tv MSNBC Live With Thomas Roberts MSNBC November 20, 2015 10:00am-12:01pm PST
hi, everybody. i'm thomas roberts live in paris, where it's 7:00 p.m. here, 1:00 p.m. back home on the east coast as we continue our breaking news coverage. very fast-moving developments coming out of mali all day, where grenade-throwing gunmen stormed the radisson blu hotel, taking hostages. i want to go straight to ayman mohyeldin with the latest on this attack. are security forces saying this is over, the gunmen are neutralized? >> reporter: yeah, all indications suggest that the operation now has come to an end and assessment is taking place of the situation inside that hotel. for the most part, the country's security minister has been quoted as saying there are no more hostages. that's perhaps the biggest indication that the security operation has come to an end. as you recall, this began in the early hours of the morning.
various accounts of how many gunmen. that still has not yet emerged. i think we will learn about that more in the coming hours, at least in terms of the identity of who and how many people were involved. one of the biggest assessments taking place right now has to do with the number of casualties and fatalities. that number continues to rise. no official number has been given by the malian government. some accounts say as many as 27 people may have been killed throughout the course of the day. now, we have gotten confirmation from the belgian government. a spokesperson for the regional belgian parliament confirmed that one of its civil servants, a government employee who was on a three-day conference trip to mali was killed during that hostage standoff. we have gotten confirmation from a few different governments of some of their nationals being involved in that hostage taking situation including nationals from the turkish government, the french government as well as the chinese and indian governments.
so this is a hotel that was frequented by westerners, frequented by diplomats. it sat right in the heart of the capital, very close to government buildings and ministries. a lot of questions are going to surround how they managed to get into the building and carried out this hostage taking situation, if you will. now, we have gotten a claim of responsibility. it is a group known as al mourabitoun, closely affiliated with al qaeda in the western part of africa, also known as aqim, a strong branch of al qaeda, if you will. they have claimed responsibility for it. nbc has not independently verified that claim of credibility but it is a claim of responsibility, rather, but it is believed to be credible at this point. a lot of moving pieces but for the most part, it seems that the actual security operation has now come to an end and the assessment of what happened today is taking place. >> ayman, more of what we know about the guests in this hotel.
it included six americans that managed to escape. a belgian diplomat, we are learning, is one of those people who lost their lives during this attack. explain what we know about the nationalities of the people there. this was part of a government event that was supposed to be taking place in mali, correct? >> reporter: that's right. there are a few different pieces to what was taking place there today at that hotel. one, this is a popular western hotel, a recognized brand in the capital, bamako, so you actually had a lot of businessmen. you also had a lot of the international airline flights that come into bamako put up their staff there. we know from both air france and turkish airlines that they had their flight crews staying in that hotel. to the central question which was what was taking place at that hotel, we understand there was actually a u.n. conference scheduled to take place there today. that means that you could expect a lot of international personnel. you mentioned there were six
americans that were at that hotel at the time of this hostage taking. we also know that there were chinese businessmen that were there that were in town to conduct regular business. so this was a hotel that was frequented by diplomats, by conference goers, by local government dignitaries, because it sits so close to many government ministries. in essence, it's a highly symbolic and to use the word of military personnel, it's a target-rich environment for terrorists who want to make a statement. they know that going after a western hotel with high visible western officials or perhaps even just western personnel is going to draw international media attention and they are able to make a statement. from that perspective, this was perhaps the most highly visible target that they could have gone after in the city of bamako. >> ayman mohyeldin, behind you we can hear chanting going on. can you explain what's happening in brussels?
>> reporter: absolutely. it's friday night here in brussels and as you know, brussels has become the center of a lot of the investigations into france, a lot of students have been coming down to the main square behind me here and a short while ago, they broke out into singing the french national anthem, perhaps an indication of the solidarity the folks here are expressing in the wake of the deadly paris attacks. keep in mind this has been exactly one week since those attacks took place in paris. i believe most of the people behind me are both celebrating what is considered here a national student day for university goers which was canceled actually because of growing security concerns, so instead they have come down here to the main square and a short while ago we have been hearing them singing and dancing. they broke out singing in the french national anthem in solidarity with the victims and with their european countrymen in france in the wake of that attack. >> ayman mohyeldin, thank you
very much. when we talk more about mali, it is unclear while there are claims of responsibility for that attack, specifically why they did it, who they did it but it does come one week after the attacks that happened here in paris. nbc's richard engel spoke to a french counterterror advisor about the challenges keeping up with the terrorist organizations. >> we have yet to build up a skill base and the number of people needed to keep track of an organization as professional and as competent as daesh. daesh leaves al qaeda in the dust. this is a completely different generation. >> a completely different generation. richard joins me now here in paris. richard, explain how isis and al qaeda are competing for the same kids that are vulnerable to radicalization. >> well, one of the big problems we're seeing right now is this
rivalry that isis is -- has the great advantage, it has territory, it has money and a place and a lot of weapons. a lot of them seized american weapons, seized from the iraqi army which collapsed. al qaeda since the death of bin laden has become something of the older generation, yesterday's terrorist group, if you will. that group, al qaeda, is sometimes trying to assert itself but mostly is collapsing. isis is gobbling it up, piece by piece. isis is winning this fight for the radical minds in the muslim world, unfortunately. >> your perspective from what we have been covering all week to what we are witnessing today from mali, that's a hotel you have been to, i think in some of the still images we have, people can see there were checkpoints with gates. >> there was a conference about to start there, a u.n. sponsored peace conference. that shouldn't be missed in all this. officials were gathered, diplomats were gathered, people were starting to arrive, others had already been there preparing
for the conference, and there were two witness accounts that said the militants arrived in a car with diplomatic plates which would help them get into a -- through the checkpoints. so the reason the conference, why were they having the conference? it was a peace conference because mali has been in a civil war for several years now since 2012, when an islamist group linked to al qaeda but also for indigenous reasons, they are separatists who linked up with al qaeda. mali-specific problems. and they were marching, starting in 2013, late 2012, early 2013, toward bamako, the capital, the islamist rebels, then france intervened and drove them back. >> i was going to say, there is a french connection and also inside that country between the north and the south, there's a very internal struggle that's taking place. but france has had a hand in
certain elements. >> all along that line, where the arab world meets sub-saharan africa you see a lot of tension. that's not uncommon. all across africa you see this tension where the arab sort of muslim world and they meet. that's been there a very very long time. but that civil war in mali has been going on for awhile and france intervened. france was the -- mali was a former french colony, they feel very connected. the president here hollande decided to intervene. the u.s. did provide some assistance, mostly providing some aircraft to help provide transport and lifts so that the french could carry out this operation but it was very much a french-led operation and hollande got a lot of international credit for it for saving the government of mali from the islamists who were sweeping down from the north.
that conflict has been going on for the last several years. actually when the paris attack happened, counterterrorism sources were telling me they thought this attack was related to mali. they thought that's the al qaeda affiliate in mali that has finally struck in paris. it turned out to be unrelated to this. now we are seeing this i think quite local attack organized by a local group with a local grievance carrying out an attack against by far the most high profile target in mali. in bamako, there are not many luxury hotels. this is the game in town. it's where the conference was being held, where anyone who wants to do business or conduct government activities, that's where they stay. >> thank you, richard. thank you. i appreciate your perspective. want to turn to our colleague jim miklaszewski, who is at the pentagon. i know that you have been following reports today about u.s. military involvement related to the attack there in bamako. what are you hearing from sources at the pentagon? >> well, as you mentioned
earlier, there were six americans who were able to safely evacuate the hotel during that hostage siege operation. five of those, we are now told, were actually either civilian d.o.d., defense department officials, or u.s. military. in the entire city of bamako, 22 d.o.d. personnel and u.s. military are all accounted for. there were no injuries. now, the u.s. military or one u.s. special operations force soldier happened to be in the region when the assault began, so he assisted guests in evacuating the hotel. there was another u.s. special operations soldier who was in the command center run by the security and police and personnel there in mali, and he provided some advice. but officials here stress that no u.s. military were directly involved in the assault
operation itself. while six americans did safely evacuate the hotel, there is still a question out there, were there any other americans in the hotel that could have been among the casualties and that we don't know yet. >> i'm just hearing from our producers back in new york that security forces are still sweeping the radisson blu hotel room to room looking to see if they can find anyone else that was related in this attack that happened there today. i want to switch topics while i have you, because the russian defense ministry has posted this new video of cruise missiles being launched against targets in syria. what can you tell us about these latest strikes that are coming from them? >> that makes five days in a row that the russians have actually launched air strikes with cruise missiles and sometimes with some of their long range bombers that were actually taking off from iran flying across iraq and conducting those air strikes in syria.
for the first time since the russians showed up and started launching air strikes, most of these strikes are indeed aimed at isis targets. now, bomb damage assessment, bda, has been impossible to get so far. that takes time to figure out if the russians are actually having any impact against the isis fighters and leadership, particularly around raqqah. and while the russians deconflict the air space, they will contact the u.s. and say look, we're going to be flying in this area, cruise missiles are going to be moving through at any given time so avoid that area. the u.s. still is not cooperating directly with the russian military forces and officials here in the pentagon say it's unlikely that the u.s. military would cooperate, fly side by side or launch strikes arm in arm with the russians, particularly sharing intelligence, because of, well, not too distant history
involving the russians and particularly crimea and ukraine. >> it would be a new world order if we see that happening. thank you, sir. want to turn to canal plus white house correspondent laura haim. i understand you have just gotten new reporting about what played out in the raid wednesday in saint-denis. >> yes. the french police in charge of the raid thought at the beginning that it was a woman who exploded herself. according to now investigators, it was not the case as they thought. it was a man who exploded himself near this woman. they believe that the woman was wearing also an explosive vest and then when the man exploded himself, the woman exploded with him. but they are confirming to us that this woman was not the suicide bomber who exploded
herself inside the apartment. you have to understand something. the bodies are in multiple pieces because the explosion was extremely violent. yesterday they went to the mother of the woman to collect some clothes. they did a lot of dna tests and this morning, they assured us that the woman did not explode herself, that it was a man who killed her in the explosion. >> i just want to clarify for everybody that's been watching our coverage as we have been talking about the woman who has been identified as hasna aitboulahcen. she was identified by her fingerprints. many people characterized her as the first female jihadist to wear a suicide vest and detonate it. again, you are saying that while she may have had one on, she did not detonate it. she was actually collateral damage of someone else in that room who exploded their own vest. >> absolutely. that's what the investigators
are telling us now, this is completely correct. she did not explode herself. it was a man who exploded himself. we don't know who this man was. was it abaaoud, the architect of the attacks in paris, was it someone else, we don't know at this point. >> yes. the third body has not been id'ed. there had been questioned about gender, too, about whether it was a man or a woman. so laura, thank you for that new information. i appreciate it. when we come back, preventing the kind of intelligence failures that happened in france as isis continues to intensify its terrorist campaign. >> this was a known militant, probably the most wanted man in france. and he's caught a few miles from the center of paris. >> yeah. >> that seems like an absolute failure. >> it is a failure. of course it's a failure.
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hi again. i'm thomas roberts reporting live from paris where it is roughly 7:20 at night. we have a lot to talk about today with these fresh attacks that took place in mali. it is one week after the attacks here in paris as well as on the heels of what happened in beirut and aboard a russian airliner that was taken down over the sinai peninsula. it has put the focus on western intelligence services. what are they finding and what are they missing? do they have the capabilities to detect such a geographically wide variety of threats and can they coordinate enough to share that information thoroughly to thwart these attacks. we have the managing director of a consulting firm and david
roth, editor of foreign policy magazine. anne, we have these new numbers this week, it is a week later after five days of raids here inside france. 793 performed, 182 raids last night. is it too much too late? >> well, that has been possible because of this state of emergency that the security force is to do that, okay. i'm not sure it will be really efficient because those people who are arrested or maybe not at all a sleeping cell but the fact to put pressure on those groups, maybe individuals that are not yet in the process of radicalization, maybe could push those individuals to rejoin other group and become more radical. that's an aspect.
>> covering all of this and the fluidity of the investigations that are happening here in france, david, i want to get your take on the breakdown of what we were witnessing throughout the day today in mali. do you see connective tissue between what we have been covering here in paris and the gunmen, the attackers that stormed the radisson blu hotel? or do you think it's completely separate? >> i mean, we certainlyon't have enough evidence to draw any conclusions like that right now. my hunch is that it's probably pretty separate. you know, we tend to cover big terrorist attacks that occur in the west and they get a disproportionate amount of our focus but every year, tens of thousands of people are killed and injured in terrorist attacks that take place in africa and the middle east, and get very little focus. those attacks are much more akin to what we are seeing in mali today. >> do you think, i saw you shaking your head, do you think david is right about that?
that maybe they are capitalizing on the coverage that this attack in paris has received and they are being able to receive the same style of coverage? >> you know, usually there was interest in target abroad. now they are also targeted in homeland. that means it's not separate. it means the objective is still the same. what's happened in paris probably created a kind of dynamic pushing them to capitalize as you said but also to motivate more action to put bigger pressure on western countries in that territory and abroad. >> david, from the perspective of intelligence, how is the intelligence community, not just domestically in the states, internationally, supposed to work together now more openly to be able to share what they know when they know it so that they
can command better authority to thwart these types of attacks? >> well, i think you put your finger on something that is extremely important here and that is a possible positive outcome out of a string of really appalling events, whether it's the russian plane or what happened in beirut or what happened in paris or what happened in mali today. it's clear that the scope of the threats is very broad and that requires western intelligence agencies and indeed, a whole set of intelligence agencies from the middle east and including the russians, the chinese and others, to begin to cooperate much more intensively because the scope of these threats is just growing. the threats that we face today from terrorism are far, far greater than the threats we faced on september 11th, 2001, and i think it's going to take a new kind of initiative, and it is better if it's an intelligence initiative linked to a law enforcement initiative linked to political initiatives
before we get to military initiatives. so focusing on making this work better i think needs to be a key next step following these attacks. >> i spoke to the u.s. ambassador to france. she characterized the framework of what happened here last friday as france's 9/11. we heard david reference what 9/11 meant to the states. i want to play something specifically that we heard from a french counterterrorism advisor talking to richard engel. take a listen. >> we have an arab saying which is if you want to hide, hide in the eyes of the sun. the place where you are the least likely to be looked for is actually very close to the target. >> so hiding in plain sight is basically the assessment there. is that what france is living through now? cells hiding in plain sight? >> well, i feel that we are not yet 9/11 as it has been said
previously. i think that we have to calm down a bit even in pushing security, but cooperation is not only between western country or between let's say the security council. we have also to involve the original intentions like notably between france and the other countries because we have a strong partnership with those countries but also, they are part of the problem, meaning that they are involved in not all the country but some people are dealing with groups inside those countries are also financing those groups and helping them to push the -- i mean, helping them to have such capacities. >> correct. without the money, they don't
have anything. anne and david, thank you so much. much more on the ground live here from paris, including a new report that we received just a short time ago that it was a man who blew himself up during the saint-denis raid. it was not a female suicide bomber. we will talk deeply about the clarification necessary to figure out exactly what happened in saint-denis and also will we have soon the identity of the third body that was retrieved out of those raids. good. very good. you see something moving off the shelves and your first thought is to investigate the company. you are type e*. yes, investment opportunities can be anywhere... or not. but you know the difference. e*trade's bar code scanner. shorten the distance between intuition and action.
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the bataclan and see a rock band called the eagles of death metal. it was shortly after 9:00 p.m. at night they started their set and gunmen stormed in to a packed house there at the bataclan, killing 89 people. one thing that we want to talk more about now is the saint-denis raids. we have been getting more clarification about what happened at those raids earlier this week. we got the clarification yesterday about the fact that it was abdelhamid abaaoud who was confirmed dead in those raids. the person they consider security forces and intelligence forces consider to be one of the architects of what we witnessed in paris last week, also connected to four of six different attacks throughout france. also, this new information and very pivotal information about one of the females that was killed during this raid. her name is hasna aitboulahcen and she was considered to have
detonated herself wearing a suicide vest. but laura haim, the white house correspondent for canal plus, is telling us that that is not correct, that while she was wearing a suicide vest, that she was actually killed because of a third person who detonated their suicide vest. there were three bodies that we knew were killed, three people that we knew were killed, three bodies that needed to be id'd after the raids there. that third body, the person they are talking about that detonated their suicide vest, killing hasna aitboulahcen, they have not identified. we know now it is a man. there was confusion over whether or not it was a man or a woman. but now laura haim is reporting that it is a man. he detonated a suicide vest that hasna was collateral damage of that explosion. however, she was wearing her own suicide vest during that raid. joining me now is melissa bell,
an international correspondent for france 24. good to have you with me. i know this has been so fluid of a story to cover. the saint-denis raids and now this new information, this woman would have been considered the first female jihadist to use a suicide vest. that distinction sources say doesn't belong to her. >> no. it ties in with some of the things we have been hearing over the course of the last few days that in the moments when the raid was going on, this woman allegedly shouted out she was told something about her friend, that is her cousin, who was of course abdelhamid abaaoud. she said he's not my friend, help me, help me. you get a sense the information you have just given confirms what a number of sources have been speculating. this woman who although she was the cousin of the architect, of abaao abaaoud, that lots has come out
about her. she was identified by french police yesterday. although she had become more serious about her religion over the course of the last few months, many people were saying she was fun-loving, would go to parties, had a pretty open, lively existence. >> she liked to wear cowboy hats. >> exactly. it surprised many people she might have turned extremist. this confirms what we heard. that in fact, although she did have a suicide belt attached to her, did not choose to detonate it. >> i want to play for everybody what you are talking about. that exchange that was reported of police forces and hasna. take a listen. [ gunfire ] >> all right. hearing there he's not my boyfriend. we know there's different rough translations for what that statement was but trying to say no, no. >> this is not the relationship that you think.
>> some speculated maybe she was trying to lure police in through that conversation, almost acting as a red herring to get them closer. >> so many questions and among them had been whether she had willingly blown herself up or been the victim of gunfire. once you have an explosive vest, belt strapped to yourself, if gunfire kicks off, obviously you can be detonated without having chosen to be. apparently now it is this third person who detonated himself who is responsible for her having died at the scene which confirms a number of things that we have been hearing over the last few days about her and what her likely role in this was. she was apparently not the willing suicide bomber we had assumed thus far. >> i think more and more is going to come out, as you point out. they identified her by her fingerprints and we have not gotten confirmation further than knowing it is a man now and there had been french media reports about the third unidentified person, the gender being a female. >> until now, that's what we heard.
>> there was concern it was another woman. >> still as you say, great deal of questions about exactly who that third person is. you have to remember of course that there is still on the loose tonight the eighth attacker that was involved in this. >> salah abdeslam. >> and apparently, possibly, say police, a ninth person who might have been involved. there is at least one person on the loose tonight, possibly a ninth who may have been involved in some of the shootings in the tenth arrondissement. at least one person being looked for, possibly another. we have no confirmation yet about whether either of those people might have been the third person you talked about tonight. >> melissa bell with france 24, international correspondent, great to have you with me. thank you so much. we will have much more coming up. clarification again about the breaking story that laura haim brought us, that development about the fact that hasna aitboulahcen did not use an explosive vest to detonate herself in front of police
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welcome back. i'm thomas roberts. we continue to report live here in paris this evening and following breaking news developments from a lot of different fronts here, from paris and the developments in the investigation after friday night's attacks here, and also, this latest terrorist attack that happened today in mali. bamako, at the radisson blu hotel. at this hour, there are no more hostages being held at this luxury hotel in bamako, the capital of mali, but meanwhile,
back here in france, officials are saying since friday's attacks, they have conducted nearly 800 raids throughout the city and that's just over the past five nights. the prosecutor also confirms a third person was killed in the terror raid that targeted the organizer of the terrorist attack here in paris. we still don't know who that third person is, but they have been able to become more gender-specific. there was confusion over whether this third unidentified person was a man or a woman. there is now clarification, id as a man. just this hour, new reporting that we broke on msnbc about the woman inside that apartment, previously believed to have detonated a suicide vest, there she is right there, hasna aitboulahcen, she is the one where we have audio of her communicating with police forces when they were on the scene, and the original reports were that she is a female jihadist who
wore a suicide vest and she detonated it. now reporting coming from laura haim, white house correspondent over at canal plus that that is not the case, that this third person who was an unidentified man, he wore the suicide vest, he detonated the vest and while hasna may have been wearing one, she was actually collateral damage of this third person's detonation. joining me is lieutenant colonel anthony schafer from the london center for policy research, and the author of "operation dark heart." tony, good to have you with me. what is this new reporting from your perspective mean for the relationship and the audio that we have where they're saying no, it is not my boyfriend, this creates confusion more so than we already had about this. the relationship of what this woman is to the totality of
abaaoud. >> well, absolutely. that's the issue. all three of those people in that room are important clues. it's important to study what those clues really mean. we recognize from our experience in studying terrorism, i have done this for about 30 years, that often family relationships are very critical. this is true in mafia type organizations, it's true in drug cartels. we have to study very carefully what was, was she a cousin because she got drawn into this because of misunderstanding, misperception, was she a true believer which i don't believe that to be the case. but clearly, that's the key here, is that we may well find that this family relationship was something of the command and control network for this attack. which then tells us we started, and we have to continue to bear down and look at family relationships but as you point out, it's very important to try to clarify as we go, as we get additional clues, what exactly each clue means and in this case, a human being, and what that means to the next set of clues coming up. frankly, that's what you are going to see the french acting
on here is taking these clues, trying to figure out what i would call the five degrees of kevin bacon. from this point, what are the five points does it touch and they go out. that's why you are seeing this huge number of raids over the past five days. >> we will remind everybody, 793 french raids since last friday, just overnight last night, tony, 182 raids, 17 people detained, 76 weapons seized. now we have the images coming out of mali today and the deaths at that luxury hotel where a terrorist group, grenade-throwing gunmen stormed this luxury hotel. what is the situation with intelligence sharing on a global perspective when it comes to the electronic intelligence and how certain terrorist cells and organizations are staying a step ahead? >> well, that's the issue. electronic surveillance on these folks is very tough, because
they have read what snowden put out, the nsa vulnerabilities, so they have learned from that. more importantly, we are not doing the hard work we used to of human intelligence, basically the old-fashioned espionage, double agent trade craft. i ran operations in mali in 2002-2003. we were actually running what we call bilateral relationships with the mali and thomas, that's the best way to do it. you actually work with the local indigenous folks to help them develop essentially clandestine networks to spy on these folks. i don't think we have been doing this. what we have been seeing, the fact we overly relied on traditional surveillance, the nsa type things, we neglected the hard work of clandestine human intelligence, trade craft and spying on these groups, trying to penetrate the network. we have to get back into that game. i have been meeting with senior members of the pentagon on this issue today, as a matter of fact. i think it's very clear the pentagon recognizes that this is something we have neglected and should get back in the middle of, the old-fashioned human
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good evening again from paris and welcome back to our continuing live coverage as we follow the breaking news. it is friday night here in paris, one week after those deadly attacks and we are coming up on the time where most people are getting off work and getting ready to start their weekend just like they were last friday, getting dressed to either go to a soccer match at the stade or to go out to dinner and drinks with friends or even to go to a rock concert at the bataclan. they had no idea what was going to befall them in this situation when terrorists struck on the streets of paris. it has been a wild week of trying to figure out exactly who
these terrorists are, trying to capture them and we have a lot of developments to talk about tonight. one of the more interesting has to do with one of the women who was killed in the on wednesday saint-denis. her name is hasna nibulashan. joining me is cal perry following her story. how can you update and kind of explain that news that we broke this hour about the fact that they don't think she detonated herself using a suicide vest and another person in the room? >> yeah, thomas. the initial investigation and word from french authorities is that she exploded a suicide belt or a suicide vest herself. shortly after there was this exchange for police and playing for police now for a reference point to start. [ gunshots ]
>> so there the voice of the woman followed by an explosion. and let's keep in mind that explosion, it collapsed the entire floor of that apartment building. and has made the investigation very difficult. it's also important to remember that the french knowing this was not an isolated incident, belgian officials knowing it was not isolated ins dint and trying to track down the webs, they're under a time crunch here and we're hearing french officials believe a man next to her was likely to have killed himself which brought that apartment building down. we're looking now at new video which we have not seen yet. which is an extended version of that back and forth that you just saw. so french officials again just to recap, thomas, saying she did not explode the belt herself and probably a male next to her and keep in mind a lot of this horrible pieces of the bodies were thrown into the street.
this crime scene, you know, reaches out into this neighborhood. and the french officials are methodically going through this now and almost going back in time to put it back together the try to figure out where the vest came from and who was wearing it. at this hour, french officials saying the woman did not explode herself with the suicide vest and likely another man in the apartment. we knew that abaaoud, the organizer of the gruesome attacks, died in the explosion as the anti-terror forces took down that location. we do not know who the third body is that has been discovered under that rubble. they're running forensics on that now. >> c 5l, thank you very much. and we have much more coming up live here from paris. including we're going to take you back to mali. that situation is now under control where gunmen stormed into a luxury hotel and took people hostage. there are deaths and there is
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hi, everybody. good evening once again. live from paris. i'm thomas roberts. we continue our breaking news coverage and starting this hour with the very latest on what we have been covering all day, those attacks that happened in mali at a luxury hotel in the city of bamako. at this hour, we can tell you there's no reports of hostages left inside that hotel. now, according to the receptionist at that hotel police and armed forces are now checking every room. going from space to staios clearing it for any gunmen or anyone involved in this attack being left behind. for the very latest, my colleague ayman mohyeldin following this from brussels today. what more do we know from exactly why this happened, why this group targeted that hotel? have we found out from sources
on the ground there? >> reporter: we have not yet. there has been a claim of responsibility but one that's not been independently verified by nbc and nech that claim of responsibility no clear explanation why that particular hotel was targeted explicitly. we can deduce from the fact that this was a highly symbolic, highly visible target. i could tell you from just, you know, looking at what we have learned throughout the course of the day, the types of people that frequented that hotel, where it was in bamako, an international corp. rax frequented by westerners, the symbolism is not lost on anyone. it's a country in the past struggled with its insurgency and terrorist attacks, particularly in the northern part of the country. but this hotel, the radisson hotel, as we were mentioning, is an international chain. it sits in the western part of
the city where the government ministry buildings are. as we have seen today from the 140-so guests that were there, high diverse of a spectrum of nationalities were present at the time of this attack. including chinese nationals, indians, turks, europeans and even americans. so gives you a sense of symbolically how international it was, how visible it was as a symbol for somebody to want to go after it. >> thomas? >> ayman, talk about tonight where you are. we have you positioned in brussels. explain what the mood is there tonight, especially after we've been living through a week of raids, not only in france but also throughout belgium. >> reporter: yeah. belgian authorities are still very much engaged in the ongoing investigation to try and identify the eighth possible suspect and would be attacker involved in those deadly attacks
last week in paris. they believe that salah abdeslam might be in brussels and crossed the border from france after the attack entering into belgium. seen dozens of raids by belgian security officials to try to calm down the associates or networks of both this current i guess if you will suspect on the run. and balil had if fdi, who was involved in the attacks. that's been a tremendous outpouring of support. we saw in molenbeek, the district in brussels where three of the attackers came from, there was a tremendous pouring earlier in the week of support. there was a candle light vigil. today we saw a little bit of that here right behind us. we saw a bunch of students come by, probably say, you know, hundreds if you will, and really just burst out into singing the
french national anthem. this was one week ago this evening that france was really shocked and all of europe really for that matter shocked by these terrorist attacks and today we saw another expression of support from the belgian people right here behind me in the square, thomas. >> ayman mohyeldin reporting in brussels, thank you. joining us on the telephone is olivier gita, director of counter terrorism firm and a consultant there. let's talk about what we have been witnessing, covering and reporting on this wave of islamic extroemists and the militancy that we have seen in paris and now today in mali. do you think that we're seeing an uptick in what is abnormal terrorist activity? >> look. hi, thomas. a couple of things that we have
to remember is islamic state made no secret as early as september 2014 that people in the west were targets and would stop at nothing to attack us but what's been really the case is that you have also competition between two major jihadist groups, ie the islamic state and al qaeda and what you have seen in mali today, whether it's between the civility or other groups affiliated with al qaeda is al qaeda trying to get back in the news cycle and getting into the limelight. because i can assure you that they're very upset that islamic state has been able to pull off international attacks in such a fashion, such quickly. so you have to understand that the target in bamako was really to have foreigners die, but
also, to get the foreign media to talk about mali, to talk about al qaeda and to say that they're not irrelevant, that's one aspect to remember. >> olivier, thank you very much. i want to bring back now into our coverage laura haim who brought us new information about the raid in saint-denis and raised questions from the initial report that is a female suicide bomber blew herself up as first described by police. and a woman and we hear her voice on video, on camera, on this tape. take a listen. so that was the exchange that went back and forth between those anti-terrorism forces and
the woman hasna ate aitboulahcen and laura, the confirmation that this woman who did have on a type of suicide vest or a suicide belt, the big distinction in your reporting is she did not detonate it. this was a third american that's yet to be identified who used the same type of suicide vest or belt. she was collateral damage. >> yeah. she was collateral damage according to the investigators and what we know is that the explosion was extremely violent. first, the red people and especially the snipers thought when they saw through the window what happened that it was her who blew herself up. and in fact, after collecting on
site in the past 48 hours multiple pieces, multiple evidence, the investigators are now doing a rectification and saying first we thought that there were only two bodies and we found in the ruins of the apartment and in the collapse of the explosion three bodies. and they're convinced now that it's a man who blew himself up, not the woman, but according to them she was near him. she might have wore an explosive belt. they're not sure about that. but absolutely convinced that the man blew himself up and she was indeed a collateral damage. so it's an important information because in the past 48 hours we were saying that that was the first woman in europe to commit suicide bombing and it's not the case at this moment. it was a man. we don't know at this moment the identity of the man. we don't know if it was abaaoud,
the architect of the attacks in paris, or if it was someone else. but again, an important information. she didn't blow herself up. >> and we know, laura, that hasna, the female, identified by her fingerprints and from just some of the still images and the video i think people can see how intense this exchange was, the raid that went on in saint-denis and as people have been covering this and police sources are saying, the scene is graphic and identifying the bodies is not easy work. >> yeah. absolutely. you have to think about a war zone. it was not like some young guys taking kalashnikov and firing at the police. they were extremely well trained. all the police people who went there and work in the red were
extremely surprised by the people that they encountered and something that's also important. also, it is difficult for the police and investigators inside to have a clear 100% story because the explosion, there were several explosions, the explosions were extremely heavy. they found multiple pieces on the ground. i don't want to go into too much graphic detail but the body that is exploded are really in as you can imagine multiple pieces. they were afraid that the building due to the explosion was going to collapse yesterday. so they had to secure the building. yesterday, also, they went to the mother of the man living near and wanted to collect some clothes. they wanted to make sure that they were able to test dna on site. now that, again, completely completely convinced those
people were waiting for them a military way. and they were ready to kill them as soon as they arrived. >> well, we can see in some of the images you talk about the building and the integrity of the building, they have actually added some structural support beam that is we saw there because of the fact that this was such a hard core and intense fire fight that went back and forth. laura haim, thank you very much. i want to bring in my colleague kelly cobeilt. what more are you hearing, the development that we have gotten about the suicide bomber from the stade, the soccer stadium, from friday night? >> reporter: thomas, we are now hearing directly from the french prosecutor that the suicide bombers at the stade de france, second suicide bomber, has been identified. we don't have a name yet but we understand he was identified through fingerprints which
matched someone who entered europe through greece on october 3rd. if this sounds familiar, it is because we had already heard this about a suicide bomber at the french national stadium. it now appears as though both of those suicide bombers entered europe through greece october 3rd using some kind of papers. we don't know if they were fake passports or not. but we're now hearing that both entered greece in way. another issue for european leaders to take up in terms of who was coming in and out of europe and specific countries. thomas? >> nbc's kelly cobiella reporting. thank you. we'll return to the developments, this latest attack that took place today in mali, i'll speak to an expert on the region about mali's turbulent past and whether today's attack points to a reemergence of a radical insurgency there.
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the hostage crisis in mali has returned focus to how terror networks are expanding globally. now, this is not just something that's happening here in europe. as in the paris attacks. but we are talking specifically in africa, as well. i'm joined by jennifer cook, africa program director for the center for strategic and international studies. jennifer, talk to us about why mali is such a hotbed for terrorist activity. for many people not familiar with this country and the internal strife that it's had for years. >> yeah, well, in fact, over the last decade a number of violent extremist groups operated across the northern half of mali which is really on the verge of the
sharant desert. in 2011, a number of these groups empowered by the collapse of gadhafi and with arms and heavy -- armed fighters, came and were able to really establish control over the northern half of mali and controlling the big towns. and so, these groups have been -- that was a moment kind of a peak moment of their power. controlling half of mali. now, following that u.n. mission and a french intervention managed to squeeze some of these groups out and bring an modicum of stability to mali but not eliminate them entirely and what you have seen with the attack on bamako and a few smaller attacks as a lead-up to that in the last year the groups are reasserting themselves and showing that we
are still very much a danger, we are here and, in fact, we are no longer confined to the northern half of mali. >> so when we talk about reasserting or assertion, jennifer, when it comes to a group or what we have seen today in mali where there were 170 people taken hostage inside what is considered to be a luxury hotel, as richard engel described it, one of the only nice places in that area, that type of terrorism that was conducted there is different than what we have been covering here in paris because we have seen kidnappings as a part of the terrorism, being part of that business there. and last year "the new york times" reported on the figures surrounding that saying that the al qaeda afill yant raised about $92 million over about 5 years through ransom money. so, is that what could be driving this situation or what could have driven this situation? was more about some type of
financial payout. >> well, no. it doesn't appear that. now, lthere's a lot of differen islamic groups in that area. some make the money with kidnapping, drug trafficking, for example and then some much more ideologically driven and trying to link up with pledging allegiance to al qaeda or some more recently to isil, for example. i think this attack in -- that it was struck at the heart of bamako, i was just at that restaurant last month. it was a posh hotel with business men, international travelers, says, look. we are on the -- we are on the agenda here. you cannot forget about us. there's a political settlement and a political negotiation going on in bamako right now. in the aftermath of the conflict. so this is a group and we're not
entirely sure who is responsible. which of these many competing groups is responsible for the attack. so you don't went to draw -- jump too quickly to what their agenda is. but this was not i don't think an attempt at kidnapping or hostage for ransom. i think was very much a signal of terror and we are still very much alive here. and much more purely ideological than some of the more kind of criminal activity, kidnapping, ransom and trafficking we have seen in the past in mali. >> jennifer, thank you so much. jennifer cook with the center for strategic and international studies and i just want to pass along we're hearing that the receptionist at the hotel explained that security forces going room to room throughout the radisson blu hotel to make sure that all those involved with the terrorists involved, the gunmen, were all neutralized. all right. so we'll have much more coming
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on every purchase, everywhere. so, let's try this again. what's in your wallet? welcome back. i'm thomas roberts. we continue to report live here in paris tonight and amid the recrept terrorist attacks here in paris the director of the fbi says his agents are working very hard to keep americans safe. james comey says the agency is most worried about home grown extremists, the people in the u.s. responding to recruiters on social media and willing to carry out attacks at home. so the fbi is now revealing, as well, it's tracking dozens of people who could be inspired to carry out terror attacks. live in washington with the deon the search for the would be copycats, justice correspondent pete williams joins me with more on that. pete, what are you hearing from your sources? >> good day to you.
this is the focus of the fbi for the past year and a half and something like 70 arrests of people either willing to carry out attacks here or trying to get to syria to join isis. when's happened the fbi says since the paris attacks is a renewed focus on what they consider the people on the spectrum who have responded to this isis propaganda and are moving closer to going operational. they may be doing things entirely legal right now but the fbi wants to be there in waiting if they decide to do something against the law and what the fbi director has said is there are dozens of people in that category. i've been told that that number is probably around 50 that they have sort of increased the surveillance of since parris to make sure there's not a copycat response or someone trying to, you know, follow on to paris with some kind of attack here. so that's the big focus, thomas. homegrown extremism as you say as opposed to what the paris attack apparently was, which is a plot exported from belgium and
sent in to paris, they're more worried here about people in the united states and the fbi director also said that he has not seen any indication of known isis members getting into the u.s. or trying to get into the u.s. within past days or weeks. >> pete, is that more specific to the language of a domestic lone wolf? >> yes. exactly. that's precisely what it is. a lone wolf, i guess, in the sense of someone who decides to become radicalized on their own, that's always been a concern. add to that the addition allayer of people who are -- who are moved along in that thinking by this relentless isis propaganda that comes out on twitter but the fbi director says when isis recruiters find someone in the u.s. who starts to respond, that's when the fbi becomes the most concerned. >> pete williams reporting in d.c. for us, thank you, sir.
i appreciate it. >> you bet. >> after a quick break, analysis of the similarities of the attack in mali and the one that is took place a week ago tonight here in paris. plus, soi'm going to speak with man who's familiar with that region. . much more ahead as msnbc live continues live from paris. techns to achieve more. it pushes us to go further. special olympics has almost five million athletes in 170 countries. the microsoft cloud allows us to immediately be able to access information, wherever we are. information for an athlete's medical care, or information to track their personal best. with microsoft cloud, we save millions of man hours, and that's time that we can invest in our athletes and changing the world. hey! how are you?g? where are we watching the game? you'll see. i think my boys have a shot this year. yeah, especially with this new offense we're running...
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said that she was wearing and detonated a suicide vest. however, canal plus reporting that contrary to the reports she did not use an explosive vest or belt to detonate herself. rather it was a third man, a man whose body is not identified that used an explosive vest and she was collateral damage. bill neely is joining me with more on that. you had an interview with the commander of equivalent of the american s.w.a.t. team. >> that's right. >> the raid. >> it's called raid. he was a captain and called himself captain hugo and described a most chaotic scene. 5,000 bullets fired on the scene, grenades and at least 1 suicide bomber who blew him or herself up. just to go back to the news you have just gip, at the scene there were fragments of bodies, body parts everywhere.
only one corpse of a terrorist intact and it was riddled with bullets. that's the organizer of the paris massacres, a man called abaaoud. for 36 or 48 hours police had told us that the person who blew themselves up was this woman. it now appears after the finding of the third body and it must be based on forensic examination of body parts, let's not get too graphic about it, but you can tell when's a suicide bomber by the injuries and who's close enough to suffer bodily injuries and not been the person that wore the vest. >> right. >> they have now come to the conclusion it was the third person that blew themselves up and that this woman hasna aitboulahcen was close by and not the suicide bomber. now, to go back to hugo, captain, he led the squad of about 30 men into the house. they had been told there's four
terrorists of whom two were key suspects in the paris massacres. they went in. he was on the second floor, the terrorists were on the third floor. he didn't see or hear -- he didn't have any exchange with them at any point but he described the moment that the suicide bomber blew themselves up. he said there was first of all a blinding flsh and then the sound and he said suddenly the building shook and thought it was going to collapse. he said everything experienced in the next hours told him that these were trained terrorists, that they had been trained well. they knew when to fire, when to reload, not to use all their bullets as it were in one go. how to hide. he said it was quite clear they had military training. he said they were very efficient, very organized and cold blooded. he also described a moment when this woman shouted out and he
said she said i'm scared, i'm scared. they thought she was pretending that she was scared. to lure them in. >> right. >> so that she could detonate her vest. we now know that she was not the suicide bomber. they didn't know that at the time. they just knew there were several dangerous terrorists in that room. >> bill, is the takeaway from this or something that will continue to report on is that maybe hasna who has been described as very westernized, a person that was not overly religious or someone that could be easily radicalized might have been an innocent that is caught in the crossfire of this police raid there with her cousin and didn't know the significance of what was going on? >> one of her friends i've heard say just that. that she was a girl who was normal, who liked to go out, who liked to party. and that three weeks ago she left home under mysterious circumstances and that's the last that they saw of her.
it's -- you know, she had no record. she wasn't on police radar. she was what they call a clean skin. she came from nowhere. i suppose we have got to revise who was this woman? however, police say that they had tracked her and that she was with abaaoud, the so-called ring leader of the paris massacres, on the night before that police raid. so they say they followed her. she led them to him. and she took him into the apartment. so, innocent or not, she was connected to these people who were the ringleaders of the paris massacres. >> and the detail of that conversation, the ones that we hear of the security forces from raid talking to her, there is no detail of conversation with abaaoud or the third unidentified person from that exchange, that gun bat snl. >> no.
the only other police conversation source that we have heard is when they challenged one of the terrorists to put his hands up. and he shot it out. no, and began firing the weapon again and then just these words of i'm scared, i'm scared from the woman. we also heard in a recording from the neighbor, the police shouting out is that your boyfriend? and she said, no, it's not my boyfriend twice. but amid the hail of bullets, seven-hour extraordinary siege, thomas, the guy told us, the captain, there wasn't much time for conversation. i asked him why did you fire 5,000 bullets? he said we couldn't see them. you know, we caught flashes, moments when we could see a silhouette. they had to pour the fire in in the hope that they would take some of these people out. >> did the captain hugo talk about the mind-set they went into with this raid? did they feel confident that this was abaaoud's location and that they were going to commit
to whatever it takes to get him dead or alive? >> two things. they were acting on information that they did not gather themselves. they are the elite squad of anti-terrorist s.w.a.t. police officers in france. extremely professional. hugo that i talked to was involved in the jewish supermarket siege when there were hostages in january. he is a seasoned operator. he went in. they obviously all went in knowing what had happened in paris on friday. he went in. he said, as a patriot, as a frenchman. but also, simply as a professional with a job to do. they knew very quickly that there weren't hostages in there. but they had seven whole hours to try to extract, to try to neutralize these terrorists. three killed. two injured. and a number of others around building arrested. he says it's a success but
there's no reason to celebrate given what happened on friday and one other thing he said, thomas, is he said, it is over for now. and i said, for now? he repeated, for now. >> that is the big distinction as we continue to watch france exist in a state of emergency. and will do so for three months. thank you, bill. i appreciate that. joining us now on the telephone is nick dehoy working for catholic relief services in a building next to the radisson hotel. that is the other major story we were covering today. what was taking place this terrorist attack in mali where gunmen who were throwing grenades as they stormed the hotel, a luxury hotel in bamako, 170 people taken hostage. clain what you were able to see what your vantage point and how you knew it was a terrorist
attack. >> thank you. actually, i was not -- luckily, i never made it to this my office this morning because as i left my house this morning, dropped my kid off at daycare, i received a security call who said there's an active, an attack started in the radisson blu. steer clear of the area. so i continued driving into the neighborhood of our office and went to a different hotel where i was going to pick up two colleagues from from outside of the country staying there to make sure they wouldn't go to the office and make sure that, you know, i could pull them out if there's a second attack on this particular hotel. i managed to, you know, to together with the colleagues call off about 40 staff on the way to the office or still at home to make sure they stayed home and 25 of the colleagues
first were in fact at the office. they avoided rush hour and went to the office early. so they were in the office arriving at the same time as the attack on the radisson started. and one of the initial responses to scramble the cell phone system that something that the government asks cell phone companies to do so we weren't able to reach them by cell phone but the office internet was working and communicate with them and ask them to immediately move to the top floor, hunker down and barricade the doors as we figured out what was really going on. they were reporting, you know, gun fire. that was intense and then kind of calmed down a little bit. and then we saw huge build-up of security forces in the neighborhoods quite quickly. >> well, we are glad that you are safe and that those co-workers of yours are also safe. i appreciate your insight into
this. i want to bring into the conversation now reuben brigety ii, the dean of george washington's school of eliot school of international affairs and former ambassador to the african union. thank you for being here. let's talk about this hearing more and more about what happened in mali. but from the diplomatic point of view, talk about how you can affect diplomacy when these countries and we're witnessing this type of terrorism, where this exists. and, in a country that's already existed with strife like mali and it's so fragile. how does diplomacy work? >> well, thank you, thomas. i mean, first 0 all, it is important to understand who the various actors are. and so far, it is islamic
terrorist group that's based in algeria. it's worth noting that al mourabitoun claimed responsibility for an attack in the hotel in a central malian town in august of this year. not three months ago. so while it is absolutely accurate there's been not only historical tension of the population of the north but also the central government of bamako in the south, what it appears to be happening is that we are seeing the continued efforts of radical terrorist groups that are across that have taken advantage of the instability of the north, have taken enormous advantage of the instability in across libya as a whole and also in the ungoverned, moderately governed spaces of somalia and continued now inside bamako and truly these sorts of groups unlike the groups to the north
with whom the government is currently having a political negotiation, groups like al mourabitoun, al qaeda, certainly, clearly cannot be negotiated with. they must be confronted and we need to help the allies in the region to do so. >> ambassador, thank you, sir. i appreciate your time. we will have much more from paris. our continuing coverage on msnbc live right after this. stay with me. (vo) what does the world run on? it runs on optimism. it's what sparks ideas. moves the world forward. invest with those who see the world as unstoppable. who have the curiosity to look beyond the expected and the conviction to be in it for the long term.
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continues to grow here as people come out to memorialize the 130 people who were lost a week ago tonight in the deadly attacks that took over and just to see but folks continue to come out and, again, tonight, forming a circle holding hands. last night like i said was the first time they did this. it was what they referred to as the big hug. there's been a steady stream of people all week long coming out to the different areas, the different memorials that have grown up to remember those that were lost after the horrific attacks here in paris. people have been coming out in the cold and the rain, no matter what. they wanted to be together to show their support, the show their pride and also to show their resilience. that they weren't going to let the terrorists win. a professor at the london school of economics and political science and chair it is
contemporary middle eastern studies program and i had to make mention of that. i hop you don't mind because it was -- >> exciting. >> -- a nice moment of last night and witnessing it once again. >> yes. >> last night it was in the rain. tonight it's just in the chilly temperatures. >> yes. >> but i want to get your take on the new clarification that we are getting about the woman who was killed in the saint-denis raid that she did not detonate herself as originally reported. it is now the third person, the identified man who did that action. do you think that we're gong to learn more about her that she was maybe not somebody that was involved with her cousin's organization? >> thomas, this is a very important piece of news because the narrative about hasna, the woman who allegedly basically blew herself up, basically the first suicide bombers and the heart of europe. it was a big story. yet what we know now is she did
not blow herself up. we know much about her life. she was an average human being. she came from a broken family. she was raised in a family. she had quite a few boyfriends. she lived a normal life. my take on sher that she either coerced one of her cousins or fell under the spell of one of the ringleaders. and she was a cousin of one of the major suspects. that this is a very important piece of news because there's so much that we do not know and as you know, thomas, we all are speculating a great deal. we need to tell our viewers the story really to piece, the story together. >> we still are. and absolutely the clarification certainly from police and helping with the details of what happened in saint-denis. but the vulnerabilities of young people, why they're enspired to join isis is still fascinating that we need to uncover and figure out. thank you so much. we're going to come back in a moment. right here live from paris. when we do, we'll remember those
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♪ you can see there on the front of the piano player's pia piano, saying not afraid. this is outside the bataclan concert hall. but the spirit of the people of paris is not broken. and it was one week ago today that this city was rocked by the terrorist attack and amid all the talk of terror watches and investigations this week, 130 families are still stuck on november 13th. that's when they lost loved ones in paris. their worlds changing forever. a week later, we, too, have come to know more about the victims who died in six coordinated acts of mass terrorism.
inside the bataclan theater in paris, among the crowd, elsa, spent her last moment on earth protecting her 5-year-old son from death. she died alongside her mother but kept her son alive by shielding him with her own body. also in the theater, 35-year-old new mom helen whose husband posted an emotional video message to the killers. >> on friday night you stole away the life of an exceptional being. the will have of my life, the mother of my son, but will not have my hatred. for those you kill so blindly, that image, each bullet in my wife's body would have been a wound in the heart. >> reporter: a bmx rider and his girlfriend didn't make it out of the concert hall either. an outpouring of support for them on social media.
at a cafe across town, mimi gonzalez, the only known american to have died in the paris attacks died with a fellow student. back home, in california, her parents struggle to understand. >> she wanted to have a career and a family. >> noemi is not dead. she is right here. she is in beatrice's heart today, tomorrow and forever. >> reporter: twitter set up a page in tribute to victims. the caption under eric's page is photographer, husband, dad of one, soon two. a big heart. and then there are the victims who escaped with their lives. but lost all sense of security. those victims are left with the mix of emotion. gratitude, fear and anger. >> they were -- they were just -- people were scared for
their lives. >> there is no time for hate right now. >> hatred is what got us into this mess and it's not the answer. we should never hate. being angry, yes. >> i want people to be angry because i'm very angry. >> today islamic state group, you will not win. >> a look back for the memories of those that were lost a week ago but as you see tonight the people of paris are out in force, once again, for a friday evening. that's going to wrap things up for today's show. i thank you for your time but stay tuned. my colleague kate snow picks up coverage next. you are watching msnbc.
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and sometimes i struggle to sleep at night,blind. and stay awake during the day. this is called non-24. learn more by calling 844-824-2424. or visit your24info.com. good afternoon. i'm kate snow just back from paris where this hour the city of light marks one week since the deadly strikes that rocked
the world. we'll go there live straight ahead. first breaking news out of the west africa where gunmen stormed a popular hotel in mali today. at this hour, reports indicate no more hostages are inside the hotel. initial reports from the hotel said 170 people were inside. we know six americans escaped. msnbc foreign correspondent ayman mohyeldin is following the situation all day. what's the latest? >> reporter: well, the latest, kate, that we are getting is the closest thing to an official death toll from the united nations. and the number as of now stands at 21 people killed as a result of this hostage taking at this hotel. now, the united nations was hosting a conference on the grounds of that hotel when the operation began this morning. the hostage taking began followed by the operation i should clarify. it lasted for several hours. we know that m