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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Female Suicide Bomber Shouted at the Police Before Killing Herself; 2 Dead, 8 Arrested in Paris Terror Raid; ISIS Video Suggest NYC Bomb Plot; DNA to Determine if Mastermind of Paris Attacks Killed; ISIS Video Suggests NYC Bomb Plot; ISIS Claims Soda Can Bomb Took Down Russian Airliner; Airstrikes in Syria; Ground Assault Next in Syria; Survivors of Music Hall Massacre. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired November 18, 2015 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[21:01:11] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: It's early morning here in Paris, the city where another terror attack may have been prevented, 9:00 p.m. back in New York. Now facing a new threat from ISIS. A very busy night ahead. With that and new details on the raid that took down a terror cell including a female suicide bomber and possibly the planner of Friday's massacre, though we don't know that at this point. I want to show you some exclusive video taken by two neighbors as the raid unfolded.
In addition to that, we've also obtained video as well as audio of a shouted exchange between police and the female bomber, as the moment she blew herself up.
Carnage and destruction in the raid so extreme the crews are still on the scene right now shoring up the apartment building. DNA testing is said to be underway to determine whether Friday's ringleader is somewhere in the rubble of the building. A lot to get to. We begin this hour with the latest on that and this new ISIS video threatening New York. More from Jim Sciutto.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Alarming images from an ISIS video apparently threatening an attack on New York City. CNN is only airing a few frames of the video which shows the French president speaking along with people arming themselves with what appear to be explosives, then scenes of Herald Square in New York. Parts of the video first appeared in an April rap video produced by ISIS but tonight, they suggest a new warning.
All of this comes as suspected ISIS terrorists were arrested here in Paris. In the early morning hours, heavy gunfire. And explosions.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: An explosion has just gone off.
SCIUTTO: As French police raid an apartment building in the Paris suburbs Saint-Denis. Suspected terrorists hiding out inside. And police say planning another major attack. FRANCOIS MOLINS, PARIS PROSECUTOR: The police officers faced great
difficulty. An armored door resisted the explosives launched in the raid. There was uninterrupted gunfire for almost an hour.
SCIUTTO: French authorities arrested seven people, including this man who appears to have been stripped down. It's unclear if that's because police were searching him for explosives. Amateur video captured another suspect ordered to the ground quickly handcuffed by police.
Two other suspected terrorists were killed in the raid including a woman who blew herself up. That woman believed to be the cousin of Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the suspected ringleader of Friday's deadly rampage across Paris.
MOLINS: One body was torn apart and not identifiable. Early evidence indicates the explosion was caused when a would detonated an explosive vest.
SCIUTTO: French and Belgian police zeroed in on the apartments after interviews, intercepted phone communications and bank records led them there. Investigators also had intelligence that Abaaoud himself was present. But French authorities say he is not in custody and it is unknown whether he was one of those killed. The raids took place north of Paris, near the Stade de France, one of the locations hit by terrorists on Friday. Residents describe a terrifying operation.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They told us to lie down on the floor, don't move and turn off the lights.
SCIUTTO: The man who owns one of the apartments told CNN affiliate BFM TV, he did not realize who he rented them to.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If I had known something, do you really think I would have let them stay here?
[21:05:08] SCIUTTO: Several police officers were wounded in the raid and this police dog killed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Jim Sciutto joins us now along with senior international correspondent Clarissa Ward and our terrorism analyst, Paul Cruickshank.
Jim, first of all, let's start talking about this threat to New York. How serious do you think it is. I mean, we certainly heard threats from -- plenty of threats from ISIS before. It's not new that they would want to attack New York.
SCIUTTO: No, it's not. This is not a credible threat. It's not a specific threat. In fact, we looked at many of the images were recycled from a rap video that aired months ago on an ISIS, on a jihadi website updated with comments from Francoise Hollande, updated you know, in the last several days and the New York Police Department has the same view. They say that these are not new images. That said, they reiterate, they know and U.S. counterterrorism officials have told us to some time and to others that New York is an aspirational target of this group, but they have no evidence to suggest that they, you know, have something in the planning stages right now.
And for instance, when you look at those images, there's nothing to indicate there was an actual guy in New York City with an actual explosive device taking pictures of himself. In fact, that picture at Herald Square we think is a stock image of Herald Square.
COOPER: It's also going to be very interesting Clarissa to see what they have discovered in this apartment. Because now, it wasn't just the attacker, the terrorist on Friday night who had suicide vest, there were seven that we know of, but -- who actually used them or had them, but now this woman who detonated a device, how many others may be out there right now in Paris?
CLARISSA WARD, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. That's exactly the question that authorities want to get an answer for. And we're learning a little bit more about this woman now. According to French media, she is 26-year-old Hasna Aitboulahcen. She is the cousin of Abaaoud. You heard her shouting out there to authorities in that video, I'm not he's -- he's not my boyfriend. He's not my boyfriend.
And I think sometimes, Anderson, people find the idea of female suicide bombers somehow unusual, but actually if you look back, we've seen them used time and time again in Chechnya, the so-called black widows, of course by Al-Qaeda in Iraq and also in Jordan, female suicide bombers attacking those weddings in Amman, Jordan and we've heard that ISIS has really been trying to recruit more women not just to go and join the jihad and to be the future mothers of future jihadists, but also to participate in suicide bombings because it is so much easier for women to go below the radar.
COOPER: It's interesting Paul because we heard from an analyst in our last hour who was saying that traditionally, ISIS has not wanted women to take much of a role in jihad, you know, woman's role is in the home to -- given away really as chattel to foreign fighters, but it will be interesting to see if this is some sort of turning point, if this is actually something they start to do more of in the future.
PAUL CRUICKSHANK, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: Well, ISIS hasn't used women because it had plenty of men to do the suicide bombings and to do the fighting, but when ISIS used to be called Al Qaeda in Iraq in the tail end of the Iraqi insurgency, they launched dozens and dozens and dozens of female suicide bombings against Iraqi forces against American troops in Iraq and one of those was a Belgian catholic convert to Islam, Muriel Degauque from Charleroi in Belgium.
So there's a track record of western women getting involved and launching suicide bombings for basically ISIS and why do they want to take a bigger role? Because they grew up in the west and so they have a different conception of gender roles. They want to get much more involved than say people who maybe grow up in a more conservative traditional society, Anderson. COOPER: You know, we're talking about Belgium and that woman from
Belgium. I'm just so fascinated by when you start to kind of peel this away and see where all these people are from and what street they were living on and it turns out they live just a block away from somebody else who they're now involved with, it is like this petty criminal gang which has just kind of recruited among friends and family.
SCIUTTO: And we know, as well, that the alleged mastermind or ringleader met the missing eighth bomber from the Friday attacks in prison. They were in prison together. In fact, in prison for the same crime in 2011, and prisons, we've talked about this, are incubators for extremism and radicalized.
WARD: Cherif Kouachi, Amedy Coulibaly also met in prison. That's where they were radicalized by Djamel Beghal. We've seen this pattern over and over again and it's not just about the radicalizing each other. There's all sorts of things going on in this prison. Cellphones, Anderson, are not supposed to be allowed in these prisons, but we know that very many of those convicts, they have cellphones, they're communicating with the outside world. Djamel Beghal, the Al Qaeda recruiter allegedly was in touch with Coulibaly and Kouachi throughout the planning of the Charlie Hebdo attacks.
COOPER: Even in the early days of Al Qaeda, I mean, it was in the Egyptian prisons which were really a nexus for recruitment and spreading of the ideology.
[21:10:00] CRUICKSHANK: And now we're seeing this, you know, in the age of ISIS and one of the recruiters saying in prison, they are saying we can offer you redemption for your past criminality. You can reach paradise if you follow our path and they're also explaining a way all their past sins so to speak because they're saying you are corrupted by the infidel west and that's a very powerful argument for these young men and these young men are sucked up, brainwashed, they're going in increasing numbers to Syria and Iran.
COOPER: It's also a powerful argument for psychopaths who want to continue to commit criminal acts and violence to have a justification to do it. It gives them a grander justification.
SCIUTTO: You know the other place where there's been evidence of radicalization in prison, in U.S. prisons as well. So some of jihadists in the U.S. have been tracked back to prison conversions.
COOPER: Jim, thanks for being with us, Paul Cruickshank, Clarissa Ward as well.
Coming up next, what neighbors saw and heard as security forces raided the apartment right down their block. Can you imagine waking up in the middle of the night to that assault and exclusive video that captured the terrifying moments.
COOPER: Well even as we're learning more about the overnight raid on the terror hideout in Saint-Denis and the new attack that authorities believe was about to be launched, from then, witnesses have started coming forward talking about what they saw in the raid and what they've been going through since this entire nightmare began. Some, as you've seen, turned their cellphones, cameras out the windows but became a massive armed assault unfolded.
[21:15:22] Axel and Steffy, they don't want their last names used, took that video. I spoke to them earlier tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Did you realize what was happening when the shots began?
STEFFY, WITNESSED RAID: We were not realizing, but this was the assault. We were really -- Axel was thinking it was a terrorist attack.
COOPER: You thought it was actually an attack by terrorists?
AXEL, WITNESSED RAID: I thought they were going in house to kill people and I was really -- I was shaking and we -- I took 30 minutes to understand that it was an assault from policeman.
COOPER: You finally were able to actually see the police?
STEFFY: Yeah, and we called them.
COOPER: You called the police.
STEFFY: We called the police and she was -- she didn't know what was happening on the phone so I took the phone to make her hear the shot guns. She said okay, okay, I hear them. She took some information and she came back to us saying like, "Stay inside. Don't move. Close the window," and everything. And then we just saw the police, yeah, the special forces arriving in the streets.
COOPER: You saw the guys (inaudible).
AXEL: Yeah, this was scary.
COOPER: When -- This went on for hours and hours and hours.
AXEL: Two hours I think of intensive shot guns and explosions.
COOPER: You lost friends at Bataclan Concert Hall and this must have made you think about that all over again?
STEFFY: Yeah, when you hear all those shot guns like coming -- like, the sound of it, it makes me feel like all my friends were in the venue. What they have feeling before they died or just like the one who escaped, the trauma...
COOPER: The trauma.
STEFFY: The trauma they can have now, it's a terrible feeling.
COOPER: What do you want people to know about what's happening here? What do you want people around the world to know?
STEFFY: I want them to know that in France, we are more than free. We're really at peace. It's a country of freedom. When you see what's -- what people can make behind us.
COOPER: We're right here at the monument.
STEFFY: It's beautiful and I just want them to continue to live, not be scared and to go to watch -- no, no, no. To go to venue.
COOPER: Listen to music, to enjoy life.
STEFFY: To have a drink with your friend (inaudible). Everything what people can do and to have a thought of the victims in the world because we lived that in France but the Syrian also victims in their country so it's really important we thought for all the victims in this world like it's the...
AXEL: We have to know it's worldwide. The attack (inaudible) everywhere. So (inaudible) friends I think.
COOPER: Well, thank you very much for talking with us.
STEFFY: Thank you.
COOPER: I'm so sorry for the loss of your friends.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Earlier, we showed you the moment when that female suicide bomber blew herself up. We talked a little bit how widespread the phenomenon is of women turning themselves into weapons. The fact is this would-be killer was not the first and she likely won't be the last. Deborah Feyerick tonight explains.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It appears she was ready to die for ISIS. A female suicide bomber in the Paris at Saint-Denis detonating explosives killing herself during a police raid that killed one other. The woman to be identified through DNA is believed to be the cousin of Paris attack ringleader Abdelhamid Abaooud. Though far fewer number, female suicide bombers are no less lethal in their quest for martyrdom.
WILLIAM BRANIFF, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, START: Could be that this is, -- that the organization sees them as a very useful tool because of their femininity.
FEYERICK: In January 2002, Palestinian refugee Wafa Idris detonated a 22-pound backpack in the center of Jerusalem killing one and injuring 140. One of the youngest known suicide bombers, also a Palestinian refugee, was an 18-year-old girl who strapped on a suicide belt, pushed past a security guard and blew herself up inside a Jerusalem supermarket, killing the guard and an Israeli teenage girl.
BRANIFF: When we often think about female suicide bombers, we think of the black widows. These are the widows of Chechen fighters.
FEYERICK: In Russia, Chechen women have blown themselves up to avenge their husband's deaths. Among the most prominent attacks, the 2002 siege of a Moscow theater in which female attackers wore but did not detonate suicide belts.
[21:20:15] Authorities believe several dozen western women from Europe and the U.S. have either attempted or succeeded in reaching ISIS in Syria or Iraq, perhaps the famous, Hayat Boumeddiene, the girlfriend of Paris gunman, Amedy Coulibaly who attacked a Jewish market in Paris. After Coulibaly was killed by French commandos, Boumeddiene traveled to Turkey before crossing into Syria to join the terror group. Deborah Feyerick, CNN, New York.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Up next tonight, a key member of the house intelligence committee weighs in on this latest ISIS threat to New York as well as their claim that they used a bomb in a soda can to destroy that Russian jet over Egypt.
COOPER: We've reported today brought a new threat from ISIS, the terror group releasing yet another video threatening attacks on New York, nothing really new there. Security had already been increased in New York and other major American cities following Friday's attacks here in Paris.
[21:25:04] Congressman Adam Schiff is the ranking democrat of the house intelligence committee. I spoke to him just before the program this evening.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Congressman Schiff, this new video threat from ISIS to New York previously obviously they've made a threat earlier in the week against Washington D.C., do you believe there is an imminent threat against the United States from ISIS?
REP. ADAM SCHIFF, (D) HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: I don't think there's an imminent threat of the kind of attack that we saw in like Paris. We're a hard target to reach and ISIS has made it clear. They put a focus on attacking Europe because of its proximity and the number of foreign fighters that have gone back to Europe. But there is a risk in New York and elsewhere that people are inspired by the Paris attacks, home grown radicals heed the call to lash out, so that is really primarily the danger we're focused on right now.
COOPER: In terms of cooperation between European intelligence agencies, European law enforcement and American, how close is it? Are you satisfied with the level of cooperation because clearly, there is problems within Europe, with data sharing between governments here.
SCHIFF: There is a problem in sharing between governments. We have a very good relationship with the French. We have a very close relationship obviously with the British and others, nonetheless it can be improved. I think the level of cooperation with France is going to intensify in the wake of this, but it's a real challenge and I think even with the best of intelligence sharing, as long as ISIS is allowed to maintain that ground in Iraq and Syria as long as they have the luxury to plan and plot from there and have the resources to do it, even the best of intelligence isn't going to be enough to stop them every time and that's the real heart of the matter.
COOPER: In terms of refugees, we've seen a number of governors obviously in the United States saying they do not want to accept and will not accept Syrian refugees inside their state.
France's president despite all that is going on here has said that they will move forward to accept some 20,000 refugees from Syria over the next two years. Do you see a real security threat from refugees coming from Syria into the United States?
SCHIFF: You know, I understand people's concerns about this and people watching in Paris are appalled at the level of violence and want to make sure we're doing everything possible to avoid any kind of repetition of that in the United States. But the refugee program has not been the problem for us. Among the 2,000 or so refugees we've taken over the last several years from Syria, not a single one of them has been arrested on a terrorism-related offense and in fact, of the 3/4 of a million refugees we've taken in since 9/11, a very few if any problems have occurred within that refugee population.
For whatever reason, Anderson, the problem we've had here in the United States has been homegrown radicals inspired by ISIS, but the refugees who are fleeing violence or fleeing for their lives have not been the problem and frankly, there are much bigger security risks than that one and I hate to see us turning our back on this population that's so desperately in need.
COOPER: Finally, the picture that was put out by ISIS of what they say is the device which brought down the Russian plane in the Sinai, how confident are you that TSA in the United States would be able to catch such a device that would -- whether or not that would show up on radar and screening by TSA?
SCHIFF: Well, this is a grave concern of mine and frankly, I think it's a much bigger risk than anything having to do with the refugee program and that is when we test our TSA, all too often they fail and that is when we do blind tests of whether we can smuggle weapons or explosives in all too often TSA fails to meet those tests and that has to change.
We have a new director of TSA and I think he's very well-regarded and respected and I think he is trying to change that but until I see different results, I'm going to continue to press on this because it remains, I think, a real vulnerability for us.
COOPER: Congressman Schiff, I appreciate your time. Thank you.
SCHIFF: Thanks, Anderson.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: A real vulnerability he said, a grave concern. Those were his words according to Congressman Schiff. Let's take one more look at that image released by ISIS of the device that says brought down the Russian airliner over Egypt. A soda can and the components of a bomb ISIS says was inside.
I want to bring in CNN security and intelligence analyst and former CIA officer Bob Baer. I mean, the bomb that they claim, you said it could be legitimate, it's a relatively simple device. It's -- I mean, not particularly complex, a small amount of explosives but do we have any idea if -- I mean, if it really is for real and I mean, I think a lot of people find it hard to believe that something that small could bring down an enormous aircraft.
[21:30:00] ROBERT BAER, FORMER CIA OFFICER: Well, Anderson, clearly a bomb of that size could easily bring down that aircraft, that airbus very easily and in fact, you could do with a lot less explosives. Frankly, I think what we're going to find out and it's just a guess is that they're going to find forensics on the ground that matches that can and the detonator. Let's wait and see on that.
But that's a crude bomb and I think the TSA could probably catch it. It's the other ones that they failed at. As you've mentioned before, 95%, there are bombs that I've seen that you could get through TSA with 100% certainty. They're so well disguised, the wiring, the explosives. Even the explosives themselves are nearly undetectable (ph) and very small detonators. So aviation security is a real threat.
Now the question is, does ISIS have this capability in this country or even in Europe, but for me, what bothers me now is the ground staff both in this country and Europe is not completely vetted and that's the easiest way to get it in and it doesn't matter how crude the bomb is, you can still bring an airplane down.
COOPER: Yeah, and we've seen that in the United States. I mean, there was the case in Atlanta of a baggage handler who was shipping weapons around the country using his access to get cargo on to an aircraft, which is just stunning and if it was guns, it could have been anything else.
BAER: And the young guy in Minneapolis who was a baggage handler who went off to Syria and was killed in a raid. Yes, so that's a real possibility at every airport in this country, you have unvetted people and, you know, it's aspirational at this point and clearly, if they were a threat, we would hear about it.
What concerns me, Anderson, always is the continued violence in the Middle East increases the risk in this country and I'm not going to say they're going to eventually hit us, but the likelihood of it goes up by the day, more violence there is.
COOPER: Bob, appreciate you being on.
Just ahead, new details about the assault on ISIS in Syria. Adversaries and allies coming together to bombard a common enemy. Nick Paton Walsh got the reports on what he saw.
[21:36:13] COOPER: The security forces in action in Saint-Denis and all across Europe now, coalition of allies and adversaries alike continue the assault in ISIS from the air. Our Nick Paton Walsh is close to the action for us in Syria, joins us with the latest. We aren't disclosing his exact location.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, intense airstrikes over Raqqah now it seems a nightly occurrence. We're hearing from activists inside that city, the caliphates, self- declared capitol that they've heard a number of blasts and they say two particular targets have been hit, fuel truck and something they call the brick factory. Now an informer of those they say they have the first time it seems since the uptick in airstrikes against Raqqah being seven civilian casualties in that one blast and eight injured, as well. We can't corporate that independently, but Raqqah (inaudible) these activists have been pretty reliable in the past and in fact, so there'd be no civilian casualties until at this point.
We don't know who's behind what blast when. We know of course the coalition Russians and even the Syrian regimes sometimes are in action over the skies there, too. But Raqqah bearing the brunt of intense bombardment some nights. The question being how did these targets get chosen? The U.S. says sometimes it requires vetting, sometimes these targets just pop up one day when they're unavailable, the day before, but the civilians trapped in that city now allowed to leave, many of them by ISIS are clearly at risk here as this bombardment intensifies and here inside Syria, the question continues to echo and amplify what about some kind of ground offense?
Now, the Kurds who are amassing to the north of Raqqah clearly will see this uptick in airstrikes as paving the way maybe for their moving in. They don't have numbers frankly by their own admission or the heavy weapons that they want. But still, there is growing optimism and bizarrely talk of this ground assault and frequent amongst people we speak to.
So while these airstrikes intensify, I think many believe ISIS will be certainly shaken inside that city. Does this then lead to something more substantial on the ground? There's talk of it here, but also recognition that that's an extraordinarily difficult task in and of itself, Anderson.
COOPER: All right, Nick Paton Walsh, Nick be careful.
So this is really a war on many fronts with the added risk of ISIS focusing more attention on acts of global terror. The harder it gets hit on the ground in the so-called caliphate. Perspective now from the retired Lieutenant General Mark Hertling, Retired Major General James "Spider" Marks, both now CNN military analysts. Also with us is Daily Beast Senior Editor Michael Weiss, co-author of "ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror."
General Hertling, when you heard Nick's report from inside Syria, nightly airstrikes on Raqqah, wouldn't key members of ISIS be long gone from there by now having obviously anticipated retaliation?
LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING, U.S. ARMY (RET.): Possibly. They might be moving around in the city, as well, Anderson, but I think as you're seeing more airstrike, it's related to having better observation on the ground and I think that's been happening over the last several months where there has been better coordination with some of the people in the area, perhaps covert observers there that are feeding information through special forces to the air component, especially that in (inaudible) which is close by. It doesn't have long legs of aircraft coming out of U.A.E., but in fact, there's only about 45 minutes away and can hit troops in contact as we call them.
COOPER: General Marks, how conventional a force is ISIS? Obviously, we've seen at times them fighting almost conventionally with -- in vehicles with assaults. Would you consider it more of an unconventional enemy and if so, how difficult then is it to get targets that are actually really effective?
MAJOR GEN. JAMES "SPIDER" MARKS, U.S. ARMY (RET.): Anderson, it's a combination of capabilities across the board. The leadership of ISIS originated from Saddam's military. They were the aggrieved leaders at the major and lieutenant colonel level. We threw them all in jail. They were then released. They had no future. They were radicalized and these folks have been trained.
[21:40:07] They know how to run organizations, they know how to conduct tactical operations to establish an operational construct for the employment of forces. So these folks know how to maneuver and to work around large organizations. What's unique about ISIS also is they've created this very unique and very precise what I would call a special operations capability and they've been able to launch these attacks like we've seen in places like the Sinai and Lebanon and now in Paris over the course of 10 months.
So it's a combination of these capabilities and Mark is absolutely spot on, General Hertling in that there are very conventional targets and we can do a pretty good job of getting coordinates on those but there are some targets that are very fleeting, move around the battlefield. We have to do a much finer job of being able to track those. That takes a lot of human intelligence capability on the ground.
COOPER: Michael Weiss, how much of ISIS' strategy is to provoke greater involvement by the U.S., whether it's military involvement on the ground, in Syria or deeper in Iraq or even an overreaction against refugee populations or against Muslim populations throughout Europe and perhaps even in the United States? How much do they want to provoke that sort of reaction and/or even overreaction?
MICHAEL WEISS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well Anderson, the core of their propaganda going back to 2004 when it was led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was to draw the United States in to this region-wide war, not just in Iraq but also in Syria.
Their propaganda magazine is called Dabiq. Dabiq is a town in the suburbs of Aleppo where they believe the Armageddon is going to take place. This is where the so-called armies are grown, meaning the west will fight the armies of Islam and ushering in the end times.
So if you take their propaganda, their religious fundamentalism at face value, that's absolutely their goal. They want the U.S. to come in and fight them on their home turf.
I actually think though that they would be remised to try and provoke that kind of response. One of the reasons that ISIS has managed to hang on to so much terrain is you look at where they've been booted out in Iraq and Syria, and let's take Northern Syria. Most of the areas are Kurdish villages or mixed communities, that is to say both Sunni Arab and or Sunni Turkman and Kurds, where they are not losing terrain, at least in any kind of substantive manner, is the Sunni tribal heartland of Eastern Syria. The same thing applies, by the way, in Iraq. They were kicked out of a lot of the (inaudible) province. That's mostly mixed communities, Sunni and Shia.
This is what I call the briar patch for ISIS. This is where any kind of ground up force that is not Sunni Arab in composition is going to meet not just with resistance by ISIS but also by fellow travelers, by the local communities, the local population which see ISIS, believe it or not, I know this is very difficult in the west to wrap our heads around. They see ISIS as a better alternative than any other ethnic of sectarian minority group that might come in. This is why by the way the Kurds are never going to be full hearty as to march on Raqqah City or Deir ez-Zor because they would be slaughtered if they tried.
COOPER: Well, General Hertling, I mean, has the Iraqi government made any -- since al-Maliki has left, have they made any improvements in terms of reaching out to Sunni groups, to Sunnis in this area?
HERTLING: Yeah, all indicators are they certainly have. And we're seeing some of the effects of that in unmarked province and also north of Tikrit and Baiji, and even in to Sherkat further to the north of that. So they are getting in the area. We are starting to see successes by a combination of Shia militias and Sunni tribesmen which would have been unthinkable a year ago.
There is some coordination, there is still distrust certainly but they are coordinating because they had lived under ISIS for a year and they are beginning to say hey, we've got to combine in order to get this out as opposed to fighting each other, let's fight against ISIS.
COOPER: I wish we had more time for this. Well, to be continued. General Hertling, thank you, General Spider Marks, always, Michael Weiss, as well.
Just ahead, more of my exclusive interview with two young survivors of the Bataclan theater attack. A young couple who were separated right before the attack. What they did to survive and what they saw and heard as 89 people were slaughtered around them.
[21:48:16] COOPER: With all the fast-moving developments in this investigation, we don't want to lose focus on the still unfolding story of the attacks last Friday here in Paris. Day by day, we learn new horrific details. We're getting a clear picture of the terror that unfolded inside the Bataclan theater where 89 people were slaughtered. There is really no word for what happened inside. The place was packed that night for a rock concert.
I spoke earlier today to a young couple who got out alive. Isabelle DuBarry (ph) is 22 and Amari Badwan (ph) is 24. To survive, she pretended to be dead. He hid inside a bathroom along with dozens of others. They were separated before the shooting began. Here is more of my exclusive interview with them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Did you think about trying to run?
ISABELLE DUBARRY: Yeah. The first 10 minutes you think of all your options. You think how to survive, what you can do and it's why the men who try to protect me really saved my life because your reaction is to run, to fight and he just said stay. He just said stay. And from that moment on, I didn't dispute my actions.
COOPER: You thought about fighting?
DUBARRY: You think about doing something, but I'm here because I didn't run. I'm here because I stayed.
COOPER: It's one thing to think about these people who did this as coming from another place, but to think that they -- most of them it seems came from here, they grew up here, they once listened to music, too. They once -- they grew up in this society and yet they -- does it make any sense to you? Does it...
[21:50:10] DUBARRY: For me, I feel very strongly about this is that those men were psychopaths. They're not worth time talking about -- to talk about them is to take away attention from the victims of this and that's all I care about. There are horrible excuses for humans in this world, but there are so many more great ones. And I do not want to talk about those men. They're not worth my time.
COOPER: And that's what you think about. That's what you, moving forward, want to remember, the people who -- the man who saved you, the man -- the people who reached out to help other people, complete strangers?
DUBARRY: The survivors. The people who went through this, the people who helped me, friends, family. People from around the world who have sent the most incredible message of support, who have warmed my heart, who have made me able to sleep at night. So yeah, I want to remember the great acts of kind and lovely people. And that's all I'm going to take away from this.
COOPER: It is extraordinary how in the darkest of times, in the most horrific of moments, people reach out to each other and save people.
DUBARRY: The tragedy here is that so many people our age were killed in that attack. So many people won't get to live their lives. They just only started. And that is what we're going to do is that we're going to live for them. We're going to be inspired by them. We're going to be better. Carry on with our lives, continue to listen to rock and roll, to love, to go out, to dance, to fight this horrible, horrible fear with love.
COOPER: Do you feel hate?
DUBARRY: No. But that's what they want. They want us to fear. They want us to hate. That it is so important to remember how many more great people there are than bad.
COOPER: It's interesting you said to fight this with love. That's important to you?
DUBARRY: It's imperative. It's imperative that we take this horrific story and learn from it. To appreciate life, to realize that victims of this tragedy don't get their lives. We live -- we get to live and we are incredibly lucky.
COOPER: Thank you.
DUBARRY: Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[21:55:00] COOPER: We'll have more from both of them tomorrow on "360."
More from Paris when we come back.
COOPER: I want to show you a rally that took place tonight in Wellenbach, the city -- the community in Brussels, in the neighborhood where several of the Paris attackers had ties. People lighting candles, calling for peace, standing together for the sake of those murdered and wounded five days ago here in Paris.
Tonight, the Eiffel Tower is once again lit with the colors of the French flag and if you look closely, you can see in Latin, the city's long-held motto, "Tossed But Not Sunk". Paris has not lost its spirit or its courage, even in its grief.
One last thing, CNN has an interactive memorial where you can read about the victims of the attack. Please go to CNN -- go to ac360.com to find that link.
That does it for us tonight. Thank you very much for watching our live coverage from Paris. We'll of course be here tomorrow night as well. "CNN Tonight" with Don Lemon starts now.