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tv   Wolf  CNN  January 15, 2015 10:00am-11:01am PST

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hello. it's 1:00 p.m. here in washington. 7:00 p.m. in paris. 9:00 p.m. in moscow. wherever you're watching thanks for joining us. we start with breaking news out of belgium right now where police had been looking for a suspect tied to last week's terrorist attacks. several people have been killed we are now told in an anti-terror raid. let's go to jim sciutto. i know the initial information is just coming in but what can
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you tell us? >> reporter: here's the latest we have. it is in eastern belgium. it's about 250 miles from here in paris. it is federal police telling the cnn affiliate there that during a counter terror operation that three suspected terrorists were killed at least one more taken into custody. they say this took place near a train station. they have mentioned no tie to the terror attacks that took place here in paris including at the "charlie hebdo" office. it is a reminder that the threat of terrorism certainly not confined to france here in europe. this might be an indication of the heightened sense of alert here as police attempt to chase down leads and crack down. this was according to the federal police. it was a counter-terror operation intended to take these
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suspects into custody. gun battle breaks out. three of those terrorists are killed another one taken into custody. >> do we know if any belgium police were injured or killed in this operation? >> reporter: there's no announcement yet of casualties on the side of the police. the police have specified casualties on the side of the terrorists none on their side. typically at this stage, they might. but that's no guarantee that there were no injuries or casualties on the side of the police. >> standby for a moment. i want to bring in our terrorism analyst. you're getting new information now as well, right? >> what i've been told by cnn european counter-terrorism official is that authorities in belgium have been investigating several potential cells linked back to isis they believe may have been directed by the leadership of isis to launch attacks in belgium, in europe in
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retaliation for the air strikes which belgium and other countries have been involved with. but they're not making a link between that yet and this operation that's just gone down in eastern belgium. but i think it provides some context here that there's great concern in belgium about these returning fighters, that isis may have started to persuade them to direct them to launch attacks. we've not seen that yet. isis hadn't been doing that up until this point. the assessment is they've changed track and putting more priority now for attacks against the west, against the countries involved in air strikes against them. we don't know if this group of suspected terrorists in belgium which this operation has been launched against is one of these groups. >> standby, paul. i want to bring in tom few wen test the former fbi deputy
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director and former cia operative. tom, people may not realize, but there's a long history of terrorism in belgium, potential targets in belgium. >> that's true. back in 2001 right at the time of our september 11 attack, there was a big plot underway in seven european countries. the main part of that plot existed in belgium, france and the netherlands. >> but the u.s. embassy -- >> was supposed to be bottomed along with a facility near brussels and another in the netherlands. it was broken up. it was investigated by the european services along with the fbi providing assistance. no one ever heard of it here when the arrests started on september 14th because it was three days after our 9/11 which commanded the top media attention in our country. that was a huge case.
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convictions were obtained in multiple countries, including in belgium, against al qaeda members. sentences all in the four to five year raining not much. the people are back out and now many of them have gone. we've been talking for months about the foreign fighters hundreds going to fight with isis. we've been talking about at some point many are going to come back to wage jihad in europe. and now we're seeing the result of that. >> some of them can be told just lay low, be a sleeper for years if necessary. at some point, get ready. >> right. >> bob, you hear about an operation like this and we're following the breaking news in belgium right now. there's a counter-terrorism operation. federal police go in. three alleged terrorists are killed in the operation. one wounded. we're told federal police are getting ready for a news
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conference to explain precisely what happened. what goes through your mind as someone who has studyied this for a long time? >> well, i've actually operated in belgium and all i know tell intelligence agencies do and it's pretty lax. it's a good place to set up. there are strong islamic communities. i think we're going to see a lot more unraveling of these cells there and shootouts as well. right after the paris attacks, somebody told me we're going to see a lot more of these, and especially since the europeans are finally getting serious about that and understanding that they have a real terrorism problem in europe and that these jihadis are coming back. the worse the fighting gets the more there's going to be blow back in europe. >> jim, you're getting more information on what went down in belgium?
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>> reporter: that's exactly right. some more information. again, this is french police speaking to belgian french radio saying that this was initially intended as an inspection not an assault. it turned into an assault when gunfire broke out between the terrorists and police. it took place in the middle of the city. but interestingly and this is not confirmed, but they are reporting this, quoting the french police that is their belief the suspects had recently returned from syria. just goes to the conversation about belgian concern like many other european countries about what happens when those foreign fighters come back from the battle field in syria. just another reminder that just last year there was another deadly attack in brussels in fact. four people killed at a jewish museum there. investigators tied that attacker to having been a veteran of the fighting in syria. so it's a reminder that that's
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an on going threat to europe. what happens to those foreign fighters when they return home. this operation started as an inspection turned into an assault, gunfire exchanged. to this point, they're saying on the side of the terrorists three dead terrorists but at least one person we're told now under arrest. >> let's see what happens. paul cruickshank, you're getting additional information. >> well, wolf i'm actually hall f belgium. i talk to them a lot about the terrorist threat. they've been telling me in recent weeks there's an unprecedented threat and they're stretched thin. 60 or 70 back in belgium. about 15 going off to syria each month. they've been very very worried about this threat for some time. jim's reporting that these
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appear to be syrian that they conducted these raids against. i'm also separately being told that the belgian authorities for the last several weeks were investigating groups of young men who came back from syria to belgium who they suspected had been tossed by isis by the leadership there to launch attacked in belgium and in europe. to all of this very very concerning as we learn new details. >> remind our viewers about that terror attack on that jewish museum in belgium. >> that was in may of last year. that was by a french isis veteran who had come back through frankfurt airport. he went in in cold blood and assassinated four people at that magazine. investigators don't think in that case the isis leadership necessarily signed off on the
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plot or directed him to launch the attack. but what i'm being told by my european sources is they're detecting a significant shift now from isis. that isis is now starting to persuade these europeans to go home and launch attacks, especially against the countries involved in air strikes against them. it's a very, very worrying shift. very worrying new assessment because of all isis's capabilities. the training camps. there's so many europeans in syria. we may be seeing the start of something truly worrying in europe with what's going on right now, wolf. >> i want all of you to standby. we're following the breaking news. three suspected terrorists killed in an anti-terror operation in belgium. we're getting more information and standing by for a news conference. also making headlines today an alleged plot to attack the united states capitol.
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that plot disrupted. in france that investigation now expanding. an ohio man is accused of plotting to setoff pipe bombs at the united states capitol then gunning down lawmakers and workers as they try to escape. christopher lee cornell plotted the attack with an informant posing as an police. a source telling cnn coulibaly and boumeddiene travelled to spain. she travelled to turkey and onto syria. the crowd applauded as the coffin of the cartoonist bernard ver lack known by the pen tame tin you passed by. also coming up, new details on authorities stop an ohio man allegedly plotting to bomb the
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u.s. capitol. we're following that the breaking news out of belgium. an anti-terrorist operation just has been completed. three suspected terrorists are killed. stay with us.
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two weeks later. look, credit karma-- are you talking to websites again? this website says "free credit scores." oh, credit karma! yeah it's actually free. look, you don't have to put in your credit card information. whew! credit karma. really. free. a 20-year-old ohio man now in custody accused of plotting to bomb the capitol building. they also say christopher lee cornell planned to open fire on members of the united states
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congress staffers as they ran away from the explosions. the fbi arrested cornell yesterday in the parking lot of a yun shop where he had just purchased weapons and 600 rounds of ammunition. cornell's father says he thinks his son was set up. >> he may have lost his way somewhere in there, but i believe he was really vulnerable and i believe he was coerced in a lot of ways. he never had enough money to purchase those fwunguns. the fbi supplied the money to purchase those guns. the kid never had the money. he don't know his way out of cincinnati. how was he going to go to walk d.c. and blow up the capitol. >> the fbi has been following cornell since isis after he posted pro isis tweets. the fbi used an informant to get
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closer to cornell as the plot was put together and says that the public was never in serious danger. he's due in court tomorrow. joining us now, tom fuentes, he's a former fbi assistant director. what do you think? this is the kind of operation -- it sounds very worry some but the father says the kid was just disturbed and the father alleges he was really duplicateed into this. >> if he was duped, it was by being radicalized in the first place. the fbi didn't put out the tweets and social media postings that he wanted to go to the capitol and do all these things. somebody else saw that and informed the fbi about it and they began the investigation. frankly, the fbi hates these cases. once they've started the
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investigation, they can't walk away from it. they own it. if they do walk away from it and this guy does go do that and kills people why aren't they investigating. so they really had to see it through. is he all talk and just mouthing off. every step of the way in recorded conversations he keeps saying i want to do this. finally culminating with the purchase of the two weapons. at that points fbi says that's it. >> once he becomes a danger. then potentially there's a danger even if some informant pretending to be sympathetic to isis was talking to him. >> exactly. they want the investigation to avoid the entrapment claim, that he intended to do this. even if they helped him a little bit, this is his plan this is what he wants to do. he went into the gun shop and purchased those weapons. >> at that point it's over. thanks tom.
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don't go too far away. we're following the breaking news out of belgium of several suspected terrorists killed in a raid by federal police in belgium. and from syria to spain, the widening network behind the paris terrorist attacks. how much all of this corp.complicates the investigation. stay with us. ♪ ♪ [ male announcer ] you wouldn't ignore signs of damage in your home. are you sure you're not ignoring them in your body? even if you're treating your crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis an occasional
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attacks, they're unraveling a giant web of terrorist connections to the kouachi brothers. we're going to break all of this down. the key question is if french authorities were onto so much of this why couldn't it have been stopped? >> it could have been stopped. they were surveilling these guys up until a few months ago. what is clear now is french authorities have given up on the idea that maybe this was a lone wolf attack. they clearly see some networks at work here. for example, yemen. that is where they believe one of the kouachi brothers went and received money from al qaeda in the arabian peninsula to carry out this attack and that it was in the works for quite some time. up here the man -- he and this woman killed a police officer and struck in the super market there, he took out a bank loan
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for $7,000 in december. here's the main thing. what is coming out in all of this news is evidence of truly a web of people who are connected to each other. now, look, here are the main people we've been talking about all along. the kouachi brothers down here. move up here. coulibaly and the woman he was this. these three people are all dead now. what they are finding is that there are plenty of people out there still alive who seem to have been connected. for example, she's still missing. they don't know where she is. this man was traveling with her. they don't know exactly where he is either. they know that this man over here had contact with him and recruited him to some degree to this effort. they also know this man down here who was picked up in belgium had contact with cherif
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kouachi. and they had ties to al qaeda in yemen. the french authorities and international investigators are putting this all together. they have concluded is that these people did not act alone. they were involved in something bigger. now, how big and whether or not that constitutes a full-on terror plot of great weight, we don't know. nor do we know if other people out there are still intent in carrying this on based on the original attacks. >> confident we're going to learn a whole lot more in the coming days and weeks. i want to go to the white house. the press secretary is speaking on these issues right now. >> later on today we may be able to get you something. >> there are reports this morning that the president in his budget request is going to ask for an increase in about 7% to the federal budget. wondering if you can tell us whether that's accurate.
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>> i've seen those reports as well. the president -- >> we just missed what josh said. we're going to get the tape and let you know. but he's going to -- he was speaking on what was going on in belgium. we'll get that sound bite fromjosh earnest and play it for you. he was giving the first u.s. reaction to this counter-terror operation in eastern belgium. let's talk a little bit about that. more once again paul cruickshank is joining us. he's the co-arthur of "agent storm." also on bear, a former cia operative. bob, as we look at all of these leads underway right now, these actors and several countries. i think seven countries now involved in what could be an
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expanding operation. the details really skrechy still at this point although we will be learning a whole lot more. how surprised are you by these developments? >> well, not at all. two things going on here. that's the conflict in iraq and syria, we're seeing the blow back hitting europe. let's never forget that 9/11 was a plot hatched in europe. there were wide cells there. they went from spain to france to italy and the rest of it. what i think is happening now that the french finally woke up and they are on the phone as they put all these contacts together and are calling people and starting to roll people up. i think we're going to see a lot more of this and that there's a lot more cells than anybody suspected. >> and paul, we talked earlier about the threat of so-called lone wolves if you will. that's not what we're seeing in
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these paris attacks. these were not just isolated some guy or two guys sitting in their basement on the internet learning how to use weapons. these are people who have specific training and there was coordination. >> yeah, the belief is that at least one of the brothers traveled to yemen, got training there with aqap which would require to formally join the group, that they gave cherif $20,000 to put this operation together. they came back and essentially did nothing for three years. we know the french put heavy surveillance on them when they got back in the late summer of 2011. it's possible that they waited for that surveillance to stop. and we know it did stop in june of 2014. we know that al awlaki was telling these kind of recruits,
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you should show your radicalism. it's possible they waited for that surveillance to stop before launching this plot. >> bob, how many people does it really take to investigate two or three suspicious guys who may have just come back from syria or yemen? you know these people were there, one or two. how many trained federal law enforcement types does it take to undertake constant surveillance? >> well, wolf when i was assigned to paris i worked with the french police on surveillance. one case we had was counter intelligence. the french put a hundred people on the street. you simply don't follow people around. it's not like one guy wandering around the suburbs watching another person. you need hundreds of people. the french the problem they have they run out of resources and then they move down the list to a more threat -- what seems
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like a more threatening target. so i completely sympathize on this. you can't watch 5,000 suspects or however many there are in france with that number of people with the size of their police force. there's not much you can do about it. >> there certainly isn't. obviously they're learning lessons from what has just happened. bob, stay with us. we have much more on the breaking news coming out. plus police are still looking for hayat boumeddiene and her travel companion. she's believed to now be in syria. the life she's leading isn't necessarily of a woman on the run but of that of praps a militant tro fie wife. we're getting that information. stay with us.
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welcome back to our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer reporting from washington. want to update you on the breaking news this hour. major developments. several people have been killed in an anti-terror operation in belgium. it happened in the city of verviers eastern of belgium. according to our cnn affiliate, several suspected terrorists were killed and at least one person was taken into custody. we expect to learn more at the top of the hour. the federal prosecutor scheduled to hold a news conference 2:00
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p.m. eastern. we'll have coverage of that of course. let's bring in paul cruickshank who's been monitoring what's going on. >> i've been speaking to a senior belgian counter-terrorism official. he says this operation in this town is linked to a group suspected of traveling to syria to have connected with isis in syria and crucially that isis persuaded to return to europe to launch terrorist attacks. they have this group under surveillance for the last several weeks, perhaps longer. they were very worried about them. watching them very, very closely. they decided today to launch this operation. a lot of things happened very very quickly. it appears several of these suspects were killed in the raid. i understand there are other operations going on in other parts of belgium right now connected to belgians traveling to syria lipging up with
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terrorist groups there and coming back. this is very fast-moving, very serious indeed. this appears from what i'm being told to have been an isis directed group suspected of plotting attacks in belgium, in europe in retaliation for the air strikes against iraq and syria. this is really a big escalation if that's the case from isis. it's the kind of worst case scenario. it's a group with thousands of european recruits that it can recruit into its ranks. tens of millions of dollars of crash reserves. training camps across the country in this terrorist safe haven. the belgians have been very, very worried about this. large travel flows from belgium to syria.
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30 killed 70 back, around 51 leave -- 15 leaving the country every month. >> i assume -- we don't know for sure. this operation in which several of these terrorists were now killed and other -- trying to round up other suspects at this time is the aftermath of what happened in paris last week even if there's no direct connection between the paris terrorists and these suspected terrorists in belgium. >> i think that's a fair assumption. no evidence that there's a connection between these groups in belgium and the brothers in paris. authorities in belgium saw what played out on the streets of paris. the concerns will just have grown about the potential for groups who've connected with the bad guys in syria and iraq to do harm on the streets of europe and belgium.
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belgium has already had a terrible tragedy when it comes to them coming back from syria. a french isis fighter came back and launched an attack in may. big concern right now in belgium right across europe about this dynamic wolf. >> how many people were killed in the attack? >> there were four people killed gunned down by an assailant. a french isis veteran. in that case investigators think he probably launched on his own steam. isis is starting to prioritize attacks against europe itself starting to try to persuade european fighters coming back to launch those attacks. that could be a real game changer. detecting that shift now. it's what everybody's been worried about and what we're seeing now unfold potentially. >> i want you to standby and watch this. i want all of the viewers to
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watch this as well. we're just getting in the first amateur video of this counter-terror operation that took place in the eastern belgium city of verviers earlier today. watch and listen. [ gunshots ]
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anti-terror operation that went down in eastern belgium today. paul cruickshank is still with us. you listen to that sound, watch the video what do you say?
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>> well, wolf this isn't the europe i know. i worked there for years. i've seen terrorism. quick explosions but actual battles in the streets is new. what paul reported about isis having decided to launch in the consideration that there's so many europeans fighting in syria, can come home, grab automatic weapons off the black market. you know this is unchartered territory for europe. i just cannot tell you where it's going to go. >> and paul you've been doing excellent reporting for us in what went down today. you see the video. you hear the prolonged sound of gunshots clearly. it was an extensive situation. >> it perhaps suggests they were confronting a heavily armed group. that this went on for some time. they needed to newlyutralize the
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threat. we understand people have come back from syria, people who fought on the front lines in syria, experienced in urban warfare and fighting with isis. and the belgian security forces today are having to fight these -- what we hear are isis coming back. the war in syria and iraq is playing out in just the last few hours in europe in the eastern part of the country of belgium. >> tom fuentes is with us as well. you see this battle going on. clearly looks like the suspected terrorists in this town they were pretty well armed because the police did not have an easy time going after these guys. >> that's true. we've seen it with the french police where usually they're outgunned. in this case the police would have been prepared. i think they knew what kind of people they were going up
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against. we have seen something like this in the past a couple years ago in madrid. in that case they had explosives and start add large fire and explosions and the worry in a case like this is that they might burn the whole apartment building down and kill other innocent people or have bombs inside. it's significant that they were able to arrest and/or kill the bad guys. >> i want to cue up this amateur video one more time and play a little bit of it. i want tom and bob and paul to listen once 2010 andagain and see if you can make out the sound, the explosions and weaponry potentially that was use used. let's play it very briefly. [ gunshots ]
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s. do you hear anything significant there? >> you hear small arms fire. with the general sound, i don't know if that's wind blowing across the microphone. >> this is a residential area too. this is not like a business area. >> that sounds like maybe wind because it's being filmed outside. i don't think that was a continuous succession of explosions. we do hear the small arms fire so it does appear they're having a gun battle. >> it looks like they were well armed. bob, what did you hear? >> well, i heard explosions were probably flash bang grenades that the police would throw to disable people in a room.
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you have to consider that as the gun battles start, they will have to go from dynamic entries to combat entries and then just kill everybody in a room which is much closer to a military operation. again, the police have no choice but to use military tactics when you have an armed group like this coming out of syria and iraq. >> paul cruickshank, what's your analysis? >> i'm half belgian. to see these scenes play out it's really shocking for me. ideal with terrorism in terms of analyzing it every day. to see this playing out again on the streets of belgian after we saw the attack on the belgian museum. the belgian officials i talk to say the threat is unprecedented because so many belgian nationals have gone off to syria and arack and connected with
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groups there and they're starting to come back. there are 60 or 70 who are back. month amongst those are the people holed up in verviers in this town. really extraordinary scenes. underlines the threat not only in belgium but right across europe because of these travel flows to syria. now i think the fear is that isis is starting to pivot towards prioritizing attacks in the west. in fact, they're spokesman back in september made that threat clear. he said isis was going to conduct raids in the west in response to the u.s. air strikes and european air strikes in iraq and syria. this may well be isis now retaliating. i'm hearing that this group, this very group you're seeing in the operation against right now were in syria, did connect with
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isis. and the belgium officials suspect they were directed by isis to come back and launch some kind of attack. a lot is still unclear to belgian investigators. they just suspect that isis wanted them to launch an attack. it's not absolutely crystal clear, but they were very, very worried about this cell and other cells across belgium. >> i just want to be precise. you're also hearing from that source of yours in belgium that this is just one of several operations that were going down today trying to round up suspected terrorists? >> that's right. i'm hearing that there are multiple operations underway. they obviously can't get into it more than that, in belgium. all connected to this concern about individuals who've become trained killers and returned to belgium and who belgium authorities for months and months and months have regarded
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as a major security threat. they don't have the resources to monitor these people 24/7. now they're launching these operations clearly it would appear at least because of worries about terrorism, because of what we saw play out in paris just a week ago. concern that perhaps these groups of young men who have come back may be inspired by what they saw play out on the "charlie hebdo" magazine. >> standby. everyone standby. we're going to stay on top of the breaking news what's going on in belgium right now, a significant anti-terror operation. we're told at least two people suspected terrorists are dead. one injured. also coming up a cnn exclusive interview with nigerian soldiers and the struggles they're facing against boko haram. over $98 million dollars
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we're continuing to follow the breaking news out of belgium, anti-terror operations underway now. we want to turn to another story. outgunned, outmanned and outresourced our soldiers describe the fight against the boko haram, terrorist group. they torched thousands of homes and killed as many as 2,000 people nearly two weeks ago. nick robertson travels to nigeria in this exclusive report to hear the plight of the soldiers battling the terror group. >> run away to meet a soldier who's been in the front line of the battle against boko haram. we've been chasing him all day and still trying to catch up
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with him. >> eventually we meet hidden in a tiny store. he dares only to spend a few minutes with us. he's not authorized to talk. he's telling a side of the war we never hear, what it's like to be a soldier fighting boko haram. >> we are not issued kits. we buy the kits ourself. >> you have to buy the uniform? >> yeah. i bought myself myself. >> that's incredible. his base is outside this town three hours northeast of the capital. it's where the mostly muslim meets the mostly christian south. last here last month a twin suicide bombing killed 12 people. there are thousands of troops stationed in this town and many more stories like the soldier
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we're talking to. so this is what they gave you after your injury recommending for treatment? another soldier shows me his medical a papers. he too is not authorized to speak to us. his yuan he says was outgunned, boko haram with longer bigger weapons, more men and more ammunition. his comrades fled leaving him behind. >> against the fight? >> three scary days alone on the rung from the terror group before reaching his base. his morale rock bottom. things are about to get worse. >> the army won't pay for drugs even though you got injury fighting boko haram. >> they are not paying for drugs. >> we asked a senior government
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official about shortcomings. he said he would look into it. why don't the generals see this problem and think about giving you better weapons to win the fight? corruption? >> corruption. >> how can you go on being a soldier in that environment? >> it's a call to some. >> good will that without bigger guns and more ammunition may soon run out. nic robertson, nigeria. >> horrible situation. that's it for me. thanks for watching. news continues next right after a quick break. out of 42 vehicles... based on 6 different criteria... why did a panel of 11 automotive experts... ... name the volkswagen golf motor trend's 2015 car of the year? we'll give you four good reasons
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the all-new volkswagen golf starting at $17,995. there's an award winning golf for everyone. people with type 2 diabetes come from all walks of life. if you have high blood sugar, ask your doctor about farxiga. it's a different kind of medicine that works by removing some sugar from your body. along with diet and exercise farxiga helps lower blood sugar in adults with type 2 diabetes. with one pill a day, farxiga helps lower your a1c. and, although it's not a weight-loss or blood-pressure drug, farxiga may help you lose weight and may even lower blood pressure when used with certain diabetes medicines. do not take if allergic to farxiga or its ingredients. symptoms of a serious allergic reaction include rash, swelling or difficulty breathing or swallowing. if you have any of these symptoms, stop taking farxiga
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hey what are you doing? i was thinking about taking this speed test from comcast business. oh yeah? if they can't give us faster internet or save us money, they'll give us 150 bucks. sounds like a win win. guys! faster internet? i have never been on the internet and i am doing pretty well.
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does he even work here? don't listen to the naysayer. take the comcast business speed test. get faster speeds or more savings, or we'll give you $150. comcast business. built for business. i'm john berman live in paris along with brooke baldwin in new york. we've been covering the pair of terror attacks in the country from last week. now we have information of breaking news. one country over in belgium. an anti-terror raid in the