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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  November 15, 2015 3:30pm-4:01pm PST

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test test on this sunday night from paris -- france strikes back, war planes hitting an isis stronghold. panic in the streets. a city on edge after the terrific attacks. the death toll stands at 129, a hundred more still clinging to life. new horror inside the bataclan concert hall, a stunning story of survival from a man who narrowly escaped death. tonight, this 26-year-old man from belgium is being hunted. could one small town hold more clues? tonight, this city's unmistakable badge of resiliency after two attacks in ten months. we'll show you how paris carries
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on. "nightly news" begins now. good evening. france struck hard against isis tonight, just two days after the group claimed credit for friday's terror attack. a wave of french war planes hit isis war planes in raqqah, syria. here in paris, a veneer of normalcy proved to be thin as police fanned out with guns in hand, crowds rushing from outdoor cafes and from the public square where we are. it was a false alarm but it betrayed the hair trigger anxiety in paris after officials put a face on the eighth suspect on the loose. still more images emerged from friday's chaos.
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we'll begin our coverage with chief global correspond bill knee neeley. >> reporter: a guitarist rushes offstage. most were trapped. by the time of the gun battle, when french police stormed the hall, three terrorists had killed 89 people, a warning the aftermath is shocking. even obscured, the horror is clear. this man, police suspect, is an accomplice of the killers, and he's on the run. abdeslam salah, 26, and from belgium. police say he's dangerous, do not approach. after the massacres, police found a car abandoned with three guns and empty magazines inside. and they're looking for a bomb maker. the terrorists are identical
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suicide vests when nails inside. intelligence officials say there are strong links between the kill and hers and isis members q and syria. paris this morning is a haunted place. >> it's a hell. it's a nightmare. people were hidden in the dead bodies. >> reporter: among the dead, nohemi gonzalez, a california student. >> she wanted to have a career and a family. >> reporter: the faces of some of the 129 dead stare out at the places where they died. many here can't put their grief into words. >> some of my best friends died here. >> reporter: the sight of a massacre has become a shrine of tears. but also of a fierce determination here, that the killers who did this will not win. almost a hundred victims are still critically ill. paris is in shock, so on edge
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that the noise of fire crackers sent hundreds fleeing in terror. police with guns drawn. the bells tolled for the victims. paris tonight in mourning. and just a few hours ago, french war planes bombed the isis stronghold of raqqah, syria. 12 war planes involved, hitting multiple targets. the biggest french attack on isis so far. u.s. forces also involved. france had vowed it would respond to the killings here, which it called an act of war. this does look like revenge. lester? >> all right, bill, thank you. >> new reporting tonight about the terrorists who police say are responsible for such unimaginable carnage here. their records and how they traveled to france all parts of a complicated puzzle that investigators are piecing together tonight. our chief foreign correspondent
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richard engel has the late details. >> reporter: the attackers operated in three teams, carried assault rifles, and wore matching suicide vests. france's justice minister told us all seven are dead. >> no one who has participated in the attack is still alive. >> reporter: but, she said, the hunt is on for their accomplices. >> we have working in order to identify all of the ones who helped them. >> reporter: france put out a special alert for abdeslam salah. nbc news has learned he signed the rental papers for one of the cars used by the attackers. french authorities have now identified most of the seven attackers' bodies. at least three were french, including 29-year-old omar ismael mostefai. he was known to be linked to
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radical islam. the cars were rented in belgium, and, the suspicion is, the weapons acquired. this combination of angry young muslims from france with weapons from belgium is exactly what was behind the assault nearly a year ago on a french is a tearial magazine. after the charlie hebdo attacks, french officials said they would give more attention to neighborhoods like this one, where young muslims are linking up with isis. at least some of the attackers, it seems, arrived in france after joining the wave of undocumented and unscreened refugees and migrants that has been washing up on europe's shores. greek officials showed a passport that was later found next to one of the attackers at the paris soccer stadium. a french official told nbc news it was stolen.
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if the attackers indeed used the migrant trail, not only would it tarnish the image of millions of refugees, lester, it would make it so much more difficult for all those people legitimately trying to escape the war zones and find safety. >> richard engel tonight, richard, thank you. nbc news has learned at least four of the attackers were from belgium. tonight, much of the investigation now focused there, particularly in the brussels suburb of molenbeek. >> reporter: good evening, lester. the manhunt for abdeslam salah has led detectives here to belgium tonight. we controllrossed the border fr france, where there is heightened security. it may be too late. french police confirming that hours after the attack, salah was stopped at the border but loud to go free. officials believe the attack was prepared here and it's believed
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the three brothers were involved. the third brother was arrested in this brussels suburb. seven suspects were arrested in belgium, amid concerns that this small country has become a hotbed of islamicism. police have warned the public not to approach him. tonight, a poignant story of survival from a man who made it out of the attack at the bataclan concert hall on friday. he told me in harrowing detail how he escaped onto a roof and now is struggling to come to terms with the horror. >> i wasn't supposed to go to the show. >> reporter: a friend gave him the concert ticket when he carries with him, along with a memory that will never leave him. he sat in the balcony.
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a great night, he says, until that moment. >> first, the sound of explosions. maybe it was in the show, i thought. and people around me were more and more afraid, because i was slow, i followed other people who were under the chairs, on the floor, very slowly going to a door. and then we can hear the sound of some screams and weapons, and the smell of -- >> gunpowder? >> yes. somebody before me had this idea of opening the window to go to to the roof. >> was there a ladder? >> no ladder. it was very difficult to access to the roof. everyone helped each other. it was really beautiful behavior, because people -- we
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were gentlemen. it was ladies first. people in danger, they think about the others, helping the others. >> the group managed to crawl to an adjacent building where they huddled in a stranger's darkened apartment, waiting for help. >> inside the apartment, i said to people around me, be happy because we are lucky, i think. we will make it. we will survive. >> he has spent most of the last two days closed away in his apartment. tonight he's back in the streets of his beloved paris. >> sometimes i feel a bit guilty, because i'm alive and some people are not. why me? why me? i know i'm wrong. i know, i don't have to be
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guilty to be alive. i think a lot about the people who died there. i don't know what to say. >> the questions that haunt so many who are still reliving that horrible day. in turkey today, president obama met with world leaders at the g-20 summit where his strong words on the attacks here in paris reflect a possible shift in the u.s. strategy against the islamic state. nbc's ron allen is traveling with the president and has this report. >> reporter: a moment of silence, as president obama, with the world's most powerful leaders, honor the innocents massacred in paris. >> the skies are darkened by the horrific attacks that took place in paris a day and a half ago. >> reporter: the president vowing to stand shoulder to
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shoulder with the french, who called it an act of war. >> the killers on people based on a twisted ideology is an terror attack not just on france, not just on turkey, but it's an attack on the civilized world. >> reporter: the economic summit now dominated with addressing the growing terror threat, a moment so urgent mr. obama and russia's vladimir putin huddled in the corner, diplomacy on the fly, talking about how to defeat isis and end syria's civil war. now, following the paris attacks, the u.s. plans to intensify its year-long strategy, attacking isis from the air while backing local forces on the ground, a strategy widely criticized as ineffective. the hope now, that daughter-in-law coalition fighters will amp up the firepower. the french said they may invoke nato's collective defense
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clause. an attack on one, an attack on all. >> we're confident we'll be able to intensify our strikes to make sure there's no safe haven for these terrorists. >> reporter: the french have said they'll use every means necessary to destroy isis, a mission and sense of urgency the u.s. has said it will aggressively support. lester? >> ron allen with the president in turkey, thank you. when "nbc nightly news" continues this sunday from paris, security in the skies. what do we know about those with access to the planes we fly on? is the tsa doing enough to
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crash. the top concern, an insider, an airport employee who suddenly becomes radicalized by isis. it could be a ramp handler or cleaning crew member -- anyone with access to a plane. >> if you're an insider, you know the system in the airport. you know where the cameras are, where the doors are. you know who is a good screener and who is a bad screener or who is a little bit lax or who's not. >> reporter: every airport worker in the u.s. is regularly checked against a terror watch list. when it comes to criminal background checks, they're done by the airports themselves, required only every two years. and while some airports require every single airport worker to be screened every day, most airports don't require that. they argue there are too many workers to screen them every day. >> it costs a lot of money to hire those security officers to be able to do all those jobs. >> reporter: in a usa today
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editorial, an official said using the government's terrorist screening database uses information throughout airport access. but security officials say more needs to be done, including constant tsa checks of all workers inside the airport. >> it throws an insider off, because you have not lapsed into a routine. >> reporter: also requiring more airport employees to pass through security checkpoints. anything to disrupt a potential threat from the inside. tom costello, nbc news, washington. when we come back, how the massacre in paris has transformed the 2016 conversation. i absolutely love my new york apartment, but the rent is outrageous. good thing geico offers affordable renters insurance. with great coverage it protects my personal belongings should they get damaged, stolen or destroyed. [doorbell] uh, excuse me. delivery. hey.
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please stand for a moment of silent reflection for the victims, their families, and their loved ones. >> yet another touching show of solidarity with paris today, this one from the nfl. stadiums across the country from new orleans to baltimore and chicago in between paying their respects to the victims of the paris attacks. the three democratic candidates for president are back on the campaign trail tonight after a debate last night in which the paris attacks were a big focus. nbc news white house correspondent kristen welker tells us how the attacks have changed the race. >> reporter: former president bill clinton appearing alongside his wife hillary. but the paris attacks overshadowed the campaign. >> attacking paris, the city of light, reminds us that there is no middle ground in going after these terrorists.
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>> reporter: the tragedy transforming the 2016 conversation. >> we should declare war and harness all of the power that the united states can bring to bear. >> reporter: the former secretary of state in a corner, the candidate with the most foreign policy experience, now forced to answer whether she and her former boss underestimated isis, a question she dodged on saturday. >> this cannot be an american fight, although american leadership is essential. >> reporter: clinton was pressed to defend her vote for the iraq war when she was a new york senator. >> the invasion in iraq led to the instability we've seen right now. >> i have said the invasion of rock was a mistake. >> reporter: clinton now trying to distance herself somewhat from president obama, who recently said isis has been contained. >> it cannot be contained. it must be defeated. >> reporter: an opening republican rivals pounced on today. >> the policy of containment isn't going to work. >> reporter: others focusing on
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what they say is obama's failed foreign policy. >> we'll have to target isis leadership. >> we don't have until the next election to deal with isil. there is a 9/11 coming. >> reporter: candidates across the board talking tough but offering few details. >> most candidates benefit from drawing a big picture and saying, you know, the united states is going to be a great country again. >> reporter: and another question. will the attacks shake up the gop field? after all, frontrunners donald trump and dr. ben carson lack foreign policy experience. we'll know for sure when voters weigh in. the iowa caucuses now just about two months away, lester. >> all right, kristen, thank you. when we come back, how a wounded and grieving city carries on. ♪song: "that's life" ♪song: "that's life"
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hard to believe, but ten months ago i reported from this very square, watching people place flowers, candles, remembrances after the charlie hebdo attack. i didn't expect to be here so soon under these circumstances. and i think the people here never thought that they would be here again. we showed you tell panic earlier after a false alarm in paris. people left here but they came back, because in paris they always come back, as erica hill reports. >> reporter: in the heart of paris, a sea of strength. >> we just want to live. that's it. we just want to live. >> reporter: that message on full display. young and old united. a determined spirit.
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a collective desire to push on. why are moments like this important in france? >> i'm not sure i can talk, really. we are afraid. but we don't want to be afraid. we want to fight against it. >> reporter: that fight tonight burning strong in each tiny flame. and in the lights lit around the globe. symbols of a resilient city. reminders of the belief held deep in the french soul. liberty, equality, fraternity. american susan gerald has lived in paris for 35 years. >> i don't think there's any way people will tell parisians that they can't go to restaurants, they can't go to concerts. that's not the parisian way. that's not the french way either. >> reporter: for the first time since the attack, the eiffel tower shining brightly again tonight. for parisians and visitors
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alike. >> we need to get on with our lives. and we need to be brave and strong and not succumb to this type of terrorism. >> reporter: a symbol perhaps that this city, while still in mourning, is not in hiding. erica hill, nbc news, paris. as we look at this remarkable tribute here, after midnight in paris, so many tributes and messages, but they all say the same thing: paris is alive. that's "nbc nightly news" for this sunday. i'm lester holt. for all of us at nbc news, thank you for watching and good night.
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russell wilson and the two-time defending nfc champion seahawks are just 4-4. tonight a huge matchup as they take on division-leading arizona. >> i focus purely on just being abused. >> in seattle, new faces quickly embrace an approach to the game their team has all but trademarked. >> full-on beast mode.

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