Air France gives Charlie Hebdo copies away as funerals held
Air France yesterday offered its passengers a free copy of the latest issue of Charlie Hebdo after buying 20,000 copies to support the satirical magazine.
The French carrier placed a stack of the magazines in the departure lounges of both Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports for passengers to all destinations, including the Middle East, where the reaction to the "survivors' edition" has been hostile.
The issue includes a cartoon of a tearful prophet Mohammed on the front cover, with the words: "All is forgiven". Although it normally receives mainly free promotional copies of national dailies, the French carrier paid the full €3 per issue for Charlie Hebdo after 12 people were killed at the magazine's offices. Asked for the reasons for the unprecedented distribution of the magazine, a spokesman said: "To support the French press at this time."
Meanwhile, the funerals of five victims of last week's terrorist attacks were held yesterday.
Funerals were held in Paris, central, and south-western France for the cartoonists Georges Wolinski and Bernard Verlhac, alias Tignous, contributors Bernard Maris and Elsa Cayat, as well as Franck Brinsolaro, the bodyguard of Stephane Charbonnier, the late editor.
It emerged yesterday that Amedy Coulibaly, who killed a policewoman and four Jewish hostages last Friday, had driven his girlfriend, Hayat Boumeddiene, to Madrid on December 30, spending three days with her and a "third person who may have helped her reach Syria".
She took a plane to Istanbul and is thought to have driven over the border.
Meanwhile, French police published photographs of the weapons found at Coulibaly's flat, including four Tokarev pistols, a revolver and sticks of dynamite. They also showed mobile telephones, tear gas and a flak jacket.
French President Francois Hollande spoke out in defence of Islam, saying that France would protect all religions and that Muslims were "the first victims of fanaticism, fundamentalism and intolerance".
"Islam is compatible with democracy and we should refuse any confusion [about this]." (© Daily Telegraph, London)