tv NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt NBC November 16, 2015 5:30pm-6:01pm PST
at 6:00. breaking news tonight. the face of evil behind the massacre in paris. the manhunt for the mastermind and terror raids across europe after an eighth attacker who escaped. and as the french president tells this country, we are at war, isis warns of an attack on american soil. counter-terrorism units stepping up security as authorities warn terrorists are going dark. why it is becoming so much harder to track them. also, from paris, new images from inside of the horror at the concert hall. how survivors cowered together and hid in silence for hours. tonight the world is asking how do we stop these brutal killers. as paris mourns, and
the eiffel tour shines bright once again, bathed in the colors of france. "nightly news" begins right now. good evening. the solemn scene behind me belied the fact that france has declared itself a country at war tonight. its new air-strikes against isis targets in syria demonstrating the resolve to hit back hard. but france and the rest of the world learned today the united states will not be deploying more ground troops into the fight. president obama saying the u.s. will stick with current isis strategy. even as a new isis video today leveled a direct threat at the united states. and here in europe, it was a day of dramatic police operations and the hunt for an accomplice and the mastermind of the attacks. we have extensive coverage of this unfolding story. let's start with bill neely. >> reporter: this is the man france believes was behind the paris massacres. this isis propaganda
video is said to show abdelhamid abaaoud, once jailed in belgium and now believed to be in syria. what you can't see behind his vehicle are the bodies he's about to drag on ropes. he was close to at least two of the paris killers. police are still hunting for this suspected accomplice, salah abdelsalam who they describe as dangerous. his brother believed to be one of the killers, another brother questioned and released after police raided the family home in brussels. >> more attacks on france are being planned. the french prime minister warned today. which is why police raided more than 160 homes, arresting two dozen suspects and seizing dozens of guns and a rocket launcher. the french president addressing lawmakers, vowed to destroy isis. ordering a french aircraft carrier closer to iraq and syria.
a dozen french war planes hit isis overnight. bombing its stronghold of raqqah, syria, in the biggest french raid so far. in paris today, not the noise of war, but silence for the city's victims. millions remembering, though they can't forget. praying, too, for the critically ill. dozens of victims remain critically ill, clinging to life at this and other paris hospitals. shot multiple times and say doctors, utterly traumatized. >> i never received 50 patients together. >> one surgeon who served in afghanistan, said he's never seen anything like it. >> worse than afghanistan? >> yes. >> it must have looked like war here. >> it was a feeling of war. >> reporter: france's muslim leaders condemned the killings and honored the dead today and sent a message to isis. >> whatever you do, no matter how long it
takes, we will beat you. >> reporter: and it is not just french police investigating this. it is police in germany, spain and belgium. and intelligence agencies in britain, israel and the united states. isis now a global threat, lester, demanding a global response. >> bill, thanks very much. isis is raising alarms at home in the u.s. by releasing a new propaganda video that threatens an attack on washington, d.c. but as nbc news foreign affairs correspondent andrea mitchell explains, president obama has no intention of changing his strategy to take these militants on. >> reporter: today's new isis video says america is next. the terrorist said, as we struck france in the center of paris, we swear we will strike america at its center in washington. is the threat real or propaganda. today a carrier group leaving virginia for the mediterranean, a planned mission focusing on isis. and tonight the u.s.
is stepping up air-strikes in syria. but even now with isis proving it could strike terror in the heart of europe, president obama sounding defensive today, sticking to his game plan. >> the terrible events in paris were obviously a terrible and sickening setback. even as we grieve with our french friends, we can't lose sight there has been progress being made. >> reporter: firing back at critics -- >> the strategy that we are putting forward is the strategy that ultimately is going to work. >> reporter: the u.s. has begun sharing more intelligence with the french, who are so on edge, a false alarm two days later caused panic. and isis capability u.s. intelligence never predicted. >> i don't consider it as one-off event. isil has an external agenda that they are determined to carry
out these types of attacks and so i would anticipate this is not the only operation that isil has in the pipeline. >> i don't want to make everybody nervous. but i feel the same way i felt before 9/11, that something very real, very well could happen here. >> reporter: so how to stop isis. experts say more air power, more effective naval power. and several thousand special forces, not just 50. >> direct action against isis, wherever they may be. in syria, iraq or lebanon or wherever on the face of the earth. >> reporter: and diplomacy this weekend with putin. and better intelligence. figuring out whether isis could do to washington what it did to paris. tonight secretary of state kerry arrived in paris to light the u.s. embassy in the colors of french flag in solidarity. he said tonight we are all parisians, even if he called isis psychopathic monsters. lester.
and security is stepped up in the u.s. in the wake of the attacks here in paris. from coast to coast, officers are out in force in a number of cities, including new york. which as stephanie gosk reports, just unveiled a new weapon in the battle against extremists. >> reporter: the nypd said this specially trained strike force is the city's new frontline against terror. >> you are here not a moment too soon. >> reporter: the unit hit the streets for the first time today, where new york city law enforcement is already in a heightened state of alert. 500 officers dedicated solely to responding to terror attacks. the plan was in place before the tragedy in paris. today there was new urgency. >> is there an aspect of this attack that you find most troubling? >> definitely. every one of them quite intended to die. >> reporter: there are no threats against cities in the u.s. but there has been a visible increase in
security. >> having officers there, and in plain sight, visible with long weapons, can be a visual deterrent to somebody that might be looking to launch an attack. >> reporter: in d.c., capital police stepped up patrols. and nfl stadiums are on high alert. tonight in cincinnati, more police and bomb-sniffing dogs. in los angeles, the police chief said they are ready but admitted there are limits to what they could do. >> it is hard to stop individuals willing to sacrifice their lives. >> reporter: later in week, the nypd is sending a special team to paris. one focus will be the suicide vests, lester, they want to know how powerful they were. >> stephanie, thank you. as the investigation advances here in europe, we're continuing to learn more about the seven attackers who died in the assault here. our chief foreign correspondent richard engel looks at who
they were, where they traveled, and how one of them may have been radicalized. >> reporter: as investigators sift through the evidence, we followed in the attackers footsteps. which led us first here, to the quiet town of charte, where one of the terrorists lived. the mayor told us that one of the rock concert murderers had associated with islamic radicals at a nearby mosque. he was radicalized slowly and then in 2012, he left town, the mayor said. but when we went to the mosque, the director said he didn't know anything about the man. but he was known in town. and not always as a devout muslim. seen here in this you tube rap video. another suspect, 31 years old, who exploded his suicide vest at a cafe and connected to the man who may be the most wanted man in europe tonight.
his brother, salah, who rented a car the killers drove in paris and then after being stopped at a check point, drove back into belgium and disappeared. isis has a habit of telling the world where its next murderous move is going to be. and the world has a habit of ignoring the threat. >> this is a message to canada. >> in july of 2014, in a video message, isis said it would attack canada.in july of 2014, in a video message, isis said it would attack canada. four months later, the canadian parliament was attacked. today isis released a new video in which it called on muslims all over the western world to use any weapon they could get ahold of, a knife, a gun, a car, even their bare hands to kill. it is a repugnant message but one that western intelligence agencies are paying closer to attention to now. and one of the things causing the most concern here is that we now know that at least one of the
attackers did, in fact, hide among the refugees who are still flooding into europe in the thousands. mostly unchecked every day. lester. >> all right, richard. that leads to the next story. a growing number of u.s. governors want to close the door to syrian refugees in the states after the revelation that a syrian passport possibly a fake, was found near the body of one of the attackers. 2,000 syrian refugees have entered the u.s. in the last four years and as hallie jackson reports, the issue is heated on the campaign trail. >> reporter: caught up in the isis battle. syrian refugees at the center of a political one in the u.s. more than a dozen republican governors and one democrat now refusing to accept any refugees from syria. in some cases until after a security review. >> and i think the concerns are warranted in too time, as the prench premier says rench prefs war. >>ly not allow a few refugees in simply to expose texans to that danger. >> reporter: now with
the hashtag trending on twitter. new questions about whether states are allowed to refuse refugees. >> whether they could legally do that, i don't have an answer for you. i don't. i think our lawyers are looking at that. >> reporter: republicans staking out a tough position with images of the paris attacks now top of mind for americans. but just two months ago, it was the image of this three-year-old syrian boy who drowned looking for a better life. today chris christie telling a radio show, no syrian refugees, now, not orphans because he lacks confidence in the vetting ability. >> is the u.s. turning its back on those suffering the most. >> that is not what we would like to do. the best thing we could do is bring isis to an end. >> reporter: on capitol hill, calls for congress to stop paying for settling refugees here. and in the race for the white house, gop candidates adding to the course. >> we have no idea who these people are. we are the worst when it comes to paperwork. this could be one of the great trojan horses.
>> they all must go through a security screening, a process that could take years. president obama wants to allow 10,000 in over the next year. democratic front-runner hillary clinton supports more. the debate now just beginning. hallie jackson, nbc news, washington. we have a lot more to cover. just ahead from paris, we go inside of the horror at the concert hall. new images just coming in as we hear a chilling story of survival. how strangers crowded together in the dark in total silence, barricaded behind a door as so many were massacred on the other side.
back now from paris. and we want to take you inside of the scene of the deadliest attack at the bataclan concert hall. new images coming to light minutes before the gunman burst in and began firing on the crowd. so many smiling faces, having a good time, listening to the music and waving at the camera. and a shocking image from after. the horrifying carnage. so many bodies on the dance floor covered with blood. tonight we hear from a survivor who ran for cover as the gunfire began, terrified and hiding for hours behind a barricaded door. the terrorists on the other side. >> it is a great picture. people having fun. >> yes. >> for dennis, friday night's visit to the bataclan concert hall was a rare chance to see his favorite band. >> how far into the concert before something happened?
>> so they started at 9:00 p.m. and they played until 10:00 p.m. and then we heard, like, some firecrackers. and so i ran into the staircases and found a little tiny room where i hid with some other people. >> reporter: the group of about 15 people barricaded themselves inside, pushing a refrigerator against a door and they waited. tending to a wounded woman and listening to the chaos. >> what could you hear while you were in the room? >> the machine guns, then silence. then shooting. we just turned our phone off. we turned the light off, and tried not to make any noise. >> did you think that you were going to get out alive? >> no. i was -- i was very afraid. >> dennis said when the police finally arrived, the terrorists, still
shooting, ran up the stairs toward the group's hiding place. >> i could feel the impact. i began finally to accept death. >> in darkness, they waited three hours before being led from their hideout. only to witness the horror left behind. >> it was a massacre. there were bodies and blood, there were pieces of brain everywhere. everywhere. >> how has this changed you and how you view life? >> i had a close encounter with death. i will not say i'm used to that, but i have a little experience with that. >> dennis tells me he doesn't know the name or anything about the woman who was shot and in that room with them. he is desperately trying to find out who she is and how she is. when we come back in just a moment. the new warning about jihadists going dark, switching to new forms of communication that are impossible for authorities to monitor. why the fbi said it is becoming so much harder to track terrorists while they are planning an attack.
we're back from a city, paris, a city scarred by terrorist attacks, claimed by isis. american officials say the strongest defense against attacks like these happening in the u.s. is good intelligence. it sounds obvious, but it is not easy. because as pete williams explains, the fbi said it is getng hard to monitor communication between terror suspects. a problem the director of the fbi calls going dark. >> so u.s. intelligence officials don't yet know how the plotters kept in touch. one official said he would be shocked if they didn't use some method of communication that the police cannot monitor. counter-terrorism officials tell nbc news that isis has been running a 24-hour help desk, manned by half a dozen senior operatives. they could tell jihadists how to use software.
such as what's app, three ma and telegram. investigators say when isis recruiters find someone sympathetic through twitter, the conversations are shifting to those applications which encrypt a message, at the most it is sent and doesn't unscramble it until it is received. impossible for the government to monitor even with a court order. >> what we are talking about is a deadly game of cat and mouse, where we have a learning, changing, studious enemy. >> the applications could delete a message soon after it was sent. i sent this one to delete after four seconds. i'm sending to my colleague, lauren. it is received and -- four, three, two, one, it is gone, forever. there was a warning before the attack of another way of eluding surveillance. including gaming consoles, with the playstation 4 with the internet group play capability could be used to send voice and text messages, hard for the government to keep track of.
>> i heard the most difficulty between the terrorists is the playstation 4. it is very, very difficult for our services. >> reporter: the problem, the online groups come and go so quickly. one cyber expert called it security by obscurity. pete williams, nbc news, washington. when we come back, the resilience of the people of paris and honoring those who lost their lives in the attacks on this great city. we exposed a flaw in those
investigation. ===jess/take vo=== plus: the new details we've uncovered about the tour bus involved in this crash. ===next close=== the news is next. the city of light, as you can see, is for now the city of candlelight. they glow by hundreds, maybe the thousands, at the site of each massacre that occurred on friday, honoring the more than 300 people that were hurt and of course the dead. 129 men and women killed. among them, nohemi gonzalez, the 23-year-old american who was in her last year at cal state long beach. gonzales worked for months to save enough money to study abroad in paris. nick alexander, known as handsome nick. he was selling merchandise for the band at the bataclan. his family said he was generous and fiercly loyal.
and mitchelli jaimez living with her fiance, they were engaged three weeks ago. not far from here, the line of visitors have returned to the eiffel tour, open again for the first time since the attacks. and awash in the colors of the french flag, red, white and blue. and here at the plaza, in addition to the candles and the keepsakes, there are messages written in chalk. there are hundreds of them, in many colors, and in many languages. one nine-year-old boy named lucas came with his grandfather to add his own thoughts to the thousands already scrawled there. it is a message to france and the entire world. love always wins. a place of memorial but you could see also a place of healing in paris. that will do it for us on this monday night. i'm lester holt. for all of us at nbc news, thank you for watching and good night.
#. nbc bay area news starts now. >> right now at 6:00, mechanical failure or was the company trying to hide something? the discovery today about that double decker buss that tore through union square. good evening, thanks for being with us on this monday. >> investigators have tough questions tonight for torque bus company after the bus slammed into cars, bicyclists, and pedestrians in union square. i want to show you new video from friday's crash scene. today, we're learning that the license plates on the bus didn't match the vehicle carrying them.
mark math yules is outside the general where bus passengers are still hospitalized. and mark, it's a suspicion that someone switched the plates and what would be the reason for that? >> reporter: that is the suspicion and we can just speculate about the reason. tonight here at the hospital, three in critical condition, two more in serious. they were on-board that city sight-seeing bus on friday that careened down post striking a building at union square. tonight, people want to know why the bus was carrying the wrong license plates. these people were injured in friday afternoon crash, investigators suspect it was a mechanical failure, and now, there are serious questions about if this bus was ever inspected before it went out on the road. the chp says it inspected a bus with the same license plates in september, but this is not the bus they inspected. and county supervisor jane kim says there's a lot of questions to answer. >> this was 100% preventable if there was good record-keeping and good