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Charlie Hebdo Attack: #JesuisAhmed Hashtag Commemorates Murdered Police Officer Ahmed Merabet

08/01/2015 15:36 | Updated 09 January 2015

UPDATE: Charlie Hebdo Siege Witness Didier: 'I Met A Terrorist & Shook His Hand'

The identification of one of the Charlie Hebdo attack victims as a Muslim has led to a new rallying cry online.

The #JesuisCharlie hashtag went viral as a symbol of solidarity for the slain, with many linking it to this quote often attributed to 17th century French writer Voltaire: "I do not agree with what you have to say, but I will defend to death your right to say it."

Ahmed Merabet was shot at point blank range on the pavement outside the newspaper’s Paris offices. Now a new slogan paying tribute to him - and his sacrifice - is gathering steam.

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Ahmed Merabet was killed in the Charlie Hebdo attack

Merabet, an officer in the 11th arrondissement brigade, and widely described by local media as a married man and a Muslim, was murdered despite raising his hand in a gesture of surrender.

The tweet reads: “I am not Charlie, I am Ahmed the dead cop. Charlie ridiculed my faith and culture and I died defending his right to do so. #JesuisAhmed”

It is believed to have been started by Dyab Abou Jahjah, an Arab political activist, the founder and leader of the Arab European League, a pan-Arabist movement that supports the interests of Muslim immigrants in Europe.

Abou Jahjah’s message had been retweeted 2,300 times within three hours on Thursday.

Columnist John Rentoul was one who retweeted, though it was greeted with disapproval by some, who branded it "offensive." Aaron Hicklin replied: “Ahmed died doing his job. As did the journalists at Charlie Hebdo.”

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Despite raising his hand in apparent surrender, officer Merabet was shot at point blank range

Simon G Khoury argued: “The fact he had to die defending someone’s right to criticise a culture/religion says a lot about the latter,” while Geize Stella stated: “If your religion is so fragile that does not support a joke, the problem is their religion, not the comedian.”

Richard Young said: “Baffling to see how many people appear to misunderstand your tweet! It’s a very positive, unifying statement.”

Merabet was one of 12 people killed in the attack

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The four cartoonists, Charb, Cabu, Tignous and Wolinski, killed in the attacks

Cartoonists Stephane “Charb” Charbonnier, 47, Jean “Cabu” Cabut, 76, Bernard “Tignous” Verlhac, 57, Georges Wolinski, 80, and Philippe Honore, 73, were killed as well as magazine columnist and economist Bernard Maris, 68, and proof-reader Mustapha Ourrad. Psychoanalyst and columnist Isa Cayat was the only woman killed in the shoot-out. Arts festival founder Michel Renaud and caretaker Frederic Boisseau were also murdered.

Another officer, Franck Brinsolaro, was also shot dead.

The satirical weekly has a history of drawing outrage across the Muslim world with crude cartoons of Islam's holiest figure.

The magazine's offices were firebombed in November 2011 after it published a spoof issue that "invited" Muhammad to be its guest editor and put his caricature on the cover.

A year later, the magazine published more Muhammad drawings amid an uproar over an anti-Muslim film.

The cartoons depicted Muhammad naked and in demeaning or pornographic poses. As outraged grew, the French government defended free speech even as it rebuked Charlie Hebdo for fanning tensions.

Paris Shooting

A massive manhunt for two suspects, brothers Said Kouachi and Cherif Kouachi, is ongoing.

According to media reports, Kouachi, 32, was first considered to be a possible terrorist by the French authorities when he was in his early 20s.

He is believed to have come under the influence of a radical Paris-based Islamic preacher and was reportedly convicted of a criminal charge in 2008 after associating with an illegal organisation backing jihad in Iraq.

Kouachi, originally from the Paris suburb of Pantin, was sentenced to three years in prison with 18 months suspended.

Unconfirmed reports also suggest that the attack could be linked with Yemen-based militant group al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). Intelligence sources are said to believe that the brothers might have trained in Yemen.

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09/01/2015 18:03 GMT

Dammartin hostage was "hiding in cardboard box"

The hostage with the Kouachi brothers who were suspects the Paris magazine massacre was "hiding in a cardboard box" according to a French journalist - and the gunmen reportedly didn't even know he was there.

09/01/2015 17:54 GMT

Second unknown male gunman in Kosher supermarket siege may have escaped

The second gunmen from the siege at a Kosher supermarket in Paris may have escaped, according to local sources.

Suspected gunman Amedy Coulibaly is reported to have been killled, but police believe from CCTV that there was a second hostage-taker in the shop who is not yet accounted for.

Hayat Boumeddiene, the woman suspected of attacking and killing a police officer in Paris yesterday with Coulibaly, is not thought to have been to in the grocery.

09/01/2015 17:38 GMT

Cameron is joining European leaders at a Charlie Hebdo rally this weekend

09/01/2015 17:30 GMT

Police confirm four casualties in grocery store

At least four people, including the attacker, have died at a kosher grocery store in Paris where a gunman took several hostages, police officials said.

Police officers were thought to be among those hurt, although their conditions were unclear.

The Elysee Palace said President Francois Hollande will address the nation before 7pm.

The BBC reported that a woman who was held hostage while shopping in the store had told a relative by phone that there were more than two people killed there - in fact she had said there were five people dead.

09/01/2015 17:12 GMT

Hayat Boumedienne, the second suspect in Paris hostage-taking, has escaped - police union official

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Hayat Boumedienne, the second suspect in the killing of the French policewoman on Thursday, has not been killed or apprehended, according to police sources and Reuters news agency.

There was no confirmation that she was at the scene at the kosher store where her partner, or ex-partner, Amédy Coulibaly, was killed as he held more than five hostages.

09/01/2015 17:04 GMT

The aftermath of the assault in Dammartin

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Smoke rises as a special forces soldiers enter the building on an industrial estate in Dammartin en Goele

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Special Forces soldiers and armed police gather after storming the print works

09/01/2015 17:00 GMT

Reuters - Four dead in kosher supermarket siege

Tragic news coming out of eastern Paris, at least four hostages are dead in the grocery store, according to police sources.

09/01/2015 16:52 GMT

Pictures of the hostages leaving the kosher supermarket

Members of the French police special forces attend to hostages and one of their colleagues lying on the ground after they launched the assault at a kosher grocery

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09/01/2015 16:45 GMT

This is the moment police stormed the grocery store

09/01/2015 16:44 GMT

The French special forces celebrate in the Frenchest way possible

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