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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  November 13, 2015 5:30pm-6:01pm PST

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major breaking news tonight. the city of paris under attack, over 100 killed in multiple apparently coordinated shootings and bombings rocking several bloody scenes. a rapidly rising death toll after explosions near a packed stadium, many slaughtered in a restaurant, and a massacre in a theater. gunmen with weapons on the loose. tonight, state of emergency in france and the latest from u.s. intelligence as president obama addresses the nation. who was behind it? "nightly news" begins right now.
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good evening. as we come on the air in the west, there are several developments in tonight's breaking news out of paris and what at least at this moment looks to be a city under a terror attack on several fronts. the reports are coming in quickly. there are multiple explosions, and reports of over 100 dead in a concert hall after an hours long hostage seize. tonight, the president of france closed borders with europe and vowing to strike back at the people behind the attack without mercy. we begin with keir simmons and what we know at this hour. >> reporter: chaos on the streets of paris tonight. gunfire ringing out and simultaneous reports of an explosion at a restaurant.
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the taet toll -- death toll reaching 140. there are six or seven separate incidents. reports of 100 people dead after the hostage taken at a concert hall where an american band eagles of death was playing. a shooting in a shopping mall. a separate attack at a restaurant. at least 11 people killed there alone. and police said two suicide attacks outside of the french national stadium just outside of paris where france and germany were holding a soccer match. >> an explosion could be heard from inside of the stadium. the game over and fans were held on lockdown as shooting continued across paris. one of the spectators was president hollande, rushed from the stadium and within an hour chairing an emergency meeting. while french police and military flooded the streets. the president
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mobilizing 1500 troops. echoes of the charlie hebdo attack where multiple shooters targeted a magazine office. in paris there is shock and fear tonight. tonight, many flights inbound are being held while president hollande is at the concert hall where 100 were killed. the president declaring a state of emergency. reports of five of the attackers left tonight were killed, feared others still loose. >> we have more on that massacre inside the theater. the concert hall where scores are dead, an american band was on stage when the gunmen stormed in. nbc's anne thompson with late details. >> inside the concert hall, carnage. it was turned into a shooting gallery by terrorists. at least 100 people killed.
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along with gunfire, paris police say the attackers tossed explosives at the hostages. on stage, an american band, eagles of death metal. tonight, members of the band tell nbc news the band is safe. before midnight, paris police stormed the concert hall, automatic gunfire and sirens fill the nearby streets. they killed at least two attackers. tonight, the president hollande went to the scene and said france will bring the fight to terrorism and will be without pity. anne thompson, nbc news. >> we want to hear from seth forges, a free-lance reporter. we spoke to him a short time ago and he described what he saw. >> reporter: i am in an apartment, it is a bustling nightclub area, bars and restaurants and people
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around. i see a gathering of people, my first thought was bit of police activity, no big deal. when i saw police officers holding guns, hunched behind vans, a scene out of a movie. a couple of police cars, and dozens are hiding behind vans, the shooter on the loose in the neighborhood. that's when i split and got out of there. saw a gentleman about 30 years old with a towel wrapped out of his hand, bleeding out of his hand. you can hear a police car going by now. they're going behind a barricaded area, going fast down the street. that car is going very, very fast. it is a neighborhood that has people out and about. getting drunk, partying, doing things. when you see that, your first thought is somebody got into a fight in a bar, not this chilling. >> he is near the attacks in paris. we will turn to
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richard engel standing by live in istanbul, turkey. anyone trying to connect the dots would note the plane that may have been blown out of the sky over egypt a couple of weeks ago, the suicide attacks in lebanon, for anyone trying to link this to isis, what should they know. what are you hearing? >> reporter: the u.s. intelligence community is working hard to try to piece this together to figure out who was responsible. there have been no immediate claims of responsibility but one senior u.s. intelligence and counter-terrorism official told me that the suspicion right now is that this was not the work of isis. that it bears more of the hallmarks of al qaeda or an al qaeda affiliate because of the sophistication and the coordination that is involved. we're talking about potentially in multiple locations, all across paris. many of them in that same area where the charlie hebdo attacks took place a year ago.
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that attack claimed by not isis but al qaeda. that is what one official says is the main suspicion right now. if it were, however, isis, it is still a possibility. it would be, quote, a game-changer because it would reflect isis's ability to project power, to project its force much more so than we've seen in the past. and isis has been reaching out internationally. just yesterday isis claimed responsibility for that horrific bombing in beirut and brought down the russian jet over the sinai killing more than 200 civilians. so a lot of people trying to figure this out and they are shocked at the degree of sophistication involved. they are calling it an unprecedented attack, not just in europe, not just in france, but in the history of terrorism. >> and richard, it is not lost on anyone this happens 24 hours after the u.s. killed this jihadi john, the famous infamous
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isis executioner. you put a report on that. we'll get to it in a few minutes. that is worth discussing in connection with this. we want to go to the white house. president obama being briefed on the situation. the president came to the briefing room and spoke about the attacks just a short time ago. ron allen is there for us. ron, what is the latest from there? >> reporter: good evening, lester. the president is deeply concerned about paris. briefed by the counter-terrorism team as the attacks were unfolding. he called it heartbreaking and outrageous. sending his deepest condolences and prayers and thoughts to the french people and promising america is ready to help. >> this is an attack not just on paris, it is an attack not just on the people of france, but this is an attack on all of humanity and the universal values that we share. we stand prepared and ready to provide whatever assistance that the government and the people of france need to respond. >> reporter: just coincidentally, mr.
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obama spoke to the french president hollande this morning. the leaders discussing this weekend's g-20 meeting in turkey which they both plan to attend. with the threat of global terrorism will be at the top of the agenda. >> thank you. we want to bring in michael leader, former director of t national counter-terrorism center under president obama and bush. he is now the executive vice president of lydos which does national security work for the forward government. michael, first of all, what are you hearing? >> lester, i think people in washington are still really unclear. they are watching tv and following this more than anything else. not a lot of reporting out of the french yet and i think it will be some time until they have a good feeling about who is behind this. >> why france? we saw it in charlie hebdo. we saw the france vulnerability and why again? >> france is deeply engaged in syria and iraq with the u.s. coalition and france does have a difficult relationship with muslim communities
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going back to algeria. i think it is too early to say if this is al qaeda or isis. but what we could be confident of is that this is ultimately going to be violent sunni extremists and a level of sophistication we haven't seen in urban area since probably 2008 and the attack in mumbai, india, and -- >> and that is what i wanted to follow up. the sophistication, if these are coordinated attacks how does that escape the radar in this day and age in the vigilance against terror networks. >> it is surprising. the french of incredibly effective in counter-terrorism and they strengthened the laws after the charlie hebdo attack. i think they are probably found to be some communications possibly using encryption which kept the french officials from seeing this. but a lot of soul searching in france and also beyond in the u.k. and the u.s. to understand how an organization could plan this so effectively, to have multiple sites, explosives and small arms. this will be, as others have said, a
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game-changer for how the west looks at this threat. >> michael lider, thank you. let's bring in it andrea mitchell. what are you hearing from your sources about how the u.s. is reacting to this. >> as michael knows well, the counter-terrorism center he used to head under two administrations is going back over electronic surveillance to see if they missed some sort of intelligence, did they miss some intercept and could they reinterpret it. but as michael points out, the u.s. is blind because it is shocking but american intelligence does not know really whether this is isis or is it al qaeda. you heard the president say he has not spoken to president hollande because officials tell me the french are in response mode. and until and if we find that americans are either hostage or casualties here, the french will not feel compelled to brief the white house about what is going on. also, it is really striking that only yesterday the president said that we were gaining strength against isis. that we were
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containing isis. we were making progress against isis. if it is isis, this is an enormous setback to american intelligence and to the president's messaging. he had said previously that the goal was to degrade and destroy isis. now he's saying to contain isis. containing isis is not a goal that implicates -- that suggests getting rid of the terror threat that could eventually take the homeland. >> time and time again we report about what happened over there. we remember 9/11 and that feeling of we could be next again. what kind of alarm bells are being raised in washington about the fact that we could be more vulnerable, that what we're seeing there could be here? >> right now, homeland security officials tell nbc news there is no immediate threat that they have been able to determine to the homeland. but that is exactly why intelligence officials are going back over intelligence. and the russian airline was a wake-up
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call and then beirut and now this. and as michael suggests, what don't we know. >> i want to circle back. this all comes after news broke that one of the most infamous members of isis was likely taken out in syria. the pentagon today said it is, quote, reasonably certain a u.s. drone strike killed the man known as jihadi john. the executioner seen in the horrible videos that have terrorized the world. we turn to richard engel on that. >> reporter: he tortured his victims and taunted the u.s. but last night on a street in raqqa, the so-called capital of the islamic state in syria, a missile came for him. the few hostages who crossed his path and survived describe the man they call jihadi john as a sadist and psychopath. he relished his role as isis' chief beheader of foreign victims, including three americans. his real name is muhammed emwazi, a
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kuwaiti-born citizen. late last night u.s. officials tell nbc officials three reaper drones, two american and one british were tracking him when he and another man walked out of a building on raqqa's clock tower square and into a car. one of the u.s. drones fired a hell fire missile. the two men were, quote, incinerated. >> it does suggest that perhaps the job of coalition and the u.s. is perhaps going to be a little easier if they do have legitimate credible forces on the ground. >> reporter: and u.s. officials were quick to send a message to other isis militants. >> the terrorists associated with daesh need to know this. you're days are days arr days numbered. >> reporter: he had been under surveillance, sources say, for a long while. long enough, according to the white house, to give the families of
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his victims notice of the operation. but they were not comforted. the father of hostage james foley late this afternoon. >> jihadi john makes no difference to me. jim is dead. he won't bring -- bombing him won't bring jim back. >> reporter: but tonight it seems very likely that jihadi john will never be able to destroy another family with his swagger and threats and knife. lester, just hours before the paris attacks began, counter-terrorism officials were sounding fairly confident they dealt a symbolic blow at the very least to isis taking out their most recognizable figure, certainly in the united states, jihadi john. now there is a concern that isis and al qaeda are trying to send messages of their own, carrying out massive attacks in europe. and they also say that it is no surprise that these attacks are taking place in europe. that it took place in paris. jihadi john was someone who was radicalized in the u.k., went to syria to
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fight and so many of those -- those extremists have been in syria, in iraq, and then returning home to places just like paris. >> richard engel, we will follow breaking news out of paris. when we come back, security response on our shores to these attacks. stay with us. we are back in a moment.
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we are back with another look at paris.
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we are continuing to monitoring the breaking news in a series of coordinated terrorist attacks, dozens reported dead. we will return to paris, a city under siege in, just a moment. pete williams is in washington with details. what can you tell us? >> reporter: u.s. officials are in touch with french counter parts. department of homeland security says there's no specific or credible threat to the united states. dhs says it will adjust the security posture as appropriate. some of the nation's major police departments decided to increase street patrols. law enforcement officials in los angeles say lapd and l.a. sheriff's departments are stepping up patrols around critical sites and public venues. new york city police dispatched to crowded areas to provide visible police presence. teams were sent to french government locations in new york city immediately after
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the attacks, and police here in washington, d.c. also stepped up security of french government sites. and the u.s. capitol police increased security around the complex here. >> unsettling times. pete, thanks very much. back in a moment with more on the terror attacks unfolding in paris.
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let's take you back to paris, a city scarred by terrorism. sam champion is in paris now. what have you seen and heard? >> hey, lester. with al gore this evening, supposed to be a 24 hour broadcast
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tonight and into the morning. when i wrapped up, we were walking away from the scene. i will tell you hours before this happened, the mayor of paris was on the set as well as a number of french dignitaries have been onset. the entire set is now on lockdown. i cannot tell you -- i can tell you former vice president al gore is fine, can't tell you where he is now. we were immediately told to come here to talk to you guys. let me give you a setup of what it was like traveling across the city. we are below the eiffel tower with our set. what we are seeing now is just outside. all three areas are closely together. on the way here, the streets thinned out like that. the only thing moving has flashing lights on it. even one or two taxicabs trying to get home have red lights, are not stopping to pick anyone up.
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as we were moving to get in position, everyone looking at each other frightened with a suspicious stare. people are panicked here, very, very scared. >> sam champion with that eyewitness account from paris tonight. we are back after this. san francisco police on
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heightened alert after the terror attacks in france. ===jessica/take vo=== plus: a tour bus crashed into a construction site, injuring 20- people.. ===next close=== the news is next. ==take sot== nats explosion ==jess/vo== tonight -- more
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we are back with more on our top story. multiple massacres across paris. dozens are dead. keir simmons is getting developments from the london newsroom. give us the latest. >> reporter: they say the death toll in paris could exceed 120, other reports put it higher. how many attacks have been carried out is confused. as many as six. heard four men fired into a restaurant more than a minute, then turning and walking away. the worst horror at the concert hall where 100 are dead after being taken hostage. five attackers were killed, others may still be on the loose. the french president was watching a soccer game when suicide bombers attacked nearby. he had to be rushed to safety. the president hollande telling his nation
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faced with terrorism, france must be strong, big, firm. the terrorists want to scare us, faced with fear, we are a nation who knows how to defend ourselves and he went on to say long live the republic. lester? >> keir simmons tonight, thank you. we will be back on the air at 10:00 p.m. with a special edition of "dateline," terror in paris. we will have continuing coverage all through the night and live breaking news on msnbc on cable. more from paris tomorrow morning on "today." i am lester holt for all of us at nbc news, thank you for watching and good nice. -- night. ght. nats explosion ==jess/vo==
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==jess/vo== tonight -- more than 100 dead in paris. multiple attacks unfoldimng simultaneoulsy . it is 3 am in paris right now and state of siege. more than 100 dead in paris. multiple attacks unfolding simultaneously. it is now 3:00 in the morning in paris. new details coming in by the minute. the attacks triggered an alert in the bay area, as well. san francisco's police chief has put every police officer on the force on the streets. a move he's made out of an abundance of caution. we're also following breaking news in san francisco on a different story. take a look.
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a major bus crash at union square. the double-decker tour bus speeding down post street crashes near the site of the new apple store. good evening, thanks for being with us. i'm raj mathai. >> i'm jessica aguirre. chaos at san francisco's union square after a tour bus crash. the double-decker sightseeing bus plowed into a construction sight. six are in critical condition. we have more from union square. what do we know about what happened? >> reporter: this is still a very active scene. police investigators are still trying to get to the bottom of exactly what happened. the fire department has set up lights, traffic, collision, investigators are here. investigators are on top of the or

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