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Paris Terror Attacks; One Terrorist Entered Europe as Refugee; 132 Killed, 352 Wounded, 99 Seriously; Several Arrests Made in Belgium Aired 1-2p ET

Aired November 15, 2015 - 13:00   ET


[13:00:06] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I mean, look, one person panics -- yes, once one person panics in a situation like this, the herd mentality sets in.

Honestly, I was in the bathroom and this person came screaming through, threw her books down, locked herself in a stall and said there's a shooter out there. That's what people thought. You we came barrelling out to find out.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: It was interesting, though, just hearing a bullet being chambered is what got my attention. And instantly --

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: That will get your attention.

COOPER: It got my attention very quickly and you really heard it echoing in this -- in this plaza, the sound of it is so distinctive and it was -- I heard that almost before I heard the police officers actually yelling.

I don't even know what they were yelling, but they were also telling other motorist -- there was one motorist who was sort of stuck in the intersection and they were all trying to get that motorist to move on. But, obviously, that motorist was suddenly concerned because he had, you know, a dozen or so police officers pointing rifles in his direction. But he did finally move on. And as you see, people are back now in the square.

AMANPOUR: I think it's over.


TAPPER: Anderson and Christiane, let me interrupt you for a second. Anderson and Christiane, let me interrupt you, but if I can, we have some new video of this moment of panic from a different angle. I want to roll that if we could.

This is at the Place De La Republique in Central Paris. And for some reason this evening, there was just a mass panic and thousands of Parisians just fled in terror. We do not know why. Everything seems to be OK, but obviously there is a great deal of fear in that city right now, understandably so after the devastating attacks. Starting January, at the "Charlie Hebdo" headquarters and the supermarche and a policewoman killed a couple blocks from a Jewish day school. And now on Friday, they suffered the most devastating loss in France since World War II with 129 people killed in cold blood by Islamic terrorists and hundreds more wounded.

Clarissa Ward is there for us as well. She saw some of this moment of panic.

Clarissa, what can you tell us?

We do not have Clarissa Ward on the phone.

OK. Never mind.

Anderson, is there any new information as to what happened at all?

COOPER: We have not gotten any yet. I mean, I can tell you there are still -- you know, there's obviously still a very heavy police presence. And we frankly don't know.

I mean, the way things are here, as you know, Jake. You know, it could have been, it could have been anything. It could have been some minor altercation. It could have been, you know, a person who was drunk on the street or a person who police believe was suspicious or anything that occurred, anything that would normally in a city like this, maybe not cause that level of reaction, but because things are on edge or maybe even a vehicle refusing to stop or follow order.


AMANPOUR: Something's going on. There's a very, very loud and consistent and long line of police vehicles. I mean, there's that side, this side now. So we're not sure what, but it's right here.

COOPER: Yes, we're trying to obviously -- we have folks who are trying to gather information as we speak. But, again, it's unclear -- I mean, the focus of it was clearly about half a block to a block away off to my left. But the police who had basically tried to shut down that entire area, stop vehicle traffic from entering there, it looks like vehicle traffic is moving again. So it seems like whatever the issue was has passed.


AMANPOUR: I think it's probably some -- those were some ambulances. There are people who have been shot.

TAPPER: It's certainly after 7:00...

COOPER: Sorry?

TAPPER: Paris, France in the evening. Clarissa Ward was standing in a different area of Paris when this panic began.

Clarissa, are you with me? What can you tell us? What did you see? CLARISSA WARD, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Yes, that's right. We were outside one of the restaurants that was hit on Friday night. Le Petit Cambodge. There was a sort of impromptu memorial gathering of a few hundred there. They were lighting candles, paying their respects. The mood was very somber. And all of a sudden, just absolute panic broke out.

I've never seen anything quite like it. Hundreds of people just started running for their lives, screaming and shrieking. I saw one woman who had a stroller with a small baby and is running for her life, screaming and crying. There was a cafe that was open. People had been sitting outside enjoying a drink. That cafe was evacuated in about two seconds. There is now overturned chairs and broken glasses all over the floor.

[13:05:09] And the police essentially started shouting at us to get off the street. They said they couldn't tell us exactly what happened because they didn't seem to know exactly what had happened. They wanted to clear the area. They pushed all the people into apartment buildings along the street. And they have now said that we are not allowed to return to Le Petit Cambodge, that the sort of impromptu memorials that had sprung up there is now suspended.

They don't want anybody gathering. They're still incredibly nervous. The police were heavily armed. They were hiding behind cars. Clearly just stress themselves, trying to work out exactly what was going on.

And as Jim Sciutto said earlier, really this underscores the abject fear that is palpable in the air here in Paris. You know, earlier on, I was talking to people who said we can't be afraid because if we're afraid, they have won. But if this instance is anything to go by, it is fair to say that the people of Paris are indeed very, very afraid.

TAPPER: And Clarissa, look, it certainly makes sense. And I can understand why the people of France want to go outside, want to be defiant, want to show the terrorists that they have not won, that the people of France are not being terrorized, are not being cowed.

But at the same time, the reason that the French authorities, the French authorities, the Parisian police don't want large crowds gathering right now is because there is this very real fear that individuals involved in these horrific Islamic terrorist attacks on Friday night are still out there and want to strike again.

WARD: Absolutely. And I think what you have is potentially combustible combination whereby it's not just a very real fear that there are more attackers out there, that there are possibly people who were involved in facilitating and helping these attackers orchestrate this attack. But, indeed, whenever you have a situation where you have masses of people who are in a state of shock, who are frightened, who are easily prone to panic, then there is always space for dangerous situations.

I mean, the speed with which that crowd moved, with which glasses were thrown to the floor, the shrinking, it was absolute chaos for a few moments. We're now hearing helicopters circling over in the skies. I think, for the police to be able to do their job, try to keep people calm, there's a sense at the moment that they need the public to refrain from congregating, refrain from gathering in large groups.

I'm watching now a woman next to me, she's standing. She's weeping in her husband's arms. You know, people are distraught here. And for authorities to get on with their work and to protect them the best they can, there's a real sense that they want people to avoid congregating. As much as the instinct here is to show terrorist that they won't be cowed, that they will remain defiant, there are more practical security concerns that need to be dealt with first.

TAPPER: All right, Clarissa Ward, in the streets of Paris. Stay safe. I will see you in a few hours when I arrive. We're going to take a quick break.

When we come back, Anderson and Christiane are going to continue our live coverage of Paris, France, the horrific Islamic attacks and much more. Stay with us.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is "CNN Breaking News."

[13:10:09] COOPER: And welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Anderson Cooper.

AMANPOUR: And I'm Christiane Amanpour. And we are here in Paris at the Place De La Republique, where in the last few minutes, there has been the most almighty panic here in France. This whole square was emptied because somebody said they heard shots. The police have not been able to confirm any of that, nor did we hear any shots. We certainly saw the panic.

COOPER: Yes. And very few people actually knew what it was based on. But they did see the police officers responding very -- understandably, very aggressively, taking their rifles. It was focused on an area around the corner from -- from this square where we're standing.

So the people in the square actually couldn't even see what the original source of this allegedly was. But all the police who are in this area took cover, took their rifles, pointed their rifles toward that direction. They were yelling at people to get off the street, yelling at vehicles to move away. They blocked off traffic. Other officers from other blocks moved in to try to zero in on whatever it was that had occurred. But it's very possible that there really wasn't anything to begin with.

Obviously, people here are very on edge. I can tell you earlier in the day, I was in another part of Paris and there were some kids playing on the street and making loud noises and it was upsetting a number of people walking down the street because they were making kind of banging sounds, that almost sounded like gunshots. And, obviously, this is a city very much on edge.

AMANPOUR: And right now, in this square, which was filled with people -- it is again filling up, but not as much as it had been. There are a number of extra police. There are riot police. There are special police. They are very concerned.

We've had helicopters overhead and we've seen ambulances and police vehicles with their sirens blaring. And, honestly, we have never seen something like this, I mean, clear in a flash like that.

And people shouting that they had heard gunshots. The police say they heard nothing, that people were running for no reason. But, clearly, this is a city on edge.

And Clarissa Ward is near Le Petit Cambodge restaurant, which was one of the scenes of the shooting attacks on Friday night and saw the same kind of panic there, Clarissa.

We thought we had Clarissa on the phone.


AMANPOUR: Are you there?

COOPER: You know, let's give you the latest on the terror attacks. The latest information on what we know because this is a very active moving investigation. Not just here in France, but also in Belgium.

Besides the incidents here in Paris where there was this panic with people fleeing the scene, there is a lot to tell you about what's actually going on. A special mass is taking place in Notre Dame Cathedral not far from here in Paris for the 129 victims of the Paris attacks, 352 other people were wounded, 99 of those victims are in serious condition right now.

There you see some of the special mass. Pope Francis today condemned the brazen bloodshed as blasphemy and a front to human dignity.

AMANPOUR: And Anderson, one of the terrible things that the hospitals are saying is that they are so overwhelmed by these 350 wounded, 99 of whom are critical. And they've been reporting that families still in many instances cannot find their loved ones.

There are still many families who are going from hospital to hospital to find their loved ones. And one hospital apparently had 60 seriously wounded people. And the doctors said they had never seen so many bullet wounds. So they were obviously the victims of the mass Kalashnikov slaughter that we saw in various places around the city on Friday.

COOPER: Let's bring you also the latest on the investigation, because as we said, it's moving forward on many fronts.

Belgian authorities, they have now issued an arrest warrant for a man whose brother was one of the dead terrorist, one of the attackers. Another brother had already been arrested. So three brothers involved. One is out there now. An arrest warrant has been issued for him. One is dead. The other is in custody. Counter intelligence sources say suspects who also might have been involved could still be at large. Most notably, two vehicles had been found. Two of the vehicles involved in the attacks had Belgian license plates. Both had been rented a week earlier in Brussels.

Now, one of those vehicles was found outside the Bataclan theater. That has been recovered. Another was found in a suburb far away from where some of the attacks occurred, which means, somebody drove there after the attacks. The identity of that driver, the location of that driver is unknown.

[13:20:02] One of the vehicles rented, the car was used in the stadium attacks that was caught at the Belgian border. The two others were in the car with one of those attackers. U.S. officials say the terrorists may have avoided detection by using sophisticated encryption technology to communicate with each other.

I want to bring in our Jim Sciutto, who has been following various aspects of the investigation.


JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, this has been a concern for some time, speaking to U.S. intelligence officials, certainly European as well. That with widely available encryption technology, you have it on your cell phone, we all have it on our cell phones, that they would not have the ability to track their communications.

The NSA with all of its powers in the world could not track them based on these simple tools. You've heard the warnings, many times from U.S. officials in public, certainly in private as well, about the fear of terrorists going dark, right?

I've spoken to a number of U.S. officials, intelligence and law enforcement who are concerned that that may be what happened here because this was a very elaborate plot with a number of people involved in a number of countries. And in light of the resources that are being focused on this right now, that they were able to plan this without being caught prior to it raises this fear amidst this.

AMANPOUR: And, obviously, the big news today was what we learned from the French senator on the Foreign Relations Committee of the French Senate and also by the Interior Ministry that at least one of these people was infiltrating the refugees who had come over to Greece.

So the details on that are quite stunning in their precision and the clarity of what this person did. And, of course, that has a huge --

COOPER: This was one of the bombers at the stadium.


AMANPOUR: At the stadium on Friday night, you had three suicide bombers. They didn't do a good job, thank God. They blew themselves up, but they did not kill a lot of people.

COOPER: They killed one person.

AMANPOUR: One person.

And, allegedly, and this is what we're still trying to find out, one of them was thwarted from coming in because he was frisked. Imagine the brave police officer, frisking him, seeing the suicide belt, apparently he remove that.

But the most important thing according to French authorities say, that this is a game-changer because we'd all been afraid that ISIS would make good on its threat to send fighters amongst refugees and one of them was, according to French authorise.

COOPER: You got details on this.


COOPER: You broke the story. So let's just walk, walk us through what you know now about the identity of this person and how they got here.

AMANPOUR: This person, and now the Greek officials confirm, what the French officials have told us, his name on his papers is Ahmad Abu Mohammad. He came over October 3rd to the Greek Island of Leros and he came in a boat of nearly 200 refugees from Syria.

COOPER: As hundreds of thousands of people have come.