tv CNN Newsroom- Paris Terror Attacks CNN November 15, 2015 7:00pm-8:01pm PST
cast. ♪ making noise with the alligator boys 20 miles east ♪ welcome to our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer with cnn's breaking news coverage on the paris terror attacks. it's been a day of military retaliation against isis and rapidfire developments in the global manhunt under way right now. here's what you need to know at this hour. french fighter jets, bombardment of raqqa in syria dropping 20 bombs on terrorist targets including a command center, training camp and ammunition storage base. the french military says all the targets were destroyed and all french planes they say returned safely to their bases in the united arab emirates and jordan. also tonight a french official tells cnn that at least three of the terrorists involved in the attacks spent time in syria.
an international manhunt is intensifying for a belgium-born french national who's suspected in the attacks. a source tells cnn salah abdeslam was stopped and questioned by police a few hours after the terror happened across paris but was not detained. we're told he was driving in the direction of the belgium border. also tonight, officials fear that other suspects or accomplices in the attacks may also be on the loose. meanwhile, panic erupting in paris earlier tonight. take a look at this remarkable video. a crowd gathered at a memorial at one of the attack sites suddenly that crowd got spooked. people desperately dashed to safety. it turned out to be a false alarm. two days after the massacre of at least 129 people, the fear of another attack right now in
paris is raw and real. our senior international correspondent nick paton walsh is on the ground for us in the middle east with the latest. what do we know about these strikes, nick? >> reporter: wolf, it's very hard to get accurate information out of raqqa because this is a place hermetically sealed by isis. we're simply talking to outsiders. let alone, trying to leave can get you killed. we're dependent so much on information, raqqa slaughtered, they heard 30 air strike, where the main target seemed to be, what they referred to as the stadium area, the political building, the clinical hospital. the names of these places don't necessarily relate to the jobs they do right now. it's more buildings that have been taken over by isis, used for different purposes which now appear to other activists to actually be most headquarters and jails of isis. questions you have to ask yourself, the french defense ministry saying they had 12 jets in the skies, 10 of which were doing the bombing and dropped 20 separate bombs. this is a substantial list of
targets suddenly were available to them despite the fact the united states have had jets in the air for months now looking for similar targets and, frankly, why weren't they bombing them earlier? this may well be symbolism, political message hitti inting well-known places by the french saying isis, we're military vary much in the game. we'll have to see in the days ahead what quite level of damage this has done to isis as a military machine and suggest whether or not any civilians were caught up in these blasts. i would say raqqa slaugtered saying no civilians hurt here. some pro-isis activists suggesting these were, in fact, old sites being hit. there's a very clear message here to those inside raqa, the pressure is certainly on. isis just lost sinjar in northern iraq. that's a significant blow to the supply route that heads from iraq into raqqa. this may be the beginning of something more from france or may be a night in which they exact their a vengeance to try
and make those feeling an enormous sense of loss and anger inside of paris that something is being done in their name, wolf. >> nick paton walsh, be careful over there. while french warplanes unloaded bombs over the so-called isis capital, the city isis terroristerroris terrorists tore apart stayed under lockdown. this man, salah abdeslam, a belgium-born french national might be the most-wanted person on the planet right now. ivan watson and nic robertson are working sources in belgium and france to get the latest on this growing investigation. nick, you're in paris. in its message claiming responsibility for the citywide slaughter, isis said eight, eight of its so-called terrorists, they don't call them terrorists, we call them involved, were involved. the paris prosecutors says only serve were killed. do they think this man could be the other terrorist? >> salah abdeslam appears to be.
his brother has been identified as one of the attackers. they attacked the restaurants. he detonated his explosives. his explosive belt, suicide bombing himself, if you'd like, outside the cafe comptoir. arrest warrants put out for him. 1 meter 75 centimeters high. described as dangerous, 26 years old. he was actually picked up and questioned by french police a few hours after the bombing. that same night, friday night. as he was driving toward belgium. he is a belgium-born french national. and right now he is the one attacker that the police believe may still be on the loose. the police here describing him as dangerous telling people not to approach him if they see him, wolf. >> they say he was actually
stopped, picked up for questioning but released. why did they stop him to begin with and obviously why did they release him? >> reporter: well, he is a belgium-born french national. it appears that he was driving back toward belgium. the french in the hours after the attack said they were closing their borders. it doesn't seem that they were fully closed but they did have vehicle checks on the roads between france and belgium in place. it appears he was stopped while en route back to belgium. they didn't detain him because they didn't have what they call a sort of a paperwork trail on him recording that he was a radical. belgium-born french national, but he was living in belgium at the time. so, perhaps, he was under the french police radar at least they had him in their custody, they questioned him. a cold-blooded killer, but somehow he was able to convince the police he was innocent and they let him continue, wolf. >> i'm sure they'll taking a
closer look to see what happened. nic, stand by. ivan watson, you're in brussels for us in belgium, they've issued an international arrest warrant for this man, salah abdeslam. we saw police swarm a suburban neighborhood there, take several people into custody. is it clear what police have learned from this men as we speak right now, ivan? >> reporter: we still don't have results of whatever questioning has gone on there, but we know very clearly from the belgian authorities that there is a strong belgian link to the deadly attacks that took place saturday night in paris. you have this belgium-born man named abdeslam salah and part of a group of three brothers belgian authorities are focusing their investigation on. one as who nic explained was believed to have been killed in paris during the attacks. another who was arrested here in brussels in a neighborhood called mullenbeck. that is a neighborhood with a
very large immigrant community and that is also the neighborhood where belgian police descended and arrested at least seven suspects today. at least two of the vehicles that were believed to have been used in the paris attacks had brussels license plates. another vehicle rented from here in belgium believed to have been used to take people to move back and forth to paris. so there is a very strong connection here that the belgian authorities are looking into and, again, that belgian-born man salah abdeslam wanted who was last seen heading in the direction of this country. wolf? >> ivan, we saw investigators focus in on belgium in the aftermath of the "charlie hebdo" terror attack back in january. now, again, it's central to this investigation. here's a question a lot of people are asking. does belgium right now, or at least for the past year or two have a specific jihadi problem? >> reporter: you know, you've
got top officials in the last 36 hours here in belgium who said we do have a real problem and they're pointing the fingers at that one neighborhood i mentioned, mullenbeck which has a very large population of first and second and third-generation immigrants. when you go to that neighborhood, you'll just as easily hear arabic and turkish as you'll hear french. the language of belgium. that is an area that has had jihadi and very serious fundamentalist islamic groups in the past. there were roundups there last january after a deadly shootout between two men who were caught with belgian police uniforms and weapons and explosives in another town, and that is an area that the interior minister of this country has said he's personally going to take charge on trying to figure out what is wrong, in particular, in that specific neighborhood.
this country has had more jihadis exported to the middle east from western europe per capita than any other country in western europe. >> yeah, they certainly do have a serious problem there in belgium. i want you to stand by, ivan, as well. we'll get back to you. we're following the reports on this manhunt. i also want to talk about the latest developments in this war against isis and the terror attacks with the former chief of staff of the department of defense and the cia, jeremy bash. he's swrojoining us. also fara is joining us, served as first u.s. state department special representative to muslim communities. she's now a senior fellow at the counsel on foreign relations. also with us, peter bergen. you have new information, i take it a source telling you the isis leader al baghdadi has ordered attacks on all countries fighting isis including iran? what can you tell us? >> well, according to a senior iraqi official, iraqi officials briefed a number of countries including france about a plot
that they had detected ordered by al baghdadi, the leader of isis, in which a couple of dozen militants were trained for an operation in raqqa, the de facto capital of isis, and that they briefed this to french officials as recently as 24 hours ago. now, of course, you know, it's easy to say with 20/20 hindsight that this was, you know, sort of an overlooked piece of intelligence information, and as often in any of these types of events, wolf, there's always plenty of signals in the system which suddenly become very clear after the event but were not clear before the event. >> jeremy, you worked at the cia, you worked at the pentagon. what does the u.s. military now need to do based on everything you're hearing, not just to contain isis as they say, but actually destroy isis in syria and iraq? >> well, wolf, i think the first thing that the united states military and their planners in the region are going to be
thinking about is how to intensify, how to thicken, how to strengthen the effort of those air strikes into raqqa and as the defense secretary ash carter laid out in testimony before the u.s. senate about a week ago, the three pillars to this strategy, one is to go right at raqqa, the second is to really help the iraqis retake ramadi and the third is to conduct unilateral raids or raids with the kurdish peshmurga as was done in sinjar province. those raids, u.s. military actions are designed to retake military and decapitate the leadership of isis. that was the playbook we used along the afghanistan/pakistan border in 2009 and 2010 to really decimate al qaeda core senior leadership ranks. 20 to 30 people were taken off the battlefield. that has to be the focus strategy of the united states and our allies at this hour. that's what we did in the air strike that took out jihadi john on thursday. that's what we did in the air
strike that took out the isis leader in libya. that's what we have to do intensify over the coming days and weeks. >> fara, you know, you're an expert on this region and so much of this coalition effort is based on these so-called kinetic air strikes. in order to really get the job done, some military personnel, whether the u.s., france, arab countries in the region, some have to go in there on the ground oand really fight directy in ground combat, right? >> so i think it's important to understand a couple of things. one is certainly there's an element here as jeremy talked about in terms of the military dimension of this war but you have to focus on the recruiting piece as well. and so far we do not have a strategy that has integrated both the hard power and the soft power. and i would say to you that at this stage with the colossal damage that happened on friday night in paris, it is time for us to re-evaluate where we've been and where we must go in terms of how we think about
stopping recruitment. fat is not something that happens just through western governments or middle eastern governments. this is a global problem. there are 1 billion muslims under the age of 30 around the world. and ideology has no borders, so the way the extremists are recruiting means that we need to be very serious about shrinking that recruitment pool. >> but jeremy, some serious ground operation is required, right? >> i think ultimately we will have to put and intensify our boots-on-the-ground effort. they'll probably be mostly our special operations forces operating in sere wyrisyria. we'll also have to develop a better connection as we have been developing a better connection with the kurdish forces. i think fara actually makes an important point which is there really are two elements bull s major feature of isis' prop beg propaganda is they are winning. the way we can reverse their
momentum is taking their leaders off the battlefield and basically say they're not going to win this thing and u.s. and allies and france and other countries are going to gain the upper hand. a key piece of their propaganda on social media and out there to recruit is they are in asce ascendancy. we need to put the leadership right back on our heels. >> the attack in paris was clearly from their perspective a propaganda win to be sure. all right, guys, stand by. we have a lot more to assess. there's new developments also coming up. also how the fbi here in the united states is helping the french investigation knowing that the killers of isis may also be plotting to strike in the united states. i know how it is. you're all set to book a flight using your airline credit card miles. and surprise! those seats sometimes cost a ridiculous number of miles,
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the american flag lowered at the white house tonight to honor the dead and wounded in the paris terror attacks and to show international unity in the face of unthinkable violence. welcome back to our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer reporting. parisian police getting help tonight from the fbi as they try to trace how isis terrorists massacred 129 people in a friday night attack. our justice correspondent, pamela brown, is in washington for us. pamela, how is the fbi helping this french investigation? >> reporter: and it is led by the france's investigation, wolf. the fbi is providing support. in fact, it already sent over several agents that are now on
the ground in paris to provide support as needed to provide forensic help, analytical help, investigative help. this is just the beginning, and officials i've spoken to said this is an investigation that could take weeks until we have a clear picture. it involved several different countries. it involved looking at electronics, through computers and cell phones. that's the kind of thing fbi agents are going to be helping with. i'm told that thus far the names that the fbi has that they've been running through the database here in the u.s. there is no indication that these are people, the alleged attackers, are people that were known to the fbi, that in other words there was no open cases on these people. i can tell you also, wolf, a big concern among officials i've been speaking with is the fact that these attackers used encryption. they were communicating under the radar of officials through these apps, through encrypted apps, through apps that where you can send messages then they quickly disappear and also, wolf, there has been concern
raised that they could have used another tactic through gaming such as playstation or xbox. this is something officials are seeing increasingly among terrorists where they communicate under the radar through gaming and there's actually a special unit in the fbi dedicated to communication exploitation like that. wolf? >> do -- are they worried that these kinds of terrorists could pull off a similar operation in the united states? >> reporter: absolutely. there's a lot of concern about that. that's why the fbi, other agencies have been working around the clock since the attacks happened. what they've done, wolf, gone back and look at all the subjects they have, the 900 or so terrorism investigations, look at the high priority, the highest concerned subjects, increase monitoring of them, surveillance, wiretapping to ensure, first of all, they're not a co-conspirator or attached to the paris attackers at all, and also to ensure that we don't see a copycat attack here in the
u.s. every official i've spoken to has said that is a big concern. that's why there's been a conference call this weekend with the fbi and law enforcement across the country to ensure that there is stepped up security and everyone is communicating and looking at those high-priority subjects. wolf? >> all right. pamela, when you get more information, let us know. our viewers obviously want to know the very, very latest. let's talk about the ongoing threat right now with our experts, art roderick is joining us, a cnn law enforcement analyst, a former u.s. marshal. also, fara is still with us. she's a senior fellow in foreign relations. our national security analyst, peter bergen. in your estimation, peter, could isis pull off a similar attack in the u.s.? >> i actually think it's pretty unlikely, wolf. the kinds of cases we're seeing in the united states are, you know, they tend to be informers. in the case where informers weren't in a case, we saw in garland, texas, two people inspired by isis, they weren't very successful.
the only people who died in the operation were the two perpetrators. so the kinds of cases we're seeing in the united states are very different. of course, anything is possible. but we're not seeing people amassing large numbers of automatic weapons, building effective bombs, getting military training in syria and coming back here and not being arrested. all those things you see in europe. there's a very big difference. you can drive from paris and damascus. you can't drive from washington to damascus or new york to damascus. so we're insulated to a large degree by the oceans. you have to get on a flight. we have a very effective no-fly list. so, of course, anything is possible, but i think the likelihood here, wolf, is much, much lower. >> art, you agree? >> yes, i do. i mean, that's a very good points being made. i think, you know, probably at this point in time, i've heard a lot of dhs, doj officials talk about that probably there probably already are some of the individuals in country here. it's a matter of obtaining the
resources and having the assets behind them in order to pull off this type of raid. i mean, obviously when you look at this particular attack, it is very complex, complicated. there was communications involved, encrypted communications as we've heard. logistics setup. i mean, you had rental cars. you had people ferrying people around. you had bomb makers involved. so it is a very complex type of attack, and i agree that it would be difficult to pull that type of attack off here. >> art. very quickly, the french, they're desperately searching right now for that suspect on the loose. you've led manhunts in your career. what do they need to do to find this guy, abdeslam, obviously the most wanted man on the planet right now? >> the key part of this, obviously he's one of the three brothers involved in this particular attack, and i think going back to family members, looking at family members, associated and basically recreating what has this individual been doing the past two months?
and looking at places where he's been. safe houses possibly he could get to. it's just interesting that out of the eight attackers, he's the only one that got away. were there plans for any of them to get away after the attack? obviously you got three suicide bombers. they weren't really going anywhere. but you got the others and what were their plans once they pulled off this attack? where would they go from here? i think going back to associates and family members and getting, and cultivating informants is going to be the key to how they're going to catch this individual. >> fara, as you well know, the u.s. government, the defense department, the state department, they already have a campaign to counter isis propaganda on the internet. they acknowledged, themselves, top u.s. officials, so far it's been pretty ineffective. what do they need to do to beef it up, if you will? >> as you know, wolf, it's an important thing that the united states gets into and more active with countering violent extremist initiatives taking place already. we can see that both here in our
country and around the world the kind of engagement we're doing, the networks that we're building. the kinds of things we're doing in the digital space. they're important but they're not credible to the extent we need them to be. what we need to see is a proportional effort in the digital space by nongovernment actors that can compete with the narratives of the extremists and the only way to do that is to find ways in which governments, both our government and across the globe, interface with the local organic efforts that are taking place. and that can happen in a lot of different ways. what we've seen in 14 years since 9/11 is that there have been microsolutions at a very grassroots level that have promise. and what we haven't seen is the ability for them to scale up. so i really think that paris is an opportunity for us to take a really cold, hard look at where we've been and assess where we must go and the only way to defeat isis is not just to look at the physical war. it is diminish the ability for
them to gain recruits in our country, of course, we've seen a change and around the world. >> all right, guys. i want all of you to stand by. we're getting some new chilling details coming into cnn on the paris suicide bombers. how one of them traveled from syria to france by infiltrated crowds of refugees. much more on the breaking news when we come back. ♪ there's more than one route to the top. the 2016 lexus ls and the new lx. each offering leading-edge comfort, safety and performance technologies. the ultimate in refinement meets the ultimate in capability. this is the pursuit of perfection.
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welcome back. we're continuing our special live breaking news coverage of the paris attacks. we learned the name of two of the attackers, one a french national, the other a belgium national. a worldwide manhunt is under way for a suspect believed to be involved in the tacks. cnn's brian todd has been diggidig ing into everything we know about the terrortists. what are we learning? >> a french official tells cnn tonight at least three of the terrorists involved in friday's attacks had spent time in syria. the official didn't say which attackers those were. we have learned one man who allegedly worked with the terrorists is on the run tonight. the brother of one of the suicide bombers. tochb
tonight he's one of the most hunted men in the world, salah abdeslam, 26 years old, belgium-born french national. abdeslam was stopped soon after the attack just a three-hour drive from paris near the border with belgium. he was let go after questioning and now an international arrest warrant has been issued for him. he's one of three brothers tied to the paris massacre. one is believed to be an attacker who blew himself up. another brother was arrested and is in custody. >> could they lean on the brother and use any other family members out there as leverage on him? >> i'm pretty sure they're leaning on the brother and family members. i'm sure they know exactly who all the family members are. it's a question if any of them are going to give this individual up. >> reporter: a french counterterrorism force close to the investigation tells cnn it's possible other suspects directly involved in the attacks remain at large. and chilling new details tonight on how one of the suicide bombers infiltrated the recent mass influx of refugees into europe. a man who blew himself up at the
stade de france was carrying a doctors passport. he falsely declared himself to be a syrian named almohammad. the lawmaker says the man traveled from syria, arrived on the greek island of leros on october 3rd then madecedoniamac croatia then to paris. the investigation moved into belgium as well with a number of arrests there linked to the assaults friday night. >> translator: we need to intensify this cooperation all the more because those who are in belgium and helped to organize and carry out these attacks were not known to the french intelligence services. >> reporter: at least two of the dead attackers are connected to bell yum including bilal hafdi. another one who attacked the concert hall was born in the suburbs of paris, ismael omar
mostefai. as for the co-conspirator believed to be alive, he's dangerous and people should not interact with him. >> the types of weapons used, ak-47s, a vehicle with several ak-47s abandoned in paris, he's probably like a wounded cornered animal right now. >> reporter: former u.s. marshall art roderick says one of the dangers law enforcement has to watch out for in hunting salah abdeslam, whatever vehicle he's in or place he's hiding could be rigged for explosives or him, himself, could be carrying an explosive belt or vest. wolf? >> brian. stand by. brian todd reporting. we're getting breaking news coming into cnn right now. actually in the last few minutes. french media outlets have been reporting that there is now an ongoing anti-terror operation happening across france way beyond paris. nic robertson is joining us live from paris right now. what do we know, nic?
>> reporter: well, wolf, those raids we understand through french media are happening in towns in the northern, also one of the suburbs of paris here as well. of course, our viewers will remember teluz was where a radical islamist fighting he said for al qaeda attacked a jewish school in march 2012 killing several people there. he also went on to kill several french paratroopers. the raids tonight in that town of teluz, grenalba in the center of france, cale in the center of france near the english channel, the suburb of paris. we understand from french media the main french domestic anti-terror units, the gipn and the r.a.i.d. units are involved. numbers of police. these police forces involved, we're told as many as 200 in one raid.
that's what's being reported in french media at the moment, wolf. >> the suspicion, i assume, is these raids are only just the beginning. they're going to escalate dramatically in the coming howevhours and days. is that what we can anticipate, nick? >> reporter: wolf, the fact these raids going on in these towns or appear to be going on in these cities, cities where the french do have concerns about some of their citizens, some of them may be on these files, that means police believe they're radicalized, and the fact that all these raids are happening at the same time tonight certainly indicates that they want to strike in a coordinated fashion, there may be other places that these raids are going on that we're not aware of yet. this is quite potentially a reaction to the attacks here on friday night. are they directly connected? are there people that they believe were involved and somehow supporting the cells that operated here? or are these raids out of precaution or caution or
chatter, intelligence that the police have bpicked up about people who are under suspicion of being radicalized. those details aren't clear. we're getting all this information coming in right now in the middle of the night in france. the fact all these different raids appear to be happening at the same time, that tells you here the police want to act in a coordinated way so that no one affiliated with any of these groups, perhaps gets wind of an operation and takes flight, wolf. >> yeah, french government not wasting any time launching air strikes in syria and raqqa, syria, where the islamic state supposedly has its capital, now a wave of anti-terror operations throughout france. i want to bring in the ranking democrat, the ranking member of the house foreign affairs committee, congressman elliot engel who's been briefed on what's going on. i think you agree, congressman, not only france but all of the allies about to undertake a new chapter. this is a game changer as far as the u.s. and its allies are
concerned. what happened friday night in paris. >> well, it essenticertainly is changer. i think there's going to be a lot more coordinated efforts by the allies and i think what france is doing now with these raids is just the tip of the iceberg. look, the governments have to act because it's obvious that s isis infiltrated a number of places in europe. we hope not yet in the united states. if we don't act, and act quickly, it might be too late. there will be other attacks. >> what do you want to see the u.s. military, for example, do? hillary clinton wants a no-fly zone. others want a no-fly zone over syria. the president, he's resisting that, has resisted strongly in recent months. what's your oopinion? >> i support a no-fly zone and support a place where some of the refugees can go to. i think we frankly missed the boat several years ago when we didn't aid the free syria army when they were a viable organization. and instead they withered on the vine and isis moved into the
vacuum. so i think we've got to do what we have to do right now. and i think a no-fly zone is something that needs to happen. it's really two-pronged. in syria, we have to make sure that we attack isis and at the same time that we get assad out of there because no future can be had in syria with assad still leading. it's complicated now, of course, with the russians in there but we have to really concentrate on defeating and destroying isis. of course, the second facet of it is we've got to protect the homeland, our homeland in the united states and homelands of our allies against these terrorist attacks. it's very hard to protect yourself when people are willing to blow themselves up in order to kill hundreds of people. and you know what, these people talk about religion that they're doing this with religion or for religion. they're not religious people. they're fascists is what they are. they don't care who they kill. they don't care what happens as long as they do it for some twisted causes they have.
the allies really have to be unified and really have to work together and i think we're going to see a lot more of that now. >> speaking of protecting the homeland, as you know, president obama wants to bring in about 10,000 syrian refugees into the united states between now and the end of the year. there's growing concern, though, that isis could infiltrate those refugees and come here to the united states. how do you prevent that from happening? >> i thing you can never iron-proof prevent it but certainly can vet people and vet them much better apparently than they've done in europe. i think we can vet people and we should not allow people into the country that are unvetted properly and if they are vetted, we can take them on a case-by-case basis. i think we have to be very careful. what happened in paris gives us cause for thought. we want to -- after all, these refugees, many of them are fleeing because isis is inflicting terrible things to their people. so we want to be compassionate but we don't want to be fools so
i think it's a delicate balance. we can vet them better than they've been vetted before. that's what we're going to have to do. >> would you like to see much closer intelligence, military coordination between the u.s. and russia, both of them are opposed to isis, and go after these targets directly working in coordination? >> well, putin says he's opposed to isis, but so far the vast majority of attacks that he's been doing in syria are against the free syria army elements. or the elements of people who are fighting the assad regime. so i'm not convinced that putin has decided that isis is the main enemy -- >> but in the aftermath of that russian plane with 224 people on board blown up presumably by isis, they are determined, the russians, to take action, retaliate. >> well, that's what we hear, but with putin you really quite never know. certainly there are similar feelings in the united states and in russia, and it would be good if we could coordinate.
by the way, we need to coordinate not only with our call lies but we need the arab countries to come in to do their part. all the way around. it is a coordination with everyone, but i am not yet convinced that putin is more interested in defeating isis than he is in propping up the assad regime. >> elliot engel is the ranking member of the house foreign affairs committee. congressman, thanks very much for joining us. >> thank you, wolf. always a pleasure. >> stand by. we're getting more breaking news coming into cnn. new anti-terrorist raids happening right now across france. who's being targeted right now? we're going to tell you all the information that's coming in when we come back. ♪ (vo) you can check on them. you can worry about them. you can even choose a car for them. (mom) honey, are you ok? (child) i'm ok.
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welcome back to cnn. i'm wolf blitzer. we're following the breaking news. french police right now conducting anti-terror raids across the country. according to french media, members of an elite unit of the national police, they're sweeping into neighborhoods in teluz and others. i want to talk about all of this with our cnn national security analyst, and former assistant secretary for the department of homeland security juliette kayyem, and michael l wise, author of "isis: inside the army of terror." there are militants apparently going around the country, michael, looking for terrorists, picking them up and presumably
going to arrest them and question them. >> this attack was done with three separate teams. it was very coordinated all within the space of about a half hour. that suggests there's actually probably dozens of people involved in some kind of sleeper cell or network scattered throughout france and also in belgium. so a nationwide raid of this sort, this is the least that they could be doing, frankly. >> is this part of a, just the beginning, juliette, based on what you suspect of much wider sweeps going all over the country, not just in a few cities? >> absolutely, and it's not even just france. and let's just begin with the obvious. these sweeps are overinclusive. they are overbroad. where france is right now is the same way the united states was after 9/11 which is we're going to make arrests of suspicion then we'll see if these pan out. so we're probably going to see a lot more arrests and these kinds of raids than will actually pan out. then past france, just in the last three days, i'm looking at
my list, france, greece, balkans, syria, iraq, of which any member of this terrorist organization touched. this is a multination effort at this station because they would have left trails of what they were doing and kmucommunicating with, half a dozen, not 10 or 12 nations. >> michael, france in addition to anti-terrorist sweeps launching major air strike against the so-called isis capital in raqqa in syria. from french fighter jets going in from the united arab emirates, bases there, bases in jordan. here's the question. for every action they say there's an equal and opposite reaction. what do you anticipate isis will do reacting to the french very, very tough response? >> put civilians, human shields in military and political installations in raqqa. we heard reports hospitals have been targeted because the hospitals have been repurposed
by isis to conduct acts of terror or have some kind of military role. what these guys do, they know the coalition escalates its bombardment in the wake of a terrorist atrocity. they're prepared for it. analysts in raqqa are saying a lot of siecivilians are getting killed in uptick of bombardment raid. unfortunately when they control so much territory, they have control over all the people that live in that area. >> all right, guys, stand by. we're getting more information. woer goi we're going to get back to you. france not only going after suspected terrorist in france, we're going to talk about the fight of is swis in syria, fran the french military right now striking back. stay with us.
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country's response to the terror attacks that held paris hostage friday night. it comes hours after french fighter jets ran bombing missions over the isis so-called capital of raqqa in syria. all this just as president obama is vowing to redouble american efforts to eliminate the terror group. let's bring in our cnn global affairs correspondent, elise, how is the u.s. right now responding to these latest threats from isis? >> well, wolf, we understand the targets of those french air strikes on raqqa we saw tonight came from u.s. intelligence. the most sensitive intelligence that the u.s. shared with only a handful of its closest allies, the french are sending an aircraft carrier to the gulf, will be stepping up their air strikes against isis in syria along with the united states. but you have seen in recent weeks an increased attention being paid toward raqqa, this isis strong hold. the u.s. has been stepping up air strikes and weapon shipments to the rebels on the ground, particularly kurds in both syria and iraq to choke off those
supply routes between syria and northern iraq. and i think you can bet, wolf, that will intensify. i also think we could see deeper cooperation against isis in syria with russia. until now the majority of russian air strikes in syria have been against u.s.-backed rebels battling assad's forces, but russia has stepped up air strikes against isis since the group's affiliate in the sinai claimed responsibility for the downing of that russian commercial jet in egypt and there will be an even greater urgency now to negotiate an end to the civil war. you had talks in syria where a lot of the countries involved are working. a lot more frantically to get some sort of cease-fire going. the hope is that if the bloodshed stops, so will the influx of refugees and that will deny isis an opportunity to infiltrate them, wolf. >> elise, we're going to stay in very close touch with you because i know you're getting new information on what the u.s. plans to do next.
also coming up, we'll return live to paris. we're getting more information about these anti-terror raids. french police are conducting all across the country. stay with us. much more of the breaking news right after this. ♪ there's more than one route to the top. the 2016 lexus ls and the new lx. each offering leading-edge comfort, safety and performance technologies. the ultimate in refinement meets the ultimate in capability. this is the pursuit of perfection. oh no... (under his breath) hey man! hey peter. (unenthusiastic) oh... ha ha ha!
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welcome back to our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer reporting. cnn's continuing live coverage of the paris terror attacks. breaking this hour, units are carrying out raids in france right now, around toulouse, grenoble, seen as potential recruiting grounds for jihadists. potentially hundreds are involved in these raids. the operation apparently still unfolding as we meet and speak right now. also tonight, at least one very dangerous suspect is clearly on the loose reportedly slipping the grasp of french police. we're learning that salah pz abdeslam was stopped and questioned driving in the direction of the belgium border but he was not, repeat, not, deta detained. a source telling cnn that happened only a few hours after the brutal attack friday night. meanwhile, france is striking back on isis