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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  November 18, 2015 5:30pm-6:01pm PST

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tonight. nbc nightly news is up next. >> hope to see you back here at 6:00. breaking news tonight. isis issued a new call to action. a chilling new propaganda video just out showing images of new york city, referencing the paris attacks, warning of more to come. and in france, another major terror attack stopped just in time. a massive raid on an apartment outside paris. authorities say the terror cell was ready to act. and they try to identify who was killed in the dramatic hours-long battle. and as a young woman blows herself up, is the mastermind dead or alive? and also tonight, is this the bomb that brought down the doomed russian jetliner in egypt. isis bragged about the explosive hidden in a soda can they claim blew the plane out of the sky. "nightly news" begins right now.
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good evening. there is breaking news tonight of a chilling new isis propaganda video just surfacing, referencing the paris attacks and showing images of the crossroads of the world. times square in new york city. it is no doubt aimed to capitalize on the fear and anxiety after friday's attacks and major developments breaking here in paris as well. french officials now saying that today's deadly terror raid by security forces in nearby saint denis uncovered an apparent terror cell they believe was ready to launch new attacks. there is a lot to get to on both sides of the atlantic. starting in new york with nbc's stephanie gosk. >> reporter: the
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latest video calls for suicide bombers. at the end, a chilling montage at times square, and a suggestion that new york city could be a target. the footage of times square is from april and isis has threatened new york city before. this new video has been topped with fresh images, since the paris bombing. >> the idea is that now you've seen what we do. now understand that we saying this the most effective technique, you don't even have to be with us and if you live in these countries, this is what you need to do and here is a suggested target. >> reporter: the nearly five-minute video which nbc news has chosen not to show in its entirety, congratulates the islamic state for the deadly terrorist attacks using clips of french president hollande and images of fighter jets bombing. >> there is no doubt there is a message aimed at the united states and at france as well. the fact that no place is safe. >> reporter: in the days following the paris attacks, u.s. cities have been on high alert. especially new york. which announced a new counter-terrorism strike force on monday. >> some of what we have to be constantly focused on is not only significant areas such as times square or
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many of the tourist attractions, our stadiums or major events, but the soft targets. >> reporter: tonight the nypd released a statement saying in part the video reaffirms what officials already knew, which is that new york city is a target. the statement goes on to say there is no credible specific threat to times square or anywhere else in the city. lester? >> stephanie gosk in times square. let's bring in michael leader, former director of the national counter-terrorism center. he's now executive vp of lydeos, which does national security work for the government. michael, we heard stephanie say no credible threat. we've heard that before. yet we are reminded no one saw paris coming. give us an idea of how worried or concerned u.s. intelligence officials are. >> u.s. and western officials are extremely concerned, lester. because the fact is the sophistication of
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the plot, the breadth of the plot in paris, that was undetected. that is what scared people. they realize people could be motivated and inspired by isis and now we see that isis could operate with great sophistication under the radar undetected. and that makes people scared because they don't know what they don't know. >> reporter: all right, michael, thank you. the new video from isis comes hours after a daring pre-dawn raid in a paris suburb to take out another cell ready to act. it is not clear whether the mastermind of last week's paris attacks was killed during the assault. our chief foreign correspondent richard engel has more from saint denis, where the raid took place, less than 30 miles outside of paris. >> reporter: amateur video captured the moment. french police storm a terrorist safe house outside of paris. tipped off, the accused mastermind of the paris attacks, abdelhamid abaaoud, and his gang were holed up inside. but the terrorists heard the police approach and fired back.
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a suicide bomber, likely a woman, blue up her explosive vest. destroying part of the building and injuring five officers. that is when we arrived. police here still seem very tense. they have sealed off some of the area. they are shining search lights on to the buildings, down the alleys. there is a helicopter above. this raid does not seem over yet. >> reporter: s.w.a.t. teams used lights and lasers to point out targets on the third floor apartment, the terrorists' hideout. a helicopter scanned the area as more gunfire and explosions echoed in the street. some families were evacuated, searched and told to stay away. as he hurried down the street, we stopped one man. he said he knows the owner of the apartment, claims he's an ex-con and drug dealer. he had guests, he said, who knows, maybe they were the terrorists. at daybreak, police officers still comb through the
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neighborhood, taking no risks. troops were called in. but even after seven hours, it was still unclear if the paris attack mastermind was inside the apartment. france's chief prosecutor eventually broke the news to the country. abdelhamid abaaoud is not in custody, he said. but he did say a body recovered was too mangled to identify and needs dna testing to determine if france got its man. france appears to have very good intelligence this time. and it went in very heavily armed. the police fired 5,000 shots during this operation. and you saw for yourself, lester, there were hundreds of police officers there. and relief workers and medical workers. this was france on the offensive. >> richard engel, thank you. and today's raid was one of hundreds playing out across france since friday's attack. but it was by far the
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most dramatic and explosive. what led s.w.a.t. teams to the scene this morning and where does all of this leave the massive ongoing investigation. that part of the story from nbc's bill neely. >> reporter: after the gunfire, the forensics, they gathered evidence all day inside the shattered apartment. and removed the body of the man they shot. but is this the paris mastermind, abaaoud and who are the eight other arrested? three were detained on the street outside. this man arrested after admitting he rented the apartment to two people last week. the weapons and cell phones they recover from this apartment will help answer one crucial question. was this a second and last isis cell in paris or are there more waiting to strike? the raids target the 27-year-old belgian abaaoud who fought in syria. he had gone there after setting up a
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terror cell in belgium. attacked by police in january, french investigators believe the seven men killed attacking paris on friday and the two men on the run were controlled by abaaoud. last night, a breakthrough. word that he was in paris, in the apartment. but another clue led them there. information on a cell phone dumped just before the attacks. on it, too, a chilling message from the killers, we're off, we're starting. the terror group in the apartment was ready to act. police believe they were preparing to attack a paris business district. tonight, controlled explosions at the apartment. its terror cell broken, other militants still free to strike again. well today's raid was the deadliest but not the only one. police arresting isis sympathizers across france.
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more than 403 nights and more guns seized. and they believe all of this has prevented more attacks. the people here hope they're right. lester. >> bill neely also with us in paris tonight. thanks. in the online magazine isis claimed responsibility for the attack in paris and for the downing of the russian passenger plane blown out of the sky killing 224 people on halloween. isis included a photograph of what it implied was the actual bomb hidden in a soda can. now while there is no way to authenticate the photo. tom costello has been talking to the experts about whether a bomb that small could bring down such a big plane. >> reporter: it is isis propaganda. a photograph of what isis suggests is the homemade bomb that brought down the jet over the sinai. a shockingly crude and small bomb planted in a soda can. what we don't know is if the photo is legitimate. but a retired atf
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explosives expert said the photo does show the critical components of a bomb. >> if it was real, the can would have to be packed with an efficient explosive. could be any kind of explosive. but the more reliable, the more efficient it would be for a military explosive. >> in the middle, a commercial-grade detonator. on the right, a possible switch connected to a battery. on the left, the can itself, cut open and put back together. perhaps packed with plastic explosives. in the online magazine, isis writes after having discovered a way to compromise the security at sharm el-sheikh, a bomb was smuggled on to the airplane. u.s. weapons experts have shown us what just one to two pounds of plastic explosives can do. it is what brought down pan am 103 in 1988. in 2006 three british men plotted to use liquid bombs to blow up flights over the atlantic. here in the u.s., experts say a soda can
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would not get past a tsa check point. in a checked bag, explosives detection machines should pick it up. the biggest potential security gap, catering carts and cargo that are not screened at 100%. security pros worry someone with access to the plane could exploit that weakness. >> i would tell you that i think the threat from an insider is more of a threat we face, particularly an insider with the capability to put an explosive device on the aircraft. >> u.s. intelligence forces say if it was the single can packed with explosives it would have had to be up inside the skin of the aircraft, maybe under a seat. but we don't know exactly how many cans may have been used, if at all. lester. >> tom, thanks. now to the growing war of words over allowing syrian refugees safe haven in the u.s. amid concerns terrorists could sneak in among them, pretending to be refugees themself.
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a survey monkey poll finds that 56% americans disapprove of allowing more refugees in the country, while 41% approve. and the issue divides sharply across party lines. and as hallie jackson reports, those divisions go right to the top. >> reporter: in manila, mocking republicans, president obama aiming a withering attack at those who want to close u.s. borders to syrian refugees. >> apparently they are scared of widows and orphans coming into the united states of america as part of our tradition of compassion. >> no names, but no mystery who he is talking about. republican candidates proposing to keep out syrian muslims, but let in christian refugees. the president accusing them of rhetoric that plays into terrorist hands. >> i could not think of a more potent recruitment tool for isil. >> his opponents accusing the president of playing politics. >> the president lives
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in a fantasy world. he lives in a fantasy world. >> i think he is a threat to our country. >> i would encourage you, mr. president, insult me to my face. let's have a debate on syrian refugees right now. >> that debate making headlines after reports the attackers may have entered europe as a refugee with national security here at home front and center in the race for the white house. >> if these attacks remind us of anything, it is that we are living in serious times that require serious leadership. >> reporter: today jeb bush is calling for more u.s. troops to be sent to the middle east. as his brother and father did while in office. his emphasis on serious naive, a subtle dig at donald trump and ben carson. who is now on a media blitz to try to prove his foreign policy chops. after a new york times report suggests carson's own advisers think he is struggling. >> a year from now i'll know more than i know now. >> reporter: and while that is fine with supporters who like his political inexperience, others see warning signs.
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>> coming out of the attacks in paris, that could spell a disaster for a candidate that is not prepared. >> reporter: almost all gop governors, many gathered for a meeting here in vegas, hope to put the brakes on admitting syrian refugees. and while house republicans are expected to pass a bill tomorrow to make it tougher for the refugees to enter the u.s., the white house said today the president would veto that. democrats are arguing strict security screenings and the bill would shut out the refugees most in need of help. lester. >> hallie jackson, thanks. still tonight, tracking terror. how the same technology used to lock our smartphones may be thwarting efforts to track extremists and others to stop another attack. now finges are being pointed at biggest names in silicon valley. rs are being pointed at biggest names in silicon valley.
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we're back from paris. the site of the attacks that reignited a fight back home in the u.s., pitting privacy against security. one of the top prosecutors called on congress for more authority over silicon valley to unlock smartphones, because, as pete williams reports, the same technology that protects the contents of our phones could protect terrorists as well. >> reporter: an urgent question after an act of terrorism, are others involved? french police say a discarded smartphone contained important evidence about friday's attacks. but new york city top prosecutor warns that u.s. police are hitting a road block investigating crimes here. phones lock when they
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are inactive or turned off. if they are found at a crime scene and have the latest software from apple or google, they can't be unlocked for the police, even by the companies facing a court order. locked smartphones hold evidence in more than 100 cases, including murders. >> the line between an individual's right to privacy and the legitimate needs of law enforcement to protect the public should not be drawn by two private companies who make smartphones. >> reporter: the new york d.a. said congress should be required to open the phones when ordered by a judge. and the fbi director renewed his warning that isis uses software to encrypt messages impossible to intercept. >> at that moment, the needle that we've been searching the entire nation to find and have found, goes invisible to us. that is the going dark problem. >> isis has circulated a list of apps ranked by which are the most secure. no comment from apple or google, but privacy advocates push back. >> if somebody could get in, then the risk
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is that anyone could get in. and that anyone could be a government, enemies of the state or other criminals. >> reporter: even so, some in congress saying the tech companies should rethink how phones work. pete williams, nbc news, washington. we're back in a moment with more of the day's news. including tensions exploding over the police shooting of an unarmed man.
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in minneapolis, a controversial police shooting. earlier officers in riot gear stormed a precinct where many camped to protest the death of unarmed african-american jamar clark. the medical examiner labelled it a homicide. according to investigators, clark was suspected of assaulting a woman and interfered with paramedics at the scene. officers arrived and they say one discharged his weapon during a struggle with clark but some
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witnesses say clark was handcuffed at the time, which police deny. and across the u.s. today several states hit hard by nasty weather as powerful storms dump snow, ice and pounding rain and knocking out power to hundreds of thousands. the pacific northwest was in the bull's eye, leaving three people dead in parts of washington state. homes were flooding under feet of water. in the center of the country, the governor of kansas declared an emergency. and in the south, severe storms and tornados as the system slides to the east. when we come back, she was trained for a war zone. but she never thought she would need those skills to save lives right here in paris. a thief stole a police cadet's
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gun. ===take vo=== only on nbc bay area where they found the weapon's case , and why it's so troubling to police. ===janelle/take vo=== plus: new details about the tour bus crash in san francisco. tonight, hear the driver's side of the story. ===next close=== next. finally tonight, something we don't typically share with our viewers, but many of us in the news business who have occasion to report from war zones undergo specialized training in first aid and survival. the woman you are about to meet, a producer at france 24 news, had gone through the training, never imagining she would need the skills on the streets of paris. but when shots rang out from across her home, this woman went from journalist to first responder. >> this is the most
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terrible image i have in my head, is to see, 10, 11, 12, 13, 15 people gunned down. all of the people were very calm. no screaming, no noise. >> tell me who you treated first. >> it was a woman that had a gunshot here, in the arm. i remember applying tourniquet right here to her. people started to feel the pain and people started to scream and people started to panic. and they asked for -- treat me first. what are you doing? help me. look at this. >> one of the people that you treated, that you met, was an american woman. >> yes. it is a very important memory because she didn't speak a word of french. she had beautiful eyes. and i was actually joking with her, i was trying to keep her focused and with me and i think i -- i looked at her deeply in the eyes for maybe
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20 minutes, nonstop. >> it must have been comforting for her to hear someone speak her language. >> yes. she was less wounded than others so she had to wait a long time. a very long time. lying on the floor. >> has this taken something from the paris that we all know and love? >> no. absolutely not. they didn't take anything. we will really stand up and we will really fight. in our own way, we will always have this la baguette, we will always annoy everyone with our horrible smelly cheese, french art, french culture. nothing of this has been taken. and -- and this happened in paris now. but for me it happened -- it happened in all of the world at the same time. >> she is a remarkable woman. she didn't get the name of the young american woman she treated. we do know she
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survived and is using her producing skills to find her and hopefully reunite. that will do it for us on this wednesday night. i'm lester holt. for all us at nbc news, thank you for watching and good night. these cadets are getting ready to pass the san jose police academy. but one might be in big trouble right now at 6:00, these cadets are getting ready to pass the san jose police academy. one might be in big trouble before he even graduates. someone stole his police issued gun and it's still missing tonight. thanks for joining us. our nbc bay area investigative unit uncovered that hundreds of police service guns are lost or stolen in the bay area. the majority end up in the hands of criminals. tonight in san jose, another case. sources tell us a cadet with the
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police academy is under investigation after his gun disappeared. an exclusive story. the gun case has been recovered, but the gun is still missing. >> reporter: that's right. this is still under investigation. police here will not say much, only to say that this case is still under investigation. this is a personnel matter. sheriff's deputies do confirm that a gun was stolen from the trunk of a car. tonight, investigators are still looking for the thief and the gun. >> turn off the vehicle. put your hands in the air. >> reporter: cadets are issued guns during the academy. one cadet had his gun and other equipment stolen from his car. in an e-mail san jose police will only say -- sheriff's deputies responded to the


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