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tv   Amanpour  CNN  November 17, 2015 11:00pm-11:31pm PST

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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 massive manhunt, for one, two, and maybe
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three people. since then, the mastermind, we understand, is the target of this ride, but we do not know whether he is in that apartment, that is currently under siege by the forces in saint-denis. our tikka shubert has been standing by. the raid has been going on for 3 1/2 hours with riot police and helicopters in the air. tell us what you know. what is the latest from right there? >> reporter: at the moment, it's quiet. we have units, including military, on the streets of saint denis. you can see some of the soldiers that have been brought out. most have been deployed closer to the area where it's unfolding. they're forming a perimeter around there. in addition to those units, a s.w.a.t. team was also here. and most interesting, we saw the
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investigative police coming in the crowd here with masks on. they appear to be looking for somebody in particular. also checking i.d.s at one point. and moved over here. they were showing police what looked like a photo on the phone. they seemed to be looking for someone in particular, in the crowds here. and then, they moved off in that direction. a lot of different units in the operation. at the moment it's quiet. we're waiting to see. earlier, we heard the controlled explosions. we don't know what those were. they seemed to go off very regular intervals. we're hoping that police have give us an update, in what's going on in the operation soon. christia christiane? >> we understand there has been some injuries. anybody here in france that turned on their televisions in the last two hours saw in a very dark hours, this raid going on.
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and they have been waiting, certainly, many of the citizens of france, to know that this current danger is over and under control because there have been these terrorists at large ever since friday. the mastermind and the chief operators of this cell. so, do you know, have the police said anything, about some kind of explosion that went off inside the apartment, as it was under siege? there are obviously reports of what it may be, that a woman may have killed herself. do you know anymore? >> reporter: police have not given us any details, specifically about that initial operation, how it started. what we know from talking to residents is that it went off -- the gunfire was heard at around 4:30 in the morning. sustained gunfire. what appeared to sound like automatic gunfire. there was also the sound of an explosion. we don't know what the explosion
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was. we saw the reports that it was an explosion inside an apartment. the police will not give us details. we're trying to find out. we know they were specifically chasing those suspects wanted in the paris attacks. we don't know how many or who they are. there is the report from afp it may have been the possible mastermind behind this attack. but police have not confirmed that to cnn at this point, christiane. >> indeed. if they are targeting the mastermind, there as you say, there's no confirmation, that he's actually in that location. but certainly, there is a huge police presence. and we understand, police receiving more resistance, while the gunfire is under way than they had expected to receive. and several people, we don't know how many, perhaps, in that
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apartment. according to the mayor, we heard on television and on the radio. he said it is centered around one building. is that what you understand? that it is just one building? one apartment, in the very heart, the very center of old saint-denis that is the target? >> that is what we are hearing in the very heart of old saint-denis. you hear the church bells as day break is coming up in this neighborhood. the spotlight, we could see it in the plaza. we're being kept a safe distance away from where that is happening. it's hard for us to know exactly which building it was. they did seem to focus on that one building. having said that, again, we saw the investigative police coming into the crowd. looking for people. maybe it was accomplices. we're not sure. but they clearly had units moving up and down the
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residential street, with the weapons pointing up in the upper floors of the buildings. perhaps they were sweeping the area to make sure no other suspects were in the area. it's hard to know exactly where they were pinpointing. but they have sort of cordoned it off now, telling residents to stay inside for their own safety, christiane. >> and atikka, the mayor has said, and we saw overnight in the dark pictures, where you could see the helicopter very clearly, a few hours ago, shining its light on something, as you describe. the mayor has -- and the authorities, the police, as well, have closed down all public transport, schools, colleges, in the heart of saint-denis. is that correct? we understand the metro system, the buses, the trams, all of that closed down, including schools. >> that's correct. schools in the immediate area have been closed. the metro subway is also closed.
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the main highway root into saint denis. police are being told to stay inside away from their windows. no one should be going out to work at this point. they must stay inside their homes. we've seen residents from around the area, trying to get back into their homes after a late night shift with their breakfast and baguettes in hand. but they're not being allowed in at this point. everybody's trying to be kept a safe distance away from what's happening because it is still very much an ongoing operation, christiane. >> atikka, you were there, we were here during the charlie hebdo massacres. and you were covering the police hunt and the search for the brothers who attacked "charlie hebdo." the reason i asked you this, clearly, the police want to take these terrorists alive. given what you saw, with the charlie hebdo police raid, in
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the end, those terrorists were killed because they refused to surrender. give us a sense of what you remember from then and what police really want when they go on these raids. >> that's right. i mean, in the best-case scenario, police are able to abhend the suspect as quietly and as quickly as possible, to make sure that nobody in the public is put into danger by the police chase, this manhunt. in the charlie hebdo case, the brothers were on the run for several days. at one point, reported to be hiding out in a forest. they were finally cornered in a business district, a small business district, not far from the charles de gaulle airport. and there, they were holed up. they were surrounded by police. under siege for a short time, before they came out guns blazing, really, and were gunned down by police. we don't know exactly what the
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situation is here. we don't how many suspects the police were looking for. it does seem to be targeted on that one building. according to residents, they heard sustained gunfire. what appears to have been possibly an exchange of gunfire, at first several volleys and one round. there was an explosion heard. and then, another sustained round of gunfire. it did go on for some time. it's impossible for us to know what that means in terms of the suspects being alive or whether or not they have been apprehended. we have to wait for police to give us some sort of confirmed detail on what the outcome of the operation is. and will be, it is still very much an operation in progress, christiane. >> as we keep looking at pictures from quite far back, we're seeing the perimeter, various security personnel and their vehicles. as we said, it is quite far back from the actual building, that they are trying to target and
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trying to get these people out, whoever they may be. flush them out. remember, of course, the attacker last january at the kosher market, here, he was killed when he came out after a long siege. he had hostages. and everyone was terrified that he would do harm to the hostages that he was holding inside the kosher market. has there been any suggestion by the police that there may be some hostages in this apartment, that the terrorists suspect may be holding? >> we have had no indication of that so far. it's possible. but police have not indicated that to us. i think it was a serious concern of the police that may happen. this is a residential area. this is -- there are a number of people living here. it is easy for people to move around. and so, it was clearly a big concern. i think the timing of this is
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always interesting. 4:30 in the morning. this the a classic time for police to launch operations in the hope they're going to catch suspects by surprise. that's different than the situation with the brothers and, where they had hostages and the brothers were sort of cornered after a long chase. in this case, it may well be that the suspects had no idea that the police were on to them and cornered them, in this way in saint-denis. and especially -- if it is confirmed that abboud is one of those in holed up in the area, that would be remarkable. this is a man who was targeted for years. if he is in fact here, it would mean that he is hiding in plain sight, in the middle of paris, plotting all of these attacks, christiane.
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>> let me read you some things from our affiliates. according to our fill yat, bfm television. they are reporting that one woman on the scene blew herself up. apparently some suicide attack. the french use the term kamikaze. one woman blew herself up, according to our affiliate and other french media. and one suspect remains alive inside the apartment that is being targeted. this raid is under way and the operation continues. atikka, stand by. we're waiting for you to see if you can get more information on that. and we're going to go, now, to our cnn terrorism analyst, to give us more about the importance of abdel hamid abu oud. he is considered the mastermind
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of this plot. paul tells us he's been linked to other plots, which have failed in the past. paul? >> that's all absolutely right, christiane. but i have new information from a senior belgian counterterrorism official. and he tells me that information coming in to french and belgian investigators indicated that high-priority targets were at the address being targeted in saint-denis, in this raid. and they possibly, according to our conversation, included abdel-hamid abu oud. but this was a hypothesis, when they went in. they did not know for sure that abu oud was at that location. but this, now being confirmed to cnn, that information suggested that abdel hamid abu oud, was at
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this address. a stunning potential development, given he is the suspected ringleader in this attack on friday in paris. given the fact he had been linked to a string of plots, christiane, as you were saying, in europe, against france, including an attempted attack on a train coming into france, in the summer, including a french isis operative, who was arrested, in august, who said he had been told by abu oud, to launch an attack on a concert hall in france. the ring leader of the flat that was thwarted in january. in a jewish museum in brussels last year.
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a person of huge interest to every intelligence agency. the fajt he could have gotten back into europe is a stunning development. it raises the possibility, there was a second wave attack being planned by this group, that friday was just part one, and there was something else coming down the pipeline, here in paris. very disturbing potential development that key figure part of this conspiracy, could still be at large. and the ring leader could potentially have come all the way to paris. but we have to caution that according to this official, they did not know for sure that when they went in, that abu oud was
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from. the information that they've sofed, they developed, that suggested the real possibility that he is at this address, the way we're seeing this ongoing raid. christiane? >> paul, let me ask you, there is more information that several police officers have been wounded in this ongoing operation. let me ask you to pin down the information. we have been told since monday, is the mastermind, the brain, the belgian, who want to syria more than a year ago, and has been one of the most important and pierce fighters to come back. now, to organize this attack, friday 13th, as you said was linked to have many others, that failed. here is what i would like to ask you from your belgian sources. there were reports that abu oud, was seen, sur vald, on the special cameras, as one of the
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passengers in that car, that was abandoned. there were reports that he had told a friend, a french citizen, who had come back to syria, that he planned to attack, quote, a concert hall. can you pin down any of that information? just as we build a picture of who this mastermind is, that they are targeting today, whether or not he's actually in that apartment, he's certainly the target. >> the senior official did not say one way or the other, christiane, whether or not that information, that abu oud, was the third passenger in that involved in the attack. it was described to me as information that came in, information suggesting that he
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was very possibly at this address, where we're seeing this ongoing raid. we're going to be chasing details on this, trying to develop our own information on it, how they came to launch this raid against this address. but i can tell you that, it wasn't just abu oud, that they thought they had. they thought they had several high-priori high-priority targets were at this address. this was a major raid. and a key breakthrough, in the investigation. and in securing, frankly, the capital, because the existence of heavily-armed visits, in a neighborhood in the northern part of paris, is a disturbing development given the -- what we saw play out on friday, and the fact, you know, the world media has now descended in strength,
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in paris, was there a second wave spectacular being planned? i think, you know, there's a strong possibility of that, given the fact, that people like abdelhamid abaaoud, martyred him. one of the videos he appeared in from syria, he said martyrdom is what i'm striving for, is the highest. and i think it raises the implication that there were more terrorists involved, still at large. many more than we feared, planning a phase two of this operation, christiane. >> paul, let me just bring some more news we're getting from our affiliate that we can report. our affiliate, bfm, saying one terrorist we're told blew themselves up, under this ongoing operation, while inside that apartment.
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believed to be a woman. and another, we're told, was shot dead by police snipers, also inside the apartment. now, very sadly, police say, and our affiliate says, that a civilian outside has also fallen victim to this operation and has been killed. we'll bring you more of that information as soon as we get more details on all of that. we understand one suspect, this is very important, one suspect, according to our affiliate, and their police sources, is still alive, inside that apartment. and that is why this operation continues under way. we're going to turn, now, to our political scientist, and analyst at the university of versailles, and the university of paris. he has worked for paris foreign affairs. thank you very much for joining us. >> hi. >> what do you make of this operation? is it surprising to you? do you believe that it had the threat of, perhaps, more
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terrorism? were they hiding in plain sight? actually close to the stadium? >> first, let's talk that the actual operation is over now. the justice minister just announced that. >> the justice minister just said that? >> the operation was ending. she didn't say that it was complete. but it was ending. so, let's hope this is over. at least the relief the last days, let's hope this is the last act of the theater piece, the dramatic theater piece we are seeing. with this, amazing, another person blew up. i mean, it's some -- we have never known in france. it's traumatic for the whole population. but it's not that surprising, neither. this is a culture of death. what we have to understand it's not a regular warfare, where the soldiers want to stay alive and so on. they want to keep the attention
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and attract people and to make them biggest number of dead. that's what they want to do. so, dead is a culture for them. it's the end of the path. it's a scatologic positioning. they want to die and end like that with the police. >> how -- i mean, it is so important. and one of them, apparently. what else did the justice minister say? >> she said -- the operation was ending. >> and what have they found? what have they got? >> we suspect that it's about abaaoud. but we don't know yet. >> they want that person. >> they want that person. >> and this culture of death, we've seen and we know, how bad will it be for france, not to get him alive? and obviously, he has so much information. he would lead them to so many different plots, different people. >> we have very good
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intervention police, world class raid. we can be absolutely sure that if they have to shoot, they shoot. but otherwise, they try to keep him alive because we're a democracy. we judge people for what they do. we don't kill them. that would be important. but once again, it's hard when you face somebody whose plan is to end dead. >> are you surprised the report of a woman who apparently had a suicide belt strapped to her. according to our affiliates and the reports we are able to pass on, that a woman was with them in this apartment. apparently with a suicide vest of some sort and blew herself up? >> the idea of a suicide belt is not that surprising regarding to the fact that there has been three suicide bammers at the stad de france. maybe they had that already. or maybe it was another way that she found out to have one. we don't know yet. but it's not that surprising.
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the role of woman is interesting. and regarding to the jihadi networks. >> it would be a first for isis, isn't it? the chechens have used women. isis has not. >> in france, at least, absolutely no. and in iraq, neither. and in the middle east, they have brigades. but usually not the suicide bombers. usually a fighters of police, religious police, or this kind of thing. they hold ak-47s. >> and groomers and recruiters online. quick question before i turn to alan bauer. saint-denis, they are practically under the nose of the stad de france, which was the scene of the first massive attack on friday night. >> yeah. the same city, indeed. but the fact that if it's completely can understand under cover. the police might have some hard times to find. and it's a secret world. they have their networks. they have places to hide. if we don't catch them directly
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after, a terror attack, after they left the scene, when we have, it's completely blank. we have to find them back. that's apparently what we did. >> stand by. let me go to alan bauer, joining us by phone. we have spoken to him many times in the past year with the terrorist attacks that have befallen france. alan bauer, what do you make of the current operation under way? >> i think the operation is now finished. and it's a huge success. real intelligence, ground intelligence, made by judiciary police. and it was linked to the modus operan operandi, being near the operation, he is managing. it happened in brussels. and in just after the attacks against charlie. and the idea was, he may be still there.
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the second i.d. was, on the statement on the isis, said they would to the did, in the district. they did not. so, maybe they were waiting to finish it. and by the way, the car that helped to lead the investigation, to the flat in saint-denis, was found in the district. it's a very important and effective operation, which is now ended for this one. but some of them happened today, also, in toulouse, because as you know, the people that were involved in the plot of paris, were linked to old networks, our network and the group, so, we are just going to be sure with the state of emergency, to check everything that was going to country.
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>> alan, let me just once again tell our viewers the figures that we are getting from various sources. from our affiliates, citing police, justice and other sources. let us repeat that two of the terrorists in this apartment, who the police were going after, are dead. one has blown herself up. herself up. it is a woman, who has blown herself up, according to our information. this would mark a real departure and a real first, certainly in france, certainly for isis. france's justice minister we're being told, that the operation is coming to an end. and we will know who exactly they targeted, who they killed, and who they may still have alive because we understand that there is at least one terrorist in the apartment, or there was, one terrorist still alive in the apartment. another, according to police, has been killed by sniper fire.
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atikka shubert is right there. fill us in on all of the numbers, facts and figures now. >> that's right, christiane. it does appear as though the operation is winding down. we see units leaving. and some of the plainclothes units coming in. the minister of justice says it is coming to a close soon. we're waiting for more details on that. in terms of what we know about the actual operation, our affiliate bfmtv, reported that one of them was a woman. and she had explosives and she detonated them, a suicide bomber inside the building. another suspect, we understand, was wounded but remains alive. and possibly, in the building, maybe in police custody. we're trying to get confirmed details on that.
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there have been other reports of those wounded. but we have not been able to confirm them, one or two police officers, wounded. we heard another may have been -- possibly a passerby also may have been caught up in the operation, as well. we're waiting for confirmation on that. but all of this unfolded around 4:30 in the morning, when dez rents heard the sustained automatic gunfire and an explosion. and the operation went on for quite some time. this was a serious and sustained operation. but we're waiting for word from police on who they have in that apartment. if they can confirm that, in fact, it is who they were after, which was abdelhamid abaaoud, the apparent mastermind behind that's attacks. >> all of the world wants to know who they have. and we understand one of them is
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still alive, or may be wounded. so important to know who these people are. again, abdealhamid abaaoud, the mastermind of this plot, who is considered the most violent and vicious of the jihadis to have returned. he's been linked to many previous plots. most of those foiled. but the mastermind, presumed mastermind of the friday 13th paris attacks, that left 129 people dead, more than 350 wounded and has resulted in a massive manhunt. there is also another man at large, and wanted. perhaps he may have been caught up in all of this. we do not know. and he, of course, is on national manhunt has been out for him. on national arrest warrant has been out for him, as well, ever since friday after the attacks.

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