Charlie Hebdo bites back with new issue

More than a month after jihadist gunmen massacred much of the Charlie Hebdo editorial staff, the magazine is back at work with another savage swipe at its favourite enemies.

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The cover of the latest issue due out Wednesday depicts the Pope, a jihadist, former president Nicolas Sarkozy and far-right politician Marine Le Pen as a pack of enraged animals chasing after a dog with a copy of Charlie Hebdo clamped in its jaws.

“We’re back!” reads the headline.

The team has laid low since rushing out a “survivors’ issue” a week after the jihadist attack that killed 12 people, including five of France’s best-loved cartoonists, on January 7.

“We needed a break, a rest… There were those who needed to work again straight away, like me, and those who wanted to take more time,” says Gerard Biard, the paper’s new chief editor.

“So we reached a compromise, and agreed on February 25… to start off again on a weekly basis.”

Charlie Hebdo has a long history of courting controversy by lampooning political and religious figures of all stripes.

The Kouachi brothers who carried out the January 7 attack said they were taking revenge for the weekly’s depictions of Prophet Mohammed – considered blasphemous in Islam.

In a show of defiance, the magazine’s “survivors’ issue” featured Mohammed on its cover with a tear in his eye, holding a Je Suis Charlie sign under the headline “All Is Forgiven”.

Je Suis Charlie was the slogan taken up around the world to express solidarity with the weekly.

Some eight million copies were printed, a stunning number for a publication that had been struggling to stay afloat with a circulation of just 60,000 before the attack.

But the January 14 cartoon once again stirred anger, triggering violent protests in several Muslim countries.

A print run of 2.5 million is planned for the new edition.

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