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tv   CNN Newsroom With Carol Costello  CNN  March 25, 2016 6:00am-8:01am PDT

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and good morning. i'm carol costello. thank you so much for joining me. we begin with breaking news out of belgium. two siblings living in new york are confirmed killed in tuesday's terror attacks. the brother and sister are dutch citizens, but were returning to the united states when they were killed. also new this morning, a huge development in the investigation. a u.s. official telling cnn they believe they know the identity of the surviving airport attacker. the man wearing a hat and light-colored jacket fled the airport without detonating the bomb. overnight police launched a series of raids across belgium's capital. six people delained including three outside of the federal prosecutor's office. in france, sources telling cnn a newly arrested suspect is linked to the mastermind of the paris attacks and the french government says he was in the advanced stage of planning a new
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attack. and then a cnn exclusive. >> that's for you. >> hey. >> hi, son. >> hey. >> [ inaudible ]. >> love you, son. ah. the moment a utah couple is reunited with their son injured in the attack. the 19-year-old has a chilling back story. he's cheated death before, close to the boston marathon explosions and now the attacks in paris. actually, the attacks in paris and now the attacks in belgium. cnn correspondents are covering the many angles of this story as new developments continue to roll in, but we begin with phil black with more on the american victims. hi, phil. >> reporter: hi, carol. yes. so when i met, or spoke to mason wells in this hospital here, the 19-year-old from utah, he told
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me he's doing okay. something of an understatement, really when you think about the extent of his injuries, second and third-degree burns to his face and arms. shrapnel in his legs, severe damage to his ankle as well. he should with time, good news, make a full recovery from all that. impressive is his story. it is extraordinary. he give as very detailed, clear, concise, vivid account of what happened. those few minutes leading up to, during and after two bombs detonated in the departure zone of brussels airport on tuesday morning. take a listen. >> well, i was actually conscious for all of it. we tried to pull out my friends' tickets at a small little station. you know, my friends' tickets to go to the united states, and the machine wasn't working, actually. so after working with the
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attendant she took us to the back of the line, the check-in line. i'd actually pulled out my ipad to look at something. so it was part of my responsibilities in the mission, and i was starting to look that up. i was looking at my ipad when the first blast went off. it was really loud. it was really loud. >> you had no warning? you had no warning this was about to happen? >> no. it really came out of nowhere. i wasn't expecting it at all. i was looking down and all of a sudden a huge blast came from my right. i believe my body was actually picked up off the ground for a moment, and my ipad, that was in my hands, i don't know what happened. it just disappeared. i think it might have actually
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hit me in the head when it got blasted out of my hands. my watch on my left hand just disappeared. my left shoe just was blown off and a large part of the right side of my body got really hot and then really cold, and i was covered in -- a lot of -- a lot of fluids. a lot of blood, and a lot -- a lot of that blood wasn't mine. >> reporter: it's remarkable, carol, just how aware mason wells was throughout this experience. how quickly he responded, and his first instinct was to get out. take a listen to him describing those few moments. >> it took my body about a second, half a second, to realize it was a bomb that went off, and, of course, i'm sure my body was in complete physical shock. i knew that i'd been wounded. i didn't know how bad it was. i located an exit. i looked up, i located an exit
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and i started to run towards the doors that we'd came in through, and i took a couple steps, about three seconds after the -- three or four seconds after the first blast, the second bok wemb went and i actually felt the explosion. i could feel the blast but i don't believe i was hit by anything, any shrapnel or anything. so that blast happened as i was running out the door. i ran over the top of this destroyed door, over a bunch of glass and i was turning around to look for my colleague. i had heard a lot of people running outside, and as i turned to look, i looked down and that's when i saw my ankle, it was bleeding very, very badly. it was -- covered in a pool of blood, and -- at that point, pain had started to hit me. i had -- there were a couple of people, lots of people that made it outside at that point. there were people running, and there was man less injured. he told me to sit down.
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so i sat down in a pool of my own blood. so i got blood all over my pants, and i lifted my leg, and -- it was bleeding very badly. and, you know, i'm an eagle scout. i had taken some first aid and had an idea what my wounds were, and -- the multiple people tried to tie a tourniquet on my foot, but i wouldn't let them do it, because i knew if i turned the tourniquet that -- i'd lose my leg. and -- at that point i just put my faith in the fact that i'd be able to keep my leg. the smell was really bad. at that point. >> reporter: mason wells was so close to that first blast, that he is very much coming to terms with the fact that he's still alive. i asked him what he's beenfyi
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thinking and feeling as he lies in his hospital bed a few days after that attack, and this is what he said. >> i was so lucky, being how close i was. and i saw a lot of people that were injured worse. i heard a lot of people that were injured badly, and, you know, my only thoughts, my only feelings are just for the people that are out, there i hope that they're doing okay. i just wanted to pray for them. i've been praying for them since it happened. that's the only feeling i have is, i hope that they're okay. because i'm very lucky and i know that there were many some that were not as lucky as i was, being so close. >> reporter: so it's not just mason wells that's feeling lucky. his parents are feeling incredibly fortunate. chad and kimberly, you have to imagine what this was like, carol. the moment they walked in to the hospital room and saw him there bandaged lying in bed. so weak.
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so hurt nap . that was the first time they'd seen their son in almost two years. that's how long he's been away as a missionary for the mormon church. they describe it as an incredible powerful emotional moment but one of ultimate tremendous relief to them, because they'd got the news that he was hurt. they'd scrambled to get on the plane to travel to europe and there he was. they're in the same room. they could touch him, talk to him and could see he was going to be okay. they were overwhelmed but say actually he was the one during those few hotels who was comforting them. >> an amazing kid. a couple of questions. first off, mason kept his leg. right? >> reporter: yes. he has done -- shrapnel has been removed. his akhil ez achilles tendon dat in time, with the right treatment, that should be okay.
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the burns are significant to his face and arms but word from his plastic surgeon, no significant scarring. pretty remarkable, really. so the good news for him is really incredibly good. he is very fortunate by his own admission, but he should make a full recovery, and as you heard there, his thoughts are for all the other people who he saw that day who he knew were hurt far more seriously than he was. >> he's an amazing young man, mason wells. phil black, thanks for sharing his story. in a few minutes, secretary of state john kerry will lay a wreath at the airport for a memorial before heading back to the united states. but a short time ago he sat down with cnn erin burnett who joins us to tell us what he had to say. hi, erin. >> reporter: hi there, carol. when you hear that that incredible story, moving, that family not seeing their son in two years and a horrific attack against innocent people going home to see their families, going on vacation. going about their daily lives, you know, people are suffering here and, of course, there are
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now, we know, americans who have not been as lucky as mason wells, who lost their lives in this terror attack and i talked to the secretary about that and asked whether this was an attack on america. here he is. >> i think it's an attack on america. it's an attack on europe. it's an attack on civilized people in countries all around the world. it's an attack on people who weren't even here, and who weren't killed, because it is an attack on everybody's ability to movefreely, to live without freer, and that's what the terrorists want. and that is precisely why we have to continue as we are to go after d.a.s.h. with full determination, to destroy them, and i'm confident we are going to. >> reporter: you've put out a warning about near-term attacks and concern of that. here in belgium they're worried about people on the run, worried about more cells and more attack. do you have knowledge what those attacks might be? >> i don't personally. i think there are strands of
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intelligence here and there which we wouldn't talk about publicly anyway at this point, but the point is, we know that there are foreign fighters who have returned from syria over a span now of about five years, and they are in various places in the world. loads of countries. america included, by the way. we've had some 500 americans who have chosen to go to syria and fight with d.a.s.h. over the last five years. so that is the reason for people being vigilant and alert and the reason for travel advisories and restraints, you talk about going to syria. >> reporter: a family told the belgians when he went to syria in 2013 the belgians did not follow-up with them. spoke to a young man yesterday, he has 10 to 15 friends in syria right now with isis. he said, if i want to go tomorrow, i can go. you can call the police, they don't care. quote/unquote.
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many of these young men's ultimate goal is to attack america. could this kind of thing happen in the u.s.? >> well it did, in san bernardino. i mean, we saw somebody come back radicalized, and go on a killing spree. so everybody understands that any of these foreign fighters who have come back still attached to d.a.s.h. now, many people have left d.a.s.h., recognizing that it was a lie. that all of the things they'd been told were lies. some of those people who tried toaaway were executed. others managed to get away and have come back to tell the story of the lie. so we don't know how many people precisely there are who have filtered their way back in, but i believe very deeply that as we put additional pressure on d.a.s.h. in syria and iraq, it is entirely possible that in some other part of the world
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people will lash out out of desperation. >> reporter: rbut are you concerned about attacks on american metro stations, attacks like the one we've seen here intelligence are now saying are linked to isis headquarters? >> erin, let me -- >> reporter: which is a different profile than san bernardino. >> let me put it to you this way -- law enforcement and intelligence community, people have to get it right to prevent an attack every minute of every day, 24 hours a day, 7 day as week, 365 days a year. if somebody wakes up one morning in their apartment and decides they want to go out and kill themselves and take some people with them, they can most likely find a place on a subway, on a bus, in a market, somewhere, to do it, unfortunately. so it is a very -- you know, this is a difficult challenge, and frankly, it's quite remarkable that our law enforcement community, our
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intelligence community, our police have done as good a job as they have done of protecting us here, both in america as well as in other parts of the world. now, that doesn't excuse one single event, when it happens. everybody's focused on it, with the intensity that we see here in belgium right now, but i am convinced that we are slowly and steadily deteriorating d.a.s.h.'s ability to recruit, its ability to prosecute, its nihilistic ideology, and over time we are going to get back to a world where we feel that we can travel with impunity and feel safe. >> so what about the young men that know so many people going to isis. why didn't you go? well, i have a brain but i independents why they go. they're still going. >> there are some who have gone, but there are less going, and they're less able to go today,
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and as d.a.s.h. continues to get beaten, as its leadership continues to be decimated, i believe the attraction is going to be reduced, and i think you will see a lot fewer people believing that is is narrative both associating with or putting your life on the line for. >> reporter: and will isis still be a threat when you leave? >> well, i think this. i think that we are going to put a huge dent in them in the course of this year. there's no question in my mind, but it is going to take a number of years, probably, to reduce the impact of the ideology of the, of people who will continue to carry an anger or a -- a willingness to engage in some kind of act individually as a lone entity. i mean, even though we destroyed the core of al qaeda and we did al qaeda disbursed. there are al qaeda operatives out there who continue to represent a threat, but they don't represent a complete
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shredding of the fabric of your life. and that's what we've been fighting with respect to d.a.s.h., because if you left d.a.s.h. unattended to, and you didn't go after them, the results would be absolutely devastating. i think people have come to that conclusion, which is why there isn't one single country anywhere that supports d.a.s.h. d.a.s.h. is isolated, and that's why i can say to you with such confidence, we will destroy it, because every country in the reach than surrounds it is opposed to d.a.s.h., and the sooner we can deal with assad and his presence in syria, the sooner we will have an ability to go after d.a.s.h. and ultimately deliver on the promise i've just made. >> reporter: and you know, carol, i asked him point-blank. is this an attack against america? his answer, when americans are killed, of course. a very direct answer. and of course here meeting with the belgium prime minister who as you know said in their joint
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press conference that belgium is doing the best it can to fight terror, which has many scratching their heads given that they knew the identities of some of these men before the attacks and failed to stop or ap proo hend them even though they were wanted by interpol, turkey warned them about one when they deported him and sent him back. another important thing he's saying here, standing by the administration's position, its strategy against isis is working and slowly and steadily deteriorating. something surely gop candidates may take issue with in terms of using the word "slowly" but they have been standing by this a slow deterioration of isis is the right way to fight against this group and a huge dent in this by the end of the year. we shall see if that happens by the time president obama and secretary kerry leave office, whether there will be a huge dent in isis. we are getting more breaking news to pass along. according to french television,
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major police operations now under way in the neighborhoodto schaerbeek in brussels. several witnesses say there was gunfire. the area around the operation has now been evacuated. right out in there is no police evidence -- there is no evidence that police deployment is linked to the investigation of these brussels attacks. frederik pleitgen is on the way to the scene. when he gets there, we'll have more for you. i have to take a break. much more, after. more "stay" per roll.
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i want to get right to that breaking news, take you to schaerbeek, a neighborhood outside of brussels where there's a huge police operation going down right now. we understand an explosion has been heard and also gunfire. frederik pleitgen is on the
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scene. what can you tell us, fred? >> reporter: hi, carol. actually right at the police line. the police have been pushing us back over the past couple of minutes. there are people sort of leaving this area. the latest we are getting, the police are evacuating the area around this square, which is i would say about 200 yards in that direction. if we look down there, there is a police truck of some sort that seems to be bringing specialized equipment to the area. now you can see there's some police also moving back there. we've also heard there was gunfire heard here. apparently there was an explosion that was heard as well. the police are pushing us back again. telmperaturlling us to move on pavement. a lot of police vehicles are coming through as well. clearly a very large operation going on. one that may have had some gunfire involved as well. they've really, really increased the security perimeter. they keep widening it out, and keep pushing us back to make sure they have enough room to operate. clearly, a very big operation that's going on.
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again, gunfire appears to have been heard ands police now asking everybody to move. they're telling us to get out of the way so they have room to operate here, but, again, this is still very much an ongoing operation here by the belgian police that we see these people coming through here right now. >> frederic, a question, we know a manhunt is under way especially for that third man in the airport. want in the hat and light coat that survived the bombing but left an explosive device behind. could that be part of this? >> reporter: it could very well be. at this point, it's not clear whether or not this is related to the brussels attacks that, of course, happened three days ago. but, i mean, judging by the size of this operation, it could very well be. it's not clear whether they're targeting that specific individual, the one who got away, but clearly, it is someone who they believe could be very dangerous. judging by the amount of police officers that we're seeing here, also judging, quite frankly, by the kind of equipment we've seen come in here.
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very heavy police equipment. also a bomb squad is here as well. and the last time i saw a bomb squad on the scene at one of these raids was actually the day of the attacks when they raided that apartment that turned out to be the bombmaking factory. we'll have to wait and see whether any of that materializes or how it plays out, but it could well be and certainly judging by the amount of cops we've seen on the street here, judging also, quite frankly, carol, by the security perimeter we're seeing here and then asking people to keep moving out of this area, it certainly appears as though something very, very big is going on there, but it's not clear whether or not it's related to that person that the u.s. says they believe they know the name of, or whether or not it might be that other person who could have been the other one who's being sought because of those attacks on the metro. clearly, this is an operation the police are taking very, very seriously and moved in a lot of forces quickly. cordoned off a lot of streeds leading up to here and one of streets that leads up to the square is one of the main streets that has a lot of
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traffic on it, and yet the police completely blocked that off, also stopped the tram service as well as this very, very big police operation continues to unfold. we can see them continue to set their perimeter. a police tow truck is coming through right now. >> i'll let you go to gather information. we'll get right back to you if anything breaks. of course, all of this is coming on the heels of an overnight terror sweep -- actually an overnight huge terror sweep that included raids throughout buelgium, france and germany. police gathering more evidence trying to unravel tuesday's terror attacks in brussels. we have more on that. hi, clarissa. >> reporter: hi, carol. we were actually at the scene of one of those raids last night in the same neighborhood where fred pleitgen, my colleague is right now. schaerbeek, when we arrived on the scene there was a heavy police presence. essentially what we saw what were appeared to be forensic
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experts moving in to this house, actually unclear if it was a house or three apartments. they appeared to be centering efforts on the third floor, going through, collecting evidence, possibly searching for dna, for fingerprints, for more explosives. it's not clear yet. what we do know is that six people were arrested during the course of various raids across belgium last night. three of them arrested outside the federal prosecutor's office as the manhunt is continuing here for those two men. now, meanwhile today we are hearing in germany, new information coming in about two separate arrests. these two men are both believed to be connected to bakraoui, of course, one of the two brothers involved in these vicious terror attacks. apparently there were suspicious text messages that were found on the phones. one of these men who was arrested in germany reportedly very well-known in the sal afide
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community in respect is a connection to the brussels attack through hamed bakraoui but we don't know what the connection has been. a situation changing quite rapidly and it appears real mow meant numb these searches. >> we hope so, clarissa ward reporting live from brussels, belgium this morning. i want too bri bring in a counterterrorism official, phil mudd. hi, phil. >> good morning. >> what do you make of all this going down in brussels this morning? >> boy, the volume is remarkable. look back at the fight against al qaeda back after 9/11 talking three, five major cases at once in the united states. an al qaeda organization that was trying to operate secretly. very small cells. if you look at the volume here, carol, we keep talking about dozens of people in the course of just weeks. this was on imaginable 15 years
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ago. as a counterterrorism professional, i look at this and say there's only so long you can play defense. the real story has to be when can you eliminate safe haven for isis in syria? no security service can stop all these people at once. it's not possible. >> belgium officials admitted they needed help from the united states in fighting terrorism at home. does the united states have involvement in what's going on today? >> absolutely. a couple things they're doing. first is, collecting information realtime from the raids that are going on in belgium and france. that is, when they're picking up things like hard drives, e-mail addresses, text addresses. doing symbol gatien interrogati detainees. do we have leads that can help you? the second thing, any security service will ask, when giving us that information does any of it lead back to the united states? do we have a threat here? then the third and final piece, carol, we haven't talked much about is, while these raids are going on, you're trying to find
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information that pinpoints who the trainers are back in syria. so you can conduct operations there and eliminate the head of the snake. if you don't eliminate that snake in syria this is never going to stop. >> oh. so -- so you think that perhaps belgium officials are communicating with those who are fighting the battles in the middle east, in iraq and syria, and that may help them better target who they need to there? >> i think one of the reasons you have international cooperation, the bull juppe be have the level to do this as we it, that is americans in syria. if you want to ieliminate those training the bombers, that's the americans in-box. americans can collate the data and find out how people are acquiring documents to go into syria.
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how they're communicating to pinpoint locations, better yet, the individuals in syria responsible and then put a drone out or air strikes on those locations so that training for people who are coming back and conducting these bombings ceases. this is going to keep going until we shut down syria. >> all right. phil mudd. thanks for your ininsight. we appreciate it. there's some massive police presence in a neighborhood right outside of brussels. they're looking for something. there is a bomb squad on the scene. people heard explosions and gunfire. we don't know exactly what's going on there but we know a big manhunt is underway for more people responsible for this terrible terrorism attacks within brussels and we know the secretary of state john kerry will soon go to the brussels airport and lay a wreath there to remember those who died inside the brussels airport. and still to come in the "newsroom," too, does passport-free travel put europeans as risk?
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i want to take you out to the brussels airport. you see 9 secretary of state there. the american secretary of state john kerry greeting officials at the airport. and we're expecting that the belgium prime minister will soon arrive at brussels airport as well. both men will go inside the airport in short time to lay a wreath where so many died inside that airport. just a few days ago. it's just been an active day in belgium. in the past few days. there's a huge police operation going down. probably just about 40 minutes from the airport in brussels in a suburban neighborhood. frederik pleitgen is there. we don't know exactly what police are looking for. there was gunfire. but there is a huge police
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presence. back out to schaerbeek, this neighborhood outside of brussels and check back in with fred bric pligbric -- frederick flight gik pleitg there's more information. >> reporter: i am finding out more information about the raid. a gentleman with me, you have a son who has a shop there said someone was shot there. tell me what he told you. >> yes, he saw a young man coming out of the driveway it was underground. he had a big gun. >> reporter: a big gun, a rifle. >> a rifle, yes, and maybe some people call police and a lot of people coming and shoot this man. just shoot him in the leg, but he is -- he is on the street. >> reporter: so a man came out and he had a rifle with him in the metro underground? >> in the metro underground. but he was not in -- come up out
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of the metro underground. i didn't know if they were bringing something in the metro underground. he came out. a big -- >> reporter: an escalator. >> no, no, the stairs. and he was there, he came out and he had some rifle with him and he was shot by police. police maybe may know that he was coming out there. >> reporter: do you know if anybody else was hurt except this man? >> no. i don't know anything. i can phone if you want. i can take -- phone to my son, because he is just there. >> reporter: he's still there. >> and ask what's happening. >> reporter: do you know, the police when they smhot him. they shot him but did not kill him. >> no. they shot him in the leg. he was on the ground, stable, but nothing very -- it was not kill him. they did not kill him, no, no. >> reporter: did he say anything
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about what this man looks like? >> he looks like a lot of people who are muslim, because, really, he looked like a muslim, yes. >> reporter: so someone that could be from -- >> a muslim. yes. >> reporter: has your son told you about anything going on there now? we've heard there might have been explosions? >> no. the shop is closed. nobody may come in. nobody may come out. everything is closed there. >> reporter: so the police closed off the entire area? >> the entire area. the terminal way, does not -- the terminal is stopped. everything is stopped. everything is closed because the thing is there is people, important people there on the corner of the avenue. >> reporter: they think there might be more people? >> they think there might be more people and they thought there were people -- [ inaudible ] because last saturday, normally is a big carnival in this area. >> reporter: okay. all right. >> carnival didn't take place, because they already know that there was a danger.
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>> reporter: thank you very much, sir. you can see, carol what we're hearing from the witnesses apparently one person was shot there, carol. >> frederik pleitgen, thanks so much. back to you brussels airport for one minute. you see the secretary of state there laying that wreath outside of the brussels airport where folks died. let's just pause for a moment. [ moment of silence ]
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[ no audio ]
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all right. secretary of state john kerry congratulating -- not congratulating, but thanking the first responders for their hard work that terrible day. as you know more than 31 people killed in brussels. more than 270 injured in these terrible attack. you can see the shattered windows of the airport, of course, the secretary couldn't go inside because it's an active crime scene. the twin bombings in brussels re-ignited the debate over europe's open-border policy. in the hours after the attack, the spokesman for the uk independence party slammed the arrangement as a "threat to british security." i'm joined by mike hookham who made that statement, the uk independent party spokesman for defense. welcome. >> thank you very much. >> thanks for being with me. you say europe's open-border policy, a policy that allowed europeans to travel without passports from country to country within europe puts its
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citizens at risk. why? >> well, i mean, something that i've been warning about for a year now. the agreement allowing these terrorists free movement across europe, and we know these people, the ones that have been arrested, the ones involved in all of this have traveled to syria on numerous occasions, on false passports, been allowed back in. coming back in through the migrant routes. you know? and allowed -- across europe, bringing weapons and explosives. it has to stop. it cannot go on. >> when americans look at the terror investigations under way in belgium, they see a lot of negligence. they see it putting the western world at risk. help us understand why that's happening in belgium. >> well, it's, again, i've been -- the european parliament are in denial on this.
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they will not accept an open border appeals is creating this and helping this, and there are seven members states, now, [ inaudible ] and said enough is enough and checking people again, and you know, we really are now in a serious situation where we have to start bringing back -- bringing back border control. >> so what do you suppose that the british parliament will do? >> well, it's not the british parliament. it's the european parliament. because we are not in the agreement, we still have some bit of control, although they have been [ inaudible ] by the government, [ inaudible ] on investment. we have some border control, but only this week 50 immigrants was found in kent on the back of a vehicle. so, you know, these people are getting in.
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we have a porous border in the uk. small ports, such as where i'm sitting at the moment. i'm from a small port and people are getting in because of laxed border control. >> two of the brussels attackers were belgium-born. the paris attackers were not syrian refugees. french and belgium citizens. something is happening within those countries that are -- that are creating these terrorists. what do you think it is? and what's the answer to that? >> well, you know, this is dissatisfaction of the areas that they're living in. a lot of these areas are muslim areas. some areas there, they the police are not allowed to go into. so, really, we have to look at what is turns these people into radicals. >> do you think that the european union and nato is
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helping the united states enough to fight isis? >> well, sadly, not the european union. again, worryingly, a german defense minister said that nearly 50% of member states are not sharing intelligence. on this guy that they're looking for at the moment which is now one of the most sought-after terrorists in europe, and it was the americans that give up information that said that he was on one of their terror watches, but the belgians didn't even know he was in the city. >> is there something that the united states can do to help more in europe's fight against these home-grown terrorists? >> well, i think all of the western world, and europe and america, have got to come together. start sharing intelligence, and fight against isis and daesh, threatening the people of europe. >> i have to leave it there. mike hookham, thank you for join
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us. appreciate it. as i've been telling you, following breaking news out of brughs in a neighborhood called schaerbeek. a major operation going down. an eyewitness saying one man shot by a metro station. much more information on the other side of this break. i'll be right back. (vo) when i first took jake home
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via twitter prompting cruz to step before the cameras with this response. >> donald, you're a sniveling coward, and leave heidi the hell alone. >> joining me with more, sara murray. >> reporter: good morning, carol. it was pretty amazing to see ted cruz react to this. it all started with donald trump retweeting this sort of unflattering image of heidi cruz in a split screen with melania trump. apparently this was too much for ted cruz. this low blow was too low even in his opinion for donald trump. take a listen to how he reacted yesterday. >> donald does seem to have an issue with women. donald doesn't like strong women. strong women scare donald. now, donald is scared a lot these days. donald is cascared to debate. he ran away from the last debate
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that was scheduled because he was scared of megyn kelly. let me be absolutely clear. our spouses and our children are all bounds. it is not acceptable for a big, loud, new york bully to attack my wife. it is not acceptable for him to make insults to send nasty tweets late at night. i don't know when what he does late at night, but he tends to do these about 11:30 at night. real men don't try to bully women. that's not an action of strength. that's an action of weakness. it's an action of fear. it's an action of a small and petty man who is intimidated by strong women. real men don't do that. and donald is indicating the fear that keeps him up at night when he lashes out with anger. heidi is my best friend in the
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whole world. she is the love of my life. and donald should stick with attacking me because heidi is way out of donald trump's league. >> now, carol, in addition to defending his wife you heard cruz lobbing a charge that many democrats are lobbed which is the idea that he has a problem with strong women. this is one of the worry somethings for republicans. donald trump seems to be on the cusp of clenching the republican nomination. 74% of women across both parties have this unfavorable view of donald trump, and they worry about how that would bare out in a general election, especially against hillary clinton if he's the nominee. >> you do wonder why donald trump can't stop himself from starting these -- why can't he stop himself from saying disparaging things about women? >> reporter: it's kind of amazing. i think we've seen the anti-trump superpac ad that's
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running against him that has some of his less savory comments, things he's said in the past. when i candidaasked him about t before, he said some of the things were in good fun. howard stern show was sort of a joke and he was sort of playing along, but when you look at things like this tweet, it's unnecessary. the campaign says they're just responding to this ad that ran. it was a facebook ad with a nude photo of melania trump, and they're pinning it on the cruz campaign. the cruz campaign pointed out they had nothing to do with the ad. that also came from an anti-trump superpac. every time you think that we've reached the bottom of this campaign, it seems like politics gets a little bit dirtier this cycle. >> i think you're right, sara. thanks so much. the next hour of "cnn newsroom" after a break. for all the wron. you may be muddling through allergies. try zyrtec® for powerful allergy relief. and zyrtec® is different than claritin®. because it starts working faster on the first day you take it.
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we begin with breaking news out of belgium. right now dozens of police officers have converged on this brussels neighborhood of sca. an explosion and gunfire. fred pleitgen has more for us. >> reporter: we've been on the scene for a couple of minutes and been able to speak to someone who said his son was on the square as it unfolded. he told us or his son saw someone with a rifle come out of a subway station in the square
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that you see behind me and that person was shot by police officers. he said that to his knowledge the person was shot in the way that he was not killed at least immediately. we're also hearing from other eyewitnesss that apparently they heard not one but two explosions as all of this was unfolding. at this point in time, it still is unclear how this is related or whether this is related in any way, shape, or form with the terror plots that took place at the brussels airport and at the brussels metro station. judging by the size, it's a real possibility. and if we just look down the street here a little bit, if we zoom in on the street a little bit, we can see there is a massive police operation going on, i would say about 200 yards from where we are, there's a lot of police trucks and other police vehicles that are on the scene there and the police have been widening the cordon around the area as we've been here basically pushing the journalists out so they have
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room to operate. the other thing they've been also doing is advising the people who live here to leave the area as quickly as possible because they want the space and the freedom to maneuver in any want, or form that they - they have bomb disposal squads on hand as well. >> can you describe the makeup of this neighborhood? why is this neighborhood significant? >> reporter: well, it's significant, first of all, because it's the neighborhood where also the apartment was, where the bombs were made on the attacks on the airport and the attacks on the metro where they found close to 40 pounds of tatp exclosi explosiv explosives. this has been an area with a lot of raids taking place. it's a diverse neighborhood. there's a wealthy part and a more working class part. that's where the bombs were made. there have been raids continuously over the past couple of days.
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a very big one that took place late last night where there were a lot of police on hand. it's unclear if anyone was detind deta detained in that raid. it's unclear whether or not what we're seeing unfold here would have been the police reacting to someone possibly trying to attack this place or whether or not they might have found someone who was suspicious. we're in the early stages. this is an ongoing operation and one where the police continues to sort of move around and try to continuously move us out of the area as well to make sure that nobody gets in their way. there's more and more cars coming out of here as well as they make people evacuate. >> going back to the eyewitness you interviewed. y he said there was a man with a gun at the subway shop. was he coming out or was he just near it? >> reporter: he said the man came up the stairs of the subway
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with the gun. i asked him whether or not it was a handgun or a rifle and he said it was a long gun, that it was, indeed a rifle. those are the things we know about that specific person, and that the person almost immediately after people became aware of it was taken out by police officers. he said specifically that person had not been hit in a way that he would have been killed immediately. apparently he was still alive and taken into kcustody. however, look at the fact that there's a bomb disposal squad. they don't want to take my risks especially all the things that have happened in this town over the past couple of days. they have been on many, many similar sized operations. this one is very big. i was here in the initial stages right after the attacks at the airport, and in the metro station, and the cordon that we're seeing right now, the amount of police on the street is very similar to that initial operation, so clearly this is
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one the police believe is very important, very significant, and one where they don't want to take any risks and one they certainly want to make sure that they get absolutely right. >> all right. frederick pleitgen reporting live from this neighborhood outside of brussels. all of this is coming on the heels of overnight terror raids in belgium j france, and germany. let's talk to clarissa ward in brussels. >> reporter: good morning. well, a lot of moving wards here in brussels overnight. six people arrested. at least three of them arrested outside the prosecutors office. the other three arrested in a series of raids in different neighborhoods. we were in the same neighborhood where fred pleitgen is right now. we saw them carrying out a raid. they appeared to have a number of forensic experts inside the building. they were focusing their investigation on the top floor of the building. we could see them through the windows collecting evidence, not clear whether they were looking for dna evidence or
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fingerprints, looking for traces of explosives, possibly all of the above. we are seeing belgian authorities are keeping tight lipped about the nature of their investigation and the leads that they're following. meanwhile in germany, we're learning today of two arrests, two men believed to be connected to one of the brussels bombers, and we're hearing from authorities in germany that there were suspicious text messages on the phones of at least one of the men. one of them was well known in the german community. we're still waiting to hear more information as to how exactly they relate to the brussels plot or the france plot, and then, carol, i hope our viewers can keep track of all this. because it is unfolding all across europe. last night we had raids in france, in paris, outside of paris in a suburb.
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reportedly they arrested a man yesterday morning. he was believed to have been in the advanced stages of planning a serious attack. that attack was foiled. reportedly they found explosives, and they do say that the man they arrested in paris was connected to abaaoud, who was the ring leader of the paris attack. what we're seeing now are essentially overlapping networks of different jihadi cells in paris and brussels now in germany, and police appear to be now at least tightening the noose, gaining momentum as they try to drill down on each node of these networks. >> all right. clarissa ward reporting on extraordinary developments this morning. i want to head to the pentagon. there's breaking news. the u.s. fight against isis in iraq and syria, breaking news. >> reporter: good morning. ash carter in about half an hour now expected to announce that u.s. military forces have likely
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killed the second in command in isis. likely killed because they are still awaiting confirmation. here's what's happening right now. a man named imam was by all accounts killed by u.s. troops in the last couple of days. said to be the man in line to replace baghdadi, the leader of isis, if he is ever killed. now u.s. forces believe they killed the second in command in the last couple of days. but where and how this happened is what might be the most interested. i am told by sources it happened in syria, and it was not a u.s. military air strike. this clearly opening the door to the possibility that all that is left is u.s. special forces were on the ground in syria. we are told that carter will make the case that this is showing progress against isis in the wake of the brussels and paris attacks. but sources we're talking to are cautioning on one point.
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u.s. special forces had this guy under observation. they had been tracking him. they had been watching where they thought he was going for some time before they moved in. this is a very typical practice by u.s. special forces when they have a so-called high value target. they try and watch for some time and execute their attack on the target when they're pretty sure there are no civilians around. it happened in the last couple of days. defense secretary carter about to announce it. we are also told he will be very sketchy on details. the fact that it happened in syria, that it appears u.s. special forces were on the ground conducting some sort of mission to accomplish this, this is very touchy, sensitive business for the pentagon to speak about publicly, so we're going to hear the name. we're going to hear from the second in command in isis is likely now dead, but they may be very sparse with the details. >> well, because u.s. forces are
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only supposed to be in iraq and syria in an advisory role. they're not supposed to be involved directly in the killing of enemies. >> well, let me -- >> reporter: that's a really good point to bring up. let me just clarify. there is a very secretive organization called the expeditionary targeting force. the name is not secret, but what they do and where they go is not something the pentagon wants to talk about this. this is a group of highly trained special operations forces from the covert units of special ops that, in fact, have been operating in northern iraq. that has been acknowledged, and have the authority to go into syria if they have a target they want to go after. so this etf, if you will, if, in fact, they are the ones that carried out this mission, it would be the first time we know of that they have carried out a lethal mission in syria. very dicey business to do this.
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very, very dangerous work. but we know that they have been tracking a number of targets from that corridor that runs between mosul and northern iraq all the way over to raqqa in syria. this is a place where they have been looking for high vallue targets for months now. if they were able to execute this mission somewhere in that area, for them, not a big surprise, but we may never hear many of the details. >> thanks so much, barbara. we'll keep an eye on what's happening outside of brussels. there's a big police operation going down. an eyewitness telling cnn one man was shot as he was coming out of a metro stop with a long arm gun of some kind. we'll take you back to brussels, next. don't let dust and allergies get between you and life's beautiful moments. with flonase allergy relief, they wont. most allergy pills only control one inflammatory substance. flonase controls six.
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announcement from defense secretary ash carter, and also the chief of the joint chiefs of staff. they believe the number two guy in isis in syria has been killed for the significance of that i want to bring in our terrorism analyst and a director of the center on national security at fordham university law school, and also a cnn national security analyst. i want to start with paul. what can you bring us about this terrorist that was killed in syria? >> this is a very significant get indeed. he's believed to be the number two of isis. not only that, he was the deputy of al zarqawi, the founder of isis when it was fighting u.s. troops in iraq. he was bin laden's favorite candidate to take over. instead they gave the top job to
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baghdadi. this is something with significant credentials in global jihad. he's from northern iraq. he's an ethnic turkman. he's operated in both syria and iraq for the group. a key figure, somebody that could have been poised perhaps to take over for baghdadi. because he's not set to be descended from the prophet muhammad, some think that would create problems for him. that's moot now because he's dead. this is a significant breakthrough in the war on isis. >> so, karen, does this weaken isis in any way significantly? >> what it does is to intensify what's been going on for the last couple of months which is that isis in iraq and syria is being squeezed more and more, pushed out of its so-called caliphate, and you're seeing the repercussions in europe,
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belgium, and france. it intensifies the entire conflict. it brings into the forefront exactly what the relationship between our advance is and our success is there, and what's that going to mean for europe where people will be told stay home, fight in europe, and maybe the foreign fighter issue may turn back onto the homelands? europe. it's essential to understanding this if you're going to understand the counterterrorism effort inside europe right now. >> and we have a picture of this guy. there he is right there, the number two commander of isis. supposedly he was killed in syria. american special forces had some role in his killing,. what do you make of that? >> it's not surprising. we have special forces in the area, and a lot of times if we find out someone is known to be somewhere, we will not necessarily want to share that information with other countries, and so i'm not so
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surprised by this. it tells me also that the decision not to use a drone suggests that he might have been in an area where there might have been too many civilian casualties. so we'll find out more about the raid. i want to quickly pick up on something paul said. isis survives both by action and atmospherics. for a long time everyone believed they were invincible. not only is this a good thing just by undermining the chain of command in isis. but the west has to begin a narrative, a counternarrative, that this group is destructible, that they can be killed and captured. and so this is for symbolic and atmospheric reasons, this helps the west. it also can help in terms of minimizing recruitment, just getting that idea that isis is vulnerable and everywhere, it needs to be addressed by the
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west, so a kill like this does that. >> i thought it was interesting he was skilled in syria. it was supposed to be a cease fire in syria. is there any significance to that? >> isis has a significant presence in syria. the last decade he was the commander of al qaeda in iraq in mosul. also spent a lot of time there. but he was killed in syria. this is very significant because it suggests that u.s. is getting better and better intelligence. this is a huge high-value prize in the war on isis. is the net now going to close in on baghdadi? if they can get there, they may be able to get him. his days may be numbered. watch out for that in the next weeks. >> and things are escalating in iraq. they are moving to take over the city with u.s. special forces and advisors. that's moving along with slowly. from your perspective, is it
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moving along fast enough? >> it's moving slowly indeed. they're taking a few villages in the surrounding areas. but there is no operation significant operation yet to take the actual city of mosul. i think many believe it's very unlikely that they'll get hold of the city again this year. maybe an operation won't even be able to start this year. isis are entrenched there. the battle for mosul will be a modern day stalingrad? >> what do you mean by that? >> isis has boboby trapped the place. the battle for ramadi a few months ago was fierce indeed. just a few hundred at the very most isis fighters there. they have thousands likely in mosul. they've had a lot of time to prepare for this. it will be one of the sort of
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most difficult ever operations mounted by the iraqis. remember back in 2004 the u.s. marines launched the assaults in fallujah. that was some of toughest fighting the u.s. has waged. there's no u.s. forces in a combat role we understand in the liberation of mosul. how on earth are the iraqis going to be able to take it given how difficult it was for the u.s. just to take fallujah, a much easier city to take? >> ash carter says it could happen within a year. let's talk about raqqa, syria. that's another city in the cross hairs, right? how likely is it that that city will fall any time soon? >> the question is fall to who? the falls are not going to be able to go to raqqa. this is an arab city, and there aren't that many arab sunni forces that are fighting on the anti-isis coalition side inside syria. although isis has weakened around raqqa, although they're
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vulnerable, who is going to go in on the ground? the kurds, their focus is entrenching the holdings to the north of raqqa. they have little interest in going into raqqa and losing a lot of territory. this is not an area where kurdish people generally live. the big question is who on earth is going to take raqqa, even though it is vulnerable. >> i have to leave it there. thanks to all of you. we'll take you back to brussels after a break. we stop arthritis pain, so you don't have to stop. tylenol® 8hr arthritis pain has two layers of pain relief. the first is fast. the second lasts all day. we give you your day back. what you do with it is up to you. tylenol®.
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all right. i want to bring you back to belgium to the neighborhood outside of brussels called scare boo -- schaerbeek. an eyewitness said at least one man was shot coming out of a subway station. nick, we understand the operation is now over? >> reporter: that is what one broadcast is citing. that the operation is over. but at the same time, we are hearing that -- that one man has been injured and potentially arrested as well. now, let me describe the scene behind me as it had been in the past minute or so. we've seen a number of police people wearing armored vests, picking through the remnants of a bag, some possessions. that's a bag that was recently
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picked through by the bomb squad as far as we can tell. now, before that there were two trams parked along this track here, the number 25 tram. they had been emptied, evacuated and since driven away from here. at this point down the road, there is still a substantial police presence, as i say, going through that item on the ground here with authorities, according to state broadcast, saying that one individual has been arrested. >> do you know if they -- do you know if they -- nick, can you still hear me? i thought you froze for a second. i wonder, do you -- >> reporter: i'm not hearing, carol. >> you're not hearing me, nick? nick paton walsh not hearing me. we'll try to get back to that neighborhood as soon as we can. you heard him say the operation i now over. one man we believe has been taken into custody. that was the man the eyewitness told us who was walking out of the subway station armed with some kind of weapon. he told us he saw his -- his son
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saw, actually, police shoot that man in the legs. that man has been taken into custody. you heard nick paton walsh say a bag was examined and things were being taken out by police. we don't know what went on inside the neighborhood as far as did police raid apartments or home. police are keeping reporters away. according to the mayor of this town in belgium, near brussels, the police operation is now over. when we get more, we'll try to take you back to brussels, belgium. it's hard to maintain a live shot out of this neighborhood. i'll be back with much more after this. hi! every mom is a coach... an artist... sometimes even a zoologist. every mom is a working mom... and it's working moms everywhere who inspired us to work harder. so we made our banquet meals even better. with mashed potatoes now made with real cream
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or solutions as it may not work as intended and you may lose blood sugar control, which could be serious. ask your doctor about toujeo®. mason wells is a administration nar from utah. he was in the brussels airport when two bombs ripped through the hall. he was burned and wounded. his parents raced from utah to be with him at the hospital. here's their emotional reunion. >> mason. >> hey.
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>> hey. zp >> i love you, son. >> all right. cnn was able to talk with mason wells from his hospital bed. phil black was the responsibility. i want to let you hear a bit of what mason had to say. >> i was actually conscious for all of it. we tried to pull out my friend's tickets at a small little station, my friend's tickets to go to the united states, and the machine wasn't working, actually, so after working with the attendant, she took us to the back of the check in line. i actually pulled out my ipad to look at something. it was part of my responsibilities in the mission, and i was starting to look that
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up. i was looking at my ipad when the first blast went off. it was really loud. it was really loud. >> reporter: you had no warning this was about to happen? >> no. it really came out of nowhere. i wasn't expecting it at all. i was looking down and all a sudden a huge blast came. i believe my body was actually picked up off the ground for a moment. and my ipad in my hands, i don't know what happened. it just disappeared. i think it actually might have hit me in the head when it got blasted out of my hand. my watch disappeared. my left shoe was blown off, and the right side of my body got really hot and then really cold, and i was covered in a lot of
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fluids, a lot of blood, and a lot of that blood wasn't mine. >> as i said, phil black talked to mason wells. tell us more, phil. >> reporter: when i spoke to him, he said he'd seen better days. that's because in the two blasts he suffered second and third degree burns to his face and arms, shrapnel wounds to one of his legs and some pretty serious damage to one of his ankles as well. all of that, he should make a complete recovery from. what he also has is the extraordinary story which you just heard there. he was to very close to the first of the explosions that detonated. he's able to tell it and talk about it in such a clear detailed way. it is no surprise that he believes he is very lucky to be alive given just how close he was. and he says without a doubt that has been the overwhelming thing that he has been thinking about
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as he lies in that hospital bed recovering from the wounds that he sustained. i asked him to describe those thoughts, those feelings, the things he's been reflecting upon. this is what he said. >> i was so lucky, thinking how close i was. and i saw a lot of people that were injured worse. i heard a lot of people that were injured badly, and my only thoughts, my onfeelings are for the people out there. i hope they're doing okay. i just wanted to pray for them. i've been praying for them since it happened. that's the only feeling i have is i hope they're okay, because i'm very lucky. and i know that there were maybe some that were not as lucky as i was. >> so mason is feeling lucky trying to imagine what his parents must be feeling. when they scrambled on the flight, walked into that hotel room after hearing the terrible
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room that he'd been caught up in all this into the hospital room, i'm sorry, saw him lying on the bed, that was the first time they'd seen him in two years. that's how long he's been away in europe as a missionary for the mormon church. they saw him there bandaged, weak, but okay. so what they are feeling is absolute overwhelming relief. >> and, phil, before you go, just tell us about mason's injuries. he'll make a full recovery? he didn't lose his legs. will he have scars on his face? >> reporter: apparently he's in lucky shape. no, won't lose his leg. will make a full recovery despite second and third degree burns on his face. a plastic surgeon told him and his family shouldn't have any major scarring. >> that's great news. phil black reporting live from brussels. when we come back, we're expecting a major announcement from the pentagon.
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all right. at any moment we're expecting a
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huge announcement out of the pentagon. defense secretary ash carter announcing that the number two in command of isis has been killed in syria. this is a huge get. this is a man who authorities have been looking for, the military have been looking for for a very long time. this is his name here, and his picture. his name is -- he has more than 15 aliases. he's number two in command behind al baghdadi, and the united states considers him a major operative involved in isis's finances. that's why this is very important. paul cruickshank is here to tell us why this is such a big get. >> believed to be the number two of isis. a veteran jihadi who was also the number two of al qaeda in iraq, the spread december ssome
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experience. he was this group's envoy to osama bin laden. he was the favorite to take over the leadership of al qaeda in iraq as it became isis. but baghdadi was eventually elected leader. but he was the deputy. he's a man from the northern part of iraq, an ethnic turkman who has long standing ranks. operating in syria and iraq, he's a former physics teacher. he's a religious figure in the group as well. this is a very significant breakthrough to get the number two, and it suggests the net may be closing in on baghdadi. this is the second highest value target you could get within isis. there are three people they want to get. he's one of them. and the head of isis's external
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operations who supervises the external plots is the other one. they have one of the three right now. >> the pentagon thinks this is a major deal. the defense secretary himself is going to announce the killing of this man and also the joint chiefs of staff chairman is going to be with him. this is a big get even according to u.s. military sources. you talk about intelligence, and how this may signify that intelligence is getting better on the field of battle. why is that important? >> if you can take out one of the top leadership, you can take out others. you may be able to capture some. they have captured a number of significant individuals including a high ranking member of the chemical weapons program just earlier this month as barbara star was reporting. as they capture people, as they launch these raids, they get more and more and more intelligence about isis's activities, where their leadership are, how they organize. >> i guess i ask you about
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intelligence because the united states has been having problems getting good intelligence on the field of battle, and maybe that's vastly improved. maybe that's what this signifies. >> the move toward special forces raids has certainly improved that intelligence gathering. last year there was that raid which netted a senior leader in the group, and that provided an intelligence trove of electronic documentation which allowed them to target other isis leaders. there have been more raids, perhaps more raids than we know about in the past several weeks. as they gather information, they can zero in on the isis leadership. this is a big breakthrough. we can expect more breakthroughs like this. isis leaders are going to be worrying that their time may be numbered, that they may not have much room for maneuver anymore. they can't go onto a cell phone or a radio or anything like that
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to create any sort of electronic footprint where the u.s. might be able to target them. >> i also want to get into the role that special forces played in killing this man inside syria. we don't know special ops forces killed him or did they use, i don't know, syrian rebels, perhaps. i don't know. what do you make of that? let's pause. so this is the defense secretary sitting down now to make the big announcement. let's listen. >> let's see. well, good morning. thank you all for being here. i want to start by reiterating that our thoughts and prayers remain with all those affected by tuesday's bombing in brussels. as you know, this tragedy has hit our military community as well. and our hearts go out to the injured airman and his family.
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like paris, brussels is a strong reminder of why he need to hasen the defeat of isil wherever it exists in the world. today the united states is as committed as ever to our european friends and allies. our enemies are one and the same, and together we continue to do more and more to bring the full weight of our vast military capabilities to bear in accelerating the defeat of isil. after we spoke with the commanders this morning, let me update you on some new actions we've taken in just the last few days. first, we are systemically eliminating isil's cabinet. indeed, the u.s. military killed several key isil terrorists this week, including, we believe, haji iman who was an isil senior
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leader, serving as a finance minister and is responsible for some external affairs and plot. he was a well known terrorist within isil's ranks. the earliest iteration as al qaeda in iraq when he worked with operations for pakistan. the removal of this isil leader with hamper the ability for them to conduct operations inside and outside of iraq and syria. this is the second senior isil leader we've successfully targeted this month. after confirming the death of the so-called minister of war a short time ago. a few months ago when i said we were going to go after isil's financial infrastructure, we started with storage sites, and now we've taken out the leader
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who oversees their finances. hurting their ability to pay and hire recruits. our campaign plan is first and foremost to collapse isil's parent tumor in iraq and syria. focusing on the power centers in raqqa and mosul. in syria motivated local forces that we support recently took the town of shadadi, repelled counterattacks and severed the main artery between syria and northern iraq. and as a result, it's become much harder for isil's leaders and forces to travel between raqqa and mosul. i'm also pleased to see that iraqi security forces have moved from their staging base and are advancing to new positions as part of the early stages of operations to collapse isil's control over mosul. the u.s. marines we've seen near
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this place where staff sergeant cardin gave his life are providing artillery fire at the request of the iraqis to help support the isf advance against the enemy and protect their forces. so in both syria and iraq, we're seeing important steps to shape what will become crucial battles in the months to come. as our partners move forward, we're continuing to bring relentless pressure on isil commanders in mosul. and we've taken a significant number of actions this week, one of which i've already mentioned. second, we targeted abu sarah, one of the top isil leaders in charge of paying people. these actions came after recent strikes that destroyed a significant quantity of
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improvised devices in bomb making equipment that could have been used against our partners headed for mosul. we believe these actions have been successful and have done damage to isil. as chairman dunford noted earlier, the momentum of this campaign is now clearly on our side. the united states military will continue to work intensively with our coalition partners to build on this progress as our counterparts throughout our governments work to defend our homelands at the same time. one final note before we turn to questions. yesterday i spoke with my saudi counterpart, the defense minister, we agreed to convene a u.s. gulf cooperation defense ministerial on april 20th in riyadh. ahead of president obama's participation in a leader summit
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the following day. this will be an important forum to build on the ministerial defense and to strengthen defense partnerships including by reviewing and discussing the away ahead for initiatives that we all committed to during the 2015 usgcc camp david summit last may. we are now prepared to take questions. we have limited time to do that because we have something else that we both need to do upstairs. i'm going to ask you also, please to respect the fact that we're not going to go into any further details about how our coalition conducted the operations i mentioned earlier. any more details than that could put lives and our futureoirp operations at risk. we'll ask you to be restrained
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in that regard yar, and we will as well. >> i give my condolences to those in brussels. also, to recognize staff sergeant cardin, a great leader we lost last weekend. >> mr. secretary, i realize you said you didn't want to go into any more details. can you confirm this was in syria, the death of the latest leader was in syria and more broadly, can you talk a little bit about we've all saw a lot of al qaeda senior leaders killed repeatedly over the years. the number three was killed every six months or so. what do you think this actual death suggestios in terms of plots, particularly those involving the west. does it mean anything or do they just replace them?
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>> i'll turn it over to joe after this. >> the marines that the secretary -- >> let us take your first question first. on the question of leadership, striking leadership is necessary, but as you note, it's far from sufficient. leaders can be replaced, however, these leaders have been around for a long time. th they are senior and experienced. eliminating them is an important objective, and it achieves an important result. they will be replaced and we'll continue to go after their leadership and other aspects of their organization. >> the marines this week in their support of the iraqi offensive operation, is this something we will see more of, do you think, as time goes on in the fight to get to mosul, and
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is -- can you talk about the accelerants that the secretary talked about before and whether this is a key part of what you want to see the military do more of in iraq over the next several months? >> we've talked for some months about setting the conditions for success in mosul and facilitating the iraqi forces and staging around mosul to begin to isolate mosul and the iraqis announced that has begun. these marines that were there, they were in direct support of that. we put the battery there to support the americans that are there, advising the iraqi forces. and also in a position to provide support to the iraqi forces. from my perspective, this is no different than aviation fires. this is surface fire, but no different than what we've been providing to the iraqis all along. with regard to further accelerants, we expect to be increased capabilities provided to the iraqis to set the conditions for their operations in mosul. those decisions haven't been
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made. we certainly do expect more of the kinds of things that we saw in ramadi, al beit, a bit different, but if primary force fighting in mosul is iraqi security forces, and we'll provide assist capabilities to make them successful. >> reporter: it appears to be more of a ground combat role than we've seen before. >> no, it's not. we have surface fires in al asaad, and we've used those in the past. this is not a fundamental shift in our approach to support an iraqi forces. this happens to be what was the most appropriate tool at the commander assessed needed to be in that particular location. >> reporter: secretary carter, haji imam was in an iraqi prison until 2012. he was released in 2012 shortly after u.s. forces were pulled out in 2011. do you see this as a cautionary
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tale for releasing these prisoners who are already caught and captured? >> a number of the leaders of isil were in detention in iraq back in former years, including the head of isil himself in iraqi detention. so it is important that these are people who have experience. they are people who have shown dedication over the years. >> does it give you pause about releasing prisoners from gitmo? >> well, as far as gitmo is concerned, that's the very reason why we need an alternative detention facility to gitmo. because it's not safe to release everybody or transfer it to the custody of another country. that's the very point of that. >> reporter: general, we've just heard this week that there are 00


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