-- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com hello, i'm wolf blitzer. it is 1:00 p.m. in washington and 6:00 p.m. in bamako, mali, and 6:00 p.m. in paris, and where wherever you are watching us, thank you for joining us. >> announcer: cnn breaking news. >> major breaking news unfolding. one week ago is the paris att k attacks, and now we are learning that one more person has died bringing the death toll to 130. and new news in the investigation, the woman thought to blow herself up in wednesday's raid did not blow herself up. our diplomatic reporter nic robertson is joining us to tell
us about who this woman was, and what happened there? >> well, she may not have well blown herself up in the suicide explosion which is what we are being told. now the police say it is possible that she was caught in the explosion of either abdelhamid abaaoud blowing himself up or detonating his explosives or what we have discovered through the day by investigators is that there were actually three people killed in the apartment building in saint denis, and we were oraniginally told two, and then possibly two or three, and the investigators, wolf, they have had a hard time going through the apartment to discerning what happened with 5,000 rounds fired an grenades, and he i have explosives to breech the entry to get into the doors there, and so we were told that abaaoud's body had multiple impacts, but now it is a clear distinction that hasna
aitboulahcen who is first believed to be the first female bomber to detonate a vest appears not to be the case. how else does this change the investigation, is not clear, but what it does tell us is the painstaking way that the investigators are going through the situation. they are learning new details all of the time, a nd sometimes the new details contradict what they previously understood. so it is a very, very difficult and lengthy process involved in the investigation, wolf. >> and nic, the surveillance radio -- surveillance video is now showing abdelhamid abaaoud on new video and what is this video and what does it show? >> it is from one of the paris subways near a suburb, and what is significant is it is where one of the black vehicles was
dumped by the attacker, and it raised the question, because it was 10:00 p.m. in the evening and attacks went from 9:20 to 9:50, so potentially, he was there in the paris suburbs when atta attackers left the vehicle there or did he park it there for him, and raises the question, was he in direct contact with the attackers in the immediate minute before they set off the detonator and explosives and began their assault. again, another piece of the puzzle for the investigator, and remember this, wolf, that night, the french authorities a week ago did not know he was in paris. they believed he might have been in syria, and not until three days later that moroccan intelligence officials tipped him off, because he was moroccan/belgian nationally, and so now like any invest gays,
they have the place that he died and backtracking through various means of the cell phone usage and the cctv video, and now they know what to look for and backtrack through time to know what he is doing in the days before, but the latest development potentially significant. again, tying him closer and closer still to the attack last friday, wol. >> and nic robertson in paris for us. stand by, because i want to get you to another breaking story that we are following, the brazen hotel attack in the capital of mali, bamako, and they have seen their share of terrorist attacktive ti. this is one of the radisson blue hotels, and one of the nicest hotels in the country, and among them french citizen, and before the siege started, the pentagon now confirming that all u.s. defense military personnel have been accounted for who were in the mali capital, and joining us
from nairobi, kenya, robyn kriel joins us. what do we know about the gunmen and the casualty count? the casualty count as we understand could be as low as 10 and however, the afp are reporting up to 18. we are hearing from the eyewitnesses that they are seeing more bodies coming up, so it could go up are from there, wolf. in terms of the attackers, we understand that there are two but more possibly, and from what we understand from the eyewitnesses at the moment, special forces from mali and foreign governments as well going room to room searching and clearing each room looking for more attackers and the hotel of this size around 190 rooms we understand would be prime place for attackers to hide, and they are also finding terrified hotel residents who did not get caught up in the horrific hostage siege which lasted pretty much all day.
>> and basically, it is basically everything that we are hearing, rbyn, it is over except for the search for the t terrorists is that right? >> yes. from what we understand that there are no more hostages to be freed. those who survived are all free. we understand of the dead so far only four nationalities thus far, and that is one belgian man, one french national, and two malian nationals coming from the united nations earlier in the morn, and we understand that people from various nationallies were rescued, and what will turn out to be terrific stories coming up. turkish nationals and chinese nationals and indian nationals and two germans and at least six u.s. citizens were also rescued successfully, and these are some of the positive stories coming out, but now it is a matter of counting the dead and obviously going room to room to try the find those who are still hiding be they good or bad.
>> all right. robyn kriel is reporting from nairo nairobi, and thank you, robyn, we will stay in touch with you. i want to bring in a senator on the armed forces committee, and what can you tell us, senator, about the hostage attack on the radisson blue hotel in mali? >> well, wolf, we are watching it very closely. we don't have enough details to draw the conclusions, and we, al qaeda's claiming credit, and no confirmation whether isil had any support here, and the fact is that we need global unity to fight the terrorist, and be prepared wherever they may attack. it is showing the vulnerability, and now we know the attacks that have happened before and we know the terrorist threats in the
region, and we need to the protect the global interests in a more unified way. >> there is some suspicion in the past, as you know, that isis terrorists in mali have cooperated with the isis terrorists with al qaeda terrorists there in mali? >> well, terrorists are terrorists. whether they are isis or al qaeda, they are terrorists. there are certainly relationships, and that is one of the issues that we are interested in following in the mali attacks as to what relationship if any did the attack have with the isil command. we will get to the bottom of this this. we had presence in mali because of the concern here, and we will find out what happened. >> and i know that you is been well briefed, senator, on the paris terror at a tacks, but is it the working assumption still, and i have heard it, but i want
c confirmation from you that there are still other terrorists involved in the terrorist attacks, and other terrorists at large in belgium or the netherlands or elsewhere? >> yes, the french are confident that there are still terrorists loose in the communities in paris and elsewhere in the region. they are concerned about that, and that is why they are ongoing actively in the raids and getting as much information as possible. at least one of the perpetrators of the paris attack that is not accounted for yet. they believe it is still in the region, and so, yes, major concern that there are still terrorists at large that could be planning other attacks. >> how seriously, senator, do you think that the threats and the isis propaganda video that have been released against various targets, and high profile targets in new york city like times square or washington, d.c., and the white house, and
how seriously are you taking the threats? >> well, we take every threat seriously, and the department of homeland security knows of no credible information on any specific attack in the united states. we know that we are different than europe, and different systems in place, and obviously, we have to be on the guard, and in an open society like the united states with so many places that people congregate, and that individuals could be motivated to action and may not be part of the network, we have to be smart, and do the best intelligence gathering in order to protect our homeland. >> one quick question on the whole refugee debate surfacing in the united states in the aftermath of the paris attacks, the house of representatives voted almost overwhelmingly with almost all republicans and most of the democrats to vote to make it more difficult for refugees to come in from syria and iraq,
and put it on pause, and that legislation is now coming to the u.s. senate. how are you going to vote on it? >> well, i think that we are going to be looking at it in a more comprehensive way. we want to make sure that we have the strongest possible security clearances for all people who come to our country who are non-american. so we want the to make sure that the foreign fighters cannot get into america. we are more concerned quite frankly about the visa waiver program where tens of millions of people come into the united states. we have a lot of the foreign fighters that are holding passports from countries that have a visa waiver program with the united states where these people can enter without a visa. so i think that you will find in the senate that the we want to make sure that we take all necessary steps. we know that we have rigorous screenings for the refugee resettlement, and can we stress it? we will take a broader look at how people come into the country. >> and so you have not e e d
sided if that language of the house bill comes to the senate, you don't know whether you are going to be voting yea or nay? >> well, the administration is saying that it could put the refugee resettlement program on hold, and i want justification to put it on hold. at this moment, not a single problem with the syrian refugee who has come into america as far as any terrorist problem. they must establish themselves as being at risk of victims of terrorism, and go through the screen in screenings of the terrorist organizations or the criminal activities and check to see if it is adequate. if we strengthen it, we will strengthen it, and do everything to make americans safe, but i am not sure that the house bill is to way to go. >> and senator ben cardin is a ranking member of the foreign relations committee. thank you for being with us. >> my pleasure, wolf. and now, cnn has now learned that the fbi is watching dozen s of people here in the united states who might have been
inspired by the terrorist at th the -- terrorist attacks, and we will take a closer look at mali and who might have been behind it. your loving touch stimulates his senses and nurtures his mind. the johnson's scent, lather, and bubbles help enhance the experience. so why just clean your baby, when you can give him so much more?
and less saturated fat. only eggland's best. better taste. better nutrition. better eggs. the attack in mali and nearly 12 hour hours after the the siege started at the radisson blue hotel there, and now government officials say that all hostages have been cleared. and now, we are joined by the former special units drirector, and special agent of terrorist attack force and consultant for overseas law enforcement. and for ya, you have been to mali when you were in the government and wosh ing to ting fbi, and when you heard of the attack at the radisson blue h hotel, what did you see? >> i asked why they would be picking this hotel, and you can see why they call themselves al
qaeda of west africa, and it is number one, can they kill the people they want to kill, and it is foreigners and mainly french, and get past the security and can they get the coverage they want to inspire others. so in this particular case, they were able to get all of these thing, and as you might have been told, they were separating some victims and holding others hostage. >> and people they were letting go? >> yes, it is basic muslim prayer that almost every real muslim will know, they are letting the people go. so they are letting the the muslims go, and keeping the others inside. >> that is chilling situation. tom, you never been to mali, but you have covered the incidents over the years when you were in the fbi, tom fuentes, and there was u.s. personnel there on the ground. >> yes, i have been to a number of the countries there in the neighborhood and all over africa and typically in the poor countries, they may have one
western standard hotel or one or two, and the foreign businessmen coming in whether from u.s. or europe are going to the stay there, because of the quality of the hotel compared to everything else main the town. so that is why it is targeted and that is why these hotels get targeted like that, whether it is an american-owned hotel in pakistan or africa or wherever it might be, but that is why. they know when they go in there to kill people, they will be killing the westerners. >> that is the goal. how strong is al qaeda in mali? >> it is getting stronger. a lot of the weak governments there, and they had the military coup that didn't succeed and that is when the five militia groups came in and caused havoc. and you have boca ha ram in nigeria and other unstable governments and the people who live in the sahara desert joining some of the groups coming up to fight. >> and tom, can we assume that what is going on in mali has a connection to what happened last friday night in paris? >> well, the only reason to w
wonder is that it is a steady drum beat, and to link it to specifically to paris maybe business as usual for them. >> and is there a concern for copycats? >> well, not just copycats, but threatening and attacking in mali and the neighboring countri countries, and al qaeda of maghreb said if you want our name, you have to kill westerns, so the groups have been expanding from northern africa to sub saharan africa and attacking the westerners now, and mali, and we have seen it in libya and nigeria as well, where they are no longer attacking the local interests, but western interests as well. >> the phrfrench have played a significant role in trying to the deal with the terror attempt in mali. >> and they have counter terrorism in the region of five countries and definitely a lot of people in mali, and hostages killed in the past, and they are
doing other operations to help the government of mali. >> and so when you were there several years ago, and you were part of the joint terrorism task force? >> no, with another agency and i was there unofficially to provide some training for the government of mali. >> thank you, foria and tom as well. and coming up next, nick paton walsh got extraordinarily up close to the front lines of isis in syria, and he is going to be joining us next. people don't have to think about where their electricity comes from. they flip the switch-- and the light comes on. it's our job to make sure that it does. using natural gas this power plant can produce enough energy for about 600,000 homes. generating electricity that's cleaner
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>> well, from where we were about 20 miles a wai way from t main city oraqqah which isis is declaring the capital of the caliphate, it is clear that there are a small number of kurdish fighters. and we have heard a large number of explosions report, and still in raqqah, they were saying four missile missiles in total hitting the western part of raqqa, and claim they were russian but yet it is hard to tell how you would define that and go on to tell that isis fired four missiles of their own, and homemade missiles to what is referred to on the front lines as katyushas. and you will hear more of the front line report, wolf.
>> and have you heard of any turkish or other air strikes in and around raqqah? >> without a doubt. certainly, there have been no question the last four days, there have been a significant uptick in the number of air strike, and that is visible from the front lines, and everybody that we spoke to, and it has caused a real concern, wolf, about the civilian casualties, because the sheer number of targets suddenly available in a short window of time and varied as they are, and asking if the americans are supplying information to the french which is the case, and why the americans did not hit these cases earlier, and are old targets hit twice, and are the russians trying to avoid the civilian casualties of the coalition and remember that inside of that city, there are tense of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of people being brutalized by isis and una able to leave and now vengeance
against isis exacted on the city they live in at this stage. we don't know the full details, but we know that the impact of the strikes was most severe when a fuel truck was hit there in the city, but there could be more, and the impact is clear, too, and the isis leaders are fleeing we are told by some activists out to the east, but some are digging in potentially for the longer fight here, because raqqah is very much in the crosshairs of what international reaction there may be, and it sits on the empty and open plane surrounded by vast expanses of nothingness. frankly, exposed, but you could argue, easily to defend and a lot of air power over that city now, wolf. >> raqqah before the civil war was considered sek cular and relatively liberal of a couple of hundred thousand. and any idea how many people are left inside of raqqa right now? i assume that most of the people
have tried to flee. >> well, way back in november of 2013, we talked to secular inhabitants who said slowly that the numbers have been when isis had gone into full swing, that they were brought in. and also those who they held captive and the foreign fighters and the other syrian fighters who have joined the ranks are now inside of raqqa. it is frankly impossible to give you an accurate gauge of how many people are left inside particularly with the renewal of the air strike, and outside possibility that the isis there structure may not be as solid as once was. remember, they have had a number of losses. and jihadi john killed by an air strike, and sinjar which is a strategic town taken by the peshmerga and not much of a fight by isis, and that is a key
point, because it seems that the isis learned that what they have lost in kobani, and so they the pulled out of sinjar, and so that is a huge potential issue for those in raqqah, because the easy escape route is gone. it has some huge trenches dug around it, and so phenomenally complicated job to relocate ÷they must be working out how much manpower to holding raqqah if there is a ground the offensive and a lot of talk about that, wolf, of everybody that we speak to the that something is about to happen, but frankly, it is coupled with the fact that the weapons aret not what they want, and it is a confusing message, but it is one that has momentum like never r before, wolf. >> and one here in washington that as isis is losing ground in
raqqah and elsewhere in sinjar and you have heard about the jihadi john, one of the explanations for their expanding the operations outside of syria and iraq, and whether in beirut or paris or in sinai h in egypt reaching out, they are trying to show they are very much viable. we will see if that explanation holds. nick paton walsh, stay very careful there inside of syria, and we will look forward to more reporting. and more law enforcement agencies in the united states are focusing on more terrorist threats from copycats. stay tuned, we are covering more breaking news. that whether times are good or bad, people and their ideas will continue to move the world forward. as long as they have someone to believe in them. citi financed the transatlantic cable that connected continents. and the panama canal, that made our world a smaller place.
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terrorist attacks could have a ripple effect in the united states. the fbi director james comey and the attorney general of the united states loretta lynch are now saying that the fbi is closely watching dozens of people here in the united states who they say may try to kcarry out a copycat attack here in the united states. we will talk about this justice reporter evan perez and also foria younes who worked as a consultant overseas, and also former terrorist specialist tom fuentes with the fbi.
evan, what are you learning? >> well, there is a shortening of the time of becoming first radicalized to becoming trying to carry it out. they have noticed that the guys seem to be radicalized recently before they try to do something, and that makes the job of law enforcement exceedingly more difficu difficult. so they the are watching a few dozen of the people. there are 900 investigations in all going, but they decided to focus on the ones higher priority and the people they believe are most lickly to carry it out. >> and we have reported that in europe whether france or belgium, the law enforcement intelligence, they seem to be of whemed by the huge number they are tracking. 900 open investigations here in the united states. a fear among the u.s. law enforcement, the fbi, the justice officials that the fbi could soon be overwhelmed with the number of surveillance programs under way. you need a lot of people to watch one individual. >> well, there was a period between may and july before the 4th of july, and we talked about
the threat that they were seeing, and that is when they did have to draw the agents from the criminal cases to try to do more surveillance on the national security cases. that is a period that the fbi director says was unsustainable. they are not doing that right now, but i can tell you that they are concerned that the more of the cases that they have to open, it is going to draw on more resources. >> and tom, take us behind the scenes to take us to what significant the threat may be for another person are requiring more surveillance. >> well, they are gathering as much intelligence as they can, and hoping that the outreach programs and the signals and the intelligence are overseas and the methods of gathering information together, a nd hopig they are picking the right targets at the right time. and remember in boston they had a wiretap and full court coverage of a guy who intended to kill police aofficers with a big knife that he ordered and as soon as he got the knife, he was on wiretap telling the partner, i am going to the go out the
kill the boys in blue today and i can't wait. they confronted him on the street, and he was shot dead on the street, but if they had not been on him on that wiretap, he would have killed some people. >> and the concern is that all of the isis propaganda is that there is the social media for you and you monitor it closely, and the successful attacks whether in paris or the killing of the 224 people on the russian plane over sinai and the sue sid bombings in beirut only inspire s more potential terrorists to appear here in the united states. how concerned are u.s. law enforcement that these successful terror attacks will promote more? >> i think that law enforcement is very concerned, and they should be. any time you have a large killings and media coverage, the terrorists know they can be more successful. if they are watching it on the television, there is a good likelihood even if they are thinking it, maybe not as skill ed as the old timer al qaeda attacks, but maybe they pick up
a knife and get in the car to try to drive over people, but they want the heroism themselves to make it appear they have done something for the cause also. >> it is a chilling thought, guys. don't go too far away, and we are getting more on the copycat threats, and the determination to prevent further attacks, and we have a senator who will be talking to us when we come back. we'll be with her all day to see how it goes. after the deliveries, i was ok. now the ciabatta is done and the pain is starting again. more pills? seriously? seriously. all these stops to take more pills can be a pain. can i get my aleve back? for my pain, i want my aleve. get all day minor arthritis pain relief with an easy open cap. big day? ah, the usual. moved some new cars.
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the attacks have raised concerns for security here in the united states. joining us to talk more about it is republican congressman who serves on the homeland security committee and the foreign fighters task force as well. congressman, we are told that the fbi is on the look out for copycat terrorists at large here in the united states. how concerned are you, based on all of the briefings that you have received about it? >> well, very concerned. i have had dozens of briefings and sometimes as many as three a day, and a dozen a week. and so the concern is that high, and the threat loefl is high for a while now. >> what needs to be done now to make sure that times square in new york, the harold square in new york, the white house, the monuments in washington, these isis videos and the propaganda videos are directly threatening them, and what needs to be done now? >> well, we need to remain on a
high level of alert, and the security risk is high, and we have to look forward to realize that there are some things that we can do the close the gaps domestically and internationally. and the task force found 32 e key find inings and recommendations, and we are working on the legislative package to get through congress quickly, but we are writing the laws now. >> and we heard from evan perez our justice reporter who said that there are 900 open investigations of terror suspects in the united states right now. is there a concern that the law enforcement, federal, state, local could be overwhelmed if the number grows? >> absolutely. there is no question about it. in every federal judicial district in the countrym4 theres a joint terrorism task force, and they are the front lines of the investigation, and they really being stretched very thin right now, and one of the recommendation of the report is to strengthen the tie, and expedite the clearance process to help augment the task forces,
and that is one thing to do to help give them some relief, because there is simply not enough federal agents to go around to do it, to do the job properly, but the task forces are doing a tremendous job under a tremendous amount of stress right now. >> i know that you have been briefed on aviation security, and that picture that we saw of the so-called soda can bomb that was supposedly place d in the passenger plane in sinai, and we are showing the viewers the picture of the soda can bomb and the detonators as well, and detonated shortlyf a it took off from sharm el sheikh, and is there any indication that it could have done that the type of destruction to blow that plane out of the sky? >> yes, and it also points up the airport security concerns domestically and internationally. i have a couple of bills that have passed there tu house through the transportation subb committee which i chair sitting
in the senate right now, and hopefully we will get some movement on them, but better screening and vetting of the employees at airports and are recognizing that right now the employees at the airports are much less scrutiny than the people who visit the airports. we have to change that, and given the fact of what happened in sharm el sheikh looks like it was done with the help of employees of the airports goes the show you that one of the great vulnerabilities that nobody is paying attention to is employees at the airports. we have 9,000 of them at airports nationwide, and they are not getting the scrutiny they need. >> and what about the visa program to allow people into the united states from friendly countries to come into the united states as tourists or business people or whatever, and a lot of the colleagues and not only democrats, but republicans, too, are saying that we should look at that as well, because potentially terrorists could slip in. >> well, first of all, recognize
what the visa program is, because it generates bill yns of dollars of business in the united states, and also generates about 1 million jobs in the united states. the problem with the visa waiver program is information. it is not on our side of the pond, but the other side. when you have a visa wafer into another country, you are ent entering a contract that you will do information sharing at a level that makes you feel okay about the information that you are receiving regarding the travelers. anybody who takes part in the visa waiver program has to fill out the electronic survey online and that is run against the terrorist database, and it is not so much the system, but we are getting information from other countries, and the other countries need to step up the game as far as how they ga ether information and where they put it, and entering it in interpol is one of the recommendation of the task force report, and doing things like that would really help. the visa waiver program is a good idea, because in the end,
it is really an information enhancer, and security enhancer as long as the other countries that we r working with give you the proper information to screen the passengers. >> as long as they do it. that is the sticky word right there. congressman >> a member of the house homeland committee. the refugee subject has been a hot topic among red light candidates but none may be getting more attention than donald trump, who may want to register all muslims in one database. >> a database system that tracks the muslims in this country? >> there should be a lot of systems. and today you can do it. >> that's something your white house would like to do? >> i would certainly implement that. absolutely. >> how do you get. them registered? >> it would be good management. good management procedures. we can do that.
>> do you go to mosques and sign them up? >> different places, it's all about management. >> ben carson, another one of the republican presidential front runners offered this controversial analogy about syrian refugees. >>. if there's a rabid dog running around your neighborhood, you're probably not going to assume something good about that dog. you're probably going to put your children out of the way. doesn't mean that you hate all dogs. >> when asked that today about the trump plan, potentially to track muslims in the united states, ben carson called that a bad idea. >> i don't think it's a good idea to treat anybody differently. one of the hallmarks of america is that we treat everybody the same. so if we're just going to pick
out a particular group of people based on their religion, based on their race, based on some other thing, that's setting a very dangerous precedentprecede. >> here's what the democratic presidential candidate bernie sanders says about donald trump's plan. this is an outrageous and bigt bigoted statement. we will not destroy isis by undermining the constitution and our religious freedoms. that statement from bernie sanders. the democratic presidential candidate. one week after the paris massacre, a deadly siege on a hotel in mali. we'll get perspective on both attacks and what it all means. type 2 diabetes doesn't care who you are.
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the state of emergency in france for an additional three months. this at the end of a week following the horrendous terror attacks in paris. paul cruickshank is joining us right now, our terrorism analyst. paul, let's first talk about what's going on in mali right now. a terror strike at the radison blue hotel on the capital of mali. give us your assessment whether or not this is directly connect ed to what's been going on in paris. >> wolf, it may be a reaction to what happened in paris because al qaeda is claiming responsibility for this attack in a claim posted on jihadi media portal. an al qaeda group claiming
responsibility, it may be a response to isis hitting the global head lines over the last few weeks. al qaeda wants to get back in the headlines as well. there's a lot of e competition between these two groups globally for recruits. but one of the groups claiming responsibility is a group that's been founded by a one-eyed algerian terrorist who you'll recall orchestrated the hostage siege of a gas plant in algeria. when were killed when they went in. they are also responsible in march for an attack on a restaurant popular in the capital in mali. so plausible that they were involved and this was a terrorist spectacular that they were planning. in that claim of responsibility, the u.s. government analysts are assessing. they very much present this as an anti-france operation and they say one of the things they
have been trying to pressure is for prisoners in france to be liberated. >> quickly on this one terrorist who remains at large. any progress at all in finding this guy? >> well, i've been speaking to officials about this. the last time i spoke to them no progress at all. they had literally no idea where he was, which country he was. i think there's some thought that maybe he would have gone back to brussels because that's where e he has a sort of support network. it may be that he's hiding in some cellar at a friend's residence. as soon as he gets on the move, he becomes vulnerable. he's the most wanted man in europe right now. >> he certainly is. i know the search for him and other suspected terrorists is intensifying even as we speak. there's widespread speculation that there's terror cells still at large in france and elsewhere
in europe. paul cruickshank, thanks as usual for joining us. that's it for me. i'll be back at 5:00 p.m. eastern in "the situation room." the news continues, right now. i'm brooke baldwin, you're watching cnn special coverage of two major stories striking capital cities on two separate continents one week after the siege in paris. gunmen strike a luxury hotel in mahmoli in west africa. >> i'm jake tapper in paris, france. security forces are now entering their 12th hour of this crisis. they believe terrorists could still be inside the radison hotel. but mali officials saying at least one of the terrorists