PARIS -- The headquarters of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo have been gutted by a petrol bomb, ahead of its “Arab Spring” issue in which the Prophet Muhammad was named guest editor-in-chief.
French police said no one was hurt in the attack overnight Tuesday, when a Molotov cocktail bomb was reportedly thrown through a window of the building, in Paris’s 20th arrondissement, around 1:00am local time.
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Charlie Hebdo's editor, known only as Charb, told French radio station France Info that his team “no longer has a newspaper”, and that all material and equipment was destroyed or melted in the attack.
Charb said he was sure the incident was linked to Wednesday's edition, in which the magazine was renamed “Charia” (Sharia) Hebdo and featuring a caricature of the Prophet Muhammad on the cover.
"On Twitter and on Facebook, we received several threatening and insulting letters of protest.”
Depictions of the prophet are strictly prohibited in Islam, but Charb told France Info that the special edition was intended to celebrate the election victory of the Islamist Ennahda party in Tunisia.
An earlier statement from Charlie Hebdo said the Arab Spring edition was also intended to mark the statement by Libya's interim rulers that the country would be ruled according to Islamic Sharia law.
The edition, whose cover shows the Prophet Muhammad saying "100 lashes if you don't die of laughter", contains an editorial attributed to the Prophet – and several cartoons, including one of him with a red clown's nose.
But Charb has rejected accusations the magazine – which also caused outrage in 2007 when it reprinted 12 cartoons of the prophet from a Danish newspaper – was being provocative.
He told Agence France Presse:
"We feel we're just doing our job as usual. The only difference is that this week, Mohammed is on the cover and that's quite rare."
AFP reports that the bombing of Charlie Hebdo offices coincides with a hacking attack on its website, in which a message was posted in English and Turkish denouncing the publication of Danish cartoons.
Scroll down to watch Euronews video report.