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Eric Holder Heads To Paris In Wake Of Charlie Hebdo Attack


It was a powerful scene - world leaders marching arm in arm this morning in the streets of Paris as hundreds of thousands of people rallied at the city center. It's been hailed as a unity march meant to send a message of resolve after last week's deadly attacks.

Earlier this morning, leaders and intelligence officials from around the world, including U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, gathered in Paris for high-level security talks. The meeting was convened by French President Francois Hollande in direct response to the recent terrorist attacks. Reporter Lauren Frayer is there in Paris at the rally. She joins us now. Lauren, can you describe the scene for us where you are?

LAUREN FRAYER, BYLINE: Rachel, I'm watching people streaming through the city. The sky is streaked pink. It's sunset here. People are draped in French flags. Almost every marcher has a je suis Charlie sign - I am Charlie. I just passed a man who was carrying a giant eight-foot pencil, and that's in remembrance of those cartoonists who were killed Wednesday at the Charlie Hebdo magazine. We've been talking to marchers who described an eerie silence as they walked arm in arm across Paris, led by a delegation of world leaders - French President Francois Hollande and many, many others.

MARTIN: Lauren, we mention these high-level security talks. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder took part in those. Any idea what came out of those meetings?

FRAYER: Well, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, here in Paris, has said that the U.S. is at war with terrorists - terrorists who use Islam to justify their actions, he said. He also said that the U.S. has no credible information as to which terror group, if any, was responsible for this past week's terror siege. We've had several posthumous claims by the gunmen that they were affiliated variously with the Islamic State, with al-Qaida in Yemen. All three gunmen were killed on Friday. Holder also announced that there would be summit on combating violent extremism to be held in Washington in February. And here he is talking about some of the decisions that were made during the talks today.


U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL ERIC HOLDER: We work with our allies. We share information. It is one of the things I think that we, frankly, have to do better. We have to monitor each other's citizens because the reality is that any one nation can be hurt by the citizens of another nation, given the way in which people can transit from one country to another.

MARTIN: That was the attorney general on CNN this morning. Lauren, wondering how France's Jewish and Muslim communities are reacting, given that one of the attacks on Friday happened at a Jewish market - and we have seen reports of some backlash against mosques throughout France. What are you hearing from those groups?

FRAYER: That's right. There's a definite fear in the Muslim community here. France has Western Europe's biggest Muslim community - 10 percent of the French population. There has been vandalism against mosques across France, including reports of a severed pig's head being dropped at the door of one mosque in Corsica, a French territory.

I went to Paris's Grand Mosque and talked to the grand mufti there. He decried the terror attacks, just like everyone else has, and says he's very concerned about his community. There's also heavy security outside synagogues and Jewish businesses across the French capital, and French President Francois Hollande had called that attack on the kosher supermarket Friday a horrifying act of anti-Semitism. Among the world leaders today in Paris, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

MARTIN: And lastly, Lauren, there is still an ongoing investigation. Three of the terrorists were killed in raids by French security forces, but there is still one person at large - someone associated with these three men. She is a young woman. What do you know about the search for her?

FRAYER: That's right. So as Parisians flood the streets today in solidarity with the terror victims, there still is a manhunt underway. This is for this 26-year-old woman who French authorities have described as the partner of one of the gunmen killed Friday. There are some reports that she may already have left France, perhaps even before the attacks took place. Her picture is plastered all over French television. Police have set up a tip line for any witnesses to call in and report any information anyone might have.

MARTIN: Reporter Lauren Frayer from Paris. Thank you so much, Lauren.

FRAYER: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.