Charlie Hebdo mass murder resonates strongly in NYC

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UPPER EAST SIDE (PIX11) -- In direct response to the attack at Charlie Hebdo Magazine in Paris, the NYPD has dispatched different groups of officers on anti-terror operations around the city.  The department also has at least one detective posted in Paris who is working as a direct link between Paris' police department and New York's.  Those are just a few of many connections between New York and Paris in the wake of the mass murder in the French capital.

A variety of cellphone videos of the brazen daylight attack posted online are among the evidence that NYPD counter terrorism analysts are closely looking at now.

"Individuals who appear to be  trained," said John Miller, the NYPD deputy commissioner for counter terrorism, regarding the three hooded, masked men who carried out the attack in the offices of the French satire magazine.  "They walk when they need to walk, they run when they need to run," Miller said in a morning news conference with Commissioner Bill Bratton.  Miller added that the gunmen only seemed "concerned about executing their mission."

They arrived around 11:30 a.m. Paris time at the Charlie Hebdo offices, and shot up the lobby of the building.  Then, the men, armed with AK-47 machine guns, went up to the second floor offices of the magazine, where they entered a planning meeting of the publication.  It has repeatedly shown intentionally offensive religious cartoons over the years -- including depictions of the Prophet Muhammed.

In some of the cellphone video recorded in the minutes after the attack, the attackers can be heard saying, in French, that they have avenged the Prophet Muhammed.  They also shout, in Arabic, "Allahu akbar," or "God is great."

They're heard saying that after they shot eleven people in the building that houses Charlie Hebdo.  Then, as the cameras roll, they shoot and injure a responding police officer.  Then, they calmly walk up to him and kill him.

Here in New York, the U.S.' number one terror target, an attack of this magnitude and nature resonates, and police have to respond.

"We look at the critical response vehicles," said Miller, who went on to explain, "these are the marked [vehicle] units.

"We redeploy them," he said, "based on the threat stream of that moment."

In other words, at key potential terrorist targets in the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo shooting, including at media outlets, such as PIX11 News, police are closely monitoring.  At the New York Times World Headquarters on Eighth Avenue, an NYPD patrol is stationed outside around the clock for the foreseeable future.

The same is the case at the French Consulate, on Fifth Avenue on the Upper East Side. Those are among the visible law enforcement developments.  There are far more that are less apparent.  The city's former director of intelligence analysis points out why.

"This is something that could happen here," said Sal Lifrieri in an interview with PIX11 News.  "It's something we have anticipated for a while."

The man who has overseen investigations of many cases worldwide added, "Traditionally, what we've seen in incidents like this is that there is a New York City connection.  Their family are here, associates here, planning here, their communications or requests came through here."

NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton on Wednesday mentioned another way in which New Yorkers might relate to the Paris attack.  It happened years after Muslim extremists, possibly the same ones who carried out the mass shooting, firebombed the Charlie Hebdo offices.

In November 2011, Charlie Hebdo's headquarters were destroyed by the bombing, but there were no injuries.  After the crime, the weekly publication moved its offices to a nondescript professional building, which was the scene of the attack on Wednesday.

Similarly, the police commissioner pointed out, terrorists attacked the World Trade Center in 1993, and while they killed six people, the effect of that bombing was not enough to satisfy the attackers, whose associates obviously returned on September 2001.

Like 9/11, the mass murder in Paris on Wednesday may have been carried out by people with connections to the first attack.  Paris police have identified the three suspects as brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi, 34 and 32 respectively, and Hamyd Mourad, 18.

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