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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Live Coverage Of Aftermath Of Paris Terror Attacks; Aired 3-4p ET
Aired November 15, 2015 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[15:00:00] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: They have lit candles into the night. And this will probably go on late into the night despite the fact that authorities have asked people not to gather in large numbers for security reasons.
Our senior international correspondent Clarissa Ward is joining us as well.
Clarissa, you have been talking to people throughout the day. It's been an extraordinary day here in Paris.
CLARISSA WARD, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Anderson. And there is just an air of schizophrenia almost. Earlier today, I was talking to people who were saying on, you know, Friday we wept, on Saturday we mourned, but today on Sunday we came out the to the streets, we are determined to go back to our daily life. We are determined to go to cafes and concerts and go on and enjoy all the things and all the cultural things, parts of life that French people enjoy.
There was a much larger crowd here just a few hours ago. They were quietly lighting candles, remembering the dead. And then all of a sudden in a split second, there was absolute panic. Quite simply, I really haven't seen anything like it in Europe before. People just began to stampede. They were running down the street. Women were shrieking. People were saying that there have been gunshots though it didn't appear there actually had been. We saw, you know, women grabbing their children, pushing strollers, desperately running from what they thought were their lives. Policemen suddenly flooding the streets heavily armed, waving guns at us, telling us to clear the streets. I kept asking them, what's the problem? Please explain, what's going on? And it was clear throughout this scenario that honestly the police were just as frighten as the people were. And were just as confused, just as panicked. There's a sense there are other attackers out there.
And it really was such a sharp contrast to this defiance that we've seen, people who I had spoken to said we can't be afraid because if we're afraid than they have won. But it's clear, Anderson, that people here are afraid, that life here has changed in some fundamental way.
And there's a real sense of difference. You know, we've talked a lot about "Charlie Hebdo." And after "Charlie Hebdo" within moments there was a hashtag Jesuis Charlie. There was a rallying cry. There was a sense of solidarity. There was a take-away, the French people knew how to respond collectively.
With this crisis, with this attack, we haven't really seen that yet, that sense of people being galvanized together common theme, a common understanding of how to approach this, how to respond to this, and how to move on with their lives.
COOPER: Yes. Clarissa, thank you.
If you are just joining us at the top of the hour, I want to kind of give you the overall picture of where things now stand. Because there are a lot of moving parts to this, as Christiane said. There are a number of investigations both here in France and also in Belgium.
In Belgium, arrests have been made. Also, an international arrest warrant has now been issued. Our senior international correspondent Nima Elbagir is there for us live.
Nima, let's start with this international arrest warrant. Who are they looking for? And what is this person -- where does this person fit into the larger plot according to authorities?
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, authorities are saying that it was one of the two cars used in the attack, the one that was at the Bataclan attack, a Volkswagen polo that led them to here, this neighborhood in Mullenbach in Brussels, Anderson. And it led them to the three brothers that they say were united in this act of terror. One died in the attack, one was arrested yesterday here in Mullenbach, and one is now (INAUDIBLE), he is the one who is being sought through this international arrest warrant.
It does feel like, as you said, there are so many moving pieces. But I think that is a reflection of how complex the net that binds the Belgian and Paris angle of this terror plot is because it isn't just limited to this one attack. It's one that goes all the way back in time to January of this year, not just the "Charlie Hebdo" attack, where the man suspected by intelligence officials of providing weapons to the attackers was believed to reside here, but also the thwarted terror plot here in Belgium.
And we are seeing some really surprising responses from the Belgian authorities. The interior minister has now publicly said that Belgium is the weak link in terms of the war on terror here, that the fact that per capita so many Belgians, the most in Europe go to fight in Syria, is providing this unacceptable freedom of movement for jihadists and freedom of radicalization, Anderson.
COOPER: So, Nima, just -- let's follow the vehicle evidence because it's really become critical. As you said, that vehicle found outside Bataclan led authorities to Belgium to those three brothers. There's also a vehicle which was found later in a Paris suburb that had some Kalashnikovs inside it, as I understand, I believe three Kalashnikovs inside, believed to be a getaway vehicle that was driven by someone probably used in the attacks against several of the restaurants. That person, whoever drove it, believed to be still at large. Did that vehicle also have Belgian plates? [15:05:17] ELBAGIR: Well, that has still not been clarified. At the
moment we only have two vehicles with Belgian plates. The Volkswagen polo and a Seat which was used at the site of the other attack. That third people police are not yet confirmed. But given the broader planning stage seems to have been from here in the neighborhood in Brussels, police say at the moment that is the lead they are following. That it could possibly have had Belgium plates, Anderson.
COOPER: OK. And there was another vehicle that was being driven by three people that was found -- that was stopped, pulled over as they were going back to Belgium. Is that correct?
ELBAGIR: Yes. And that was the -- that was the man who was believed to have been driving the Volkswagen polo initial at that Bataclan attack. There is the two others who were with him who are Belgian residents but French nationals, again, bringing it back to this neighborhood here.
And what we have been hearing from so many people here this evening, Anderson, is that this is something that has been going on for so long that almost now for a lot of them, as afraid of they are a the police scrutiny, and standing here, it's been sirens, it has been police officers, even though the actual house entrance phase of this operation seems to have been stalled for now.
But for so many of them, they actually say that they welcome the police presence because there are ties of all of them being tied by this question. But Mullenbach does seems to be where all of the parts of this attack come back home to.
COOPER: Nima Elbagir, thank you.
So a number of people in custody at this hour. But this international arrest warrant has been issued and still potentially more people out there.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And just worth repeating again that three of these people who we have just been talking about, three of the attackers including the one for whom there's an arrest warrant out are French but with Belgian residence. Belgium is the big link in this as Nima said. One of the attackers we know was French born and lived here in France. And we know some of them did come from overseas. One of the many victims was American.
COOPER: Yes. We are learning more and more about the victims, both the French -- and frankly many people from a number of countries were killed. But an American who was spending the semester studying here in Paris.
AMANPOUR: She died of that explosion of gunfire while eating at a restaurant with friend. And she is joining us now from California with more about it. Actually, CNN's Paul Vercammen is joining us.
Paul, tell us about what happened to that poor young student and what her family are going through now. What have you been able to find out? PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christiane and Anderson,
what we understand is just, as you pointed out, she was out for a Friday night in Paris, enjoying it with friends and taking in a meal with a couple other colleagues from Cal State Long Beach University here where I'm standing now. And basically like so many people she was just an absolute innocent victim of a massacre.
Her family and her friends all telling us that she was the light of their lives. That she would light people up with her smile. And on this campus quite a reputation as a gifted and talented industrial design student. In fact, an award-winning student. And they said that her future was just so incredibly bright. And of course they're using words such as saddened and heartbreak and the rest as they consider what happened here to Nohemi Gonzalez -- Christiane and Anderson.
COOPER: It is just so sad. And in the coming days no doubt we hope to learn as much as we can about others who lost their lives and bring you their stories as well. It's important to focus on those whose lives were lost. But as you know, we have also been focusing on the people who perpetrated these mass killings because this investigation is still very much ongoing. Police are trying to get as much information they can and are obviously looking for information from anybody who may know these people or may have any idea about their whereabouts, particularly with this international arrest warrant out.
We are going to take a short break. And our coverage continues from here in a moment.
[15:12:31] AMANPOUR: So back here in Paris with Anderson Cooper and with Senator Natalie Goulet, who is also head of the commission investigating jihadi network. She is also part of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. And she has been on a top of a lot of this news, getting a lot of briefings.
We have been talking about the man who is on the run and for whom there's an international arrest warrant. Tell us what you know about him. We are being toll that he was the brains behind the operation.
NATALIE GOULET, FRENCH SENATOR: He is most probably the bombmaker.
COOPER: The bombmaker himself.
GOULET: Yes. He is alive. So, you know, probably he's the one who was the bombmaker because we search (INAUDIBLE) we need a professional whatever is for the --
AMANPOUR: Why do you think he may be the bombmaker? Is there evidence? Because we are hearing that he may have been the brains behind this.
GOULET: Yes, he may be the bomb maker, you know. We don't know exactly.
COOPER: This is one of three brothers.
AMANPOUR: This is the one for whom the international arrest warrant is out.
GOULET: But we also have to be very careful because, you know, they give information bit by bit, and I think it's a good thing. At the same time people are asking for more and more information, and sometimes we do not have time enough to cross because everybody is griping for information, and so we have now (INAUDIBLE) a big blackboard and pip something like carry medicine --
GOULET: Like that.
AMANPOUR: Where do you think this person might be? I realize that's, you know, the big question. But is he still in France? There was a huge panic here a couple of hours ago. The whole square emptied for no good reason except that people were panicked. They thought they heard something.
GOULET: I think that before we find the last one some hours ago, and that has to be gain we have to cross information, they thought that eighth guy but still alive somewhere.
COOPER: The eighth person, the person who drove the vehicle.
GOULET: Yes. And we didn't know where he was, you know, so we were afraid. And they're also afraid a new wave will come like after Charlie and then we have (INAUDIBLE), so maybe they are expecting something. Whatever, they are very careful. And I think that we also have to be very careful with that.
COOPER: What is cooperation like? I mean, this is now French authorities, Belgian authorities, Greek authorities, Turkish authorities, European. What is your sense of how that is going?
[15:15:02] GOULET: They are working a lot. (INAUDIBLE) ask for the meeting next week. And I think that the cooperation is good. But at the same time we do not have a common databases for that. And that is always the same story. And unfortunately the time to build the database is take a long time and there is again a gap between the building of the database included all the human rights regulations and the private life, the privacy, and all those kind of things with pride, certain kind of crossing that time.
AMANPOUR: So you told us early today the really game-changing ingredient in this, that one of the terrorists was somebody who had infiltrated the refugees and the migrants who came to Europe.
AMANPOUR: That looks like -- sure. That looks like sure because he came through a network and a connecting itinerary and he get migrant visa.
AMANPOUR: Special migrant papers in Greece.
GOULET: Because he came with a passport, which looks like --
COOPER: He arrived on October 3rd on the island of Leros.
AMANPOUR: How do you think he got into France? Do you think he came from Belgium?
GOULET: I don't know exactly. Maybe from Croatia, Belgium, and France. I'm not sure.
AMANPOUR: There are a lot of names that are out there. I want to know if you can confirm them to us right now as we speak, OK.
GOULET: Good thing we take our glasses together.
AMANPOUR: OK. Ahmad Abu Mohamed was one of the suicide bombers at the stadium. We have another name here. Bilal Hadfi, born in 1995, living in Belgium. He also was one of the suicide bombers in the stadium. Do you have that?
AMANPOUR: Is that confirmed?
GOULET: I have that.
GOULET: We have to wait the DA, you know, the one in charge of the communication is the DA.
AMANPOUR: But you've been briefed that this is a name.
GOULET: I have been told that.
AMANPOUR: And the third name?
GOULET: The third name is Mahmoud al Mahmoud (ph).
AMANPOUR: Any more details on who they are?
GOULET: Not yet.
AMANPOUR: How difficult is this for France and do you expect -- I mean, we talked a little bit about it. Do your authorities really expect another wave?
GOULET: Well, it's better to be careful right now. And the people are also -- at the same time, the life has to go on. I mean, we are not going to stop anything. But, you know, the state of emergency will stay until Christmas, included Christmas.
AMANPOUR: That's a long time.
GOULET: It's a long time, but I think that we have a cop-21. AMANPOUR: That's the big climate summit that is coming up with all
the world leaders.
GOULET: And then I think French people deserve to have peaceful Christmas time, so at the same time it would be a good thing to keep this emergency state until then. I think we are going to vote on it. Anyway, we have to vote on it after 12 days, so the parliament will have to decide. But I think we will vote, of course.
COOPER: Well, thank you very much for everything.
AMANPOUR: Thank you, Senator Goulet.
GOULET: Thank you.
COOPER: We are going the take a short break from Paris. Our coverage continues in a moment.
[15:00:00] COOPER: Welcome back.
Authorities have identified one of the ISIS attackers as a Belgian. Sources say his name is Bilal Hafti. And we were just talking about that with the Senator. He's 19 or 20 years old. But Belgium terror expert says that Hafti is believed to have fought in Syria. So, again, yet more connection, obviously, to Syria. FBI officials are working in Paris to help the new investigations of the terror attacks on a short list trying to identify the attackers through a variety of methods, obviously including DNA and fingerprinting. As you reported, finger which was found from one of the suicide bombers, who detonated his hands.
AMANPOUR: Connected him to the infiltrator coming in with the refugees. And this guy who was named Bilal Hafti was placed by senator and by French officials as one of the stadium suicide bombers as well.
COOPER: I want to go to Washington and our Chris Frates who is joining us with more information.
Chris, what have you learned?
CHRIS FRATES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey. Good afternoon from Washington, guys.
What we are learning is that the FBI plans more wiretaps and closer monitoring to guard against potential threats to the U.S. FBI officials held conference calls over the weekend with state, local, and federal law enforcement to discuss what's being done to monitor known ISIS sympathizers right here in the United States.
Much of the FBI is working on that this weekend. It's similar but not as far reaching as the bureau's response to the is-inspired shooting at a prophet Muhammad cartoon contest in Texas earlier this year. Officials say agents investigating ISIS supporters have to know where their subjects are and determine if there's any new information that would make them a higher priority.
The U.S. is also offering to assist the French investigation. Deputy national security advisor Ben Rhodes described that process earlier today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BEN RHODES, DEPUTY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: In terms of the ongoing investigation, I really will let the French speak to that. What I will say, Jake, is that after incidents like this, they are multifaceted and complex. It's very important to pull every threat you have to make sure there are not accomplices who are still on the loose in part because those people could pose a threat, but also frankly because they can help you understand better what happened. So right now, I'm sure there's a vigorous effort supported by our intelligence sharing to try to identify anybody who is connected at all with these attackers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FRATES: Initial batch of names that could include the attackers or their associates. So far none of those names are known to U.S. authorities as terror suspects. And that's that fact that is disturbing U.S. intelligence and counterterrorism officials. But U.S. officials point out it's still very early in this investigation. And an official cautioned that it has been difficult to identify the attacker who is blew themselves up. And so far, officials say it does not appear there are any co-conspirators in the United States connected to this Paris attack.
Officials are concerned about copycat attacks, though, and have increased their scrutiny on suspected ISIS supporters in the U.S. but officials of course stressing that don't have or know of any specific threats to the United States.
Christiane, Anderson, back to you guys in Paris.
[15:25:19] COOPER: Chris, thanks very much.
You know, it is very early in this investigation. I mean, things are moving very quickly.
AMANPOUR: This are moving quite quickly.
COOPER: Yes, they are. But it's still very early days.
AMANPOUR: And the fact is one is still at large and that's a very, very worrying thing, indeed at the very least.
AMANPOUR: So we'll have much more. We are going to be right back after a quick break.
[15:28:43] COOPER: Welcome back to our continuing coverage of the Paris attacks.
Officials say at least one of the terrorist who is attacked civilians in Paris entered Europe hidden among the wave of refugees fleeing from Syria. Our senior international correspondent Arwa Damon is in Greece on the island of Leros where that particular terrorist actually landed first on European soil. She joins us now.
Arwa, and I know just today I'm sure more people have been arriving and I know when we talked to you in the last hour there were people getting ready to go on a ferry to head back to Athens to continue their journey to points north, particularly many of them trying to get in Germany, Sweden, places that have been more welcoming to refugees than actually France has, which is really actually only admitted a relatively small number compared to the hundreds of thousands who have come through Germany. But explain the process for somebody - I mean, how easy is it for someone who lands on the island of Leros or on the island of Lesbos where I was a month ago to get process -- how quickly do they get processed and then move on? Is anyone really able to guarantee who these people are? Are they vetted?
ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And that really, Anderson, is the core of the problem, as you yourself would have witnessed on Lesbos as so of many us have seen especially over the last few months with these masses arriving on Greece's shores, on these various different islands. They come mostly on these barely seaworthy rubber dinghies, so eager to jump off, get to land, and then eventually make their way to these registration centers.
All of them know by now they have to get registered. But a lot of them arrive without identification. And even without that, there are people who are there, translators, people of Syrian backgrounds who ask them certain questions and try to ascertain as much as they can that they are, in fact, who they claim to be. But bottom line is that actual documentation that cannot be fully verified. And without a centralized database, that doesn't exist anyways, that can't be verified either. The individual's background.
That is after that, the ease with which one can actually purchase a Syrian passport in Turkey. They go from anywhere from $600 up to $1,000. So it is relatively speaking fairly easy to try to mix oneself in with these migrants and refugees who are coming across because the influx in the numbers means perhaps not everyone can be as adequately vetted as is necessary.
The great fear, though, right now at this stage is that the backlash, because of what happened in Paris, is going to reflect itself on this refugee problem -- on this refugee population, people who are so desperate, Anderson. In talking to some of those tonight that were moving on to the Greek mainland. Yes, they are concerned. They are worried about how this is going to end up impacting their own quest for a better future, at least that's what they hope they're going to be able to get. But it doesn't necessarily come as a huge surprise to anyone within the intelligence community who's been watching this refugee flow taking place or anyone who's been reporting on it.
Invariably at some point in time, ISIS, ISIS sympathizers, other extremists were going to capitalize and exploit the situation. The problem and the challenge right now, though, is not too allow it to cause an even bigger risk to take place, to cause an even bigger rejection of these refugees because that will play straight into ISIS' hands.
COOPER: Arwa, appreciate your reporting on Leros.
It's interesting, when I was on Lesbos last month, Greek officials were so overwhelmed, they were not even -- they were fingerprinting people but they were fingerprinting them onto paper. It wasn't done electronically so it wasn't being entered into any kind of database that could be easily accessed.
AMANPOUR: No. It's a really difficult situation. And we have got our senior national security correspondent Jim Sciutto with us because we have all been asking what is going to be the response. Our leaders have been saying redouble the effort against ISIS, destroy, disrupt them. What are you learning?
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: We are hearing of a major barrage of airstrikes under way right now on the city of Raqqa, in Syria. Raqqa, of course, is the stronghold of ISIS in Syria. And the French president has effectively called ISIS out. And not only ISIS at large but he has said that there appear to be coordination between these attackers and ISIS back home.
Organizations on the ground reporting some 30 airstrikes just in the last several hours. It's the early morning hours in Raqqa now. And our Barbara Starr is reporting that the U.S. had provided intelligence to France to help them carry out and target areas inside Raqqa following these attacks.
COOPER: So these are French airstrikes?
SCIUTTO: These include French airstrikes as well. And it is something as Christiane had said, we were looking for what their response would be. And they asked for help in terms of intelligence, and the U.S. offered that help, and that appears to be what we're seeing over Raqqa right now.
COOPER: What you have heard and if you heard about -- how viable are targets? I mean, how easy is it to find targets? Because that was early on in the bombing campaign, that was one of the issues of, you know, finding actual targets that would make sense to hit.
SCIUTTO: One, finding targets that make sense to hit but also finding targets where you minimize civilian casualties. Because Raqqa, and that's one reason that ISIS is basing itself there, right, because they can hide in the open in effect among civilians.
But just looking, you know, Syrian being slaughtered deeply, that is one of these websites, these humanitarian group on the ground which will chronicle these attacks. They have been reporting some of the things hit a stadium. They say that a clinic was hit as well. No way for us to confirm that, that a political building. So it's quite a variety. Presumably they had intelligence to say these were tied to ISIS.
AMANPOUR: I think something that we're going to obviously watch, I mean, we've seen air campaigns over the years, some have finished war, some have simply not. And we have seen that this allied coalition air campaign against ISIS which has been going on for a year and a half now has not finished the job by any stretch of the imagination.
SCIUTTO: No. Not at all.
AMANPOUR: So what will it take? I think that's is going to be really -- if they carpet bomb Syria or the ISIS strongholds or if they do what the Turks are basically saying, what many in the region are saying that, yes, airstrikes but that's not the way you are going to actually destroy these insurgents on the ground.
[15:35:01] SCIUTTO: We have seen a perfect demonstration of that in the last 48 hours. On Friday morning, we were reporting that death significant kill of jihadi John via an airstrike, a drone strike in Raqqa. And yet the same day, you have an attack carried out like this year. Then yesterday you have a significant strike killing Abu Nabil, a significant ISIS leader in Libya. And yet you're still dealing with, you know, the aftereffects of 132 dead on the streets of Paris, right?
So, you know, it gets to a larger question. Is the decapitation strategy working? Does it have an effect on ISIS operations? And is a, what is largely an air campaign working? And you had those comments on Friday from the president. He said at ABC, that they have been contained. Granted he was talking about contained in terms of the land that they occupy in Iraq and Syria, speaking about ISIS, but clearly the problem and the terror threat from ISIS has not been contained. In fact, in the last week we have seen it extend far beyond Iraq and Syria.
AMANPOUR: And it is so worrying because of what we're seeing here played out as you keep reporting and we're talking about, you know, the investigation, the people who are being chased down, the arrest warrant. I mean, it's this multi-headed hydra that as one of our guests told us, I mean, it is amazing what she told us. You know, the problem is all these people who are going over there, who have been radicalized and going over there and then coming back here. And she said that she is suing the French government to make a point that why are they allowing at borders and various other place where is police should be stopping people, minors traveling without parents, without permission, without luggage, with one-way tickets to Turkey and then off they go to Syria? And this is a major problem as you said.
You know, the virus is coming through the Internet. It's coming through online, the radicalization, and that's what's such a challenge.
SCIUTTO: The best information about this attack is that you had both local and foreign elements, right. That you had this one attacker who appeared to have come through that channel. But the fact is there were other attackers too from the south of Paris, right? So you still had attackers who it was not necessary for them to sneak into the country. So it's not a simple solution.
COOPER: Right. I'm also interested to learn how somebody who has just recently come, who snuck in with the refugee, how they link up with those who are already here, who had been living here for many year, whether they're French citizens living in Belgium, as we know some were or elsewhere and, learning that connection is obviously one thing investigators are going to be trying to find pout.
SCIUTTO: Absolutely. You know, the sad fact is that there are active jihadi networks here in France and Belgium, extending beyond the borders of these countries and extending back to Syria. They are watching them as closely as they can, but they can't catch everything.
AMANPOUR: And I think, really, before we go to a break, we have to say that we are getting a lot of, you know, of interaction from many groups. And many, you know, Muslim, many moderate Muslims, many mainstream Muslims, people who are the vast majority of that religion and those nationalities living all over our countries have condemned what happened, have nothing to do with ISIS, don't want anything to do with ISIS don't want to be tainted by ISIS.
COOPER: In fact, are the biggest victims of ISIS, whether it is Sunni or Shia, more Muslims are being killed than anybody else.
AMANPOUR: And the real tragedy is that these refugees infiltrating themselves now in the refugees, these refugees are fleeing 20 times what's happening here in Paris. You know, this relentless slaughter.
SCIUTTO: And you worry about the political effects of that. We have talked about this earlier. This is a politically sensitive issue. There are opponents to the refugee influx who will and already are glomming onto this, right, as a justification to shut the borders forever when you know there are many, the vast majority who are in need, who are fleeing the conflict.
COOPER: We are going to take a short break. We will have more when we come back.
[15:42:20] COOPER: And welcome back to our continuing coverage from here in Paris. I'm Anderson Cooper with Christiane Amanpour. We are in the plaza de la Republique.
I want to just to show some of what we have been witnessing really now for the last several hours and throughout the day, as thousands of people have been coming. Here you see some candles that have been set in a kind of circle, people are leaving notes and flowers. It is just one of the memorials, many memorials that have sprung up in the last several days throughout Paris.
AMANPOUR: And actually, you know, important to say that this whole place was emptied several hours ago because there was a panic. Nothing happened but everybody thought something bad was happening. Somebody thought there was a shooter out here and it was the herd stamped out of this square so fast that we couldn't believe it. In any event, they're back now.
AMANPOUR: And we have Nick Paton Walsh who is in Irbil. We have breaking news from Syria that we have been reporting from Jim Sciutto and other where is dozens of airstrikes have been carried out in the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa.
Nick, you are in Irbil. There's been a lot of movement against ISIS in some of the areas there. What do you know about what's going on now?
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on the phone): Well, Christiane, it is (INAUDIBLE) information now. But we are hearing both from Raqqa's (INAUDIBLE), you have been along dependable organization of activists against ISIS inside of Raqqa. And also in up with hour alone there have been 30 airstrikes against Raqqa.
Now, the precise locations aren't entirely clear now, but Raqqa (INAUDIBLE) a hospital, political building, and potentially a stadium are amongst the places that have been hit.
Now, I mention those names because since ISIS has taken over that may have changed entirely in their characteristics on what those buildings do. Now, of course, we have seen airstrikes a volume of airstrikes like this similar in the past. We have seen the very first time. We have seen so many airstrikes against Raqqa, but of course timing question and I think the Shia too has many wondering whether this is in relation to Paris or maybe those who have been observing ISIS targets inside of Raqqa in the past few hours have noticed targets of opportunity. But there has been an extraordinary uptick in simply the last hour. And of course the question now, does this extend to a broad campaign against that particular city or are we simply talking about one night in which there has been an accelerated pace of coalition airstrikes and who, too, is doing the bombing, Christiane.
COOPER: Also, Nick, in terms of what's going on in Iraq, you are in Irbil in a Kurdish-controlled area. What is -- how does this world look up in the area where you are up in the north against ISIS?
[15:45:14] WALSH: Certainly up peer we saw in the last 32 hours an extraordinarily swift of the Peshmerga against ISIS. They have been expected to spend potentially days fighting in the town of Sinjar. Their victory there occurred with remarkable speed. They had spent about 24 hours it seemed probing and then suddenly they moved in from the north and says with remarkable speed. Minimal resistance, but it was pretty much done within about 48 hours.
That was largely down to the volume Peshmerga sent at that particular time and also coalition airstrikes evident in the sky. The question you have to ask yourself now is so much of the rhetoric we have heard about the strategic goal for the Sinjar attack but about moving towards Raqqa. The Sinjar attack cut off a main highway between Raqqa and Syria and major ISIS strongholds and Mosul in Iraq, another major ISIS stronghold. Is this series of airstrikes against Raqqa a part of what may be part of a broader strategy, which is to try and isolate Raqqa and potentially move in pro-western forces who may be able to work the Kurdish refugee, the predominant force in the north of Syria or are we dealing with an isolated incident (INAUDIBLE).
It's been so hard to define moments in which the coalition occurred to peers to have set ISIS' clock back in terms of taking more territory and what may actually be parliament (ph). The taking of Sinjar, they were really actually able to do something different than maybe using the coalition airpower to impact the ability for large numbers on the ground to turn around ISIS' desire to hold large part of the territory. We simply have to see quite exactly what has happened in the last hour or so and what we can do with the borders that as out team amongst the west to take on ISIS (INAUDIBLE) - Anderson.
COOPER: Nick Paton Walsh. Nick, thank you very much.
We are going to take a short break. More from here in a moment.
[15:51:39] AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program. We're here, Anderson Cooper, FT columnist Simon Kuper to talk about these strikes that have been going on, particularly the French now confirming that they have been conducting ramped up airstrikes against the ISIS stronghold Raqqa in Syria. That obviously, because of what happened here and being directly linked to ISIS.
Simon Kuper was in the stadium, Anderson, when these bombs went off, when these suicide attacks went off on Friday night. First describe to us what you felt there and then --
COOPER: Were you aware, I mean, right away something was wrong?
SIMON KUPER, COLUMNIST, FINANCIAL TIMES: I was aware something was wrong. Nobody understood what was happening. About 20 minutes into the game we heard a very loud explosion. It seems to come from outside the stadium. Play continued and there was cheering. People thought I think it was fireworks.
COOPER: People light off fireworks in the games here.
KUPER: Yes. And I thought it's too loud for that. And then about three minutes later, another loud explosion and the ground shook a bit. And I thought something is badly wrong. I went online to look for news. No news. No reporting for 20 minutes. (INAUDIBLE). And so, game continues and France scores and people cheer. And what we now know that should have been an enormous, the plan for the terrorists was enormous carnage inside the stadium and that failed.
COOPER: That was their goal. So the attack was a failure at the stadium from the terrorist's vantage point, thankfully.
KUPER: We know that at least one suicide bomber had a ticket was trying to get in. The steward saw he was wearing a suicide vest and that when the text of the terrorist took a step back and blew himself up outside the stadium, that was the first glass I had. The other two also blew themselves up outside the stadium. Didn't seem able to get, perhaps because the security was tougher than they thought. So they only killed I think one other person other than themselves that ends this prime time TV.
AMANPOUR: Well, the aim was to do it because this was being televised, right. So they were trying to get in there and blow up as many people and the French president was there.
KUPER: This was a huge match. It was the biggest match that France was playing all year. It was against the world champion, Germany. Stadium was full. French President was there. Prime time TV in France and in Germany. So the aim was to cause mass carnage with three bombs. And then what would happen is everyone would stampede to the exits. And more people would be killed.
COOPER: That's also the question, if only one of them had a ticket and we don't, maybe others had tickets as well, they were blown up. But if they had ticket and then people fled, if the other two -- even if they hadn't gotten in they could have detonated their devices in the crowd as people fled.
KUPER: That is very possible, yes.
AMANPOUR: And what is extraordinary, though, really, not only did they not do that inside, thank God, but they blew themselves up, I don't know, it seems to me it wasn't very powerful because they didn't kill anybody, one person was killed.
COOPER: And yet it was powerful enough that people inside the stadium like yourself heard it.
KUPER: It was powerful. I was speaking to a terrorism expert (INAUDIBLE) and she says these attacks are very hard to plan. And of course, all suicide bombers are novices. And so, there's a very high incompetence factor. So yes, I mean, they didn't execute well from their point of view. And so, the world only found out when the (INAUDIBLE) happened about 20 minutes to a half hour later.
COOPER: It's also interesting that what would have -- that authorities did not announce that there was an issue within the stadium until -- was the game over or did they ever announce it?
[15:55:02] KUPER: They didn't. At the end of the game they said they are having incidents outside. By that point, after mentioned it, everyone with their phones had worked that out. And people were actually afraid of going home. I think the authorities still, when they worked out what happened, which nearly half an hour, they probably thought we don't want to release 80,000 people into a city which was at war at that point. And so, we're going to keep them in the stadium. We are not going to tell anyone. The players weren't told either. They played on. The coaches knew.
COOPER: And the German team ended up sleeping in the stadium that night. KUPER: They did. They sat in the changing room for hours. Didn't
dare leave. And actually some or many of the French players sat with them out of solidarity. The German players terrified, yes.
AMANPOUR: And as we know, one of the main pieces of news that we discovered today, one of the (INAUDIBLE) attackers is a suicide bombers at that stadium was somebody who had infiltrated the refugees and had come to Europe via Lesbos and then over here to France -- Leros.
KUPER: He has the passport of that person. What his path was, I don't think we know at this point.
COOPER: Thank you so much for being with us. Really appreciate it. I'm glad it was OK with you.
We're going to take a short break and our coverage will continue in a moment.
[16:00:04] ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST, OUTFRONT: Good evening. I'm Erin Burnett joining you live from Paris. I want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world this afternoon, this evening.