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tv   News  Al Jazeera  November 18, 2015 3:00am-3:31am EST

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you're with al jazeera live from our headquarters in doha with our continuing coverage of police raids taking place right now in france. a major operation underway in the paris suburb of st denis to track down those responsible for those attacks in the french capital. several events have happened so far. three people killed, three suspects killed. three have been arrested, several police officers have been injured. to jacky rowland live from paris. you were on the scene very quickly after this raid started
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at around 060 hours gmt this morning. tell us what happened, what was happening then? >> reporter: yes. right now we understand that the main phase of the operation which targeted two buildings in st denis is over. as you mentioned, they killed three suspects during that operation. one of them was a woman. she was apparently wearing a vest packed with explosives. there are conflicting reports as to whether she detonated the vest or the police shot her. three suspects were injured and three police officers were injured in the operation. however, the indications are they're not seriously injured. so three suspects killed, three detained and three police officers injured. however, having said that that main phase of the operation
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appears to be over, there is still extremely heavy police presence in the city of st denise. they blocked off many roads. i am currently weaving my way through the center and i've come upon police blocks and we've had police point weapons at us. an hour ago around the time the siege was finishing, we saw a couple of officers with weapons drawn running in pursuit of someone who we couldn't see who it was, but it's quite clear that there is still an operation of some kind going on because the whole way in which this situation has evolved has been the police have been saying
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little by little, squaw et -- "we have an 8th suspect", "we have a 9th suspect". in a densely populated neighborhood like this, the suspects were in an apartment block. obviously, one would have to ask whether they were being sheltered by anyone, whether there were any neighbors who provided them with food or whether they were enjoying any other kind of logistical or practical support. clearly it's those kind of connections that the police are very concerned should not be able to slip away now when you say the main operation appears to be over, or the main phase of the operation appears to be over, what is your understanding of what's actually happening now? what are they waiting for? have they still got suspects in
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their sights? >> reporter: it could possibly be that there are other suspects in their sites. it could be that they're moving into a delicatessen vat phase of the operation where they're actually trying to go into the premises. we understand there were two different sites which were targeted in this overnight raid. as i have discovered in previous siege situations that we've covered for al jazeera, there's always confirmed apartments which have been used for attackers to hide and lie low. they could be boobytrapped. it's quite likely that the special forces will be moving in very, very cautiously, quite possibly with remote detonating equipment robots to go into the apartment first in case there are any booby traps or explosives in there. also there's a concern as well that these people, this group of people, at least six people we
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understand, because three have been killed and three arrested, have been living or hiding in this apartment, quite possibly since friday night, in that period of time they would have needed food, possibly other kinds of support, maybe they were trying to plan to move to another location. i think what we're looking at now is a mopping up operation, also as i mentioned before, absolutely ampgt by the police-- anxiety by the police, anybody providing support, neighbors who might have been in any way helping them, they would want to be very certain that no-one is getting away. it's a very complicated situation when you look at the sophisticated nature of the attacks, how many people were involved, the connections with belgium and other countries in europe, the police cannot assume that it's over simply after raiding these two premises
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jacky, thank you very much, indeed, for that. jacky rowland, our correspondent on the scene in stdenis - st denis. this is the scene now. as jacky says, the main operation seems to be over. at around about 6.30, half an hour after the police raid started, there were a series of loud explosions which shook that neighborhood. (sound of explosions) about four loud explosions there, and that was followed by reports that a woman wearing an explosive vest had been shot dead by police of the it's not known whether she detonated her explosive or not, but clearly some blast is taking place there and there has also been gun
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fire, helicopters circling. we have the army as well as swot police and that operation is now continuing. let's remind you where this operation is taking place. let's take a look at a map. st denis is a suburb north of paris. it's also very close to the stade de france which is one of the stats of the a-- sites on friday when attacks left 129 people dead and several hundred injured. let's take a closer look at some attackers who are thought to be the target. abdel hamid abaaoud believed to be in his late 20s.
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likely responsible for arguing those attacks in-- organising those attacks. he spent time fighting alongside i.s.i.l. in syria. let's speak to remi, assistant professor here in the studios of the . let's start with abdel hamid abaaoud. he was thought to be in syria fighting with i.s.i.l. but may well be back in france. >> obviously, that was a surprise to hear that he actually would be in france right now. i mean, even with past attacks in the museum in brussels, he was thought to be there. he is definitely an i.s.i.l. person. he is good looking and has recruited people into i.s.i.s.
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to have him would be a good step forward to a blow to i.s.i.s. these are pictures of abdel hamid abaaoud now. clearly this issue of belgian nationals, french nationals going to and from syria is a huge concern. >> it is. they are recruiting - people who cannot find a place in society, they're not particularly religious, they're people who have a track history of petty crimes, one of the brother of salah abdeslam was a bar owner let's talk about him because he is the other suspect, salah abdeslam, one of three brothers who were arrested, one brother has been cleared, but the other one very definitely involved. >> three brothers together. one of them is on the run now.
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salah abdeslam is one of the side bombers in paris. he was the one the owner in a bar in brussels and known for drug-trafficking activities. those are criminals that want to make big names for themselves. they do not operate in a way that they claim to be advocating for. one brother has been cleared by the police. he didn't know what was going on with his two brothers, which might be a little bit doubtful. the third one is on the run. apparently he is also potentially a second terrorist who is on the run today. salah abdeslam actually left paris and went back to belgium on friday night. they have been checked by the
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authority at the border. we didn't know he was implicated. it was two hours after the event. most likely he is off to belgium and maybe further. it will be interesting to see if he just came to get some more information from abdel hamid abaaoud and came back to st denis. what is going on here, after the swat team stormed in and took out some terrorists, and take them to a safe place to interrogation, is to make you have the intelligence on the site. you would have fingerprinting, for example, trying to see - however many there were, if you have other fingerprints of someone who would have come over the last three or four days, bring in food bringing them supplies, information. >> absolutely.
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i'm not so sure supplies, but they were able to go into the stores as there's nothing specific about buying food for themselves, but maybe trying to see if abdel hamid abaaoud was there. if other potential terrorist cells would have taken information from the future. we see some safe houses in paris. if all around paris you have different souafe houses in pari they may be plotting more attacks in the future going back to tristan redman who is at the scene in st denis. it seems that the main phase of the operation is over, but i'm sure it's still a very tense situation there.
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>> reporter: it appears the main phase of the separation is over, but there is still something going on because the police are still very, very tense. we are walking around the police cordon at the moment trying to report this story and on two occasions in the last half an hour we've had guns pulled on us because we have stumbled into the wrong place. so they are high on alert. the french media reporting - are reporting that police are leading an operation against up to six suspects, but we don't know the identitys of all of those. we believe that there have been two deaths among the suspects. there are reports that one of those death, who is a woman who blew herself up during the
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police raid, and one other man was killed by police. three of the people arrested in the raid have been detained. these are people who are believed to be in the house, and then two further people who were close to the apartment have also been detained. three police have been lightly injured in the assault. abdel hamid abaaoud is the main suspect, the main organiser of the attack in paris last friday. he is the target of this assault, but we don't know whether the target is in the house, so he is presumed to be the target. salah abdeslam, who is the first
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suspect on the run is still on the run. he is one of the five identified out of seven who led the attacks on friday. the police issued a notice that they were looking for another man unnamed believed to be linked to the attack last night. it's a very serious situation. we don't know what stage this raid - this investigation, this operation is at, but it's very tense. the police are hearing - we've seen military trucks, many branches of the french police here, if not all of them, with the swot teams, and it's a very tense situation
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what about the people there, tristan, the residence. what are they being told? presumably there are lots of road blocks and people have either been evacuated or told to stay home. >> reporter: necessity have been told to stay home. the mayor made an appeal. st denis has woken up and going on their way to work. it is 7.30 in the morning. people are stumbling around looking confused because they don't know how to get to where they need to go because they're turning around corners and there are heavily-armed police staring them down telling them to get back. they are shiny laser beams at
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them to prevent them coming further. there are people who are looking pretty confused about what is happening is it quarter past nine in the morning yes. st denis is a town on the outer suburbs of paris. people can commute to the city from here, it's on the metro. it's a very diverse community that lives here. we're in a quiet part here, and we're walking past the police cordon. we're trying to report on the story, but it's very difficult to do so. the information coming from the authorities is very confused as well indeed. thank you for the moment,
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tristan, very much indeed for that. we have correspondents and producers on the scene in st denis. you're watching our ongoing special on the issues there. as our staff are explaining, quite difficult to get information on what's happening so far as that police operation continues. earlier there were a series of explosions and gun fire and reports of people being killed in that gun fire. let's go through awhat we know so far. -- what we know so far. this is a suburb in lock down after gun fire and several blasts were heard earlier on this morning. three suspects, including a woman, have been killed in police raids. that number is quite fluid. at least two suspects, perhaps
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three suspects killed in that raid. five suspects have been detained, again no information on exactly who those suspects were, and three police officers have been injured during the operation, but we're told that the injuries are relatively light. so let's bring in remi piet, professor of international affairs. let's talk about what all of this means for the french government. president francois hollande is inevitably going to bring in new legislation to deal with it, change the constitution even to be able to strip citizens with dual nationality of their french passpo passport. does he have support for this? >> several proposals have been laid out by president francois hollande as laid out by his speech yesterday. we have elections coming in, so
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there's a lot of pressure from political parties to show maybe more authority or not backing up, as it was, the case in january, not backing up, and unfortunately when you look at the different measures and different suggestions, a lot of them can be criticised from the opposition. there's a demand from the opposition to open up detention centers. there's a lot of work that needs to be done by all the parties across the board. so far the suggestions by francois hollande is actually quite relevant to, maybe, look at the questions of being able to strip nationalitys for people that definitely do not show any kind of support to france,
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questions of reinforcing more tools and more possibilities for intelligence gathering. all those are fairly clear and supported across the board, but definitely you see it is becoming more and more extreme. you see marie le pen trying to have her position secured for the election. there are populations that are trying to make it through life and now fingers are going to be pointed at them because they're from where terrorists have come from that flows into their hands. >> exactly what about the wider international strategy towards syria? france, of course, has intensified its air strikes.
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we've seen air strikes now for the last two days in raqqa. does that help or hinder i.s.i.l.? >> well, here we're seeing some major shifts around syria and they will have to be monitored over the next coming weeks. there have been intensified strikes on raqqa. there is being something being done, but being effective, this question can be in doubt because we've seen air strikes for several months and years without any real impact. you need to have some kind of force on the ground to follow-up those strikes. the new shift here is really the reunification of relations between russia and iraq. there is support to france after those attacks, but also called france as a natural ally, and
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even encourage navy to give more information to the french francois hollande is going to visit moscow for the first time and meet with putin. >> he is going to meet a couple, but here we're seeing a shift of alliance. the promise of seeing new alliances, but there's no clear understanding of what should be done on the ground. whether or not bashar al-assad shall be on power. france has always been the same they don't want to talk unless bashar al-assad steps down. so there's the issues on the ground. we see an alignment of the main power here around the situation is syria that will have results or evolutions what do you make of john kerry's words that he foresees a solution in syria in a few weeks?
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>> we might sigh a change in that deadlock. in you have some powers agreeing on some political platform, you cannot move forward on it. you cannot have an agreement of international force. actually, it might leave the deadlock that you have on operations, and we're just talking about operations. then eventually down the road the nation building, the organizations of a potential new system in syria, whether it's with or with bashar al-assad. this will take months. talking about military actions, there might be a huge move forward. let's not forget also that those attacks on friday were falling down to the hands of the kurds which is on the ground for i.s.i.l. sources. in the movement of tit for tat, those strikes in paris was a way to put paris on the map and
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attacks on the map and maybe not communicate on what had been major blows of i.s.i.l. you you mentioned that air strikes weren't going to do much without boots on the ground. you're not going to have u.s. troops? >> no. you're got going to have u.s. troops. there are some presence on the ground. there's also more-- not any major structure. >> no. you don't - i don't think you need major structure. we're talking more about the structure of swot teams or commando forces on the ground, not major forces as in the case of iraq, but also for sharing information. right now you don't have sharing of information between russia and france and russia and the
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u.s., but only basic agreements of channels of communication in case of emergency. there's actually no agreement between u.s. and russia. the russians are on the ground, not in large forces, but they are on the ground. if they show more information that they have, it doubles up the strikes. the strikes on raqqa that happened on the last two days haven't had huge results. they did target a command ground. people there knew this. they made sure they weren't impacted to much. it doubles the information if you have - it's never to have the - the amount of information if it's con firearmed by different sources, you know where to strike. the new cooperation between
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powers will allow to move much faster on potential resolution interesting stuff. thank you for that. out of this police operation is ongoing. the man who owns the participate that police have surrounded this morning has been speaking to the media. he says he only lent his place ace favor. he didn't know the identity of the people he was flying in. >> translation: i found out it's at my house and that the people are holed up at my flat. i didn't know that they were terrorists. i was ask for a favor. to put people up for three days. that's normal. i don't know anything let's join jacky row land. i'm sure the owner of that apartment will have some questions to answer from the
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police. >> reporter: i think that is largely the explanation for in ongoing police cordon, and very tense operation that's still going on in st denis. as you said, clearly there are people who knew that there were men in the apartment. he doesn't know much, but there would be other people who have provided various support to these people. sorry, i'm having to pass the cordon which involves showing them my identity is it quite difficult to get around there? >> reporter: it's extremely difficult. for the last hour i've been walking around and around in
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circle. trying to reunite with my vehicle. a large section of st denis has been cordoned off. police are still very edgy. someone is trying to pass now and giving me the nod because we've had weapons pulled on us. i think there are either still suspects or it's a very detailed operation to ensure that the wider network, financial or whatever, being captured and interrogated. we don't really know how wide
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the web goes and what level of suspect they could be looking for. obviously, the attackers that were killed. the eighth is salah abdeslam and the ninth one, abdel hamid abaaoud, who is the main subject of this operation, with so many different operations, different teams, the sophistication of the operation, acquiring weapons, all of this is obviously far more than nine people. the question is whether any of the people who were involved are actually in st denis at the moment. actually, the


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