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tv   News  Al Jazeera  November 18, 2015 4:00am-4:31am EST

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you're watching al jazeera from our headquarters looking at pictures coming live to us from st denis where we have continuing coverage of the raids in france. a major operation is underway. that is the situation in st denis in paris. in this suburb as police and armed units try and track down
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those responsible for last week's attack in the french capital. here is what we know so far. two suspect, including a woman, have been killed. five have been arrested. at least three officers have been injured. french special forces have surrounded an apartment containing suspects from friday's attack. there have been explosions and gun fire. it's taking place near the stade de france where three suicide bombings took place on friday. residents are being warned to stay in doors. let's speak to jacky rowland live. what is the latest situation as you are hearing it? >> reporter: the latest that we're hearing is that potentially one, maybe two suspect are still holed up in a building in the center of st
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denis which will explain why there is still a very diligently monitored large police cordon around the center of town. we thought that the main operation had pretty much come to an end shortly after dawn when there were a series of debt nations and-- detonatations and we heard two, possibly three suspects have been killed, five people detained and three police officers wounded in the raid. it became clear, however, that the situation was far from under control. shortly after those debt nations, about half an hour-- detonates about 455 minutes, 30 minutes, we saw police running through the streets chasing someone. we don't know who. then it became clear by the way the police were behaving, very alert, very aggressive, on a number of times reaching this camera we walked down streets, ran into police cordons and actually had guns pointed at us.
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we had to raise our hands, swiftly turn around and walk in the opposite direction. there is a danger within the cordon, obviously, and suspect that the police were anxious to apprehend there is a suggestion that abdel hamid abaaoud who is said to have planned friday's attacks could be still inside. >> reporter: it's understood that abdel hamid abaaoud was the main target of this operation in the early hours of wednesday morning, which is very interesting since indications or at least reports up until then had suggested that this belgian national had actually been in syria pulling the strings from remote, if you like. it now becomes evident or apparent that, in fact, he was a lot closer physically to the attacks on friday than initially
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reported. whether or not he was in one of the locations targeted in the early hours of wednesday morning, we don't know. two separate locations were the subject of those raids. we know two to three people were killed. whether he was one of them, we really don't know whether he is still holed up in there. we don't know whether he escaped. way another photograph that has been circulating. salah abdeslam, we don't know if they are together here. the police have been very sparse in the details they're letting out which indicates that the operation is at a very sensitive stage. as we've discovered in the past, suspects inside a building can have access to social media on smart phones or television,
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whatever. they can be watching the radio, maybe even watching us now, and any information which they can glean from outside can help them in how they plan their next move, which i think is quite a clear explanation of why the authorities have not been giving much detail as this operation is still continuing tell us about the different personnel that we've been seeing here involved in this operation. right now we're looking at pictures of the military. there have been the police there, there's clearly a swat team gathered outside the house itself. >> reporter: yes. the standard way of operating in these situations is that the outer perimeter, the outer cordon, which is basically telling local people and journalists to stay away, is regulated by regular police and regular police cars are securing this outer perimeter, but we're also seeing special forces as
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well heavily armed and we've run into a number of them ourselves, even on the cordons. very aalert, very aggressive and responding to anyone who seeks to approach the cordon. inside, obviously, there's specially trained anti terrorist units, the swot teams who have a lot of experience of neutralizing hostage situations and ending siege situations. as well, the military. in terms of other emergency services, we have seen fear engines, ambulances, the french red cross is standing by as well because, clearly, in a situation like this, in a heavily built-up area where there are neighbors, lots of ordinary people walking around, people trying to go to work, there is always a risk of casualties which is why it is important to have lot of paramedics on hand as well. we should talk about the relevance of where you are because it is near the stade de france where three suicide
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bombings took place on friday. >> reporter: yes. the raid is actually not far from one of the location that were targeted by the attackers on friday night, the stade de france. the at a tackers-- attackers blue themselves outside the stadium while a football match was underway. it is a series operation to evacuate athe stadium. the president francois hollande was there at the time. this location is in one of the northern suburbs of paris, an area which has been very deprived, which has been deprived for many years of investment, a large immigrant population, a lot of young people, there's very high unemployment, and it's a number of these suburbs that police have been finding evidence and also in another suburb on
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tuesday police said that they had identified what they believed was a safe house that potentially had been used by the attackers. because this is a heavily populated area, densely populated, there's a lot of people from african descent here, it's an area where they could hide, hope to be less noticeable, but because it is very densely populated, it makes the challenge greater for the security forces because clearly they don't want anybody innocent people to be injured. when it was still dark, we saw people from neighbouring flats and buildings running in their pyjamas running and taking shelter in the town hall. local people have been warned to keep off the streets, not to try to cross the police cordon and, in fact, it's also an important area because it's a big university campus here as well. the university has closed tore
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the day and told students to stay away we're looking at pictures at some kind of awning being put up. a tent being assembled amongst the throng of security and service personnel there. perhaps for all i know, they're setting up a forensic opt on site. they will be garretting all manner of evidence, won't they-- gathering. >> reporter: they many. it could still be one or two suspects inside. when it comes to actually trying to secure the premises and collect evidence, this is, obviously, a very dangerous and risky operation because we don't know whether the apartment could be booby trapped. that has to be a scenario, bearing in mind these attackers,way know that they have explosives and automatic weapons, certainly explosives vests of featured on friday night and in the early hours of wednesday morning.
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there was a woman suspect in one of those apartments who was wearing an explosive vests and she did detonate it. the security forces will be mindful that the apartment could be booby trapped. what happens in these situations, and i'm thinking of former sieges that i've covered in recent years in france, they will have all sorts of remote devices that they can use to go in first, cameras, robots that actually can go in to check for explosives and traps, and also those cameras which will allow the police to see what is going on in apartment. they could use these to catch and shoot some of the suspects. we know in 2012 in a siege in telouese when there were a number of jewish school children and army officers who were comte by moham ad mace mace mara the
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police actually put cameras into the apartment and they could see the suspect and it's quite possible that those kind of technology was employed on this occasion as well i was listening to you when you were on air when those explosions took place. let's just have a listen to that moment. (sound of explosions) pretty substantial blast there. give us the context of that moment as far as you know what happened. >> reporter: at that particular moment it was after about an hour where it had been fairly quiet. we suddenly heard these series of detonatations were.
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my instinct was they were stun grenades. they can often be used to catch the suspects unawares, to disorient them, to confuse them and to really reduce their guard in order for police to go in. on the other hand, having heard that one female suspect did actually detonate an explosive vest maybe that's what we heard. there were a series of detonations, a series of them. as we have been discussing in the last minutes, it seems that there could well still be one or even two suspect in the building which is why the security forces are still of a heightened state of alert and there is still this
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very vigilantly controlled cordoned off area thanks very much indeed. the man who owns the apartment that the police surrounded earlier on wednesday morning has been speaking to the media. he says he lent the place as a favor and didn't know the people he allowed in. >> translation: i found out the people were holed up at my flat. i didn't know they were terrorists. i did a favor to put two people up for two days and i did a favor. i don't know where they came from. i don't know anything. if i'd known, do you think i'd have done it? a political scientist from the university in paris. thank you very much for your time. could you tell us a little bit more about what you make of what's going on as we speak
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right now. >> of course. we are looking for two men specifically. one was related to the attack on friday. the other one is the most wanted. we have heard that there was a suicide bomb there as well. a woman which has been exploded with a belt. there was also people arrested over there. there were more than two men. we are hoping that it will be the end, meaning that the whole network will be arrested now we can see in the pictures security forces outside the house. it's being reported that the man who planned the attacks, abdel
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hamid abaaoud, may still be inside and if that is the case, security forces would be very keen to take them alive, wouldn't they? >> yes. that would be very interesting and very important because we judge people and we have to make that as a symbol. that would be very important. of course it's not easy because they are apparently heavily armed and that's very hard. also because they have the culture of death and in these operations we have seen these. it was already this kind of situation. meaning at the end of the road, the terrorist want to bring police in or civilians and make a number of deaths. of course it will be very hard to take him alive
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stay there for a second. i want to take a closer look at what's happened so far. let's have a recap. following a series of explosions french special forces have surrounded an apartment containing key suspects in st denis. two people have been killed. five suspects have been detained and three police officers have been wounded during the operation. i've been speaking to a political scientist joining us from paris. if abdel hamid abaaoud who is said to have planned these attacks, if he is inside and the police would be very keen to take him alive, it would be also important because of the information that he clearly would possess. >> definitely. he appears to be at the center of the french jihadi network linking countries, france,
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belgium. it has been reported that a man might have been arrested in germany linked to this cell. that might bring a lot of information, first about former attacks because we think that he knew, actually, the terrorists, the one responsible for the train incident two months ago and he can bring a lot of information about other cells that might be present on european soil in terms of the evidence that can be gathered from the site, it won't be just from anybody who may be captured live. it's also evidence around the place that would link the people who were there to the attacks that took place on friday and what their connections will be outside the country. >> yeah, sure. what france is doing in syria,
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it is in the meantime partners with the international coalition with the military operation in turkey, but we also target our own targets and that's for sure that-- to show that this man is a high-value target for us thank you for your time for giving us context. a political scientist in a university. let's take a closer look aat one of the two suspected attackers. abdel hamid abaaoud is a belgian. he is believed to be in his late 20s. he is likely to be responsible for the attacks in paris apparently. he has spent time fighting alongside i.s.i.l. the eother key suspect-- other
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key suspect is salah abdeslam. he was 26. his brother blew himself up on friday. police believe he was the driver who helped carry out the paris attacks. joining us now here in our studio is ray. very interesting these developments this morning. very important potentially what is happening right now. >> yeah. we are in the final stage of a police operation. reports that we have is that several of them are actually being detained already. if it's confirmed that it is abdel hamid abaaoud alive in this apartment, it is crucial that he stay alive. in 2012, the first of those
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attacks, and then one in 2010, actually stormed into a military training camp in france and people around the school were killed. he had been secluded in his apartment a few days later. the police forces tried to maintain him alive to interrogate him. unfortunate lip after several hours-- unfortunately he chose to blow himself up after a few hours. hopefully the police have learned from this and they have convincing tools. these people don't want to be taken alive. trying to convince them to come out and explain the position, be part of a debate is essential there as we look at these pictures, you can see people standing about waiting for something to happen. there's some kind of
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negotiations going on within. >> exactly. we could be in a situation for a long time indeed. it will be very important to be able to check information that we have on the different cells existing, but also being able to address those issues, to have the person inside that apartment explain his position, why he is doing this, having a debate would be interesting. blowing himself doesn't do anything for the cause. they all want to be heros abdel hamid abaaoud he was thought to be in syria himself, but now clearly it seems he is back in france. >> he is a central figure of i.s.i.s. they were able to recruit people
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from two countries. in a few accounts that we have, a lot of french speaking individuals, this was a central figure of the movement. that's why he is so essential to keep him alive as far as the french government is concerned, how would they be looking at this if francois hollande takes the battle on, talking about an state emergency for three months. >> he is not very high on the poll, but france is facing elections. it is very important for francois hollande to show that there has been some progress here. if we look at the situation, it is quite effective and they were
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able to crack down some cells and there have been dozens of storming apartments to get more information. if it is confirmed that abdel hamid abaaoud is inside this apartment, he was supposed to be in syria and has been tracked for several years, it would be quite successful for the prime minister in heading the operation thanks very much indeed. we will be speaking to you as the hours, minute and hours go on. let's remind you where these raids are taking place. looking at a map now showing you where st denis is. it's north of paise and close to the stade de france sports stadium where some of those attacks took place. three suspects including a woman has been killed. three are arrested, three officers have been injured. french special forces
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surrounding this apartment, containing at least one key suspect linked to friday's attacks. latest from tristan redman from the scene. what are you hearing? >> reporter: the latest update is that there have been five people injured in the operation, only lightlily apparently. we've also had confirmation from the prosecutor in paris of the woman who blew herself up with an explosive vest. there's still a lot of unanswered the question, primarily where is abdel hamid abaaoud. it's not known whether or not he is inside the apartment. it's not known whether he was ever inside the apartment. he was the target for this raid. his whereabouts is still
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unknown. it's not clear how many people are inside, who they are. there may be one, there may be two. we know there have been four arrests. that may include the owner of the apartment, but we've also heard the owner of the apartment has been tunainging to media to media saying he didn't know who these people were. there's at least two people dead, including the woman would blew herself up with the explosive vests. another person was killed by the intervention team, or the raid. five we believe five police officers are lightly injured.
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the way the information is distributed in france is tightly controlled. there is one person who has the authority to give a definitive account of these things and that is the prosecutor of paris. i think you can expect to hear from him today. no announcement has been made yet, but he would be holding a press conference in which he will be giving accounts of these types of raids and attacks and has been regular in paris in the last year. i'm sure we will hear more from him later today. information is tightly controlled. it's trickling through. that's what we have for the moment thanks very much indeed. back with you as you get more. to the phone lines now an
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speaking to steve park, security analyst with the global security resources. steve, as we're looking at these pictures of security services going to and fro, a lot of people hanging around. clearly something going on inside the apartment building. what do you make of it all? >> it's unsurprising. i think the police are doing everything they can with the other agencies. there will probably be 20 or 30 other types of agencies, police military, the government, the people that provide support from government supports. they have to get all these in place because they want a peaceful resolution here. they want to get the vital evidence that is alluding them at the moment. it's an ongoing situation. the cameras are there in full spread, so the police are under scrutiny now. obviously, i think ultimately
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they will try to get special forces as close to the target room or the apartment, whatever it is, so that they can so they can, obviously, do the important thing which is evacuating innocent members of the apartment it seems as if we're looking at the pictures that somebody has been brought out of the building, and clearly isn't wearing any clothes. he is behind that group of people. there's a rush of security people as we can see around that person. it looks as if he's being taken towards - the ambulance pulls up in front of the-- pulls up in front of the camera. he is being taken towards a tent that is being erected. it would be that they have managed to get hold of somebody from inside the participate. it could well be he was taken by surprise as it were because he has no clothes on. what do you make of that?
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>> i think anybody who comes out is going to get stripped because of the mo. that's the way these terrorists do - you know, the way they function, which is harbouring explosive vests and providing booby traps for incoming police. i don't think there's any mistake that this is a suspect that has been brought out of the building. i can see on the picture that there's an explosion that has just gone on by the way the camera has just shaken. so there's something internally happening in that building. something has pushed the green button and said go, go, go, type of thing. there's enough that nobody else is going to be injured and they can bring some sort of a peaceful resolution, but i
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imagine it will be a full search if it's still going on. i imagine that we will be - they will be walking into booby traps, so it's still going to contrary on for some time, but it's certainly, you know, running on as a full investigation let's look at the pictures of somebody being brought out again. there was a flurry of action outside where, as i said, a little while ago people were standing around waiting for something to happen and clearly somebody was brought out. he was naked and not wearing any clothes and he was taken by the security services, quickly surrounded and taken off. we should reiterate that it has been suggested that the plan who planned these attacks on friday abdel hamid abaaoud could be inside t


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