U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder will visit Paris in the wake of Wednesday's attack on the office of the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo by suspected Islamist militants, according to media reports. Twelve people were killed in the attack carried out by heavily-armed gunmen who identified themselves as members of “al Qaeda in Yemen.”
Holder will attend a meeting of European officials convened by French Justice Minister Bernard Cazeneuve on Sunday, according to media reports. The Barack Obama administration's decision to send Holder, who has spoken out against Islamophobia in the U.S., comes amid a rising tide of anti-immigration sentiment across Europe. The meeting would involve discussions on “addressing terrorist threats, foreign fighters and countering violent extremism,” a justice department official reportedly said.
Several right-wing politicians in the region have reportedly exploited the attack in Paris to further their political agendas. On Thursday, a day after the incident, Marine Le Pen, leader of the French far-right National Front party, blamed “radical Islam” for the attacks, and called for the “absolute refusal of Islamic fundamentalism.” The sentiment was echoed by nationalist parties in Germany, the Netherlands and the UK.
Alexander Gauland, leader of the anti-immigration, anti-EU political party, Alternative for Germany, said, on Thursday: “This bloodshed shows that anyone who ignored or laughed off the concerns about the threat Islamism poses is a fool,” according to a report by The Wall Street Journal.
Following the shooting on Wednesday, several mosques in France have also come under attack, although no casualties have so far been reported in the incidents, according to media reports.
Meanwhile, security has been beefed up in countries across Europe amid concerns that militants linked to al Qaeda and the Islamic State group could carry out further attacks in the region. Britain's MI5 -- the country’s counterterrorism agency -- had on Thursday said that an attack on “iconic targets” in the country is highly likely. Security measures have also been boosted at ports and border crossings in Germany and Belgium, according to media reports.