The assailants who carried out Wednesday’s attack on the offices of French satirical newspaper Charlie Hedbo appear to have used military-style equipment, including AK-variant rifles and vests designed to carry ammunition into combat, according to footage of the raid circulating online.
French authorities said they were hunting for three men in connection with the attack. The assailants, who wore black dress and masks, fled the scene after killing 12 people.
Although videos of the attack do not shed much light on the attackers’ identities, they do indicate a level of preparedness. One video, shot from what appears to be a second- or third-story window, shows two shooters exiting a black hatchback and engaging a police officer from roughly 50 meters away.
One of the shooters is clearly wearing a load-bearing vest, or chest rig, to hold a moderate quantity of ammunition. Judging by still shots of the video and audible variations from each weapon, the gunmen appear to be carrying two different types of Kalashnikov rifles. The man on the left at the beginning of the video appears to have a carbine version of an AK-74 while the man on the right is a carrying a full-sized AK-47.
Based on the limited footage alone, there’s no indication the assailants had military training.
While the attack in the brief clip seems well orchestrated, the shooters at one point cross each other’s paths as they advance up the street – a type of movement that professional military personnel are trained to avoid as it would limit the ability of the shooters to maximize firepower.
In a second video shot from afar, the gunmen again are seen firing in the middle of the street. This time there appears to be little use of cover and their shooting stance, or posture, is not what would be expected from highly trained fighters.
“From what I’ve seen their shooting stance and movement indicates they are not well trained,” Dan Rassachak, a Marine with training in close-combat skills, said in an e-mail.