LA JOLLA (CNS) - Wednesday's attack in Paris that killed a dozen people at the offices of a satirical newspaper could be part of a new era of terrorism in which young men trained in conflicts in the Middle East return to Western Europe and the U.S. full of anger and motivation, a UC San Diego professor said.
"It's a legitimate security concern," said Eli Berman, an economics professor and research director for international security studies at the University of California Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation.
Berman told City News Service that hundreds of young men who have fought with the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq have returned home to places where they are familiar with the culture, speak the language and can blend in with the local populace.
It's difficult to defend against such people, he said.
In the Paris attack, well-armed gunmen who stormed the offices of the newspaper Charlie Hebdo killed 10 people inside and two police officers before escaping.
French officials said witnesses told them the attackers spoke French but also said "Allahu akbar" -- or "God is great" -- and said they were avenging the Prophet Mohammed.
"It's shocking, and I certainly feel for the Parisians who must suddenly feel vulnerable," Berman said.
He said amateur video shows "perpetrators who were trained," since they knew how to fire their weapons, were familiar enough with their target that they knew they had to get someone to let them in through a security door, made sure that one of the police officers was dead, and managed to escape.
"This would tell me that they're veterans of ISIS in Syria or Iraq," Berman said. "That's scary because there's hundreds of them who have come back."
The longer the conflicts in the Middle East go on, the larger the stock of young trained fighters, he said.
A longtime Parisian who moved to San Diego last year told City News Service that she has been in contact with friends via telephone and has been watching news reports to make sense of the situation.
She said the attackers might just be young men who were mad at the newspaper. The crumbling French economy has left a lot of people "panicky," said the woman, who works for a French-oriented nonprofit but did not want to be identified.
The Parisian suburbs are teeming with immigrants who have no rights and sometimes want to lash out at affluent people, the woman said.
In San Diego, the Sheriff's Department said business was being conducted as usual. The San Diego Police Department and local FBI office did not immediately respond to inquiries about whether they were on heightened alert.
The CBS News 8 Crimefighters are helping authorities in a manhunt looking for Terrance Christopher Stahovich. If you have information call CrimeStoppers at (888) 580-TIPS. A reward is being offered for his arrest and remember you can make a tip and still remain anonymous.
The San Diego Zoo said Thursday that its collection of African penguins has begun moving to the Africa Rocks exhibit, which is scheduled to open to the public in phases beginning next week.
A Chula Vista man faces a maximum sentence of life in prison and a $10 million fine following his guilty plea Thursday to trying to smuggle cocaine and methamphetamine while employed as a U.S. Border Patrol agent.
Residents are concerned at a local dog park after at least one dog got sick and died after spending time there.
The San Diego Follies is celebrating its 10th anniversary with a show called the "Best of the Best."
A Lincoln Park resident was wounded outside his home Thursday in a shooting carried out by an unidentified assailant, San Diego police reported.
The "Black Knights'' of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 4 and the "Blue Hawks'' of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 78 returned home to Naval Air Station North Island Thursday following a six-month deployment.
San Diegans helped fill some big shoes Thursday. About 1,500 volunteers took to the streets as part of Red Shoe Day to raise money for the Ronald McDonald House San Diego. News 8's photojournalist Ann Marie brings you highlights from the day.
A former Mexican legislator linked to notorious drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman was charged Thursday with conspiracy to distribute cocaine and made her first appearance in San Diego federal court.
Firefighters are getting a new tool this summer that promises quicker wildfire containment times and it won't cost taxpayers a dime.