Charlie Hebdo's mysterious last tweet before attack

  • 7 January 2015

Updated 8 Jan: the death of cartoonist Honoré in the attack on Charlie Hebdo has been confirmed.

There has been much media focus on the last tweet sent from the @Charlie_Hebdo_ account before the attack which killed 12 and left several more seriously injured.

The tweet showed a cartoon image of the Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and came with a puzzling caption: "Best wishes. To you too, Al-Baghdadi." To which the al-Baghdadi is depicted as replying: "And especially good health."

As we reported earlier, the tweet was time stamped Wednesday morning, Paris time. It's not clear whether it was sent before or just after the attack began, but it was posted before news of the shootings broke.

There's been speculation on whether the attack was related in some way to the image. In fact, the cartoon doesn't appear to have been used before by the magazine, but it also seems to be continuation on a theme. This week's printed edition included a comic with the headline: "There haven't been any attacks in France" but a character wearing a turban with a Kalashnikov rifle strapped to his back saying: "Wait - we still have until the end of January to extend our wishes." In France, it's traditional to offer New Year's greetings until the end of January.

Image caption Close-up of Charlie Hebdo tweet showing the signature of "Honore"

Is it just a coincidence that this image was tweeted at around the time of the attack? Some in the French-language press have speculated that the magazine could have been the victim of hackers. The illustration bears the signature of Honoré, a famous French illustrator who was killed in the attack - it's unclear when it was actually drawn.

This week's Charlie Hebdo cover shows a cartoon of controversial author Michel Houellebecq, whose latest novel imagines a France run by an Islamic party, where women are encouraged to wear veils, polygamy is legal and the Koran is taught at universities. The BBC has more on the debate over that book.

Image caption This week's Charlie Hebdo cover. Translation: "The predictions of fortune-teller Houellebecq. 'In 2015, I lose my teeth ... in 2022, I fast for Ramadan.'"

Blog by Estelle Doyle and Mike Wendling

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