intelligence agencies MI5 and MI6, Downing Street said it was "not unprecedented". The 10-minute briefing was based on what the intelligence agencies had been able to piece together so far from open source material, and highlighted the calm, determined and apparently professional way the killers had carried out the assault.

The Prime Minister said: "This is different from some of the plots that we have seen here in the UK from so-called home-grown terrorists." The UK was "already at a very high state of alert" and the security services were looking at what more could be done, he said, "but there is no one single answer to these appalling terrorist attacks".

Defending the right to free speech he said: "We should be very clear this day that these values that we have are not sources of weakness for us, they are sources of strength. Of course there are all sorts of economic things we have to get right but, as we do that, the countries that succeed in the future I think will be those that stick to the values of freedom, of democracy, of the rule of law.

"Those are part of the things that make our economies and our societies and our political systems strong and powerful and good and we must not give those up."

But Ukip leader Nigel Farage said the attack was the result of "having a fifth column" living in Western countries opposed to their ideals. He said the attack was "truly horrific" and had "some very worrying implications for our civilisation - free speech, satire, all things that Western countries believe in and love and have enjoyed for centuries".

He told Channel 4 News: "There is a very strong argument that says that what happened in Paris today is a result - and we've seen it in London too - is a result I'm afraid of now having a fifth column living within these countries. We've got people living in these countries, holding our passports, who hate us.

"Luckily their numbers are very, very small but it does make one question the whole really gross attempt at encouraged division within society that we have had in the past few decades in the name of multiculturalism."

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Paris gun attack