tv Early Start With John Berman and Christine Romans CNN November 20, 2015 2:00am-3:01am PST
it is 11:00 a.m. here. welcome to viewers in the united states and world. >> we will get back to john in a few moments with the developments on the paris attacks. about 140 guests and 30 employees are trapped inside that hotel. the hotel located in the capital city of bamako. we are watching this unfold here. a situation that has been rapidly deteriorating here. you have the american embassy telling americans to stay home and stay inside. this is a hotel that is popular with travelers, with business people, ex-pats. we have live developments this morning. what can you tell us about the hotel attack in mali, david mckenzie. >> reporter: what we can tell you is this is an ongoing
situation. serious situation. the u.s. embassy asking nationals to shelter in place and not to move around and monitor local media. according to the spokesman of the presidency in mali, she are saying the shooting is ongoing. they spoke to a witness on the scene. some 15 minutes ago, there was a lull, but it has been going on since early this morning, mali time. at least 170 people, guests and people working at the hotel, according to the u.n. peacekeeping force there are held under hostage by two gunmen. that is unverified reports from the afp. france is now saying they have several employees at the hotel. they are monitoring the situation. chinese also have nationals there. this is a national hotel, caters
to international travelers and business people traveling through mali. it is a high value target for terrorists. we believe this is a terror attack and they set up a perimeter in both french and u.n. and local forces on the scene. >> david, let's talk about the relationship with mali and france. france and its terror attacks has been the story, center stage, for the past week. we are not saying if these are connected in any way, but france heavily involved in the former colony in a fight against radicalization. >> reporter: that's right. france has been heavily involved for many years and in fact got involved years ago in a direct military intervention saving the then government from an invasion of rebels and islamic fundamentalist groups, including those associated with al qaeda.
they were going to march in and take the capital. now the french intervened in the military operation. it now has been handed to the u.n. there is a potential peace process going on. one believes this was aimed at western interests. it is too early to tell if it has any link whatsoever to the horrific paris attacks. certainly comes within that frame. there have been several attacks over the recent years attacking western interests in that region by al qaeda linked groups. this is ongoing situation. they do say that there are a significant number of security forces on the ground. they set up a perimeter. the u.s. nationals have been asked to shelter and monitor media and including local media and wait this out. the very serious situation at least french and chinese
nationals appear to be in the hotel right now. >> 170 guests and employees of the hotel. they are calling it a hostage situation. automatic gunfire heard. anyone claiming responsibility, david? >> reporter: no, not at all. this is an ongoing situation that appeared to have started some hours ago. it is extremely unclear how this is unfolding. what we are hearing from the ground, though, is that it seems like they are held up at one of the high reaches of the hotel. maybe the seventh floor. there was a peace agreement meeting according to the u.n. spokesman earlier this week. there would have been potentially diplomats and others in the hotel for those meetings. this will shatter, of course, the peace discussions in mali and you may remember that some years ago, there was a very real threat that this could be a
situation that islamic groups took over the entire country. they were fought back effectively by france. the conclusions are too early to draw, but the connections are certainly there. >> david mckenzie, we know you have to get back to the phones and monitor your sources. david mckenzie on the ongoing hostage situation in mali. 170 people in the radisson blu hotel. it is a name you are aware of if you have done any foreign business. it is the kind of place where ex-pats or business travelers or business leaders would be gathering for meetings and do work. >> christine, i should tell you i'm monitoring french television. the situation in mali is the only story covered here in france because if you wanted to
attack french interests somewhere not inside this country, that radisson hotel in mali would be the site with the french military involvement in the country and french travelers going to the country. now it could be there are french hostages inside that hotel. among the 170 people held captive there. we will get back to the ongoing situation in just a moment. there is breaking news here in paris. the paris prosecutor's office just informed us there was a third suspect killed in that daring raid in the suburb of saint-denis the other night. so abdelhamid abaaoud, the presumed ringleader or planner of the attacks, he was killed inside. a woman, his cousin, also killed. now we learned a third body they found. they do not yet have the identity there. also this morning, more breaking news. abdelhamid abaaoud spotted on surveillance footage inside a
subway station not long after, pretty much during the ongoing attacks friday night. they have footage from him inside the subway station. they are analyzing it right now. what was he doing during the attacks? that is a key question. also this morning, still presumed on the loose, salah abdeslam, last seen on the road headed toward belgium. a series of raids in belgium over the last 24 hours leading to the detention of nine people. are they connected to the attacks? i want to go to ivan watson in belgium with the very latest. good morning, ivan. >> reporter: good morning, john. people are on edge here. there was a bomb scare in this town about an hour's drive southeast of brussels where the main courthouse was ordered to be evacuated by police. schools stopped as well. fortunately, police have since announced everything is back to
normal. there have not been any explosives found there. that taking place as ministers of the interior and justice of all of the eu countries come together for an extraordinary session to discuss measures to battle the threat of terrorism in the eu. they are discussing ways to try to strengthen the borders of the eu. of course, in the wake of the paris attacks, people stunned to learn that some suspects who were wanted here in belgium with international arrest warrants sneaked back into europe without authorities knowing until that terrible night when they themselves started attacking and blowing themselves up in paris. in addition to that, we are waiting for results of a series of raids on thursday, john, where belgian police detained
nine people. they were looking for links to the paris attacks and looking for the family and entourage of one of the suicide bombers, a man known as bilal hadfi. he was believed to have been in syria since early 2015 until he blew himself up in paris just last week. john. >> ivan watson with the situation in belgium. let's bring it back to paris. there are developments. news of a third suspected terrorist killed in the raid in the suburb of saint-denis the other night. the suspected planner of the attacks killed in that raid i was just talking about. abdelhamid abaaoud. footage of him about the time that the bataclan attack was going on. what was he doing there? i want to bring in senior
correspondent fred pleitgen covering the situation in paris with the latest developments. fred. >> reporter: john, certainly a lot of developments have come here over the last couple of hours. that surveillance video is something that is raising eyebrows. the metro station he was spotted was very close to where police found one of the get away cars on saturday. it is near the outskirts of paris. this is the black seat-leon. there were three ak-47 assault rifles that police found and towed the kara way. the raid at the bataclan was still going on. if you recall, shortly after the attacks in which the car was used, some footage came out of the car. it appears there was more than
one person in the vehicle. at that point in time, people were beginning to speculate whether abaaoud may have been on the scene. he did make his way obviously to the apartment in saint-denis where he was later confronted by the police. at this point in time, it appears as the only one we know of on the run is salah abdeslam. he is the one who was shortly detained by police officers on a road that leads to belgium. right now, however, the authorities are also looking into whether or not he might have gone to the netherlands. he has affiliation with the netherlands in the past, john. >> frederik pleitgen for us covering the situation in paris. there was an alarming situation happening right now in the west african nation of mali. gunmen storming a hotel there. 170 people now being held hostage inside. this is a hotel with a lot of western travelers and tourists.
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that's huge for my bottom line. what's in your wallet? we are following breaking news this morning from bamako. two gunmen storming a radisson hotel. witnesses report automatic weapons fire. the u.s. embassy tweeting a warning to staffers and americans in the area. the american embassy saying they should shelter in place. stay home. do not go out. three months ago, extremists killed 13 people at a hotel in central mali. the owner of the restaurant next door to the radisson blu is on the phone with me. thank you for joining us. tell me what you heard this
morning at the radisson. >> good morning. first of all, we heard around 7:00 a.m. that gunman came in front of the hotel and shot all the security there. we heard two of the security guards passed away. then the two gunmen got into the hotel and shot. we don't know if they shot people there. around 8:00, we heard huge explosion coming from inside the hotel. after that, we have seen people from the hotel. some of them were coming in the restaurant. they managed to get away from the hotel from a small back
door. that's all we heard. we have information that the tourists are in the group of the hotel. they have 170 people. >> we are hearing that information as well. 170 people held by two gunmen right now, amine. you think that the security guard killed by the terrorists on the way into the hotel. those people are being held in a hostage situation. are you hearing anymore automatic gunfire? have you heard anymore explosions? >> yes, around 8:00, we heard one explosion coming from the hotel. we don't know if it is from the outside or inside of the hotel.
we have heard about 300 meters away from the hotel. i can say that was a huge explosion. >> tell me what security is like in general. this is the place, the radisson blu. if you are an international business traveler or a peace keeper or diplomat working or visiting mali, this is a name you would know. >> you know, radisson blu is a known hotel. a lot of people do there for their stay. >> if terrorists wanted to strike western interests, that would be the location is what i'm saying. a peace conference under way i'm told. >> i don't know, really. i can say the neighborhood is a
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we are following this breaking news from bamako. two gunman storming a radisson blu hotel. taking 170 guests and employees hostage. we are hearing three fatalities. two mali and one french dead. hearing automatic weapons fire. the u.s. embassy is warning americans in the area to shelter in place. just three months ago, suspected islamic extremists killed 13
people, including five u.n. workers, in an hotel in mali. we will bring you updates throughout the morning. again, three fatalities, john berman, two malian and one french. we know 150 other people in that hotel right now locked in by these, we think, two gunmen. we spoke to a restaurant owner, john, next door to the hotel, who heard the initial gunfire and heard an explosion later and said the security guards were fired on and were killed as those gunmen went into the hotel, john. >> christine, it is interesting. i'm here in paris, obviously covering the terror attacks here that were one week ago. on french television, the only story and i'm gazing off to look at it right now. it has become wall-to-wall, we learned three people killed. two from mali and one french
national. this is important because france is heavily involved in that country. the french military involved in that country over the last several years. if you wanted to attack the french interests outside of france, mali would be one country where you could do that and the radisson hotel there, specifically, a location to do that. i was just speaking to people here who spent time in that hotel. it is a hotel known for housing business travelers and hotel known for housing diplomats. a hotel known for traveling foreigners, particularly in the business and diplomatic community who go to bamako. the french who are so badly bruised by what happened here are now watching their interests in some cases being attacked outside the borders as well. christine. >> all right. so interesting as well. we don't know if there is a connection with this event and where you are, john, a week ago, and we don't have anyone claiming responsibility. the ties, the french ties in
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this is cnn breaking news. >> our breaking news this morning, gunmen attacking a radisson hotel in mali. there are 170 hostages locked inside. at least three people are dead. welcome back to "early start." i'm christine romans in new york. >> and i'm john berman in paris. 30 minutes after the hour here. one week after the paris attacks. christine. i can telling you in the city, all eyes are on this siege, this hostage situation developing in mali. >> let's get right to that. we'll get back to paris in a moment. let's talk about the hostage situation unfolding in mali in
the radisson hotel. about 140 guests, 30 employees trapped inside this hotel which is located in the capital city of bamako. cnn's david mckenzie is monitoring this live from johannesburg this morning. we know there are three fatalities. what can you tell us? >> reporter: according to hotel officials, 170 people both guests and people working in that hotel, the radisson hotel in bamako, the capital of mali. a favorite hotel for westerners and business travelers. they are holed up in a standoff with security forces both local and international. including french forces involved. a state tv reporter who is on the scene or near to it, say at
9:30 local time, there was a beginning of the strike by security forces to take on the hostage takers. it appears this unfolded early in the morning according to witnesses around 7:00 a.m. in bamako. as gunmen, unverified, went into the hotel and started shooting. three dead, as i say, so far. the latest we have is from chinese state media. they managed to get hold of chinese national there. at least seven stuck in the hotel. who said they heard multiple gunshots around a room. more scattered gunshots ensued. they could not get a hold of the front desk. it was escalating quickly situation in the hotel. now we believe that the u.n. peacekeeping forces are also
involved together with malian forces set up perimeter around the hotel as the situation unfolds. christine and john. >> we know, david, the hotel, we can show you where it is in the capital city, we can show you where it is relative to the u.s. embas embassy. the embassy telling americans to stay home and not to go outside. david, the clientele of the radisson blu would be business leaders and ex-patriates. >> reporter: and certainly there has been a series of years of tension and worse in mali in recent years. you remember in 2012 the rebellion joined in with the rebels and joined with the french forces in the operation
back then. they handed that over to the u.n. peacekeeping mission. there are at least several french nationals in that hotel. right now. of course, one french citizen confirmed killed in this attack, according to u.n. officials. in the wake of the devastating paris attacks, certainly the whole nation of france and world will be watching and wondering if there is a connection. certainly the french have a very significant military and civilian assets in mali and have had for a very long time. >> david mckenzie, it is john berman in paris. you are right. all eyes in france right now on the situation in mali. just a few minutes ago, we got new information about the situation on the ground in bamako. cnn being told special forces launched their first raid to counter this assault about one
hour ago. about 4:30 a.m. eastern time, special forces went in to try to help the 170 people held hostage inside. the situation we are told still very much ongoing. david, as you reported, three known fatalities so far. two from mali, one a french national. that is because mali very much within the french sphere shall we say. the french military has been involved there over of the last several years. we don't know if there is a connection with the paris attacks and what is happening in mali right now. if you wanted to attack france outside the borders of france, mali is one place to do that. this radisson business hotel with a lot of international travelers is the place to do that. >> reporter: certainly. a symbolic target and u.n.
officials saying there was a big delegation there for peace process. this may have links to the local situation in mali which is limping toward peace because of that threat of islamic affiliated groups. islamic fundamentalist affiliated groups that were threatening the capital some years ago. significant french interests in the y. france has drawn down its troop levels within mali. in times of peace, i have seen french special forces in mali and elsewhere in that region operated both operations. the french military is linked to the region as well. particularly in mali with the close cultural and military connection to france. right now, though, it appears there are these hotel guests like this chinese person we
spoke to state tv in china. terrified and holed up in their rooms under the threat of gunmen. it is appearing to be at a standoff stage. witnesses you spoke to on the air and what we glean from the barrage of explosions did come down. that by no means, means the situation is over. >> david, we are learning the gunshots stopped around 30 minutes ago. maybe in the last 30 minutes, it has been quiet. you are right, a standoff or standstill there. one witness, a restaurant owner next to the hotel telling us they saw a couple of people escaping through a door who had been working out in the gym. it is morning there in mali. this has been going on for a few hours now. tell us a bit, david, about who the players are now.
you have u.n. peacekeepers and security forces, you have special forces there, you have diplomatic entourage. who is there on the ground now? >> reporter: there's a big significant military presence. coalition of u.n. peacekeepers took over the operation from the french. they have been steps to recruit peace. it is important to give a recent history of the situation there. you had the rebellion which was able to push through from the northern part of mali and to the capital in 2012 because of chaos, but because of the mali military with the situation of the coup in the country. that vacuum, for similar ways of what we have seen in nigeria, created this movement or opportunity for a rebellion to push forward very much pushed by and with the help of al qaeda.
it is an ongoing terror threat to western interests and west african interests. there have been a spate of attacks targeting and mining oil operations in the region earlier this year and targeting devastating u.n. there are many groups, several groups working in that region who would want to potentially attack french interests and western interests. it is certainly significant. this location. whether it is a broader statement they are making or a narrow political statement from that region, we do not know yet. we don't know also the scale of the attack because you have these people held up by gunmen. we have seen this throughout the world now. including in france and india. this situation is extremely difficult from a security perspective to solve without further loss of life. >> david, stay with us. continue to work on the story.
our breaking news this morning from bamako, the capital of mali. two gunmen storming a radisson blu hotel. they have taken 170 guests and employees hostage. this hostage situation ongoing right now. witnesses report hearing automatic weapons fire. according to the u.n., three people are dead. two malian nationals and one french national. we have been told three u.n. members have been evacuated from the siege. the u.s. embassy in mali warning
all americans they should shelter in place. three months ago, 13 people were killed, including five u.n. workers at a hotel in central mali. john berman, this is an attack on diplomacy and western interests and france directly because of the strong long ties between france and mali. >> reporter: christine, obviously i'm in paris covering the aftermath of the attacks here that were one week ago. i can tell you right now on french television and french media, it is wall-to-wall coverage of the situation in mali. the french government went into mali three years ago. al qaeda and al qaeda affiliated groups occupied the northern part of the country. the french stormed in and turned the country back over to its people. if you wanted to attack france, outside of france itself, mali
would be the country where you make that statement. the radisson blu hotel within that country where you find business travelers and find diplomats. at this point, we have been told three people killed. two from mali and one french national. it is not surprising that people from france would be at that hotel. christine, we are also told a raid, special forces raid on that hotel took place an hour and 15 minutes ago. obviously troops going in now to confront the would-be attackers. as you said, early reports were just two gunmen. hard to believe two gunmen can control hostages of 170. 30 staff members among them in the ongoing situation in mali. i want to say president obama who is traveling right now on the road, i believe in malaysia
this morning, has been briefed on the situation. the ongoing terror situation in mali. >> we are told, john, the security forces there have managed to get some people out of the hotel. perhaps a dozen or so. the u.n. has said a few of its employees have been evacuated and pulled out of that siege situation. we know from talking to a restaurant owner next door to the hotel, he saw two people manage to slip out of a side door. people in a hotel's gym. there are some people managing to get out of there, but by and large, this is a very big hostage situation that is still unfolding. we have not heard gunshots, john berman, for the last 40 minutes or so. it seems at this point, john, this is a standoff. we don't know what is going on inside that hotel right now. >> we don't know if this is connected to the terror attacks
here in paris. in mali, it has been mainly al qaeda affiliated groups operating. not necessarily isis. isis claiming responsibility for what happened here in paris. i have spoken to someone that stayed at the radisson hotel in ma mali. it is known for business and diplomatic travel, but known as a western hangout. a places where westerners go. >> and the embassy warned its staffers and americans in the vicinity to shelter in place. stay home. we know military personnel ringed the hotel and we are waiting for word if they are able to get anymore out. three fatalities there. john, no one has claimed responsibility. you make a very good point that isis taking responsibility for what happened in paris. this is al qaeda territory in
mali. >> very much so. very much so. al qaeda affiliated group occupy a huge swath of territory in the northern part of the country. that was an area where fighters traversed into libya. so much conflict going on there as well. it was a transit area for fighters into libya. mostly connected again to al qaeda. no shortage of islamist terrorists operating in that region. a number of attacks, you mentioned one within the last year in mali. a frequent target for terror groups there. as of now, no known isis connection. the reason we wonder is because of what happened one week ago last friday night. just within the last few days, more active here as well with the man believed to be the ringleader, abdelhamid abaaoud, killed in a raid in the suburb of saint-denis. some people wondering if this is
retaliation for that. no known connection at the time. definitely french interests this morning because of the possibility there could be many french citizens at the hotel right now. >> a lot of breaking developments. reuters reporting that the gunmen are moving floor by floor and taking people. they are moving to the seventh floor of the radisson blu hotel. few people getting out in the terrifying situation there at radisson blu. john berman, stay with me. we will have more on the gunmen storming the hotel. 170 people trapped inside. gunmen moving floor to floor. three people dead. we are back after a break. start with a positive attitude... and positively radiant skin. aveeno® positively radiant moisturizer... with active naturals® soy. aveeno® naturally beautiful results®. it begins from the the second we're born.er. because, healthier doesn't happen all by itself.
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we are following breaking news from bamako. the capital of mali. two gunmen storming a radisson blu hotel taking 170 guests and employees hostages. three people are dead. two mali nationals and one french national. the u.s. embassy warning americans to shelter in place. two gunmen arrived with automatic weapons and fired through the security post at the entrance, john. reuters reporting the gunmen are moving floor-to-floor throughout the hotel, john. >> christine, hard to believe. could be more people involved.
we understand the special forces began a siege on the hotel for an hour and a half to try to take control of the situation. here in paris, all eyes on the situation. enormous french interests in mali. the likelihood there are french travelers inside that hotel. business men and diplomats. the hostage situation in mali. "new day" picks it up right now. >> this viewers in the united states and around the world, you are watching "new day" and we are following breaking news from here in paris. yet another terror attack. this an active hostage situation in mali's capital after 10 or more gunmen stormed a hotel there. live in johannesburg, breaking details. david, going floor-to-floor and deaths what can you tell us? >> reporter: well, chris, an evolving and serious situation
in the west african country of mali. what we know according to a u.n. spokesman around 7:00 a.m. local time, we believe that there were two to three gunmen in fact in diplomatic cars of some kind that consent to this radisson hotel, which is very popular with foreign nationals, expats as well as businessmen. there are some 170 guest, crew and people there who are potentially being held by those hostages. several people were able to escape including details now as three u.n. employees were extracted according to a u.n. spokesperson. this area has been known for its insecurity, particularly in the northern part of mali, but this is a major escalation right in the heart of the capital, very much a center of french and foreign interests in that country. chris? >> all right. david mckenzie, thank you very
much. on the phone i want to bring in a man who own as restaurant right next to the radisson where this is ongoing, says he heard the attack. what have you heard and what has happened since that transpired? communications are not great. we have storm conditions here and obviously speaking to africa. when we get him back on, we will. to the panel. k christiane amanpour -- we know what's going on. evolving, at least ten gunman a terror situation. this is a deadly situation, they're going floor by floor, there are counterauthorities trying to deal with it. it's called a hostage situation, 140 guests at least, 30 employees as well. some u.n. employees have been extracted. so that's the situation on the ground. let's talk about why. tell us a little about c