tv Way Too Early MSNBC November 18, 2015 2:30am-3:01am PST
[ gunshots ] breaking news this morning. you can hear the gunfire, dramatic raids playing out overnight as police exchange that gunfire with suspects in the paris terror attacks. right now, at least one person is dead. there are reports as many as two. five are under arrest. in raids targeting the suspected linchpin at the center of it all. plus, two air france jets departing from the u.s. diverted en route to paris after bomb threats are called in. imagine the fear on those planes. meanwhile, russia steps up attacks on isis headquarters in syria. joining the air campaigns of france and the u.s.
good morning, it is wednesday, november 18th, i'm chris jansing reporting live from paris for this special edition of "way too early." it is now 11:30 a.m. here. suspects are now in custody. one, at least one, is dead. another still holed up in a raid that began around 4:20 local time. so more than seven hours ago. the reported target of the raid, the so-called mastermind, abdelhamid abaaoud who police believe was in the apartment along with several other heavily armed people. police stormed the building and national police say that five officers were injured, although not seriously, as both sides exchanged gunfire. again, those injuries of the police not life threatening, although a police dog was killed in the raid. the paris prosecutor's office says one woman in the apartment activated her explosive belt at the very beginning of the assault, and she is dead. according to wire reports, one other person was killed, as well. and at least four men and another woman were arrested in
the raid. wire services report as many as seven are now in custody. just stop, take a listen, to some of the sounds from the gun battle. and then later, explosions. [ gunshots ] [ gunshots ] [ explosions ] >> i see it. paris police say that one civilian passerby was injured. and that they do not want to
divulge too much information, because the operation is still ongoing, and they believe there are collaborators in other locations. possibly monitoring media. the gunfire has stopped, however. the neighborhood is tense with heavily armed soldiers and police crouched and ready for action. local schools are closed this morning. trains are not running in that area. authorities are asking the public not to go outside. joining us now, nbc news chief foreign correspondent richard engel, who witnessed much of the raid last night. set the scene for us as you see it now, richard. >> well, people here are not obeying that order anymore not to stay outside. they have come outside. they are looking around, they are inspecting to see what happened here just a few hours ago. and it began with that raid when police, riot police, planned to go in with the dog to try and capture the mastermind that french officials say organized the paris attacks. suddenly they were met with gunfire and a female suicide
bomber who detonated her device. after that, you just played some of it, an amazing amount of gunfire. but that wasn't it. afterward, we arrived a short time later. the police set up a huge cordon. when we got here the cordon was still being put in place. police were very tense. they were raising their rifles at anyone who approached them. they were stopping cars. they were turning people around. they were focusing primarily on that one building where the raid took place. they were illuminating it with torches, with flashlights, with laser pointers, a helicopter was flying above, also shining a light down into the area. this raid took place around 4:30 in the morning. so it was still dark here as this was all going on. and then police started to spread out. hundreds of police. they were closing this entire neighborhood. they were ordering people at the time to stay inside. they were evacuating a few people from the building, and it appears when the suicide bomber
detonated her vest, that several other people in the building were injured. we spoke to people as the raid was going -- was under way. they said that this is a neighborhood, a tough neighborhood, a poor, slum outside of paris. many muslim migrants lived here and they said, frankly, they weren't that surprised that the raid took place here. >> but i would think getting to the intensity, and frankly the danger, richard, besides the fact that it's the dark of night is that it looks just from seeing behind you and from what i've read that that is a very heavily populated area, and they had no way of knowing going in what kind of firepower these folks might have had or what kind of explosives. >> well, especially when, on your first raid, a female suicide bomber blows herself up, and you are met with gunfire. the police here were moving like they were ready for battle. they were moving through these streets, guns drawn, heavily armed, in full tactical gear,
and anyone who approached them got a rifle muzzle to the face. they did not want anyone to come anywhere near the police officers as they were setting up this cordon. there were reports that other militants were holed up in this area. they were afraid that houses might be booby trapped. they are still conducting searches here but now several hours have passed. soldiers have been brought in. we've seen soldiers here, also with automatic rifles in their camouflage uniforms. this is the area is still closed off, as you said, schools have been closed. but, you can only maintain a cordon for so long. people eventually started to come out of their homes. journalists started to arrive. started to -- people are coming out to take pictures. so it is getting increasingly difficult for the police to keep this area sealed off. >> obviously we can see the police and we can see the military. i wonder if you have seen any other kind of specialty units around or special equipment that
was brought in? anything to deal with the possibility that there might be anything booby trapped or bombs? we had talked about before in one case in the united states where they brought in a robot. have you seen any specialty teams or specialty equipment that's come in? >> it seems like every branch of the emergency services in france arrived here. we saw people in what looked like bomb suits, full face masks, there were fire trucks here, ambulances, many ambulances, squads of police on motorcycles, tactical s.w.a.t. teams. this part of the city seemed like it was ready for battle. we saw from a distance, we couldn't exactly identify what they were carrying, we saw the s.w.a.t. teams rolling in some sort of heavy equipment. we saw them bringing in ladders. they absolutely came ready for this, and kept bringing in more equipment as the hours passed. >> richard engel on the scene
throughout the night for us, again, this is a scene that has been developing for more than seven hours now. richard, thank you. also joining us, nbc's chief global correspondent bill neely, who is in paris, as well, this morning. let's talk a little bit about the apparent target of this. abdelhamid abaaoud, and why he is so important in this investigation. >> yes, good morning. i'm at a slightly different location from richard. i'm just come from one of the side streets where we saw a man being led out of the building. there was a police officer holding virtually a gun -- i mean two meters from his head, and he was being held between two other police officers. he had a shirt on, but it appeared to be nothing on underneath that. we don't know who he was. whether he was a suspect, but that happened about 45 minutes ago. otherwise, as richard says, it seems to have calmed down a little bit here.
as for this chief kingpin, mastermind, linchpin, whatever one wants to call him, abdelhamid abaaoud, this possibly represents a colossal intelligence failure on behalf of the french authorities. they had said that he was in syria. that's what we'd all been told. it appears that he was the target of this raid. now if that's true, either they weren't telling us that they knew he was here, or they simply didn't know. having said that, the operation, as you can see, is still ongoing. the casualty figures at the moment are two dead. a man and that woman suicide bomber. five police likely injured. and five people arrested. three men in the apartment were detained. and apparently a man and a woman outside were also -- also arrested. very significant that as the police went in, the woman
suicide bomber detonated herself. generally isis does not use women as suicide bombers. it's, in fact, the first known case of a woman who's blown herself up. certainly that is the case here in france. so that will cause some shockwaves here. as i said, you know, the scene around us looks calm. but that doesn't necessarily mean that everyone has been apprehended. back to you. >> and can i just ask, i don't know how much opportunity you've had to talk to people. i know that, you know, you've arrived on the scene recently. and just give us a sense, if you can, of the mood on the streets. it seemed from nearby, where richard engel was, he said the people he spoke to didn't seem surprised, frankly, that there was a terror raid in their neighborhood. >> one man i talked to, and we got here just as it was getting light, he said there are sometimes gunshots here. you know, it is perhaps that kind of neighborhood, but he
said this was extraordinary, and then he proceeded to give us the sounds of what he had heard, repeated bursts of kalashnikov fire, explosions. he thought one of them was more than a stun grenade. so, you know, clearly what happened here, even for the residents, absolutely extraordinary. another person almost in tears, telling me, you know, we feel as muslims that it's terrible for us and terrible for our religion that islam is being equated with terrorism, and, in fact, quite a lot of people are saying, you know, we desperately want the world to know that this is a peaceful neighborhood, we are loyal french people, we're also devout muslims. but, you know, islam does not equate to terrorism. so i think that's what people in this area are worried about. that there will be some kind of backlash against them.
>> bill neely, who is on scene in saint-denis. thank you very much, bill. mean time, with all of this as a backdrop and the international attention that has been given to paris, and the heightened fears of terrorism, well, two paris-bound u.s. flights were diverted after receiving bomb threats last night. air france says one flight from los angeles, l.a.x., landed in salt lake city. another was coming from washington-dulles and that had to be diverted to halifax, nova scotia. the airline says the threats were received by phone after takeoff. one passenger who departed from los angeles tells nbc news that about two hours after they took off, flight attendants started grabbing plates, and they announced the plane was making an emergency landing. now after landing in salt lake city, he says then buss arrived and took the passengers to another locations to be interviewed. the fbi has since released a statement saying there's no evidence right now to suggest the threats were credible, but, of course, now they're focused
on determining exactly where those calls came from. still ahead on "way too early," we continue to follow the latest developments from here in paris. those dramatic police raids playing out overnight reportedly targeting the mastermind of the attacks. we still don't know if he's among the suspects arrested overnight. we'll have more on this breaking story. plus, isis now in the crosshairs of russia, france, and the u.s. we'll have the latest on the assault playing out in syria. this special edition of "way too early," live from paris, continues in a moment.
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appropriate. and we have also confirmed, nbc has, that french police now say that that activity in saint-denis is over. that the police operation is over. so, mean time, while france is seeking to up the ante on isis with yet another wave of air strikes the latest round has targeted raqqah, the islamic state's de facto center of operations. "the wall street journal" reports earlier in the day french jet fighters dropped 16 bombs on two targets, a command center, and a training center. also yesterday, european officials unanimously backed a french request for support with military missions. and president francois hollande is set to meet with both american and russian counterparts next week. he'll be meeting at the white house with the president on tuesday, with putin in moscow on thursday. the point, to broaden the coalition to fight isis. there are obstacles that remain, however. most certainly at the center of
them, assad. hollande has been a critic of assad's regime and said it was his tactics that allowed the rise of the islamic state. also yesterday the u.s. moved a marine security team to bulk up security at the embassy. russia is also stepping up its airstrikes against isis militants in syria. after concluding that a bomb brought down one of its passenger jets over egypt last month, president vladimir putin pledged to hunt down and punish those responsible for carrying out the attack. he ordered the russian navy to coordinate with french naval forces in the mediterranean. of course, the u.s. has been pounding isis targets for about a year. however, putin says it's too soon to call it an alliance. now this morning the number of governors voicing concern over president obama's plan to ten 10,000 syrian refugees over the next year is growing. 31 governors now oppose, are refusing, or suspending the resettlement of syrian refugees into their states. either permanently or until after a security review.
jeb bush, meanwhile, appeared to change his position on syrian refugees within a matter of hours yesterday. first in an interview with bloomberg politics, he told john halman and mark halperin the answer to the problem is not banning people from coming. and later he told casey hunt that republican governors who are trying to refuse refugees in their states are doing the right thing. here are both of those answers, in the order that they happened. >> i think people are legitimately concerned about the efficiency, the competency of the obama administration as it relates to screening processes. but we have systems in place. we should, if there is any kind of concern, we shouldn't allow people in. but i don't think we should eliminate our support for refugees. it's been a noble tradition in our country -- >> including muslim refugees? you don't want to ban muslim refugees from coming -- >> i don't. the answer to this, though, is not to ban people from coming. the answer is to lead to resolve
the problem in syria. that's the ultimate answer. and that's my focus. >> governor, can he ask you to clarify your remarks on syrian refugees this morning. do you think that the republican governors who are barring or trying to refuse these refugees entry to their states are doing the right thing? >> i think they're doing the right thing because they haven't gotten any information about what the screening process is. and i think speaker ryan's idea of creating a pause to take the existing refugee screening process, and vet it against the threat that we now see. at a minimum, we ought to be bringing in people that have like orphans and people that clearly aren't going to be terrorists. or christians. there are no christian terrorists in the middle east. they're persecuted. religious minorities. we have a duty, as we've always had, and it's a noble one, to be able to provide support across the world. the united states has done this. and we've done it effectively, and we can do it in this regard. but i think there ought to be a pause for traditional screening to make sure that every governor, and the american people, know exactly how it's going to be done.
>> now, that apparent reversal comes as bush prepares to give a major policy speech today focused on the threat of isis. the campaign says that bush will address the path forward in our war against isis, and radical islamic terrorism. now there is one more political note, pretty major one, from yesterday that we should mention. louisiana governor and 2016 republican presidential candidate bobby jindal has dropped out of the race for the white house. he says it just wasn't his time. governor jindal did not endorse anyone on his way out. still ahead, the world's game goes on. we are live from paris. "way too early" back in a moment.
more than seven hours after it began, paris police say that the raid on the saint-denis neighborhood is over, an apartment there, at least one person killed, a woman in a suicide vest -- suicide belt who blew herself up. perhaps a second. the question is, among the people taken into custody, is it abdelhamid abaaoud the mastermind of friday night's attacks? we're watching that for you. mean time, europe's most visible sports venues remain on edge in the wake of the deadly terror attacks in paris. hanover stadium in germany was evacuated yesterday after police encountered what they called a concrete threat just hours before an exhibition soccer
match between germany and the netherlands. the majority of the crowd, which was expected to include german chancellor angela merkel, had not yet entered the 49,000 seat stadium before the match was called off and evacuation orders were given. no explosives were found anywhere in the city and no arrests were made. but in london, a friendly match between england and france went on as scheduled. in a mark of solidarity during what is usually a bitter rivalry, wembley stadium was lit in the colors of the french flag and crowds joined in, as the country's anthem was played in the stadium. ♪ a number of people here in paris have told me, as they have heard their national anthem being played elsewhere around the world how emotional it makes them. the french team, by the way,
subdued in its return to the pitch, days after tragedy, lost 2-0 in a largely uneventful game. opposing players and managers, embraced, though, after it was all over. coming up on "morning joe," those dramatic raids playing out here in the city. multiple explosions, as police make those raids connected to friday's attacks. reports of at least one suspect dead, as many as five in custody. we'll have the latest reporting from on the ground here in paris. plus, two air france flights, bound for paris, safely diverted. we'll have the latest reporting on that, as well. "morning joe" is just moments away. surprise!!!!! we heard you got a job as a developer! its official, i work for ge!! what? wow... yeah! okay... guys, i'll be writing a new language for machines so planes, trains, even hospitals can work better. oh! sorry, i was trying to put it away... got it on the cake. so you're going to work on a train?
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