Pakistani cell responsible for Charlie Hebdo attack arrested by Italian police

Italian police Polizia Charlie Hebdo

14 arrests were made following an anti-terror raid on a Pakistani cell responsible for the Charlie Hebdo attack and operating in Italy and other European countries, Italy’s leading wire service Agenzia Nazionale Stampa Associata (ANSA) reported.

The cell was allegedly linked to a network connected to Pakistani man Zaheer Hassan Mahmood, who attacked the former offices of the Paris based satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo.

Charlie Hebdo is famous for its controversial depictions of Muhammad, the founder of Islam, and for reprinting cartoons about him that had been published by the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten.

Those arrested in Italy and Europe have been charged with conspiracy to commit international terrorism, according to the Italian news agency.

The Pakistani man went to Charlie Hebdo’s former offices to punish them for re-publishing cartoons of Muhammad for which several people were killed in January 2015.

Zaheer did not know that the magazine had moved in the meantime. He wounded two staffers of an agency that had taken over the offices.

According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), France is no stranger to Islamist extremist violence.

In January 2015, there were deadly attacks in Paris at Charlie Hebdo’s office and a kosher supermarket, and that November at the Stade de France and the Bataclan theatre. On Bastille Day 2016, there was an attack in Nice.

Earlier in 2011, the Charlie Hebdo offices were firebombed.