tv Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN November 13, 2015 2:00pm-4:01pm PST
happening now, breaking news. paris terror, fear multiple people are reported killed in a shooting, there's also word of possible explosions outside the national stadium. and a hostage situation unfolding right now as well. we're following a night of unfolding terror right in the heart of the french capital. i'm wolf blitzer, you're in "the situation room."
we're following the breaking news what appears to be a coordinated attack unfolding right now in paris including shootings, possible explosions and a hostage crisis happening right now. all of this taking place at multiple locations in the french capital. and the latest reporting from our french affiliate bfm, is that at least 18 people have been killed. our chief national security correspondent jim sciutto is with me here in "the situation room." we're getting the latest information, the latest reports. it sounds very ominous. what's the latest? >> extremely ominous. and a french official telling our elise labott that it is considered a terror attack at this point though we don't have that with certainty. these are the details we know and i've spoken to french police just a short time ago. at least three attacks in paris. at the stade de france as well as two other neighborhoods, the national stadium where there was an e mnormous soccer match goin
on. i'm told by french police one possibly two explosions and elsewhere and other attacks use of ak-47, use of automatic weapons, these are serious weapons not common in france. the explosions, use of those automatic weapons, multiple targets and now additional reporting of possible hostage situation at a theater. all these things at least have the earmarks, the hallmarks of a terror attack. and of course similar to what we saw at "charlie hebdo" in january in paris. the earlier reports of a death toll were 18. we are watching those numbers with closely because those numbers at least reports of those numbers have been rising very quickly. it is a by all indications really an unprecedented attack in terror -- attack in paris in terms of scale, in terms of the number of attacks we're seeing here. at least early indications of the casualties of this attack. i've spoken to u.s. counterterror officials. they are aware of the reports.
they are checking now with their french counterparts to get word of whether the french believe that this is a terrorist attack. but early indications we're hearing from french officials is they believe this is not criminal. they believe it has the hallmarks of terrorism. >> certainly looks like that. jim sciutto, standby. joining us on the phone is the deputy mayor of paris. mayor, thanks so much for joining us. what can you tell us? what's the latest information you're getting? >> well, the situation here in paris is pretty confused. we have information coming from all over about at least three sites that were attacked toni t tonight. there were explosions at the stadium, shootings -- in two shootings. in one -- separate in the area where "charlie hebdo" newspaper.
and so the same area already struck last january. we know that there are a lot a lot of casualties. we're speaking now about 18 dead. and apparently there is going a hostage situation which is small concert of "charlie hebdo" and -- so they could be -- >> mayor, let me interrupt and just get is the conclusion already that these are coordinated acts of terror? >> well, it's far too early to have conclusions. but this is what it looks like. there's no conclusion so far. it looks like terror attack.
could be the worst ever in paris. >> when you say they were explosions, mayor, at the stadium, at the football stadium there, what kind of explosions, big bombs, hand grenades, what kind of explosions were they? >> well, the information we have that explosions we don't have much. we know that president hollande was in the game at the house time break of the game. we don't have really details. we know that probably there were already three dead at the stadi stadium. 16 in the center of paris, which is the area of "charlie hebdo" where there could be also as i mention mentioned -- shooting going on of we're speaking. >> and the suspects, the people
who committed the explosions and the gunfire, are they captured? or are they still at large? >> we have no information about anybody capture d. possibility that the attacks at the stadium were committed by suicide bombers. but this is also not confirmed. it's something that was reported but unconfirmed so far. so i cannot give you more precise information at this stage. >> mayor, if you don't mind, please standby with us. the deputy mayor of paris providing us with information, unconfirmed reports that there was suicide explosions at that stadium. paul cruickshank, our terrorism analyst, has also getting more information. paul, what are you learning? >> well, wolf, i mean, it certainly looks like a serious
coordinated terrorist attack from everything that we've heard and seen so far. but french authorities have not yet publicly made that determination. but french security experts, french security analysts who've been working their sources, they all believe that what they're seeing at this point, seeing unfold is a coordinated terrorist attack tonight in paris. and if you look at the type of weapons that are being used, ak-47s, you're hearing unconfirmed reports potentially even of suicide bombings, all of that at this very early hour makes you think of islamist terrorism, makes you think of those awful days in paris in january, those 48 hours when 17 people were kill ed in the "charlie hebdo" satirical news magazine headquarters and also a kosher market.
francois hollande, the president of france, has said there's an unprecedented terrorist threat to the france because so many french nationals have gone off to syria and iraq, more than 1,000 to join up with groups like isis. more than 250 have come back. and those are the ones they know about. they believe that there's just this huge threat right now. just a few days ago they thwarted a terrorist plot to attack the french naval base in the south, which is the home of the charles dugal aircraft carrier. francois hollande said every week in france they're learning of new information about terrorist plotting. the scale of the threat really is just unprecedented in france right now. so when we look at these images, when we hear these reports, we obviously think about islamist terrorism. we think about isis. we think about the fact that french isis fighters in syria and iraq have released a number
of videos threatening exactly this, gun and bomb attacks in france. but the french have not yet made the official determination this is terrorism. and nor should we until they do. >> i want you to standby, paul, because we're getting more information. i just want to repeat what patrick klugman, the deputy of paris, just told us at the incident of the stadium could be, they haven't confirmed this, some sort of suicide bombing. three people dead there. and then these two separate shootings near the area where the "charlie hebdo" terrorist attack occurred back in january. 15 people dead there. jim bitterman is joining us from paris right now. jim, what are you learning? >> wolf, we've got an assistant producer who was out at the scene at the bataclan. police are firing at a rooftop position around that theater. so apparently that hostage
crisis that we heard was taking place there is indeed taking place. at least the police are still in action around the bataclan. and as you're reporting earlier, we heard there there were in fact three explosions at the stade de france where the football match was taking place. our sister network just played the tape from the football game and you can actually hear at least two of those explosions taking place. and the sound track of the football match. so it is several attacks in several different parts of the city. you can hear the police right here rushing down. this is the height of the christmas season here and there are all along hundreds of thousands of shoppers who are out tonight. and i think that there's a great deal of concern that something more could happen as certainly at the bataclan there is at this moment something going on there, wolf. >> and what you're suggesting
and what we heard from the deputy mayor is that the city already even before these attacks, the gunfire, the explosions, perhaps suicide bombings at that football stadium, even before earlier there had been a heightened state of alert in paris, is that right? >> that's absolutely right. we heard from several of the american and other expatriate installations here that in fact security had been quietly but steadily stepped up in the last perhaps week or two weeks. so seems to me that the french had some kind of intelligence that something may be in the works. and as paul was reporting there there was the thwarted attack where the french said they picked up someone who was trying to attack french sailors. so there are clearly there was some kind of noise out there on the terrorist network that put people on alert, put the police on alert here.
this tonight though i don't think anybody was prepared for this. i mean, we're hearing anywhere from 15 to 30 people killed in the attacks here this evening. afp is report iing 30. it's hard to imagine that number, but we just don't know at this stage of the game. >> jim, standby for a moment. we're going to get back to you. jonathan johnson is joining us. he's at the stadium there where those explosions took place. jonathan, you're a journalist, tell us what you saw, what you heard and what's going on now. >> through the first half of the game we heard a couple of loud explosions. explosions here in france they're not entirely uncommon, however those as loud as we heard them tonight, you know, they're very rare if unheard of. so that immediately put everybody on edge that perhaps something might have been and then around about halftime of
the game we filtered through a couple incidents in paris, the bombing outside of stade de france itself could have been an explosion and then it escalated to grenades were thrown in the close vicinity of stade de france. and then shooting and hostage taking in paris getting everybody's attention on social media. through mobile phones and such. and now we've come to the end of the game people are able to leave the stadium. the stadium's not in a state of lockdown, however there are a large number of supporters who come to the games on the pitch at present because they're not able to leave their area of the stadium and get to their cars or go to the train. so there are areas of the stadium -- on the pitch at present. it's still unclear. you know, the extent of the
massacre tonight is around about maybe 30 people dead so far. but it's unclear exactly how bad the situation is to us in the stadium how bad the situation outside the stadium is right now. >> jonathan, is there any doubt that these were coordinated acts of terror? so far they're reluctant to officially confirm that, but what does it look like from your vantage point? you are right there in the middle of it at that stadium. >> definitely feels like, you know, perhaps connected. may be a little too early to speculate exactly how coordinated they are. but it does feel very suspicious. there was a bomb threat on the german national team's hotel earlier today. and then for these incidents to happen at the stadium and almost exactly at the same time, the shooting and hostage situation,
to be going on at the same time it does feel like it's been too well organized for them to be isolated incidents. >> jonathan, i want you to standby. jim sciutto, our chief national security correspondent is getting more information. what else are you learning? >> wolf, i've been in touch with someone who is in touch with four people who are inside that concert hall where this hostage situation is underway. i'm told that it is ongoing. and just a dramatic frightening scene inside there. that the hostage takers, again, this is from an eyewitness inside who is one of those hostages counting six to eight hostage takers. that the hostage takers are going through the concert hall looking for any people in that hall who've been hiding from them. you'll have seen reports now that there's some dozens of people may be inside. and these witnesses from inside the concert hall saying there's a shootout under way as we speak between police outside and hostage takers who are on the roof, or at least the police are firing at a target on the roof. so, again, this is an eyewitness
report from inside that concert hall where a hostage situation is under way describing six to eight attackers. they are looking for any people inside there who may still be hiding from them because they have apparently corralled others in one central place. but when you look at that in just one location six to eight attackers and the police telling me earlier today that there were at least three attacks. you have the concert hall, you have the stade de france, a restaurant, possibly another location, we're talking about multiple attackers involved in this. that speaks to serious coordination, serious resources in addition to the weapons that they're telling us that they've used, police telling me ak-47 automatic rifles as well as one, possibly two, and as the deputy mayor of paris was telling wolf a short time ago, one possibly two suicide bombings at the stade de france. so really this number of attackers, the weapons, resources they have, number of attacks taking place,
unprecedented for coordination. really a level above what we saw even with "charlie hebdo" in january in paris, wolf. >> it sounds like that hostage situation over at the concert hall is still ongoing right now. the hostage takers, hostage holders are clearly there. police have presumably, jim, surrounded that concert hall right now. they're trying to get in there. >> if not surrounded the concert hall, they are at least exchanging gunfire with attackers, i'm told, on the roof of the concert hall. but we did hear the deputy mayor say early or witnesses reports of them trying to break into the concert hall. of course that's a very risky operation, right. because if you have people's lives in danger there of course the question is what do the attackers do to those hostages if the police engage them. >> clearly a terror situation under way in paris right now. paul cruickshank, you're getting more information as well. what are you learning? >> well, this hostage situation, wolf, is very, very concerning indeed with reports of up to 60
people being holed up in this theater. clearly a lot of concern that some of these people may be killed by the hostage takers. ever since that terrible attack in mumbai in november 2008 where you had marauding gunmen launching attacks across that indian city. there's been concern that this could be repeated in the west. to some degree it was repeated earlier this year in paris with the "charlie hebdo" attacks and other attacks in paris. but this appears to be on a much larger scale than even that. the loss of life already is horrific. and these are just early reports coming in. a lot of concern at this hour about those 60 hostages holed up presumably by people who are going to show very, very little mercy and may want to die tonight themselves. >> and the reports from the deputy paris mayor saying that
there may have been some sort of suicide bombing under way at that football stadium. we were just getting a report from there, two separate shooting incidents, at least 15 people dead elsewhere not far away from the "charlie hebdo" magazine headquarters. we saw that terror incident back in january. also a separate terror incident at a kosher supermarket very nearby as well. and now this hostage scene unfolding at one of the main theaters, the concert hall in paris as well. tom foreman, you've been taking a closer look at these multiple areas. it seek seems like it must be coordinated. >> zoom in and talk about more about what you can see as we get closer. the main tourist area and the eiffel tower in here. this is the first when we talk about the bataclan raarts cente this is located a very short
walk from the "charlie hebdo" offices were in this area. you talked about earlier shots being fired toward the roof of this arts center. almost every building around here is a little taller, there would be a higher vantage point. i don't think we've noted this yet, that the act scheduled to play there tonight was an american band from california. we don't know anything more about it. other than that we don't know if that's actually what happened but we know that was the schedule for tonight. this is the theater in question. if we move to the next location and take a look at the street view at this, this is over in the tenth -- excuse me. this is up in the stadium here. this is well north of town. you might pass it on the way to one of the airports. big modern stadium. lots of people there. this gives you a sense of what the lay of land is there and what it would look like if you were there outside in the daytime. this is the second location, lots of people there. but the area right now that so far we've had the most talk about signs where people have already been killed or hurt seems to be down near this restaurant. let's go down to the street level here.
this is in the tenth district there. you can see the outside of this restaurant obviously closed up at the time this picture was taken. but this is a very popular area for a lot of young people. a very densely used area. so lots and lots of people here. wolf, that just gives you an idea of what we're talking about. and these two locations at least the restaurant and the theater particularly the theater are really quite close to the old "charlie hebdo" offices. so for many people there who aren't even caught up into it must be a terrifying moment, wolf. >> tom, standby. i want to go to anne charlotte, a reporter with france 2. she has an update on this hostage situation unfolding at the concert hall, the theater there in paris. anne, what are you learning? >> well, listen, i'm standing on the boulevard just behind the bataclan. you can see people are running like really fast apparently being evacuated by policemen all around the area.
basically it's been shut down all over the place and they're evacuating people. we've been just walking around in the neighborhood and indeed we have colleagues looking at us and saying you have to go down on the bottom, move away, move away. so they're evacuating all the area. apparently way beyond -- which is really like 100 meters where i am but it's impossible for us to actually get in and see anything. where we can see is people running really scared. i've been watching in the area and basically people -- because this is an area where people go out at night on a friday night especially. this is very popular for young people like mid-30s in paris. actually going into those cafes, going into this concert hall. this is very, very popular. so basically right now the area is totally blocked, totally
locked down by many, many police forces. i've seen many of the emergency trucks running up and down. apparently also some medical teams were hiding behind buildings because apparently there were two -- it was too -- it was not secure enough for them to actually move forward towards the concert hall. really what's happening now is situation of total lockdown around one of the most busiest areas in paris over the weekend. and it's really very, very impressive. see the policemen running around shouting at people heavily gunned. we have no idea what's going on. basically i've been hearing reports about what's going on but hostage situation in the bataclan, but here it's the total silence. what we hear is scream. we don't know where they're coming from. we heard some gunshots earlier on as well, but it was very hard to tell from what direction it came from. it's very difficult to describe,
you know, precisely what's happening which is clear what is clear is that it's under siege kind of terrorist right now that i'm witnessing. this is going way beyond what we've seen on january 7th from where i'm standing because of the many places where apparently some violent action took place. i can see right now firemen like rushing to their trucks to leave the area. apparently they've been called to another scene. so maybe we're going to be able to move a little bit forward and get closer to the area. obviously heavily secured by police forces right now. >> anne, do you have any idea how many people are inside that concert hall? we're told that american metal rock band was performing inside and that earlier we heard maybe 60 hostages. but do you have any idea how many people are being held hostage inside there right now by these hostage holders? >> i have absolutely no idea. no source will confirm how many
people were in. indeed i've heard the report of an average of 50 or 60 person in the theater right now. no confirmation of that. >> anne, i want you to standby. anne charlotte is a reporter for france 2. and jim sciutto is getting more information as well. jim, what else are you learning? >> no one has claimed responsibility for this yet. and as always we want to caution that we don't know for certain it is terror although french officials are treating it as terror at this point. but i should note that isis, the terror group isis already has a hash tag on twitter celebrating the paris attacks in arabic. and you're seeing on twitter in arabic a lot of celebrations and support for these attacks here, which we've often seen in the past with other terror attacks or things that appear to be terror attacks. so you have something of a tie there, but no official claim. and just one other note at the bataclan theater, it was an american band that was playing there. the way these groups operate if it is confirmed it was a terror attack, they likely would have been aware that it was an
american band playing there tonight. so you could look at that as a way to attract attention and perhaps make not just france a target of this attack tonight but the u.s. as well. >> all right. standby. we'll see if this isis applauding what's going on is genuine, if it is formally part of an isis terror operation unfolding in paris right now. i just want to update our viewers on what we know. there are at least three, possibly four separate incidents that have been unfolding in paris over the past few hours including at the football stadium there. apparently a suicide bombing. some explosion. at least three people dead there. two other gunshot attacks at an area not far from the "charlie hebdo" magazine where there were at least 15 people, 18 people killed in january. and now we're told at least 15 people are killed here. and also there's an ongoing hostage situation unfolding at a major concert hall in paris right now. and dozens of people we're told
are still inside. there are at least six to eight hostage holders. jim bitterman is joining us from paris right now. jim, first of all, what else have you learned about this hostage situation that's still underway? >> wolf, it apparently still is underway. the police are still targeting the building upper floors on the building where the hostages apparently are being held. now, some people have been freed. there have been as your reporter from france 2 was reporting earlier, in fact some people have been evacuated from the building. our assistant producer's on the scene and he said he saw at least one stretcher come out of the building. he also said he overheard the police talking about explosive belts. this was something he overheard. so it's not confirmed that the gunmen and terrorists involved in this have been armed themselves with explosive belts. in any case the police were warning each other on their radios to be on the look out for explosive belts. but they are continuing -- the
action is still continuing there. and i don't feel -- i don't think they feel they have freed all the hostages have taken place. one thing else i just add to what jim sciutto was saying and that is that according to a witness who was interviewed just a short while ago that as the gunman attacked the bataclan, they were heard to be saying allah akbar. this is something eyewitness reported. we don't have confirmation but something coming from the eyewitnesses that saw the attack take place. >> and our affiliate there saying six shootings have taken place, three separate explosions at the stadium right near the stadium over there. the death toll presumably is going up even as we speak. no official numbers coming in yet. paul cruickshank, you're working your sources in paris. what else are you hearing? >> well, wolf, no official confirmation yet from french authorities. they believe this is a terrorist attack, but obviously as we all
see these images, as we all hear these reports that's exactly what it looks like at this stage especially because of the reports of potential suicide bombers being involved allah akbar being chanted by some of the shooters because of the kind of weapons being used and so on. and because this appears to be a coordinated ongoing attack because there's a hostage situation all of that points to this being some kind of spectacular terrorist attack unfolding tonight on the streets of paris. and it seems this is far from over. but one thing that the french are is they're prepared. they feared for some time that something like this could happen. french politicians have been warning the french public that there's an unprecedented terrorism threat in the country and that the attacks of "charlie hebdo" in january were only just the start. they're very concerned by all
the travel flows more than 1,000 french nationals going off to fight in syria and iraq, hundreds coming back. thousands of french citizens being radicalized inspired by isis. and this drum beat of calls from syria and iraq, from french isis fighters in videos which are released every week, every month it appears, calling for attacks exactly like this. gun and bomb attacks in paris. so is this what we're seeing play out on the streets of paris tonight? french authorities have not yet officially weighed in calling this a terrorist attack, but i know that french security analysts and others being briefed by their sources believe that is exactly what we're seeing at this point, wolf. >> i want you to standby as well, paul. we just got some video in a vine video. this is six seconds. this is at the football stadium. i'll play the video. you can hear the explosion. listen to this.
[ gunfire ] >> this is a loop. this is a six-second loop video on vine. you can hear that explosion as these football players, these soccer players are on the field over there. that is a huge, huge explosion. let's listen one more time. [ gunfire ] >> there you could hear it right there. i want to show our viewers live pictures coming in right now. the associated press says we anticipated that the death toll is going up. the associated press now reporting at least 35 people are dead in this attack. i think it's fair to say we can call this a terror attack unfolding in paris right now. the associated press saying at least 35 people are dead. these pictures coming in from
paris in multiple parts of the city. it looks coordinated near the stadium. elsewhere popular tourist area it's going up. paul cruickshank i know you're working your sources, you're getting your information as well. we've gotten these initial stwe tweets from isis supporters applauding what's going on in paris right now. what are you learning? >> wolf, i'm learning this from one of the top national security reporters in france. he says just moments ago france launched a terrorism investigation. that doesn't mean it was necessarily a terrorist attack, but they have launched a terrorism investigation. also sources now, other sources suggesting there were possible suicide bombing attacks outside the stade de france, a few moments ago you had the deputy mayor of paris tell you about unconfirmed reports. there appears to be more corroboration now those may have been suicide bombings, but
they're still trying to sort out exactly what those very large explosions were that we just played on air, wolf. >> it's a very disturbing situation. and as heartbreaking as the numbers are, unfortunately we have to report our affiliate bfm, our paris affiliate now reporting at least 60 people are confirmed dead in what is clearly a paris terror attack. and who knows how many people have been injured in explosions, gunfire, ak-47s in multiple parts of the french capital. evan perez, our justice reporter is getting more information as well. evan, what are you learning? >> well, wolf, we know that counterterrorism officials here in the united states have convened secure conference calls around the country to try to gather information. they don't know yet what they're dealing with. and really to assess whether there's any danger here to u.s. cities. so far there's no indication of any actual threats here in the united states. but it is something that they're keeping an eye on. and, wolf, immediately what they're looking at here is,
again, from a distance having very little information on the ground yet from paris what their immediate suspicion from officials that i've talked to is that, you know, the french have long been worried and the u.s. has long been worried about returnees. people who have gone to fight in syria and iraq and have returned. so that's the first place where everybody's looking at the population of people who the french have been concerned about. they've had a very hard time keeping track of which jim sciutto and paul cruickshank have been talking a little bit about in the last hour. so that's where this investigation begins. again, there's no confirmation yet of who actually carried this out. but obviously the coordinated -- the appearance of coordination in these attacks is not escaping anyone's notice. u.s. counterterrorism officials are very much keeping an eye on this, wolf. >> our french affiliate once again now reporting at least 60 people are dead in what clearly is now considered to be a terror attack unfolding in multiple locations in paris right now.
we're also told our white house correspondent jim acosta has been told by a white house official that president obama has been briefed on the situation in paris by the assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism, lisa monica. so the president has been informed. and you just heard evan perez say u.s. counterterrorism officials have convened secure conference calls to find out precisely what's going on as well. brian todd, you're getting more information now on what's unfolding at that concert hall in paris. the bataclan where we're told an american band, rock band, was actually performing. >> that's right, wolf. a very dynamic situation still ongoing at the bataclan theater. this is in the eleventh district in paris. we're told not far from the other place where a shooting took place at a restaurant in the eleventh district. not too far away from that location. we're told by authorities in paris two to three gunmen opened up on law enforcement as they tried to enter the bataclan
theater. clearly a very dangerous situation apparently ongoing there. we got reports of two or three gunmen opening fire on law enforcement, but as jim sciutto reported earlier witnesses are saying there may be six to eight gunmen going around the theater looking for people who might be hiding. as you mentioned we did get some indication, some word from billboard and other sources here that an american band called eagles of death was scheduled to play at that theater. again, we have to be cautious here, wolf. you know, that could have no connection at all to what's going on tonight at the bataclan theater. but clearly a very dangerous hostage situation going on there. again, the numbers of hostages we have to be very careful in reporting these as well. we have heard the figure 60 hostages. we've heard up to 100. again, this is very, very fluid ongoing here at the bataclan theater in the eleventh district in central paris, wolf. and again, we're told that is not very far away at all from the restaurant where some people were gunned down earlier tonight, wolf. >> and once again our affiliate
bfm reporting that at least 60 people are now confirmed dead in this terror attack, coordinated series of terror attacks in the french capital. melissa bell is joining us, she's from france 24. melissa, i understand you're right at the interior ministry in paris, which is in charge of the law enforcement counterterrorism operation. what are you learning? >> francois hollande of course as you know was at the football match tonight where some of the explosions took place earlier on. one of the many attacks paris has seen over the course of the last couple of hours. he left there and has come here to the interior ministry. he's in a crisis meeting with the country's interior minister. of course they're monitoring the situation and deploying forces to deal with it. we believe at the bataclan forces which is french elite police unit that you'll remember had dealt so efficiently with the hostage situation at the end of the "charlie hebdo" attack back in january.
they're now on the scene and involved in trying to secure it. and you were talking a moment ago about the geography of paris. you have to understand that all these areas apart from the stade de france are very close together. the first shooting took place, minutes later the bataclan also in the eleventh these are small part of historical paris. ands to tonight a scene of complete chaos. >> you say francois hollande, the french prime minister plus the interior minister, they are both there at the interior ministry. and i take it they're in charge now of monitoring what's going on, trying to find out what's going on. is that right? >> monitoring, wolf, events and making sure the right forces get deployed to the right places. of course so much of this has happened in such a short amount of time that you can imagine -- >> melissa, i think we're losing
your cell phone service. i'm going to get back to you. melissa bell reporting from france 24 tv. the situation there at the interior ministry underscoring what's going on. these by the way are live pictures you're seeing from the streets of paris, our affiliates, reuters, others showing us these live pictures you've seen at various times, you've seen people who've been wounded, they've been carried away on stretchers. it's an unfolding situation. and you know that if at least 60 people are reported dead you got to believe a lot more are injured as well. so the hospitals in full battle station right now as this terror situation continues. it is by no means over. there's a hostage situation taking place right now at one of the main theaters, one of the main concert halls, the bataclan theater where an american rock band was performing. and it's a hostage situation that's unfolding right now there as well. jim sciutto's getting more information for us. he's with us. jim, what else are you learning?
>> we're just learning from our jim acosta at the white house that the parking ligresident's make a statement in the briefing room shortly. that speaks to the magnitude of this event, a mumbai style attack you can say based on all we've seen so far not confirmed publicly by french officials that level of coordination is what we're seeing here. of course one thing to keep in mind, and again i've been in touch with people who are inside that concert hall, you still have hostages. the death toll's at 60, but you have dozens, perhaps dozens of people police say held in that theater whose lives remain in danger. and you have i'm told by witnesses inside that building that there is gunfire, a gun battle rather underway between security forces outside that hostage situation and with those attackers inside. we're told six to eight attackers inside that concert hall. >> that concert hall the bataclan concert hall where an american rock group eagles of death metal were performing tonight. and that hostage situation continuing even as we speak right now.
once again we've been told by the white house that president obama is momentarily going to go into the white house briefing room and make a statement on what's going on. we will of course have live coverage of that once the president's in the briefing room. we will go and hear what the president of the united states has about to say as well. evan perez, our justice reporter, is working his sources. what else are you learning, evan? >> wolf, we just heard nypd is stepping up security across the city just as a precaution. there's no indication of any threat. and as i told you just a few minutes ago there are counterterrorism officials around the country who are on these secure conference calls trying to gather information really. they don't know yet what we're dealing with. there are all indications obviously the pictures are very obvious that we've been showing that this appears to be a terrorist attack. and so these officials are taking no chances. they want to make sure they find any indications of chatter that could indicate something could also be happening here. again, no indications that there's any actual threats here
in the united states. nypd as they do in these types of events are stepping up security. some of it will be visible, some of it will not be, but that is something they're doing out of abundance of caution, wolf. >> but it's tleer that people in new york city at least now they'll notice there's heightened security on the streets of manhattan and elsewhere? >> that's right, wolf. that's right. and i have checked with counterterrorism officials in other parts of the country. and they're not yet doing this. new york obviously for obvious reasons. it's the place where everybody thinks of as target number one. and they always feel that. and this is something that the nypd tends to do whenever these events after the "charlie hebdo" attack they also stepped up security. again, there's no indication of any actual threats here. but they are doing this out of a precaution. and to give people -- make people -- put people at ease given it's friday night, it's going to be crowded on the streets of new york. they want to make sure people are safe. >> and once again our affiliate bfm now reporting at least 60 people are dead in what clearly
is a series of terror attacks in the french capital at various locations. obviously highly coordinated. we're showing our viewers live pictures from the streets of paris right now. this is -- we're also told that the french government has told everyone in paris to stay indoors at this time. paul cruickshank, we're awaiting the president of the united states, president obama's about to make a statement to the nation indeed to the world. we'll have live coverage of that. he'll update us on what the united states knows about what's going on and what the u.s. is presumably doing as well. you just heard evan perez say that in new york city counterterrorism officials are going on a heightened state of alert right now out of an abundance of caution to make sure what's happening in the french capital doesn't happen here in the united states. but, paul, you're getting more information. what else are you learning? >> well, they've opened up a terrorism investigation, which is hardly surprising in france. they do that if there's any suspicion that it could be a terrorism event. obviously what we're seeing
clearly appears to be a major coordinated terrorist attack on the streets of paris tonight, wolf. they're investigating those blasts that we were just playing outside the football stadium. you have the deputy mayor of paris just on saying that some early reports suggesting those were suicide bombers potentially cee yalting those blasts outside the stadium. but those reports still unconfirmed. they'll be looking at all of that. clearly french authorities have a lot more information than we do right now. presumably we'll already know if they were indeed suicide bombings. but right now the biggest concern is this hostage situation with up to 60 people holed up in that theater. obvious concern that every last person there could be killed
this is a very ruthless band of gunmen and potentially bombers involved in this attack. when we look at these images -- >> we're about to hear -- i was going to say, paul, we're about to hear from president obama. he's about to walk into the white house briefing room. there you see the microphones there. i'm sure the president has been fully briefed. joe johns, you're there in the briefing room. they just announced this a few minutes ago that the president would make a statement. >> right. very short turnaround on that, wolf. we have been told we should expect to see the president here in the briefing room within a minute or two as a matter of fact. we also have been told as you just reported that lisa monaco, the president's homeland security adviser, has briefed him on the situation in paris. although we do know it's unfolding and still a lot of details yet to be revealed. now, we've seen the president
once today. he met here with a number of officials talking about transpacific partnership trade deal. he's headed to turkey tomorrow afternoon. but before that we're going to hear from the president shortly here in the briefing room about these tragic events in paris. and we'll be getting it back to you, wolf. >> of course. we're going to have the president -- in fact he's walking out right now. >> good evening, everybody. i want to make a few brief comments about the attacks across paris tonight. once again we've seen an outrageous attempt to terrorize innocent civilians. this is an attack not just on paris. it's an attack not just on the people of france. but this is an attack on all of humanity and the universal values we share. we stand prepare e ed and ready
provide whatever assistance the government and people of france need to respond. france is our oldest ally. the french people have stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the united states time and again. we want to be very clear that we stand together with them in the fight against terrorism and extremism. paris itself represents the timeless values of human progress. those who think that they can terrorize the people of france or the values that they stand for are wrong. the american people draw strength from the french people's commitment to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. we are reminded in this time of tragedy that the bonds of liberte and eternite, not just
the values french people share but we share. those go far beyond any act of terrorism or the hateful vision of those who perpetrated the crimes this evening. we're going to do whatever it takes to work with the french people and with nations around the world to bring these terrorists to justice and to go after any terrorist networks that go after our people. we don't yet know all the details of what has happened. woef been in contact with french officials to communicate our deepest condolences to the families of those who've been killed, to offer our prayers and thoughts to those who've been wounded. we have offered our full support to them. the situation is still unfolding. i've chosen not to call president hollande at this time
because my expectation is that he is very busy at the moment. i actually by coincidence was talking to him earlier today in preparation for the g-20 meeting. but i am confident that i'll be in direct communications with him in the next few days. and we'll be coordinating in any ways that they think are helpful in the investigation of what's happened. this is a heartbreaking situation. and obviously those of us here in the united states know what it's like. we've gone through these kinds of episodes ourselves. and whenever these kinds of attacks happened, we've always been able to count on the french people to stand with us. they have been an extraordinary counterterrorism partner. and we intend to be there with them in that same fashion. i'm sure that in the days ahead we'll learn more about exactly what happened. and my teams will make sure that
we are in communication with the press to provide you accurate information. i don't want to speculate at this point in terms of who was responsible for this. it appears that there may still be live activity and dangers that are taking place as we speak. and and until we know from french officials that the situation is under control and we have more information about it, i don't want to speculate. okay? thank you very much. >> any change in your plans, sir? >> there the president of the united states mincing no words calling this an act of terrorism, outrageous attack the president saying. the u.s. will do whatever it can to help the people of france during this awful, awful ordeal. france being the america's oldeold e est ally. the president is supposed to leave for the summit in turkey this weekend. the french were supposed to be
there. let's see if this continues to unfold as scheduled right now. we're also told that the president said some of these acts of terror were continuing. there is still a stand off, hostages are being held at a theater where a rock concert was taking place and it looks awful. at least 60 people are reported dead. bfm, our affiliate says at least 60 but we expect that number is going to go up. jim sciutto, you're getting new information. >> this is a terror attack in modern connected times and people on social media from inside that concert hall are posting to social media, facebook. i'm seeing a posting here of one person inside and while i can't confirm this independently, they do have details of what is happening inside and one of them says begging the police to raid the theater because they say the terrorists are slaughtering them
one by one. people inside the theater and i've been in touch with others in the theater communicating by phone and text message. you see reports of them communicating by social media and saying hostage takers, numbers six to eight inside there apparently threatening to kill them one by one. it's incredible to see this play out with that connectivity we see today. >> these are live pictures coming in from paris right now. police all over the streets, the french president at the interior ministry monitoring what is going on but this is a situation that's still unfolding. terrorists remain at large in paris right now and remember, paul, this follows, if this is isis-related and isis sympathizers, they are applauding this terror attack in paris right now. it follows an isis claim of responsibility for the russian
airliner in sinai down 224 people killed there. twin suicide bombings in beirut, at least 40 people killed there and more than 200 injured and another in baghdad. 20 people killed there and at least 60 people reported dead according to our affiliate bfm in paris right now. these are live pictures. you see a firefighters, police, other law enforcement dealing with this unfolding situation. this is clearly someone wounded being brought to the ambulance over there right now. paul crookshank, if this is isis it looks like they are clearly expanding the motivation from sinai, beirut to baghdad and now paris. >> that's absolutely right, wolf. it would be very disturbing, indeed, if it is isis. no official claim of responsibility from isis or
alibi al qaeda but isis is getting into the international terrorism business. we saw that claim for the metrojet -- >> hold on, paul, hold on for a moment. the president is speaking in paris. we have translation. [speaking foreign language]. >> translator: security of all districts that may be concerned. i've also asked there can be military reinforcements which at the moment are in paris to be sure that no further attack may take place. i have also called the cabinet, which is going to meet soon. these decisions are being taken. this state of emergency will be decreed, which means certain places will be closed. travel may be banned and
decisions may be taken about arrests throughout the whole france and territory. the second decision that i have made is closing borders. we have to assure ourselves that no one can enter in order to commit any act, whatever that may be at the same time that these crimes that have last taken place can be stopped. this is a terrible hardship, which is striking us. we know where this is coming, who these terrorists are. in such difficult times, i have thought for the victims for the numerous victims for their families for the wounded and we have to show compassion and solidarity. we also have to show unity and
keep our cool. france must be strong and great and the state has to be strong. we also have to call on everyone to be responsible. what the terrorists want is to make us afraid to seize us with fear. and there is something to be afraid of, but faced with this fear there's a nation that defends itself and mobilizes itself and once again we'll be able to overcome the terrorists. french women, french men. these operations are not over. there are some which have been, the security forces are taking place at the moment, in particular in a place in paris. i'm asking here for you to maintain your trust in what the security forces can do to
protect the populations from terrorists attacks. >> there is the statements from the french president making it clear he is taking major emergency measures right now declaring a state of an emergency, restricting travel and perhaps most important right now, closing france's borders. france has had open borders, a lot of refugees have been streaming into france and countries in europe over these past several weeks and months. refugees from syria and elsewhere. the french president saying the operations are not over yet. there are still -- they are still on going and as a result of this, france has taken this major step right now to close its borders. paul, this is highly unusual for france to make a decision like
that. >> this is unprecedented in the modern history of france to do something like this. there are no borders really in europe you can pass from one country to another. so these are unprecedented emergency steps, a state of emergency, if you'd like that's being announced in france that the french authorities now calling this a terrorist attack saying they know where it came from. that language suggests that terrorist group like isis or alia qaeda because the french nationals that will join the group in syria or iraq and hundreds returned to france. europe-wide, more than 6,000 european nationals have gone to fight in syria and iraq and 1500 returned. they opened surveillance files in france on 5,000 people.
they could only monitor a hand full of those 24/7 around the clock, so it's no surprise that now putting forward these emergency measures. >> paul, stand by. jim sciutto is getting more information, as well. what are you learning? >> in touch through a friend with people inside that theater right now among the hostages inside the theater and what they are hearing from inside the theater are screams and gunfire, screams and gunfire, so you have really just a horrendous situation there. dozens of hostages held, i'm told by people inside there, six to eighty attackers and frustration with those in touch with french police begging in effect for the police to come in because of what is happening inside there. of course, you have to wonder how they would react to the police coming in, but it appears from eyewitnesss inside that those attackers are taking the
lives of some of those hostages as we speak. >> it's a definite situation that is an act of terror according to the french president, state of emergency is declared in paris right now. france has taken almost an unprecedented decision to close the borders now. president obama calling this an outrageous attack, act of terrorism unfolding and still not over with yet. there is a situation unfolding at the theater now where an american rock band had been performing but dozens of hostages are inside. you heard jim sciutto report that people are being killed inside that theater even as we speak right now. you can hear the gunfire among other things. we have a reporter near there, i think joining us on the phone right now from france 24. the reporter, what do you know? what's going on where you are? >> caller: all i can give you is
a perspective from about 200 meters away from the popular concert hall in central paris. this is a friday evening, so there would be quite a large crowd inside. it's a 1500 capacity room. i don't know how many people were inside when the assailants first came in. a french radio journalist there has been able to report that people came in armed, three or four. he may not have had the full picture. people came in with guns and opened fire and for a minute, possibly up to ten minutes were slaughtering people inside the concert hall, which is why it's reasonable at this stage to say it's a large death toll. i've been here for the last 14 minutes and see the brigade come
in. a new reinforcement coming in and in this situation, you would have layers, layers of security forces coming in. originally, the first responders would be the policemen nearby and specialized unit. now i'm seeing red cross trucks. at least half a dozen. this is telling you the scale. i can't see the end of the line now. this is telling you the scale of the damage and casualties and injuries that authorities are preparing for and one can only wonder what is happening inside right now. we haven't heard anything like gunfire or shouting for at least half an hour and i'm a little surprised to tell you the truth at how close they are letting us. we're two to 300 meters max down the road and they have closed off the road. it's likely that at some stage during the evening they will push us further back.
>> stand by with us cyri cyril vanier. he's outside the theater. julian pierce is joining us. he's a radio reporter. julian, i understand you were inside the theater during this concert that american rock band eagles of death metal were performing but you made it outside. tell us what you've seen and heard. >> caller: well, i've seen two theories from my point of view with ak-47s entering the concert room and firing randomly to the crowd and people yelled, screamed and everybody lying on the floor, and it lasted for ten minutes, ten minutes, ten horrific minutes where everybody was on the floor covering their head and we heard so many
gunshots and the terrorists were very calm, very determined and they reloaded three or four times their weapons and they didn't shout anything. they didn't say anything. they were in masks and wearing black clothes and they were shooting at people on the floor, and i was luckily at the top of the stage, in front of the stage, so people started to try to escape to walk on people on the floor and try to find the exits, and i found an exit when the terrorists reloaded their guns in the meantime, and i climbed on the stage and we found an exit, and when i went on the street, i seen 20 to 25
bodies lying on the floor and people were very badly injured, gunshot wounds and i took a small girl, a teenager, she was bleeding very badly and i run. i ran with her for like 200 meters and i found a cab, a taxi and i let her in and i said to the cab driver, go to the hospital and i have some friends right now who are still inside who are hiding because they are not sure if there are still terrorists in there, and they are hiding in some kind of room in the dark and they text me, and they are very afraid, of course, and they are waiting for the police to intervene, but
it's been over two hours now and this is terrible. what happened was terrible. i mean, honestly, 15 minutes, ten minutes of gunshots firing randomly in a small concert room. i mean, it's not a huge concert room. it's a small one. 2,000 people were there maximum and it was -- it was horrible. >> julian, with these terrorists you say you saw three or four, you say they were dress the in black. were their faces covered with masks? >> caller: they were not wearing mask. they were unmasked. i've seen the face of one guy, one terrorist. he was very young. he was like 20 years old, 25 maximum. he wasn't wearing a beard or
something. like a random guy holding a gun, that's all. there were not masks. >> did you hear any words coming out of his mouth? he speaking in french or arabic or anything you could discern? >> caller: nothing. nothing. i heard nothing, just the yelling and screaming of the people. they didn't shout anything. they didn't say anything. they said nothing. they just shot. they just shoot. they were just shooting to people. >> so they weren't questioning anyone who they were, they would just look at someone and shoot and kill them is that what you're saying? >> caller: yes. >> you saw 20 people shot and killed? at least 20 bodies there on the floor. >> yes, yes, i can confirm that. some of them were dead.
some of them were very badly wounded, but it was a blood bath. >> and it's still continuing right now? you're outside the theater as far as you know, julien, the hostage crisis there and killing presumably is continuing? >> caller: yes. i'm not sure of the information, but my -- i've got a bunch of friends who are hiding right now in the concert room, and they are hiding because they are not sure if the terrorists are still there and the police is not inside. >> julien, are you okay, julien? >> caller: i'm okay. i'm okay. i'm outside the concert room in an apartment and the police guys are all over me, all around me, so i'm okay. >> julien, be careful. thank you so much for your
eyewitness account. julien pearce a radio journalist. christiane amanpour is joining us right now. christiane, what are you hearing? >> pretty much the same as all of you. listening to various media outlets in the last hour or more, i heard the deputy mayor of paris talk and you heard what he said, as well, that this is obviously a massive shock for them. they had known, they had terrible premonitions that after charlie hebdo less than a year ago it might happen again, every city believes that right now with the isis threat and the blow back and yet, he said how could we have thought if it is this, it could have happened so soon and so violently? this far outweighs anything that happened in january at charlie hebdo last january, this past january. it's bigger than 7/7 and it has
come as we've seen huge attacks in beirut, which isis claimed this i can woo. we've seen what appears to be pretty much well-confirmed. some kind of isis satellite group or splinter group in the sinai that claimed and attributing for sure the downing of the russian plane and this also is what a lot of people have had as their worst nightmare, that these people if it turns out to be something like this can do it if it turns out to be them because they don't need visas. they have passports. many of these people have gone from many of our countries to syria and can travel back askan forth but right now the president of chance right there just outside paris watching the friendly soccer game had to be evacuated. on national television, on global television, closing all the borders, putting the country on a state of emergency
unprecedented certainly in recent memory. they are trying to find who these perpetrators are and a huge, huge worry obviously at the concert hall, that area right i was there in paris a few hours ago today, interviewing the mayor of paris and the former mayor of new york michael bloomberg who of usually knows so much about attacks since he was the mayor during 9/11, right after 9/11 and they were talking about the climate conference coming up and all sorts of things but clearly nothing like this was on their minds. >> christiane, hold on for a moment. we're showing our viewers live pictures from outside the concert hall where about 1,000 people were attending a concert, an american rock band was performing. you see the people who were wounded brought outside taken to ambulances. we just heard a chilling report from julien pearce and managed
to get out but offered a horrendous, horrendous eyewitness description what was going on inside. phil mud is joining us. it's significant from your perspective the terrorists that julien pearce saw inside were not wearing a mask. >> you have to think about the emotions of the people staking the attack. in my experience watching terror groups, there is a tremendous amount of emotion for a human being to decide they are going to go in and a shoot up a restaurant or theater. the unmasking indicates this might be a suicide operation. not that they are deciding to kill themselves but they went in anticipating they would not come out alive. you're not going in there trying to protect yourself and you're not anticipating you can escape
but you would be as if you're staging a vehicle bombing or backpack bombing that you're not going to see life again after a day or two or shorter. >> stand by because phillip is joining us here from france 24. phillip, what are you hearing? >> i'm still slightly in shock to be honest hearing border haves been closed and there is a state of emergency. it's for the france area, the city itself and surrounding suburbs. what you're not seeing right now is any kind of an assault or a raid on the theater, concert hall. one of the reasons is in situations like this one, the french press are encouraged not to give a blow by blow account. that might be happening now. the police get in touched with every single media organization in france and tells them now is not the time to give a blow by blow account because people inside of the concert hall, they might be watching. that happened in january with the charlie hebdo attacks.
there were people, some assailants were watching or listening. what we know in paris is that the police force and the military essentially because they are already on the streets of paris because it's at its highest terror level should be ready to go because they have been on the streets of paris since the 7th of january because of that heightened alert. you have police forces in there, assault forces, the raid forces and of course, the military. more of which have been called onto the streets by the president. what we're seeing now is a cabinet meeting pretty much in an hour and a half's time, midnight cabinet meeting will be happening in chance. the cabinet is summoned. the french president has to take a decision, might have taken it to get with the interior minister of what exactly to do with this concert hall. we know also that the mayor of paris is outside of the
bataclan. certainly, we know from past experience that the police and the local authorities will encourage reporters to say as little as possible about what is happening and of course, the people of paris, they have been encouraged to stay at home. these are not just the people inside the walls of paris, there is the whole france area. everybody is told if you don't have to go outside, please do not. that's how serious it is now. >> clearly, they are afraid there could be others at large and out of an abundance of caution, the president of france has said there is a state of emergency that has been declared and indeed, france's borders, it's entire border area has now been closed given what is going
on in paris right now. deb is getting for information. increasing indications this could be a suicide attack. >> we're hearing the bombing at the stadium does appear to be a suicide bombing. there is a body in the location that is -- has wounds that is absolutely consistent with what would happen if it were a suicide bomber. so investigators paying particularly close attention to that as we're hearing. many borders have been closed. general security very, very tight at this point and speaking to one expert, one of the points that was raised is that look, isis, hit paris in january with the attack on charlie hebdo and jewish market and now it's essentially themselves we hit you once, we can hit you again, paris is not safe. so this is clearly terrifying to the people who are there.
also, you think about the concert hall attack and you have to remember an attack at a moscow theater that killed so many so there is some rep case that's going on but really, a terrifying situation there right now. >> certainly is. we're showing our viewers this video that was taken of this football game between france and germany. i'm going to pay for you the explosion that can clearly be heard as the crowd was cheering. listen to this. listen now again. you can hear that loud explosion. mike rogers is with us, the former chairman of the house intelligence committee, our cnn contributor. take us behind the scenes right now in the u.s. intelligence community in the u.s.
counterterrorism community. we hear from new york city, counterterrorism experts, new york city police, they are going on a higher state of alert right now. once again out of an abundance of caution but presumably are afraid if this is going on in paris, it could go on elsewhere. >> every field office of the fbi there is some investigation to an individual with an affiliation with isis. you saw this was clearly planed for a multiple location attack. that's not easy to do. the attacks were coincided within a brief time which tells you there was some effort to get those things to happen near the same time. they do that, by the way, and did it in the charlie hebdo case to confuse law enforcement and create a little chaos with the reaction teams as well as what is going on on the ground. this should be a wakeup call to everyone. when france closed the borders thanks is an unprecedented event
and it tells you that all of the intelligence that's led up to this point saying be careful about this refugee community, they believe they are trying to infiltrate it. that tells you there is more information. he didn't get up and decide he would close the borders. that is a concern not just to france but everyone dealing with the refugee population. >> european borders have been open to refugees, hundreds of thousands have been allowed to come into germany and u.austria and france and you heard from a lot of law enforcement experts here in the united states that isis could be smuggling terrorists in to presumably commit an act of terror like this. >> sure. >> there was social media reporting that talked about the very fact that that's exactly how they got in, and now you have to worry about what the status in germany is and other places in europe as well as do they have a secondary level of attack anywhere else in the
world, including the united states. our intelligence community is going to have to react to that. i know they are reacting to it. >> mike, we have new video coming in from outside the bataclan theater. thousands of people were inside listening to an american rock band. i want to show this video from just outside. watch this. [speaking foreign language]. [ gunshots [ gunshots ]. [speaking foreign language]. >> mike rogers, you're a former fbi agent. that sounds like pretty serious explosions or gunfire. >> yeah, sounded like gunfire to me, multiple shots occurring.
clearly, they are trying to figure out if they have the ability to actually storm the building, which they are trained for in a better way than happened in russia u be trying to figure out with witnesses, i'll tell you with certainty, how many they think there are, what is the position of the hostages, where are they? on the ground? is the layout of the building and i'm surprised it's taken this long. i can only imagine they are planning to breach the building soon. >> you heard reports the terrorists are inside not wearing masks as we heard from julien pearce and systematically going into the theater and systematically killing individuals, not discussing anything or asking questions but systematically murdering people who had gone to that concert. >> clearly, this is an event to kill as many as they can. that's why the police have to make a horrible decision of
breaching, despite the fact that a few innocent hostages may be killed. >> i spoke to french police again and they said the one message that they have right now to the people of paris and i know we're broadcasting in europe now is to stay in their homes. this is a message they are trying to get out consistently but they want people to stay in place because frankly, they don't know if this attack is contained. so that is the message they want to deliver very firmly here. one other thought about the possibility of reaching, i was in paris during the charlie hebdo attacks and hostage taking at the kosher market you'll remember and i remember standing outside there for a number of hours before the french anti-terror units went in, it's understandable, they didn't know if hostages were alive and how many and whether the attacker was armed but i remember looking back to january when there was a hostage situation then that french police were careful and took time before they breached.
>> stand by for a moment because the france 24 reporter ceril, you're outside that concert hall where this hostage crisis is unfolding now. what's the latest? are you seeing and hearing? >> reporter: more what we're hearing now for the last two minutes or so we've been hearing regular loud booms. i'm not a ballistics expert but sounds like some were gunshots, others sounded like something else. i'm wondering perhaps stun grenades. obviously, i'm filling in blanks with what i'm imagining and what i'm hearing are booms, some of what sounds like gunfire, some of what sounds like detonations, perhaps grenades. impossible to tell who is detonating them. it appears to be coming from an enclosed space. it's not coming from directly outside it, it's coming from
inside. so i'm asking myself and everybody here at the scene is asking themselves the same question, whether an assault might be underway right now? >> and you're there, they are still allowing you to stay there, about 200 meters away from the bataclan concert hall where this concert was going on. phil mudd it certainly is an act of terror. the president of the united states called it an act of terror, simultaneous attacks going on in paris, the french president saying a state of emergency is been declared. he says that all of france's borders are closed as a result of what is going on. what else is your analysis, phil, of what you're seeing and hearing? >> couple things you got to think about here. number one, you have a broad spectrum of individuals which tells me this was planned for system time. this is not a home grown that decided last night he would go and operate. number two, they have access to an array of weapons and explosives which means there is
a network in paris that's not only a broad number of people but weapons and they are getting access. the selection of targets is interesting. typically we talk about iconic targets like isis and the sinai. i look at this and don't see iconic targets yet. that is did they simply select these targets because they were soft and targets of opportunity? these are not places in the center of paris that i would think are identified with tourists. i've got to see more on target selection but it looks like a fairly well-energized supported broad group of people to maximize the number of people they could kill. >> does it have the appearance of isis or al qaeda? can we make a determination at this relativeli lly early stage? >> if you're talking al qaeda, you're talking carefully planned operations where we could look
at the target and say this is why they selected the target. you're talking about this broad number of people. it's difficult to keep that conspiracy secret if you're talking about a centrally directed operation where there is communication with the headquarters in a place like syria and pakistan. the most interesting piece of this so far is will we find there were red flags that indicated these perpetrators were already up on the radar? the problem with isis with charlie hebdo, in contrast to al qaeda, these guys aren't that centrally directed and the red flags you can look at to prevent this as an intelligence professional are minimum. this will be tough to stop. >> certainly will be. we've been reporting on the heels of isis claimed attacks including the russian airliner killing all 224 people on board. twin suicide bombing in beirut and suicide bombing in baghdad killing almost 20 people and now what is going on in paris, at
least 60 people dead, although that number is expected to go up. on the phone is gabriel. i understand you were there at that football, at that soccer game where the suicide bombing, apparent suicide bombing occurred. tell us what happened. give us your account. >> caller: actually, i didn't see anything. we were inside the stadium and half an hour after the beginning of the game we heard four or five minutes two big explosions and had no idea but it was scary. you know, the game just kept on playing and then nobody said anything, but then unfortunately around halftime i had like ten miss called from my sister, girlfriend, parents, my grandparents asking me fif i wa okay. they said there were attacks all over paris including explosions
near the stadium. i understood something big was going on and people were starting to leave the stadium like half an hour before the end of the game and so, you know, that's when i left and i managed to leave pretty quickly and to get the metro and arrive home. when i arrived home, i saw they were keeping people inside the stadium and i realized that the tragedy of what was going on. inside the stadium, they didn't tell us anything. >> it was a very scary situation indeed, france was playing germany inside that stadium and all of a sudden you heard those loud explosions and we've heard those explosions now and gabriel, it must have been terrifying to you, as well. christiane amanpour is with us. christiane, you spent a lot of time over the years in fparis. when the french president, christiane says all of france's borders are being shut, are now being closed, a state of
emergency is declared in paris, the french capital. it under scores the severity of what is going on right now. >> well, it's pretty unprecedented according to my memory and this is a major, major issue obviously and i think we have to put it in context. again, we do not know who these people are but if the worst fears and suspicions play out, this is another mega attack alongside other mega attacks that have been going on around the world in the last few days alone claimed by isis and at a time when the face of this kind of terror that we are faced with is changing to a much more nimble as you heard phil mud and mike rogers say, much different to al qaeda, much less centrally organized and freelance. maybe people they groomed here online, maybe people who they have sent in some low. the worst of the worse isis said in communications over the past
weeks that they would try to come over, they would send agents over with rouefugees. we know terror today in big urban cities is possible with a bunch of people with guns. they don't have to do 9/11. they can go around to wherever and cause absolute mayhem and that's a terrorist attack. obviously, the authorities in paris are looking for these people. that's probably why they closed the borders among other things and the worst of the worst is what is happening at the bataclan concert area where there are hostages and the mayor of paris is trying to monitor the situation and where a huge amount of focus will be right now. but what's happened is because so many people have gone over from france, from america, from britain, from germany, belgium, all those countries, north
africa, chechnya, elsewhere, they are people who have passports and can come back and create blow back without having to lie, cheat or steal their way into getting visas, fake visas, this and that. there is a multi-pronged and huge threat from the kind of blow back that we're seeing even if it isn't a spectacular and massive as bringing down the twin towers. it's a constant rolling threat of these kinds of hidden run some small, some big attacks. i spoke to the prime minister of turkey just a few days ago commenting on what happened in sham el-sheikh, the plane being brought down. he said this is not just a crime against russia but all of humanity. this is a crime and terrorist attack that affects everyone and we have to be involved in trying to stand up and face down all of this, we've heard from the
president at that stadium and apparently being evacuated after that explosion and this is really close, i mean, to set off a bomb near the president of a country is really, really staggering. >> requires coordination, as well. if in fact, this is isis, it would seem to represent a new chapter right now. isis until now basically has been very active in syria and iraq but now if isis is expanding to sinai, beirut, to baghdad and paris, who knows where they might be going next. let me reset for our viewers here in the united states and around the world what's going on. the breaking news we're following, an unprecedented series of deadly coordinated terror attacks in paris. we're told at least 60 people reportedly are dead. that number expected to go higher. hostage crisis still understand folding at that concert hall in
paris. the french president just ordering a state of emergency for the entire paris area. shutting france's borders, a very unprecedented move right now. attackers striking at least three locations packed with people. reports of shootings, automatic weapons, a suicide bombing. dozens of people. we're told they are still being held captive and eight hostage takers. moments ago we heard president obama he went into the west wing of the white house to make a statement. he called this an outrageous attack on all of humanity and clearly said it was an act of terror. debra, they are taking heightened security measures in new york city right now. >> absolutely and other places, as well. this is law enforcement's greatest fear. it began after 9/11 and that is
coordinated attacks against soft targets and the targets that we're seeing, wolf, it's a sports stadium, it's a theater, it's an area where there is a lot of shopping involved. it happened at the same time so what it's meant to do effectively is create like an warfare you have people fighting dividing the law enforcement because law enforcement is trained to respond but when you have multiple attacks at the same time, you're dividing the resources. clearly, this is something law enforcement around the globe prepares and trains for. again, they hit soft targets at the same time so instead of having sort of one mass response, you had to have teams going to the different locations to respond. that means dividing swat team, dividing police, it means dividing bomb techs, all of that. again, here in new york, that's
always been the fear. we've heard it with sports stadiums, shopping malls, theaters and we're seeing that play out in france. and so again, that is one of the big concerns and what everyone is witnessing there, there's a big fear that it could be replicated elsewhere. >> debra stand by, phillip is with us from france 24 tv. phil, set the scene for us in paris right now. city of many millions of people. it was a friday night. people were out on the streets as they like to do in paris and other major cities in europe and elsewhere and all of a sudden, you see at various locations, at least three different locations at a concert hall, at a football stadium and as well as a popular tourist area where there are restaurants, series of shootings and explosions. >> what people did was they were forcibly had to stay wherever they were. i've been in touch with friends
and colleagues who were in that exact area and who are indeed still just about a block or two away from where the shootings happened or from the bataclan, where the hostage situation is on going, they are still exactly where they were before. they are not being let out of whatever restaurant or bar. the reason i mention bars or restaurants is this happened at the very best time to go out in paris, on a friday evening. what you're seeing especially this one part of paris because this is a very small part of paris where three of the attacks or shootings happened. this is in the east of paris not too far from the charlie hebdo headquarters. it's more or less a 20-minute walk from the bataclan to the charlie hebdo where the final shootout happened at that supermarket in the east of paris. >> at that kosher supermarket.
>> we're looking at more or less the same area. what people are doing now is being told not to leave wherever they are. that also means that those who are in the streets right now, they are being invited into apartments by people because, you know, it's maybe you have to tell one or two positive an in this case over twitter and social media, people are inviting people into their apartment so they can get off the street because remember, the town hall and the french president both said you've got to stay indoors. you can't stay outside at this point. what people are waiting for now and this includes friends of mine. i just got a message from a friend a few blocks away, he says more gunshots/explosions. that's what he's hearing now. >> what we're seeing now are live pictures coming in from france. we're told that law enforcement, police perhaps military, they
are moving towards that theater, that concert hall right now the bataclan theater where hostages are being held where there was a concert with an american rock band. about 1,000 people were inside. jim sciutto, you're getting specific information on what is going on. >> i've been in touch through a friend who has friends inside that theater and they have been texting out information as this hostage situation has been underway that those people thankfully still safe where they have been hiding but they have heard gunfire and small explosions similar to what the france 24 reporter heard outside. >> one of our cnn producers is outside the theater there, the bataclan concert hall. what are you seeing pierre? i think we may have lost contact. pierre, can you hear me? i think we're trying to reconnect with pierre. he's outside the concert hall. we're going to reconnect with
him. he was about to give us an eyewitness account of what is going on right now. mike rogers, if in fact, they are moving in to storm the bataclan theater, i don't know how many people were inside but the chilling account these terrorists were going through randomly taking people and shooting and killing them, a horrifying, horrible -- hold on. i think we have pierre on the phone. pierre, can you hear me? it's wolf. unfortunately, we don't have pierre yet. this is a critical moment right now, mike. >> it is and the most dangerous. those small explosions are likely flash grenades to destabilize the terrorists. it's dangerous for two reasons. it will be difficult and quick notice they have to discern between who is a terrorist and hostage and they won't have much time and clearly, you have a group of hostage -- terrorists in the building who are willing to kill both the hostages and
any police that they can. this is a very dangerous entry to that building and you can expect casualties unfortunately beyond just the terrorists given the frame work and description of the people on inside and the layout of the building. >> philip, you know this area of paris well where this concert hall is and these are live pictures we're showing. i assume thousands of police, military personnel, law enforcement from all over the paris area have been brought to the various parts of paris but these are populated areas. these are not just isolated. >> they would look very, very different now. this is one of the main areas to go out in bar race, the bataclan is one of the most popular. one of the restaurants targeted is not one of the most famous. cambodia absolutely nobody knows right now why that was targeted. but this is the kind of area
where you'd see thousands of people walking around and sitting in caves fes except tho who were in cafes have been told to stay inside. what we've heard from reporters on the ground is that the perimeter has been made a little larger over the last half an hour or so. our reporter said he was two to 300 meters away. that's why pretty much everything we hear right now is sound. we're hearing not eye witness accounts but these are reports of sound, of explosions, of gunfire possibly. there aren't many eyewitness accounts now and our reporters now i doubt are seeing what is happening now. that is all of course, part of the police tactics. you can't show this on live television at this point, of course, most notably on the domestic 24-hour news channels on france and there are several of them. they could be being watched as we speak inside of the bataclan concert hall.
that's a big risk at this point. in the streets of paris, what you'll see now is of course, fewer people than usual and enormous amounts of security forces because as we said earlier, they are very much available right now because paris and france as a whole are at it's very highest terror level. that means there are soldiers, french soldiers on the streets patrolling public areas and they will have presumably been called in and remember also, this is after all a state of emergency not just outside of this one concert hall, it's around the hall of paris. the fear being there might be further shootings, further events, i'm hearing from my friends who are writing to me and there are plenty of rumors going around of all sorts of rumors of shootings in paris, none of which have been confirmed so far and the rumors there are are more central and tourist populated areas of paris. now what we can say of course, right now, we would have known
by now is that was true because you would have heard sirens, friends of ours would have contacted us and told us what was happening. it looks like the concentration right now is on that one concert hall and as you can see, there is very little footage of that because the cameras are being held a long way back. we have to listen to what people are hearing. >> a very dangerous situation if in fact an operation is underway to rescue individuals inside. we have no idea how many people may have been killed inside the concert hall. we got one eyewitness account from julien saying before he escaped, he saw several wood dids on the floor of that concert hall where an american rock band had been performing, maybe 1,000 people inside. paris firefighters, phil mud, i want to report to you and viewers in the united states and around the world, paris testifitestif firefighters have counted at least 43 dead. that number is expected to go up
once people go inside and find out what is going on. i think pierre, one of our producers in paris is outside the concert hall. pierre, can you hear me? it's wolf. >> hi, hi, i can. >> tell us what you're seeing there at the concert hall. >> all right. so there's a few things going on right now. i believe about 100, 150 hostages were taken out of the building just about ten or 15 minutes ago. another 20 were just taken out of the building and there is 28 as i can hear, 28 hostages trapped in the first floor of the building and police are trying to bring them out, but i believe i heard there is a wounded by gunshots hostage trapped inside this first story of the building. now, there were a few gunshot bursts just ten minutes ago, and i believe this is police trying to get inside the building from the side of the building, so this is from the nightclub central paris. >> and so you can actually see.
can you hear gunshots going off right now? >> there were gunshots five minutes ago and ten minutes ago. i believe these were gunshots on the police trying to get in the building, trying to break doors and break to walls to get inside the buildings. i don't believe these were gunshots from terrorists. i believe these were gunshots from the police. right now, what i can see is police, those police and firemen trying to get to evacuate about 20 or 28 hostages from the first floor of the building. they have been trapped inside the first floor of the building after having escaped from the main nightclub room where i believe most of the action was taking place and they are now being evacuated by police and firemen and i believe there is one gunshot victim among them. >> even as we speak right now, pierre, you can see what's going
on. %-p? >> i'm about 40 yards away, yeah, 30, 45 yards away. >> and they are letting you stay -- authorities are letting you stay that close? >> no, i'm actually hidden in the bushes. police tried to clear off joe l journalist from the scene so that's why i'm not talking too loud. police don't want us here. what i can see now is the first hostage, one of the hostages trapped inside the first floor is being taken down by both firemen and police. it seems to be a young man. that's all i can see from here unfortunately. there is a lot of police. a lot of heavy-armed police and possibly military, as well. there was an armored vehicle earlier. >> well, we know that the french president has activated the military to come to the assistance of local law enforcement in paris, as well.
pierre, be careful over there. we'll get back to you, pierre, one of our producers in paris watching what is going on. clearly, this operation is unfolding as we speak. and phil mud, as dangerous as it is, it's dangerous for hostages and military and police going inside if terrorists are still armed and they presumably were well-armed with ak-47s and other weapons. this situation is by no means over. >> it's not over. the next step, you're talking about the hostages. i'm going to believe the terrorists are not going to come out alive and made a commitment to death. the next step is equally as dangerous. if you're on the law enforcement side, the first question is not just what happened. that's a police event. the first question is identifying these people to ensure there aren't supporters or simpympathizers who are goino
do a second wave or are going to be inspired to do something they might not have otherwise have done. the first question is not just what happened as an intelligence professional. the first question is can you gather intelligence quickly enough off the bodies of dead terrorists to prevent the potential for something else to happen. >> mike rogers, i assume the french are well-prepared for this. they practice. they go through the motions of dealing with a crisis like this, given what happened in january at the charlie hebdo magazine at that kosher supermarket. i assume they have been gearing up and they have actually gone on a higher state of alert. >> counterterrorism rate team in france is very, very good and have learned their lessons from charlie hebdo and they train constantly for exactly these type of events. so odds are good but we shouldn't under estimate the difficulties of going into a room where terrorists control
the strategic places in the room and you have to make a split second decision who is a terrorist and hostage. they train well and can handle it. you have to wish them the best going in the door. that's the hardest thing they will do all night is go into the secondary room where they believe the terrorists are holding up with the dozen or so hostages. >> phil mud, you worked at the fbi and cia. i assume you agree it's smart for local, state, national to go on a heightened state of alert right now out of an abundance of caution. if this is isis and they have gone and blown up a russian plane in equipment, they have done twin suicide bombings and went through another suicide bombing in baghdad today and paris, you got to assume u.s. officials are worried about the united states potentially being a target, as it's not just smart. it's something you have to do. you have no option in this situation and there's operational steps you can take
right at this time, despite the fact that we don't know exactly what happened here. for example, there are people out there ready tonight setting up shift work to watch the isis wires and communication to see if they are talking about this. at the bureau, there are going to be people saying, do we have isis sympathizers in the united states who are looking at this and who are going to be inspired to act overnight. it's not just providing security at major facilities in places like new york. it's watching what we know already and ensuring that somebody is not going to act in an american city overnight tonight. >> president hollande says that france's borders are he is enclosed. tens and thousands of refugees continue to pour in to the area from syria and elsewhere. >> the whole clashing is sort of imperatives set in because many of the countries have started
anyway to try to impose in many of the european countries because the flow is just too heavy and it's very burdensome for many of the countries. so they have not seen the influx and nor has britain that, let's say, germany and austria and sweden and northeastern european countries, the baltic countries have not seen that in france and britain. however, this is going to be clearly front and center of their agenda as they try to figure out whether they will find these people on the run, find out who they are, what is their motivation and then to figure out how to control it because, gentlemen, the rules
allow free movement through europe. i will say that as everybody has said that france has been on heightened alert recently but also here in great britain, the head of the intelligence said at no time in recent memory was he so concerned about a possible isis attack and that the threat, he said, was one of the highest levels -- his level of concern was at the highest it's been in a long, long time. so it is very, very intense. the worry about certainly isis and blow back are particularly -- with the air war that the u.s. is leading with various allies over syria and iraq and russia as well now. so, again, just to put it very bluntly, many, many, many thousands and thousands of people are going from america and europe and north africa, many other countries to syria and iraq and they are able to come back presumably because
many of them will still have passports and it's a whole different level of threat. >> it's interesting, christiane, i don't remember when a france president has closed the borders. >> i don't remember that happening. that's the point. this is so extreme and so unprecedented in recent memory. al qaeda in the arabian peninsula claimed responsibility for the "charlie hebdo" incident and then isis claim of responsibility for what happened at the kosher supermarket in eastern paris. i was in paris a few hours ago. i was on a totally different assignment. nonetheless, i was there. it was a beautiful day. everybody was out. it's friday in every major
metropolitan city on a friday at the end of the week. people are out, you know, drinking with their buddies, out listening to music, outgoing to dinner, outgoing to football matches. and just the notion that this happened so close to president hollande and so close to the center of what happened on "charlie hebdo" is very near this theater which was the center of that huge response to the "charlie hebdo" attack. >> these are live pictures from the streets of paris. you can see law enforcement, first responders, military personnel well armed right now. this crisis is by no means over. the terror attacks continuing, we're told. there's a struggle at that bataclan theater where the concert was taking place a few hours ago. we just received a statement by the secretary of state john kerry saying the u.s. embassy in paris is making every effort to
account for the welfare of the americans in the city and in the days ahead kerry says the united states stands ready to provide whatever support the french government may require. so that from secretary kerry, just a statement released right now. phil mudd, these are critical moments right now because it clearly looks like isis -- if in fact this is isis -- is expanding its reach beyond syria and iraq. >> that's right. critical moments, wolf, but when you deal with the situation like this, the first information we get, you talk about a report a few minutes ago, attacks elsewhere in centra paris. the first reports you get are going to have a lot of air mixed in with facts. so the first question you have from a leadership perspective, keep cool. let's make sure we understand the difference between fact and fiction and as soon as we have information to act on, let's have a standard check list to figure out what has happened here. for example, as soon as the
french identify who conducted these attacks here in the united states at 7:00 p.m. eastern, you're going to start to say, did those persons ever travel to the united states? did they study here? did they e-mail here? did they phone here? you've got to keep cool and ensure that there is not a broader conspiracy here that could be a bigger threat than this and the only way you do this is to keep cool in a time of crisis. this is going to be chaos for the next few hours. >> i think you're right and we'll see if it only lasts the next few hours. the fact that isis supporters and sympathizers on social immediate are applauding what is happening in paris right now, in france right now. i don't think even as we speak right now there's been an official isis declaration of responsibility. is that unusual? >> it's a little bit unusual, given the high-profile nature of this event. and so in recent months we knew that both isis and al qaeda, both leaders, have called for smaller scale attacks and it was unusual that zawahiri put that
out. we think it was to recruit against isis and financing and other things. it's also a concern that there may be the second order effect, which i think phil mudd was t k talking about earlier. where are the other possibilities of attack? and could it be tonight, tomorrow, over the weekend? that's what all of this effort will go to is to try to make that determination. again, it could be in another country as well. we see isis operations in afghanistan, in libya, in somalia. we see isis operations now -- of course, terrorist operations you've seen watch happen in lebanon. they are expanding their reach. they know they are going to be under a little pressure from both russian and peshmerga and kurdish forces. this is their way to reach out and show that they are still in charge. >> president obama is supposed to be in turkey in the next few days for the g-20 summit.
jim sciutto, isn't he supposed to be in paris for a climate as well? >> that's right. two weeks from now. world leaders from all over the world, obviously a security challenge, particularly in light of what we saw today. >> brian todd, you're getting more information. you're monitoring social media. what are you picking up? >> wolf, as this dramatic situation unfolds at the bataclan theater, an amateur photographer was there. a lady appears to have her leg up in the air trying to get some treatment, people being treated on the street. you do not see police around in this scene at the moment. a very short video there posted earlier by an amateur photographer. this is as we're getting reports that police have stormed the building, have used ladders to get to the first floor of the building and have brought out several hostages, some who appear to be wounded. real tweets in realtime from earlier tonight, a man who claimed to be inside the bataclan theater tweeted out
"i'm still at the bataclan, first floor, hurt bad. there are survivors inside, he said. first floor soon." pleading for security forces to get inside the building. that was a tweet earlier tonight. that same man also tweeted earlier tonight, "alive. just cut, carnage, dead bodies everywhere." that's from a man who claimed to be inside the bataclan theater tonight. here's a tweet we got a short time ago from french president francois hollande. faced with dread, known to mobilize its forces and once again will defeat terrorists. that's an english translation from a french tweet so the english may be a little off. very dramatic social media accounts of what is going on in paris tonight, wolf. >> it looks like it's still going on, in fact, even as we speak. these simultaneous coordinated terror attacks in various locations in paris continue. you see live -- these are live pictures coming in from the streets of paris, military law
enforcement, other security personnel with first responders on the scene. our live coverage of the terror attacks in paris continues right now with erin burnett. i'm erin burnett and we're continuing our coverage of this horrific breaking news story tonight. terror across paris. it's a city under siege. at least 43 people are dead in multiple attacks across the french capital. according to our affiliate bfmtv, there were six shootings and three explosions at a soccer stadium. that appears to be a suicide bombing attack. and at this moment, police are just storming a concert hall where at least -- we don't know the exact number. it could be 100 or more or less being held hostage. france has now closed its borders. french police are urging all paris residents to stay inside. this entire situation as we are covering it for you live at this hour is incredibly