tv Early Start With John Berman and Christine Romans CNN November 18, 2015 2:00am-3:01am PST
region they launched it they believe abdelhamid abaaoud, the man believed to be the mastermind behind the paris attacks on friday that killed 129 people. they think he might have been inside that apartment building. >> let's put it into context t. raid on the apartment in sontene, which is a few miles north of where we are, began at 11:00 p.m. u.s. eastern time. that was about 4:00 a.m. here just for all of you, our viewers, to get a sense, this is what it sounded like when it happene happened. >> all right. there is what we know. after all of this, after all of this intense activity. which by the way it is still an ongoing operation. three suspected terrorists have been killed. one was a woman who blew herself up early on in this operation the paris prosecutors office
says right now five other people have been arrested. three taken into custody from inside the apartment. two others nearby. >> sources also telling us at cnn a civilian bystander was killed and five police officers were injured and it appears as though those who have been injured have been injured very badly, these are lighter wounds, thank flichlt let's put this in context. this is a few miles from where we in the center of paris, 800 yards away from the soccer stadium that was the site of one of the attacks on friday night. this is a diverse sort of average to lower income neighborhood in the north of paris. it's usually bustling. . shops are opened. buses are rung. there you have a birds-eye view of the area we are talking about. >> so close to the soccer stadium where a suicide attack took place on friday. >> it's greater paris. people, though, this morning are waking up to this nightmare on their streets, told to say home, keep your kids home.
don't send them to school, all public transport has been suspended. >> metro closed. schools closed as well. we were talking to a french reporter who police sources said to him they got there. they got there at this raid, just from time, just in time. the police did not make clear exactly what this meant. was this just before another attack was about to take place? >> these are live images coming to us from sontene. police have set up a tent, possibly forensic work, possibly gathering information, possibly talking to witnesses there. but shielding as well some of the area from the view and the camera lenss of journalists. >> since one of the suspected terrorists, a woman did blow herself up. there is concern the apartment they were in could be booby trapped. they are being careful with the possibility of more explosives there. atika shubert has been there
since nearly the beginning. can you give us a sense sofr what's going on? >> reporter: that's right. right now it does appear more relaxed. having said that, we just saw, for example, several soldiers walking past here. it's completely surreal for many of the residents here. no public transportation. then to see soldiers walking down, patrolling down your street in paris. now, in terms of what happened, 4:30 in the morning is when the operation appears to have started. residents woke up to the sound of automatic gunfire and an explosion. two sustained vollies of automatic gunfire. we arrived shortly after that. we saw a number of tactical unit, including s.w.a.t. units and masked investigative units here in the crowd looking for people. then at that same time, we heard explosions, roughly about six or seven explosions. they sounded quite regular, possibly controlled detonations. although, we are waiting for
police to confirm that. since then, it has winded down. there are still soldiers inside for security reasons, armed police. i also saw firefighters as well. again, that speaks to, john, that concern that there might be explosives or booby traps in the area. >> all right. ty other end of that neighborhood where atika is standing right now, we have our fred watching what is going on. what can you tell us? >> reporter: yeah, that's a new van tage point. it's pretty far down the street. [ inaudible ] several things have happened over the pastle of minutes. an injured police officer evacuated from the scene, he had a bit of a limp. i'm not sure what that came from. he was attended to by the many medical personnel on the scene there. also way down the street on the vicinity of where that apartment appears to be.
we did see what appeared to be for instance imic workers or medical workers escort some civilians out of the area. i'm wondering if maybe they are still conducting the evacuations, maybe that is a police operation might be imminen imminent. the other thing we have seeing is police moved down the street i'd say 35 minutes ago, there is a quite a big build up at this point. our police force is right in the vicinity of that apartment. some of them appear to be and again, a ima little further away some of them seriously carrying shields. what could be shields, they're sort of in the front. right now they are gathering and that apartment. >> all right, fred, alongside our atika shubert.
we have a full team covering these developments in paris. we will get back to you both shortly. our chief international correspondent christiane amanpour is with us with more on what we have been witnessing overnight. we were speaking with the deputy editor in one of his top police sources said this could have been a new team prepareing a new attack. this is one of the possibilities that of course investigators will be looking at. >> exactly. it was dramatic when we went through the dark raid that was going on in sontene, helicopters over this building. they obviously founded. we're trying to physical out who was inside. all those gunshots, all those explosions. i guess the most dramatic notion was twofold. one, were they about to close in on abdelhamid abaaoud, who is the mastermind of this operation just to recap, he's a 27-year-old belgium. he's been a long time in syria. known to be in the rights of
isis. now apparently has come back and led this operation. so he's wanted perhaps more than any other figure. we know that salah abdeslam who we have been talking about for days is on the run and maybe one other as well. that coupled with, well, we'll see whether his fate is resolved any time soon. coupled with what happens next and what might have been foichltd from the very beginning, all the french authorities, president hollande, the prime minister, the interior minister, defense minster, everybody was warning there could be rolling attacks. so most people don't think it would be -- if the it was in that regard part of the rolling attacks. we have to figure out once we get more knowledge. certainly today french president francois hal lande is at the media bright and early in this emergency situation meeting with his prime minister and the interior machinester who is on the scene in charge of the overall security and investigations. >> cia director john brennan
yesterday said he had more concerns there were more attacks in the pipeline. whether this is the pipeline, we're not sure. a significant operation over the last several hours with three suspected terrorists. >> i was going to say on saturday, sunday, we were talking about seven to eight attackers. most of whom were dead. one of whom was on the run. in the intervening days, it has grown. there may be a cell, yesterday, they were saying 20. today we may hear the number is bigger. but the number of people suspected of being involved in this big cell, these several cells, to be a part of this operation, these terrorist attacks, seems to be growing, of course french police. >> because if they were planning, indeed, another set of attacks or another attack, you know, conducting an operation such as the one we saw on friday, which was terrible and deadly and unprecedented on french soil and modern times. and then having all the journalists gather to cover that and potentially carry out another set of attacks, to get maximum publicity is one of the
possibilities experts are looking at right now. >> again, this raid, they went in force. we were told they got there just in time. just in time. that was the early hours of the morning right now. is it possible that this group of as many as eight suspected terrorists, three dead, five now in custody, were they waiting for dawn when the streets were busy once again, if people were out here again to stage some kind of morning attack here in this city to city. so very much on edge still this morning from what happened on friday. >> and quite extraordinary they would have been sort of in plain sight as the saying goes. this is, obviously, the area where the first attacks took place on friday. right near the stadium. so it's very close to the scene of the crime. and, of course, lots of authorities. lots of security and intelligence has been diverted toward belgium because of the cause that moved on to belgium. so, you know, were they trying again to sort of divide and conquer in terms of the security
services or, or and this is a question that they couldn't get away. they will hold up wherever they will get holed up. >> he was drejting an operation the scale of which france has not seen in living memory on friday. >> we do know they have been hard at work since friday. we have been told this raid this second apprehension of these people planning something else. they launched this based on intelligence gathering, investigating the 1st attacks. we know they recovered a whole bunch of cell phones. they were looking at decoding that information right there. so it is possible intelligence
gleaned from the initial raid this morning. >> abaaoud was thought to have come back. i mean, he is the most high profile, most violent, most known belgium jihadi who has gone to syria and then you know to come back and linked to a series of failed attacks in the years alone. he had connections according to police with the guy on the toronto who tried to massacre people with an ak-47 this summer. >> we got the homeland security memo yesterday. u.s. authorities had their eye on abdelhamid abaaoud for some time because of the paris train attacks, because of the attacks in verviers last year. that's why this morning when we woke up and heard these raids targeted abaaoud, perhaps he may have been in this apartment complex in sontene, it would be remarkable if he was able to get back here to paris to help
mastermind these attacks from here. >> i asked secretary kerry yesterday, because many, you know, people have thought that france, the u.s., others were trying to target him in syria. >> in syria. >> i asked him whether he could confirm. that he would not deny or confirm that. >> all right. let's recap a little bit what we know if you are just joining us. very dramatic developments overnight. we are hearing from our bfm television affiliate, seven arrests in these terror raids in sontene north of paris, close to the soccer stamd stadium where two bombers blew themselves up. a female bomber blew herself up. two others suspected terrorists as well killed. so was this another group of terrorists planning a whole new set of attacks? or was the group linked to the friday attackers in some sort of support role?
it's starting to emerge based on sources speaking to top journalists here that it probably is the former, that perhaps these individuals were on the verge of carrying out a new attack. >> three suspected terrorists dead. now bf mrks an affiliate saying seven arrests in the terrorists raid. three taken into custody from inside the building. now, that number a little murky. as many as seven people arrested this morning. three suspected terrorists dead. >> all right, joining us now to discuss the vastly heightened security here in the paris area. the deputy mayor in charge of security, thanks, for being with us. what, you woke up this morning i'm sure like most of us. you got briefed possibly on the information. what is the latest you can tell us? >> well, honestly, i don't have more information than what i see on tv.
the assault is enduring right now. we are waiting. >> so it's still ongoing? >> yes. absolutely. >> okay. >> hoping that no one will be hurt in in this assault. >> we have a television reporter telling us they got there just in time are there concerns there was another attack planned? >> well, there are concerns since friday. so that's why the government just put so many soldiers to work on this. because we are all afraid in spite of the change to come. so that's why this operation is on. >> we are hearing potentially that this was a group that was planning separate attacks. the big worry in france now is that this may be sort of in waves. >> that this was planned from the beginning.
one would happen friday. one would happen a few days later. now what? what is your biggest worry as an official in the paris city hall? >> now, is that thousands of soldiers are arriving and still arriving on the thursday morning in the streets in paris and the area. in the streets in front of the schools, if front of the shops, in the streets to picture the parisian people. so it's like 3,000 that are coming in paris. >> 3,000 military troops in paris? >> in the area. >> in the outpouring area. >> in the metro, the subway. because we know that the subway is potentially a place where they could act. >> the operation in sontene.
any special new precautions being taken on the streets of paris today? >> well, we have to live. you have to go to work. you have to go to school. have you as to live and you have to go to the restroom, too. you have to well to be a parisian but you have to be safe and you have to watch and when there is a problem, you have to call the police, because they are very reactive. so, we have to be live income paris. but we have to be secure. >> can i ask you, 3,000 extra military, what about police, what is paris adding to its security operations? >> well, on the police troops are in paris and in the area right now. so they are in the streets and working on the investigation. thank you. because there are thousands of police people working on this investigation.
so, of course, it is very important matter because if we find this one, because police is working friday night on the investigation. >> what do you tell? so many people watch us all over the world who may be, you know worried, they're now thinking paris is not safe. >> no, paris is alive. parisian people are strong. you know, we keep admitting we are close to the terrorist attacks. they say we want to keep on. we want to be strong. we want to stand up. they won't harm us. they won't hurt us. because we are stronger. so we have to be close. we have to be stronger. pleads, come top paris. come to paris. everything in par parisch monday or yesterday, please.
>> but thunk very much from the mayor's office. >> you have been strong. >> obviously, the news this morning is ongoing operations. five-hour operation or a raid in a neighborhood north of sontene, three suspected terrorists. as many as seven under arrest. a woman believed to have plane herself up early on in the operation. the target believed to be the belgian-borne mastermind abdelhamid abaaoud. we do not know if he was there. we do know that was one of the reasons they went in. one is going on in paris, one aspect t. european wide dragnet t. search for the people responsible for these attacks. one of the people on the run, believed to be on the run is salah abdeslam, who is believed to have been at that point the eighth attacker on friday. he was last seen headed towards the belgium border. ivan watson is in belgium right now for the latest on that
search and also the latest just from what has now become a hub of feared terrorist activity. ivan. >>. >> reporter: latsz right. john, met me interrupt by pointing out the french national police, they put out another detail they thought was important to add about that raid in paris, that among the casualties, a police dog diesel that was killed killed by the terrorists in that raid the manhunt. salah abdeslam, 26 yee yeerd-years-old, his brother one of the suicide bombers in the initial attacks on friday that killed so many innocent people. the vehicle that he was seen driving from paris in the
direction of belgium after the attacks in paris ended up being found here by belgium authorities. his brother, whose family lives in an apartment about 100 feet from where i'm standing. his brother was questioned by belgium authorities after the paris attacks. this is a brother mohammed, a third brother in the family has since been we leased and had spoken to cnn, urging his fugitive brother salah to turnles in. he fears his brother is capable of hurting people while being on the run. the belgium authorities closely watching the events in sontene waiting to find out who has been arrested in that apartment. they say it would have direct implication on their investigation they also are not taking any chances. they say as long as salah abdeslam is at large, that he
could pose a very serious threat. john and hala. >> all right. ivan, stand by. with we are learning forensic teams have moved into this apartment by the way where we understand that that female suicide bomber killed herself. two others as well killed among the six suspected terrorists. three under arrest. a couple more under arrest as well on the street. >> seven told now under arrest. seven in custody. three dead. that's a lot of people, you know, targeted now in this race this morning. this neighborhood to the north of the city where this has been taking place for several hours. what are you seeing? >> that's right. we're seeing police oermgs operations continuing. firefighters are in the area. forensics police are now going into the building as well. and we understand the building has also, is also being evacuated for safety reasons.
it's very interesting that we have just learned an extra two people. >> that brings us to seven arrested. another two believed to have organized, the landlord for the apartment and then now another two in the vicinity. we are still trying to understand where those other two were arrested. now, we know also of course in that apartment three of the suspects were killed. two were killed in a gunfight and a woman who detonated an explosives vest died when that raid was ongoing. this goes to show the operation is ongoing. there may still be more arrests yet, john. >> atika, are they evacuating that building because of fears of booby traps inside that apartment? >> reporter: police haven't told us why they are doing that.
but i think there is a very good indication that this is a, they had one of the suspects detonate an explosives vest. we heard a series of explosions earlier, which sound like controlled detonations. they still want to make sure the entire building is safe. >> that may be one reason why they had residents evacuate. you know, it's interesting, actually. we were able to speak to a man who was literally on the other side of the building. he said police literally took him by the shoulders and dragged him out as he was on his way to work. this was a very newscast moving operation. it was terrifying for residents here, hala. >> it had to be. it started while most people were asleep. as it continues. you know, it is now, into the morning hours here, where people are headed to work or thought they would be headed to work. but the public transportation in that neighborhood where you are is closed. the schools in that neighborhood where you are they are closed.
atika, what are the people doing? >> reporter: well, you know, a lot of residents have come out to see what's going on. bahamas they just can't believe this is happening in their neighborhood. are you absolutely right. most of the time they would be going to work. but public transportation is shut. there is a tram line here. there is absolutely nothing happening. stranger earlier we saw military soldiers walking along as if on patrol. it's like they were in a different country to see that scene happening. one resident was on his way to work at 5:00 a.m. when the gunshots rang out. police told him to evacuate immediately. he said, please wait, i need to get my children, ran up stairs to get his 3-year-old daughter and the rest of his foolly and rushed outside. >> that surreal scene has the city on edge. particularly here in the neighborhood sontene which suffered attacks the stadium nearby was hit. now this the perpetrators of the attack appear to have been
living in this very neighborhood. >> all right. thanks, very much. she's in sontene not far from where atika is located. police activity is ongoing. we understand, fred, tell us what's going on where you are from your van teenage.. >> reporter: hi, hala, i'm at an elevated van faj point. we are looking down the street. there has been a lot of activity in the past couple 15 to 20 minutes. we did see what john was talking about those forensic teams, what appeared to us to be what looked like forensic teams sort of walk across towards the vicinity where these apartments appear to be. it's unclear what exactly they were doing there. but at some point they were escorting some people what appeared to be out of the area. so it seems to us as though maybe there are actually still evacuations going on, in that area, where all of this has taken place. now the other thing we have seen, hala, is that the police
force keeps getting, moving around and it teams to us as if th they. some of the officers from our van tage point here appear to have shields. they are wondering whether or not they might be planning to move in, so far you see them positioning themselves, it seems as though it's a waiting game, it seems as if police are in position, definitely taking this serious serious. there are ambulances as well. major operations that we can see from this van tage point up here overlooking those streets where those apartments appear to be where all this happened, hala.
>> fred the reason they are so careful. police forces sell cnn they believe they launched this raid just from time. they believe the suspects were about to mover on some kind of operation. they were about to launch some kind of operation, in fact, one of the terrorists killed, this woman was wearing a suicide vest and blew herself up indicates to them they were about to begin some kind of operation, so the timing here crucial and possibly preventing more deaths here if paris is there we want to remind our shoers you dramatic it was overnight here. it began just about six hours ago. atika shubert was reporting live. >> reporter: a very unusual scene here. a number of police with arm bands. these are the investigative police. they were looking around in the crowd here among the journalists, moving now down the street. they seem to be looking for something in particular. a number of male officers and a
female officer also moving down there again, we couldn't see any of them. they had their masks on. very unusual they were moving in the crowd here look for something and have now moved down the street. you still see one here, operating, they're showing their photo. oh, an explosion has just gone off. this is still very much an ongoing operation. that was quite a large explosion in that direction. a second one now. just hold on, no gun fire, a third explosion. fourth. that was much larger. police asking them to move back. there are a number of military soldiers now being moved into the front as well. again, john, this is very much
an ongoing police operation at this point. we know a number of suspects have been cornered. we didn't know the exact number of who they are. 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. we saw just to recap a number of those explosions. we heard. we saw a number of the police, military have been deployed on the streets as well. nounlsz nouce this is cnn breaking news. >> to our viewers in the united states and around the world, this is a special edition of "new day." continue our coverage in paris. there are reports of explosions, gunfire, arrests, of deaths, of injured police. all as a part of a new ongoing and active operation in sontene
not far from the stadium attacked friday night. one of the outside communities of paris known for poverty, known for crime. now potentially for terror. i amm i am joined with john berman, christiane amanpour. tell us how we got here. >> reporter: we got here overnight. there was a lot of gunfire in sontene. what that was was this large law enforcement operation. we are told targeting, they believe abdelhamid abaaoud, he is believed to have been the mastermind behind friday's paris attacks here. they killed 129 people. they thought he might be there. >> reporter: that was the tip. what did they find when they got there? >> we are hearing from the french prosecutor one female killed herself inside the apartment where the raid took place. two other suspected terrorists killed. one possibly by sniper fire.
the other unclear. crucially, three suspected terrorists are in custody. this will be extremely important. it's not just forensic evidence. it's human intelligence. you can be sure they will be questioning them until they are able achieve as much information gathering as possible from them. >> christiane you have been following these events pretty much from their inception this morning. they are saying there is no coincidence in number and capabilities, this group they are actively taking down not far frommer with we are resembles the attacks friday night. how so and what is the relevance? >> they're saying this is potentially a part of a number of cells that were planned for rolling operations. the first a series of horrible attacks in paris on friday and potentially more. so to that end. their sources are telling vnn and police sources that these, this raid today was made just in
tim time. age in the space of 48 hours, we have gone from seven terrorists or eight terrorists to close to 15, 16. the number is climbing in terms of suspected terrorists. and my french sources in the government in the senate here, that i are trying to nail down whether this matches a report and a warning they got from iraqi intelligence on thursday, the day before the friday the 13th attack, which said the 19 people who they had had under under surveillance in some form or fax for a period of time went dark. and that there was possibly a threat to france. we are still trying to nail that down. but these numbers now match more closely to this warning from iraq. >> so that's how we got to where we are right now. we are still in the middle of an active situation. we have atika. what are you seeing there now? >> reporter: yes. in fact, i'm just now seeing
police in riot gear moving across behind reporters. i'm not sure why they're moving down the street that way. it's very active. i will pan the camera around so you can get a sense of the scene here. it go es to show you how fluid and tense the situation is here now at the moment. so the police have gone down that road there. now, previously, the action was happening there. >> that is where the suspects were holed up. we're not sure why police have moved down there. but that's where they have gone and a number of media chasing afl them as well. i want to bring you back around if we can to show you a little bit about where those arrests were happening last night. so we'll spin the camera around this way. this essentially is where it was happening 2 much metres down that way at the interception of two roads there. it started at 4:30 in the morning. sustained rounds of automatic
gunfire as well as an explosion. what we understand from residents is it went on for quite some time. one man was about to go to work. police pulled him out. he ran upstairs to get liss 3-year-old doubts and got out. there was a series of explosions, what sounded like controlled detonations. of that we learned from police, it seems to calm down, a number of suspects had been arrested. >> that several suspects had been killed, including one woman who blew herself up with a suicide bombing vet. now, we are still getting details. this 12 still an ongoing operation the building behind us, two additional arrests confirmed in the last half hour. this is very fluid and operational, chris. >> reporter: right, obviously, it goes without saying.
stay where you can see, but keep safety operation am. we are hearing two things, fred, one is that there is an increasing amtd amount of assets on the ground, more police, more capabilities, forensic and otherwise and there is a coordinated effort going on on the intel side. they are learning more about this particular area. >> that it is what of a network, not in a terror sense, of the building being closely connected. allowing eads of travse of trav. what are you seeing? >> reporter: you are absolutely right as far as the amount of activity. i'm at an elevated van tage point. you can see down that street where most of that activity is going on. it is true, we did see this. forensic police seems to be going inside the buildings where all of this is taking place. we have seen dramatic, not necessarily dramatic, a big
increase in the amount of police officers on the ground here. also about a half hour ago, there was one policed officers who was actually taken away from the scene by some medical personnel there. he seemed to be limping. it is unclear whether or not he was wounded or something else happened to him. the other thing we have seeing, chris, this is quite interesting, that civilians apparently are being evacuated. out of the area here, we saw some of those police teams escort people away. what you are seeing right now, the camera is on, police forces amassing in front of what appears to be that apartment building. one thing we see is some appear to have shields and it seems to us as though maybe they might be staging for some sort of operation. however, they have been stationary there for about 15 minutes. again an increase in police officers is, indeed, happening. of course, the interesting thing this is in close proximity to
that stadium where three suicide bombers blew themselves up. it's in proximity to where one of the cars was found by the man sought with an international global arrest warrant. salah abdeslam, so it seems as though there must have been some sort of activity in sontene. it appears that might have been going on. there was a coordination going on. interestingly enough, chris, if, indeed, it turns out the apartments here the people are in some way connected to this attack. this would be the third apartment or hotel room that would have been arrested. rented by the larger group all attackers and supporters in the area, chris. >> reporter: you put your finger on a point of concern for investigators, how extensive is this network of operators? they say at this point they have no reason to believe there couldn't be an additional team. one reason for it to be so active. cnn has another set of eyes on the ground now.
senior international correspondent clarissa ward. one of the big headlines out in this still active situation is just in the nick of time that police believe this group was ready to do something, take us through it. >> reporter: right. okay. chris, sorry, we have a slightly chaotic situation on the ground here. as can you see, there is a lot of moving apartments a. lot of very uptight policemen understandably. clearly a major operation going on. there seems to be some banging on the door of this church. i don't know if you can hear that. police are trying to push journalists back. there is a lot of journalists here, understandably t. focus of this raid appears to be 27-year-old abdelhamid abaaoud. now, he is belgium, of moroccoan descent. you can hear them banging on that door. it's not clear who they think might be inside that church. they're trying to push journalists back. here's what we know about
abdelhamid abaaoud. he is believed to be the mastermind of this attack. he has been involved in other terror plots before. most recently in january. there was a terror plot that was thwarted after abdelhamid abaaoud was able to escape in that instance. not that he fled back to syria or iraq. can you feel the crowds are really pushing here, krichlts aapologize for that. understandably police on edge. people on edge. you see the police in full riot gear. they have helmets, vests on. >> that is because this is considered to be a dangerous man. he has a criminal record. he has been involved with gangs before. the police now seem to be focusing on this church. chris. >> reporter: right, the perfect thing is to be where you can see what's going on, not too close
you get in the way of what's going on, obviously. we have heard the speculation before of what the initial intention was in terms of going to this area for police. on what the speculation is about where this alleged planner might be. but they've already, although the numbers are soft, there have been terrorists killed. there have been terrorists arrested, which is probably more important for the investigation, there also have been officers hit and we see the activity, almost an amazing show of a church. why they want to get in there. there is cause for speculation. no reason to do anything, if you are watching what's going on behind you, the officers seem to be taking positionings, equipped for entry. what else? >> reporter: a bunch of police officers are climbing over the fence to get closer to a large
church here. we've heard they have been banging on the door. can you see, it's a fairly chaotic scene. there are dozens an dozens of journalists. you can see police now are trying to push us back. it's not clear what the source of this late ever move towards the church is. did they hear something inside? do they have reason to believe that someone related to this latest raid may be inside the church. nobody seems to know that yet. it is also not clear to me how it is the police are not able to get into this church. but, certainly, what we can say is that the main suspect the main, the source of this raid, the target of this raid, is known to be an incredibly dangerous man. he is 27-year-old abdelhamid abaaoud he is belgium of moroccoan dissent. he was involved with a large terror plot inside belgium but was thwarted pack in germany. but as you know, chris, that
plot was thwarted. but he managed to escape and it had been believed that he made it back to syria or iraq. we know that the department of homeland security, chris, as recently as may or rather as far back as may was complaining that they viewed him to be a potential threat, that they were concerned that isis was possibly developing the capabilities to launch a kind of complex or sophisticated attack here in the west. we also know that french and coalition forces who are fighting against syria, fighting against isis and syria and iraq had tried to targeted abaaoud before. >> that, obviously, was unsuccessful. now it appears, chris, he may be, indeed, right here in paris all along, not, in fact, in syria or iraq at all. i'm not sewure if you can see. the police are outside the door of that church. one man sort of keeping a
lookout there as they bang loudly on that door. you can hear that now. they're banging on the door, they're looking all around. they're heavily armed, wearing riot gear. it appears they're trying to almost bust that door opened. and as i've said before, we don't know who exactly is inside that church. why has this church suddenly become the focal point of this raid? the raids were ongoing since about 4:30 in the morning here. sorry, chris, back to you. >> reporter: all right, clarissa, we will keep watching this, safety is paramount for the officers and you and the other media as well. if they wanted to bust that door down, that would or will in short order if that's their intention, you stay safe. let's remind why we are where we are. this is a very active operation going on outside paris, a community sontene, there has been at twleeft terrorists
killed. others arrested. police have been hurt in what they are calling a discovery of another team here that was as they believe ready to act. jim scuitto joins us now. there is a reason to believe what intelligence took them to this point. what do we know? >> the big lied are the cell phones at the scenes of the attack. including with that message, our evan perez reporting yesterday, ready to go. in effect, the cell phones of the attackers in the friday attacks used before the attacks too many. we know apps for encrypt 7d communications which has been a concern of u.s. and european intelligence, officials for some time. so did they gain some intelligence from those phones that led them to other players in this game, other players that those attackers were communicating with. that's potentially a very important lead. >> one point here, paris
authorities are now telling us, prosecutors are telling us two suspected terrorists are dead. we have been reporting three all morning. they changed that number. two suspected terrorists dead. seven now in custody, including three who were taken into custody from inside the apartment and apparently four others from the outside. so those are
. one to the next. >> you can see from that church. they're in the sort of historic old town of sontene. that's the focus of today's raid, including the apartment area that they were looking for. if you go around paris, any french town or city have these beautiful roads or these side streets. they're not in nice neat grids like in new york city. they're very, you know, complicated, urban design. and so this is what they're seeing. of course, this morning, all of this started around 4:30 a.m. local time and there were lots
and lots of heavily armed there and they're getting into it there. lots and lots of heavily armed police with helicopters -- >> we just got word from our producers, the french police saying the raid is officially over. >> that fights what's on the screen in front of you right now. they seem to be putting some type of chalk in the door to at least wedge it opened. again, the imminency of this is in doubt. because you have a big group of officers in very tight proximity to one another right in front of a door. so it doesn't speak to an immediate threat, obviously, ongoing efforts to gain entry. >> you don't mention the obvious thing here. the power of the possibility at least there is a suspected terrorist inside a christian church here in paris. >> seeking refuge. >> or seeking to blow something up or carry out another attack. >> the beginning of this attack, one of the reasons why they launched this attack in sontene,
they thought that possibly the mastermind of the paris attacks on friday, abdelhamid abaaoud, that he could have been, maybe inside those apartments. one of the big unknowns as we sit here this morning and watch this ongoing operation. was he there? is he one of the two terrorists killed? is he one of the seven terrorists under arrest or was that information off to begin with? is he not there? >> well, that will be the question, obviously, what we do know, this is what police said. he most definitely was the target of these raids. they must have thought he was there somewhere, maybe it will turn out he was. but he was the target of the raid. the confirmation has to be exactly as you just said, whether he was there or not. >> he has been able to travel back and forth in recent months from syria to belgium, under the radar of police, with i is pretty incredible thing considering they knew about him for months as well. if he could do that, it's possible he made it pack here. >> what they know ability him and his whereabouts is very much
fluid to say the least. we hear that one of the reasons they're putting big groups of assets, meaning lots of man power into these raids is they're not used to doing the kind of operations they're doing if terms of volume. they are learning so much with there new found access into operati operational ability here that leads are developing. this idea of a network described to me almost like a spider web in communities in and around paris is literally taking them from one source of concern to the next. now, obviously, we're at a flash point where this has been the culmination of a major operation, gunfire, explosions, injured officers, terrorists kill killed. now the scene before you in the community of sontene. a group of officers trying to gain entry. that's what you see right now. >> they tell us. sources tell cnn they got there just in time.
they used those words, to prevent another attack about to be launched. the fact that one of the people killed, one of the terrorists killed, this woman was wearing we think an explosive suicide vest indicates to them that maybe she was getting ready to go out. >> ap question whether she was wearing it or it detonated. what gives us that question. if it was like the ones worn on last friday, it is made of a highly volatile compounds tatp. we believe that's why it almost certainly had to be locally made. it can go off. so who knows what the circumstances were. >> the finality is it did detonate. it took that woman's life at a min much let's go to fred on the ground in sontene where this operation is still going on by observation, what do you see now? >> hi, chris, area, one of the things we are seeing, we started seeing a couple minutes ago as this truck moved past, you can see the police down the street
have moved a special forces d g drug. >> from front of that building, they had their guns at the ready. they appear to be moving somewhat back from that building in the other direction. so wondering wlrntsz that could indicate that, indeed the raid is over as that one police official seems to have told us or whether or not they might be just moving for some other sort of tactic am reason. but there is certainly a lot of motion we are seeing at this point in time. >> that truck that they moved in, which is a truck that belonged to those elites, police special forces, called the dri, at the same time the personnel, themselves, apparently sort of standing down a little bit from their positions that they had before, where they were really at the ready and a little move
eight what i from what appears to be that building where all of this was happening, chris. >> all right. fred, if you are just joining us right now, what you are seeing is a group of french military and police at the entryway of a church tearing a hole in the door on speculation that there may be a terrorist hiding inside this christian church. this is the culmination of an operation that's been going on for hours throughout the night. john berman, you have been watching it all unfold. how did we get to where we are right now? >> this seven-our operation in sontene, a neighborhood to the north of paris. we are watching this exzrordnary scene, breaking down that church door. they believe two suspected terrorists killed, as many as seven now arrested. the reason they launched this raid. they had reason to believe that the mastermind behind the paris attacks on friday, abdelhamid
abaaoud, they thought he might be in that apartment building. >> that is why they launched that raid. we do not know if he was killed, arrested or there. >> we do know they discovered what wound up being equivalent to the team the size or greater on friday. >> there is two dead, seven injured, nine people, seven arrested. nine people total as many or more than took place in the paris attacks on friday. police sources tell cnn they got there just in time. just in time they feel to prevent another round of attacks as soon as today in paris. one of the woman was killed. she had a suicide vest that blew up. did she kill herself? >> how did they get to be at this church door? >> a lot of attention focused on the cell phones they found at the scene, several cell phones at the scene of friday's attack, including one that had a message on it, something to the effect of get ready to go, also
encryption apps on there, a concern of u.s. and european that they are using communications to stay under the radar. a very important lead in all this. just as we watch this unfold at the church, just to state the obviously point, if there was a terrorist hiding behind that door, there would be a gunfight under way right now. there is something they want to see. i think we can surpiez from this, it doesn't look like the most urgent situation there at that church. >> you basically have seven offers. you sit around watching one bang a hole into a door. he climbed in. he is inside the church. so we'll see what is reported to us about what they found in there again, this is not a gunfight. there have been gun fights in the preceding hours that took us to here. there were sounds of explosion. at least in part because of this vest that was detonated. perhaps by this woman, who wounds up dying inside. at least two terrorists it is reported very killed.
officers have been hurt. this part of an ongoing reporting just in the nick of time to stop another wave of attacks here in and around paris. now, in our paris bureau. we have paul cruickshank, a security expert. you see what we are seeing. help us understand the context of how we got to this point and what is ongoing. >> well, chris, i mean, they are warring moments, all indications are there could be two attack teams here launching that awful terrorist attack on paris on friday. eight attackers, maybe nine involved in that and eight people either killed or arrested in this overnight raid in sontene with one woman who strapped on an explosive vest, who blew herself up. there are other heavy weapons which appear to be involved. of course, we are now being told that the police felt they got
there just in time. they were planning some kind of operation imminently. and so the scale of ambition from isis would appear to be an a grander scale tan we even sort of imagined. and i think there will be concern that there are other teams out there still in paris, trying to go -- i don't think we can assume this is over, there were just two teams. clearly, they will be following every lead with a team of forensics. they will be interrogateing all the people they managed to get to try and furiously find out what else is planned here in paris. >> well, paul, absolutely, every bit of reporting, confirms what you are saying. let me bring it back to the panel, sources with knowledge of this investigation say they have absolutely no reason to believe already not more teams. a double negative there. but it takes you to a very
important conclusion, christiane, which is they don't know exactly what they are dealing with here. they went on a lead because of these cell phones, they went out finding an entirely second team with the same explosive equipment, the same fire power as the ones that did the attack on friday. >> let's wait and see exactly who these people are. look, over the last couple days, they upped the number of terrorists they believe were involved in this whole thing and from the beginning they have said, even the president said, the ministry of interior about to brief about a half how far on the latest investigations, have said is that we think there are even more, remember, when we started, it was seven or eight terrorists. now it's 15 and numbers are climbing. even yesterday, they said 20 or. so but from the very beginning, they were very afraid that there would be more attacks. which was the preventive order to keep people off the streets and not congregating in public spaces. so they're quite worried about that. they do think -- so far we have
been told they think this is not some completely different operation. some completely different cell. it's all a part of the same big potential plot. >> similar weaponry. similar explosives. >> all a part of the same. >> there have been hundreds of raids every night in france since friday. this morning we have been told quite clearly this was was different. this was launched to target abdelhamid abaaoud. was he there. >> we don't know. >> in addition to the possibility of other attackers, there would have to be a support network to allow a magnitude of this scale and expanse to take place here, which is another thing driving those raids. just another point to ba you were saying earlier, chris. one sort of sad irony of this is within have you an atact and you investigate that often reveals other leads. it leads you in other places, so there is, i hate to use the word benefit, right, you've had an attack here, it is option. they have i.d.s of some attackers, cell phones.
this is leading them to other places. >> there is a state of emergency allowing police power that did not exist. we are hearing from multiple sources they are usually not allowed to conduct raids in the way they are now. >> that is giving them a flood of information which they believe is established a spider webb of networks in and around paris. >> so actually they are learning more and more more. they are actually being led by each one of these bits of the jigsaw to more and more concentrated knowledge of what's going on, hence, today. >> all right. so we have, we're watching throughout the morning here what's going on in this active scene in sontene. we will take you through it. all right. we are, obviously, in paris with major coverage overnight. are you looking at a scene at a
raid just outside paris called sontene. for hours, there have been explosions, gunfire, at least two terrorists killed. several others arrested. officers hurt. speculation that this was an extension of a manhunt looking for the planner of friday's attacks. what's going on now is different active groups of officers looking at different apartments where a team was revealed that resulted in gunfire and fatalities. they believe that they got there just in the nick of time before this team that they discovered could launch yet another wave of attacks. what those attacks would have been, we're not told at this time. cnn has multiple sells of eyes on the scene. let's start with clarissa ward, senior investigative correspondent. what are you seeing right now?