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tv   CNN Newsroom With Brooke Baldwin  CNN  March 22, 2016 11:00am-1:01pm PDT

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i'll be back, 5:00 p.m. eastern, in "the situation room." our breaking news coverage continues right now. hi there, i'm brooke baldwin. you're watching cnn's coverage of the deadly terror attacks. isis is now claiming it was their men who carried out the suicide attacks at the main international airport in brussels early this morning and also at a very busy subway station. right now, a massive hunt is under way for, wait for picture and we'll show you here, this is a very crucial image. the man in a lighter colored jacket, in the khaki jacket there, in the white glass, the hat, this is airport surveillance footage. it shows obviously all three of them pushing these different baggage carts through the departure area of the airport. now police say we have this official language from the
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belgium prosecutor, that these two guys on the left-hand side of your screen in the black, they probably were killed as they detonated their explosives. these are the suspected suicide attackers. we also know as far as those injuries go that there were americans among the injured. at this hour, at least 30 people were killed. that number is expected to rise with almost 200 people injured, many of them still fighting for their lives. we do have video and the immediate aftermath of the bombing. and just listen, you can hear the panic as the smoke fill ed, all the action here at the airport, take a look. this happened right around 8:00 in the morning there local time in brussels. as hundreds of would-be
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passengers filled into the main check-in hall and then from the airport, just about one hour later, another explosion. a child crying. this is the maalbeek station, downtown brussels, shrieks echoing through the pitch black train tunnel as people run towards safety. smoke billowing out into the streets. this is just blocks from the headquarters of the eu, the european union, and when you think of the timing of all of this here, it's significant. today's bombing happening just four days after the capture just outside of the very same capital city of one of the world's most
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wanted men, salah abdeslam, the sole survivor of the ten men accused in last november's paris attacks. we are told he is cooperating with investigators as he is in custody, so let's begin our coverage this hour with cnn's nima el lbagir, who is live in brussels. tell me what you know this hour as far as who could be responsib responsible, how these attacks were carried out. >> well, we understand from belgian security force there's a working assumption, that's how they characterized it to us, a working assumption this is linked to the paris terror attack network. but of course we have to remind our viewers that even that network is much less a network and more kind of a series of overlapping lattice works of radical extremist cells because salah abdeslam himself while he was part of the broader paris attack conspiracy, in fact, essential to the logistics of
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the carrying out of that open race, he was also, authorities were saying, as recently as sunday, also they believe involved with a network planning new attacks here. and a foreshadowing, the belgian foreign minister said just days ago their worry was with the capture of salah abdeslam, that it would start those terror attacks, their worry was they had shaken the hornets nest, that it would fast forward any potential plots as those within the network question what is abdeslam telling prosecutors, how close are they getting to me, and that could potentially accelerate any plots. those are the lines of investigation they are now naviga navigating, brooke. we've seen such in the neighborhood the presence of police special forces, a police security cordon around the train
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station, and now the belgian prime minister in an emotional press con fence saying their homes and houses across the country that are being searched tonight, brooke, and the language he was using in that press conference was just heartbreaking as he announced three days of national mourning. he said we are a nation with pain in our hearts tonight. brooke. >> nima, let me just follow up with you. i've been riveted by your reporting all day. people who were at the departure hall at the airport and at the subway station, if you can, describe for me what you were hearing, even with the blowback from that blast felt like this morning there. >> this was one eyewitness whose train departed the station, just behind the train when that device was located. he said suddenly they felt this dust of wind and it was only
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when darkness fell on the carriage and they started hearing these emergency alerts go out and authorities, security officers really, really amazingly brave, first responders, came down into the dark, through those tracks, to rescue them, that they realized they'd been caught up in an attack, that this was the blowback from that blast that they felt. one eyewitness, another eyewitness inside the european union building told us, brooke, he felt that shake, and the fear that it -- the fear that ran through him. because he said he walks past that train station every morning with his daughter. he gets on that subway every morning. and to think that that could have been the morning that he was there with his daughter. schools in the district, students locked in, teachers told not to allow any student out of the classroom unaccompanied. it just felt the reverberations of the tension and the fear that
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have been building up here in the months since those first days post the paris attack, when the threads of those investigations began leading here. finally all of that was culminating in what this country went through this morning, brooke. >> absolutely chilling. we keep playing the subway video and that child screaming. our hearts with them today. nima elbagir, thank you so much. pamela brown, our justice correspondent, with some new information, as we look at this picture here, all eyes on the photo of these three men inside the airport early this morning. the two according to the prosecutor, the suspected suicide attackers. tell me what you've been learning. >> one reason why they believe those two men in black are the suicide bombers is because, as you see, they're wearing -- both of them are wearing one glove on their left hand. so officials believe those
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gloves were to conceal a detonator. or perhaps they had connectors on two fingers, put them together and set the device off that way. either way, they do believe those gloves were all part of the plot to set off the bombs without calling attention to themselves when they're there in the airport. officials at this point believe the man in white as you see next to the two men in black is still on the run. he is at large. so that manhunt is under way right now. u.s. officials are trying to figure out if this person has any nexus to the u.s. and that kind of thing. they're going back, scrubbing their cases, looking at the whereabouts of suspected extremists in the united states and trying to ensure there aren't going to be any copycat attacks here at soft targets in the united states, brooke. >> pamela brown, thank you so much. we'll stay in close contact with you. let's just broaden out the discussion. mitch silver with me, senior managing director of fti
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consulting and former director of intelligence analysis for a u.s. police department. karen greenberg, director florida law school center for national security, contributing editor of the atlantic, graham wood, and bob baer, cnn intelligence security analyst, formerly with the cia. let's begin by looking at this picture here. you heard pamela's reporting, you know, noted the men in black, their left hand. guys, drop the banner, and we'll see what appears to be these gloves. tell me about what that could mean. >> i think from a tactical standpoint, the man in white may very well have been their guy to make sure they actually got to the target and didn't, in a sense, change their opinion, change their mind at the last minute. >> let me stop you there, a guide? so he would be the guy calling the shots, making sure they follow through? >> to be the leader on the scene, to make sure they go through with this attack. >> and the gloves?
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>> well, the gloves i think are probably the most plausible explanation, what we did hear, there is some type of detonation device that's in the glove. that's what only the two of them have. the other individual doesn't have that glove. >> bob baer, you're looking at this picture as well. tell me what you see. >> i agree on the gloves. it's either a syringe or a plunger and that make the detonation. i doubt these are command detonated. they want to keep them simple to make sure they go off. looking at the smoke from the explosions, from pictures. this is early but it's probably tacp acetone peroxide, standard weapon. these guys have mastered their technique. woz who's going to notice people with just one glove on? they would notice people with a plunger in their hand, the police. so i would say they're getting better. >> if these are the two suspected suicide bombers, they then would be presumed to be
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killed in the blasts. would they have to stay with the bomb? it's not a remote explosion? >> no, they pushed it in. i mean, the bag in brussels airport will be immediately identified. the casualties would have been much lower at that point. so they want the suicide bombers -- it's also a message that people are willing to give their lives and two, it's very important, rather than just one, it's sort of like a double tapping a target in commando language. this is very important for them. and they've sent a message to the belgiums that they're there. they have a big network. and they're going to keep hitting. frankly, there's not much they can do about attacks like this. how do you screen people coming into an airport with luggage and carts? or for that matter subways? you just can't do it. it's not feasible. so they're telling us, we are vulnerable and they can hit us when they want. even under the -- the belgian police were all over these
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people and there was security everywhere, people with arms and automatic weapons, and they still got through. so for these people, that's a victory. >> okay. want to ask my panel to standby. i've got gabriel steinhouser on the phone, a reporter with the "wall street journal," who was at the airport early this morning. tell me what you saw. >> well, i got to the airport not long after the explosion. in fact, i was dropped off at the motorway and as i was walking towards the airport, all these passengers were coming towards -- pulling their luggage, trying to get away. this is the shot, some very, very close to the blast, and as i got closer, i could see the entire glass front of the departure hall wallas blown out from the explosion. people who weren't injured were kept inside the airport for several hours until the situation has been cleared.
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and then later, the afternoon, the bomb squad detonated another explosive device that hadn't gone off but was also inside the departure hall, so that could have caused many more injuries. >> gabrielle, you tweeted a photo today. can you tell me about that? >> well, it was after most of the inuninjured people had been evacuated from the airport. there were three small processions of hearses who entered to take the remains of the people who didn't make it out alive. >> gabrielle steinhouser there for us in brussels. graham wood, to you, we know, as we have reported on other attacks, you know, previously, that isis has already come forward. they say "this is us," claiming
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responsibility. i have yet to see any evidence proving that. maybe you know something i don't. but can we quickly assume that, in fact, this was isis? >> i think it's very highly likely that they have claimed responsibility with what's now a fairly familiar rhythm. they mention it first on their amlak news agency, equivalent of a news wire that just says th g things in very basic language, "yes, we attacked." and they've mentioned that yes, we used suicide belts. they mentioned -- they did not mention, however, the number of attackers. they didn't mention their names. i think with time we'll probably see a claim of credit from isis that's very specific. that maybe even shows the images of the people as they were headed off to do their martyrdom
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operation. it is typical in the way isis takes credit, and it is very likely it is going to be them. >> i want to ask you to standby. there's so much more to dissect in the wake of these coordinated attacks in the capital of belgium. symbolic capital of europe, eu, nato all right there, 30 fatalities, hundreds more injured. quick break. we're back after this.
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and we're back, you're watching breaking news on this busy, busy tuesday. all around what's happened early this morning, 8:00 local time, in brussels, sort of the sim le would symbolic capital of europe. hundreds injured after what appear to be coordinated attacks. we have a new photo we can now show you. two men in black appear to be the suicide -- suspected suicide attackers. the man in the lighter colored jacket, this is the man, this is the suspect they're looking for now. as this man hunt is under way, i want to go to fred pleitgen live
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in scarbaeek, in the brussels area, raids are under way. tell me what you know. >> it is fair to say there are raids still under way. the most recent information is the police have cordoned off an area of maybe about 2 1/2 square miles in size. you can see where we are, because we are right at a police cordon in this area. the building you see at the end of the street is the main railway station. beyond that police cordon you're seeing there, we're seeing a lot of police activity. police vehicles. we've often seen ambulance movement there. the raid we're talking about here, is that it's been going on for around six hours. what we've seen in just the past couple of minutes that we've been here is that people are getting bussed out of this area. there are special buses taking people out of the area. there are also people waiting in front of the police corden who have had to evacuate their houses. there's a major police operation
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going on here. there are some who are saying that perhaps during this raid that a bomb may have been discovered that contains nails or an explosive device. also that an isis flag may have been discovered as well. it's unclear whether or not this raid is taking place because the authorities believe that perhaps the attacks that happened in brussels at the airport and at that metro station earlier today were launched from here or perhaps a suspect might be here. but this is a major cordon that's been put in place here. it's a major operation. right now, there's a police chopper that's also coming in as well. i wonder if we can get a shot for you of that as well. a police chopper hovering very low over this area. so it might be wanting to land here. that's coming in right now as we speak here. you can see this is very much an active situation that we found here. it's a very big police cordon. a lot of police officers on the scene. and some police vehicles also. we're going to have to get out of your way for a second.
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there's a police vehicle coming your way. they want to get through here real quick. as you can see, there is quite a lot of activity. you can see the police here. driving that van. and another one, an ambulance coming out as well. what i can tell you, brooke, as they were coming out just now, is that even the ambulance drivers were wearing macks. so clearly this is a very, very serious operation that's going on there inside. >> wow, fred, stay with me. let's just stay on your shot and, mitch silver, let me bring you back in. former director of intelligence analysis for new york police. as you look at fred's pictures, the van, the police chopper, he talks about explosives. we were reporting a nail bomb found, chemical products and isis flag, similar to what was found last friday in a different raid. can you analyze that for me? >> essentially they're going into what they believe is a
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beehive activity for isis supporters. we've already had a shootout in brussels that resulted in a potential terrorist being killed so they're taking this with the utmost seriousness. from the paris attacks, the actual bomb factory was not in france. the bomb factory where they made the tapt, the suicide vest, was in brussels. so the fact we're starting to see material coming out of the neighborhood neighborhoods that can be used for explosive devices, not surprising. >> just beginning with mitch's final point, why is belgium sort of this hot bed of terror activity in europe? >> a very good question. one of the things that's interesting is the number -- it's not just belgium and not just the town mitch suggested but it's also brussels itself. a very high number of foreign fighters from belgium are from brussels itself. there's obviously some kind of network connection there that's
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been thriving for a long time. one of the things bob baer pointed out earlier, in an earlier program we were on, indicated to him, and he can speak to this, a lack of human intelligence and a use of data mining instead. you would think in this kind of situation it would be very beneficial to have as many informants on the ground information as you could and we don't know what it is. but yes, this has been known about for a very long time. >> that was the question, we were sitting here on friday afternoon talking about, you know, the tremendous day belgium had because of the arrest, he was alive, salah abdeslam, sole survivor of the coordinated paris attacks, which is huge for the international community, but at the same time this guy was hiding in plain sight, a block from his childhood home. he escaped through the roof days prior in a previous raid in which a number of law enforcement officials weren't even expected anyone to be in the home. and then to have these attacks happened this morning, you're like, how can this happen? >> well, it may speak somewhat
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to the degree of coordination here. this is a very -- >> let me cut away from you. fred pleitgen, i'm told i'm going back to you. what do you have where you are? >> what we're seeing now, you can see this seems to be this chopper up here, has the search light on right above where we are, well inside the cordon. not exactly clear what it's looking for. again, just a couple seconds ago, we did have that police vehicle that just came out here that sort of police van followed by an ambulance that came out. that search light seems to be changing its direction. not sure if maybe they're looking for something inside a house or maybe they're looking for something there on the streets. as you can see, they've clearly called this chopper in for a reason. because they seem to be looking for something or trying to light up some place where they might be looking for something or someone. and it's been here for a while. i've heard it hover above us for
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a while, that chopper. and as you can see right now, it is up there and just searching that area. you can see the search light sort of scanning the area there. i'm not sure whether or not this might be a police operation going on close to here inside that cordoned area. we did see a considerable amount of police officers when we got here. sort of go through that area, doing some kind of operation in there. >> wow, look at that. we'll stay on that live picture. karen, i want you to finish your thought, but mitch, to you, just on tactics, seeing the spotlight, perhaps honing in on something or someone. what items are they looking for or perhaps they have found in these raids? >> i think one of the places we learned from paris where they got the automatic weapons was from belgium. belgium is a place where arms are easier to get in europe than other countries. it's so going to be automatic
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weapons, the precursor chemicals to explosive devices. explosive devices themselves. and any kind of telecommunications material, anything that will show who the broader network is. any type of phones. we've seen in attacks people use go pros in order to videotape the attacks that they carry out. so all that is fair game that the investigators are looking for. as well as armed men. as well as people who are part of the network. >> one of the things you find in this is the degree of coordination of this attack. it was planned extremely well. and you have to ask yourself, how do you intercept that earlier? and this is something that can speak to you. but the amount of ammunition they found in paris and in belgium -- >> well, they were talking about the kalashnikovs they found last week, the cakalashnikovs found this morning at the airport. >> the use of the bombs, the way
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they went to the airport. one of the things that nima suggested earlier was this had been planned a long time ago and it was triggered by the arrest of abdeslam. i think that's a very interesting point because there's been a lot of pressure on isis in the past four weeks. there's been tremendous pressure in iraq and syria. there's been pressure -- 22,000 documents were leaked to the european press which had details about isis members, isis plans. and now this arrest. and who knows what he's saying. the reports were in the news he was collaborating. so the question is really that's another piece of it, that it triggered it, but it wasn't a one off. it wasn't a panicked response that was ad hoc. it was extremely well planned, along the lines of -- what we're reminded of al qaeda in the old days. >> i am talking to karen greenberg, mitch sill version graham wood and bob baer. i'm brooke baldwin. want to welcome our viewers in the united states and all around the world. it is just about 7:30 local time
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in belgium. these are live pictures. we've got our eyes on a police chopper there, perhaps honed in on something or someone in the schaerbeek neighborhood outside of brussels. all this happening after a fatal morning both at the huge international airport at 8:00 in the morning where two blasts went off, followed by a fatal blast at the subway. again, when you think of belgium, this is the headquarters of nato, this is european union, and now victims of these apparent terror attacks. fred pleitgen is on the ground, watching these raids unfolding. fred pleitgen, tell me what you're seeing now. >> one of the things we just saw was there seemed to be a person inside that helicopter pointing a gun out of the helicopter. so i'm not sure whether or not they might have a sniper inside that chopper, but it seemed to
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us very clear someone was point something that looked very much like a rifle out of that chopper. you can see that search light is still on. they're still scanning whatever they might be looking at. it certainly seems like there are armed people inside that chopper. it's not only one chopper that's here. that's the one we're seeing right now. but there's actually another chopper here hovering i would say maybe a couple hundred feet above this one. also sort of scanning that same area. at this point, it's unclear what they're looking for. you can see them adjust the search light. there appear to be armed people inside that chopper. not sure whether it's a police sniper or someone. but certainly someone who was at least for a short time taking aim at something out of that helicopter which has been -- we've been on the show, which has been hovering above here for a considerable amount of time. which lead us to believe there must be some sort of major operation going on, that perhaps this helicopter is supporting. it really hasn't moved very much. it's been hovering there. it hasn't moved very much in terms of where it is.
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so it keeps hovering sort of in the same place. we see someone pointing a rifle or something out of that chopper intermittently. perhaps, again, supporting some sort of police operation that might be going on in the ground in this massively cordoned off area that we're in now. it's a huge cordon. i would say it's at least 2 1/2 square miles in size. we are around the area of the schaerbeek railway station, it's not really a suburb of brussels, it's still fairly toward the city center of brussels, not central brussels but an area that's not far from the center where police seem to be focusing operations now. >> hey, fred, how far, for people who aren't as familiar with brussels, from where you are right now, we're watching this helicopter with this armed law enforcement official sort of hanging on the outside to wear that eighth paris attacker, salah abdeslam, was found on
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friday? are these neighborhoods near one another? >> yes, that's a very good question. they're not very far apart. brussels is not a large city. it's not one where many people have their main place where they live. there's a lot of people in the european union coming in. i would say, it's interesting, because i was in that area where abdeslam was found. i would say it's maybe three miles from the area where he was found, maybe three, four miles away from the area where he was discovered which is called molenbeek. this area is called schaerbeek. to drive, it might be a 10-minute drive, maybe a 15-minute drive. >> so it's close. >> all of this isn't very far away. >> okay, fred, stay with me. bob baer, i want your astute eyes as well, as you're looking at this. we've been talking to mitch about, you know, looking for, you know, people, perhaps explosive, perhaps, you know, high-powered weapons. analyze this picture for me,
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please, sir. >> well, what you have to do in the absence of intelligence is start making raids. it's what our special forces did in baghdad, in kabul as well, hit one house after another, collecting intelligence as quickly as you can, moving on. you have to stop the momentum of these attacks. the only way to do this is send in the special forces essentially and hit these places. any suspects, you know, without warrants. there's no other way to get ahead of this. they're doing the right thing. the helicopters are watching to see who runs. i mean, belgium is at war now. there's a lot of people dead. it's a difficult tact to counter, these tatp bombs in an airport or a metro and they're doing what they can do. it's the absence of intelligence which has sent the police into these neighborhoods. i think we're going to see a lot more. the problem is, nobody knows how big these networks are. or whether they're independent
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or there's multiple ones or whether they communicate at all. simply because these people have gone black. they've beat the data mining. this is what's concerned the europeans. >> on that note, graham, on bob's note about the networks and going dark and who knows how large and how intricate and how many sort of tentacles and how far they reach. can you just talk about what we do know and also i'm curious with regard to what appeared to be these coordinated attacks. and of course we had coordinated attacks in paris last november. if it is to your point if it is isis, would they be calling the shots from syria, or would this be part of the network closer to home in europe? >> so i think we do actually know something about the size of the networks in brussels. they're large enough to hide europe's most wanted fugitive for the last four months. so it's going to be extensive. there's going to be a lot of support. and these kinds of raids have been going on for all of that,
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the last four months. belgium has been trying very hard to find these people. and it has failed. which is bad news. because it means that many of the tools that we thought were going to keep us safe simply are not. the networks are large enough so they don't require the coordination with syria. there are enough people there apparently where they can keep someone safe. they can have space for laboratories to assemble bombs and to plan these kinds of attacks. so whether or not they are directly calling shots from syria, the infrastructure is there and obviously the belgians are taking very seriously the threat. they're unable, despite their best efforts, to keep the attacks from happening. >> graham, staying with you, what do you make of the timing then? i said, what, are we four days, it was friday we sat here for two hours talking about the extraordinary capture of salah abdeslam and now this, both the airport and the subway.
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what do you make of that? >> i don't think it's coincidental of course. you know, when salah abdeslam was taken, i'm sure that there were a lot of people who were worried about what he might say, worried about what kind of intelligence that the authorities could get from him, and they might have activated plans that were already in progress earlier than they originally intended. but that said, to build an explosive belt, to find people who were ready at a moments an notice to kill themselves this just takes more than a few days. i think it's fair to say these plots were being hatched for quite a long time. they might have been initiated and executed much sooner because of the taking of sal law abdeslam, but they're, again, working from a deep infrastructure and a lot of planning that's been happening since the paris attacks. >> graeme wood, please stay with me. you've written extensively on isis. this is a belgian police
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chopper. this is high above a community called schaerbeek, just around the brussel s area, the capital city of belgium. the area cordoned off by law enforcement. raids taking place right now, fred. for people just tuning in, tell us what you know about what has been found in these raids thus far. >> yes, the latest information we're getting, brooke, is there was possibly explosives found, as well as nails and possibly also an isis flag. it's interesting, because we were just speaking to a couple people who are outside here of the police cordon. they were telling us many of them had been evacuated from this neighborhood inside. the area inside of the cordon. so they're trying to get people out. maybe they have someone cornered inside. it was about -- i would say about ten minutes ago this chopper all of a sudden arrived on the scene and i can tell you when were there when it was coming in.
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it came in very quickly and very, very quickly found whatever it is that it's sort of zeroing in on now with that beam that you see, that light that you see coming from that chopper. we also believe we've identified someone with a rifle sitting inside that chopper, intermittently taking aim at something. you can maybe see the rifle sticking out of this open door. the people here are telling us they believe these raids, which are have, very big in this area, that these raids are being conducted because the police seem to believe that perhaps the bombs that were used in the attacks today were perhaps manufactured here. we don't have confirmation yet from the police of any sort. they're on the ground here. they're not saying anything. they do have this place cordoned off in a big way. we've seen a big police van driven by masked police officers leave the scene. we've seen an ambulance driven by maybe paramedics or something in masks as well.
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this is very much an active operation going on involving a lot of police officers. i saw some pretty big trucks in there. involving air assets as well. this isn't the only chopper. there's another one hovering above as well. >> okay, fred pleitgen, thank you so much. quickly want to follow up on one of fred's points. mitch, to you, about the nails and the chemicals. with that, and, again, i don't know, i'm not there, but would it be in cases you've worked on almost like a booby trap for people -- for fear of law enforcement because i know raids are happening in brussels, or would it be perhaps part of a future bomb? >> it can be -- frankly it can be either one because these are primary components we're seeing in self-made ieds that people are using for suicide bombers but it could also be, you know, a booby trap. i think the big issue that belgium has to confront is they have about 500 people out of a
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country, total population, 11 million, who went overseas and got experience in syria and iraq. think about the united states. 300 million people. we have maybe 250 at most. that's the high end. so belgium has the highest per capita number of isis-linked foreign fighters. and when they come back to brussels, you know, as you heard from karen, there is pressure on isis in syria and iraq, here is a place where they can act. >> i think that point cannot be highlighted enough. evan perez, evan perez is one of our justice correspondents. he's standing by now with a little bit of news as far as any sort of threat on the u.s. front. evan, what are you hearing? >> brooke, one of the first concerns that happened this morning in light of what happened in brussels, was the issue of whether or not there could be copycat -- a copycat attack. the fbi today has increased its surveillance of people already on their radar. people who are known extremists.
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possibly who could be -- who could be inspired to carry out something like what happeneded in brussels. that we know is already under way. as well as cities around the country, from boston to chicago to new york to here in washington. you're going to see more police presence at high-profile locations. we know for example here in d.c., the metro is doing more security sweeps to make sure that people feel safe and also to ward against possible attacks. we've seen increased presence as well in places like times square and penn station. am track says it is doing random inspections in some areas. there's no indication of any intelligence showing something could happen, no indication of a plot in the united states, but certainly one of the things u.s. officials are doing is trying to get as much information from the officials in brussels as to whether or not there's any indication of plots under way by
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this cell in brussels. so far, no indications yet, but it's something they're keeping a close eye on, brooke. >> okay, evan, thank you so much. anthony may is joining us now. he is a retired atf explosives effort. anthony, i have several questions for you. just beginning with these live pictures. as you watch this all unfold. active raids under way. we've been watching this happening in brussels for many months. when you were hearing from our correspondent saying they're finding nails, chemicals, what sort of alarm bells does that trigger for you? >> good morning. well, it really doesn't trigger any alarm bells, but what it does do, it links those sites where those nails and chemicals are being found to the bombing at the airport. on an earlier cnn report, there was a witness who made a reference to nails being used at the airport bombing. so we're basically -- we're going to tie those two sites in together with the nails.
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>> and when you hear nails, i immediately think of, you know, my time in boston, covering those pressure cooker bombs there on boyleston street. when you hear nails, we were talking to karen greenberg, saying this seems to be more of an al qaeda hallmark, even though isis is claiming responsibility. do you have thoughts on that? >> well, not really. they're probably sharing technology. the nails basically is a design for anti-personnel. when they built these bombs with nails, they intended to kill and injure people. if you look at most of the damage or injuries of the, of those who survived, we have injuries to it is, to the lower extremity, which is indicative of possibly caused by the nails. >> for people who haven't seen it, we have this photo, the surveillance photo taken earlier this morning at the brussels
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huge international airport there. you see these three men. two in the darker colored clothing. those now, accord to the belgian prosecutor, are the suspected suicide bombers. the man in the khaki lighter colored jacket, this is the wanted man. the wanted suspect. and if you can, just -- as you are looking at this photo, analyze it for me. what do you see? >> well, seeing the three men, the two in the dark clothing, sitting basically walking close together. the third guy in the white jacket is a little separated. it still indicated they're traveling together. two individuals dressed exactly alive, both long sleeved shirts, dark clothing, khaki pants and a glove on each of their left hands. now, it's unusual in the fact we've got two people walking with a single glove on their left hand while their right hand is naked. the guy in the middle seemed to be very bulky.
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indicating that, you know, there could be something up under that. the glove itself, the unusual nature of that glove, it's probably used to hide the triggering mechanism. which could be something simple as a rocker switch. basically he wants to be able to walk freely through the airport, holding that detonator in his hand, but not having it so conspicuous that people could notice. it's just this whole scenario here seems to be unusual. now, here in the u.s., in our airports, we have the behavioral detection officers roaming the airports. this is exactly what they're looking for. they're looking for people dressed oddly. things that don't fit into the norm. and, you know, this should have been or could have been picked up on by someone in that capacity. should have, could have. to me, quick glance, you just see two guys in long sleeved
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black t-shirts. the one glove on each left hand is absolutely curious. i was talking to mitch silver here who used to do intel analysis with nypd. he was saying perhaps the man in the lighter colored jacket could be the guide or the individual who is part of the plot making sure they follow through. making sure they hit the triggers. is that something you've seen before? >> we saw that in baghdad a lot. especially when they used children as suicide bombers. they would have the handler to ensure they got to their target, that they didn't chicken out. in those cases, the handler themselves sometimes had the remote detonator. there's no indication of that here. the individual in the white jacket, who knows what his role in the bombing was.
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we also had a larger package bomb, probably concealed in a roller bag. >> well, looking at the damage, if you have a picture of the airport itself it would be helpful to -- >> sure, let's throw it up. >> you'll see a lot of the ceiling tiles laying on the floor. if you also look at that terminal, we're looking at a terminal that has a pretty high ceiling. photograph probably upwards of 20 feet from -- the ceiling. a large amount of explosives is necessary to cause a blast wave to move through that terminal to cause that kind of damage. there is one photo that i saw earlier this morning where there's actually a lot of overturned carts, baggage carts. people laying on the ground. and there's a fire going. that's most likely the blast
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scene. again, all that is low. now, here's the thing with the bombings. the suicide bomber himself, he's not going to leave a blast seed -- >> hold on, let me stop you there, a blast seat what is a blast seat? >> it's a term we use in post blast investigations. we want to identify the blast seat, the origin of the explosion. and typically depending how the device is placed, it will leave different types of signatures. that tells us whether the bomb was carried on a person, whether it was sitting on the floor in a bag. that's the first step in doing the investigation, is identifying that blast seat. from there, we start collecting evidence, reconstructing the device, building investigative leads such as the nations which are now being discovered in a -- in that residence that you were talking about earlier.
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finding that blast seat is the very first step in this and most likely where the fire was occurring. that's our blast seat. and that's low to the ground. that was probably in a roller bag and a large quantity of explosives used to cause the extensive damage in that airport. >> what are investigators doing as we speak in that departure hall area of the airport? what are they looking for? >> well, right now, get the injured out of the way. those who are deceased unfortunately will remain because they're going to contain evidence within their bodies that's going to have to be collected. but what they're doing now is they are trying to figure out how extensive their crime scene, which is what this is, extends, cordon that off, and go in and search for components of the device. the components of the device are still going to be there.
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the configuration's changed. but investigators will be able to put that bomb back together in some reasonable sense to develop investigative leads. >> we're talking to a retired atf explosives expert with excellent analysis on the airport now. blast seat, blast signature. bob baer, let me bring you back in. you and i talked friday when we were reporting on the tremendous capture of the eighth paris attacker, the sole survivor of those coordinated fatal paris terror attacks. what sort of tactics, if we're hearing he is cooperating with law enforcement, a what do you think cooperating means, and b, how are they getting him to talk? >> well, at this point, i mean, clearly, he's not a dedicated jihadist. he didn't blow himself up in paris. he's more likely to talk. he didn't sacrifice his life during the arrest. so he's concerned about himself and he's probably trying to cut a deal. he may have heard rumors about
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these other networks but, you know, islamic state is very good on tactics. they compartment information so the chances of his being informed of these airport and metro attack i think is very remote. he probably didn't have actionable intelligence to tell interrogators. he's trying to cut the best deal he can so he doesn't get life in prison. he's sort of passing on rumors. i really doubt in these four months he was included in any other plans or networks. it would just be an act of folly on the part of the islamic state and they're better than that. >> i want to follow up with that because i'm also curious. he said he was answering some of the questions as far as four days later. we have these attacks. let me hold that thought. live pictures in orlando, florida. why am i talking about orlando when we're talk about a story that originated in brussels?
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a plane has just landed from russell withes in orlando this afternoon and we've been told that plane has now been met by law enforcement. they're searching every single one of the passengers pieces of luggage. so with that and with that live picture in the upper left-hand piece of your screen, mitch, i'm turning to you. walk me through what they're looking for. >> well, one of the things we were most concerned about during my time at nypd was the idea that european citizens, clean skins, quote/unquote who may have traveled to a theater of war, afghanistan, iraq, syria, somalia, would come to the united states and try and conduct some type of activity here and because they weren't known to european law enforcement, because it was a european country, visa waiver, it would be much easier to get to the united states. the likelihood that anyone's brought anything on to the plane, physical that's explosive
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or can conduct any terrorist-type activity is low. but i'd be concerned about the people themselves. because all they appear to the u.s. is as just a belgium citizen. unlikely to know if they've done overseas travel. the individuals aboard that plane are being scrutinized more so than anyone they're carrying. >> so that's mitch on what's happening there in orlando. final question to you off bob baer's point and apparently this eighth paris attacker is talking. my question would be might that piece of knowledge for any of these other, you know, so-called jihadis in the brussels area, would that speed them up? make them want to attack quicker? because they know law enforcement is hot on their trail? >> it's possible. not so much because they thought intelligence was going to be
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coming from the captive salah abdeslam but also they wanted to deprive the belgium authorities. a lot of it is gloating, try you'veful. pointing to the fact that a few days ago belgium thought it was on the offensive. so they like to steal the limelight away. i think that might have to do with the timing of this attack. >> graeme wood, thank you. again, you are watching live coverage here, breaking news of these fatal attacks this morning in brussels, belgium, both at the huge international airport and then an hour later at the subway station. we have new information coming out. we have new photos. suspects. do not miss a beat. we're back in a flash. the gillette mach 3 turbo
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you're watching cnn. i'm brooke baldwin. breaking news coverage here. we have live pictures for you of these raids under way. this is the bgian police helicopter honed in for the past 30 or so minutes on something or someone. this massive police presence saturated this neighborhood,
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shcaerbeek. isis is claiming responsibility. they're saying yes, it was isis who carried out these suicide attacks both at the main international airport in brussels this morning around 8:00 local time. and then one hour later at a busy subway station. the hunt under way for the man on the left side of your screen flighter jacket. this surveillance foot only. they grabbed a freeze frame of this piece of video. so you're seeing three individuals all with these baggage carts going through this airport. but what's curious with the two empty darker sweaters, on each of their -- drop the banner -- on each of their left hands, they're wearing gloves. we'll get into what that could mean. the two on the left are the suspected suicide bombers. the one on the right is the wanted suspect. we also know this that americans
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are among the injured. at least 30 people are dead. that number is expected to rise with more than 200 others injured. some of them fighting for their lives. video and the immediate aftermath of the bombing showing the panic as the smoke filled that airport departure hall. that chilling scene, around 8:00 local time. hundreds of would-be passengers filled into the main check-in hall just about an hour later. just about an hour later, another explosion.
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at that subway station in downtown brussels, not too far from the eu, the european union, you hear a child, the shrieks echoing through this pitch black train tunnel as people are jumping on to the tracks and running towards safety. smoke billowing out on to the streets blocks from the eu and the timing of this. the timing significant. today's bombings happening just four days after the capture just outside of this very same city of one of the world's most wanted men, salah abdeslam, the sole survivor among those paris attackers, among those ten men accused in last november's paris terror a tacks. we are told that he is cooperating with investigators. he's talking. he's in custody and he's talking. but let's bring you back to the hot spot of this terror
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investigation right now. our correspondent there frederik pleitgen is in scharbeek there in belgium where these raids are taking place. tell me what you're seeing and what they found. >> yes, we have this chopper in the airplane. there was a sceecond chopper in the air very close by. if you look, you'll be able to see there's some sort of sniper with a rifle in the open door of that helicopter. you can sort of even see part of the scope right now. as he's searching around. they actually turned the search light off for just a second. that chopper has been here for the past 20, 30 minutes hovering around the area. there's been a lot of police activity in a largely cordoned off area inside schaerbeek, outside the main railway station of schaerbeek. that chopper is now moving. seems to have its searchlight on
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once again. we've seen several police vehicles get out of the cordoned off area. we've seen an ambulance get out of there as well. it looksike this is very much still ongoing operation. what we're hearing so far from the authorities is that it appears as though explosives have been recovered as well as an isis flag, nails and chemicals as well in the area around here. we've not gotten any information so far from the police officers here on the ground but, again, a largely cordoned off area in what seems to be a very, very big police operation. i would call a suburb of brussels, brooke. >> where fred is, just a couple of miles away, from where they found that eighth paris attacker in that raid just four days ago so fred, do not go too far. we're staying on your shot and hanging on your every word with these active raids under way there in belgium. let me talk about this with the former fbi supervisor special
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agent. our guest a senior fellow at the organization of defense of democracies. michael weiss, cnn contributor, co-author of "isis inside the army of terror" and robert pate, director of the chicago project on terrorism at the university of chicago. on a tactical side of things, when you look at these pictures from this neighborhood schearbeek in brussels, you know they're looking for something, someone. they found nails, they found chemicals, they found an isis flag. what are you seeing when you see these photos? >> i'm seeing lots of information that the local community very likely had or could have known relatively easily. and is probably -- the local community is probably simply suppressing that information. and i think this is the price we pay for demonizing muslims as a group in western europe. we have an area where there are individuals hanging out for not
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just weeks but probably months. lots of material that they're collecting to do us great harm. the local community is what we need first and foremost to provide information and if we continue to demonize them over and over and over again as they're just terrorists anyway, then why should they help? >> ali sufan, you know these parts of belgium you were saying before the show started. in europe, terrorists travel easier than information. what do you mean by that? >> if you look at the terrorist attack that happened in paris on november 13th, right, this is still the same cell. we're dealing with the same people. but there are so many legal constraints preventing cooperation between the different european countries. we're dealing with a totally different let threat. whatever they had before this is different. from europe, we had 5,000, almost 5,000 foreign fighters who went to syria and who went to iraq. more than 30% of them came back. a small place like brussels, a
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small place like belgium, small country like belgium doesn't even have the resources to deal with all these kinds of things. >> but it's belgium, it's europe union, it's nato. >> well, it is also molenbeek and it is mostly 470 foreign fighters that went and all of them almost come from brussels. and all of them almost come from molenbeek. they have a problem. they have hotbed of terrorism. and they have a situation in which people can rent a car and go to france, conduct a terrorist attack to france and come back. >> go home. >> and go home. and it takes about three, four, five months to find them. so there are a lot of things the europeans need to do today. our hearts are with all the people in belgium. but there are a problem when we see there is no connections. there is no coordination between the different agencies. they don't share information because of privacy issues about their own citizens to each other.
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some of these laws need to change in order to deal with the threat of terrorism in western europe. >> michael weiss, sitting here on friday, we talked about the coordination, really we're hearing from belgium, congratulations over the cooperation that led to finding salah abdeslam, that he was capture, he's alive and he's talking. four days later, the airport and the subway. the timing is curious to me. >> i have no doubt this was in the works for weeks, if not month, right. you don't just target scouts, build the suicide bomb and then have these attacks at the last moment. the operation was probably accelerated as a result of either the capture of abdeslam or what's been reported in the media, as you mentioned earlier, he's talking. he has a wealth of human intelligence. this is a senior operative in isis. the one surviving member of the
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ten-man terrorist ring in paris. >> but he didn't pull it off. >> we do know he was not in ill order with isis. he returned back to his safe haven in brussels. they caught him a block away from his childhood home. it's like if mohamed atta, if he person traited 9/11 and survived somehow and then moved back to hamburg. >> and took four months to find him. >> i just interviewed several people, one of whom, john charles broussard, a french counterterrorism official, said there's 535 belgiums who have gone to syria, of which 200 have returned. all of belgium is a country of 11 million people. a population size a little over the size of london. each person you surveil, each terrorist suspect you surveil requires between 20 and 25 counterterrorism local law enforcement officials to monitor their activities. ahmed bouli, the isis inspired terrorists, he had 20 different cell phones he used to
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perpetrate his three-gun attacks culminating in the most atrocious one of the kosher marketplace. so that means for each phone, you needed a different team to kind of go through the signals intelligence. so giving the belgiums a little bit of their due, it's not entirely their fault. that said, i spoke to a senior u.s. intelligence officer who said to me, and i quote, dealing with the eu in general when it comes to terrorism, they've had two decades to sort this out. they have been fully infiltrated by radical salafi clerics who have radicalized locally but also by returning foreign fighters not just from syria and iraq but from the afghan/soviet war. a cleric there was responsible for radicalizing the abdeslam brothers. he was handing out thousands of euros for young mujahadin to go to syria and join isis. >> i also want to show everyone this photo. there's a surveillance photo. a freeze frame of it here. on the left side of your screen.
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the two in the black long sleeved sweaters, these are the two men believed to be the suspected suicide bombers. the man on the right, this is a wanted man. this is who -- there's an active manhunt under way. we've been looking at the raids. this is the person belgium and i'm sure the international law enforcement community want to find. he is considered a suspect as well. so when you look at this picture, especially the gloves on the left hand, the two guys on the left side of your screen, what do you see? >> well, i mean, i don't think you see all that much. i think you see individuals that would match typical profews of folks who could be suicide bombers or aren't suicide bombers. i mean, think the real issue now is whether you are going to have -- discover that these individuals were actually in the sites of british and french security services and if they're
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not, then they've got a larger problem. if these individuals had been in their sights, in fact, they were closing in on them, this is a last gasp exercise. if, in fact, this is a different cell they knew nothing about, then they have a problem. i have to say, i think the belgium national police, i lived in brussels for a number of years, they did a, you know, fairly decent job of informally covering the neighborhoods, but they could only take so much stress. certainly the schengen accords allowed for a lot of folks to come into these neighborhoods. the neighbors are not that tight-knit anymore. most of these individuals were radicalized do not even attend mosques in these communities. the ability for the communities to actually know what's going on and for the police who are monitoring the communities to know what's going on is quite limited actually. >> all right, reuel. ali, you look at the picture, what do you see? >> i agree with what he said.
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and it's interesting that each one of them is wearing only a glove on the left hand. which is -- it can mean some different things. i don't want to read too much into it. but also the other person behind them, i am sure that that picture is not the only picture that they have. it's quite probably from a longer cctv, you know, video. and they have many reasons to believe that individual is probably a handler. >> the one in the lighter colored jacket? >> yes. >> a handler is a word, you know, from baghdad -- >> we've seen that before. for example, the handler is a person who was involved in the operation in planning the operation, encasing the target. so he basically led the two suicide bombers who were not involved in any of the operational planning to their target, show them where tow blow themselves up and he left.
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so there's a possibility. we've seen that before with al qaeda. we've seen that before with even isis, different plots. there's a possibility that individual, his job was to just show them the target, possibly. >> i want to have my panel stand by. greating new information on the investigation. we're also hearing from eyewitnesses both at the subway station and at the airport in belgium. we will be right back. ♪ ♪virgin islands nice ♪ ♪so nice ♪so nice, so nice ♪ spend a few days in st. croix and return with a lifetime of experiences. that's virgin islands nice. ♪so nice, so nice
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and we're back, the breaking news out of belgium, at least 30 people killed this morning, first at the huge international airport and then an hour later at the subway station. these individual, the two in the back there, the suspected suicide bombers, presumed killed, pushing these baggage carts earlier this morning in the airport. the men in the lighter colored jacket this is the wanted man according to law enforcement. they are calling him a suspect. perhaps he is, as ali soufan was explaining, the handler. the man saying, this is where you detonate, and then he ran away. five americans were seriously injured in the explosions at the brussels airport. the first is former oakland
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university basketball player zd balon. according to his former coach, he was standing in line at the check-in count irwhen these explosions went off. we're told he has a lot of shrapnel in his legs and his hips. he has had one surgery and is now in intensive care. the other americans are mormon missionaries from utah. the church says they range in age from 19 to 66. for one of them, mason wells, was not his first brush with terror. he was two blocks away when that boston marathon attack happened just a couple apps ago. the family spokesman gave us an update of the injuries he received in the attack. >> he is in the hospital, undergoing surgery. nothing life threatening. had some burns i understand to perhaps his face and his hands.
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but the biggest concern is about his foot. it sounds like his ankle and his heel is hurt the worst by some flying debris or shrapnel from the bomb. >> let's go now to pamela brown. our justice correspondent. pamela, what knew are you learning on the investigation there in belgium? >> i can tell you the big focus right now, brook, is on the identities of these three men we see in this picture. as you mentioned, authorities believe the man in the white got away and so right now there's a man hunt for him. and officials here in the u.s., they're sharing this picture with their sources on the ground there in europe and elsewhere, trying to figure out who he is what his name is, what his background is, what country he came from, how he got there, what network he's part of, and also trying to figure out who these other two men are who officials believe were the suicide bombers. one clue to lead officials to that conclusion is the fact they're both wearing just one glove on their left hands. they believe that was to conceal
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the detonators. officials also have had intelligence that the same people behind the paris attacks were plotting other attacks, and it's believed that the same network was behind this attack and that there is a connection, they bleacelieve, at this point salah abdeslam, as we know, was just arrested this past friday. they believe that after his arrest, brooke, there was an acceleration of this plot. they believe this was already in the works, they had already picked out their targets and then after the arrest they accelerated it. the concern now is there will be follow on attacks. one official said this is the new normal and belgium, brussels, is really the epicenter of this kind of activity. as we've seen with the paris attacks, and now this. >> pamela brown, that is a frightening thought, with the follow on attacks. thank you so much for that information from your intelligence sources. i do want to talk to someone, the second of the two deadly bruf brussels attack this morning
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taking place at the molenbeek metro station, downtown brussels low case just blocks from the eu headquarters. this is steven wolf, a member of the eu parliament, in brussels for committee meetings, so mr. wolf, thank you very much for joining me. i understand you were at an apartment at the time of the blasts. can you tell me what you saw what you heard this morning? >> well, actually, i'm in that apartment right this second. my apartment is less than 50 meters away from the metro station. i was in here, as i am now, when i suddenly heard a loud bang. to me, sounded like the exhaust of a car exploding. then the building rocked. after it rocked, i left my apartment. i went down the stairs. my neighbor below came out of his door. he said, did you hear that, did you feel that? and we did. so immediately, having been watching the news about the bombs going off in the airport, we understood this must be something similar.
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when we got down to the bottom of our stairs, we looked across, 50 meters away, we could see the metro tube station. already cars there had stocked. the horns were beeping. they were trying to turn around. as we saw people running around. immediately, we could hear the police sirens coming towards from the left and from the right. and then a very large police officer then came around the corner and demanded that we move back into my apartment, which is what we then did. >> were you seeing people running above ground who had been near we're looking at, near where those blasts went off? >> i think those blasts were inside the station. i can gather -- >> that's correct. >> -- was running away from the entrance of that station. and by the time the police officer came back, he pushed me inside. after 15 minutes, i decided to
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leave the apartment. i was going to move to the european parliament. which is only five minutes away. which is literally hundreds of meters away from this tube station. this metro tube station is an area where people leave to go to the institutions, the other buildings as well. so it is well known to those who bombed this that these people worked in the european commission, the parliament and the council, which is the governing body of the european union. >> steven wolf, thank you so much. in your apartment near that metro. we're glad you're okay. please stay safe. all of our hearts for people in belgium tonight. ali soufan, reuel, michael, to you, back on the point a moment ago from pamela brown, saying they believe attacks were in the works. it was accelerated because of the capture of the eighth paris
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attacker, and that there will be follow-on attacks. when you hear that, what does that mean? >> that makes sense, probably this has been planned for a while. i don't think they were able to just put a plot together in four days. but they decided to accelerate the operation. and do it. >> because why? >> for the fear of people like abdeslam or some of the other people who have been arrested during the last two raids in belgium, they probably can talk or say something. it seems positive -- one positive thing coming out of the tragedy is on the screen now, the chemicals, isis flag, found. any explosive found in a situation like this is good news because that means a terrorist plot has been disrupted. it seeps the law enforcement now, the intelligence in belgium, is on the right track, targeting these cells, trying to
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disrupt further plots from happening. >> as i listen to you talk about that perhaps one piece of positive news, let me take you back to this community, schaerbeek, where fred pleitgen has been reporting, what's the information there? >> the most recent information we're getting is police here say they've found some sort of explosives, chemicals, nails and possibly also an isis flag somewhere in here. police giving us very little information beyond that. however, the chopper we saw hover above for well over half an hour that had its searchlight on as well has since flown away. unclear whether or not that means the raids that are happening here have stopped or whether or not they've moved to some sort of different phase. we did with just a couple
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minutes ago is we had the military turn up. you can see, there's some sort of police operation going on here. seems like one of them has just gotten into trouble with the police officers. generally, the people here -- i wouldn't say apprehensive towards the police but not happy this police operation is going on. we saw a police van leave the area. i would say about an hour ago. and that was met by whistles and angry people as the police drove out. so there has been a lot of action on the ground here. the chopper has been in the air. you can see this operation was unfolding. a very large operation unfolding. police vans going out. now the most recent thing that's happened just a minute or two ago i would say is a military personnel carrier came past here and drove into that neighborhood as well, brooke. >> okay, fred pleitgen, thank you. reuel, want to bring you in. you mentioned you lived in
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brussels for a number of years. can you tell us more about these communities, both where salah was found in molenbeek friday and then of course today, a couple miles away in schaerbeek? >> most of brussels, these communities are diverse. there's some areas of brussels where they're majority muslim, there's other areas where you got a real gathers of folks from the middle east. brussels is quite mixed. you've always -- the belgium police have always had a problem tracng. unlike the french have never had a legal aggressive means of eavesdropping. the french and the brits for example bug anything that moves.
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the belgiums have standards that are closer to the germans which for civil liberties is quite good but it does hamper counterterrorist practices. so it's been difficult for belgiums to penetrate these neighborhoods. i've known some talented police officials who were quite good at getting to know the communities and trying to keep an idea about who's coming in, who's going out what mosques are radicalizing, et cetera, et cetera. but these are very diverse communities and it's hard for the police services to know what's going on a lot of the time. >> it's a challenge. an ongoing challenge. reuel, standby. you're watching live coverage in the wake of these two attacks, one at the airport, one at the
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metro station. nba legend happened to be there, what he saw and heard, next. soup and sandwich and clean and real and inside jokes and school night. good, clean food pairs well with anything. try the clean pairings menu. at panera. food as it should be. isn't like last saturday. [ indistinct shouting ] bulk from boxed won't only save you money, it will save saturday. [ pop, screech, doorbell rings ] boxed -- bulk-size shopping delivered easy with no membership fees.
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we are just past the bottom of the hour. we are all over this breaking news here as a nail bomb, chemicals and an isis flag have now just been found in the hunt for these terrorists behind today's deadly attacks at the airport and at the tube station. right now, a search under way for perhaps the most wanted man in europe. he is a suspect here on the right side of your screen, wearing the beige, the khaki jacket there, next to the two suspected terrorist attackers in
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black who prosecutors say were behind the terror strikes in this city really known as the symbolic capital of europe, brussels. the headquarters of eu, nato. at least 30 people have been killed. 230 others wounded. among those seriously injured are at least four americans. the first is former oakland university basketball player sed bolin. three mormon missionaries were also hurt. isis has claimed responsibility for these attacks. one blast at the maalbeek subway station near the eu. you can see the damage caused by the blasts, the explosions there. two other explosions happening an hour before at the huge international brussels airport. ceiling tiles and debris reigned
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down on those passengers there. a number of them ended up walking out of the airport. as all transit shut down and the city immediately went on lockdown. >> i heard an explosion. the ceiling is coming down. i just go under the sink. the second explosion went. everything is black. and i see -- when i go out, i see a lot of people with blood. i just go, just run out of the airport. all the building there is like chaos there. >> what was your feeling at that moment? >> i'm so scared. i feel like it's the end of the world. >> among some of the survivors of today's attacks, nba legend. he happened to be en route from visiting his hospital in congo. when he heard the explosions. i talked to him just a little
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while ago. you were coming back from the congo where you have your foundation has a hospital. you went personally to visit your hospital. you were coming home to the u.s. via belgium. and you were sitting in the airport lounge when this happened. can you just share what you will what happened, what you heard and saw? >> i was in the lounge. i heard people start screaming and everyone start running. then because i was napping and i was, like, what's going on. i thought it was a joke. and the lady said everybody out. we have to go. we have to go. a lot of people are bleeding downstairs. a lot of people are hurt. and i grabbed my bag and i started running as well.
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>> you were running through the brussels airport. where did you go. >> and through the terminal. through the terminal where -- >> and then where did they take you? >> we could not see because we were running through the concourse to the end the terminal where we was asked to go to the tarmac, everyone to the tarmac. they asked everybody to leave their luggage. i was very upset about it. i was forced to leave all my luggage behind. >> because they're likely searching everyone's luggage, trying to figure out where this came from. you may never see your luggage again. but at least you're okay. you know, what would you want to tell us back home, americans who are watching in horror that this has happened? we saw what happened in paris in the fall. now we're watching this unfold
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in belgium. our hearts weep with the europeans. what's your message to us back home? i just feel bad for the family of the loved ones that lost their lives. they couldn't run, they couldn't move. they were struggling with -- a mom with a children. i feel crazy. mom trying to push her two kids. you have everybody running. it was very sad. >> it is so sad. i'm glad you're okay. safe travels back home to
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georgia. dikembe mutombo, thank you for the time. when we come back, we will take you back live to brussels, belgium. the mainhunt, the raids under way. quick break. back after this. you know we said we'd take a look
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i can't explain. it looked like war. it's unbelievable. it's really hard. i'm an old firefighter. i have almost 45 years of service. and it's the first time i see something so terrible. i saw many injuries. i saw people dead. i saw everything broken. it's just terrible. >> so many people absolutely devastated by today's terror attacks in brussels, belgium. bob sexton, also with us, national security investigations editor for reuters david rose and retired atf explosive effort anthony may. buck, to you first, let's throw
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up the picture. these three people, this is freeze frame from surveillance video taken inside the airport this morning. the two in the black, suspected suicide bombers. this is the person they are looking for. when you analyze, former cia, you know, put that hat on for me, what are you seeing here? >> first off, the gloves the individuals are wearing are likely to hide the detonators for the bombs that they were setting off. that's the belief right now is what they were doing. it looks like the individual to the right is the handler, he's making sure they deploy. they deploy to the american airlines counter. what you see here is the complex terrorist cell structure you can expect when you start introducing hardened fighters from the jihadist theater into
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europe. they bring back the skills, the sorts of abilities that allow them to pull off these sort of mass casualty attacks. this is the huge difference. this is why isis as a launch pad for attacks around the world is such a threat. because you're not talking about lone wolfs who just try to figure out on their own, on the internet. they can get training. they can even have individuals with battlefield experience or with specifically terrorist attack training, to show them how to do this, to build the devices for them. chemicals were found. many cases, chemicals you can buy. it's not difficult if you know what you're doing to make a suicide vest that's an improvilesed explosive device with a lot of shrapnel tied around it. these jihadists returning to europe from that theater in syria are terrorist force multiplier. they make these attacks much deadlier. they're not just limited to belgium as we know. we're going to see more of these in other places. >> let me follow up on that point. we've been talking about how so many people have left belgium to go to syria and then return.
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d david, you were making the point that these individuals, this is sophisticated, what they were able to pull off. these are not amateurs. >> for four months the belgium police have been looking for the -- >> four months since paris. >> since paris happened, they've been looking for that one logistics coordinator. >> on friday. >> so how were they able to build these three bombs, recruit the two suicide bombers, without any detection by belgian law enforcement? there's been criticism of the belgiums but it's not just a problem in belgium. this is a sort of disciplined operation. just like in paris. there was no, you know, we missed them. there was no traffic, cell phone traffic, that means they either went black, sort of old-fashioned trade craft where they don't use anything electronic, or they used encryption. there was some use of of that in the paris attack. that's troubling as well. it's both discipline and effectiveness. they built bombed that worked. they planned it out, without
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anyone seeing it coming. when there was all this attention, you know, on brussels, on that specific part of the city. so it is very troubling. >> it was a raid seven days ago. we were talking to paul cruickshank, terrorism expert, and he was saying it was the raids seven days ago that led to the ultimate cab chur of abdeslam, only because the person he called was under surveillance and they were able to capture him alive. anthony may, to you here, if we can analyze further, when we talk about these different blasts, both at the airport and the subway station, and the sophistication of these blasts. we were talking i think about blast seats and blast signatures. what are these investigators looking for here? >> well, the -- at the airport, it was reported there was a smaller explosion followed by the much larger explosion. the smaller explosion most likely could have been the suicide bomber. that blast seat or blast
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signature is going to be completely different from what we see because as explosives are worn high on the body, above the ground, you're not going to have a typical blast seed. it's splatter from the walls. the subway is interesting in the back that there's not a lot of information coming out of that yet, other than the massive amount of damage that has been caused. whether that -- i doubt that was most likely a suicide bomber. that was probably a large bomb in a suitcase. >> following up, buck, on your point about this, you know, this isn't contained to just belgium. we know that isis has said go after the west, go after the west. how do we prevent that happening? there there's no answer to that question really or than the efforts, counterterrorism services across europe and the united states and around the world engaged in, but they only have to be right once, everyone
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knows or get it right once, we have to get it right all the time. one of the big concern is is recognition with the migrant flows into ufeurope, even if it had not been isis' idea to use that for the infiltration. >> refugees. >> refugees from syria and elsewhere from the muslim world, even if had not been initial impulse it has been recently. they recognize nothing but gain for them to use refugee flow to drive a larger wedge between muslim world and west by having a handful of terrorist attacks like this occur. everyone has to put additional scrutiny on flows, create political problems. for the security services, i would not want to be right now part of the german domestic intelligence service, i would not want that job. this is going to be very difficult trying to make sure we seeing in belgium does not happening across europe because, unfortunately, it is likely there will be more of these
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attacks and not just in belgium. it's just right now belgium is a place where we've seen the most active cell and most recent attacks. >> let's hope you're wrong. u.s. presidential candidates quickly condemning attacks in brussels, offering ideas in what they think canni be done to sto terrorists, next. ♪virgin islands nice ♪ ♪so nice ♪so nice, so nice ♪ spend a few days in st. croix and return with a lifetime of experiences. that's virgin islands nice. ♪so nice, so nice
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so, i believe we have some sound from some of the different men who would like to be the next president of the united states coming forward condemning what happened in brussels. their thoughts on how they can
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stop the terrorists. >> brussels is an armed camp, i'm not talking about today. you go down into brussels now, it's an armed camp. if you went into brussels 20 years ago, it was like a magical city. we have to be very careful in the united states. we have to be very, very vigilant who we allow into this country. >> once again we are seeing the barbaric organization isis launching a cowardly attack and killing dozens of innocent people in brussels and wounding many, many more. it is clear to me, and i think the entire civilized world, that isis must be destroyed. >> we do have to defeat isis where they hold territory in syria and iraq, we're making progress but we have a lot to done we have to shut off the flow of foreign fighters. we have to take them on the internet. put walls around your country
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but you don't keep out the internet and that's a major tool for radicalizing recruiting, propagandizing that isis is quite sophisticated at using. >> we have to put all of our focus on this because if we do not put all of our focus and attention on these kinds of matters, ultimately we're going to see even more activity in the united states, even though it should be made clear that when people die and bleed in europe, we die and bleed a little bit right here in the united states of america. >> it's long pastime that we had a president who will acknowledge this evil, will call it by its na name, and utilize the full force and fury of the united states to defeat radical islamic terrorism, to defeat isis. >> there are the candidates reacting to what happened there in brussels. let me bring in cnn political director, david chalian. david, before we go through sort
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of the plolitics of terror and how this is front and center for candidates, let me play sound, president obama on this historic visit in cuba. criticized for the fact what happened in brussels that he hasn't, a, come home, and b attended a baseball game today. here's the president responding to that criticism. >> it's always a challenge when you have a terrorist attack anywhere in the world, particularly in this age of 24/7 news coverage. you want to be respectful and understand the gravity of the situation. but the whole premise of terrorism is to try to disrupt people's ordinary lives, and you know one of my most powerful memories and one of my most proudest memories as president is watching boston respond after the marathon. when ortiz said the only time that america didn't have a
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problem with somebody cursing on live tv was when he talked about boston, how strong it was, that it was not going to be intimidated, and that is the kind of resilience and the kind of strength that we have to continually show in the face of these terrorists. they cannot defeat america. they -- they don't produce anything, they don't have a message that appeals to the vast majority of muslims or the vast majority of people around the world, what they can do is scare and make people afraid, and disrupt our daily lives and divide us. and as long as we don't allow that to happen, we're going to be okay. >> david chalian, doesn't the president have a point? what did you make of his response there? >> well, clearly, he's trying to frame this the best way that he can, that you don't give in to the terrorist desire to disrupt life as you planned it. john kasich, the republican presidential candidate, clearly
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said that if he was president today, he'd be on a plane back to cuba and not at a baseball game. so, clearly there is some political debate about the president's activities but also, brooke, a clear contrast in all of that sound you played of all of the presidential candidates and how they respond to a moment like this in real-time. this is not a test you study for, right? this is a real moment as a presidential candidate with a real live circumstance, a real live 3:00 a.m. phone call, if you will, and each one responded some what differently, allowing the voters to sort assess how they would react if they were in the big chair in the overle office. >> i'm sure we'll be hearing more from different men and woman who would like to be next commander in chief. as we heard before, our own cnn debates how they ould take on terrorists to your point. this is real life terrorism, the phone call at 3:00 in the morning. i'm sure we'll be hearing more on the trail and today a big day
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for a couple of states around the country. david chalian, thank you so much. thank you so much for being with me here. i'm brooke baldwin. continuous breaking coverage with anderson cooper starts right now. >> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. . two separate isis attacks timed an hour apart, kill 30 people, and injure at least 230 others. now, a massive global manhunt is under way