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Major French Bombardment of ISIS Targets in Raqqa, Syria; A Vigil in Honor of Nohemi Gonzalez To Be Held at Cal State Long Beach. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired November 15, 2015 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[17:01:26] ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Good evening. I'm Erin Burnett joining you live from Paris from the Plaza de la Republique outside a memorial here where people are coming to honor those who lost their lives in horrific attacks on Friday night.
We do have breaking news at this moment, a pretty stunning development in the manhunt here which is going on in Paris in Europe and of course in nearby Belgium. A man named Salah Abdeslam, now they have an arrest warrant out for him. We have talked about this earlier tonight. It is turned out we can confirmed that he had indeed been stopped by French police and questioned just hours after the attack as he was driving to the Belgium border. They let him go. And now, of course, there is a warrant out for his rest. We understand that one of Abdeslam's brothers was killed in the attacks as on the attackers and one of his brother's has been arrested. So one of the three brothers.
Jim Sciutto joins me now.
And Jim, this is a stunning development.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: It is. It is stunning. It is sobering. In effect, they had one of the three brothers. So, the three very well involved in this one killed in the attack and other one now detained and this one who got away. And with this international arrest warrant we know that they are serious about him because of all of the efforts they are going through to catch him.
It's unfortunate. They had one in their hands and it harkens back to "Charlie Hebdo." Because if you remember that one of the Koachi brothers, he had actually been under surveillance before the attacks a couple of years before. They took him off surveillance because you have 5,000 people in this country who they might want to have under surveillance. They don't have the resources. But here is a case. It is different because after the attacks, he was stopped, he was questioned and he was let go. It's a sobering development.
BURNETT: I mean, this would mean he was incredibly well prepared when he answered the questions. I mean, one can only imagine how several hours after the attacks in the depths of the middle of the night on the road to Belgium, they pull this man aside and question him. SCIUTTO: To be fair, at that time they did not know of the three
brother's involvement. We'll have to check the chronology. I'm not sure they identified one of the brothers by that point. But this is interesting. Early on, they had told us that the first brother they identified via fingerprints from his body had also been known to police going back to 2010. We talked about this last night, known to have been radicalized, not known to be a terrorist. So in effect you would have had two misses. It's a difficult job. You have thousands to keep track of. If you picked up everyone --
BURNETT: Five thousand. Five thousand in last count in this country alone.
SCIUTTO: You can't pick them in an open society because many of them haven't done anything wrong. In this case, though, it was after the fact and he was let go. But it's not clear they knew who he was at that time.
BURNETT: Right. And it's not clear why they stopped him or what they asked him about. I want to emphasize that, right. He was detained and questioned, unclear from the information and sourcing we have as to what that was about. Was that about a speeding ticket? We just simply do not know.
SCIUTTO: Before 9/11, you'll remember one of the 9/11 attackers that had been stopped for I believe a speeding ticket by police at that time. So you have these cases, right. And in fact, in these investigations, it's often likely that they will have been touched by police at some point, right. Come across their radar in some way in this case though, hours after the attack, that's particularly stunning detail.
BURNETT: It is a stunning detail. It is our breaking news at this hour.
Along with this, France striking back against ISIS. We want to show you some new video that we have just in to CNN. This is French jet fighters taking off as they head off towards Raqqa in Syria. They took off from Jordan. They took from the United Arab Emirates. They destroyed targets, all targets they say that were aiming for. They say it was an ISIS training camp, a command center, a recruitment base and an ammunitions base, all of which were in Raqqa. Unclear, though, what those terms may mean. Of course, Raqqa has been bombarded by coalition airstrikes for a long time now. Those are the terms that they are sharing with us tonight. It is just two days after those horrific coordinated sophisticated attacks across Paris in which 129 innocent civilians were slaughtered, 352 others wounded. Many of whom are still fighting for their lives in the most serious condition tonight here in Paris.
I want to get to our senior international correspondent Nick Paton Walsh who is in Erbil, Iraq. He spent a lot of time in Syria. Also joining me CNN military analyst major general James "Spider" Marks.
General, let me start with you. The question tonight, of course, is France is striking back. Viscerally, to use the word Nick Paton Walsh has used from Iraq earlier tonight on this program, but what then is next? Airstrikes has been how this war has been conducted from the very beginning. Is that all this will be when Francois Hollande said France is at war or is this just the first step?
[17:06:08] MAJ. GEN. JAMES "SPIDER" MARKS (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST (on the phone): Erin, I would tell you that this is clearly the first step but it is a political step that needs to be done. Clearly, it is a military activity. But it will sends a strong political message and it is all for internal (INAUDIBLE). This is very visceral. These types of targets they strike right now really are symbolic from the French perspective, something has to be done. And as Jim reported earlier, the United States is providing raw data so the French - and what that really means is they can do their own analysis. They have (INAUDIBLE). They have got (INAUDIBLE). They got some really good imagery and they can upload their precision missions and they can go after targets they want to hit and it belong to them because it's raw data. That's a key point. So this is a significant first step but not sufficient. Clearly not sufficient.
BURNETT: Nick Paton Walsh, what can you tell us about the targets?
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, there is some degree of cohesion between what we are hearing from Raqqa, (INAUDIBLE) who are a well-known anti-ISIS activist group inside of Raqqa. They are talking about something what they refer to as the (INAUDIBLE) clinical hospital, a stadium and political building being hit.
Now, those names just people at home are not concerned, do not necessarily correlate between what those buildings still do now. The French defense ministry statement, (INAUDIBLE) ammunition storage base being hit could well corroborate those particular buildings. ISIS often take over places and use them for entirely different tasks than they used to have before.
They are also talking about 30 strikes ISIS (INAUDIBLE) is suggesting something similar has occurred. This has been extraordinarily bad evening in Raqqa in terms of bombardment. And of course, we are also hearing from ISIS sources that they claim that in fact no one is in fact being hit because the places they hit have been vacated for some period of time. We'll never know if that's really the case.
But the key question here, of course you have to ask, Erin, there is this, as you mentioned, a visceral reaction from France. They need to be seen to be doing something. Francois Hollande has stood in front of his nation after this unbelievably atrocious act in Paris, multiple acts and said we are at war with ISIS. There needs to be a military response. This does satisfy some sense of vengeance understandably from the French public. We don't know what's been hit. We don't know what comes next and we don't sadly know quite what the full impact on the ground has been. ISIS is well known to mingle civilians in their military objectives and of course the targeting is a precise and complicated task.
So the notion of summoning ten potentially targets from now. We know the French say they dropped 20 bombs tonight. The notion of summoning those targets overnight when there have been U.S. airplanes in the sky for a protected period of time and suddenly there are these targets available at the moment's notice. That in itself requires some examination.
But I think for the French public here who are looking to Francois Hollande for some sort of immediate intense military response, that's answered here. We just don't quite know what's been hit and we don't know how militarily effective that has been. And we also don't quite know whether this heralds a longer term French bombardment or where there are also there is some sort of ground element here too. Because the air campaign has been in effect for a lengthy period of time. It hasn't really altered the territory ISIS control.
It has been in Sinjar. And in fact, Sinjar and northern Iraq, a symbolic town for ISIS to hold was only retaken when the Peshmerga, that Kurdish military force base at where I am standing here in Irbil, were able to gather hundreds, if not thousands the number and pour in from various sides with coalition air support. But it was the ground presence that took the town back from ISIS. The question really going forward, is if you're going to deprive ISIS the territory, they need to plan this kind of attack and later turns out it was planned from ISIS held territory, you need ground forces.
So these air campaigns do feel potentially good for those in Paris who are understandably suffering loss, wanting to see ISIS suffer. We don't know if that's been actually the desired effect on the ground -- don't know whether this yields a broader strategy to move them on -- Erin.
[17:10:39] BURNETT: All right, thank you to Nick Paton Walsh.
I want to go one time back to you, General Marks, here on the questions that Nick just raised. First of all, civilians and ISIS operatives, ISIS hiding amongst civilians doing this on purpose. And the other point that Nick raised which is a bigger ground war coming next? That's the crucial question, right. I mean, if the west, if France is not willing to kill a lot of civilians in Raqqa, to kill a lot of members of ISIS, then it would seem there is one other alternative if you are not going to do airstrikes and that is a much more significant ground war, ground troops and casualties that will be sustained by France, the United States and other coalition partners. Is a ground war of a larger scale something that you think is about to happen?
MARKS: Erin, that's the question that needs to be answered right now. Now, you heard Ben Rhodes earlier indicate that U.S. ground presence is not on the table. I understand that. That's the strategy that has been put forward that our strategy we lies exclusively on this air campaign, which frankly has been rather anemic. It hits what it supposed to hit, but it is just not as smothering and as suffocating as it could be.
But French have jump in to that. That's the initial first step. But if you're going to, and we always will, western powers will always hold themselves to a collateral damage standard, which means we will not want go after targets when we know that civilian casualties will be sustained. We just simply won't do that, irrespectable who are enemies to. We don't go down that path.
So if you're going to eradicate this type of cancer, as you've called it earlier, and we all referred to it as a cancer, you have to be able to get into very, very precisely and you have got to cut it out. And this fight is getting closer and closer to the homeland. ISIS has indicated, and it's just radical form of Islam, has indicated an ability to expand. We have seen it in North Africa. We have seen it on the Sinai. We have seen it now in streets of Paris twice over the course of the last ten months. Where will it hit next?
And those of us in the counterterrorism business and the intelligence business, the only things that keeps us from seeing attack on shores is the incredible vigilance of our intelligence community and our ability to share intelligence.
So Erin, there is an inevitable discussion that must take place that included ground forces, not just from NATO power, European powers and local powers, but also it is not even too soon to start talking to Russia about some type of confluent venture that allows us to paint ISIS and radical Islam as a common threat to us both. We haven't done that since World War II. We've got to be able to move forward very, very aggressively.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, general.
And obviously, a big question coming as the White House today saying ISIS, of course, has the desire, but they don't think the capability of striking in the United States. A statement that many found very troubling today.
We are going to take a brief break. Our live coverage from Paris continues in a moment.
[17:17:00] BURNETT: And welcome back to our live coverage here in Paris.
I just want to update you on breaking news that we have. A source telling us, CNN, that one of the suspect right now that is on the loose, that there is an international arrest warrant out for actually had been stopped by French authorities and questioned a few hours after the attacks as he was driving towards the Belgium border. Stopped and questioned and released.
Now, of course, an international manhunt and arrest warrant out for him, Salah Abdeslam. We don't know what the stop was about, whether it was routine traffic incident, whether it was questioning regarding the attacks. That we don't know. But we do know he was stopped and he is now wanted in an international manhunt.
I want to go to our senior international correspondent Clarissa Ward. She was actually involved in a stampede at the site of the restaurant attacks today. More than a dozen were killed there on Friday.
And Clarissa, as we see people try to go about their daily lives today, we all saw this across the city as we were out reporting, there is still a real palpable sense of fear and you experienced that firsthand.
CLARISSA WARD, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Erin.
You know, we spent the day talking to Parisians and there was a real sense of defiance. They wanted to come out on the streets today to show that they refused to be cowed, to show that they weren't any longer fearful, to show that basically they were going to continue with their daily life, go to cafes, go to concerts, and really, that spirit of defiance was punctured by a moment of abject panic here and also where you are at the Plaza de la Republique. We were standing. It was people gathering to memorialize the dead, suddenly the crowd just dissipated. People were running for their lives. There were women gripping their children, pushing strollers, crying, shrieking and police fanned out flooded heavily armed. They are waiving their weapons around. It was very clear that the police are also very much on edge, very nervous. They don't know exactly where the enemy is. They kept asking us, telling all of the people to get off the streets and get inside. But it was clear that they didn't know what the source of the panic was. And we know now it really was just a moment of panic. There wasn't necessarily something specific that precipitated it.
But what it really illustrated, Erin, was that as much as people here want to go about their daily life, as much as they want to send a message to the terrorist who perpetrated these attacks, that they are not afraid, the reality is that they are very afraid. And this is unprecedented territory, not just for Parisians, not just for French people, but for Europeans in general who have a real sense, that this is a real problem across the continent. And they are very fearful and unsure of how to get back to their normal lives.
BURNETT: Clarissa, thank you.
And I want to turn now to CNN intelligence and security analyst, former CIA operative, Bob Baer.
Bob, we have been reporting that a source close to the investigation says that one of those directly involved, that they now have an international arrest warrant out for, he is on the loose, was actually stopped by French police a few hours after the attacks, not detained. He was stopped in a car on his way towards the Belgium border. Obviously, they let him go. He is now an international fugitive.
What do you think when you hear that? We don't know the nature of why they stopped and questioned him, that's important to emphasize. The fact is they did and they let him go.
[17:20:20] BOB BAER, CNN INTELLIGENCE AND SECURITY ANALYST: Well, this happens at the first hours in first days after an attack like this. They are not quite sure who was involved, what the support network was. And as people move across the border they will question them, but they had no reason to hold him. I think what's alarming is that there is a rare base for these people
in Belgium. I mean, it's clear at this point that they can easily cross the French border, probably with weapons, maybe explosives and move back and forth. And that's why the French closed down the borders. But the question is, the real problem for the French is getting into the metadata and figure out who is involve in this, in this metadata doesn't make any sense before the attack, but after it certainly does.
BURNETT: Bob, the national security adviser, President Obama's national security adviser Ben Rhodes earlier today talking to reporters said this, ISIS has ambitious for U.S. attack but likely lacks the capability. What do you say to that?
BAER: It's disingenuous. I talked to a lot of security officials both in the CIA, police and rest of it, and they are truly, truly worried at this point there is going to be a hit in the United States. I have been told flat out by security officials in Washington that they are here. That there are teams here. They have said this over and over again the last couple of months, before Paris.
I have no reason to disbelieve them. And clearly, if refugees are being used it's easy to get across any American borders. It is even easy to fly into this country if you have a visa. And there is no way that we can check their documentation. And you can't detain people on a mere suspicion.
And now, it's clear that the Islamic state is on an offensive. And we are at the top of the list and the chances of us getting hit is pretty good. And I think we just have to face those facts. And for the White House to say, that we're completely protected is not helpful.
BURNETT: It also seems, Bob, like that what you are saying the inevitability here continues. If you have, as CNN has been reporting tonight and we now have indeed seen with these attackers, ISIS members who are actively trying to hide amongst Syrian refugees. And in the case of at least one of these attackers succeed in doing so, that completely changes the game. Now you don't need to necessarily just be a European who went to Syria and comes back with your European passport. You could go anywhere and get a fake Syrian passport and come back as a refugee.
BAER: Absolutely, Erin. You can go to Tijuana and go to, you know, the first crossing point and say, listen. I'm a refugee. I'm yazidi from Syria. Let me in. And the orders are down there at the border with Mexico is to let these people in and process them in the system. But that doesn't mean that they are turned over to the FBI or watched or anything else.
And you know, we have our hands tied behind our back with current laws, refugee laws. I mean, I dearly love Syria as a country and love Syrians. I worked there for many years, but ISIS is going to use weaknesses in our system to get to us. And I think it's a fact that we have to deal with.
BURNETT: Bob, you have talked about this particular issue though, the southern border of the United States where you are seeing refugees coming through and they are coming through legally, right, they are trying to get political asylum, and one would imagine in almost every case that is exactly the truth of what they are trying to do. But it may not be the truth in every single case. And you're saying they actually have to -- the border agents take what they say at face value?
BAER: That's the orders. That's the U.S. law that they have to take it at face value. They have to accept their statements. People coming across the border, there's no way to check the documentation to see if it's genuine or even the documentation matches the actual name of the person.
I'm hearing this directly. This isn't, you know, I'm not picking this up on the net. This is what people are telling me. And they are extremely frustrated and they are frustrated with our laws and it worries people. It worries the FBI. The FBI is -- everybody who has popped up on the Internet is being watched at this point. But it's the people that are on the dark web that can get -- know the communications, security that are the problem that can get into this country or simply sent here without having any communications back to Syria or Raqqa. I think it's, you know, we are very much involved in this war in the Middle East. And if we get involved in bombing like the French are Raqqa, you know, the chances of us getting hit is going up.
[17:25:01] BURNETT: Bob Baer, thank you very much.
And our breaking news coverage from Paris continues. We will take a brief break and be right back on the other side.
[17:39:12] BURNETT: President Obama is in Turkey today for the G-20 summit. The meetings between world leaders taking on a sense of urgency following the terror attacks here in Paris. Today's airstrikes on ISIS positions in Raqqa, Syria also adding to the pressure.
Our senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta is at the G-20 site in Turkey.
And Jim, what can you tell us about the new information we are learning about the intelligence sharing, crucial and many senses unprecedented intelligence sharing between the United States and France?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right. That's right. And you know, and I'm told by a senior administration official just in the last several minutes, Erin, that the U.S. was assisting with those French airstrikes. We don't know the totality of what that assistance was. President Obama will be holding a news conference tomorrow here at the Antalya, Turkey at G-20 summit. And so, perhaps, we will hear more from the president then.
But we do know when Ben Rhodes, the deputy national security adviser, was on with Jake Tapper earlier today, he did say, you know, that France has a two star general that is involved in military coordination between U.S. and the other coalition partners that are going after ISIS. So it stands to reason that the French, when they decided to go ahead and conduct these airstrikes, had a pretty vast wealth of knowledge and intelligence to tap into once the occasion presented itself. And that, I think, what we saw earlier this evening.
But this is something that, you know, this is a sneak preview of coming attractions, sleeping giant was really sort of awoken up by what happened with these Paris attacks. You could see it on the president's face and his words earlier today when he said that the skies have darkened because of what happened in Paris. And he said that the U.S. is going to redouble its efforts. And you get the sense from talking to officials with all of the countries here, all of the major countries at the G-20, that this is really kind of a war council that we are seeing taking place here, much more than an economic conference, Erin.
[17:31:11] BURNETT: Jim Acosta, thank you very much, as we said, in Turkey with President Obama tonight.
We'll be right back.
[17:34:40] BURNETT: We are back with special coverage from Paris on the deadly terror attacks here. France striking back at this hour, hitting ISIS strongholds hard tonight in darkness in Raqqa, Syria. Airstrikes destroying what the French say was an ISIS training camp and command center in Raqqa. We will show you some video of the French jet fighters taking off for that operation. It has now formally ended.
And at this hour, police questioned and released a 26-year-old man, the man that you see on your screen right now, Salah Abdeslam. He is a French national, born in Belgium. He was questioned shortly after the attack, we understand as he was driving towards the Belgium border. That was before he was identified as a suspect. So he was stopped, he was questioned, he was released and now, of course, there is an international arrest warrant out for him. His brothers have also been linked to the Paris attacks, one arrested and one killed in the attacks.
We're also learning more about how these men got into France. European officials telling CNN tonight that one of the men posed as a Syrian refugee. He crossed into the Greek island of Leros in early October. We understand on October 3rd from the records we looked at today. And we have learned he was carrying a fake or doctored Syrian passport to do that. He strapped on an explosive vest on Friday and detonated himself at a soccer stadium.
And I want to get more information on that suspect right now. Our senior international correspondent Arwa Damon is in Leros, Greece, exactly where he went through as he was processed posing as a Syrian refugee. And Arwa, what do you know about the suspect and how he went through
the immigration process in Greece?
[17:36:20] ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin, it is pretty standard whenever refugees do arrive at these various different entry points, these islands that dot the area between Greece and Turkey. Once an individual arrives here, whether they have Syrian documentation or not, they are processed. So even if this individual's passport was doctored, he still would have gone through the very same system.
What they do have for people who don't carry documentation is usually an individual, a Syrian who can ask them questions and ascertain as best they can whether or not their story holds up. The individuals who do come through here, they are fingerprinted. But if those finger prints are not already in the shared database, then they are not going to raise any red flags. And then from here on out, they are given a piece of paper that is their registration, their refugee status. And this allows them to stay in Greece for six months.
When it comes to this particular individual, we do know from Serbian authorities that he was then registered in Serbia as well, about four days after he arrived here on October 7th. That is very much the usual path that most people crossing through here would have taken.
This is of course what some intelligence officials are saying is very disconcerting because some of these potential ISIS sympathizers, members of ISIS, other extremist groups that are going to be exploiting this refugee route, there isn't necessarily any trace of them and any pre-existing database. There are no red flags to be raised this early on in the process.
And then in speaking to some of the refugees here, they are understandably expressing their great sorrow, their horror of what happened in Paris, saying that exactly violence like that that drove them from their homes. But they are also very worried about the potential blowback this is going to have on them.
And at the end of the day, if the Paris attacks do cause an alienation when it comes to Europe's attitude towards the refugees when it comes to perhaps a greater rift growing as refugees do try to resettle themselves in these various different European nations, that could potentially play straight into ISIS' hands. So it's a very, very delicate situation, Erin.
BURNETT: Arwa Damon, thank you very much. Arwa, live in Leros, Greece, which has become such an important part of this horrific story. We'll be right back.
[17:43:04] BURNETT: A major French bombardment of ISIS targets in terror group stronghold of Raqqa, Syria, tonight. We understand that airstrike series has just ended. The strikes coming after the United States shared key intelligence on ISIS with France, including the raw data, something usually only shared with countries including Canada, the U.K., Australia and New Zealand.
Joining me now to discuss how the U.S.' allies may work together to fight ISIS is Kurt Volker. He is a former U.S. ambassador to NATO.
And of course, ambassador, this is now going to be a big part of the question, which is does France invoke what no one has done other than the United States after 9/11, and in invoking an article to cause NATO to go to a bigger war here?
KURT VOLKER, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO NATO: That is in fact a question. I don't believe that France will, but we don't know yet. This is a very big deal to them and could change their calculations. I think that France is clearly very determined to lead a military effort against ISIS. I think they would like support certainly from the United States as we saw with intelligence sharing and probably other European countries. I think they will be careful however about the image of bringing NATO
in and risking that that is then used by the Islamic state to elevate this into a war between Christian Europe and the Muslim Middle East, turning it into something bigger and actually helping ISIS recruit to the cause. So I think they are going to be trying to calculate in their own minds the political cost and benefits of doing so.
BURNETT: An interesting point that hasn't been made yet. I'm curious as to what you think, though, about what President Hollande meant when he said this was war. Then how does he fight that war? Does that mean France does more and more of this alone?
VOLKER: Well, as United States did after 9/11, we welcomed NATO's invoking article 5, but in fact, the United States led a coalition of the willing, as we called it, to go into Afghanistan, with just a handful of countries. We only brought NATO in two years later in 2003 to pick up the ISAF (ph) mission and conduct more of a peacekeeping set of arrangement which NATO is going to be better suited to.
In the case of France, I think it is very clear that France is determined to go after ISIS and will do so and will lead a war against them. It's just a question of with whom and how. They may be looking for participation from other Arab states who of course not members of NATO. I think they will certainly want support from the United States. They may be looking for others from Europe but maybe they wouldn't expect all European countries to be able or willing to take part. So maybe a different kind of coalition. Nonetheless, I think it's very clear that the French are very determined to go after ISIS at this point.
[17:45:43] BURNETT: Ambassador, what is the middle ground, though? You have the ground troops, large scale ground troops invasion, something that obviously Europe and the United States have been loathed to do. There is no question nobody wants to do that. They would have done it a long time ago. You have airstrikes which have been going now on for a long time. Many thousands of them and failed to defeat ISIS. What is in between those two polls?
VOLKER: Well, I think what is in between is what we started to see with the U.S. and Kurds going into Sinjar. This is western - high- tech western airstrikes, western intelligence, western supplied weapons to the Kurds. The Kurds providing fighters on the ground and retaking territory which is really adjacent to their own territory.
And I think this combination, western and local allies, where there is a ground component, can't do this without a ground component and it may involve some westerners on ground themselves, but also embedded clearly with locals who are doing a key part of the fighting, that's the in between you're talking about.
BURNETT: Ambassador Volker, thank you very much for being with us tonight.
And we will be right back from Paris.
[17:51:19] BURNETT: We are just starting to learn a little bit more about some of the victims. Slaughtered here in Paris. Each name a story. One of them an American college student, spending the semester studying overseas. Studying in France.
In a couple of hours, a vigil in honor of Nohemi Gonzalez will be held at California State University in Long Beach. That's the school she was attending as she was a student over here for that junior year abroad.
Our correspondent Paul Vercammen is there.
And, Paul, I know you have had a chance to speak with people who knew her, and you are finding out that she was such a vibrant and loved young woman.
PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That is absolutely true, Erin. And that's sure to come up at this vigil that they will hold in just about an hour from now. We expect that some of her friends will speak. We know some members of her family will be in attendance. And we will also hear from some faculty members here at Cal State Long Beach. And one thing for sure, she was definitely loved, on this campus, and off it.
VERCAMMEN (voice-over): A close friend of Nohemi Gonzalez's family says the 23-year-old was the apple of her mother's eye.
ROSA YBARRA, FAMILY FRIEND: Beautiful. Beautiful person.
VERCAMMEN: Smart, by all accounts.
YBARRA: All smart. Beautiful. I mean, she was a gift, a gift of life. OK. She's -- we lost her, but her spirit, life, fun, a joy.
VERCAMMEN: President of Cal State University Long Beach described enormous pain losing the skyrocketing design senior to terrorist attack.
JANE CLOSE CONOLEY, PRESIDENT, CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY LONG BEACH: I and the entire campus are heartbroken to share this terrible news.
VERCAMMEN: Gonzalez was spending a semester abroad at the state college of design in Paris. A design lecturer here who knew Gonzalez well says the El Monte, California, resident, was talented and admired throughout the whole department.
MICHAEL LAFORTE, DESIGN LECTURER: Immersed in global interests, in global discourse. She had a very buoyant joyous personality. She is extremely lively, extremely energetic.
VERCAMMEN: Gonzalez was part of a close-knit group that worked long, hard hours, the professor added. Gonzalez and three classmates captured second place and $3,000 out of 71 entries from 22 countries in a bio mimicry global design contest. A competition organizer told CNN Gonzalez and colleagues displayed great creativity in poly-snack, healthy fruits and nuts in a biodegradable package that can be converted into a small planter.
Now at Long Beach State they mourn Gonzalez, the young design whiz who cared about her world, and lost her life a half a world away, out to expand her mind, have some fun in Paris, on a Friday night.
VERCAMMEN: And a little more of the faculty here saying that she had an emphasis on package design and was studying retail in Paris. A lot of sadness here, but a moment of levity. This will give you a sense of her sense of humor.
Understandably, her name is unique and they say it was often mangled on his campus. And she came up with a unique way to get people to remember her name. They said that she would tell people the "H" is silent, I'm a bad actress so I have no Emmy. And that's how she got people to pronounce her name correctly.
Back to you now, Erin.
BURNETT: Paul, thank you so much. And we'll be right back.
[17:58:42] BURNETT: We have shocking video in to CNN at this hour. It includes the terrifying moments when the first shots rang through the Bataclan concert hall.
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BURNETT: That is just one moment of the panic and horror that happened Friday night inside that club.
Moments later, this, victims clutching their wounds, clinging for life on the sidewalk outside. More people lost their lives inside that theater than at any of the other attack sites, as many as 1500 people were there for a concert by the U.S. rock band Eagles of Death Metal, 89 of them lost their lives.
MICHAEL DORIO, BROTHER OF BAND MEMBER: It's a venue that actually holds around 1500 people and it was sold out.