tv NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt NBC November 13, 2015 5:30pm-6:00pm CST
a rapidly rising death poll after explosions near a packed stadium. many slaughtered inside of restaurant and a developing hostage crisis. reports of hundreds of people held in a theater. gunman with automatic weapons on the loose. tonight the state of emergency in france and here at home the latest on u.s. intelligence as the president addresses the nation. "nightly news" begins right now. good evening. we start with the breaking news out of paris and what at least at this moment looks to be a city under terror attack on several fronts. the reports are coming in rapidly. we expect many details will change but what we can piece together so far sh the associated press reporting two suicide attacks and one bombing outside of a soccer stadium. there have also been shootings. and a large number of people have been taken hostage. french television
citing police reporting as many as 60 people are dead. tonight france has closed the borders with the rest of europe. we have extensive coverage. let's start with keir mmons on what we know at this hour. >> reporter: chaos on the streets of paris tonight. gunfire ringing out and simultaneous reports of an explosion at a restaurant. amid the confusion, there appeared to be four separate incidents. reports of 100 people taken hostage at a theater where the american band eagles of death metal out of l.a. was playing. witnesses hearing at least 20 shots and seeing more than 15 dead. a shooting in a shopping mall. a separate attack at a restaurant. at least 11 people killed there alone. and police said two suicide attacks outside of the french national stadium just outside of paris where france and germany were holding a soccer match. >> an explosion could
be heard from inside of the stadium. the game over and fans were held on lockdown as shooting continued across paris. one of the spectators was president hollande hollande, rushed from the stadium and within an hour chairing an emergency meeting. while french police and military flooded the streets. some carrying away it injured. sickening scenes. echoes of the charlie hebdo attack where multiple shooters targeted a magazine office. and twending among isis supporters. in paris there is shock and fear tonight. the french president has declared a state of emergency and has sealed the country's borders. but lester, we're hearing reports of shooters moving through the concert hall where the hostages were taken, killing people one by one. people are taking to social media and saying someone please help us. in the last few minutes reuters reporting that the president of france is saying there is a police assault underway. witnesses saying nev
heard -- they have heard five explosions hall. >> let's hear from a witness in paris. seth portiones was staying in an gunfire erupted. we spoke to him moments ago as he described what he saw. >> i am staying at a apartment near. there is a busting nightclub area and there are bars and restaurants around and i see a gathering of people in front of me, it is minor police activity and no big deal. i saw police officers holding guns, hunched behind vans like a scene out of a movie. it was just as this occurred and there were a couple of couple of firefighters. and then there were dozens and the police were hiding behind vans. there is a shooter on the loose in the neighborhood and that is when i split and i got out of there. i saw a gentleman about 30 years old with a towel wrapped around his hand and bleeding. you could hear a
police car go by right now. they are behind the barricaded area. that car is going very, very fast. it is a neighborhood that has people out and about, getting drunk, partying, doing things. and when you see police activity, your first thought is somebody got into a fight at a bar, not there is a shooting. >> that showing discretion from a freelance american journalist near the attacks in paris. we turn to richard engel standing by in istanbul, turkey. anyone trying to connect the dots would foet the plane that may have been blown out of the sky over egypt a couple of weeks ago, the suicide attacks in lebanon, for anyone trying to link this to isis, what should they know. what are you hearing? >> reporter: the u.s. intelligence community is working hard to try to piece this together to figure out who was responsible. there have no immediate claims of responsibility but one senior u.s. intelligence and counter-terrorism official told me that the suspicion right
now is that this was not the work of isis. that it bears more of the hallmarks of al qaeda or an al qaeda affiliate because of the sophistication and the coordination that is involved. we're talking about potentially dozens of terrorists operating in multiple lotions, all across paris. many of them in that same area where the charlie hebdo attacks took place a year ago. that attack claimed by not isis but al qaeda. that is what one official says is the main suspicion right now. if it were, however, isis, it is still a possibility. it would be, quote, a game-changer because it would reflect isis's ability to project power, to project its force much more so than we've seen in the past. and isis has been reaching out internationally. just yesterday isis claimed responsibility for that horrific bombing in beirut and brought down the russian jet over the
sinai killing more than 200 civilians. so a lot of people trying to figure this out and they are shocked at the degree of sophistication involved. they are calling it an unprecedented attack, not just in europe, not just in france, terrorism. >> and richard, it is not lost on anyone this happens 24 hours after the u.s. killed this jihadi john, the famous infamous isis execution. you put a report on that. we'll get to it in a few minutes. that is worth discussing in connection with this. we want to go to the white house. president obama being briefed on the situation. the president came to the briefing room and spoke about the attacks just a short time ago. ron allen is there for us. ron, what is the latest from there? >> reporter: good evening, lester. the paris is concerned about paris. briefed by the counter-terrorism team as the attacks were unfolding. he called it heartbreaking and outrageous. sending his deepest condolences to the french people and promising america is
ready to help. >> this is an attack not just on paris, it is an attack not just on the people of france, but this is an attack on all of humanity and the universal values that we share. we stand prepared and ready to provide whatever assistance that the government and the people of france need to respond. >> reporter: justco incidentally, mr. obama spoke to the french president hollande this morning. the leaders discussing this weekend's g-20 meeting in turkey which they both plan to attend. with the threat of global terrorism will be at the top of the agenda. >> thank you. we want to bring in michael leader, former director of the national counter-terrorism center under president obama and bush. he is now the executive vice president of lydeos which does national security work for the forward government. michael, first of all, what are you hearing? >> lester, i think people in washington are still really unclear.
and following this else. not a lot of reporting out of the french yet and i think it will be sometime until they have a good feeling about who is behind >> why france? we saw it in charlie hebdo. we saw the france' again? >> france is deeply engaged in syria and iraq with the u.s. coalition and france does have a difficult relationship with muslim communities going back to algeria. i think it is too early to say if this is al qaeda or isis. but what we could be confident of is that this is ultimately going to be violent sunni extremists and a level of sophistication we haven't seen in urban area since probably 2008 and the attack in mumbai, india, and that is -- >> and that is what i wanted to follow up. if these are coordinated attacks how does that escape the radar in this day and age in the vigilance against terror networks. >> it is surprising.
french is effective in counter-terrorism and they strengthened the laws after the charlie hebdo attack. i think they are probably found to be some communications possibly using encryption which kept the french officials from seeing this. but a lot of soul searching in france and also beyond in the u.k. and the u.s. to understand how an organization could plan this so effectively, to have multiple sites, explosives and small arms. this will be, as others have said, a game-changer for how the west looks at this threat. >> mimal leader, thank you. let's bring in it andrea mitchell. how are you hearing how the u.s. is reacting to this. >> as michael knows well, the counter-terrorism center he used to head under two administration is going back over electronic surveillance to see if they missed some sort of intelligence, did they miss some intercept and could they reinterpret it. but as michael points out, the u.s. is blind because it is shocking but american intelligence does not
know really whether this is isis or is it al qaeda. you heard the president say he has not spoken to president hollande because officials tell me the french are in response mode. and until and if we find that americans are other hostage or casualties here, the french will not feel compelled to brief the white house about what is going on. also, it is really striking that only yesterday the president said that we were gaining strength against isis. that we were containing isis. we were making progress against isis. if it is isis, this is an enormous setback to american intelligence and to the president's messaging. he had said previously that the goal was to degrade and destroy isis. now he's saying to contain isis. containing isis is not a goal that implicates -- that suggests getting rid of the terror threat that could eventually take the homeland. >> time and time again we report about what happened over there. we remember 9/11 and that feeling of we could be next again.
what kind of alarm bells are being raised in washington about the fact that we could be more vulnerable, that what we're seeing there could be here? >> right now, homeland security officials tell nbc news there is no immediate threat that they have been able to determine to the homeland. but that is exactly why intelligence officials are going back over intelligence. and the russian airline was a wake-up call and then bay rut and now this. and as michael suggests, what don't we know. >> i want to circle back. this all comes after news broke that one of the mostin fam ois members of isis was likely taken out in syria. the pentagon today said it is, quote, reasonably certain a u.s. drone strike killed the man known as jihadi john. the executioner seen in the horrible videos that have terrorized the world. we turn to richard engel on that. >> he tortured victims and taunted the u.s.
but last night on a street in raqqa, the so-called capital of the islamic state in syria, a missile came for him. the few hostages who crossed his path and survived describe the man they call jihadi john as a satist and soako path. he relished his role as isis' chief beheader of foreign victims, including three americans. his real name is muhammed emwazi, a kuwaity born citizen. late last night u.s. officials tell nbc officials three reaper drones, two american and one before theish were tracking him when he and another man walked out of a building on raqqa's clock tower square and into a car. one of the u.s. drones fired a hell fire missile. the two men were, quote, incinerated. >> it does suggest that perhaps the job of coalition and the u.s. is perhaps going to be a little easier
if they do have legitimate credible forces on the ground. >> reporter: and u.s. officials were quick to send a message to other isis militants. >> the terrorists associated with daesh need to know this. you're days are numbered. >> reporter: he had been under surveillance, sources say, for a long while. long enough, according to the white house, to give the families of his victims notice of the operation. but they were not comforted. the father of hostage james foley late this afternoon. >> jihadi john makes no difference to me. jim is dead. he won't bring -- bombing him won't bring jim back. >> reporter: but tonight it seems very likely that jihadi john will never be able to destroy another family with his swagger and threats and knife. lester, just hours before the paris attacks began, counter-terrorism officials were sounding fairly confident they dealt a symbolish blow at the
very least to isis taking out their most recognizable figure, certainly in the united states, jihadi john. now there is a concern that isis and al qaeda are trying to send messages of their own, carrying out massive attacks in europe. and they also say that it is no surprise that these attacks are taking place in europe. that it took place in paris. jihadi john was someone who was radicalized in the u.k., went to syria to fight and so many of those -- those extremists have been in syria, in iraq, and then returning home to places just like paris. >> richard engel, thanks. as we noted, there is no specific threat aimed at the u.s. but security profiles are being raised. we heard a moment ago that new york city police are putting more officers on the street and not being more specific than that. but clearly raising the profile in a city that often regards itle is as a potential target. we will continue to follow the breaking news out of paris throughout the broadcast as events warrant.
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seens from paris tonight where we are continuing to monitoring the breaking news in a series of coordinated terrorist attacks, dozens reported dead. dozens more being held hostage. we will return to paris, a city under siege in, just a moment. but there are other stories we need to report tonightch a major development in this country, in a
divisive issue of our time. the supreme court is stepping back into the fight over abortion. agreeing to review a texas law that could force more than three quarters of the state's abortion clinics to close. our pete williams reports it promises to be the most important decision on abortion in 25 years. >> reporter: the court agreed to hear a challenge to the nation's toughest abortion law passed two years ago in texas it. requires abortion clinics to meet the same building standards as outpatient surgical centers and requires their doctors to have hospital admitting privileges. >> what is at stake right now is whether or not we could put a stop to this and be sure that women's constitutional right to access abortion is safe and secure. >> reporter: texas governor rick perry signed it, supporters say it protects the health of patients. >> our objective is to make sure we provide a strong facility that meet those minimal common sense standards for women's health. >> since the law was passed, the number after borgs clinics in
texas has fallen from 42 to 19 and could drop to ten. staffers at this women's clinic in fort worth said they want to stop abortions. >> what they did instead was to go around and make it impossible. they couldn't make it illegal so they made it impanel. >> reporter: there will be some laws in 12 other states, some on hold because of legal challenges. the judgestices will hear the case next year with a decision by late june. >> and back to the story breaking right now in paris with the terrorist attacks. you have covered the whacka mole terrorist groups, how will they piece together the individuals and the network that made this happen. lookba through electronic intercepts and look at social media and that exposed a problem that the fbi director has been warning about here. groups make contact on social media that law enforcement could see and then they go into encrypted sites using commonly available applications where law
enforcement could no longer track them. it is a challenge lester. >> pete williams, thank you very much. we are back in a dave's been working on his game, and starting each day with a delicious bowl of heart healthy kellogg's raisin bran. how's your cereal? sweet! tastes like winning. how would you know what winning tastes like? invest in your heart health, with kellogg's raisin bran. no crying today... this is brad.his day of coaching begins with knee pain, when... hey brad, wanna trade the all day relief of two aleve for six tylenol? what's the catch? there's no catch. you want me to give up my two aleve for six tylenol? no. for my knee pain, nothing beats my aleve. look, the wolf was huffing and puffing. like you do sometimes, grandpa? well, when you have copd, it can be hard to breathe.
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let's take you back to paris right now. a city once again scarred by terrorism. we want to get to sam champion of the weather channel. now. what have you seen and heard? >> hey lester. hosting the 24 hours with al gore this evening, this is supposed to be a 24-hour broadcast we night into the morning. when i rapped up, we were walking away from the scene. and just hours before this happened, the mayor of paris, mayor
as a number of -- french dignitaries have been on the set tonight. our entire set is now on lockdown. i cannot tell you -- i could tell you that former vice president al gore is tinefine. i condition tell you where he is. we were told to come here and talk to you guys. so let me give you an idea of travel ago cross the city. we are below the eiffel tour with our set. and where we are standing right now is just outside of the tour raffle. so all of the action is in the tent. so all of the three areas are closely together. the streets thinned like that. moving had flashing lights on, even the one or two taxi cabs trying to get home had red lights and not stopping to pick anyone up. and as we move into position, everybody looking at each other frighteningly with a suspicious stare. people are panicked here.
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let's go back to keir simmons monitoring developments from our london newsroom. keer, give us the latest? >> well, lester, tonight the death toll in paris could be as high as 60 people. how many attacks have been carried out is still confusing it. may be four, it may be five wife n. one case, we are hearing reports of four men fired into a restaurant for more than a minute and turning and walking away. and a hostage taking where 100 people were said to have been taken hostage. the french president saying an assault is underway. we are hearing from a french television network that the hostage taking is now over and routers is saying two attackers are dead. president hollande telling his nation tonight, france must be strong, big and firm. the terrorists want to scare us but faced with fear, we are a nation who knows how to defend ourselves. lester. >> keir simmons, thanks.
replaced a statement saying the u.s. is making effort to account for u.s. citizens who may have been in paris in the site of the attacks. they are determining if any americans were involved. we'll have continuing coverage throughout the evening and on nbc news.com and live breaking news on msnbc. more tomorrow morning
i'mthe family of a man shot a killed on sunday says their final goodbyes. how they are remembering deshawn smith and their plea for justice. tomorrow the three democratic presidential candidates will face off right here in des moines. what iowans say they want to hear discussed during the second debate. new maps from the federal government show hundreds of metro homes are sitting on a flood plain. why the maps were redone and what it means for homeowners. good evening, i'm sonya heitshusen and i'm dan winters. thank you for joining us. we want to update you on the situation that is unfolding in paris, france this thank you for joining us. we want to update you on the situation that is unfolding in paris, france this evening. reports are still coming in but this is what we know so far. there have been six separate