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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Victims of France attacks laid to rest

French President Francois Hollande has pledged that his country will "never yield" to "terror" while honouring three police officers killed during the attack on the Charlie Hebdo satirical newspaper.

He pinned France's highest decoration, the Legion of Honour, on coffins draped in flag of France in Paris on Tuesday as the Marseillaise anthem rang out.

"Our great and beautiful France will never break, will never yield, never bend" in the face of the threat that is "still there, inside and outside" the country, Hollande said.

Seventeen people, including journalists and police officers, died in the assault on Charlie Hebdo staff on Wednesday and in a bloody hostage situation at a Jewish supermarket two days later.

Franck Brinsolaro, 49 and Ahmed Merabet, 40, were killed during the attack on Charlie Hebdo.

The third police officer, Clarissa Jean-Philippe, 26, originally from the French Caribbean island of Martinique, was shot the next day when she arrived on the scene of a car accident in in the southern suburb of Montrouge.

Four Jewish victims of the kosher supermarket siege were buried in Israel on Tuesday.

Thousands of mourners gathered at a cemetery in Jerusalem for the funeral of Yoav Hattab, 22, Philippe Braham, 45, Yohan Cohen, 23, and Francois-Michel Saada, 64, who were killed on Friday.

New issue

Charlie Hebdo is due to publish a cartoon of Prophet Muhammad on the cover of its first issue in response to the attacks that were claimed to be "avenging the prophet".

The newspaper Liberation hosted Charlie Hebdo's staff as they prepared the new issue. Up to three million copies of its latest edition will be printed, which is 50 times more than usual.
French journalist on Le Pen's comments

The edition will appear on Wednesday in 16 languages, including Arabic, and will be sold in 25 countries.

"It [the demand for the publication] is clearly an upswell of support for a publication which since its very foundation has had the principle of freedom of expression at its core," said Al Jazeera's Rory Challands, reporting from Bobighy, just outside Paris.

"But has also clearly annoyed, antagonised, upset and offended many people from many different communities, many different political persuasions."

Liberation published the Charlie Hebdo cover online late on Monday night, showing a man in a white turban holding a sign reading "Je suis Charlie".

One of Egypt's top Islamic authorities - Dar al-Ifta - warned Charlie Hebdo on Tuesday against publishing the cartoon, calling the planned cover an "unjustified provocation" for millions of Muslims who respect and love their Prophet.

Meanwhile, France's main Muslim organisation called on Tuesday for calm, fearing that a new Muhammad cartoon could inflame passions anew.

Manhunt continues

French police have said as many as six members of the group that carried out the Paris attacks might still be at large, including a man seen driving a car registered to the widow of one of the gunmen.

Amid the hunt for accomplices, Bulgarian authorities said on Tuesday that they have a Frenchman under arrest who was believed to have links to Cherif Kouachi, one of the Charlie Hebdo attackers.

Fritz-Joly Joachin, 29, was arrested on January 1 as he tried to cross into Turkey, under two European arrest warrants, one citing his alleged links to a terrorist organisation and a second for allegedly kidnapping his three-year-old son and smuggling him out of the country, said Darina Slavova, the regional prosecutor for Bulgaria's southern province of Haskovo.

The Kouachi brothers and their friend, Amedy Coulibaly, the man who killed four hostages in the Paris grocery, died on Friday in clashes with French police.

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