tv CNN Newsroom Live CNN November 12, 2015 10:00pm-11:01pm PST
jihadi john has been targeted in 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 emwazi was killed, but the
pentagon has not yet confirmed his death. our pentagon correspondent barbara starr has more on this operation. >> reporter: the pentagon said in a brief late night announcement that it conducted an air strike against jihadi john, the notorious killer of so many hostages seen in those terrible beheading videos. now we know that the families of the american hostages have been notified. the british governmentwas notified. the japanese families obviously are getting word as well. of what has happened. u.s. officials are being very clear. they believe they got him with a drone strike against the vehicle he was in, in raca, syria, isis' capital, its self-declared capital. but they are not 100% sure. they are looking for confirmation with no u.s. troops or intelligence personnel on the ground in syria. they will have to look at social media posting, intercepted
communications, any indicators out there in the public arena, any announcement that he may have died. they still believe, however, there's a very good chance they got him. barbara starr, the pentagon. >> ben wedeman joins us live from cairo with analysis. give us some bev on the significance of the strike. >> this is a man who played a very high profile role in these streds of the beheadings of stephen sotloff and james foley and others, which really did galvanize the u.s. certainly into taking decisive action into isis.
i think there you're starting to see this entity which really expanded dramatically in the sum ore of 2014 is starting to be stopped and pushed back. the lats major conquest they did this year was in ramadi, the capital of the province by the same name to the west of baghdad. since then, we've seen them driven out of tikrit north of baghdad. now we're seeing this operation to the west of mosul. yes, in terms of symbolism, it's important. but i think beyond that what we are seeing, and this may be part of it is that isis is slowly being rolled back. isha? >> when, you mentioned this
being a symbolic victory, but isis understands the values of symbols and messaging. so for the u.s., it still presents a moment to exploit in those term terms, but the question is how? >> certainly, yes. this is somebody very familiar. he's got this cutesy name assigned to him by the british tabloids, but beyond that, keep in mind one thing that often times with these organizations, somebody is killed, somebody is removed. and they're quickly replaced by somebody else. it's the organization itself that certainly needs to be undermined. and we are seeing that after some false starts and trouble that the u.s.-led coalition with the help of kurds in syria and northern iraq is beginning to make progress. certainly, how could the u.s. exploit this?
it does definitely send a message to key figures within isis that they could be visited with a similar fate. we heard in the past about their sort of reports that perhaps the so-called kalif of isis had been killed in strikes. of course, they were proved -- those reports were proved to be wrong. but certainly, it does perhaps send a bit of alarm through the ranks of the seep yor officials, the senior leadership of isis that they could be next. isha? >> will this strike heighten regional fears of a retaliatory strike from isis? >> well, given this man was not really a senior leader. he was a very prem innocent figure within certainly the media showed that is isis, but in terms of its military
leadership, its hierarchy, often times these foreigners, of course, yes, you know, he was born in kuwait, grew up in the uk but a lot of the leadership of the organization is iraqi. and this man definitely was not part of that central leadership. now, will perhaps isis use targets of opportunity to strike back? not particularly, not necessarily, because of the alleged purported killing of mohammed emwazi or jihadi john, but rather as a result, as i mentioned of the increasing, the mounting military pressure on isis in syria and in iraq. isha? >> ben wedeman, with great perspective, great analysis. ben, we appreciate the reporting from cairo. thanks so much. >> well, jihadi john's radicalization has been a few years in the making.
authorities had them in their grips a number of times. jim schuto reports. >> you now have 72 hours. >>. >> reporter: he's been the voice of some of isis' most brutal terrorist videos, calm, ruthless and with a distinct and surprising british accent. >> our knife will continue to strike the necks of your people. >> now uk 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 highly on the list because that individual is responsible for the murder of innocent americans. >> from a welloff family, earning a college degree in technology at the university of westminster. and until his travel to syria in
2012, enjoying a life of privilege. >> he was a diligent, hard work, lovely young man responsible, po lied, quiet. he was everything that you would want a student to be. >> reporter: his friends say 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, but it's not a trajectory that's unfamiliar for us. >> emwazi's friends say his path to radicalization may have begun in 2009 when he traveled to tanzania to go on a safari, a graduation present from his parents. he was held overnight and deported to the uk, authorities suspecting his true intention was to travel to somalia. in 2010, he was detained again by counterterrorism if i recollects in britain. just two years later, he's believed to have traveled to syria where he joined isis. his friends claim mistreatment
by british authorities, set him on a path to terrorism. >> our entire national security strategy for the last 13 years has only increased ail nation, has only increased people feeling like they don't belong. >> our jim schuto reporting there. joining us now lieutenant colonel rick francona live on skype from california. thank you for joining us. this strike against jihadi john, if indeed he is dead, won't result in any change in the broader fight against isis. >> it's fortunate the coalition take an opportunity to deal some justice to him. remember, he's got the blood of americans, brits and japanese on his hands. certainly a murderer, and certainly the face of isis. so taking him out really sends a
mess alk to isis that the united states and the coalition has the capability to monitor your movements, track you down. you can run, you can't hide. and it also sends a message to the families that we are concerned about justice for them. >> how difficult will it be to verify whether or not he has been killed. >> yeah. this is going to be very difficult. unless isis admits that he was actually killed and maybe shows the body or has a memorial service or something to that effect, it's going to have to be verified via intelligence. that means going through the intercepts, listening to all the chatter, monitoring all the social media, trying to peace together everything that happened and come up with some way to verify it. it's going to be very, very difficult. i not looking for this in the very near future. >> so, you know, as we look at the strike that has taken place, as we look this purported killing of jihadi john as yet
unconfirmed. does it signal a shift in u.s. operations in raca? i mean, how do you look at this more broadly speaking strategically? >> i think that's important. up until now, our operations really haven't focused on the danger is raqqah is a sprawling city. a lot of civilian population. the real concern is being able to pick out the targets and hit them precisely without killing a lot of civilians. civilian casualties, collateral damage is a real issue here. we prefer to go over military formations anytime we have isis fighters. go after them first. so i think going after raqqa when we can, it's important that we do that. but i don't think you're going to see a big shift towards raqqa right away. >> it's our understanding the target was carried out with a drone. is this the right way to go
after these targets in raqqa in your view? is the right tactics being used? >> a drone gives a unique capability. it's difficult to detect. they can stay over a target for a long period of time. and you have time when you're looking at a target, to determine, is this the guy we've been watching, is this the guy we're going to kill rather than an aircraft that is moving at high speed, causes a lot of noise, and, of course, being shot at. the drone is a very useful weapon in these kinds of operations. >> you know, our viewers will be listening to this conversation. they'll be watching the breaking news. and see that jihadi john has possibly been taken out and will be wondering about the isis leader. should anyone raise any hopes that this taking out, as we understand it, of jihadi john's signals that they're moving any closer to baghdadi?
how should they read that in terms of that ultimate goal? >> well, we all have hopes that, of course, we can take out al baghdadi. but this will tell baghdadi that we're watching. we're trying to find him. i think he may redouble his security efforts. he's paranoid about security anyway. so i think this may drive him further underground because he saw what we could do here and he's got to think they're coming for me next. >> great to have you on the program. thank you so much for your perspective. >> the police are letting more from one of the attackers who survived. and kurdish fighters say they are very close to reclaiming a major city in the battle of isis. we're on frontlines in iraq next on cnn news room live from l.a. do stay with us.
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the face of mohammed emwazi terrified the world hiding behind a mask murdering isis hostages. the pentagon has not publicly confirmed that he was killed. >> turning now to the situation in lebanon, a would-be suicide bomber claims he was sent to beirut by isis along with three other attackers. according to a security source, that's just one of the many details. new video appears to show the surviving suicide bomber from thursday's attack in beirut, but we have not determined the authenticity. the pair of suicide blasts wounded at least 200. the surviving suspect is a lebanese national. it appears the other three were killed. a purported isis statement claimed responsibility for the blast. this was a horrific twin bombing.
what's the latest we're hearing on the investigation. >> well, right now they're looking into how isis was able to get those weapons into the country. how these weapons were made. we're told that these men were coming from neighboring syria. according to the man that was being interrogated. also, though, how security forces were unable to detect them, how they were unable to stop this. this is an area where there is army checkpoints. there are check points also by lebanese based irani backed hezbollah militia. they have checkpoints there as well. they're going to look into how these men were not only able to get into lebanon, get the bombs in lebanon. but also how they were able to get down to the south. the man captured was from tripoli. these are all questions that they're going to have to try to get answered that the hour.
isha. >> indeed. and the big question we are all considering at this point is the fallout from this, a fallout there in lebanon. a country that is always, it seems, on the edgeover falling into chaos and has a fragile grip on stability. the fear has to be that the fragile unity could be shattered by this. >> yeah, one of the things it always said in lebanon among the lebanese is a win this next civil war is going to happen. now, that's just a saying that's been set for quite a long time. and no party wants to have that. when it comes to this bombing.
they don't have backing from any of the various political parties. they're seen as a threat to all of the lebanese. it has been something to rally against for the political parties. they are having an official day of mourning. >> this area that was targeted in southern beirut is an area with large shiite population which has a large hezbollah presence as well. the question has to be also, hezbollah, which is a supporter of bashar assad across the border in in syria, will they change their contribution, if you will, to the battle in syria after this bomb targeting their areas? >> probably not. most likely not. they are in it for the long haul. they are a supporter of the assad regime. right now, they are on the advance. they are taking the fight to isis.
now, it's good. you need to point out in 2013 in november, another tack in hezbollah. also taeking the fight not only to isis, to the rebel groups, also to al qaeda. it is unlikely to deter hezbollah going forward. as they are a group that has been prepared for stuff like this and they're willing to fight as we see in syria, and take a number of casualties. joining us there from cairo. appreciate it. thank you. new details coming into cnn right now. kurdish officials have tweeted their forces will enter sinjar soon, clear it of improvised explosive devices and reclaim the iraqi city. this comes after peshmerga
fighters seized a main control of the strong hold. it's a big step to breaking up the caliphate isis says it's creating. >> the sun broke, bringing with it a vast trail of pesh merg go ahea ahead, crawling around the back of mount sinjar.merga, crawling around the back of mount sinjar. isis beaten back by dozens of coalition air strikes. barly a local vehicle left standing. they've asked for new weapons, but used what they had. facing booby traps all around. mortars and continued air strikes had one key target -- the highway that runs through sinjar. and just after noon, they took it.
starving isis' east of supplies from syria. isis are just 500 meters potentially in that direction, but also down this road, where also lies raqqa, the caliphate's self-declared capital. this is why this road is vital to the peshmerga. they need to keep it, to separate the isis part of iraq and their part of syria. isis weren't giving up the town, though, without burning it first. once home to thousands of the yizhidis they persecuted, some suspicious of the other group, the sunni arabs there. >> the local arabs 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 peshmerga weapon from the west, the milan missile, which stops the ideas 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, sinjar. >> a five-minute video was released thursday that shows russian cities with chants in russian promising that, quote, blood will spill like an ocean. cnn has not been able to independently verify the video. it comes two weeks after an isis affiliate claims to have brought down a russian jetliner in the sinai. the video does not mention the plane. we are following breaking news for you. the u.s. says it's targeted the face of isis. we'll tell you more about jihadi john before he became an infamous killer.
plus, an exclusive talk with a u.s. general who's been coordinating the international fight against isis. he has a stark warning about the global war on terror. do stay with us. is compared to the alternatives. push! i am pushing! sfx: pants ripping how you doing eddie? almost there. small steps. at axa, we'll help you take the next steps, with more confidence. for advice, retirement and insurance, talk to axa today.
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he was hiding behind a mask murdering isis os i can't imagines. he's believed to have been born in kuwait and a british citizen. authorities say they're confident he was killed although they would not confidently confirm that. we go to london to find out 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. who identified him in this video.
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. but 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 described as being a polite 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.
the u.s. says it's paying close attention to the growing global influence of isis. general john allen had been spearheading the u.s. battle against the terror group and says isis can't be fought without addressing the underlying issues. >>. >> reporter: a stark warning about repeating mistakes of the past. >> we're fighting with a radicalization in an environment where people can be easily radicalized, become extremists and ultimately join a terrorist group. if we don't get to the left of those symptoms and try to solve the underlying circumstances, working collaboratively with those who are in the region, who best understand the region, then we're going to be condemned to fight forever. >> reporter: today, the fight against isis returned to where it began, sinjar mountain. a year into the campaign against isis, the kurds are now emerging as the u.s. most reliable
partners in iraq and syria. but air strikes by the eu, syria and jordan have all but stopped. >> why should the u.s. be holding the bag here? >> we should not measure the contributions of the arab nations solely on whether they're flying missions of syria. the saudis, for example, have been very aggressive in providing support on the humanitarian level. they've given one of the largest single humanitarian contributions to help the people of iraq and syria. >> but you want to defeat this group. >> there's arab leadership within the coalition. i would be careful about measuring the success based solely on the numbers of air strikes in syria. >> when he took the job a year ago, he says the situation was dire. >> a year later, we have found
there's been about 14,000 iraqis have been trained. we have partners on the ground b in syria. we have the capacity to rk much more closely with turkey. so in that space of a year, we've seen real evolution. i think the one area where we're obviously very attentive now is the expansion beyond the region. and we're watching that very closely as well. >> allen says lone wolf attacks worldwide and the growth of isis affiliates throughout the region shows icy global reach is on the rise. >> we want to address each part of it, bear down hard on center, bear down hard on the core with the coalition. work regionally, bilaterally and multilaterally against the individual provinces. and then understand the network in the context of where there are vulnerabilities in a network that can be taken down to collapse the network or corrupt the network. >> which ones right now are you looking at that concern you the most. >> we're going to watch the one closely in leeb yeah.
we're attentive to the organization in the sinai. clearly the one in the north cauclcuses the russians are goi to have to be concerned about for a long time. >> moscow now in isis cross hairs over its intervention in syria. >> has russian intervention made isis stronger? >> it hasn't hurt isis in my mind. >> reporter: the u.s. abandoned an effort to equip syrian rebels after only a handful of fighters came to the battlefield. >> on a day to day basis they're worrying about whether the regime is going to blow up their neighborhood or the future of the assad regime, that's a difficult challenge and a difficult choice to put before them.
>> syrier with president obama sending in special forces to syria, u.s. involvement only seems to be deepening. >> when you first took this job, when we first sat down, you said this conflict is going to be long, it's going to be years. how many more people are going to occupy this chair, do you think? before the job is done? >> my hope is maybe one? >> is that realistic? >> no. i think we're going to be at this for some time. whether we need someone that fulfills my duties or not remains to be determined. but i still, as i said, that day a long time ago when you and i sat down for the first time, i still believe this is going to be a long conflict. >> after 45 yeerns the frontlines, general allen say what is he will miss most is the people, working with the troops and the u.s. diplomats who risk their lives to keep america safe. for now he'll be in the brookings institute in washington. but he did tell me he'll come off the bench if he gets the
call from the president. cnn, washington. >> we turn our attention now to myanmar's eaung sang suu kyi has given the party enough seats to elect the new president. sunday's vote was hailed as the fiercest elections in decades. we stand on the brink of a new political era in myanmar. on a personal note, a remarkable moment for aung sang suu kyi, the very symbol of democracy in that country. the election itself, taking place. the first free election in myanmar since 1990. unimaginable, 25 years. and aung sang suukyi, not just a
symbol of democracy in myanmar, but right across the world. she won the nobel peace prize for her pass fist opposition to the military dictatorship in myanmar. being held in house arrest for so many years. mienlly being released and campaigned in her first free election in so many years. an extraordinary moment for her and the people of myanmar. they've held a very peaceful and dignified and enthusiastic manner. posters are being put up about her big tourest moment. people are gathering to celebrate once again. isha? >> just remarkable. her party may have won the majority. but the military-drafted
constitution bars her from ever becoming president. she has said that her party's victory would place her above the presidency. how would that work? >> yeah. an extraordinary thing to say. and, of course, being a very pragmatic politician, which she has had to be, there's been criticism about that as well. about why she's so pragmatic leading up to the election. now that she's there, what she's really saying is look, i don't b really care if you're barring me from being president, i hold a lot of power in this party, i hold a lot of power amongst the public. and once she got that majority she needed she will hold a lot of influence in that party. she will get to lead it in the direction she wants, regardless of the fact that yes, the military has ensured she cannot be president. there could be a constitutional amendment. but the military holds the right to veto that.
isha? >> yes. they absolutely do. live from bangkok, appreciate it. thank you. >> the eu is giving africa billions of dollars. and coming .uh, strong words from tom hanks about the migrant crisis. stay with us. this is claira. to prove to you that aleve is the better choice for her she's agreed to give it up. that's today? we'll be with her all day to see how it goes. after the deliveries, i was ok. now the ciabatta is done and the pain is starting again. more pills? seriously? seriously. all these stops to take more pills can be a pain. can i get my aleve back? for my pain, i want my aleve. get all day minor arthritis pain relief with an easy open cap. it begins from the the second we're born.er.
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>> the european union has launched an emergency fund for africa to tackle the spiraling number of migrants flooding its shores. the nearly 2 billion fund was unveiled at the end of an eu summit in malta on thursday. the fund will support projects to combat poverty, slow down migration and speed up repate
yags programs. this new money auds to the more than $21 billion the eu and its 28 states do nate to africa every year. we're joined now by lesbos, an island off the coast of greece that's seen a lot of migrant activity. e. >> eu maw lakers met a number of times prior to this summit. there's been any progress made on previous agreements. any indications that this latest plan will be activated immediately? >> well, isha, i think the frob is even if if it is, even if they were able to somehow throw $1.8 billion at various different african nations which is not a very realistic scenario or way to handle this, it would not address the court issues or the other issues driving refugees to these very shores, because you have a lot of different dynamics at play here. all of which are, yes, resulting in this massive flo eof migrants and refugees into europe, all of
which need to be handled differently. when it comes to those fleeing africa, it isn't some instances, yes, warfare, but it's corruption, oppression and the sheer lack of opportunity to make a living. this money that the eu has pledged, if -- and that's a very big if -- properly implemented could help assist to a certain degree what's happening in africa. but when we're talking about the people that are the majority that are arriving on these shoring. islands in greece the people making this journey, they are mostly those fleeing the war zones of syria, iraq and afghanistan. we met one woman who's traveling five of her children. she was from syria yesterday, last night we met a man who had been separated from his family by smugglers on the turkish side. he thought they were already in greece and he would be meeting up with them here, only to spend
hours searching for them and then realized that they were still stuck in turkey. their boat had not been able to leave. so what's driving people to make this particular journey. the ongoing warfare that's happening is not something that was addressed at thf most recent multiconference. this is something that has to be put forward and has to be a massive part of the negotiations moving on, whether it's how to deal with this influx of refugees and perhaps the more critical point, how to deal with the court issue that is forcing them to flee, isha. >> thank you, arwar. tom hanks said he's dismayed by the chaos driving people from their homes and he believes the
world community should do more to respond to the crisis. >> the other side nowadays, the refugees are fleeing, what do you call this sort of chaos that is syrian parts of afghanistan, the places where muslim fundamentalism is reigning and there seems to be no rime or reason to the honoring of the human life. down throughout history, the civilized world has had to dealt with this problem, and i don't know if we've ever dealt with it well. have we? we have an opportunity here, i think, to have most of the world, a great part of civilized nations that should be able to address the problems and should be able to accept the realities of not just refugees and migrants. but the crises going on. and the answer is not going to be fences. is it? i don't think so. >> well, for me on the migrant
crisis and to learn about ways you can help, please visit our web page at cnn.com/impact. coming up, a senior official in north korea apparently goes missing. there's concern he might have been purged. after all, it has happened before. plus, the man who is accused of largest bank robbery in new york, inspiring the classic film "good fellows kwets and four decades later, the verdict is in for the alleged former mob boss. the cold truth is...
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>> the pentagon said the u.s. targeted jihadi john during an air strike in syria. he's been seen on video showing the murder of a number of isis hostages. they include journalists and aid workers. it has not yet been confirmed whether jihadi john died in the air strike. other news now, there's word that kim jong un is trying to
solidify his power by killing off a senior official. the speculation began when the official didn't show up for a key gather popping. >> an ominous sign that kim jong un may have eliminated another person from his inner circumstance. his right hand man was not seen recently among names of officials planning for the fun wral of a top military leader. and reportedly did not show up for the funeral itself. >> it tells us that he has likely been purged or at a minimum, sidelined from the top elites. this would be a significant event and unless he was on his death bed, he would attend this funeral. >> officials are saying publicly they're looking into it. >> considering previous incidents, it is unusual. >> why was he apparently purged? exearth perts say it would have been a dispute over shady business deals.
>> the regime is eessentially now a cleptocracy. families representing different kwik kwiks are vying for power. >> the news agency exciting intelligence says he's been sent to the higher party school in east pyongyang where those who run afoul of kim undergo interrogation. the north koreans call it re-education. >> it's not a country club. >> it is almost certainly a very grueling process where there's both physical and mental abuse and strength. >> exserts say cho may not having executed because he's the son of a revolutionary hero who fought with kim's grandfather against the japanese. but kim jong un executed his
powerful uncle who he suspected of betrayal. he reportedly had a defense minister killed with an anti-aircraft gun. south korean officials say he's executed more than 70 top officials since taking power four years ago. >> i think what we're seeing is a very protracted pound-for-pounder consolidation process. in which the leadership is acting in very ruthless ways, very zra draconian, not subtle ways in order to gain leadership within the system. >> but analysts say his ruthless purges could facemaskfire on him. it could be no one close to kim feels safe. no matter how loyal they are, they could be betrayed. that raises questions about how secure kim himself is within his circumstance. brian todd, cnn, washington. >> a suspected new york gangster who prosecutors said was linked to the largest robbery in the city's history walked out of a federal courtroom thursday not guilty.
the 80-year-old celebrated with his family after the verdicts came out. he was found not guilty of racketeering and extortion back in 1978. the crime was dramatized in the hit movie "good fellfellas." you are watching cnn newsroom live from los angeles the news continues here on cnn. ♪ come on, wake up!!! come on, why ya sleepin'? come on! >>what time is it? it's go time. >>come on. let's go, let's go, let's go. woooo hoooo!! yeah!! i feel like i went to bed an hour ago. >>i'll make the cocoa.
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>> breaking news, the isis militant known as jihadi john targeted in a u.s. air strike, but it's still unclear if he is dead or alive. >> plus, deadly bombing in lebanon. more than 40 people killed, a suspect says he was sent by isis. >> and we speak -- and as we speak, more than 7,000 kurdish soldiers, they are fighting to retake a key iraqi city from isis control. from cnn world headquarters in atlanta, welcome to our viewers here in the united states and around the world. i'm george howell, cnn newsroom starts right now.