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Eric Holder Says U.S. Still Not Sure Which Terror Group Was Behind Paris Attacks

The Attorney General said the U.S. has not confirmed that al-Qaeda’s affiliate in the Arabian Peninsula is connected to the gunmen in the attack on French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.

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U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said Sunday that the U.S. has “no credible information” about which extremist group sponsored the terror attacks in Paris that killed 17 people over three days.

Getty Images Aurelien Meunier

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder attends a press conference in the presence of the other interior ministers after their meeting in the ministry of interior Place Beauvau on January 11, 2015 in Paris, France.

Holder appeared on multiple talk shows from Paris, where he is attending an international meeting on fighting terrorism in wake of the attacks.

Holder said on CNN's State of the Union "that the U.S. has not confirmed that al-Qaeda's affiliate in the Arabian Peninsula is connected to the gunmen in the attack on French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, though the U.S. is focusing on that cell.

"We don't have any credible information, at least of yet, to indicate who was responsible — who sponsored this act. That is clearly one of the things that we have to make a determination of," he said.

Said and Cherif Kouachi, the gunmen in the attack on Charlie Hebdo, claimed they were affiliated with al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula during their rampage, according to witnesses. One of the brothers also made the same claim to a French television station.

The Associated Press reported that the group claimed responsibility for the brothers' attack after it occurred.

The third Paris attacker, Amedy Coulabily, pledged his allegiance to ISIS in a video that surfaced online after his death on Friday.

Holder told CBS' Face the Nation that there is currently a bigger threat of small attacks by al-Qaeda and its affiliates than a threat of a large-scale attack, such as the attack on 9/11.

"[Al-Qaeda] have inspired people negatively around the world to engage in these really small attacks that involve only one or two people — a small number of arms that can have a devastating impact as we have seen in France," he said. "We have been in this phase of the fight against terrorism for some time."

Holder left Paris shortly after the meeting to return to Washington and did not attend the massive demonstrations along with the other ministers and world leaders. The U.S. was represented by its ambassador to France, Jane Hartley.

The White House also announced Sunday it is hosting a conference with representatives from around the world to counter violent extremism, according to the Associated Press.

The White House did not identify which countries will participate in the Feb. 18 gathering, but said its mission will be to "better understand, identify and prevent the cycle of radicalization to violence at home in the United States and abroad."

Stephanie McNeal is a social news editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Stephanie McNeal at stephanie.mcneal@buzzfeed.com.

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