tv CNN Newsroom Live CNN November 17, 2015 10:00pm-11:01pm PST
you experience tv. police have pinned down a number of suspects in a northern suburb after gunfire broke out. all part of a police anti-terror raid in paris. witnesses reported hearing an explosion. >> our affiliate bh fmtv reports at least one police officer have been wounded. authorities are hunting for two suspects from friday's deadly terror attacks.
the cnn national correspondent is live from st. denis where this is all unfolding. she saw a french equivalent of a s.w.a.t. team. bring us up to speed on what is happening where you are. >> well, there's no gunfire at the moment. what we can see is we saw heavily, armed police. police moving in information earlier. they had assault rifles and riot gear. they had their weapons pointed up towards the tops of the buildings there as they moved information down that residential street. we also saw a helicopter with a spotlight illuminating a particular area inside there. we don't know exactly which building they are focused on. we do know that it is an ongoing operation. police have told all the residents to stay enside, stay away from the windows, all public transportation to the area has been shut off. this is the closest that police
are allow us to get to. wh what we understand from a police source is this is in connection to a sernl for the suspects of the paris attacks. we know at least two suspects were still on the run. we don't know which they may be tracking down here. is it both or just one or another person linked to it. we are hoping to get more details as long as we can, isha and john. >> and atika, we heard those reports earlier of heavy exchange of gunfire as well. at least one explosion. exactly what was going on when this read began at 4:30 a.m. local teem, which i guess is about an hour and a half or so, or two hours. >> that's right. the gunfire was first heard at around 4:30. it was sort of a few volleys of what residents described what seemed to be automatic gunfire. they also say they heard what appeared to be an explosion.
at that point they saw heavily armed police telling them to get inside, stay away from the windows. it went quiet but then again more gunfire. it does seem to have been a serious and sustained operation. according to police, it's still ongoing. we did see the s.w.a.t. team arrive earlier. we have seen specialist teams going in, possibly a forensics team. we're waiting to see ho it is exactly that they are looking for inside there and what the status is. it has gone quiet for now, john. >> and, of course, this lean we're getting from our affiliate that up with officer was wounded, of course, we don't know specifics, but it raises the possibility that whoever is in that building may be armed. we just don't have those details at the moment, correct? >> no. police have not confirmed to us
that a police officer was pounded. that is a reporting from bfmtv. but it does indicate a serious operation. and from the sustained nature of that gunfire, it does seem to have been some sort of gun exchange between police and whoever it is that they were trying to pinpoint there. again, we don't have details on exactly how many suspects are involved with this. it does appear to be more than one person at this point. but we're waiting for confirmation from police. >> so if you describe the saep now, does it seem as if this is sort of now a standoff? there are police which pair caded off the area. public transport, the barricades are up, people told to stay indied. the helicopters in the air anticipate there's no gunfire ongoing.
. >> residensidents are staying i their formation. and judging from to what i saw, the unit moving down the street with their guns up, it looked like they were sweeping through the area to check. i don't know what that means in term of where we are in this police operation, what i do know from police, however, is that it's still ongoing. and we are still seeing units arriving at the scene. >> the operation is ongoing. it is just past 7:00 in the morning in france. we appreciate it. do stand by for us. we're going to continue to follow the story very, very closely. >> fred is live for us in paris. what more can you tell us about what is happening in st. denis in terms of the investigation, who they may be after, what new information authorities have in the last 24 hours or so.
>> there certainly was a lot information that's come through in the past 24 hours. one of the things was the getaway vehicles that was apparent will rented by sal salah abdeslam, the man being searched for in the international manhunt. that car was found in the 18th district of paris. it has now been the third vehicle that's been found in direct connection with the attacks that happened here on friday. of course, you had a vw polo rented in brussels and belgium, found at the site of the bataclan raid. then you have a black seyat leon with three assault rifles inside. that's up with of the things that led investigators to believe that possibly some of these suspects might have gotten away and possibly that it would have been more than one. one of the other things that surfaced was a video used in several of the shooting incidents that happened here on
friday. and the authorities there believed to have seen that there was more than one person inside the car, one additional person, possibly two additional people. and so since then, the police have been saying that they believe there is, at least, another attacker on the run, possibly two still on the run. we're going to have to wait and see how this siege there plays out where atika is. but there's been a lot of information over the past 24 hours as this investigation is intensively brought forward by the french police bringing to justice those who are behind the attacks on friday, john. >> and fred, we're just showing our viewers live pictures now from st. denis where this operation is ongoing. it is a busy, busy scene. multiple vehicles and
counterterrorism fwishls there. as we understand it, it is ongoing. they have individuals pinned down in an apartment. we do not know exactly who they have pinned double play. but we are looking at the scene from st. denis. they have closed off the roads. stopped public transportation. and this is a situation unfolding before our eyes. eck see what appears to be an area lit up from time to time. and you'll see it in just a moment. sort of fits in with what atika was telling us about hecks in the air, spotlights on the familiar building. we don't know exactly which building that is, but they're certainly highlights what may have been an apartment block according to some reports. we don't know that for certain. one of the helicopters is above the scene right now. >> we're pointing out to our viewers that this is an area ha has some residents there.
police have been saying to people, stay indoors, stay away from your windows. we will, of course, follow the situation for you and bring you pictures as soon as we can. we want to go straight to belgium where we find our own ivan watson, our senior international correspondent following the investigation from there. and ivan, a number of raids carried out by the belgian authorities as part of this search for the perpetrators of the terror attacks in paris last friday. tell us what we know. >> well, we know that at least three of the suspects in the paris attacks were on the radar of the belgian authorities months before the attacks took place. belgian authorities telling cnn that, in fact, they feel quite overwhelmed by the challenges, the number of people that they feel they have to follow. this small country has a population of only about 11 million people.
it's the biggest contributor in syria with iraq, with volunteer firefighters going to the middle east to fight. and many being recruited in the neighborhood i'm in right now. that's the neighborhood that two of the suspects, brothers, basically come from. i'mened staing about 100 feet from the home of the abdeslam family. they are believed to be in contact or in some kind of communication w the possible mastermind, a belgian member of isis of the entire paris attacks. the belgian authorities have so far arrested two individuals since the paris attacks, charged
them with terrorism. and we don't know anything further about them, per se. we do know that a vehicle that salah abdeslam was driving in before he was briefly stopped by french authorities and then was allowed to continue after the attacks friday night, ended up here in this neighborhood that i was standing in right now. but he, of course, is still very much at large. a third brother who was detained and questioned by belgian authorities. he spoke out to cnn in an interview and h emade a public appeal for his fugitive brother to please turn himself in. but again, it's been sometime now since we heard of any police raids directly linked in belgium to the paris attacks. we're watching closely. and the belgian authorities are saying that they are not -- they say that there's a real daepger, as long as salah abdeslam is at large. they're preparing for the worst
possible scenario. they're very much afraid he could try to carry out further violent attack, as long as he's at large. joen? >> ivan, thank you. let's go to steve morris in los angeles. steve, we're looking at these images now of this raid which has been going now for 2 1/2 hours or so. they have the area surrounded, exactly what will happen now in the coming hours? what do you think? >> they're probably going to try to wait these people out. they are comfortable with the situation, as much as they can be. what i would be curious about is how far away the police vehicles are parked. i would want to see what kind of cordoned off area they have because if they're four or five blocks away, they may be afraid of explosives. if they're within a block of the place, they're looking at small arms only.
so the police actions right now tell us. >> i'm going to interrupt you, steve. the suspected mastermind of the paris attais one of the people pinned down in this apartment raid. this is, as we've been saying, is happening in that suburb of st. louis. abaaoud has been implicated as the mastermind. >> if i could interrupt, clearly when you look at at the fire pow erk the manpower, the number of vehicles they have there surrounding this building, all of this fits in. the guy they've been looking for is pinned down inside this building, right? >> right. this is not going to end well for him either way. he's either going to be in
custody or deceased. >> so steve, are they looking to engage with him, speak to him? you have done dozens of these things, walk us through it. >> they would bring in what we call in america a throw phone. they would try to put a wired phone in, toss it to him, talk to him, try to get him out. they would explain his situation. you might get hostage negotiator in there to try and convince them to come out. but you have no idea what their mindset is. >> let's look at the fact that they now have the man believed to be the mastermind. this is someone the french tried to take out with error strikes just last month. and now they have him at least according to the afp and the sources who have told them. they have them pinned down inside this building in terms of the french effort in their counterterrori counterterrorism. this is a very, very big get.
>> this is hunl. they moved quickly and brought a lot of fire power. they are prepared for any eventually here. but they are not going to let this guy out. he's going to choose ou he comes out. these are live pictures north of paris, where an operation is ongoing right now with french counterterrorism officials. police, i should say, they have pinned down according to afp the plan they believe to be the mastermind of those terror attacks that unfolded in paris on friday. that is a man, we don't know if he's alone, but that is an individual pinned down in a building, currently surrounded by police and counterterrorism there in st. denis. these are live pictures.
if you are just joining us, we have with with us steve moore, former fbi agent who is helping us make sense of what is taking place. steve, as you look, there are people, some might say, milling around, if you will. give us some context of the the posture of people on our screens. >> you're going to have different perimeters. there's going to be an inner perimeter of the location. there's going to be an outer and then a larger, large perimeter. the vehicles you see there are going to be at the larnler end. they're not going to be walking around that casualty within sight of that apartment. when you move anywhere near that apartment, those windows are going to have to be covered by the operators moving by. >> okay, this raid is almost three hours in. we do know it's an exchange of
gunfire and an explosion. let's take a look at the scene. as it happened. [ gun fire ] >> and let's go now live to the scene. that happened earlier, about three hours ago. the heavy exchange of gunfire. it is all relatively quiet no uh as they settle into what is essentially a standoff right now. this is what's happening at moment. in st. denis, this suburb not far from the stade de france, which was a target of the terrorists on friday night.
the mastermind is pinned down. a number of other suspects, according to the mayor inside what could be an apartment building somewhere there in that northern suburb of france. >> and steve, we have with us steve moore, former special agent with the fbi. this is all complicated by the fact that there are people living in this area. >> absolutely. absolutely. you couldn't get them out beforehand, possibly, without alerting the suspects that you're after. but in that exchange of gunfire, i heard of at least two different caliber of rifle sized fire pow erk which would indicate you're having crossfire, people are actually shooting back. this isn't just i saw him, i shot at him. it appears to be some robust.
>> so you have what authorities have and possibly what people inside have. which could be ak-47s, right? >> that would be most likely to be what they've got. because they had it before. what interests me is they became l bailed out of the car and left three ak-47s. probably to blend into the crowd. that indicates they have more. they've got lots of ammunition, lots of weapons and i think that might surprise people as this investigation goes on, how much they have. >> one would assume for the french authority, the goal here, the best case is to capture this man alive because of the intelligence this guy could provide. >> absolutely. you want to capture him alive for that reason, for just basic humanity. you want to keep the person alive.
but he gets to choose that. >> the chances of catching him alive on these kinds of raids? >> with these kinds of individuals? i think if i was dealing with an individual like this, the likelihood of him coming out alive is low. is he looking to claim other lives in the process? >> he would love to. he wants body counts. he's a terrorist. he wants to take people with him. he can choose to come hout, but i think he's gong to choose to fight to the death. >> let's clarify for our viewer s. it is 20 past 7:00 on a wednesday morning there in paris. so right now, there is that this massive police operation ongoing in a northern suburb of paris. this was the scene a little earlier when we had reports coming from residents of an
exchange of gunfire, as well as an explosion. the afp is reporting the mastermind of friday night's terrorist attack abdelhami abdelhamid abaaoud is the target of this operation. atika schubert joins us with more on this. what more can you tell us? >> i am here, but we're being moved for this reason. we have a number of personnel. we do see new units arriving all the time. police confirm to us this is still very much an ongoing operation, john.
>> you've been moved oouft area completely or just further away? >> we're going to move right now. we'll be back with you as soon as we can, isha. >> thank you. >> stay safe, what does that say to you? >> it could be they're evaluating the potential result to the neighborhood if there is an explosion. that's o that's potential. it could be they don't know if people are at higher floors and may be able to shoot down streets. there's obviously a lot that the police don't know. >> fred, for ou vurers just joining us, let's recap what we
know with this ongoing operation in a northern suburb of paris. we have this word coming to us that the suspected mastermind of friday night's terrorist attack in paris which left more than 120 people dead, more than 350 people wounded is now, in fact, the target of this massive police operation. so fred, bring us up to speed with what you have learned, what are you being told there? what more do you know? >> this raid started around 4:30. that's when gunshots were heard and concussions were heard as well. the information we were getting was that it was two to three people holed up inside that apartment. of course, now it seems as though that is slowly being substantiated. and if, i indeed, it is true, that abdelhamid abaaoud is in
there, that would substantiate the level. thanks for joining us. if indeed he is there, what would that tell you? what do you make of the sbags? >> it was said in the isis newspaper, he was back to newspaper. but in the meantime, he was from belgium. perhaps police have found some sources that are in france. we definitely have to find out. that would be a big step for european intelligence. it's reported that he knew that perhaps as well the terrorist who attacked the train -- >> so this is someone involved
in many of the plots that happened over the past year? >> pretty much, yes. they're actually always under the shadow, but in the end are planning attacks. how is it possible, charlie hebdo and even after, he's been convicted of some crimes in belgium. it's very important how is it possible to let him free. >> the authorities have had this manhunt, and now it could turn out they were all hiding a couple of meters from where a couple of these attacks took place. >> how armed is he? this situation is getting karma because the police is arriving. but perhaps it's a situation that will not end well as your analyst said. >> if indeed abaaoud is there, salah abdeslam is there, it would show these people were
able to acquire weapons. they were able to carry out this plot. is there any concern for the french authority, people are getting ak-47s, they're getting explosives. >> yes. they criticized the government that a lot of time has been lost since the charlie hebdo attacks. we had a lot more money and a lot more employment in this sect sector. the justice minister has been booed at the parliament yesterday. it was very harsh criticism of the government. not much about the services because they do everything they can. >> but are people asking how this could get missed? seems like a very larnl plot. we would now be talking about several apartments, cars. >> fot only about the terrorist cell in itself, but also about the weapons.
they have a lot of war weapons with ammunitions. >> we have to cut you off because we have atika schubert online. she in st. denis outside of paris. what's going on there? >> we just saw a very interesting saep. a number of police officers with masks on. these are investigative police. they were looking around in the crowd here, moving now down the street. they seem to be looking for something in particular. a number of male officers and a female officer moving down there. we couldn't see 234i of them. they had their masks op. they were moving in krout here looking for something and now moved down the street. you can still see one of them here, still operating. they're showing their photo to -- oh, and an explosion has just gone off. this is still very much an ongoing operation. that was quite a large explosion
in that direction. a second one now. just hold on. no gunfire that we can tell so far. a third explosion. fourth. that was much larger. police asking them to move back. there are a number of military soldiers that are now being moved into the front as well. again b, john and isha, this is very much an ongoing police operation at this point. we know that a number of suspects have been cornered. we don't know the exact number of who they are. that's another explosion that's just gone off. and another. there seems to be a series of them. we don't know if these are controlled detonations or not. it's gone quiet for now.
very unusual scenes here. just to recap the explosions we heard, we saw a number of the police have now -- military have been deployed on the streets as well, in addition to the heavily armed police that are out here. we saw a number of investigative police with masks on come into the crowd of jury roomists, seeming to look for somebody. and then moving down the street, showing a photo of some sort on their phones to the other police stationed here. clearly looking for something. it does appear those explosions have gone quiet for now. we will keep on top of the situation for you. >> stay with us for as long as you can. if you feel safe where you are, please stay. if you do not, please leave. but while we have you, something is happening right now.
we're not entirely sure what it is. but do you get a chance that maybe the police are moving in and there is possible movement in this operation? >> i definitely think that's the case. in the last 15 minutes or so, we saw a number of new units moving in, including the military units behind me. three trucks with about a dozen soldiers in each were deployed around the area. they seem to be here for more security, sort of kwau dorning off the area. we also saw a number of police units also coming in. and i can still see down the plaza there, heavily armed police with riot gear kind of moving up that residential street. the most unusual sight, though, was the investigative police coming into the crowd here, appearing to show a photo of police around me. they seem to be looking for something in particular.
i'm not really sure what that means in this stage of the operation. they seem to be rather controlled explosion wes heard just now. no gun fire. we know this is in connection to those suspects looked for in the paris attacks but we don't know exactly who is holed up in there, john. >> a news agency saying it's the suspected mastermind of the attacks in paris. for ou viewers who may not have been following this every moment of the day, tell us what we know about this individual, this abdelhamid abaaoud. >> he is a known isis supporter from belgium. he fought in syria a number of years ago. he's suspected of being involved
in plots in belgium and in france. most of them were thwarted. but french police and investigators now believe he may have been the person to plan out the recent attacks in paris. this is somebody who was active on social media, posting horrific videos of himself. in fighting for isis in syria. in a recent report, he was reported to have faked h ids own death to his own family so that he could travel more freely into europe and belgium and france. now, this is particularly worrying if, indeed, that is the person holed up in there. it would be astonishing. this is somebody they have been searching for for years now. it's quite possible that he's been hiding in plain sight here in st. denis. we'll have to find out if police confirm those details. >> yeah, absolutely. and not far from the target of one of their attacks, the
stade de france. while you're there, if you can look around and give me an assessment of the number of troops on the ground. are they heavily armed? what sort of fire power have they brought in? you mentioned a short time ago that the military aroofed. what are we looking at here in terms of numbers as best you can tell. >> i can't tell because we're only in one small area. the police have sealed off the entire area there. you get a sense of it. you can see a number of riot police and riot gear with those smaller assault rifles. i just heard another bang go off. i'm not sure if that's related or not. these soldier just arrived. i saw three trucks of them coming in. fl's a dozen soldiers perhaps
with each truck. they have weapons. i can't see which kind. they're carrying some sort of gear in their back backs and they're moving into the plaza where we understand most of that activity is taking place. there's also been a helicopter circling the area, spotlighting where it's been happening. now, what we know in terms of the police operations so far, it's gone quiet. but they circled off this area and told residents to stay inside. this is a mixed use area. residents, some of them, moving towards the window. every time that happens, police tell them to move back in for their own safety. again, still very much fluid and ongoing at this point. >> an we use this word really too often. but it does right now look like a war zone out there. >> well, especially with the deployment of soldiers. however, with the deployment of military, that is mostly for public security to keep
everybody away from a dangerous area, make sure everybody is safe. it's really the police that are doing the tactical work here. and i saw earlier a unit moving up and down the street with their weapons up, pointed towards the upper floors of the residential areas. it looked like perhaps they were sweeping that street. maybe they're trying to comb through and narrow down. however, ishld point out again, the most unusual sight we have seen so far are those investigative police, with their masks on coming into the crowd of journalists, actively appearing to look for somebody, and then moving to the police here stationed behind me, showing them what appeared to be a photo on their phone. so they seemed to be looking for someone in particular. and then they moved further on down the street. so we have many different teams in operation here. we also know a s.w.a.t. team is in the area.
it is ongoing, john. >> we appreciate it. do stand by, do make sure you are safe. we've been hearing these explosions go off. we bring you the latest from the st. denis. stand by for us, we will come back to you. you are watching cnn's live breaking news coverage of the situation unholding in st. denis right now. there's reports that the mastermind of the paris attacks is holed up in an apartment building in st. denis. the scene is inundated with police, with counterterrorism, with military officials. this is a fast-moving situation. the roads have been sealed off. public transportation has been cut. people are being told to stay indoors.
a short time ago, we heard what was six explosions? >> at least six explosions. we were counting them off with atika on the scene there. and, of course, this is now been ongoing for roughly three hours. 4:30 a.m. local time there. let's go back to what the sounds of the exchange of unfire, as well as the explosions that we heard that the residents nearby recorded. we have that for you. let's listen to that exchange of gunfire where all of this began earlier today. let's listen. [ gun fire ]
steve, a couple of explosions, five or six explosions. what were they? >> they were one of two things. they were either entering room by room by room and advancing through location, trying to find the person, throwing a concussion grenade in each room or they were disrupting suspicious devices. it was one of those two. i can think of nothing more. one of the possibilities we have to keep in mind is in the earlier gun fight, they might be mortally wounded. they may be moving closer to where they think they are. so that would be the bangs. >> win point atika made, investigative police with masks going among the crowd showing what seemed to be an image to
certain other -- >> that's a very explainable thing. when you have somebody holed up and it's a barricaded situation, they may come frequently into the crowd and some of your bystanders are going to be sympathizers or associates of the people in the building. they may be on the cell phone telling people inside the room what the police are doing. so what the police were likely doing is ensuring that certain people were not that crowd. >> in the last hour or so, last hour and a half, this has ramped up dramatically.
they called in the military. the helicopters have come in and it's really ramped up. >> it seems to me that they thought they had a hazardous entry, a high risk entry, we would call it. they knew that going in. but they may not have known who was actually in there. and once you get into the location, once you get into that apartment, things can go sideways very quickly. we need re-enforcements. >> it's coming up on live pictures in st. denis, the operation is unfolding as we understand it. officials there, police there, security there have suspected
mastermind of the pearce attacks pinned down in a building. the formal special agent with the fbi. when we look at these picture, we're seeing so many different types of security officials, if you will. we see the military, investigate i have police, we know that counterterrorism is there. >> right. everybody has their job. it could be at this point that you have s.w.a.t. officers in there for two hours now. you can not imagine the emotional and physical exhaustion of holding back an ak-47. walls won't stop that. you could be seeing replacements, you could be seeing people being relieved. you could also be seeing gigm, that's the a national intervention group. these are
high speed, low drag anti-terrorism teams. they are the best and they may be coming in. i'm not saying they are, but it could be they are being deployed. >> you say youf eve taken part in dozens of these. >> the main issue right now is do not let this person escape. the second thing on their mind is do not lose officers. but losing the officer believe it or not is probably second. if this man get ace way, and if he's alived and if he gets away, dozens of lives could be lost.
this is why these guys get the big bucks. they are in there and i can tell you from what i know of these people, they are not going to let him out. >> steve, thank you. stay with us. we want to recap. there's breaking news, heavily armed police in a northern suburb of paris, they raided a target suspected, the mastermind, rather of the paris attacks. abdelhamid abaaoud. our reporter is on the scene and heard these explosions. a number of police with masks arms. these are the investigative police. they were looking around in the crowd here among the journalists, moving now down the street. they seem to be looking for something in particular. a number of male officers and a female officer, also moving down there. again, we couldn't see any of them. they had their masks on. but very unusual that they were moving in the crowd here, looking for something. and have now moved down the street. you can still see one of them here still operating. they're
showing a photo to -- oh, and an explosion has just gone off. this is still very much an ongoing operation. that was a large explosion in that direction. a second one now. just hold on. no gunfire that we can tell so far. a third explosion. fourth. that was much larger. police asking them to move back. there are a number of military soldiers now being moved into the front as well. again, john and isha, this is very much an ongoing police operation at this point. we know that a number of suspects have been cornered. we don't know the exact number or who they are. that's another explosion that has just gone off. and another.
there seems to be a series of them. we don't know if these are controlled detonations or not. it's gone quiet for now. but very unusual scenes here. we saw just to recap a number of explosions. we saw a number of police that have now -- military that have been deployed on the streets as well. in addition to the heavily armed police that are out here, we saw a number of investigative police with masks on, baklavas coming on with the crowd of journalists, seeming to look for somebody. and then moving down the street, showing a photo of some sort on their phones to the other police stationed here. clearly looking for something. again, very fluid situation. it does appear those explosions have gone quite et for now. but we will keep on top of the situation for you. >> atika schubert reporting from the scene. and now this is the live image
there in st. denis where it is coming up to a quarter to 8:00 on a wednesday morning. and this raid is ongoing. it's now into sort of a siege or standoff, if you like. the france press reporting abdelhamid abaud, who is believed to be the maeser mind of the paris attacks is believed to be the target of this raid, along with a number of others who yet to be identified. fred, if this is, in fact, abdelhamid abaaoud holed up somewhere, that will be a very successful get for the prench authorities. >> it certainly would.
it will be interesting to see how this unfolds. this scene is very remarkable. it skoms as the past several days there is a massive manhunt going on, not for abdaaoud, but for salah abdeslam. how significant would it be if that are get abdaaoud in this raid? >> very significant. if we get him alive or debt. usually the technique of these men is to go until death. we have seen that in the past. but what would be very important, if he is the brain of the operation, it has to be judged, of course, is to precisely judge him and show as an example what we do with terrorists, meaning we judge them. so let's hope that they will bring him alive. >> one of the interest things is if they do get him in this raid,
it won't just mean they will kill a top terrorist, they could save lives in the future because he's been known to plot things in the past, is that correct? >> yeah. he was in contact with those responsible, the two teams for the charlie hebdo attacks. so you might even get some information over there about the french-speaking networks over there. about the bedroom cell of a terrorist in iraq. so he might be very valuable in terms of intel. >> he was also apparently implicated, as you said, in charlie hebdo. in the attack with the attacker there. in the shooting at a jewish museum, in 2014, talk to us about how big a threat the french speakers are and how that's perceived here. >> it has to be confirmed, the level of implication that he has with these different, but apparently he has been in cob tact with the people responsible for these things.
so he is considered as the braen of the operations. and indeed, there is a french speaking network of jihadis going over there. and they create a kind of commune i can because they don't always actually speak arabic. so over there, the you're pens, for instance, are separated from the locals, like the iraqis. so it means that they can come together, and, of course, it's valuable to create in iraq. they might change and communicate by twitter. so we have to get a full range of strategy to fight against them. it means deradicalization, it means fighting on twitter, on social networks, for instance, as well as military tactics and to solve the situation on the ground politically. >> francois hollande said this koun trif is at war. what does the french public make of this? and is the french public ready
for this war on terrorism and everything that implies? >> the notion of war is defined as a conflict usually. so france is not in a situation of conflict per se, but it's suffering from terrorism. we are bombing a terrorist group outside the country, but we are suffering now inside. so it's a war, but i think that's what francois hollande mea meant.
>> it is coming up to 10 minutes to 8:00 on a wednesday morning. and right now, this entire area is on lockdown. you can see the barricades in place. and, of course, public transport has been closed. there's a report there will be no school in this area. police have really sealed off this area, because they believe -- and this is doming to us from a news agency, that the mastermind of the friday terror attack in paris is now the target of this ongoing operation. >> and if you are just joining us, it is worth reminding you that it is coming up on 8:00 a.m. in paris right now. this operation got under way, we are told, at 4:30 a.m. so well over three hours ago. we have with us -- and he's been with us for the last couple of hour, steve moore, former fbi special agent. just on that point, as to how
long this has been going on, you have done dozens of these raids. what do you make of that? >> never have i been at a location for more than three hours unless we knew there was a hostage. what i make of this is extreme caution. they are not going to lose officers right now. they are not going to risk officers. the detonation, the concussions you heard earlier might have been them moving from room to room. i think right now, the smartest thing for them to do is to get one of the bomb robots and to run that through the house and find out if it's engaged. because it's significantly possible that in the initial gunfire, the people that they were looking for were mortally wounded and have passed. but they won't know that without -- you can't get that information without risking their lives. s this expensive information. >> why are there so many ambulances on the scene?
>> i would like to know that, too. usually the number of emergency vehicles you bring are going to be commensurate with the potential casualties. >> yeah. and there are about six or seven ambulances. >> yeah. i don't know if this is an overaabundance dance of caution or if they know something that we don't. >> you made the point that we want to underscore for our viewers. you see people, i guess, you could say standing around, milling, for want of a better word. but you say don't be fooled? explain that to us. >> in this situation, you're going to have the entry team, which is in the location, you ear going to have a close-in perimeter. >> just looking in the distance there, you can see that big group of police officers in blue. sorry to interrupt. but can you explain who are they, what are they doing. >> they are closer to the inner perimeter, and they could be -- they could be what we call emergency assault teams, a stand-by team ready to go on a moment's notice.
they could be briefing for their next op. because as teams go in, they have to brief before they go. what we would call that is the yellow position. the last point before the location where you have cover and concealment. they're not going to stand around like that in the line of fire. >> one point i want to get your view on. this started at 4:30 a.m. local time. it's now coming on 8:00 a.m. the sun is up. >> yes, changes things. it depends on how the apartment is situated, the window situation. it is always beater for the assaulters to have a dark room. because we had night vision goggle, we had all sorts of devices which gave us the advantage. >> so daylight levels the playing field a little? >> a little. i would still bet on the french forces. >> this is an incredible amount
of manpower brought to this sen scene. in your experience, is there anything comparable? >> the north hollywood shooting in los angeles had something like this. but that was two men who were firing automatic weapons and knocking down 20-some people. but that's the closest i've seen temperatu temperature. >> that was back in '95, wasn't it? i remember that. >> these scenes looked exactly like that. >> those guys are holed up in a room. >> that's exactly right. this is an extraordinary scene. with what's gone on in paris, i don't think it should surprise us. >> and you made the point at this stage, they're wanting to get eyes on the inside of that building to figure out exactly the condition of the people. >> there are several ways to get eyes on that apartment, most of which i would rather not say on the air. >> of course. >> and once again, because this is an ongoing situation, we
would like to remind everybody exactly what we know, what we are unclear of at this point in time. we know this all began 4:30 a.m. local time. we're coming up 3 1/2 hours into this raid on a building in a northern suburb of paris in st. denis. the afp is reporting that the man they're targeting in this rain was, in fact, the mastermind of that friday night attack in paris, abdelhamid abaaoud. and there are others believed to be pinned down in that apartment building as well. atika, what else can you tell us? >> the operation is still undergoing. we have seen a number of military officials that seem to form a kind of perimeter around the area. a few more of the riot police with weapons have also been put into place here.
it looks to be controlling the situation around the area at this opponent. we haven't heard any gunfire or any more explosions. residents are still being told to keep away by their side. they're returning homes from night shift, to keep away from the area. still ongoing. although it does seem to be a little quieter at this moment, john. >> as we look at the pictures, we're seeing a remarkable number of vehicles including ambulances on the scene. are we getting any word of casualties. >> we have not had any word of casualties as of yet. our local afit yat was reporting that at least one officer was injuried in this operation. but we have not been able to independently confirm that right now. we haven't heard also of exactly how many people is were holed in that area that they were searching for. we do know there's been more than one suspect, but we don't know if it's two, three or more
thatten that. and we don't have the identities just yet. we do have the report that maybe abdelhamid abaaoud but police have not confirmed that with us yet. >> we were counting off what seemed to be controlled explosions in the area since we last spoke to you. have you heard any more exmotions? or has it gone pretty much into a standoff situation now? >> it's gone quiet no uh. we have not heard any more explosions. >> i em'm no expert on police operation, but those explosions earlier sounded much more regular and controlled. so it may have been part of the actual operation. we're waiting for police to give us more details. helicopters have now -- a helicopter has returned to the area. it sort of looks like they're kind of going over the scene. but other than that, it has been quiet. but it is still ongoing
so we're just sort of in this situation of waiting at the moment, john. >> and how many residents would you say in this area, how many people are essentially stuck inside their homes right now. >> it's hard to say. i'm seeing dozens of people at their window, peering out from behind their curtains, being told to move back. there's also a number of residents around here where journalists are. some of them have been coming home from night shifts. they literally have their bah gets and breakfast in hand and they want to kind of get back home. but police are saying at the moment, no one is coming into the area. residents must stay inside of their own safety. public transportation to the area has been cut off. still again, an operation in progress. >> atika on the line there, thank you. >> you've been watching cnn's live coverage, the breaking news coverage of this raid under way
in st. denis, a superb to the north of paris. we're going to continue rolling coverage of this situation. i'm isha sesay. >> i'm john vause. we want to hand it over live to paris and christiane amenpour. good morning. it is 8:00 in the morning, as the sun has risen, so, too, has more clarity been shown on the police raid under way in saint-denis. the north area of paris. that's where the stad de france is located. it is very close to the scene of one of the terrible crimes that took place on friday night. the multiple suicide bombings, in and near the stad de france, very fortunately only killed the three suicide bombers and one other. it could have been much worse. the police have been looking very, very hard, a