tv CNN Newsroom Live CNN November 17, 2015 11:30pm-1:01am PST
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.
we're going to show you a little bit of the sound and the images that went on when this operation started. it started when night was still fallen. it was still dark. there were helicopters in the air, above this building in saint-denis. it is the district where the stad de france stadium finds itself. close to the scene of that first attack on friday 13th. there were helicopters in the air, a huge police and paramilitary presence there. it started around 4:30 this morning. let's take a listen. >> a number of police with masks on. these are the investigative police. they were looking around in the crowd here, among the journalists, moving down the street. they seem to be looking for something in particular. male officers and a female
officer moving down there. we couldn't see any of them. but unusual they were moving in the crowd here, looking for something. and have now moved down the street. you can see one of them here, still operating. they're showing their photo to -- and an explosion has just gone off. this is an on going operation. there was a large explosion in that direction. hold on. no gunfire we can tell so far. a third explosion. fourth. that was much larger. police asking them to move back. there's a number of military soldiers being moved to the front, as well. again, this is a very much ongoing police operation at this
point. we know a number of suspects have been cornered. we don't know the exact number. that's another explosion that's just gone off. and another. this seems to be a series of them. we don't know if they're controlled detonations or not. it's gone quiet for now. just to recap a number of the explosions we heard. we saw a number of the police have now -- the military have been deployed on the streets, as well. in addition to the armed police out here. we saw a number of investigative police, with masks on. coming into the crowd of journalists, seeming to look for somebody. and moving down the street, showing a photo of some sort on their phones to the other police stations here. looking for something.
it appears that the explosions have gone quiet for now. we will keep on top of the situation for you. >> atikka, that you, when it was still dark and this was under way. you counted several explosions. there were, perhaps, more than a dozen. and we know from our affiliate, one of the sounds was the suicide explosion of one of the terrorists, a woman, inside the apartment. now, as we've been reporting, from the justice ministry and elsewhere, this operation is coming to a close. atikka, how do you expect it to play out now, where you are? do you expect to get any firsthand word from the police? or the spokespeople there, if there are any? >> i think at best, we may be able to get some details from police when the operation is over, on what happened. but we won't get all of the details clearly.
what they'll need is forensics teams going in afterwards, to look for further evidence. and of course, this is all part of that investigation to find out how the attacks were carried out. but perhaps, most important, if there were any other attacks being plotted. they want to disrupt that network to thwart any possibly future attacks, as well. i don't think we will get the details immediately. hopefully we get some, when there is confirmation that the organization had concluded. >> let's say what we are operate to report, according to bfm television. two terrorists killed. one was described a woman, with a suicide device, who blew herself up in the apartment. and another, we understand, has
been killed by a police sniper. one of the security officials involved in this. and therefore, we are told, two people dead. we are waiting to get further information, as to whether one of the terrorists is still alive. whether there was a third that may have been wounded in any event. we're waiting to get full confirmation of that. we understand that sadly, one civilian was caught up in the crossfire and may have lost their life. and three police have been wounded in this operation. julien theron, give me a sense of saint-denis. it now has a bad reputation in terms of what people know since friday 13th. >> yes. it's an area where there's a lot of immigrants. it's not a very wealthy area. there's mainly simple people.
but there's also some suburbs, what we call city here. >> the inner city projects, where so many of -- the poorest and the most disenfranchised of the population, are shoved out of sight and have bred too much of petty criminality. these are real issues, right? france is going to have another serious dialogue about how it deals with its majority muslim populations who don't feel, many of them, part of the system. >> we, we should say, a lot of residents work in france and are integrated in the french system, as well. it's not a question of radical religion. >> it's socioeconomic. >> exactly. it's a cocktail between actually misery and no prospect in life and criminality.
all those guns come from criminal networks. it means that there's correlations. some of the terrorists have had criminal activities. there's links between radical islam and criminality. this is how we have to deal with the question. you're right. decades, took the real mean of that. it was supposed to be short-term cities for incoming immigrants after the war in nigeria and so on. and it's still on and the people over there are actually no prospect. no job. there's less and less education, for instance. the only state services over there are usually education. but the young can't do much about that. the police stations, even the policeman, are very afraid to go there. and when we have to arrest somebody, they send a special police forces. so, and the population over there, we have to get some
reform regarding the city. and to get some solution for the youngsters over there, otherwise, it's rather criminality or this kind of despair. >> president holland actually described, he said syria is the biggest terrorist factory in the world right now. and he said, you know, about the french accomplices, because he said it was planned in syria, the operation was operated in belgium and carried out in the city, with the help of french accomplices. he talked about petty criminals, who are radicalized, who become terrorist criminals, like we've seen. and so many of the people who we've named, the people who blew themselves up, got killed in the police raids and talking about the terrorists, have such known petty criminal backgrounds. >> they are criminals.
they claim to be muslims. drugs, weapons. everything. >> and in belgium, and this is an incredible detail. as i say, salah abdeslam, is considered one of the head operatives of the attack here, his brother owned a bar, along with other brothers in belgium, and he blew himself up in a bar here in paris. it's hard to understand. >> it's not any kind of rationality. we don't have rational people. like you said, pretty criminals that just make bigger criminal activity, which is actually jihadism. they claim to be muslim. but they just kill people, they start criminal activities, with drug trafficking. and switch to jihad. >> stand by a moment. we have new information, a police source tells cnn, three
terrorists have been killed in this operation. three terrorists, according to police sources, tell cnn, have been killed in this operation in saint-denis. first, we understood that one of them had blown themselves up, a woman. another had been killed by a police sniper in the same apartment that was under siege in this ongoing operation, that lasted about four hours, in the pre-dawn hours until light had foulen here. now, we understand three terrorists. we do not know whether any of the terrorists, any of the suspects in there, any of the targets of this raid, are still alive. and whether we'll know anymore about it. we're going to go right now to atikka schubert, who is in saint-denis. atikka, what more can you tell us? >> there were six suspects inside the building. we know from a police source that three died in the attack. one of them, we understand, from
bfm tv, a suicide bomber. the other two killed with the gunfire going on in that operation. we understand that the other three are now -- have been arrested by police. it's interesting they have three in custody. i would imagine there's all kinds of interrogations, investigations, now, not only to find out how the attacks were conducted. but if there's any plots still in operation at this moment and how they can be thwarted, christiane. >> again, we are waiting with bated breath to know the names of those terrorists, those who have been killed and those who remain, those under arrest. they will obviously, hopefully, be sources of a huge amount of information, at least some information. and of course, we have to remind everybody, that the target of this raid, according to french sources, french authorities, was
the presumed mastermind. let's recap. abdelhamid abaaoud, a 27-year-old belgian, who went to syria a year ago. and has returned one of the most violent, fiercest of the belgian-syrian jihadis. they have come back. and who has also been linked with other plots, that so far have been foiled. he has been a target of a manhunt, over the last several days. and he's been a target of law enforcement authorities for a long time now. he's appeared over and over f n again, in the most revolting isis videos, swaggering around as an isis fighter. he was a person of interest, way before this attack, according to sources. we haven't yet been able to pin this down.
but according to highly respected media sources, he had once thought to have said to a fellow french citizen, who had returned from syria, that he planned to attack a concert hall. let's bring in julien theron, professor and expert on political science and all of the security aspects we're talking about. we're being told three dead and three under arrest. this is going to be a trove of information. >> it's good for the information. and to dismantle, actually, future network nas are preparing attacks. and the other point is that we see it's a whole network we're talking about. not just three or four person planning something on this side, in their apartment. that it's linked to syria, apparently, with the mastermind, the runner of the operations, a
lot of different means of actions. it's a huge question. the president said, these enemies are not the enemies of the french. they are the enemies of iraq. and that's the case. >> we are trying to confirm right now, reports from our affiliate, a meeting going about this operation, presumably about this operation. it wouldn't be surprising. these are the things that the authorities are concentrating on, very intently obviously. many people had been quite scared to think that the terrorists, still at large, and there could be more attacks. just a couple of nights ago, we were here. and so many people had come out to pay respects. and in five seconds, this place was cleared because there was a
panic sent out through the crowd. they thought something was up. really, people on tenterhooks. but people, i detect over the last few days, really resolute. really want their government to step up the fight. >> people are afraid. even the reactions of people doing the attacks, loads of people on the ground trained to take care of people, to remain calm. even decide the bataclan. there were 20 people inside. and we see it's an adaptation to the threat, perhaps after charlie hebdo, people realized it was a risk. and people have to be resilient about it. accept that there's a risk. and maybe there will be more terrorist attack. the french citizens are under the government and so far. so, what will be important to see is how the nation keeps together and we hope that the political class will do the
same. >> to reconfirm the deaths, the injuries, from this four-hour-plus operation, this morning. we told you, three terrorists, are dead, according to police. three are under arrest, according to our affiliate. and we're hearing, now, confirmation that three police officers were wounded in this raid. the president has asked and has had approved an extension, a three-month extension, of the state of emergency. again, many people in democracies would consider that to be a step too far, that it's a police state. but clearly, people are going to have to decide whether they accept to trade for a period of time, some civil liberties for stepped-up security. >> we're not talking about a find of patriot attack. we're talking about an emergency
administration. when we are still in the -- we are talking about that right now. we are still in an emergency situation. we need some special means for the authorities to act properly, as an emergency administration. it would be different if the situation was longer. the longest time it was, was two years. so, we see that. >> when was that? >> after the -- >> that's a long time ago. >> yes. what would like the president, to trade some kind of less. intense statute of civil liberties but more flexible means, if there is some specific threat to act properly on a very short time, for instance. you ask the parliament to introduce that in our constitution. >> since you're a political scientist, this is also has very
ugly political ramifications. the refugee crisis, trying to link attacks to one that posed as a refugee that came in. this is literally stoking the fires of the far right, anti-immigrant, xenophobic parties, here, in sweden, germany, across europe. and there's elections in france and in other parts of europe in the not-too-distant future. what do you think the political landscape will look like in the next -- after the next round of elections, in the wake of this attack. >> you're completely right. it's a european trouble. coming into europe, where there's a refugee crisis, and questions around europe. and the rise of the far right. the democratic countries like sweden or finland and denmark. we have a kind of political crisis throughout the continents. and the situation, the political situation is tense now adays.
we have to find out some first security measures. and to promote democracy because it is what it is about in europe, about democracy. regarding the french political scene, what it's all about. we're seeing yesterday, at the parliament, they booed the government. one of them, one of the m.p., which is actually troubled with the republicans. one of the m.p. said that the gott has blood on their hands. it's dangerous situation to say that. it's pretty tense. and we vp regional elections. and the presidential election in 2017, the stakes are still here. >> we just want to say that, our police sources are giving more information. there were six suspects, holed up inside that building, which
accounts for what we have accounted for, according to sources. three were killed. three are under arrest. so, confirmation that they were just six suspects inside that building, which was the focus of operations for about four hours, from the dark hours into the morning light. there was one woman who blew herself up with a suicide vest. we're going to go to go to international security expert, will getties, for a little more perspective on just went down here in paris and the impact. will? >> good morning, christiane. >> give me a sense of your assessment of what's happened. and how it will impact the situation on the ground going forward. obviously, we're waiting to see whether the name, the big name, that we're all waiting to see, was targeted, is dead, arrested or not there. abdelhamid abaaoud.
what do you think will be the result of some that were arrested today? what will they provide? >> i think there's going to be a rich treasure of information that's going to be able to be drawn from the individuals that they're successfully arresting. and if abaaoud, is one of the individuals within the apartment, this will be an incredibly important to try to take him alive, to get as much information as they possibly can. he is seen as abintrinsic trigger person or a central key figure. he will have a wealth of intelligence that he will be able to share with the authorities. >> and, will, when you've heard all this discussion that we've been having, about, you know, the fear of proliferating attacks, and the way that the security and intelligence, are not just stretched around europe. but even if there is the
manpower, there's sometimes not the time to go after the thr thousands of people being looked at. radicalized, people who have gone to syria. people who are coming back. >> absolutely. in terms of the dawn raids in the serious raids that the french authorities have undertaken this week, alone is unprecedented. and evidentibly, it's a robust statement that francis holland wants to send out to the individuals that appeared on the french intelligence agency's radars, to shake the trees to see what falls out. to see if there were other plots that they weren't aware of, where there were cases of weapons. and there were a number of weapons, which were found, whether the authorities were aware of that or not, will probably only find out in time. but the most important thing
right now, with this instance happening in saint-denis, why did the mastermind would still be in paris. most times of terrorist attacks, the key organizationers, will be as far as away as they can, from the scene of the incident. that would lead us to believe this operation could have thwarted potentially another succession of attacks. >> or, by the same token, it would indicate the place was so sealed, these guys didn't dare move away and had to get a safehouse, almost in plain sight. >> absolutely. that's a valid point. and they could have believed that they needed to take refuge in what we can speculate to be one of the safe houses, until sufficient time as obviously, the attentions drew down. but bearing in mind, francois
hollande made a quick statement he was going to affect a state of emergency across france. and another the immediate period. but some period to come. they wouldn't have been able to move outside of that safehouse. >> will geddes, thank you for that perspective. we go to ivan watson. ivan, the name abaaoud, is believed to be the mastermind of the -- and people believe he was the target of the operation. round out the picture of who he is, and just tell us more about him. >> he's a belgian citizen. he's, perhaps, one of the most notorious of the belgians to have joined isis. known well here because he
brought his 13-year-old brother to syria, to join in isis. he's been in seen in propaganda videos. one he was driving a truck and dragging the bodies of victims behind them, through a field, in syria. he -- his father, his family, lived in the neighborhood i'm in right now, which is a largely immigrant, largely muslim community. part of brussels, a ten-minute drive from the center of the city. and this neighborhood has bizarrely been a fruitful recruiting ground for isis militants, for a number of people, who have been involved in violent attacks in europe, as well as in the middle east. so, he was also implicated in a cell that was broken up by the belgian authorities back in
january, in the town of vervier, in east of belgium. you had belgian police that conducted a raid against a building and were involved in a deadly firefight with two people that were killed inside. and in that incident, they discovered weapons, explosives and belgian police uniforms. and that's when abaaoud's name was linked to a plot to carry out attacks against the belgian police and was foiled by belgian authorities. he came from this neighborhood, this is the same neighborhood that two brothers, who have been implicated in the paris attacks, came from. i'm standing about 100 feet, christiane, from the home of this family, the sbdeslam
family. a younger brother, salah, he is at large. he is wanted by french and belgian authorities. he was leaving paris in a car, driving in the direction of belgium. and interrogated by french authorities. the car he was driving in was found by belgian authorities here, afterwards. but he is, of course, very much still at large. and the belgian authorities are preparing for the worst case possibly scenario, as long as that man is at large. the belgian federal prosecutor told me, as long as that man is at large, they're worried about further acts of violence that he could carry out. their brother, mohammed, who was questioned here, who lives here, christiane, he -- >> i don't mean to interrupt.
>> he made an appeal for his brother to turn himself in. >> that's right. and salah abdeslam, is still on the run. in the meantime, the prosecutor's office is telling cnn, that the operation is not over. they do confirm that the woman is the person who blew herself up. and they believe, according to the representative of saint-denis, actually there in that town, where the operation was going on, that perhaps, terrorists may still be in the building. so, what we had told you is that three terrorists are dead. three were under arrest. and possibly there are more in the building or those three in the building. we will continue to cover this story. the operation that was under way ever since 4:30 a.m. this morning. and that has netted quite a catch, as the police had this
international manhunt under way under the stepped-up emergency laws, started this raid. when it was dark this morning. helicopters, as you can see. the military. and the paramilitary and riot police. as we continue this coverage, i'm going to hand off to john berman and hala gorani. we wait to see if the mastermind of the attack, abdelhamid abaaoud was targeted, was got in this raid or what has been the net result of this operation, so far. >> i'm hala gorani. john berman is here, as well. a dramatic morning, john. a police raid. a massive operation in saint-denis, less than one kilometer, from the stadium where three suicide bombers blew
themselves up. three suspected terrorists killed. three police officers injured. >> and now, we understand a number of arrests made, as well. maybe as many as five. one of the terrorists who is dead, believed to be a woman, who killed herself, blowing herself up, with a suicide vest, interesting, obviously, because of the devices that were used in the attacks here. we know that this raid is currently on going, right now. not over, by any means. >> take a look at this dramatic video, as we continue to cover the events in saint-denis. you can clearly hear gunfire. and clearly hear detonations. listen. [ gunfire ]
>> one of the features of the raid, is one of the targets could have been abdel hamid abaaoud, who is the belgian terrorist that could be the masterminds of the attacks. he had information that he could be inside that apartment in saint-denis. >> whatever happened this morning was dramatic. it was significant, as well. earlier, cnn's atikka schubert was outside of that building, where shots were heard. she was reporting when the sound of explosions rang out. these are the investigative police. they were looking around in the
crowd, here, among the journalists, moving 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 any of them. they had their masks on. 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 the photo. to -- oh, and an explosion has just gone off. this is an on going operation. there was a large explosion in that direction. hold on. no gunfire we can tell so far. a third explosion. fourth. that was much larger. police asking them to move back. there's a number of military
soldiers being moved to the front, as well. again, this is a very much ongoing police operation at this point. we know a number of suspects have been cornered. we don't know the exact number. that's another explosion that's just gone off. and another. this seems to be a series of them. we don't know if they're controlled detonations or not. it's gone quiet for now. very unusual scenes here. just to recap a number of the explosions we heard. we saw a number of the police have now -- the military have been deployed on the streets, as well. >> all right. we're going to get to atikka in a moment. we're getting new breaking news information from the prosecutor's office here in paris. they are confirming that one woman inside that apartment, john, blew herself up. she was wearing an explosives
belt. this happened at the beginning of the raid at 4:30 in the morning. >> crucially, three men were also in the apartment. they have been removed. three men who were in the apartment have been removed. they are now in custody. the identities at this stage, not known. >> in addition to the female who blew herself up, there are reports of two additional suspected terrorists dead. the total number in that apartment, it appears, would have been six. three under arrest, three dead. one blew herself up. two were killed by forces. >> atikka schubert is in saint-denis. you have been there for several hours. set the scene for us right now. what are you seeing? what are you hearing? >> that the operation is coming to a close. officially, it's still ongoing. the police are much more relaxed now. the military trucks have moved on. again, it does seem to be
drawing down. what's significant, though, is not only that did they have three suspects, killed, it seems. but three suspects arrested in and in police custody. that's incredibly important. in previous cases here in the charlie hebdo attack, all of the suspected terrorists were killed, they ran into police gunfire or were killed in a shoot-out. the police have a treasure trove of information. we don't know who the smts are. is it the one they were looking for? the alleged mastermind, abdel hamid abaaoud. this would be important, not just determining how the attacks were carried out. if there are future terror plots in the works and if they can now be thwarted, john. >> we do not know the identity of the people taken into
custody. three people, we believe, taken into custody. what we do know from officials in france and belgium, by the i wa, one of the possible targets of this raid was abdel hamid abaao abaaoud. >> several attacks, including the talles train shooting, that was thwarted by the american military hero, spencer stone. this is someone who has been wanted for a long time. do we know if he is one of the individuals in the apartment, killed or arrested, atikka? >> we do not know at this point. just that he was a target. we're waiting for police and prosecutors to confirm exactly who were the one nas were killed. it's interesting that a woman with a suicide vest detonated herself inside the apartment. it seems. and who the three arrested are. so, if it does turn out to be abaaoud, however. that would be extraordinary.
this is an individual that is known on watch lists here. he was known for hatching a number of terror plots. he may have faked his own death in syria, so he could travel more leez easily into europe. if that is true and he was holed up during this operation, it would mean he was hiding in plain sight in the matter of paris. >> atikka stand by. see if you can find out what's going on inside the apartments, in that raid. i want to bring in our senior international important, frederick plinken. atikka has said she has seen the intensity die down. what are you seeing? >> reporter: she is right. the intensity sways a little bit. what we saw a couple of minutes ago, police officers, i'll get
out of the way, so you with zoom down in the strit. the police officers were letting people to go inside. they have put up a cordon around the area. i'm on the other side of the police cordon from where atikka is standing. there's a lot of police officers. there's a lot of ambulances there, as well. they have all sorts of assets there, that are in place. you have ambulances, the fire department there, of course. if, in fact, some sort of fire breaks out during an operation that's going on. a lot of army units. driving around the streets here. there's a lot of army deployed in the side streets, as well. a large area cordoned off. it appears at this point in time, this has turned into a waiting game, whether it's unclear, whether or not there might be terrorists holdup inside that building. in a is under siege.
we see that the mood is edgy. anybody tries to go down the street, and why we are standing here. and why we haven't had advanced down the street, the police say you have to go back this far because they believe that the situation is still that tense. and right now, going to have to get out of the way. the police vehicles come by at this point. this is the riot police. they're wearing riot gear, the police officers, as they come through here, to send in further reinforcements. this is something we've been seeing. as we've been coming down here, this operation, as you said, has been going on since 4:30 a.m. that's about, about 3 1/2 hours so far. there still are reinforcements pouring in. that shows how big this operation is and how intense it is, as well. john? >> all right, fred.
describe the area. this is a busy, urban area. people have been told to stay home. schools are closed. public transport is suspended. tell us about this neighborhood, saint-denis, north of paris. >> that's a good point, hala. it has been. we have driven around the area a little bit. i can confirm, there's no trams running. no public transport. we haven't seen buses on the street, either. i wouldn't necessarily say that people aren't leaving their houses. there are people down the street there. they're being held up by the military. in the housing blocks you see behind me, the immediate area where the search is going on, several blocks have been cordoned off. those people are being taken out of their houses or being hold to stay in their houses. anybody who gets in the street right now is being told, in no uncertain terms to get out of the area. there are people around here. people trying to get to work. of course, in the immediate area
around where this operation is taking place, i can tell you, that is absolutely under a complete lockdown at this point in time. and there's an immense amount of forces on the street here. an they're with their weapons drawn. the guns are at the ready. police officers with machine guns, telling someone to get off the street immediately because the operation is so big. and because of sol of the things that have happened during the operation. some of the gunfire we've been hearing in the early morning hours. some of the explosions, of what appears to maybe have been stun grenades, as well. we are hearing screaming down that street. the police officers moving around. they're trying to keep people away from that area. to make sure the operation is secure. and they're also afraid or concerned, that there might still be might be some of the
terrorists out there. not clear if they know they have have everyone. or someone might be around here. hala? >> this is a neighborhood where the stad de france is. >> about 800 yards away. and it is not far from where the abandoned car was found. this is a neighborhood where there's been a lot of activity associated with the attacks. the street where's you are, friday, we understand, there were people arrested on the streets. three men in the apartment in custody. >> two in the vicinity. a total of five arrests. three from inside the apartment. two from the area surrounding the apartment. and so far, my count is three suspected terrorists killed, three arrested. two individuals outside the apartment complex, as well. >> three terrorists killed inside the apartment. including a woman who apparently blew herself up with a suicide
vest possibly very early on in this operation. >> it is significant that three individuals were arrested and not killed on sight. the kind of intelligence, the kind of information that the police, that intelligence services want to extract from them is going to be vital in trying to figure out what happened. >> we want to remind people, we have been told by intelligence officials here in france and belgium, that one of the targets could have been abdelhamid about abyo abaaoud. up until yesterday, until this morning, we thought he was in syria, or iraq. if, in fact, he is in france, one of those killed or perhaps even one of those under arrest right now, that would be an extraordinary development. >> it is remarkable to see the streets of a major paris suburb, look like a war zone.
you have troops deployed. they may have scaled back the military operation. s.w.a.t. teams, full body armor. ambulances and fire trucks. police vehicles all lined up eventual completely cordoning off a huge area. this is a high street. it has stores and schapps and residential areas. seeing it like this, extremely unusual. >> and the raid started taking place before people were awake. the pre-dawn hours, that's often when you do raids like that. the raid began in the pre-dawn hours. but it is still ongoing we understand, at 9:15 local time. people would be waking up and going to work. people are waking up, turning on tvs and seeing there is a major operation, corrennected to the terrorist attack on friday. >> you are seeing two vantage
points from more or less the same area. saint-denis, it's one of the very close suburbs to paris. you can call it paris. but it's where the stad de france is. this is the big soccer stadium, where three suicide bombers blew themselves up. the physical geographic proximity to this raid, where ahn of the major attacks on friday took place, is about 800 meters in the metric system for the u.s. viewers, about 800 yards. you have a bird's-eye view of the area. >> one thing to keep in mind here. think of the arsenal used by these attackers on friday. think of the weapons that were recovered in the car. an think, now, to the fact there has been a shoot-out or some kind of altercation, over the last four or five hours. how many wells did they have their hands on, inside some of the places where they were holed
up? >> well, if you consider, that just about, less than 48 hours ago, police conducting dozens and dozens of raids across france. managed to collect a rocket launcher in lyon. this is a weapon of war. ak-47s, you need expertise to put the vests together. syringes were found in one apartment. was that used to mix the chemicals that are needed to put together these homemade security suicide belts and vests? >> one of the people dead, there is an ongoing police operation, saint-denis, north of paris right here. three suspected terrorists have been killed. three suspected terrorists have been killed. a woman who blew herself up
apparently, wearing a suicide vest. i bring that up because you mentioned the syringes they found in the hotel rooms to see if they would be used in the making of explosive devices, like the one used on friday. like the one used in the last few hours in this police operation. >> looking at the latest we're getting from the paris prosecutor's office, three police officers injured. we understand, as this raid unfolded. starting about 4:30 in the morning. two hours later, significant detonations. and a heavy exchange of gunfire, as well as exmroegs, as were reported by our atikka schubert. it appeared that at that stage, is when forces decided to storm that apartment. unclear. it would sort of match the type of operation that we've covered in the past. schools closed in saint-denis. until recently, the prosecutors
and police have been telling people to stay home. they don't want people on the streets right now. there are two people arrested on the tree ises. three were taken into custody. three individuals, we do not know the identity. and two taken in custody from the treats. >> and the woman suicide bomber, opened fire on police at the beginning of the operation, before blowing herself up. extremely dramatic developments if this is cob firmed. >> and intelligence officials telling us that a tartget of ths operation, could have been abdel hamid abaaoud. i want to bring in hassan asani. he joins us from london. abdulhamid abaaoud. the idea this man who could be the mastermind behind the attacks, the idea he would be or
could have been, until a few hours ago, in an apartment in saint-denis, is extraordinary. >> yes, absolutely. we have to understand that many of the people who are joining isis, they are linked to, you know, a criminal activities. they can travel with the fake passpo passports. it's easy in syria to get a syrian passport from rebel-held areas or regime-held areas, by paying, you know, bribes. with the massive influx of refugees in europe, it's easy for them to move. and to pay a large amount of money to move around. >> hassan, let me ask you also about the possibility, that isis
headquarters might be directly involved in this. how is it possible that one of the main masterminds, if it is confirmed that he was present in this apartment, was able to operate, apparently, if not treely, in a maker western country, close to the area of the attack. at the soccer stadium. >> well, the way that isis works, is similar to the way in a al qaeda worked. it's an international note work, that local operators have massive leeway to manage their own operations, to have the recruits they want and the facility they want. the type of people they work with. that's to minimize the government's ability to monitor them and track them, or prevent such attacks. isis, since last year, especially after the u.s.-led
coalition, started bombing in iraq and syria, they gave the green light to everyone across the country, especially the countries in the fight against isis in syria and iraq, to launch attacks. if you can blow yourself up, that's good. if you can kill, shoot, you can behead people, everything. and they said, if you can't do any of that, you can even hit someone or spit in their face and stuff like that. so, that's the kind of danger of isis, the sort of low-caliber activities they want to launch anywhere that size isis is still there. we have to understand that isis international network is still developing. it's only, you know, barely two years old. 3-year-old operation, as a global operation, especially,
you know, it was only last year, that it announced that the that is only developing now. the paris attacks are only assigned as it is maturing and becoming more and more developed. this will more people able to do and cory out such attacks. we might see worse and more sustainable attacks in the future. >> all right, hassan. we're losing your connection right now. i want to bring people up to speed what they're looking at on their screens right now. an enormous amount of police activit activity, in saint-denis. for the last four-plus hours, there's been a police operation. a raid on an apartment building. this is what we know. three suspected terrorists dead. as many as five people under arrest. including people who were taken into custody from inside the
apartment building. the target of the operate, we are told, could have been abaaoud. he is believed to be the mastermind behind the attacks in pair on friday. an as the operation started, four or five hours ago, a woman, one of the dead terrorists was a woman. and she blew herself up wearing a suicide vest. >> this is significant. this is the first time a woman is believed to have been involved in a terrorist operation inside of france. >> the girlfriend was believed to have some role. there has been a female involved in france before. this would be a level we have not seen here. we continue our breaking news coverage on the dramatic developments in sandt-denis. our chief international correspondent, christiane amanpour is here with us, covering this important story unholding. >> i have some news.
police sources telling my source, that abdul hamid abaaoud is presumed dead. this is early information. this is from a source who has been incredibly reliable throughout this entire investigation. and from the police. let's wait and see. >> all right. >> he was the target of this operation. there is no doubt. the question was, was he in the apartment? if so, was he arrested or killed? they're saying that at this moment, they believe he is presumed dead. >> a stunning development on two levels. >> secondly, another operation right now in bobini. that's one of the areas, one of the first areas on the new overnight searches that started monday, tuesday. and there is another operation under way there right now. >> bobini, was an area where
salah abdeslam, had rented an apartment or had been in an apartment a week prior to that. that was an area under surveillance and a building they were looking at. >> abdel hamid abaaoud. he was the target. we don't know if he was there. if he was there, we don't know if he's one of the three killed or one of the three under arrest. >> right. latest sources are telling me he's presumed dead in this operation. that would be disappointing if he was actually there, because, obviously, he was the most wanted man in france. the possibility, he would have been planning more. that's an equation they would be satisfied. it's amazing to think that weal
thought he was in syria or iraq. and now, with learn that he is here, and all likelihood, perhaps killed in a raid, in a neighborhood north of paris. perhaps he ran the operation from inside the city, itself. >> just in plain sight. saint-denis, is where the stad de france is. it's so close to where the actual scene of the crime. >> a recap. of the three that were killed, one was a female suicide bomber, who according to some reports, was shooting at police. we have to get the confirmation that abdelhamid abaaoud was there. and from that, we can deduce all of the rest of it once we get information on his status. >> does your source give any indication how long they have had this information? how many hours before than a day?
or is this something that just came to them an they acted upon immediately? >> trying to figure that out. some of the information, atikka schubert was talking to us, obviously live, from the scene, in saint-denis, this operation had been planned by police. they had gotten whatever information they needed to get, way before they started in the early hours of this morning. that's why they came in such mass, with so coordinated, and conducted this morning raid. again, the target was abaaoud. and according to the earliest known information, that we're going to try to keep chasing down, until authorities officially declare it, they presume that he was among those killed. >> what we do know, three dead, three suspected terrorists dead. was abaaoud one of them?
as many as five under arrest. three taken into custody from inside that apartment. two apparently taken into custody on the streets there. the target of the operation. this known at this point, was, though, abdel hamid abaaoud. >> we are hear that the operation is ongoing. that it is winding down. that some of the security forces there, and you see them heavily armed, body armor, are in a relaxed stance. our atikka schubert has been following this. what's the latest you have for us, atikka? >> it seems that the operation is winding down. we've seen units leaving the area where it was happening, maybe a few hundred meters behind me. the view is blocked by the police cars. and i see the soldiers. i think the operation is
officially over. but clearly winding down. and we now know that there are six suspects inside the apartment. inside the building. three of whom are dead. three are in custody. and one, a whom who detonated her explosives vest. the other two suspects killed in the gun fight. it was quite an operation, that lasted for some time, very intense, hala. >> atikka, to oath both of you, we're talking about six suspected terrorists. three dead. three arrested from inside the apartment. two suspects taken in custody from the streets. that's a lot of people at large, at loose. and possibly connected to the attacks on friday. if it turns out they are connected, they weren't just at large. they were 800 yards from one of the sites of the attacks, the stad de france. it would be remarkable. what are police saying, atikka,
there, about what's happen right now? what police will be looking at, is what's in the apartment. what kind of information. what kind of intelligence can they dpagather from the apartme. at the attack scenes, they were able to recover a number of cell phones. they may have been able to track them to the situation. computers, cell phones, any information in the apartment that can piece together the network, that not only carried out the attacks in paris, but whether or not there were plots in the works. remember, that abdel hamid abaaoud, was renowned for hatching these plats. there's possibly that there were plans he had in motion, as well. >> we do know that abdel hamid abaaoud, he was the target of the raids. belgian intelligence, they tell
us they think he was there. that's why they staged this raid. his fate at this point, a little less certain. we know there are three suspected terrorists dead, three taken into custody from inside the apartment. two people taken into custody from the street. those are the numbers we know. the identity of the people, we do not know. >> just to put this in perspective for our viewers. imagine living in an area with shops, schools, buses, metros. and it turns into this. a blanket police and military operation. full body armor, s.w.a.t. teams, ambulances, fire trucks. this is absolutely -- in a neighborhood like saint-denis, it's something like the residents have never seen. they're speaking on the homes to french television, saying i want to protect my children. i have never lived anything like this. and the mood is so tense. five days after the friday attacks. >> and there was gunfire.
explosions. we have some sound and images to show you what the scene was like over the last few hours. let's listen in. [ gunfire ] >> there you have it. imagine waking up to that in the middle of the night, in your apartment, when you're safe in bed. our next guest is julien theron, he is a political scientist and analyst, at the university of versailles. you know the inner workings. what's going on at the government level as this is
unfolding? what's going on, you know, behind closed doors in the offices of the leadership here at the government? >> well, there's a special meeting of the interior minister. and with the presidency, of course. in contact with the justice minister. we're seeing already at the parliament, some members of the parliament have been booed, and some accusation of the government to have blood on their hands, from some mp. it's a tense situation at the political level. and the population itself, says we received some statistics today on saying that 73% backs the president. >> most people are mostly concerned about their safety, in trying to get on with their lives. as they wake up to the images, a huge police operation, in
saint-denis, a neighborhood north of paris right now. three are dead. three taken into custody, from the streets. and it's interesting to think that these days after, four days, five days after the attacks on friday, there could be a group of terrorists operating, in plain sight. >> it's not that new for us. it's been exactly the same thing for charlie hebdo attack. we had the time lapse between -- the people were completely afraid. and we were wondering, who were the terrorists, actually. we found out. and the police did a great job taking them out. and it's the same thing today. we knew that there was still one man out. and the brain of the operation, as well. we did not expect that actually, there's more than two men out.
another suicide bomber, it's traumatic. >> and the police prosecutor is confirming that one of the dead, not killed, is a female suicide bomber. i'm struck by the fact that you're saying, this isn't new for us. in france, now, anyone, any french citizen, such as yourself can say, we've been through this before. less than ten months ago. is this becoming some sort of new normal in this country? >> it's not a new normal. i spoke to my students. they were afraid and a lot of questions going on about who they are, what are they doing? how we can cope with than. i'm not saying that we're not in shock. but a lot of reactions of people in the bataclan, in the streets, in the bars. i was there myself. and everybody tried to keep calm, to exchange information, to tell the others what to do to help the others in a very tense situation. it's not a new normal.
but police is safe, surely, but people actually have this in mind, that it might happen again. and what is important for us, the resilience. and to know that there is a risk. it's a minimal risk. but also other societies who cope with this, like in the middle east. >> where it's a daily concern. >> go to work. >> and i think one of the people, one of the reasons that parisians are probably glued to the television sets right now, that maybe there's a modicum of closure from the friday attacks here, if these three people killed were directly connected. perhaps, they have closed that circle of people involved. although, abdeslam is still at large. >> yes. we hope that the whole network has been arrested or killed.
we know that it might happen again. it's a culture of death. they want to destroy us. we have to cope with that and to ca continue the way we live our lives. >> many of our international viewers are saying, why france? this is the second time that france is targeted in a major way. what is it about france that isis wants to target? >> we have a history with a terrorist claiming to be islamist. we had that in 1995. there were some terror attacks, in police. from northern africa. the former islamic armed groups. we have a history with that. another reason is that we are considered to be hard liners in syria. we hit isis in iraq, and in
syria now. and it's not been a long time that we decided to go in syria. we said that it's self-defense. we claim to be a legitimate international mode. there are limits. we are hard liners. and we're saying that, no. bashar al assad is not a solution. and we have to fight isis, as well. we are really on the way in the middle east. and against terrorism also, in northern africa. it's not the same group. it's al qaeda-linked cells. but remember, in 2012, we went as a major operation, to keep back to take back the sovereignty, which we have difference agreements. >> a war against terrorism in africa. in the middle east. but also, in paris suburb right now, north of paris, in saint-denis, where there's a major operation going on right
now. >> we find our freddy politicen there. >> the siege is going. i'm going to get out of the way, to see down the road. what's going on here is that you can still see the emergency vehicles there. there's a lot, aside from the police officers and the aermt here, there's a lot of medical vehicles here, as well. and the police have stopped people from going down the road. a couple are trying it now. they will get stopped in a couple minute ps thap say it's too dangerous. and they want to keep the cordon up. there's been a lot of activity, where we've seen police vehicles drive down there. we've seen reinforcements come in from the police. right now, you can see another squad of police, moving through there. they seem to be fairly on-edge, trying to get people to stay off the streets to make sure that they have this area to themselves. also, of course, for one reason,
they want to keep the safety of these people the on the other hand, they want to have an uninhibited area for themselves to operate in, as this operation does appear to be ongoing. as far as the district is concerned, hala, there is very little life going on. public transport is not working. there's a few people coming through. but really, very, very little activity, as far as the local residents are concerned. a lot say they are concerned about what's going on. the fact there is an operation here. and possibly there were terrorists who were basically hiding in the middle of this neighborhood. >> fred is in saint-denis, where the operation has been ongoing for five hours right now. three suspected terrorists killed. five people now arrested, including three who were taken into custody from inside the apartments. we know the target of the operation was abdel hamid
abaaoud, the belgian-born terrorist who was believed to be the mastermind behind the attacks on friday. was he there? was he killed? has he been arrested? unclear at this point. >> what we know, he was the target. that's what we can say for certain. joining us now here in paris, dramatic moments, watching bfm, unfolding for all of france to watch, was a war zone in saint-denis, north of paris. >> it is crazy. it is a good indication that the investigators and the security forces seem to be doing a great job at, you know, getting information. using that information. a lot will depend will who was
in there. and a lot of information has been gathered that is starting now. and it's potentially a major breakthrough in the investigation. >> you say what information they can get from the interrogation. five people were under arrest. and three that were inside the apartment that was raided. has france ever had high value, high-impact terrorists in custody before like this to question? everything about this since friday has been unprecedented. the magnitude of the fact. the fact that suicide bombers blew themselves up. >> today, a woman blew herself up in the beginning of the operation. >> which was also a first. everything about this is unprecedented. >> the fact that they're in custody is going to be very important for investigators because they are -- will be able to extract intelligence, information, and really have a lot more to go on than when all the attackers have been
neutralized or killed. >> especially because there's a lot at stake within the the next few hours and days. when the attack, they talked about eight terrorists. and we figured to be not true at this point. >> seven were killed. >> how many were on the loose? what do they have in mind? what is the nature of the threat and the danger on that? that's the first questions that the investigators are going to try to sort out. >> and isis spoke of eight terrorists. only seven were killed. there's another suspect on the loose, not just the mastermind, whose status we don't know. abdeslam. he is the brother of one of the attackers. >> yes is target number one. everybody thought abdeslam was in the area. not only that he was the target.
but supposedly, was near terrorist. >> if he is here, if he was here and killed, explain that to me. how can that be? this is a guy that was much on the radar. not a guy they had their eye on. this is a man believed to be an isis mastermind. how could that man get back into this country? >> i wish i had the answer to that. if that was the case, and he is able it through the country, to set up the operation, go on unnoticed, getting into france, getting those people together, organizing and presumably, supervising the attacks. >> from here. >> from here. and carrying on for two or three days, it is obviously a major security failure. >> i want to bring our viewers up to date before we continue our discussion with thierry. a police operation, that started in the early morning hours. 4:30 a.m., perhaps earlier, in saint-denis, a northern suburb
of paris. three terrorists are dead. three are under arrest from inside an apartment. and two in the immediate vicinity. look at the images. this is normally an ordinary paris suburb. >> this is paris. >> holook at it now. it is a major security operation. >> it is amazing. saint-denis is north of paris. it is close to the soccer stadium, stad de france, where one point of the attack was carried out friday night. it's a melting pot, north of paris. i've never seen anything like this in or around paris. >> not too far from the 18th district, where the abandoned car was found yesterday, correct? >> absolutely. >> the whole center of the operation was north of paris. and the northern part of paris. >> okay.
there is a lot of point scoring going on early, after these attacks. there's important elections coming up. are french people blaming their leadership for missing the clues? >> you're right to point that out. it's different what happened after the first attack in january. every tuesday and wednesday, we have a one-hour of question times. it was fierce. a lot of booing. heckling. and frankly not dignified. it was shocking to me. >> and you're a political reporter. >> and watching these guys go about their job. and they do need to get their act together. be more responsible. being more dignified. there was a poll this morning in one of the french papers that told us about over three out of every four frenchmen wants their
political -- politicians be united. 75% of the eventual population think that the president did a pretty good job so far. doesn't mean that they like him. it doesn't mean they're going to vote for him at the next presidential election. but they think there's a time for everything. and a time for politics is not now. >> right. senior political aurnt, thierry arnaud. we appreciate your time and your analysis. >> looking at live pictures from saint-denis. it is a neighborhood north of police. for five hours, there's been a huge police operation. a raid on an apartment building there. three suspected terrorists killed. five people under arrest, including three people taken into custody from inside that building. the target of this raid, believed to be abdelhamid abaaoud. he is from brussels.
he is belgian. he is of moroccan descent. he joined isis a few years ago. he is believed to be close to the terror group's leader. he is believed to have contact with several of the paris attackers. and he is believed to be involved with or behind several plots in the last year, including the attempted train operation that was foiled by some american heroes. american military heroes. and also, an attempt to kill police in belgium. the man you're looking at right there, abdel hamid abaaoud. we do not know if he has been apprehended. don't know if he has been killed. we don't know if he was there. we do know he was the target of
the operation. >> atikka shubert is live in saint-denis. with the latest on what hee is hearing? >> it appears that the operation is winding down. i believe it is officially ongoing. we've seen police units leave. they are still inside. some of the police with riot gear and weapons. still, the military, the soldiers have been put out there for security. it is technically ongoing. a lot has been winding down. we have more details. it started around 4:30 in the morning. residents say they heard volleys of gunfire. they also heard an explosion. there was a belief lull. and then, more gunfire. in was a sustained operation that was happening so early in the morning. when we arrived here, we saw a number -- many units deployed here, including a s.w.a.t. team. the soldiers were out.
and then, we heard a number of explosions, what sounded like controlled detonations. we are waiting for confirmation from police on what the explosions were. now, we know there were six suspects in total in the apartment they were targeting. three are now dead. one of them was a woman, who killed herself by detonating a suicide vest. two were killed in the xwun fire. another three suspects were arre arrested. an two other suspects in the vicinity were arrested. i'm sure we'll get the details from police as they come out. >> we are learning that the landlord who leased the apartment has been arrested. obviously, they want to follow the money here. we have information about this man, he is leaved to have been from belgium. he rented the apartment to people who were from belgium. he is under arrest, as well. three suspected terrorists dead.
five under arrest right now, including three taken into custody from the apartment. we know the target of the attacks. the target of this raid, abdelhamid abaaoud, the mastermind of the attacks on friday. >> until a few hours ago, we were being told he was in syria. our chief international correspondent, christiane amanpour join us. >> was he? wasn't he? is he? isn't he? this is the question of the day. everybody got rightly excited, is the wrong word. but it waiting to see what the result would be, if they did manage to get the mastermind because he is the confirmation that he was the target. did they get him? didn't they? is he alive? isn't he? those are questions we have to wait for. to put it in perspective, it is incredible, this man, has been linked to so many previous
attacks, most of them foiled. we mentioned some of them, including being in contact with the person who tried to machine gun passengers in that high-speed train from brussels to france over the summer. we've seen him over and over, in a brazen and violent way. isis videos, recruiting, training, as ivan described to us, once dragging a body through a field. disgusting individual. and one of the highest most important of the belgian jihadis who have gone over to syria and come back. >> do we know why they went from 48 hours ago thinking they were in syria, to this morning thinking he was in an apartment in saint-denis. yesterday, there was an interesting development. we went from one suspect at large, to there was a second, unnamed person, connected to these attacks they were looking for. maybe he had been seen in one of
the getaway cars. is that abaaoud? >> there are reports that we haven't been able to nail down. it's so fluid. there's so much information and so many loose ends, that need to be tied up. there was one little bit of information that did suggest that some cameras had caught him in one of the cars. again, we just don't know. obviously, something, that's why the police are targeted this. and we were told, sort of, atikka was saying and others, this plan -- this raid in saint-denis this morning, had been planned. they had information for the previous several hours. they wait until the dark hours. it's easier. people are not around. and people may not suspect to be raided at night. it seems to be the way to do it. >> french television reported that raids could not be conducted before 6:00 a.m. in darkness. that law was changed.
and it allowed security forces to conduct this operation in saint-denis, which i found interesting. it gave them more of an edge, as you were mentioning, during the darkness hours. >> all these raids that have happened around france, since monday, have all happened in the dark hours. 100-plus on two separate nights. >> we haven't gotten word of how many other raids there might have been last night. perhaps dozens for all we know. this one -- >> ongoing raids, as well, if there are. it's presumed because it's not just this man that is being sought. the others, as well. >> we do know there are several people under arrest. three people taken into custody from inside the apartment. two from the streets. if these people in custody, if one of them is abaaoud, that's a huge deal. if there's people associated with him, people directed to the attacks, this would be an enormous new asset for french
intelligence. >> it jolly well would be. the front line types. the guy that rented the apartment, whatever it is. if they were important members of the cell, it would be really, really important. because, as you know, until now, most of the raids in the similar cases, perhaps, the charlie hebdo last year, resulted in all of the killers being killed. >> right. >> you could never get intel off them. >> i would find it interested if any of the suspected terrorists were caught alive. you would expect them to want to detonate a suicide vest or kill themselves in other way. thought no be taken on. they constitute an intelligence and information source for investigators. so, it would be interesting for that reason, as well. >> and one suspected terrorist, we're told, a women, did blow herself up wearing a suicide vest. that would be the first time a
woman has done this in france. >> where did this woman come from? nowhere at all have we heard about a develop being involved. >> did he know the operation was ongoing? was it in the midst of it that she decided to do such a thing. and is that part of the same batch of explosives made in the attacks. >> we'll wait to see she blew herself up. what was it. >> and the other possibility, an attack was being planned. we don't have answers. the prosecutor is confirming the death of this female by -- i'm not -- >> the word they used -- >> if it's vest or something else. indeed. all right. we're going to continue to cover this, as well. we continue our rolling coverage of this breaking news story. christiane, i'm not superfamiliar with saint-denis. it is a diverse area north of police. it's connected to paris. it's not of the 20.
you would call it greater france. as the stad de france is paris, so is saint-denis. it is heavily immigrant area. a lot of the iner city projects, where, you know, sadly, too many people are pushed into these places. many of the disenfranchised. many immigrants. many of the poor socioeconomic level. and put there, out of sight, out of mind. to be fair, after charlie hebdo, and france tries to address that problem, they have been opening si saint-denis, to get more investment. more transport links. it is an issue among the quarters there. and this raid was in the center
of all saint-denis. >> the high street. transport links, buses, shops. >> all shut down. >> and basically, residents in the area have been told, don't believe your house. some have been speaking on the phone with french television networks, french radio. saying, i want to keep my kids safe. iver never seen anything like this, looking out the window, peeking out. and retreating back inside. >> the information was that one civilian was caught in the cross fire. >> you have information. traveling to the united states and to meet vladimir putin. this morning, do we know what he is doing? i heard he was meeting with advisers, about the security operation, the raid going on right now. >> i'm sure they have emergency meetings going on because of all of this. particular with the people at
large. and there may be repeat attacks. there's the imperative to catch these people, who may threaten for french citizens. that is no doubt something ongoing. yes, we were told, he may be meeting with his top prime minister interior minister, et cetera. he said, you know, syria is the biggest terrorist factory in the world right now. he will be going with more intelligence sharing with the americans, to russia, to get them to not have two separate strategies. even president obama today in the philippines says russia still needs to be on board. get with the program. we have one strategy against isis in syria. >> christiane amanpour. john berman, i'm ha la gorani. we continue to follow this dramatic developing story in paris. police have