The Scottish editor-in-chief of satire website The Daily Mash said he and his staff were "absolutely stunned" by the attack on Charlie Hebdo.

Neil Rafferty, who now lives in the south of France, said that his site, which has already expressed solidarity with the French magazine on Twitter and Facebook, was planning its own response.

Mr Rafferty said: "We're absolutely stunned by this. We couldn't take it in for quite a while. The idea that satirists could be murdered because someone takes offence is almost unbelievable.

"Charlie Hebdo is a big, national publication and they were such courageous people. They were faced with a series of threats over the cartoons that they published regarding Islam, and they never relented or backed down.

"Some publications have been guilty of pulling back from depicting religious issues, but Charlie Hebdo was not."

Mr Rafferty set up The Daily Mash in 2007 with fellow journalist Paul Stokes and it has developed a cult following for its cutting edge satire and often off-the-wall approach. Its targets have included politicians of all British parties and Russian president Vladimir Putin.

He added that the magazine had been fearless in the face of theats after publishing contorversial cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.

He said: "In Britain, satirists are much more respectful of religion and tend to go after politicians. But France is a much more secular society so they do not show Islam the same respect.

"We have writtten about Islam on the Daily Mash, but we tend to write more about Christianity because that's what we're familiar with.

"In the early days we did one article about Islam and we received a vague threat, anonymously. It wasn't something that was ever carried out, but it was chilling."

Private Eye editor Ian Hislop also released a statement in the wake of the attacks.

He said: "I am appalled and shocked by this horrific attack - a murderous attack on free speech in the heart of Europe.

"I offer my condolences to the families and friends of those killed - the cartoonists, journalists and those who were trying to protect them.

"They paid a very high price for exercising their comic liberty. Very little seems funny today."