A French satirical magazine has published nude cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad, a move that could further inflame tensions following violent protests in the Muslim world over an anti-Islam film.
The cover shows a Muslim in a wheelchair being pushed by an Orthodox Jew under the title Intouchables 2, referring to an award-winning French film about a poor black man who helps an aristocratic quadriplegic, AFP reports.
Another cartoon in the magazine, Charlie Hebdo shows a naked turbaned Mohammed exposing his posterior to a film director, a scene inspired by a 1963 film starring Brigitte Bardot.
Charlie Hebdo's website crashed after being bombarded with comments.
A crude American film that mocks Muhammad and portrays Muslims as gratuitously violent has already sparked violent protests in many countries.
The BBC reports security is being stepped up at some of France's embassies.
Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius says he is "concerned", after the issue appeared on news-stands.
French embassies, consulates, cultural centres and international French schools in some 20 countries will be closed on Friday as a precaution.
Riot police have been deployed around the magazine's offices in Paris.