No 'credible information' yet Al-Qaeda behind French attacks: US

11th January 2015, Comments 0 comments

US Attorney General Eric Holder said Sunday there was no "credible information" as yet that Al-Qaeda was behind the attacks in France that killed 17 people.

Holder spoke as dozens of heads of states joined hundreds of thousands of people in a massive display of unity and defiance against terrorism on the streets of Paris.

"At this point, we don't have any credible information that would allow us to make a determination as to which organization was responsible" for the attacks this week, Holder said in an interview from Paris with ABC's "This Week."

"We'll certainly have to see exactly who was responsible (to) determine what kind of retaliation would be appropriate," he said. "But we stand in solidarity with the French."

The White House, meanwhile, announced it was organizing a February 18 summit on how to fight "violent extremism around the world."

The gathering will "bring together all of our allies to discuss ways in which we can counteract this violent extremism that exists around the world," Holder said.

"Only if we work together, through sharing of information, by pooling our resources, will we ultimately be able to defeat those who are in a struggle with us about our fundamental values."

In a statement, the White House said the summit would highlight US and international efforts to prevent the radicalization and recruitment of followers in the United States and other countries by extremist groups.

France has been deeply shaken by three days of bloodshed that began Wednesday when two heavily armed brothers stormed a satirical newspaper in Paris, killing 12 people, including some of France's best known cartoonists.

Four more people were killed Friday in a hostage standoff at a kosher supermarket in Paris by a third gunman, who had shot to death a policewoman the day before.

The gunmen were all killed by police.

- More attack attempts likely -

One of the brothers, Said Kouachi, was known to have traveled to Yemen in 2011 where he received weapons training from Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, and the other brother, Cherif Kouachi, was a known jihadist who was convicted in 2008 for involvement in a network sending fighters to Iraq.

Cherif told French TV he was acting on behalf of the Yemen-based Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula while the third gunman, Amedy Coulibaly, said he was a member of the Islamic State group.

France's Ambassador to the United States Gerard Araud told ABC's "This Week", however, that all that was known for certain was that Coulibaly and the Kouachi brothers were friends, and that Coulibaly had said their actions were coordinated.

"But at this stage of the investigation, it's too early to go beyond that."

Araud noted that hundreds of young people had gone to Syria and Yemen where they received military training, creating huge concerns over the threat they pose on their return to their home countries.

"It's very likely, unfortunately, that we are going to face other attempts of terrorist acts," he said.

General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, echoed Holder's remarks on the French attacks in a separate interview on Fox News Sunday.

"As far as whether it was directed by Al-Qaeda, I don't think that linkage has been established," he said.

Holder said there was no indication of a "specific credible threat" of attack inside the United States for the moment, but US authorities were worried about radicalized "lone wolves" and were closely monitoring Americans who had gone to fight in Syria or Yemen.

"When one looks at what happened here in France with a relatively small number of people, when we look at some incidents that have happened in other parts of the world, when we look at what's happened in the United States, we have a very small number of people, without huge amounts of planning, without huge amounts of resources, inflicting very severe damage."

© 2015 AFP

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