tv All In With Chris Hayes MSNBC November 18, 2015 12:00am-1:01am PST
>> and welcome back, everybody. 3:00 in the morning here on wednesday morning on the east coast. our msnbc coverage continues on these live raids here in paris going on just north of paris. i'll give you the headlines here, we'll get into the details in just a moment. we have two suspects dead, three people have been taken into custody, and three police officers who have been injured at this point. this all started as a police raid early this morning outside of paris in a suburb north of paris called saint-denis. this is close to where the stade de france is, where the france/germany game was happening on friday night when the attacks happened. early this morning, urn the cover of darkness, this is what
they heard and saw in that neighborhood. [ gunfire ] >> you can hear it clearly, the repeated sustained gunfire that was going on this that neighborhood. again, this is a northern suburb outside of france. again, as we understand from our colleagues at canal plus, laura haim has been following this for us all night. earlier she told us that the likely target of these raids say man named abdelhamid abaaoud, the alleged masterminds of the paris attacks on friday, which killed 129 people, injured many, many more.
they believe that he possibly was the target of this raid. at this point, again, we know that two suspects who were inside that apartment are dead. it is unclear at this point whether or not abdelhamid abaaoud is one of those people or whether or not he was even inside that apartment to begin with, but again, he was the likely target of that raid. this, of course, just the latest of many raids that have happened in the past 48 hours, over 300 raids that police have been performing in and around paris. right now, i want to go to chris jansing in central paris chr. i know you know about abdelhamid abaao abaaoud, he's a belgian man whose eluded authorities for some time. this would be a big get if he's inside there. >> hard to imagine there would be a bigger get. the most wanted man in europe.
i'll go back to abaaoud, but i'm getting new information from the paris prosecutor's office, according to them, the one woman in the apartment activated her belt at the beginning of the assault. so we heard some of those explosions. the assault began at 4:20 a.m. three men who were holed up in the apartment were taken out by special operations forces and are placed under custody. their identities have not been established. moreover, a man and a woman were arrested and placed into custody nearby the apartment. all the family entourage of m t mostefai and samy amimour have been released. apparently the woman who blew herself up did that right at the very beginning. that was not part of what has been an extended stand-off here. and the still outstanding question that everyone wants to know, as you pointed out, shannon, was abdelhamid abaaoud one of the people who were in
there? one of the people who has been watched very closely. he went to syria in 2013. he was radicalized, disowned by his family, who thought he had been killed over there. and then when police realized that he had not, that he had returned to europe, it really started an intensive manhunt that predated what happened here in paris on friday. he's important for any number of reasons, obviously the mastermind behind what happened here, but he's key to what isis's success has been. he's somebody who not only had a network of people back in belgium who he could call on, who were willing to be suicidal, to die for the cause, but he has been featured in many of the videos, many of the recruitment videos, and one of the most difficult things for people fighting isis has been their incredible ability to recruit online.
very sophisticated videos. there's one of him where he's dragging mutilated bodies behind a van, and just to give you an idea of the mind-set of someone like abdelhamid abaaoud, he recruited his 13-year-old brother to join isis, to the point where his own family said they were ashamed of him. so to say that this would be a big get would be a tremendous understatement. he's someone who has been the focus of intense police activity for well over a year now, and obviously a main target since friday night. >> and it's just incredible, chris, the range of emotions and happenings going on in that area, in and around paris since friday night. obviously shock and sadness and anger, and now today, just a few days later with these raids going on, and multiple fatalities here. i know you're about 20 minutes away in the center of paris, outside of this suburb. i know it's 9:00 a.m. there now, people are starting to come out, probably starting to go to work.
is there any sense at all down there in the center of paris what's going on in this northern suburb as we speak? >> you can see people like any other major city walking around with their faces glued to their phones, in many cases. i haven't had an opportunity to leave the camera to talk to anybody. but you can bet that this is something that parisians, french, europeans, people around the world, have been following very closely. and waking up this morning, if they turned on their television to 24-hour tv stations that were covering this non-stop, as it was playing out, i can tell you that there was one word you did not use as you were describing the emotions of the people that i have seen here, and that is defiance. that many people have come out, you can see still this memorial that is growing behind me. the one that is over by the concert hall. there are several actually that are over there. we were there for quite a while
last night. the crowds were huge, sometimes three and four people deep. i've seen people walking down the streets with flowers, determined to come out, show their respects and show they're not afraid. having said that, i also spent a lot of time driving around the city last night with way parisian, who is actually from america, but has lived here for 20 years, and he told me he thought the activity that he saw was much lighter than it would normally be, even given that it was a weeknight. the only place we saw any crowd of people, and it wasn't even, i would say, a big crowd, was at the eiffel tower, which although it was lit, does remain closed. so i think certainly paris and the rest of france is waking up to this news this morning. again, a sense of unease that there's been more violence. but wanting to know if indeed some of the major people who were behind what happened here on friday night are the people
who are inside that apartment building in saint-denis. >> certainly, chris. thank you for that from the center of paris there. i want to bring in malcolm nance, veteran u.s. intelligence officer. malcolm, if you can, give us an idea here. in the few days since the attacks here on friday, this is now wednesday morning, of course in both paris and here in new york as well. it seems to me that if they had intelligence that abdelhamid abaaoud was inside this apartment, it would have taken a little while to set up, and get your tactical in order. what kind of intelligence would they have to make this happen? >> well, to tell you the truth, i suspect they don't have hard intelligence right out of the box, but they developed intelligence over the 300 raids that they carried out throughout the city. and at some point they gained intelligence that he was -- may have been holed up in this
possible safe house. at that point, all components of french national intelligence, external and internal, are going to drop down around that neighborhood. everyone knows saint-denis is a neighborhood where they could walk about without really being noticed. it's very close to the sports stadium, but it is separate from the city. it actually is very close to the edge of the city out to the suburbs. so it gives them the ability to hide in an urban area, but quickly go out to the north and out into rural areas and countryside if they need to. so the intelligence agencies there are going to quickly set up a perimeter and they'll have watched it for hours, if not for as long as they've known, perhaps a day. and then they will assemble a special operations mission to breach that residence. that's always the most dangerous part. that's where the suicide knomers in iraq and afghanistan, everywhere, blow up when you
come through the door, and that's apparently what happened here tonight with this female suicide bomber. >> what are the chances that they get some good intelligence out of this? we know there are some survivors here, they took a number of people into custody. this is still ongoing. there were at least one or two other people inside this apartment. so at this point when you know these people are willing to blow themselves up for their cause, what are the chances that you might get some actionable intelligence beyond this? >> well, everything that the french police have connected up to this point has probably led them in this direction. so if you have good physical intelligence, and right now, this is why this mission is taking so long to clear, because they don't know whether that building is rigged to explode. the spanish police in 2004, going after the terrorists who blew up the bombs in the madrid subway, they actually had a suicide bomb factory blow up on
top of them as they were entering the building, killing one of them and injuring several others, but killing all of the suicide bombers. so the french police are cognizant of this. and they're going to be very deliberate, to make sure if anyone's holed up in there, to get them alive, or if they have to get them dead, in such a way, way they can gain intelligence, to find out where they came from and who else may be involved. >> do you think they'll be able to get some definitive proof that he was -- they believe abdelhamid abaaoud was the mastermind of these attacks here. >> it's possible they'll get that information if he's actually in that building. he may be dead. he may be alive. one way or the other, they're going to find out. however, abaaoud may be the mission planner. he may be the team leader. and he may have been the person who brought all these people together and deployed them on a
mission. that doesn't necessarily end the chain of custody, so to speak, on the culpability of this mission. now, it will go back, who handled him from raqqah? who was the external intelligence chief for terrorism that deployed him? who trained them in raqqah and ultimately this goes up to abu bakr al baghdadi, the commander of isis, and everyone in the chain is going to be targeted for neutralization by either france or the united states. >> one of the things that laura haim had said earlier this morning, from canal plus, as a french citizen, she couldn't wrap her head around the fact that there was a female suicide bomber inside that apartment that had detonated her own belt. that was something that she said, to the french people, it was so hard to wrap their head around, that this was happening inside their city, and in the surrounding areas. can you give us a little perspective on what that means and what the role is in that
situation? >> right. when she made that comment, my follow-up comment was, welcome to our world. this is something the united states armed forces and intelligence agencies have been dealing with for almost two decades now. we've had female suicide bombers operating in iraq and afghanistan. as a matter of fact al qaeda in iraq, which is now isis, pioneered a tactic that we call the husband and wife suicide bombing teams. where both of them would take a car and simultaneously drive at two targets and blow themselves up so that they can go to heaven or wherever it is they suppose they're going. the french can't wrap their minds around this. because it was common place sri lanka. it was in turkey.
but it's not common place in europe. so tr them, it's shocking. they don't understand how you can override your maternal instincts and actually be a human guided weapons system. >> for those of you just joining us u this is an hours' long raid going on in the fresh suburb of saint-denis. a northern suburb, not too far from where the stade de france is, where the soccer game was going on friday night when the attacks happened in paris and at that stadium as well. in this suburb, starting about 4:30 in the morning, this is what it looked and sounded like. [ gunfire and explosions ] >> so repeated gunfire, sustained gunfire in this police raid. the headlines from this raid and they continue to develop, this isn't over at this point, is that we have two people who are
dead, three people who are taken into custody, three police who were injured in this. and again, the likely target of this raid, a man named abdelhamid abaaoud, the alleged mastermind of the paris attacks that took place on friday night. at this point, we do not know whether he's dead, alive, or whether he was in the apartment to begin with. that's something that's still unfolding at this hour, as we continue to follow this developing story, coming from the french suburb of saint-denis. of course we'll continue our coverage here on msnbc. we'll take a quick break, but stay with us. we'll be right back.
welcome back to msnbc. some incredible happenings overnight in france that we're following about this hour. about 9:18 this morning in saint-denis france where overnight police have been carrying out raids in this northern french suburb. gunfire erupting at about 4:30 this morning. this was the scene in the darkness at about 4:30. gun shots ringing out. have a listen. [ gunfire ] >> so sustained gunfire there going on for hours, starting in the wee hours of the morning there, about 4:30. we're told at this hour that the
raid is still going on, the results of which, so far, two suspects who were inside this apartment that they raided, have died. three people were arrested and at least three police were injured in this. we're told the target of the raid is abaaoud, the alleged mastermind of the paris attacks which happened on friday, of course. this was an area which is close to the stade de france, which is where the france/germany game was going on before the attacks happened. the raids again started at about 4:30 this morning. gunfire erupting there, and again, two people dead from inside the apartment. we know one of those people was a female suicide bomber, who was wearing a belt, which she detonated and then of course killed herself. one other person we know was killed by police. again three other people arrested and three police officers injured in this. i want to go now to chris jansing in central paris, about 20 minutes away from this northern suburb.
and chris, i understand that you have a little bit of reaction from people in the neighborhood to these early morning raids. >> that's right. there are people we have on site who have been talking to people, and there are two in particular that i want to point out to you. the first one is from a woman, 43 years old, her name is veronique. she and her friends, terrified, are crying, have been holed up in their apartment, laying low, staying away from windows. they are directly across the street from where this operation was taking place. and the scene she describes, you can just imagine how horrifying. she told our producer, there were explosions at irregular intervals. we heard everything, we heard shots. it was terrifying. they locked themselves in from the very beginning, which the prosecutor in paris now all they this began at 4:20 a.m.
it's the dark of night. you're awakened to the sound of intense gunfire. she says, we heard so many booms, i'm shaking. we are very scared and i can't stop crying. we won't go near the window. we are too scared. we are stuck. what if something else explodes and affects us? i'm very scared. as we've been talking about early early thier this morning, one of the concerns, that an apartment or apartments in that building might be booby-trapped for the express purpose of when police come in, to set off another explosion. it's not an uncommon thing. there was another eyewitness who richard engel talked to very early this morning. he also describes intense gunfire at about 4:30 in the morning. he said he may have heard explosions as well. he spoke to richard in arabic. he identified himself as abdel nor aljazz eerie.
an immigrant. he said he saw police raiding a building. he said the man living in the apartment that was raided is a known drug dealer in the neighborhood, and that he had two guests with him. he said he thought the drug dealer who lived on the third floor of the building was mor ok an. he also said he believed all three men might have been killed, or at least i guess in some way injured. we don't have confirmation that there are three, but if there's a drug dealer connection here, it makes sense on a couple of levels. one is that we know that in belgium, the mastermind of this, abdelhamid abaaoud, who may be the target of this operation, often hung out with known drug dealers in a bar near his home. in addition to that, this is one of the ways that isis differentiates itself from other terrorist organizations, which
depend on nation states to finance them, which essentially gets help from the outside. the thing about isis is, they have been self-financing tlau o -- through oil, but also through drug operations. in spite of the fact that they are very strict and would never take drugs themselves, they apparently have no trouble growing it. they are known to, for example, grow it outside of raqqah in syria and to have a very active drug operation. so if indeed this man who richard engel talked to is right, and this was an apartment owned by drug dealers, certainly that kind of connection would not be surprising. >> again, we don't know if the mastermind of the paris attacks, abdelhamid abaaoud, was actually inside the apartment or not. but his background is not good.
27 years old, a belgian-born man. his own family had disowned him at this point. >> well, they had. they believed that he was killed in syria last year. and they were rejoicing about it. they gave interviews where they said they were glad that he was dead. remember, this is someone who recruited his 13-year-old brother to join isis. so his family had long ago disowned him. and then that set up a whole series of intelligence and police activities after he was believed to be dead last fall. they apparently tracked his cell phone to athens and realized that he had returned to europe. and they have tied him to a string of terrorist operations on the ground here on the european continent. in january, they thought they knew where he was. and that's one of the reasons that there's so much caution here. intelligence officials, police have thought before they knew
where abdelhamid abaaoud was, and it tushr turned out that he waund. -- wasn't. so they pull off this major raid on a safe house, but he wasn't there. so he's someone who they had been tracking long before what happened on friday night. certainly one of the most wanted and one of the most, if you can use this word, important or successful to what isis's intent is, which is to continue to recruit. he was, in addition to apparently being someone who organized these kinds of terrorist operations, was a major recruiter, and so he had both ends of the spectrum there and it was somebody who was seen very often on videos in those recruitment videos that have been so successful online for isis. >> certainly. chris, thank you. that's certainly something we'll be waiting to develop in
people there waking up to some incredible news overnight. two suspects dead after a morning police raid that spanned hours and is still ongoing. we understand five people have been arrested and three police officers were injured. this all started around 4:20 this morning in the northern suburb of saint-denis, under the cover of darkness. have a listen and a look at what that sounded like. [ gunfire ] of course authorities since friday have been on the hunt for a number of terrorists after those horrific attacks in paris and the surrounding areas on friday night. we understand the potential target that of ongoing raid at
this point was a man named abdelhamid abaaoud, the alleged mastermind of the attacks which happened on friday. at this point, we know two people inside that apartment are dead. again, five people arrested, three police officers injured. it's unclear, though, if abaaoud was inside that apartment and if he was, if he is one of the fatalities. we know that a woman suicide bomber is the other fatality. she had a vest which she exploded. that brings us up to date at this point. i want to bring in now jim cavanaugh, former atf special agent in charge and law enforcement analyst. jim, you've been with us throughout the night and watched this unfold. as i understand it, at this point, this is still ongoing. they believe there's still one or two other people that are inside that apartment. we know that there was a woman who blew herself up inside there. give me an idea at this point what these french forces are dealing with in terms of a potential negotiation if any. >> if you can get whoever's
alive in there to talk with the police negotiator, that can kind of settle things down. doesn't mean they won't kill themselves or try to charge out with a suicide vest or even shoot at the police. but if things are stable and there's nobody else in there but terrorists, then the police are more than willing to talk, to listen to what they got to say. you know, to buy some sometime, to see if they can convince them to come out. the chances are very, very, very slim, but that doesn't mean the police won't try. and also, they're not going to want to make an aggressive entry in there anyway because of the suicide vest that's already been detonated. what may have occurred on the initial raid, when the law enforcement officers were going in there, this woman detonated a suicide belt. we don't know if some of the officers could have been injured then or an exchange of gunfire right at that point as well. of course they retreated. and remember, four policemen were killed at the bataclan
theater when they went in there to rescue the concert goers, when the terrorists detonated suicide vests. so they're not going to rush into the place. and also, if they're just barricaded terrorists in there, they're not coming out of there unless they're under arrest, or charge out and get killed or kill themselves. there's no reason to go in and get an officer injured. they'll talk if they can get them on the phone, they'll talk for a while. it may not be fruitful talk, but it may buy some time. >> it's 9:30 in the morning there, this all started around 4:30. pitch black when this all started. i understand that's probably by design at that point. what would be your tactics going into a situation like that at 4:30 in the morning? >> well, we like to go early to get everybody asleep. because people usually are sleeping at that hour a lot of times just before dawn. it's a time where you can usually catch people like that. some people are night owls.
of course these terrorists, if they're operating on drugs, and they're manic and they're constantly looking out the window, every little noise, you know, they're expecting to be pursued. if abaaoud is there, like you talked with chris jansing, that's a huge -- would be a huge catch for the french police and all of europe. he's a guy, if he could get loose, and if he is loose, i mean, he could launch and gather together more terrorists and have more attacks in europe. he's a very, very dangerous man. i'm reminded of the capture of khalid sheikh mohammed years ago, do you remember that? >> yeah. >> when he was caught in pakistan, dirty t-shirt on and everybody said, who's that guy, what does he have to do with anything? and he was the operational commander of 9/11, a guy that was really dangerous. his cousin who had done the '93
world trade center bomb, and the plot to blow up 12 airliners across the pacific. so he was a diabolical evil, operational commander. isis is just getting into that. and abaaoud is sort of that. he's sort of the khalid sheikh mohammed of the emerging isis into the western world. i mean, they've been in syria and iraq, but now they're branching out. and they probably used their affiliate in the sinai province to do the bomb on the russian plane, and they probably did have plenty of operatives that could do the bombing in turkey recently and in beirut. but they didn't have the hand to hand in europe was abaaoud to pull everything together, a logistic cell, support sell, suicide terrorists, deliver them, get them there. get some bomb-master to make them reliable devices.
so he's critical if he's there. if he's not there, then that's just as important. because where is he? he's one of the essential elements to keep europe safe. he's got to be tracked down. he has vast knowledge of the area. the targeting shows us that. >> jim, it's chris jansing in paris. i'm just wondering, obviously, if he's there, it's enormous in its implication says as and the going to get him any way they can. but whether hs him or other folks they've taken into custody, what's your sense of how, if they're taken alive, how an interrogator, somebody who is very experienced, not just in interrogations, but particularly in terror interigations might be able to get some critical operational information from one of them and abaaoud in particular? >> yeah, i think they'd get a lot of information from him, chris. it's a great, on-point question.
you know, in the u.s. we have the high-value interrogation team, and the french have similar teams, i'm sure. with law enforcement, we have special interview, cognitive interview teams. none of that torture stuff or beating people. that's not going to get you anything. but trained interigators that know how to talk to people, that take the time to do it. you might not get it instantly, but you'll get it eventually. and i think if they have arrested these people, if they're in the cell, in the support cell, logistics area of the terror cell, they'll get plenty of information from them in the days ahead. now it may not all come out right away. but i think they've gleaned a lot of information in the last few days. and we shouldn't leave out, the public is so totally behind the police in this, that spotting these terrorists there, could
have been a phone call from someone on the street or a neighbor. because these pictures have been all over the paper. we're always wanting to think it's a satellite intercept in space -- >> he could be anywhere. >> but it may not be. >> it may be a tip from a neighbor. >> if that's the case and if it's inside the apartment, this is a hop, skip, and a jump from the stadium there. why stay so close to where this all went down? >> well, because when you're moving, you're in danger of being stopped, pulled over. if you can lay low close and hunk eveer down, the police care all driving past your hide-out. that's a criminal tactic. being on the highway, on the interstate, you got to face all the state troopers, the french police, roadblocks. if you lay low close and you got to hide there, you can probably survive quite a while. if you're just walking on the
street, going to get a newspaper or sandwich, you know, you might not be picked up. but his picture, and some of these other players, salah, pictures were all over the french media. chris jansing has been showing them. the whole team has. every french citizen has seen them. so if these guys are anywhere, they could be called in as well. >> jim cavanaugh and chris jansing there in paris. this story is still unfolding and we are going to bring you the latest. we'll take a quick break though and we'll return after this.
and medicines, and ask if your heart is healthy enough for sex. do not take cialis if you take nitrates for chest pain, as it may cause an unsafe drop in blood pressure. do not drink alcohol in excess. side effects may include headache, upset stomach, delayed backache or muscle ache. to avoid long-term injury, get medical help right away for an erection lasting more than four hours. if you have any sudden decrease or loss in hearing or vision, or any symptoms of an allergic reaction, stop taking cialis and get medical help right away. ask your doctor about cialis for daily use and a free 30-tablet trial. welcome back to msnbc as we continue to follow this developing story out of france this morning. a lot of happenings overnight. beginning about 4:20 france time, french police there under the cover of night, basically went in and raided an apartment. that raid's still going on at this point. but it was dark and it was very loud in this neighborhood. have a listen to what the
gunfire sounded like. [ gunfire ] this is in the french suburb of saint-denis, it's a little bit north of paris. and again, we understand at this point that two suspects are dead so far in this raid. one of them a woman, a female suicide bomber who had blown up a belt that she was wearing. and one other suspect dead, killed by authorities there. at this point, five people have been arrested or taken into custody and three police officers or authorities there have been injured. again, this started about 4:20 a.m. and the likely target of these raids at this point is a man
named abdelhamid abaaoud, the alleged mastermind of the paris attacks that happened on friday night, killing 129 people, injuring many, many more. as i understand it, we're joined now by ben pleser, nbc news producer who travels with richard engel. and ben y, you were there when happened. take us through it. >> thanks. we arrived here and there was still gunfire heard across this neighborhood. this is a neighborhood predominantly of migrants. neighbors were standing around, trying to understand what was going on on their street. it was a very heavy police presence. they sealed off a very large cordon around the building they were apparently targeting. there was a helicopter overhead that was shining light constantly on an apartment on the third floor of this building that we believe was the target of this raid.
and all we knew was -- all we and the neighbors knew, was that we could hear the gunfire. it was very loud, it was very close. and that the police were holding everyone off. anyone who tried to approach the cordon, they shined a light in the person's face and loudly warned them off. the police were obviously on high alert, guns drawn. there was a whole lot of police activity around the cordon. gradually the tension seems to have eased off somewhat once the operation appears to be over, and they are now more in the clean-up phase. later on, we heard a set of very loud explosions, which we can only guess were potentially either clearing the area or breaching a wall in order to make the place safe. but obviously we don't know that for a fact as we were kept on
the other side of the cordon. residents here are confused and very, very worried. we spoke to one eyewitness who said he was at home sleeping and he heard the gunfire and he came out onto the street and watched as a neighbor he knew, his apartment was being raided. this is a very dramatic day. >> so he knew someone that was in that apartment building that was being raided? >> he did. and he believed the suspects may have been guests in that apartment. >> so people who weren't -- >> we now have information from the prosecutor, as you mentioned that apparently a woman in the apartment blew herself up when the police arrived. and there was certainly a very heavy exchange of fire that followed as you heard. >> sure, sure. ben, looking now at the live
pictures, 9:47 in saint-denis, it looks as though authorities are a little bit more at ease. can you tell us, has the raid come to an end? is everybody out of that apartment building at this point? >> again, we're judging here on the ground, we're face to face with the police, but we are getting the same feeling that you're getting looking at that picture. they seem a lot more at ease. couple of hours ago, they had the guns drawn, they were very, very nervous about anyone approaching them. they are now much more comfortable, though about an hour ago, pretty much out of the blue, four officers, heavily armed, guns drawn, came marching through the street we were standing on, clearly searching for something, or following a lead that they had, looking very much on high alert and on edge. whatever it was they were looking for, they did not find,
but this is still -- the tension is just beneath the surface. i know it's hard to see from your vantage point because you're on the ground and you don't exactly have a bird's eye view here, but did you get to see anybody taken out of there? i know they made five arrests. did you see anybody coming out? >> we did not see any of, neither the suspects nor the bodies potentially being taken out. the police cordon was very tight and very large. what we were able to see is neighbors being ordered out of their homes. some of them in pajamas, others in underwear, just pulled out of their beds and told to leave the area as they are. they were wrapped in emergency thermal blankets to keep them warm and loaded onto police vans to just be kept warm. this is clearly an operation
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welcome back to msnbc at this hour. we continue to follow some developing news out of france, where police have been carrying out raids overnight on suspected terrorists. this is in the french suburb north of paris called saint-denis. at this hour, we understand that two suspects are dead. five people have been arrested and at least three police officers or authorities have been injured in this. we understand that the likely target of these raids was a man was abdelhamid abaaoud, the alleged mastermind of the paris
attacks that happened on friday. they've been hunting him for a little while. but it's unclear whether or not he was in the apartment they're raiding, and if he was, whether or not he's one of the fatalities. one of the fatalities is a woman wearing a suicide bomber, wearing a vest or a belt which she exploded. but gunfire all night, starting about 4:30 paris time. i want to bring in malcolm nance, veteran u.s. intelligence officer joining us here on msnbc. i want to ask you about this, i just talked with ben plesser, nbc news producer who travels with richard engel. they were on scene this morning, looking at the live pictures now, much different than 4:30, on 5:30 when the gunfire was sustained. now it seems they're at ease little bit. can you give us an idea what they might be doing? >> sure.
well, of course what happened at 4:30 this morning was a very dynamic and heavily armed assault onto the building. so when they breached that, that's when the suicide bomber exploded, and the gun battle raged. but in the post attack, what they're going to do, of course, the first thing is, they need to check to see if that building has been booby-trapped. as i said earlier, this was a very common tactic that's used by isis in iraq and syria where they will rig their entire safe house for explosion, so that even if they're killed, the building will blow up and collapse on top of them. and spanish police had this happen to them in 2004 with al qaeda terrorists. they literally blew up the safe house on top of the assaulting officers. so they're going to really take that place apart. then once they've cleared it for explosives, they remove the remains of the suicide belts from the woman who had exploded or -- then the forensic teams
will try to identify the bodies of who is there, to ensure they have the right people, or to identify people they don't know. then finally -- >> go ahead. >> you'll have the intelligence teams come through for a sweep. they'll really be working fast and hard on this. because we don't know if there are other participants in the attack that we just don't know about. so they will go in and take cell phones, things out of their pockets, anything that's associated with these people. >> that's my question then. i would say, what's the likelihood that they'll find some useable intelligence after all is said and done here? >> well, that depends. because it depends on whether this team was operating in what we call an isolation. so -- and whether this was what we call an isolation facility. where they go to the safe house, they hole up, they don't carry anything on them that will implicate them or any of their
other compatriots. on the other hand, we've seen from al qaeda suicide bombers and the 9/11 hijackers, that once they complete their mission, they don't care. they'll phone their calls back into their high command. and they don't, you know, they'll burn the numbers and they will -- they don't care what they leave behind. so we'll be able to glean something from this. >> malcolm nance, joining us with a little perspective on these raids. again, alleged mastermind of the paris attacks, abdelhamid abaaoud, still unclear at this point, whether or not he was inside that apartment that the authorities there had been targeting this morning. we'll continue to follow this story, but in the meantime, i'm going to take a quick break here on msnbc. stay with us. [ gunfire ]