French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo confirmed on Tuesday that its latest edition contains several cartoons which feature caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed.
The editor of the weekly, originally a cartoonist who uses the name Charb, said the images would "shock those who will want to be shocked".
They will appear on the inside pages of an edition of the weekly due to hit the streets on Wednesday.
The magazine's decision to publish the cartoons came against a background of unrest across the Islamic world over a crude US-made film that mocks Mohammed and portrays Muslims as gratuitously violent.
It was greeted with immediate calls from political and religious leaders for the media to act responsibly and avoid inflaming the situation.
Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault issued a statement expressing his "disapproval of all excesses".
Dalil Boubakeur, the senior cleric at Paris's biggest mosque, appealed for France's Muslims to remain calm.
"It is with astonishment, sadness and concern that I have learned that this publication is risking increasing the current outrage across the Muslim world," he said. "I would appeal to them not to pour oil on the fire."