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tv   News  Al Jazeera  March 18, 2016 1:00pm-1:31pm EDT

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london with more on that developing story. keep it here. ♪ -- we as far as we understand, he and the other suspects are still holed up in building in the mellenbeck area, and this raid, as i said is ongoing. >> we have actually had some comment coming out of france. the president said around 1635 gmt, so about 25 minutes ago that he had no confirmation as of yet that the police operation in brussels was focused on the prime paris attack suspect. so no confirmation out of paris officially yet. no confirmation out of brussels. we are getting reports from the media, but nothing firm just yet. tell us what the past couple of days have been like in brussels,
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natasha and also a little bit about this neighborhood which has been linked to the paris attacks. >> indeed. i'll tell you a little bit about this area, but i should pick you up on the president hollande, he was speaking when he came out of an e.u. summit. because today there is this huge e.u. summit right here in brussels at the council building, turkey e.u. migration deal has just been struck, and just as that was happening, news was happening of this raid in another part of the city. we new something was perhaps a foot, when the belgium prime minister dashed out of the summit and jumped into his car. we now know he was needed outside of the summit because of thissin' go -- this ongoing investigation. president hollande said he
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cannot confirm that it is this respect, but he will be meeting with the belgium prime minister, so who the suspects are is obviously something of a very high level indeed. in terms of this area, we're talking about an area, perhaps somewhat run down in central brussels, this is where the french national lived for sometime, it has also been keked to the paris attacks, either some of the attackers live here, have connections here, arms and weapons were sold here, and behind me -- i'm just arriving in the area, and a lot of police cars, police vans arriving just behind me. you can probably hear those sirens now. >> okay. natasha, we'll leave you now. you will of course try to confirm those details that are coming out of brussels. we will cross live to you again
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in the coming minutes. that natasha russell for us in brussels. there is of course, an e.u. meeting with turkey in brussels as well, with all of the heads of state that we heard a news conference there, the whole city on high security, and this the second raid in just a few days. and the reports we're getting from local media that really the most wanted man in europe since those attacks on november 13th in paris, might have been captured by police. we don't know much more than that. we haven't confirmed whether it actually is him. we don't know if he is injured, how seriously, or whether he is still alive or not. we are waiting for confirmation. certainly if what we're hearing is correct that he has indeed
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been captured by belgian police, then of course, it will be quite a cue for both belgian and french police. let's speak with jacky rowland who was covering the attacks in paris and the subsequent fallout since november. jacky any news out of france about this potential capture? >> reporter: well, to give you an indication of how seriously these reports are being taken in france, we have heard the french president is in fact going straight to brussels. that is the latest information that we have heard. that the french president is actually on his way to belgium. there have been indicates that the net was starting to close on
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this suspect, we heard earlier on friday that cna belonging to [ inaudible ] a fingerprint belonging to him had been located at that apartment, which was the suck jekt of a police raid earlier in the week, a raid in which one suspect was killed. i don't know if you recall a very intensive exchange of fire at that apartment in the district. but of course the crucial raid, friday, back in the mullenbeck district, the district that was thu suck jekt of these belgian police operations directly after the attacks of november 13th, so obviously this is a big missing link from the investigation. there has been a lot of criticism about what has been seen as intelligence, policing
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failures, the fact that it has taken authorities more than four mons to track down this see figure, despite the fact that even within hours of the attacks his identity, and his picture was already flashed all over europe. >> remind us exactly what he is accused of doing? and how key his capture would be to the widen investigation into the attacks in paris. >> reporter: if he is caught alive, his capture would be crucial because of the question of evidence which can be provided. so many of the attackers were in fact killed either on -- either on the night of november the 13th itself -- you recall that some of them were shot dead by the security forces. some of them actually blew themselves up. so to be able to capture someone
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who is seen as really a key player in those attacks and have the potential to interrogate him and glean more information, because clearly when you look at the number of people who have been arrested. the fact that there were men who were armed and ready to shoot on police forces in brussels earlier in the week, there are indications that there is a larger network of people, so clearly the authorities will be anxious to apprehend them in order to try to guarantee security of ordinary people in paris and elsewhere in europe, and to prevent any other potential attacks. >> jacky rowland with the latest from paris in france. jacky, thank you. and of course we'll bring you the latest developments on that story coming out of brussels. the potential capture of one of the people who staged the attacks in paris in november.
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let's take a look at some other news now. another story coming out of brussels. turkey and the e.u. have clenched a new deal to try to stop the flow of refugees and migrants to europe. in return ankara will receive awards. all migrants arriving illegal starting sunday will be turned to turkey. for every syrian who is returned, one syrian in turkey will be resettled to the e.u. and the payment to turkey will be doubled by the end of 2018. the e.u. is aiming to grant turkish citizens visa-free travel in the schengen area. and the e.u. has agreed to speed up the process of turkey's app
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sentence into the e.u. block. >> we agreed that in order to discourage human smugglers and in order to encourage legal migration, we have an balanced approach, turkey will be getting all of those who are crossing to aegean islands illy, but meanwhile european countries will receive the same number of legal migrants from turkey. so this is a very fair and encouraging steps for refugees as well. those who are looking for their futures. >> reporter: neave barker has been following events in brussels. neave a controversial deal. not everyone is happy, but i guess at least now there is an agreement between the e.u. and turkey about the fate of
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millions who have made their way or want to make their way to europe. >> reporter: that's absolutely right. what has been achieved here is likely to have a direct impact on the lives of tens of thousands of people many of whom have been living in limbo in makeshift camps. there is, however, some concern that as we wait for these couple of days to pass before the deal comes into force on midnight on sunday, as information fimenters down, we could well end up seeing a situation where there is essentially a rush of people trying to make it to the european union, before the agreement comes into force. in that is half of the reason why it is being brought in quite so quickly, rather than delaying it to allow more people to try to make the crossing and therefore risk more people's lives as they try to make it across the mediterranean from turkey to greece. but essentially, though, what
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the e.u. and turkey have reached is a significant milestone. the refugee crisis really has driven a wedge between e.u. states, between those countries who feel europe has a moral imperative to actually continue settling refugees on europe's shores, and those who feel that now is the time for europe to close its doors. we have now in the middle of the final press conference at teched -- attending by the turkey prime minister, and others from the e.u., but now of course we expect a period of perhaps wrangling as we try to work out exactly what this deal means in a practical sense on the ground. >> how controversial was the feel among european nations themselves? do we know that kind of detail? >> reporter: well, we have got a sense of house challenging it has been for all 28 e.u. leaders over the course of the last ten
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days to actually come up with an agreement that they could work on and present to the turks, and some of the comments that have been made, there have been concerned from the likes of france and spain and the czech republic, about turkey's human rights standards, and perhaps some worries still pervade here about what the ethics are, really, of returning refugees that have struggled to reach the european union back to turkey, when their future remains somewhat uncertain. but there are questions about the legality of the move, and perhaps that will continue to challenge this final deal as it is finally implemented. there has also been some prickly issues regarding the cyprus question. of course turkey does not acknowledge the internationally recognize t status of the greek sip -- cyprus government.
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>> neave barker with the latest from brussels on that meeting -- that agreement between turkey and the e.u. about the resettlement of refugees. neave, for the moment, thank you. staying in brussels, let's go back to our other breaking news from the belgian capitol. french police says the suspect has been arrested in brussels. we're joined live now on the phone. great to have you on the program. what are you hearing? >> well, i'm hearing that the suspect has been arrested. he is the suspected eighth paris attacker, and has been a fugitive for more than four
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months now. it looks as if the house that was raided by belgian police a few days ago and which the belgian police didn't expect to be greeted by the machine gun, and indeed they did kill somebody shooting at them. they also found fingerprints of the suspect in that house, and it seems that suddenly, the investigation sped up. it is quite extraordinary if it is proven that he was caught live, might have been wounded in the leg. there are some reports about this. but it means that he has probably been in mullenbeck and brussels area for the last four
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months. and and unable, probably to leave to syria. but still it means he is -- there's a huge, very efficient network that managed to help him hide all of this time. >> it would be extoerd neir if he had been holed up there all of these months. considering he is the most wanted man in europe, and also a man that french authorities let escape after those attacks in november. how significant would this be for the french government itself? french police? because of course they let him get away, and now they would have someone they could really question about those attacks. >> reporter: well, that's the key element, and actually, the [ inaudible ] says another man who is holed up through the operation and mullenbeck is actually ongoing.
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it's extraordinary because he is alive and not badly wounded and will be probably able to shed some light. he is not expected probably to talk much, but still is alive, and the police will be able to question him at some length. >> agnus with that view from france, agnus, for the moment, thank you. okay. let's now take you to geneva, because now there are talks going on between the various factions fighting in syria. the lead negotiator in talks between the syrian government and the opposition, they are going on in geneva. those talks have been described as intense, but the negotiator
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says there are still large differences between the various groups. so now we can go to our diplomatic editor, james bayes who is at those talks in geneva for us. james, demistura, the u.n. envoy, held a news conference about half an hour ago. what did he say? >> reporter: it was the end of week news conference at the end of discussions which were supposed to be the first week of substantive discussions about the big issue, political transition in syria. now he made it clear that the opposition has presented what he said were very detailed proposals. he said he was impressed by the detail and the work that the opposition has done on their proposals on the future of syria. he said very little about what he got from the government side, other than they were about procedures and principles going forward. i think he was not quite as tough on the government side as
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he has been in some of his previous press comments, because he again has said they are not really engaging with that substance, but still talking about the process at this stage. but i'm told behind the scenes, barbara, in the closed door meeting, i'm told by sources that there, there was a pretty stern exchange of views by the special envoy, making it clear to the chief negotiator of the syrian government, who is also the u.n. ambassador in new york, that the delaying tactics have to stop, and he has to get to the real issues, and start talking about those real issues of political transition. but of course, when you get to those issues, that's the real sticking point that stopped any negotiation over the last five years, because political transition gets you straight away to the question, will president assad be part of that transition, or will he not? and that's an issue where there
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is no way to bridge the divide between the two main sides. >> it has been a sticking point for ages. it was interesting during the news conference, he said say that there had been no walk outs and even though the situation was still tense, people were still discussing through him, obviously, but still discussing. i mean is there a sense of optimism that these talks are slightly different from all of the other talks that haven't really lead anywhere? >> reporter: i think these talks are different from the previous talks. and one of the things that is different is what is happening on the ground in syria, that cessation of hostilities now no place for three weeks. that means a substantial reduction in the violence and that some aid has certainly gotten to some of the besieged communities. so for the people of syria, this process even if it's not getting anywhere else, has created benefits on the ground, but it is the key issue of who is going
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to run syria in this transition phase, and then how are you going to get to free and fair elections, and what will a few syria look like? there are such big issues, and they have started to talk about them. certainly the opposition has come up with plans. they have some 8-point principles, but what we have been told about those 8 points, they are pretty much things that the syrian government has been saying for a very long time throughout this conflict, some of the things the syrian government has been saying for years and years. >> james bayes following those talks in geneva. james as always, thank you. let's go back now to one of our top stories and that is that belgian police say one person has been wounded in a raid, and there is reports that he is effectively the most wanted man in europe. let's take a look at him in more detail. he is a 26 year old french
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national who was born in brussels and lived in the mullenbeck area of the city. he has been on the run since the paris attacks on november 13th. he and two other men were stopped in a vehicle hours after the attacks, but allowed to go on their way. he is believed to have rented a car in belgium which was later found. he also rented another car and reserved two hotel rooms outside of paris before the attacks. his brother was one of the attackers who died after blowing himself up. let's go straight to brussels now and speak to natasha butler. any confirmation at this point as to whether this man really is this suspect? >> reporter: well, i'm hoping you can here me, because there is a police helicopter overhead here. so it's rather noisy.
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what we have is confirmation from the belgian justice minister, confirming the capture of this suspect. earlier it was a bit of a confused picture, we weren't sure whether or not he was a suspect who had been injured, captured or arrested in this raid, but the belgian justice minister here has confirmed his capture. >> natasha thank you. and now we're joined in the studio by paul brennan who spent time in mullenbeck following the paris attacks. we're all wondering where he was. tell us what you think would have gone into the four months of investigation from november until now. >> what is really curious is in these four months police have been intensively trying to find this man.
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he is the one surviving member of the core gang. for whatever reason he appears to have dumped his suicide vest in paris. he fled the scene, and was picked up by two accomplices, was able to escape across the boarder despite being stopped by police. the fact that he has managed t ' evade capture for the last four months is somewhat of a surprise. there have been raids, and yet they have not appeared to get any closer to him. it was not just the road stop that let him through. there were other raids which took place. one, for example, police waited outside the house until 5:00 am because belgian law says they are not allowed to go in during the hours of darkness. the belief was certainly in the
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belgian media that he had been in there, and escaped carried out inside of a wardrobe. now if you look at the circumstances of this latest raid, it appears the raid on tuesday which lead to the death of that accomplice and the escape of two others. the police said that they weren't expecting to meet armed opposition when they went on that raid. so they were ill prepared you could say from the outset. the two suspects managed to flee. it looks very much likely that he was one of these two suspects. now they have chased him down. the justice minister has issued a statement saying effectively we have got him. but the fact that he was able to slip the net not just once but it appears on a number of occasions, really goes to a lot of criticism towards the belgian justice system. >> the raid we had a few days
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ago wasn't in the mellenbeck area. you spent a lot of time there. and he could have been hiding there the whole time. >> it could be. because his brother was killed in the paris attacks . there is another brother who lives in mellenbeck, and took place in a vigil. it has a large population of immigrant families. there is also a very active artistic community there. and there were pains to say please do not tar us with this brush that the general media was
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tarring them with. which was a hot bed of radicalism. it is much more complicated than that. there were certainly problems that i saw as far as combatting radical elements. the attitudes of certain sectors were -- were going unchallenged. there's no doubt about that. but the fact that the police have now gone to mullenbeck, again and again over the past four months and now it appears have stumbled upon him. >> please stay with us, but now we can go live to brussels and speak to our correspondent who joins live on the phone from outside of the scene. explain where you are, and what you can see? >> yeah, i have just arrived in
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mullenbeck. obviously the whole of mullenbeck is in shock. it's not very clear. we know it is officially confirmed it is this suspect, and he is wounded. we think on his leg. but also more important a second arrest happened. two people are officially now arrested. some rumors are talking about three. but the second guy we don't know the identity of yet. >> and you have also spent a lot of time in that neighborhood. just explain to us, is there a sense of shock perhaps in brussels from people you are speaking to that this man has been found there so many weeks and months after the attacks. >> reporter: yes, people are completely surprised. who would expect him to come back here. that is just unbelievable.
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i mean most people thought he would have gone back to syria, or he is hiding somewhere in europe, dyed his hair or whatever. but he was obviously -- probably staying in that house in forest where we had this huge operation on tuesday. and we know two people were able to escape, and one of them was indeed this suspect, because they found his fingerprints in that apartment. so people are in total disbelief here. >> daniel thank you so much for having joined us outside of the scene in mullenbeck in brussels. now i'm joined by steve park a terrorism and security analyst and formal officer with london's metro poll tin police. what is your reaction?
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>> reporter: i guess this guy who they are looking for -- has kept his head down. changed his identity, probably changed his looks. had very little contact with people in general, just waiting for the -- the police action to die down in that particular area. the people they were looking for realized that intelligence was looking for them, and therefore, they were just going to stay very, very quiet. but i imagine that the police have been spooked by somebody -- an informant of some description to say the person they are looking for is in the area. >> we done know how injured he is, but how key would he be as a witness -- as an interviewee for the investigation that is still ongoing on the events of november 13th? >> well, you can't get it any better. the police have obviously been under the guise of trying to
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keep him alive. we damage there would not have been a shoot to kill policy at anytime in the operation, knowing they had such an important potential witness for the ongoing operation and for other operations and also for the intelligence of different individuals that this person may have contact with outside of belgium, the far-reaching corners of the middle east, or -- for example, where he is trained, who are his associates, where he is getting his money from. and once they have him on his for interrogation and interview purposes, that means they are going to be able to gather a great deal of intel on the paris attacks. >> i guess there are two ways of looking at this, it could be a break through and cue for both belgian and french police, or