tv CNN Special Report CNN November 12, 2015 9:00pm-10:01pm PST
sighting than friday the 13th. astronomers will be watching as a piece of space junk six feet in diameter enters the earth's atmosphere over the indian ocean. hello, everyone. i'm isha sesay. we have breaking news. pentagon the says the u.s. targeteds jihadi john in an air strike. he's been seen in videos showing the murders of a number of isis hossages. it is not yet confirmed on whether jihadi john died in the air strike. what do we know about the operation? >> the u.s. conducted an air
strike near raca, syria to target muhammed emwazi. when they saw the opportunity, they basically took the shot from the air. now, at this hour, no absolute confirmation that it is him, but officials are telling me they're very confident. they were tracking him, they knew it was him when they took the shot to get him. believed to be a drone strike or a fixed wing aircraft. they have used both over syria, but it was what they called persistent surveillance. in other words, they've been tracking him for some days, and that is usually done with a drone, usually by special operations forces of the united states military. they gather the intelligence,
they find these guys and then they go after him. they do believe they got him. >> explain to us how significant such an achievement, if you will, is. >> this is extremely important to the united states and the families in japan and england that he killed. this is a great emotional victory to have some closure, some bringing to justice of this person.
by all accounts he had been shuffled to the side because of his notoriety and his violence. you haven't seen him out there in months. does it change the war? no. stay hill hope to get the leader of the isis movement, but at least tonight they feel they have brought one person to justice. >> just so i'm clear, this strike was conducted in raca, a strong hold of isis. again, the u.s. making it clear in carrying out the strike that they have eyes over that area. >> what's the message to isis? the message is we're watching, we'll find you, you can't run, you can't hide. we'll get you.
they're getting much better intelligence on how they're moving around and where these people are. part of the confidence is they're able to put together the intelligence pick choor and take the shot. still looking for that absolute final confirmation. >> was he amongst a gathering. do we know about conditions on the ground? >> we do not. we have asked that question at this hour. we don't know that. but this was a mission we can say, according to several officials i have spoken to in recent hours, this was a mission very much, very specifically to target him. >> and family members of the foreigners killed in such horrible ways, have they been
notified? >> we do know the american families were notified. we know the british government was notified. i have to assume the jap knee government as well and others. and i mean, i think clearly it will be left up to every government to notify the families of their citizens. >> barbara starr joining us tonight with this breaking news. we appreciate the reporting. thank you, barbara. >> and joining us now, cnn military analyst lieutenant krl rick francona. just how significant would the killing be. >> it's significant symbol iicly. it does brink closure to those families. jihadi john had such a vicious
reputation. he murdered so many people. the victims just need some sort of justice and whether or not it schangs the conduct of the car, i think it was important that the coalition went after him and dealt him some justice. >> colonel francona, the u.s. has not confirmed whether they got jihadi john. so give us some insight into the verification process, what will be happening behind the scenes right now. >> yeah, that will be very, very difficult. and i don't think we're going to -- we may not see verification right away, unless isis admits that it was him and he was killed. they've done that in the past. we'll be looking at intercepts, the chatter going on, what's going on in social media and the web.
it could be at some point. you may not know. >> in the past, you have been critical of intelligence capabilities when it comes to the fight against isis. so let me ask you this, now that a strike like this has taken place, what does it represent to you. what does it say about where things stand now. >> well, i think that over time the united states and the allies have developed much better intelligence. remember, we were caught i think a little flat footed when isis came out of syria and moved in over and took the city of mosul. we knew very little about them. as they morphed into isis, changed their op prapgs it became clear that we didn't really have a good handle on it. and you could tell that from our initial operations against isis. our pilots are returning to base with a lot of ordinance that they have not dropped. that tells me we don't have the intelligence to develop the targets needed to successfully prosecute a war against isis.
that may be changing. we have either isolated their communications better, better persistence surveillance. that usually means more drones over the area. i think being able to operate out of turkey has given up a much better edge, especially over syria. it appears the intelligence is getting better. do you fear this, if confirmed, will are result in retaliatory strikes by isis? >> they may try, but my assessment is isis is already doing everything they can. if isis is proouch b to be responsible for bringing down the russian jetliner, they're trying to do that in retaliation against the russians. we saw an operation possibly related to isis in beirut today. that would have been isis going after hezbollah. and lep nies shiaa. they will try anything they can.
if they see an opportunity to attack either the united states or great britain, they would do it regardless of whether we had killed jihadi john. >> it's always great to have your perspective this evening. >> good to be on the program. >> where did jihadi john come from. we went to learn more about the man behind the mask. >> teenage boys goofing around with a basketball, won wearing a backpack shows off some fancy footwork, then someone calls out the name to match the now famous face. mohammed emwazi, confirmed to be jihadi john. in this video, you can see him throw a playful bunch when a bottle is chucked at him. but in front of the camera, he covers his face. emwazi was shy, but not a
problem student said his head teacher. she describes the moment she heard her former student wuss the man behind the mask for isis. >> he was reserve pd .he didn't have a huge circle of friends. but he had a few good friends. he was bullied a little bit because he was quiet and he was reserved. t generally he was fine. >> the knives will strike the necks of your people. >> it was his distinctive british voice that led him to be identified. since then, a fuller picture is being emerging. he's describkriecribed as beinge young man. a purported audio recording from 2009 released by british muslim advocacy group. >> reporter: for those who knew him, it's difficult to fathom that the man they knew as emwazi is the man behind the mask.
cnn, london. >> we will have much more on u.s. forces targeting jihadi john in a joint strike in syria. also ahead on the program, twin suicide blasts killed more than 40 people in lebanon. what one would-be suicide bomber who survived the attack is saying next e. plus, kurdish forces are battling to take a key iraqi city from isis. we'll head to the frontlines for the latest on the battle for sinjar. bring us your aching
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welcome back, everyone. our breaking news. the pentagon says u.s. forces targeted the isis fighter known as jihadi john. he's been seen in horrific videos showing the murders of a number of isis hostages. it has not yet been confirmed whether jihadi john side died in the air raid, but a u.s. official said they knew they had him in their sights when they launched the ire strike. a would-be suicide bomber claims he was sent to beirut by isis along with three other
attackers. and according to a lebanese security source, that's just one of many details the suspect has revealed to investigators. a pair of suicide blasts killed more than 40 people and wounded at least 200 at a busy margt in beirut thursday. the surviving bomber is a lebanese national. it appears the other three were killed. a reported isis statement claimed responsibility for the blast. cnn has not confirmed its authenticity. well, the surviving attacker appears to be pulled away from the rubble. but cnn cannot independently confirm that. we must warn you some of the footage you're about to see is graphic. cnn's jim shuto has more. >> reporter: the explosion struck during the height of rush hour. on an open market just south of beirut. coordinated, powerful and deadly. first one suicide blast draws a crowd of onlookers. then a second blast strikes that
crowd, maximizing saz you'llties. -- casualties. a third bomber, killed by the blast before he could detonate his own explosionives. but a fourth was allegedly captured, seen here taken away as security forces fire into the air to clear the crowd. this man said he was praying when the blast blew a door right over his head. the victims carried by bystanders over rubble from damaged buildings and rushed to nearby hospitals. >> the suicide bombing went off, the area is mostly empty. it's been cordoned off by the army. otherwise, there's a lot of shattered glass on the street, a lot of blood. and it's really just a scene of chaos and carnage. >> reporter: within hours, isis claimed responsibility. the lebanese fish fighting
alongside bashar al assad there. >> isis doesn't have boreds. you say isis, i say isil, they call themselves i.s., islamic state. they cover all the areas muslims live today in the world. lebanon is just going to be seen as another battlefield. >> sources have told cnn of that arrest of the fourth suicide bomber and the additional detail, the captured alleged fourth bomber said they were dispatched from syria by isis to carry out this attack. jim schuto, cnn, washington. >> ian, this was a horrific twin bombing. what's the latest? well, the latest at this
hour is they're still investigating to figure out exactly how this was carried out, where these guys come from. two of the suicide bombers believed to be from a nearby palestinian refugee camp. one is from triply in the northern part of lebanon. they're trying to figure out how these men were able to get into lebanon. as we heard, they were dispatched from syria. how they got these weapons. but officials say this is still early in the investigation to figure out how they also were able to get this area past the security check points that were set up. not only by the army, but also by hezbollah down there in the south. >> today there were checkpoints. generally speaking, how tight is security in that part of beirut? >> security has always been
tight. they had these checkpoints for quite some time. but when you look at the timing of this incident, that really is telling. that happened at 6:00 p.m. when a lot of people are out and about shopping. there's large crowds in the streets, people abuying fruit ad getting ready for dinner that evening. so these suicide bombers were able to slip through and be able to mask themselves in the crowd. and that's when these blasts took place. about 150 meters away from each other. the two bombs went off. although one suicide bomber tried to enter a mosque but was unable to. it will cause for a security review right now in lebanon, but right now, this is a country and a city in mourning. today is declared an official day of mourning. >> yeah. ian, the bigger question in all of this is what the fallout will be for lebanon as a whole,
lebanon as a nation, a country with a very fragile hold on stability at best. that's the question we're all looking in the days ahead. >> that's right. lebanon has been described as the stable instability. there are different factions that have been held in relative peace. one thing that's interesting is all faction has come out and condemned it. all the factions are against isis meddling in lebanon. so you're seeing a bit of unity in the fallout of this incident. >> ian lee, appreciate it. thank you. officials say pashmerga fighters are trying to retake the key city from the mill at that particular times and cut their
supply lines. the kurds say they've taken more than 150 square kilometers so far. reclaiming sinjar is a big step to breaking up the caliphate isis says they're creating. >> reporter: the sun broke, bringing with it a vast trail of pashmerga crawling around the back of mount sinjar. their advance longn't expected and aimed here at sinjar's western flank. isis beaten back, barely a local vehicle left standing. they've asked for new weapons but used what they had, facing booby traps all around. mo tars and continued air strikes had one key target -- the highway that runs through sinjar.
ice ris is just 500 meters potentially down that road. the caliphate's self-declared capital. this is why this road is so vital to the pash mmerga and th coalition. they need to separate the isis part of iraq and their part of syria. isis wasn't giving up the town, though, without first burning it. some suspicious of the other local group, the sunni arabs there. the local arabs here are all with isis, this local commander says. throughout the day, one mushroom cloud after another, isis car bombs. some beaten back by a new pashmerga weapon from the west -- the milan missile, which stops the suicide bombers in their tracks.
this is what one did to an isis car. melting this pistol flat. sinjar's urban sprawl, too, could be flattened if isis choose to fight in it. the first day's bravado, taking the kurds far, but not to victory. nick paton walsh, cnn, sinjar. >> well, u.s. secretary of state john kerry said he's confident sinjar will fall from the hands of isis, but he's reluctant to speculate on when. >> i am convinced that sinjar will be liberated, as we have liberated tikrit and currently the iraqi forces are moving on ramadi. there is a concerted strategy here. i keep hearing people say well, what's the strategy? the strategy is clear, president obama in the very beginning said we're going to degrade and defeat ice sill. we're going to stabilize the countries in the region, jordan,
lebanon, work with turkey. and we're going to seek a political settlement. that's exactly the strategy today, and it is working to a degree. not as fast as we would like, perhaps. but we are making gains. >> secretary of state john kerry speaking there. we are following breaking news as the u.s. announces an air strike targeting isis executioner jihadi john. we'll have the latest just ahead. plus u.s. president barack obama lashes out to donald trump's immigration plans but trump is not backing down. also ahead, hear what u.s. presidential candidates are saying about a college campus rocked by racial tensions. stay with us. you're watching cnn. working on my feet all day gave me pain here.
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>> our breaking news this hour. the pentagon says u.s. forces targeted the isis executioner known as jihadi john. he terrified the world from behind a mask, appearing in videos showing him brutally murdering isis hostages. his real name is mohammed emwazi, believe to have had been born in kuwait. senior officials say they knew they had jihadi john in their site whence they launched the drone strike, but the pentagon is still trying to determine whether he actually died in the air ride. the path to radicalization and the alleged murderer has been a few years in the making. the first time authorities got a hold of him was more than five years ago. jim schuto reports. >> i have 72 hours.
>> he's been the voice of some of isis' most brutal terror videos, calm, ruthless and with a distinct and surprising british accent. >> our knife will continue to strike the necks of your people. >> now authorities have identified the terrorist known as jihadi john as mohammed emwazi, a 26-year-old british national born in kuwait but raised in london. though u.s. officials would not publicly discuss his suspected identity, the white house said jihadi john is a top terror target. >> in the mind of the president, he ranks high on the list. he's responsible for the murder of innocent americans and the president is determined to bring him to justice. >> emwazi until his travelled to
syria enjoyed a life of privilege. his friends said they never saw signs of his future as a terrorist. >> he was such a beautiful young man, really. you know, it's hard to imagine the trajectory. it's not a trajectory that's unfamiliar for us. >> emwazi's path traveled to tanzania to go on safari. but he was detained on arifle, held overnight then deported to the uk. authorities suspecting his true intention was to travel to somalia. in 2010, he was detained again by counterterrorism officials in britain. just two years later, he traled to syria where he joined isis. his friends claim mistreatment by british authority, set them on a path to terrorism. >> our entire national security strategy for the last 13 years
has only increased ail yan nation, has only increased people feeling like they don't belong. >> our thanks to jim schuto for that report. well, russia is trying to authenticate an isis video that threatens attacks inside the country, quote, very soon. the five-minute video was released thursday. it shows russian cities with chants in russian promising that, quote, brood will spi than as an ocean. it comes two weeks after isis affiliate claims to have brought down a russian jetliner. the video does not mention the plane. >> let's talk politics, shall we? the president describes trump's
plan as unfeasible and contrary to u.s. values. >> imagines the images on the screen flashed around the world as we were dragging parents away from their children. and putting them in, what, detention centers. and then systematically sending them out. nobody thinks that that is real lisic, but more importantly, that's not who we are as americans. >> well, the u.s. secretary of state john kerry went even further. he said trump's plan along the border in mexico to keep illegal immigrants out of the u.s. will never happen. >> mr. secretary, you've negotiated with the mexicans a great deal, so i've got to ask you, do you believe that the mexican government would under any circumstances pay for a wall across the entire border of the united states and mexico to keep mexican undocumented aliens out of the united states? >> mexico itself pay?
>> this is mr. trump's proposal. >> i knew you were trying to drag me right in the middle of the presidential politics. i think it's a foregone conclusion that mexico is not going to build that wall. >> or pay for it? >> no. >> well, donald trump, a front-runner for the presidential nomination has been surging in the polls, partly because of his hard line stand on illegal immigration. during an interview with cnn's erin burnett, he didn't back down. >> but they're not going to want to leave. you're going to have to hire a lot of people to find them and get them over the border, right? of. >> they're here illegally. if a person comes across the border and you send them right back, the border patrol sends them right back, there's not a big court situation. >> but what about the guy already living in detroit. >> excuse me. what's the difference with somebody who goes across the border for two days and somebody who's here if a year and you bring them back. there is no difference.
. >> donald trump's hard immigration line may give traction with the republican base, but come the fall in the national vote, you clearly need hispanics to win. so what's the calculation here? >> well, i don't think he's looking that far yet, and if he is, he's counting if he wins the nomination, he's count on transforming demographic trends that have been transforming american politics for three dpek kads. this really underscores how much this campaign is being driven by questions of america's identity at a moment of profound demographic change. taxes, regulation, those kinds of question, they're all in the background. this is really within -- first of all, within the republican primary, and then more broadly
towards the general election about how he all live together or not at a moment when a country is growing rapidly more diverse. and we see it coming up on immigration, we see it with the black lives matter. we see it with the republican candidates' response to the situation in missouri. all of these situations are revolving around the same core question about how do co-exist in a moemts of rapid demographic change? >> indeed. and with the iowa caucuses less than 100 days away, donald trump is stepping up the attack on his nearest challenger. he took aim at ben carson in a way we've never heard before. take a listen. >> when he said it stabbed somebody with a knife and it hit a belt buckle. belt buckles aren't going to stop it. they're going to turn, they're going to twist. they're not solid. if somebody has a couple extra pounds on them, they move. the chances of somebody going like that, hitting a belt buckle where it doesn't slide off. >> so you're not satisfied y et?
>> i just don't know. but when someone said he's pathological, you'll have to ask him that question. i haven't seen it. i know it's in the book, that he's got a pathological temper or temperament. that's a big problem because you don't cure that. they say, as an example, child mole molester. you don't cure these people. you don't cure a child molester. . there's no cure for it. pathological, there's no cure for that. >> wow. carson's team responded to trump's comments. i've got to share this with you and our viewers. this is what we got from the carson camp, that trump was not comparing carson to a child molester. that was a quote. and that he was, as usual, rambling. the carson camp may be brushing this off. but let me ask you what trump's attacks means for carson broadly speaking. he has an evangelical base, carson, and they like him a lot.
will trump's strategy of taking him on so directly, even using language like a child molester, will that gain traction? >> trump, first of all, showing it matters a lot for both of them. the line between unplugged and unhinged is a slippery one. he has gotten a lot of mileage about saying things that others won't say. someone will come in and undermine all the diplomatic niceties. but at the same time, that same kind of volatile language and performance that has endeered h him to a big part of the blue collar conservative base in the republican party, as we've talked about before, has raised enormous doubts about his fitness and his temperament among white collar republicans. i think ben carson is in a somewhat similar position. among evangelical christians who are a significant portion of the vote, he has struck a cord, but he has struck a cord through his personal story. i think more than his positions
on issues, or any kind of sense of his personal fitness as president. i think he has basic -- both of them have the same problem. they have a base. but beyond that base, ability to do the job that is growing. trump is lashing out at so many candidates while really does tend to limit his potential to grow. you're already seeing him facing those limits in the polls. thank you. and now some more news on the myanmar election. aung sang suu kyi has won her
party's election. sunday was the freest election in decades. a live report for you on that. stay with us with more details. and when we come back, the u.s. announces an air strike targeting jihadi john. we'll have the latest just ahead. >> and russian athletes could be on the brink of suspension in the wake of a doping scandal. officials will decide whether to ban athletes from world games. when you booked this trip, you didn't know we had over 11,000 local activities listed on our app. or that you could book them right from your phone. a few weeks ago, you still didn't know if you were gonna go. now the only thing you don't know, is why it took you so long to come here. expedia.
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e78 was si is a british citizen believed to have been born in kuwait. officials say authorities are confident he was killed, although the pentagon would not publicly confirm that. @the world governing body for track and field will consider whether to band russians from the 2016 olympics. russia says it has submitted a report addressing the allegations. earlier this week, they say it's a deeply rooted culture of wise spread cheating and cover-ups. vladimir putin has bound an internal investigation. from football to cycling, and now track and field. two of the biggest international sports federations are embroiled in crises right now. our own don riddel breaks it
down for us. >> reporter: the olympics and the world cup are glamorous and aspirational and worth billions of dollars. but the players are in business suits and the actions are out of views, in the shadows. athletes and corrupt administrators are out of view, but it's never been this big and this bad before. sep blatter, although he insists he's clean, he's under criminal investigation. he was the head of world athletics is also under criminal investigation. football and athletics are the two biggest international sports federations. bribery is suspected in victorious bids for russia and qatar. previous tournament are now also under the microscope.
some of the sport's most influential power brokers are in jail or awaiting extradition. fuf a's very future couldn't be any more precarious. and it's not just the occasional errant track star. it's athletes, coaches, trainers, doctor, a state-sponsored doping program in russia, according to the world anti-doping agency's independent commission. russia is a global sport super power, bank rolled by the government. it spends a reported $50 billion hosting the last winter olympics. in sochi, and it's staging the next world cup in 2018. but now it could be banned from the summer games in rio. there's too much money at stake for the sponsors and the broadcasters to walk away. who's going to clean it up? everywhere you look, there are potential conflicts of interest. the u.n. national sports
security is largely funded by qatar, whose successful world cup bid is under criminal investigation. the new president said he's a brand ambassador for nike, a major sports sponsor. it receives 50% of its funding from national governments. as the anti-doping agency put it, this is probably just the tip of the iceberg. >> uh don't doubt that. when we come back, we'll be joined by an olympic track and field medallist who lost the gold in 2012 to a russian competitor. her take on the doping scandal coming up. the cold truth is... [coughing]
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medal in the high jump in the 2012 olympics. thank you for joining us. what went through your mind when you first heard the allegations? >> my first thought, i hope there it's not true. i hope there's not another reason, another athlete who was deprived or not able so pay their family. when i think about winston hughes who said what happened with this dream deferred? i don't want anybody to know what that actually feels like. >> let's be clear for our viewer, you actually lost the cold medal in 2012 to a russian athlete. >> yes. >> you said to me, the feeling you have now is almost of a mourning. explain that to me. >> i'm the type of person that believes people are innocent until proven guilty. hypothetically speaking, if these allegations are true, i
feel like my dream, everything i worked really hard for, i was a junior in college when i went to my first olympic games and dreaming about that day and dreaming about the possibility of winning a gold medal and able to stand on the podium and getting the opportunity to possibly sing the national anthem, my national anthem, representing my country, my god, my family, my mother, just went through breast cancer. so mourning that moment that might have been stolen for me, mourning the gold medal that i do not have, seeing the silver medal every day and having to work four hard long years, make four years worth of sacrifices just for another opportunity at getting a gold medal if these allegations are true. i have a lot to mourn. and there are a lot of@lees that have a lot to mourn. >> and for american athletes,ty know you are saving your own opinion for yourself. but is this what others are talking about? how does this make you feel
about the 2012 olympics? >> yes, there are a lot of athletes. not just about the olympics, but word championships as well. american athletes thinking oh, shoot, that directly affect m.d. e. when you look at the scandal, you see the fact that it affects not just one specific discipline. it affects distance, field, throw. it could affect all of track and field. we're not just talking about one athlete. we're talking about an entire sport of athletics. yeah. >> do you think they should be banned if they can't provide sufficient answers to these questions posed in this report? do you want to see them banned if they cannot? >> yeah. in my opinion, anybody that is found intentionally doping for performance enhancing, that they should be banned. i don't think that, for example, if i get sick and i accidentally take the wrong cough syrup medicine overseas, i could technically be found positive.
i don't think people that make simple mistakes like that should be banned for life. but people who are intentionally using drugs to get hae of the competition should be banned. >> we appreciate you coming in and showing your thoughts. we wish you the very best with your future career. >> thank you very much. >> and back to our breaking news. the pentagon says u.s. forces targeted jihadi john during an air strike on raca, syria. it's not yet confirmed whether jihadi john died in the air raid. we'll have much more for you at the top of the hour. do stay with cnn for that. thank you for watching cnn news room live from los angeles. i'm isha sesay. i'll be back with more news from all around the world in just a few minutes.
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a u.s. military air strike. but we don't know if he's dead or alive. plus more than 40 people killed in suicide bombings in lebanon, a suspect says he was sent by isis. and as we speak, more than 7,000 kurdish soldiers are fighting to retake a key iraqi city from isis control. hello and welcome to our viewers all around the world. i'm isha sesay, news room l.a. starts right no uh. now. >> this is cnn breaking news. >> the pentagon says they targeted jihadi john in an air strike in syria. he appeared in videos allegedly showing h imbeheading isis hostages. he's a british citizen believed to have been born in kuwait. and the senior u.s. official says authorities are confident