tv America This Morning ABC November 18, 2015 4:00am-4:31am PST
breaking news this morning in france, heavy gunfire and explosions in an early morning raid targeting the mastermind behind the paris attacks. >> a standoff as the sun rises. police storming a suburban neighborhood. a dramatic turn in the terror investigation. we have live team coverage. on this wednesday morning we continue with abc news breaking coverage out of france. there's word that the raid is over. two people are dead. but the suspected master mind of the attacks is believed to still be in the area. >> the sights and sounds this morning, s.w.a.t. teams surrounding an apartment
building north of paris looking for isis operative abdelhamid abaaoud. a string of explosions and gunshots could be heard through the night and residents were ordered to stay inside. our abc correspondent alex marquardt has the latest from the paris suburb of saint-denis. alex, good morning. >> reporter: good morning, kendis. we are right here on the edge of this large perimeter that the french police have set up around that apartment that was raided, which is around 200 yards down that way. the clock tower in that church here has just struck 10:00. that means about 5 1/2 hours ago this police raid started with gunfire and explosions lasting quite some time. we understand that there was some -- we've been on the ground now for three hours, and it has been relatively quiet for quite some time except for a loud series of blasts that sounded like concussion grenades or stun grenades, the kinds of things that police use when they raid buildings to stun suspects.
that could have marked the end of this raid. we do understand from the french justice ministry that the raid is over. the paris prosecutor's office tells us that five people have been arrested. three suspects inside that apartment that they were targeting and two people, a man and a woman, near that. now, the big question this morning is whether the mastermind, the organizer of those friday attacks that left 129 people dead, was inside that apartment. his name is abdelhamid abaaoud. he was believed to be in syria. he is a relatively senior isis leader, quite prominent. he's been featured in many of their propaganda videos trying to recruit fellow europeans to the isis cause and also in the more gruesome barbaric execution isis videos, as well. so the french officials this morning said that he was the target of this raid, but right now we don't know whether he was one of those arrested. >> all right, our abc alex marquardt standing by there in
saint-denis, and it's a fairly big suburb north of paris, and our matt gutman is in another part of saint-denis live for us this morning. >> in fact, he arrived shortly after this raid started. matt, good morning to you. >> reporter: hey, good morning, reena, we are at one of the police perimeters. we keep trying to get closer and closer to where this siege happened and may still be happening because about ten minutes ago we heard one loud bang, that's after the series of ten bangs that we heard earlier this morning. it sounded again like a concussion grenade, a single explosion. again, nobody is saying what happened or source of that concussion grenade but the police here continue to be very, very edgy. i'm right in the blockade and they keep pushing us back. they have their hands on their gun, their weapons drawn pointing at anybody who comes even within about 20 feet of them or so, so something is still going on here. this is very much an active situation even though that we
are hearing that a number of suspects have been detained and, of course, that woman who detonated her suicide vest was killed. the target of that raid, of course, is abdelhamid abaaoud, the number one most wanted person for france, the person responsible for those heinous attacks at the "charlie hebdo" in january and, of course, the attacks on friday. a big black eye for french intelligence, the fact that they believed he was in syria when, in fact, he was right under their noses 15 minutes north of the heart of this great city, possibly harboring -- being harbored by someone who lives in this very modest working class community, people are out here by the hundreds. work is closed. they can't travel anywhere. they can't go anywhere. the schools have been ordered to be closed, 12 of them. all the stores are shuttered here, it's a ghost town except for gawkers who are trying to get a glimpse of the police action.
paris continues to be on edge and it's hard to overestimate how much this has affected this country and you see it in the eyes of police officers that we are encountering. they are extremely serious and the buildup of forces right here in this northern suburb just about a mile away from the stade de france, that's where the three suicide attackers blew themselves up kicking off this heinous attacks friday night. you can see it in the eyes of the police officers in this massive buildup of forces here. we were on scene very, very early right after the initial crackle of gunfire, automatic weapons, when we saw first the police roll in, then we saw the counterterrorism forces, men armed to the teeth wearing balaclava, ski masks, running towards the scene. we saw army trucks piled with soldiers spilling out into the street, taking up positions and anybody who comes near these officers is being pointed away, not with their hand but with a weapon. this is still very serious and all the people that are still on
the other side of the perimeter are caught when they go out of their homes, out of their apartments, we've seen them have their hands on their head, trying to be the least threatening as possible because, again, officers aren't sure exactly of who might be involved in these terrorist actions and who exactly might be a threat to them. so, significant concern here still. it seems like the bulk of the operation is over, maybe there's some mop-up action going on still, but very, very tense here on the streets of paris. >> and that we know as early as tuesday, both french and american intelligence believed that the mastermind behind this attack was inside syria. we also know inside of france there were at least 168 police raids. have police garnered any new clues from those raids, and is there a sense inside of france that french intelligence missed some opportunities on this? >> reporter: it's hard to tell what they've gleaned.
again, you just mentioned there have been an enormous number of raids, 128 one night and 150 another night, and one wonders the extent to which the french special operations forces had time to actually prepare for these raids, and who they got. we know that a number of arrests have been made throughout the past couple of days. we don't know the significance of them, but something clearly led police to people who were bound to do harm. it is confirmed that one woman did detonate her explosive device. she was wearing a suicide vest, which means that there may have been a significant number of other weapons stored in the house, in this apartment block where the suspects were hiding out. it's a very tough position for france to be in, and i think one of the things that we have to highlight as americans who are not used to being in europe is that europeans don't need passports or i.d.s to travel. and that is why it seems that these terrorists have been so ubiquitous throughout europe. we've had a major scare overnight in germany, hannover,
the great stadium hosting there that was hosting the netherlands/germany match was the site of a possible major threat vetted by u.s. intelligence authorities and other foreign authorities indicating that something big was going down and, in fact, the stadium seats almost 50,000 people, and among the attendance was also supposed to be angela merkel, the chancellor of germany, so whatever that intelligence was, it certainly spooked the germans who closed down the city and they said there's a major threat in the entirety of the city and, of course, spirited angela merkel out of there and, of course, in belgium, and then we heard reports that these people were in bosnia and in other countries, and the fact is that you are a belgian citizen like abdelhamid abaaoud or the other members of the cell that attacked france, you can travel freely. you don't need to stop at a border post to show your i.d., your passports, you can move fluidly throughout the entire
continent. >> matt, on that i have to wrap you up while we reset the situation that is happening right now. once again, as matt was mentioning and alex was mentioning, some five arrests made this morning all in connection with the terror attacks that took place last friday. you see police setting up that tent, they're in for a long haul in paris. on the other side of this break, just imagine the horror of the r
we are continuing to follow the police raids under way in a paris suburb just north of paris, in fact, where a lot of police activity you can see right now. we believe those raids have wrapped up and at least five people have come under arrest. we are also getting word at this hour from the white house that president obama has been
informed about these attacks by his national security team. >> i should mention briefly as well that we're also getting word from the french national police that five police officers were also injured during this morning's raid, and in the meantime, as i mentioned, just imagine the horror of those residents who are waking up just five days after the terror attacks and hearing gunshots and explosions. our partners at france 24 spoke with some eyewitnesses earlier. >> i heard an explosion about 20 minutes ago, about six explosions, i didn't count, but it was quite a few explosions about 20 minutes ago. >> and what's happening there now? has it gone quiet again now? >> yes, it seems quiet, sir. but for safety reasons i won't be looking too much, and then, yeah, at least 50 police, army
vehicles and over 100 soldiers, policemen, and i saw that people were posting about the shooting and then at that time i realized that there was a shooting and then i informed all my friends and flatmates and people around the area and then, yeah, then there were continuous gunshots for it felt like over a half hour. >> i woke up hearing gunshots, so i ran out to the window and we could clearly hear it. then we called the police to let them know what's going on and what we heard, which was like a shooting or something, but then she told us that the police was intervening. so we could hear shootings until 5:30 a.m., i think, and then we can still hear that, and now we're just waiting to see what's going on. we just want to be safe, and we don't think about being near
some terrorists or something like that, you know, so we never thought it could ever happen in my town so it's weird to say that and it's terrifying. we can see places that we go often on tv where the police and things like that terrifying and i'm just shaking right now. >> she told me that she was woken up by a huge explosion, and they stormed into the building and told her to get down on the floor. she was with her husband and her son who is a baby and then she got really scared and she stayed, in fact, for two hours lying down on the floor police told her to stay calm to remain there while they were conducting the operation. then they told her to -- they evacuated her and told her to go to the city hall where she found refuge. she told me she was really, really scared for her, for her son and this was a very traumatic experience. >> the fear and terror not only eyewitnesses there on the ground
in france but also affects others in other countries. especially here in america the fbi saying that they have at least 90 americans who have been charged with plotting isis-inspired attacks here in the united states. fbi director james comey just in the past few days has said that the fbi is investigating terror suspects in every single state in the u.s. we want to bring in fbi, former fbi special agent brad garrett to tell us exactly what's going on here in america. >> and also david muir after this.
well, if you're joining us now, we have been for the past few hours following breaking news out of a suburb just north of paris where police have conducted what they're calling a significant terror raid potentially going after the mastermind of friday's paris attacks. >> so far we are told that five arrests have been made. three from inside of an apartment that was targeted. now, the key target was the mastermind of that attack, abdelhamid abaaoud. we're not sure whether or not he has been taken into custody as yet. all of this coming some five days after the attacks taking place in paris. in the meantime, we spoke a little bit earlier to abc news contributor brad garrett. we got him on the phone. brad. >> well, one of the keys any time you're trying to determine if somebody is in a residence is what intelligence do you have that he's there. in other words, did neighbors call you? did a source call you?
what is the situation, and then what you try to do is take that and can you actually corroborate it? in other words, what makes you, the police, convinced that this person is in that house? you know, as we just experienced in the last couple of days, they entered a house and he wasn't there. they thought he was inside. so, maybe they have that situation, maybe they don't. but at some point if they have enough time, they're going to figure out how to get either cameras or mikes inside a particular location to actually determine what they can see. and at some juncture i think you're reporting you're hearing noises, which may possibly be flash bangs, et cetera, that they may well have entered, you know, a residence or apartment or whatever it may be. >> all right, brad, i'm just curious about this one thing because they're saying this
morning it's possible abdelhamid abaaoud, and this is a guy that's suspected behind the "charlie hebdo" attack, the train attack that didn't happen, and now this, and they thought that he was in syria and now it turns out he might possibly be in a suburb of paris in a residential area. does that kind of shock you that that might be the case, that he might have been able to survive there for all this time? >> no, because the ability particularly in europe to move around and particularly if you do it by car is just not that difficult and particularly if you have great fake i.d.s and/or somebody else is moving you, i can definitely see that to be a possibility. >> fbi special agent brad garrett. in just a moment we'll have abc's david muir with us from paris.
france, we want to bring in "world news tonight" anchor david muir who is in paris. he arrived there shortly after these attacks. david, what can you tell us about the scene right now? >> reporter: we've been on the scene here this morning, reena, and as you can see, there's still a very heavy police presence. the operation is still under way. we know that this operation had to do with abdelhamid abaaoud who, of course, is considered the mastermind of all these coordinated attacks though authorities have not been able to say whether or not he was, in fact, inside the building they have gone into here this morning. we know there have been five arrests, three inside the apartment detained and then a man and woman later detained near that apartment building. we also know that authorities have confirmed this morning that there was one woman who detonated a suicide belt, as we've been reporting for days now in those coordinated attacks throughout paris, all of the attackers who took their lives all had identical suicide belts that they were wearing. it's unclear if she was part of
that group. >> and, david, what is the scene right now? does it appear as if things have calmed down where you are? [ no audio ] >> we have lost david muir. this has been ongoing for about six hours and you can see the police presence is still there strong in saint-denis. we have several correspondents and, of course, "world news tonight" anchor david muir on the scene. >> and as david was talking about there, what's unclear at this hour police are trying to ascertain that female suicide bomber who detonated her explosive vest. was she part of the same group, the same explosives that were used in the attack friday. police are still trying to work as you can see on the scene leaving that apartment area. they just in the last few minutes have put up that tent and a great deal more police activity, more presence just around that apartment complex. >> and we should point out on the other end of this break, our alex marquardt is close, just steps away from the apartment that was the target. he will join us live from paris next.
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live from the kgo-tv broadcast center this is abc7 news. >> we have major overnight developments in the paris attacks with police raids and suspects killed. thanks for joining us the i am eric thomas. >> i am kristen sze. >> now a check on weather and traffic. mike? >> a look at live doppler hd a few high clouds across the sky. if you see a beautiful sunrise, snap it and #abc7now. notice the flags are still this morning. we are not so chilly. the modification in the air mass took place overnight. 40-52 at 7:00. up to 66 with a hint of a breeze and a few high clouds. at 4:00, 58 at the coast and 70 inland. you will need a lighter coat at
7:00 hour. 54 to 60. >> leyla is off. a check on traffic shows westbound 580 in oakland a little construction work. this is between grand avenue and broadway so the right lanes are closed until 5:30 and you can get around through the lane on the last. a look at the golden gate bridge where in fog to speak of and traffic is very light, moving well, no delays. to the very latest developments in the paris attacks an intense rain unfolded targeting the ringleader of the devastating attacks. we have information just coming in. >> here is the latest, two terror suspect are dead. one is a woman would blew herself up with a suicide belt. seven are under arrest including three who were taken from an apartment at the heart of this raid. still no word if police found the mastermind behind the attacks. we are closely monitoring the pictures as they come in the newsroom. police met with unexpected
resistance when they entered the participate in the -- apartment in the working class neighbor. five police police officers are hurt and a seven-year-old police dog was killed. they descended on an apartment in saint denis at 4:30 a.m. their time. here is what the residents heard overnight. [ gunfire ] there were long periods of intense machine gunfire. at least seven large explosions. police have not confirmed if paris attack ringleader ringleader abdelhamid abaaoud was in the apartment a belgium isis member recently if sear your. the police raid just wrapped up and the french president is giving an update. we will gather the latest information and bring you an update at 5:00 a.m.