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tv   CNN Newsroom With Poppy Harlow  CNN  November 21, 2015 12:00pm-1:01pm PST

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hello, everyone. i'm poppy harleararlow joining live from paris tonight. it is 9:00 in the evening. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. we begin tonight in brussels. it is a city on lockdown, because of the, quote, serious and imminent possibility of a paris-style terror attack. that warning coming today, directly from the belgium government, as it raised the terror level there to the maximum threat level. the fear that individuals with weapons and explosives could target multiple locations at one time. today, the subway in brussels, the capital, completely shut down. shops are closed, people are being urged to stay home or at
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least to avoid large crowds. we are also learning about arrests made in connection to last week's attacks in paris, that killed 130 people. police in turkey today arresting three men, including one suspected of scouting potentially the target sites for the paris attacks. a fourth suspect was also picked up in the molenbeek neighborhood of brussels. police seizing weapons from his home. cnn senior international correspondent nima elbagir is live for us in brussels this evening. it is astonishing, nima, when you look at what we're seeing in brussels right now, the fact that this city is on high alert, the fact that this city is basically shut down. >> reporter: and that the raids continue. the searches continue, just this evening, poppy, we've seen reinforcements coming into brussels' town center. police searching -- we saw them using flashlights to look all the passing vehicles, including transit, buses, taxis, they are
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clearly looking for someone. a few moments ago, sirens were just passing behind us here. definitely you get the sense of the city on high alert. there is still some traffic here, but given this is a yaur pooen capital on a saturday night, not what you would expect. it is absolutely establishing to see belgian soldiers surrounding hotels. they've asked people not to congregate in the center of town. this morning, we were in one of the main shopping districts where some of the few shops there that had opened were very quickly closed by police, poppy. and you could see this very contained effort to not raise panic, to not scare people, but at the same time, they are clearly dealing with something very serious here, poppy. >> reporter: nima, have they been specific at all about what the threat is? i mean, you've got the prime minister of belgium coming out, saying it is an imminent threat, but are there any details? >> well, the sense we're getting
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is that there are two threats to this. there is the threat of part of this ongoing investigation into the broader network around the paris attacks, but there is also this very real, very imminent threat of a paris-style attack that they're trying to come to terms with and really trying to get ahead of. and we get that sense, also, because of the sparseness of the details that they're willing to share. even when we were standing on that street corner, watching those searches, very quickly, police vehicles moved to block our access in terms of what we could see. they're trying to limit the information that can be used against them by any potential attackers. while at the same time, balancing the reality that there are still tourists in this town, poppy. there is a population that is afraid and there are people here who are visiting, who are trying to carry on with their holidays, and not give into the panic. and that is really a huge challenge that faces this government today. >> absolutely, nima elbagir in
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brussels, thank you very much. here with me in paris, nic robertson. and nic, directly to those arrests in turkey, three men, one of them arrested on suspicion that he may have sought out and basically staked out where they were going to murder 130 people, injure almost 400 more. what else do we know about what happened in turkey? >> hugely important for french officials right now, because he may be able to connect that -- join the dots and connect to, who were the facilitators, who are the financiers. ahmed dr ahmed dahmani, and we remember the ring leader, abdelhamid abaaoud, both of moroccan descent and if belgium together. we don't know how the turkish authorities knew to move on this man, but he was meeting two other men, turkish authorities belief were members of isis, believed they'd come from syria, believed they were going to take dahmani into syria to get away from intelligence officials, whisk him away. so this has been shut down now. he'll be a huge benefit to both
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belgium and french officials. interestingly, the town where he was arrested, an talia in turke, the same town president obama was in just a week ago for the g-20. >> absolutely. >> this shows you, these people are kind of doing all of this out in the open and playing sides. >> absolutely. and you still have, of course, the hunt for salah abdeslam, the attacker here in paris. any leads on that gyet? >> no. people have asked the question, is he the third pill killed in the raid in saint-denis? logic tells you he was not. but authorities haven't announced who was the third person who was killed. we know he was a man, that's as much as we know. we believe last seen heading into belgium, the belgium authorities have two people who were with him. they went to pick him up and described him as being nervous when they picked him up. but where is he now? he seems to have gone to ground. we know with this network, they are able to go to ground, move around europe without being spotted. they have networks. that's what happens when they go
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to syria, when they go to iraq. they're with others from other countries, like-minded members of isis. so they have their networks. they have their trusted people and come here and know where they can go to hide. and that's seems like what's happened to him right now. and hugely important to get him as fast as possible. >> and he has to have some kind of help, because how could he evade the best intelligence in the world right now. nic robertson, thank you so much, live for me in a very windy paris this evening, i should say. let's go straight to former cia operative and cnn security and intelligence analyst, bob baer, also with us, cnn contributor and a journalist himself, stephan devry. bob, let me begin with you, building on what nima said, last night brussels declared the highest threat level. people have to way away from airports, anywhere crowded. basically, this is a city on lockdown where the train, the me metro station, is not even running. and this is a city where you have the highest per capita
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number of cities who joined jihad. what makes brussels so vulnerable? >> it's the poverty, the north african immigrant population has been marginalized over the years. belgium doesn't have a particularly strong government, central government. there's not very good coordination between the police. but, you know, at the end of the day, just the poverty and dislocation of these people, and of course, the wars in syria and iraq and this easy transit of people across turkey, greece, and into europe, and getting this battle training. and then, thirdly, i would add, the availability of weapons. when i used to work in brussels and this part of the world, you just couldn't get automatic weapons. and this is something new since the bakken wars and opened up the borders. >> absolutely. and i want to bring in stephan here as well. because what we just saw happen here is both the lower and the upper court house here in the
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french government passed almost unanimously a state of emergency. and that gives the police very sweeping powers, preventative detention powers, search and seizure that is very limited by law for three months. you say that is a bad decision. why? >> well, it's a very tough decision, because it's basically puts democracy on a standby. there were only six members of parliament who voted against this bill and so there are over 900 members of parliament. so you have an idea how unanimous this is. >> yeah. >> on the other hand, there are a lot of critics now saying that the government is acting too quickly. it's not thinking right, because these are times of emotions. they're basically acting on emotions, but it is, according to the government, the answer the french people would like to hear. there was a poll this week that over 80% of the french, they support the francois hollande's actions. so it shows that the french are probably waiting this kind of response. >> absolutely. bob baer, to you, do you think that that is necessary to have these sort of overarching police
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powers for the next three months, to gather the intelligence roundup, the people, that they suspect may be connected to this terrorist web. when you think back to new york and the united states in the wake of 9/11, we didn't have something similar. >> well, i think it's unfortunate and i agree that this is very dangerous for europe to have these powers, but on the other hand, i see why hollande did this, simply because there had to be a reaction from the french government after the "charlie hebdo" attacks and the attacks in brussels before, you really do need to -- you know, they see an obligation to suspend the constitution, effectively, because they have to do raids. they have to haul in people that are mere suspects and haven't committed crimes. and this is a way to collect intelligence, but on the other hand, what we're seeing is a full-on insurgency in europe. and the predictable police powers that are brought to bear against it. and let's hope there's not more
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attacks, because i think the europeans, a couple more of these are going to be completely fed up and governments will start to change. >> stephan, for you, seeing the reaction, you were here after "charlie hebdo" and now, seeing the reaction of the french people in the wake of two of these horrific attacks in ten months, what has changed? >> the big difference, generally, is the attacks on "charlie hebdo" and also on the supermarket, they targeted ideas or ideologies like a religion or a magazine. these attacks were completely different, because they targeted just random people, without any distinction of age, of craslass. >> yes, does that scare people more? >> yes, i think parisians realize, even having a cup of coffee is dangerous. now all the bars and restaurants are closed in the heart of europe. it's very difficult to comprehend what's going on there. >> absolutely. bob baer, to you. i do want to ask you about what we heard from the prime minister
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of france, manuel valls, because he came out and he warned of the possibility of isis having chemical weapons. do you think that's possible? >> i think it's almost certain that they do have them. there's been credible reports coming out of syria that isis is using chemical, you know, chlorine, for instance, against the syrian army. and the ability to get chlorine and use it in europe is a possibility. and i don't think they could kill a lot of people with it, but the sheer terror factor of it would be enough for isis' goals. >> bob baer, thank you very much. stephan, thank you. i appreciate you being with mep we are going to take a quick break. we are back live with our continuing coverage from paris right after this.
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welcome back to our continuing live coverage this evening from paris. right now, a possible imminent threat is placing brussels on high alert this evening.
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authorities issuing a very strong warning to people who live there, avoid large crowds, a specific suburb of belgium has been linked to several terror attacks in recent years. cnn's senior investigative correspondent drew griffin is there on the ground with more on this suburb that has become a meeting ground for potential terrorists. it is a place where criminals can easily buy automatic weapons and fake passports on the black market. >> this mostly muslim community in brussels is quickly becoming synonymous with terror in europe. at least a half dozen terror attacks have links to molenbeek. local prosecutors say dozens of islamic foreign fighters in syria have come from here and more and more terrorists come here to shop in the black market that specializes in the tools of their trade. >> false papers, false passports, weapon trade are flourishing in certain suburbs of brussels, like in molenbeek, and we absolutely have to
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counter these things with the help of local services, but also with the help of criminal justice. >> reporter: baleel is senior fellow at a brussels think tank says elicit trade especially in guns has put belgium and molenbeek on the terror map. >> although belgium has very strict gun laws, still there is a big black market of weapons in brussels that come from everywhere in europe, and also from the bakken countries. and it's very easy for criminal gangs or for terrorist groupings to find weapons, even war weapons, here in our city. >> reporter: he says kalashnikov rifles, the gun of choice in recent attacks can be purchased on the belgian black market for as little as $1,000. >> you're actually getting a good deal here. you're getting a good money price. >> indeed, yeah. that's the problem. >> reporter: and there is another problem, he says, that may be much bigger. >> what we see the last three,
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four, five years is that there is a merge between the jihadi radical world and between the criminal world. because lots of jihadists meet with criminals in prison. i think that the role of the branch of islam with these young people is that it's like a mental detonation mechanism, and so some of them are hard-core jihadis who were socialized in this branch of islam, since they were young, but some of them are not that muslim at all. >> that appears to be the case for the man who operated this farm. ibrahim abdul selam was known as a petty criminal here. the bar he ran down shut down just a week before the paris attacks because of drugs and other illicit activity. family and friends say his involvement in radical islam came as a shock. last week, abdeslam blew himself
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up. his brother is still on the run. he, too, has a criminal past from molenbeek, and in 2011, even spent time with another molenbeek criminal, abdelhamid abaaoud. three criminals turned jihadist. drew griffin, cnn, molenbeek, belgium. >> reporter: drew griffin, thank you very much for that. coming up next, live from paris, we will talk about the heated debate in europe and in the united states over refugees, specifically refugees from syria, following the attack in paris. we're back in a moment. (vo) what does the world run on? it runs on optimism.
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welcome back to our continuing live coverage from paris. turning our attention to the refugee crisis, vice president joe biden on twitter saying exactly what he thinks. quote, the vast majority of syrian refugees are women, children, and orphans, survivors of torture, people desperately in need of medical help. he went on to say, all refugees who come to the united states get fingerprinted, security screenings, dhs, government interviews, fbi, state department, and the department of defense sign off. but republican presidential candidates voicing very strong opinions against allowing syrian refugees into the united states.
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right now the average processing time for refugee applications is 28 to 24 months to come into the united states if syrian applicants can take significantly longer, of course, because of the security concerns. still, the house easily passed a bill for the bipartisan vote in favor of it that would suspend syrian and iraqi refugees from coming into the united states for right now. also, governor of at least 31 stays say they will not accept syrian refugees. david joins me now, he worked for the united nations refugee crisis while at the state department in iraq. you said, clearly, you're very opinionated as well, david, and you be the united states should take in refugees, because the united states is the best at vetting them. how is it better than europe? >> well, for lots of reasons. first of all, the u.s. accepts more refugees than any other country. and that's been going on for decades. we're more experienced in vetting them and resettling them
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to the united states. we also have much better intelligence services than any of the other countries that re-settle refugees and we have a much more significant legal process for resettling them. we're quite good at it. as the statistics show. 785,000 refugees have come since 9/11. only three have ever been arrested nor terrorist plots, none have engaged in terrorism, and none of those were syrians. that's very important to look at the statistics. we need to concentrate on the way terrorists may actually come here, not any possible way they may come here, because it's very possible they might come here through the refugee resettlement process. >> i want you to take a listen to what some of the republican candidates for president had to say this week about it. >> if there's a rabid dog running around your neighborhood, you probably are not going to assume something good about that dog and you're probably going to put your children out of the way. >> nobody wants to say this and
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nobody wants to shut down religious institutions or anything, but, you know, you understand it. a lot of people understand it. we're going to have no choice. absolutely no choice. >> christians who are being targeted for genocide, for persecution, christians who are being beheaded or crucified, we should be providing safe haven to them. >> what do you make of that, david? >> well, i think, comparing refugees to rapid dogs is very insulting. of course, we should be admitting christian refugees as well. >> just to be fair here, david, ben carson came out and -- ben carson came out yesterday, clarifying those comments, saying that they were taken too literally. but continue. >> understood. the point is, is that there are many good reasons to continue a refugee program. take, for instance, the fact that anyone who served in iraq as a diplomat or as a soldier, as i did, during the height of the war, had iraqis who helped them. and many of those iraqis really endangered their lives and
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endangered the lives of their families in order to help americans. the refugee resettlement program is a reward for some of them. and many of them, who when it became too dangerous for them to stay in iraq, were moved through the refugee resettlement process and brought here. these are people who helped the u.s. and we need to continue to have those types of incentives for people around the world, particularly in conflict zones, where the u.s. is active, to help us and to support us, and if they get into too much trouble and it becomes too dangerous, we need to be able to resettle them as refugees. that's what a refugee is. someone who can't stay in their own country because of fear of jeopardizing their life. >> here's how the american people feel. i think this is very telling. this is a brand-new "washington post"/abc poll. and what it shows when asked the question, should the united states accept syrian refugees, david, let's pull it up on the screen, 54% say no right now, 43% say yes. and this comes off of news that we got last night from our
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sources, that a u.s. official says at least one of the eight paris attackers likely would have been able to travel to the united states under the visa waiver program right now. so people are scared. >> well, two important points. right now, we need to do a better job of informing the public what the refugee program is. we have not done a good job. and some of the comments by some of the politicians that you showed are not helpful. second of all, talking about a potential terrorist coming through a visa waiver program is a completely different issue. if there are issues with the visa waiver program, let's focus on that. but the statistics show that terrorists have not come here as part of the refugee resettlement program. and as fact, as you mentioned, it takes more than two years for a refugee to come here through the resettlement program. it's such an unlikely way for a terrorist to target the u.s. and we need to educate americans about that. >> and to be clear here, john kerry came out, secretary of state, this week and said there have been over 750,000 refugees
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to the united states since 2001 and about a dozen, if that, have had any potential concerning ties. but still, all it takes is one. i want to get your take on this bill that is being proposed formally after thanksgiving in the united states. it would keep foreigners who have traveled, david, it would keep foreigners who have traveled to syria or iraq in the last five years from using the visa waiver program. do you think that's the right call? is that a good compromise? >> i think that's a pretty good compromise. of course, it has to be if they traveled to syria or iraq without good reason, because many people have participated in humanitarian programs or in the military from foreign countries, we wouldn't want to block them simply for their service in iraq or syria. but, yes, if someone was in iraq or in syria with unexplained purposes and we don't know what they were doing there, yes, that makes sense. that's a good policy. that's the right kind of policy we should be focusing on.
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>> all right. we'll see if that makes it through. they will be formally proposed, we're told, after thanksgiving. david tafuri, important perspective. thank you very much for being with me. >> thank. and coming up next, new concerns about security in the united states, as we head to the busiest travel season of the year. this week will show the biggest travel day of the year. much more on that, ahead. (vo) what's your dog food's first ingredient? corn? wheat? in new purina one true instinct grain free, real chicken is always #1. no corn, wheat or soy. support your active dog's whole body health with purina one. ok, wehere's dad. mom. the twins. aunt alice... you didn't tell me aunt alice was coming. of course. don't forget grandpa. can the test drive be over now?
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welcome back to our continuing live coverage this evening from paris. i'm poppy harleararloharlow. i want to update you on another tragic story. that terrorist attack in mali, one of the 19 people killed by those attackers during that hostage standoff in mali was an american with ties to a presidential candidate. anita datar, a u.s. citizen,
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died in the attacks. she's a former peace corps worker in senegal and was in mali on international development work. her former partner served as one of democratic presidential candidate hillary clinton's senior policy advisers while she was in the senate. clinton remembered her as, coat, the loving mother of a wonderful 7-year-old boy and a bright light who gave health and hope to the people in need around the world. u.s. national security officials telling us here at cnn that at least one of the eight paris attackers could have been able to travel to the united states under the visa waiver program as it exists right now. there is also growing concern that perhaps as many as three of the attackers in friday's attack in paris could have slipped through the united states watch list and screening system. cnn's chris frates in washington. chris, what else do we know on this? >> hey, poppy. fbi officials say they are
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closely watching dozens of people who pose the highest risk of carrying out a copy cat attack. more than 100 of the investigations into isis sympathizers were, quote, taken up a notch following the paris attacks. >> the threat here focuses primarily on troubled souls in america who are being inspired or enabled online, to do something violent for isil. we have stopped a lot of those people this year, especially leading up to july 4th, and there are others we worry about and we cover all across the country, using all of our lawful tools. so that's how we think about the threat. >> so then we had fbi director james comey and both comey and attorney general loretta lynch said no relationship exists between the paris attackers and anyone in the united states. and law enforcement officialses from comey on down have said, so far, there are no credible threats to the u.s. but national security officials say at least one of the paris attackers, in theory, could have been able to travel to the u.s. and as many as three of them
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could have slipped the u.s. watch list and screening programs. it's important to note here, that at least four of the attackers were on a terrorist watch list, and there's no indication that any of the attackers ever rytried to trave to the u.s. the paris attacker who would have been able to travel to america could have used a visa program to get into the country. that program allows people from 38 countries, mostly people from europe, to travel to the u.s. without visas. and it was used by about 20 million people last year. and there's interest in this program on capitol hill. there's a bipartisan bill in the senate, that would end the waivers for anyone who has gone to iraq or syria during the last five years. it's sponsored by democratic senator dianne feinstein of california, and a republican, jeff flake, of arizona. and it's an area that obama has expressed interest in reforming. and talks are already underway between the white house and the senators. i expect we'll see more action on this front after the recess
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when everyone returns to washington. poppy? >> chris, thank you very much for that. i want to talk more about the isis threats and security in the united states, with former assistant secretary of homeland security, juliette kayyem. i want you to listen, juliette, first, to what we heard new york city police commissioner bill bratton say about security just yesterday. >> we it rareiterate that whileo not have a credible threat, we have been continually vetting the city and the country as well as washington and we have clear seen, in the events of the last week, the capabilities. so that is why we are continuing to increase our response in terms of visibility. >> obviously, you've got heightened alert in new york city, around the world. you have extensive knowledge in preparedness. and i want to be very careful
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not to alarm people, because a lot has been made this week of the fact that threats to the united states and to europe are different. even the oceans surrounding the united states do offer a level of protection. how worried should people be? >> they shouldn't be worried or change the way they are, because the reality is is that the united states is consistently getting threats. it is the nature of the -- what we call the asymmetric warfare right now, whether they come from abroad, or as fbi director comey said, concerns interimly. so security essentially has three pieces. it's lowering the risk, that's all the intelligence stuff. it's fortifying our protection. you heard the police commissioner talking about more bomb-sniffing dogs. and making sure that our first bomb responder apparatus in terms of response is prepared and ready to respond if anything were to happen so that's how
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people should think about it. it's layered, there's different pieces. and the hope is, and this normal will is true, that the three of those things combined actually minimize the risk and protect lives. >> absolutely. what about in brussels tonight? i mean, it is astonishing to see this big european city raising its terror threat to the highest level, telling people to stay away from crowded places, even not to go to the airport. when you look at what would trigger a city to do that, they have said the threat is imminent there. what level of information and spasticity do they have to warn the public of this? >> i have got to believe it is incredibly specific. in other words, they know who the individuals are and they can't find them, they went dark. remember, i live in boston, so we did this, after the boston marathon on that last night, closed down a city, but that was a chase. we knew who we had and we were sort of looking for him in a
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20-block period. this is very unique and the challenge that brussels is going to face is when are they going to lift this, you know, sort of curfew if they don't find who they're looking for. so to ratchet it up and tell everyone to stay home might be essential, but at what stage will you tell everyone that they can go out? that will be the big challenge. if you can't find who you're looking for, you have to tell people, life has to go on. you can't close cities down for long periods of time. it just doesn't work. people can't live, the economy doesn't move. >> no, you absolutely cannot. >> julie kayyem, thank you so much for your expertise. coming up next, we will take you inside the secret hacker groups that trying to take down isis. a live report, next.
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isis, following the attacks in paris. >> this is a message to isis. you have reached your limit. >> reporter: they claimed to have disabled thousands of pro-isis twitter accounts. but there's another technically sophisticated group fighting an online war with isis. they call themselves ghost security group. it's lesser known, but has a track record. its leader is an ex-anonymous member, a man who called himself digitashadow. >> my online name is digita shadow. the online state is hunt ing fo us. we receive multiple death threats daily. i've taken out 109 propaganda sites, 110 social media accounts, and over 6,000 videos. >> digita shadow says he's one of 14 members of the secretive group who says he's been isolating information since the
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"charlie hebdo" attack earlier this year. >> they are murdering people over their religious beliefs, just appalling. something has to be done. they have to be slowed down and stopped. >> ghost security members say they're a global mix of ex-military, ex-counterintelligence and i.t. specialist. so what makes them deferent from anonymous? they share their intel with the u.s. government. they funnel potential threats and information on isis operatives through one man, intelligence adviser michael smith, who then passes the info on to u.s. law enforcement officials. >> they use me to present information to federal authorities here in the united states. that information is sometimes shared with officials abroad. >> smith says the group has actually thwarted several isis attacks. he cites an example in tunisia. >> the group was able to identify communications regarding a plot including jewish tourists in a british market place. and there were more than a dozen arrests made. more people were apprehended
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than at this point are known to be involved with the plot in paris. the loss of life, conceivably, could have been greater than what just occurred in paris. >> reporter: but even though ghost security says it uses hacking skills for good, it may still be operating outside the balance of the law. >> it really does fall into a big gray area. is hacking illegal? absolutely. fighting isis to try to stop threats and stop their propaganda, would that be considered illegal? it just falls into a giant gray area. >> you're telling me you're working kind of 24/7 on this. are you compensated? >> we're not compensated whatsoever. we're an independent organization and survive off donations only. >> despite struggling to make ends meet, digita shadow says they won't stop. >> if we were to stop now, lives would be at risk. it's not a choice, it's more of a way of life for us now. >> wow. loaurie segall, thank you for that fascinating report. coming up next, i have spoken to a lot of people in
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paris this week. a number of them survivors of this horrific attack. you're going to hear firsthand from one man who hid in a bathroom for 2 1/2 hours, trembling, while he heard the terrorists killing people around him. his story, next. . i'm inside the american museum of natural history. we are set to honor ten everyday people who are doing truly extraordinary things. i'm giving you your very own backstage pass. let's get going. >> since 2007, cnn heroes an all-star tribute has been an annual event. from assembling the stage to testing the lights to rolling out the red carpet, this army of seasoned pros knows exactly what it takes to make this evening memorable. >> how do you keep it fresh, kelly. >> keep it fresh, ten new heroes every year. >> isn't that clever? >> great story. >> host anderson cooper and a-lister galore turn out to salute our honorees for their
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work helping others. music star andra day was drawn to the evening's positive message. ♪ i'll rise up ♪ i'll rise like the day >> the purpose of writing a song was something that was inspiring and encouraging and healing for people. so i think it works well with the theme of tonight. >> reporter: a 20,000-pound blue whale rarely has to share the spotlight, but on this special night, our cnn heroes will take center stage. >> the minute you walk into the place, you're just overwhelmed. it's intense. this event will be spectacular. >> and maybe motivate all of us to make an impact. ♪
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ted loved baseball. dr. phil likes to watch football. renne, who wants sloppy joe on the menu every day. rosie's my best friend. evelyn likes to dance. harriett wants her fried shrimp as well. alice anne likes vanilla ice cream with chocolate syrup and rainbow sprinkles. they give me so much back. i can't even imagine how i could possibly give them what they give me.
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welcome back to our live continuing coverage from paris. this week, we have spoken with many of the survivors from the horrific attacks on this city. and tonight i want to share with you the extraordinary story of how one man made it out of the attacks alive. he is 35-year-old pierre and he is in the bathroom. >> for two hours, he was in the bathroom, listening to his terrorists. here's his story. >> pierre's hands still are tremble when he remembers the horror. >> guns like, you just see all the people just falling.
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with and just, they are just like, 17 years old or 20, just so young, people, arabic ones, black ones wi, white ones. >> reporter: he can't believe he's alive, sitting next to me, recounting the most terrifying hours of his life. >> i feel for the first time that guilty to be alive. >> you feel guilty that you survived? >> of course. >> did you see any of the gunmen? >> the terrorists? yeah. with the guns. they just, like -- >> they did not have masks on? >> no, no, no, no. >> reporter: like so many others in the bataclan that night, he thinks nothing of the first shot. >> at the beginning, i thought it was just a joke. >> really? >> part of the show. >> and when did you realize?
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>> when you saw all those guys falling on the floor just everywhere and everybody's just crying. >> did being in the bathroom save your life? [ speaking french ] you were in the bathroom with three people? behind you? >> behind the door. >> reporter: just minutes later, he sees the terrorists' feet through the crack of the door. >> you heard them preparing a bomb and talking about the hostages. how long did you hide in la toilet? in the bathroom? >> 2 1/2. >> 2 1/2 excruciating hours before police barge in. >> when did you finally come out? >> translator: when the s.w.a.t. team launched the raid, they started shooting at the door. they started shooting at everyone. the terrorists responded by shooting back, and they blew themselves up and everything exploded. the lights went down. there was smoke everywhere. and then we understood, it was the police, so we opened the
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door and they put the gun to my forehead. >> the police? >> translator: and we were like this. >> finally, after the police came in, you walked over corpses? you walked over dead bodies? >> translator: the concert hall floor was covered in bodies, blood, blood on the walls, blood everywhere, bits of fabric, bags. it's the apocalypse. it's the apocalypse. >> reporter: two of his friends die in the attack. walking out alive, he has one thought >> we have to love everybody. we have to love the differences. we have to smile. that's our fight against the terrorists. 33 . >> reporter: it is amazing to hear him say, smile, smile, and that is how we stand apart and stand up to the terrorists. thank you, pierre, for sharing your story with us. we will take a quick break from paris live with the latest on the investigation, next.
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