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CNN TONIGHT

Two Air France flights from the United States to Paris were diverted tonight for security concerns; Police raid taking place in a suburb north of Paris; 11-12a ET

Aired November 17, 2015 - 23:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[23:00:00] DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Is that just the gap?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. I don't think.

LEMON: Was there some meaning in there?

I think, unfortunately, very many people who since January, since the "Charlie Hebdo" attacks, find ways of kind of justifying that saying well, this was offensive. This crossed a line. Maybe we can understand why people were offended. As if that would somehow justify a massacre. So at least we begin to see a little bit more clearly as compared with January that innocent people are innocent people, freedom is freedom. It doesn't matter how you use your freedom, whether it is to go a concert or to publish satirical magazine, you shouldn't be somehow prey to terrorist attacks. So I think Gaffes are made on both side. We need to look at what's going on here.

LEMON: And you are a person I am thanking you again because of the breaking news, our time is short. But please comeback. I appreciate it. Thank you so much, Neil Ferguson.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you so much.

LEMON: It is 11:00 p.m. in New York.

And we begin with breaking news, two air France flights from the United States diverted due to bomb threats, according to officials, both planes landed safely, one in Salt Lake City, Utah and the other in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Joining me now on the phone is CNN aviation correspondent Rene Marsh.

Rene, what do you know on the breaking news?

Rene Marsh? Apparently we are working to get Rene Marsh.

RENE MARSH, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT (on the phone): Yes.

LEMON: Can you hear me, Rene?

MARSH: Yes.

LEMON: Again. You are online, breaking news on these two aircrafts. What information are you getting? MARSH: Hello?

LEMON: Apparently having a problem with Rene Marsh again.

MARSH: I can tell you besides knowing that these are two Air France flights, both bound for Paris, flight 65 and 55. We now know from a government official that both of these flights were diverted because of a bomb threat. Both of these flights received bomb threats and that is why both have to be diverted. One was a 777, which another is roughly 314 or more passengers. The other is an airbus 380, a much larger aircraft, fits about 544 passengers, probably more, depending on the plane.

But what happens next, now that both of these aircrafts have landed safely, the passengers have deplaned, bomb-sniffing dogs will be brought in. They will want to sweep the entire aircraft. They will also want to recheck the luggage. If this is a hoax, which we have seen before, if you credibly inconvenient. Not only inconvenient to the passengers but taxing for law enforcement forces. We know that the FBI will likely come in to try to investigate. Try to trace this call. We understand from the airline, air France says the bomb threat came in by phone. So, perhaps, investigators will be able to track that call if they have to that that is worth noting if an individual is caught, they do take this sort of thing seriously.

And of course, Don, the comes on the same day that the Russians reveal that they found trace evidence of explosives on the refuge of that Metro Jet, that Russian passenger plane and a bomb was on board. So the aviation community is very much on edge and so within you have a bomb threat called in, to two aircraft with hundreds of people on board, the pilot obviously is not going to take any chances, that's why we saw both of these flights divert -- Don.

LEMON: Absolutely. Our aviation correspondent Rene Marsh reporting for us. We apologize for the technical information of this information just coming in.

So I want to go now on the phone is Yianni who is on the Air France flight that was diverted to Halifax, Nova Scotia. Not the one you are looking at now. That is Salt Lake City. Flight 55, which was diverted from Dulles and had to go to Halifax.

Can you hear in?

YIANNI, PASSENGER (on the phone): I can hear you.

LEMON: Tell us what happened.

YIANNI: So, we had a great takeoff and a pretty sweep flight out of Dulles, about two-and-a-half hours into the flight. Right as we can see we are about to cross over the Atlantic the people came on and told us that due to operational issues, we are going to be diverting to Halifax and the plane landed pretty quickly after the announcement, about 15 minutes we were on the ground. And they started to disembark passengers with the buses. They took us to a back part of the runway and as we did with a bunch of fire, EMS and, you know, other security vehicles and then passengers started to disembark in an orderly fashion.

We are in the northwest wing of the airport from what I am told. It's where all of the departing flights to the U.S. go. This part of the airport has been closed off. Because there is no more departures to America from Canada at this hour. So they have brought us here about two-thirds of the passengers are off and there is about 100 people still on the plane. And security officials that I talked to said that the bombing sniffing dogs are already doing the fuselage and under carriage so to speak. And we are waiting to get official word of what next steps are and people are here of just waiting to hear what's going on, charging from and seeing what itself going on.

[23:05:47] LEMON: OK. So tell me, what reason do they give you, Yianni?

YIANNI: They told us over the PA system that it is operational issues. They didn't say what exactly it was. And upon landing one of the flight attendants said it was a security issue that needed to get addressed.

LEMON: So when they sent the buses out and you didn't go to a normal gate with the bridge that come out, did you suspect something?

YIANNI: I mean I think people suspected something the minute we landed and we look out the window and there's 30 cop cars and ambulances, lights are blazing following the aircraft.

LEMON: How did people react, Yianni, upon seeing that and to the news over the PA?

YIANNI: to be honest, it was really calm. I mean, I think, you know, the Air France team did a great job keeping calm. No one was really panicked. You know, when they told us we were diverting, I think people begin to question why we were not going to the Charles de Gaulle airport. But you know, I think that given what's going on in the world and given the news in recent days, I think it's not out of the realm of possibility that a hoax threat got called in or something related to Paris, you know, is happening.

So folks were pretty calm. Now, withstanding the lights. But, you know, it's pretty tranquil right now. I think, you know, people are resting and waiting to hear how long it's going to take. We were told it could be anywhere from two hours to four hours. And hopefully they're able to you know clear the plane really quickly, re-stand all of our luggage and get us back on our way.

LEMON: Hey, Yianni. There is a lot going on here, people are talking to me as you are talking as well. So, everyone -- is everyone off that plane?

YIANNI: I don't believe that everyone is off just yet. We are on little tram buses that were each can carry about 25 to 35 passengers. And there was three of those at the time that we first landed. So the first set of three took off. We had to wait. We were on the second set of three that moved on. But there are folks that I don't know if they're on the airplane yet, but they're still waiting to get into the room where we are. We are certainly not the entire aircraft.

LEMON: And so, no news as to what is going to happen correctly, they're just asking you to be patient?

YIANNI: They are asking us to be patient. I mean, they have told us that they are going to sweep the plane and ensure the safety of all the luggage and everyone's information or everyone stuff is safe before we get back on.

LEMON: OK. Yianni, thank you. We appreciate you joining us. Yianni is on that flight, flight 55 that you are - if you put the pictures right that has landed in Halifax, Nova Scotia at the airport there. It took off earlier this evening from Dulles and that is to the right of your screen that the flight that Yianni was on, from Dulles en route to Charles de Gaulle, Dulles airport, of course, in Washington, D.C. It is supposed to go to Charles de Gaulle airport and has to be diverted to Halifax airport, Nova Scotia.

Originally, they were told it was an operations issue over the PA system. And Yianni as you heard said once you got the one of the flight attendants said it was security issues. Took them to sort of an extension of annex of the airport rather than a regular gate and disembarked on to buses that took them to this part of the airport asking them to be patient as the rest of the passengers have been removed and the plane is being swept, luggage and everything and all for security reasons.

The flight that you are looking at on the left the photographs, that is at Salt Lake City international airport. That flight took off from LAX en route to Charles de Gaulle or en route to Charles de Gaulle and has to be diverted to Salt Lake City international airport.

So joining me now is Jonathan Gilliam, CNN law enforcement analyst and Juliette Kayyem, CNN national security analyst.

Jonathan, you were an air Marshall, how quickly can officials determine whether this is a legitimate threat or not?

JONATHAN GILLIAM, FORMER FBI SPECIAL AGENT: Well, they can definitely determine if there is anything on the plane pretty quickly. That once they get the people off and I'm almost positive that there's probably no one left on that plane, if anybody was still on that plane at this point, that would be a sign of something up with those particular passengers. But I would almost be 100 percent sure that they are off.

They could then sweep the plane. They bring the dogs on the plane him they clear the luggage and then go through the luggage. So they can clear the plane. I would say relatively quickly, clear the luggage relatively quickly.

But determining whether these phone calls came from is going to be a difficult thing unless it's just some, you know, person randomly calling these things in. But what bothers me is these are two different airplanes at the same time. So we either have one person that is doing these or they have a coordination where they are making phone calls, which we have seen not necessarily for bomb threats where people are in different locations and they coordinate the calls to go in so that they can't be tracked.

And one thing that has to be clear is that we may call this a hoax, but the reality is, terrorism which we see going on in France right now and here is a tactic used to infect a psychological or a political change on a community and that is what this is. So it is -- it may be a hoax as far as a bomb threat, but this is terrorism.

[23:11:14] LEMON: As I'm getting more information here, Juliette, I want to go to you because I am wondering, how long are we going to have to deal with this? Because in this climate, everything needs to be taken seriously. No doubt. We also saw that threat at a stadium, by the way, in Hanover, Germany today as well. How long do you think we are going to have to maintain this high landfall alert?

JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, it will be a while. I mean, and this is consistent the feeling people had after 9- 11 after the attacks in London. There is a heightened alert.

And I want to remind people are deserve explain. The ultimate decision to divert is the pilot. This is and Air France flight. These are probably French pilot. And so, we have to recognize these are human beings who are making these calculations in the air. They can't tell whether this is a hoax or anything else. And what I wonder, just picking up on Jonathan's point, is the second pilot who decided to divert, did he know that the first plane had diverted? Because we don't know when the calls came in vis-a-vis the flight. The calls may have come in before the flights took off and then the pilot makes a judgment call to divert. Ultimately, the responsibility of the airplane relies on the pilot and in consultation with Air France and, of course, federal officials at least in the U.S. and now in Canada. So when we talk about us being nervous, imagine if you are an airline pilot from a country that's been attacked.

And also on Jonathan's point, a hoax is a hoax in the sense that, you know, this may not be bombs, but the motivation of the person calling, we don't know yet. So, if it's some teenager in the, you know, in the Philippines, you know, sort of messing with us, or if it's something more strategic in terms of sort of commercial terrorism or going after us in terms of the economics of our airline and airline industry.

LEMON: But we just den know right now. And one cannot be too cautious especially in this environment as you two have made perfectly clear.

Jonathan Gilliam and Juliette Kayyem, thank you.

Up next the hunt for a possible second suspect in the Paris terrorist attacks.

Plus, details, more details on our breaking news involving two Air France flights having to be diverted.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:17:12] LEMON: a lot of breaking news going on tonight. But this one is on the hunt for a possible second suspect in the Paris terror attacks.

CNN senior international correspondent is Fredrick Pleitgen and he joins us from Paris.

So, Fed, give us the latest here.

FRED PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Don. There is a hunt for a possible second suspect that is something that came out late last night from the French authorities. As we know from the initial stages after the attack took place, the French authorities were hunting at least one man who appeared to still be on the run, Salah Abdeslam. And now what they have done is they have gone back and looked at video of a possible getaway car. This was (INAUDIBLE). And you will recall that car was found outside of Paris and there were three AK-47 rifles in it. And what they are doing is they have seen the video of it and now they are looking to see whether there was a second possible suspect and then possible also a third possible suspect who might still be on the run at this point in time.

One of the things that sort of through investigators off when they found that car was that there were three AK-47s inside. And so, therefore, they believe that there might have been three passengers and those might have been involved with that attack.

Very little information about that at this point in time. But certainly the search for possible other suspects is ongoing, Don.

LEMON: Let's talk about someone else who is, lets you be involved with this. What did we learn about the suspected mastermind? Abdelhamid Abaaoud. What other plots has he been involved in?

PLEITGEN: Yes. This is certainly something that is very interesting and more and more possible plots that are coming to light. It seems as though this man had quite a long history of jihadism, of extremism. It goes all the way back to 2010 where he and Salah Abdeslam, the man who is currently being sought in that manhunt appeared to run some sort of criminal operation together. But he has also been implicated in a 2014 shooting at a Jewish museum. But also in that attack on a French train that you will recall. It happened earlier this year where a man with an AK-47 attempted to shoot up a train between Brussels and Paris. And of course, that man was stopped by those three American heroes who came in and took the gun away from him and really stopped a massacre there.

So this is somebody who has been on the radar of the department of homeland security of intelligence for a while. They believed that he is in Syria but also that he traveled back and forth or traveled back and forth between Syria and Belgium and France and is responsible for a lot of extremist activity here in Europe attempting several plots.

Also, you recall earlier this year, we had the "Charlie Hebdo" massacre. And he was there, also believed to be implicated in a cell that was being run from a town called Verviers which is just outside of Brussels in Belgium, Don.

[23:20:01] LEMON: Fred Pleitgen, I'm also being told that we need you to check on something for us. That we are getting word of a gunfire and police raid under way. Heavy gunfire in the northern suburb of St. Denis in Paris. Again, a police raid underway and there is heavy gunfire going on. We need to check on that for us and report back.

Fredrick Pleitgen reporting to us from Paris this evening.

A terrorist scare in Germany forces cancellation of a soccer match between a German and Dutch teams. Michael Weiss, a senior contributor and co-author of is inside the army of terror. He joins me now.

Michael, today in Germany, officials cancelled a soccer match between Germany and the Netherlands after police uncovered quote "serious plans for explosives." As of tonight, no explosives, no arrests have been made, how real was that threat?

MICHAEL WEISS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: It sounds like it was very real. One thing to keep in mind, Don, you know, the Belgium operation that took place in January of this year, which was actually interdicted by Belgium authorities, resulted in the worst firefight in the history of the country since World War II. A lot of intelligence was uncovered. And CNN's Paul Cruickshank reported at that time that European authorities said there was about 20 sleeper cells, ISIS sleeper cells scattered throughout Europe as many as 180 operatives. And the plans that they have were to attack the following countries: Germany, France, Belgium and the Netherlands. OK. I think this is giving you some indication of the scale and the sort of tempo of this threat at this point.

This is not just confined to one country in Western Europe. This is -- this spans the continent now. These guys are able to penetrate borders using the (INAUDIBLE) visa free travel program. They obviously have multiple identity papers, passports, some of them, by all indications, either stolen or forged, either if Turkey or Syria. And they are moving weapons, men and material across the borders of Europe. Very, very easily. And the important thing about the alleged mastermind of the Paris attack is this. Again, based on CNN reporting.

He apparently was close to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi who is the self- appointed Caliph leader of ISIS. This is actually very significant because previously the way ISIS behaved was they would possibly offer you money. But once you have left the caliphate or once you had established a cell or network in Europe, you are on your own. You ran your own autonomous cell or your own autonomous sot of agency of terrorists. They didn't really -- there was no command and control being exercised. If this guy, you know, the mastermind, the alleged mastermind was close to Baghdadi. That speaks to the level of coordination that emanates from Morocco.

LEMON: Michael Weiss, I'm sorry I had to cut you off. I want you to stay with us, though, because we have some breaking news.

I want to bring in CNN's Fred Pleitgen back in, pardon me, Michael.

Again, Fredrick, we sent you to check on this, and apparently you did. You haven't left but you got some information regarding a northern Paris suburb, heavy gunfire and a raid, police raid. What do you know?

PLEITGEN: Yes, there is a little bit of information coming out. It's not very much at this point in time, Don. However, we are seeing a pictures on social media that seem to indicate that there might be shooting and also some sort of concussions going on in Saint-Denis which is the northern suburb of Paris. And there is witness reports that we are getting into CNN that also report that heavy gunfire and that police are blocking roads in that Paris northern suburb of Saint- Denis.

Witnesses also say officers have been shot and wounded during a raid seeking the so-called ninth Paris attack suspect and this according to our own CNN affiliate BFMTV. Now, the interesting thing also about that district, about Saint-Denis. That's actually also where the Stade de France is where the main stadium is and that is, of course, where at least three of those suicide attackers blew themselves up with suicide vests.

So this place has been the focal point of the attack or one of the focal points that went on here on Friday. And it would certainly be interesting to see whether anything related to that attack is going on there right now because it would indicate that perhaps anyone who might be implicated or people who might be implicated there could have been fighting out there the entire time.

LEMON: OK. Here is what we are getting. Fredrick Pleitgen joins us. He is obviously in Paris. He has been reporting on this since it happened. The breaking news is that witnesses are reporting that there is heavy gunfire and that police are blocking roads in the northern Paris suburb, as he pronounce it, Saint-Denis.

Joining me now is a witness to the attack. His name is, the witness is Salah Abdela (ph). Pardon me if I pronounce it improperly, but tell us what you know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (on the phone): Yes, they were going out in St.- Denis. (INAUDIBLE). They will not go back in. I don't know which place. I can only see the police just shooting.

[23:25:08] LEMON: And speaking to the phone clearly for us, again, what are you seeing, Mr. Abdela?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm just see police, many police around here, from my window. They are shooting. And that they telling us to go back in our room. Our house. Yes. And even people are outside. They are also working the visa. So that is what is happening right now here.

LEMON: Did you hear gunfire?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In St.-Denis? I can still hear the gunfire.

LEMON: You can hear the gunfire?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Right now, yes. Yes. But police are out there. We hope we are safe.

LEMON: How long have you, when did the start and for how long has it been going on?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was sleeping and my wife helped me out. So it's hearing something I didn't know. But it's gunfire in my country.

LEMON: Tell us about you live in this suburb St.-Denis. And we are looking at a picture. It is a very dark outside of the window here.

Stand by. Stand by, sir. Stand by. Can we re-rack that video? OK. So this is, we are looking at images and hearing the gunshots so this is from twitter. We are getting this from social media. And so, again, you heard all of this go down. Tell the viewers what you heard.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I heard the fun shots from the first time it was - (INAUDIBLE). I record it. So also I don't know what happened.

LEMON: So again if you can speak into the phone clearly for us. It is what 5:30 in the morning there. But you said this started earlier. How long ago?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 4:30 a.m. yes. It's been almost one hour, I was woke up, yes, to the gunfire.

LEMON: OK. Thank you. We want you to be safe.

Again, if you are just joining us, there is a lot of breaking news going on, everyone. We have the two airplanes here in the United States that had to be diverted en route to Paris. Of course, we had the breaking news of a situation on the investigation. And now we have the breaking news of what has happened in St.-Denis which is a northern suburb of Paris.

Again, apparently there is a police raid. People are hearing gunfire. You saw the video there and you heard from a gentleman that live there saying that he heard it started about an hour ago.

I want to bring in CNN's Michael Weiss.

Michael, this is what happens when there is a terror investigation. You had raids on certain neighborhoods and that's as a result of what's happened. This is what's going on.

WEISS: Yes. I mean, look. You are going to see, not a nationwide dragnet, but a continental live one, right. Because this goes well beyond France. I mean, this is now extending into Belgium, possibly into Germany. There is going to be a lot of coordination between and amongst counterterrorism officials in all of those countries. The United States is probably going to be sharing whatever it has in terms of signals, intelligence, intercepts with Europe, with the European Union which has it has own intelligence wing. I think we are seeing the beginning of this not the end, to be honest. I mentioned earlier in the last segment. I mean, according to European officials, ISIS has got as many as 180 operatives. That was the last estimate as of January of this year. Twenty different cells scattered throughout the continent. And here's what I want to emphasize. This actually returns to the

origins of al-Qaeda in Iraq, ISIS' earliest incarnation. (INAUDIBLE), the Jordanian founder of that organization was personally responsible for overseeing foreign operations. You may remember he had a role in the assassination of Lawrence Foley, a U.S. aid worker in Jordan. He had been implicated in a host of different plots in Europe. Had dispatched his lieutenants from Iraq during the occupation in the war there to the continent to conduct these kind of terror spectacular and try to get away with what we have now seen ISIS getting away with in Paris.

So there is - they have formed here. But again, they are reverting to this sort of prior mode for a variety of reasons. Number one, it's a way to distract from certain battlefield losses they have sustained particularly in Syria. Number two, the borders of the so-called caliphate have now been somewhat circumscribe, right, or better (INAUDIBLE) by the Turks, certainly by the Iraqis. And so, it's harder for the so-called Mujahedeen to make immigration to the caliphate. So instead, they are told stay where you are. You don't have to come to Raqqa and join us here, you know. We can (INAUDIBLE), we can convert you, you can pledge allegiance to us in whatever capital, city or whatever town on the planet you are residing in. So this, we are beginning to see this sort of second phase of ISIS' terror unfold.

[23:30:44] LEMON: A question for you. Explain something to me. What is the point of this Paris attack other than terror? And how, I mean, how terrorizing the west help ISIS to get their caliphate which they say that's what they want.

WEISS: Well, they have several goals. If you look at their propaganda, you know, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi said a couple months ago, he said, you know, if God wills it, one day we will be in Rome. Their propaganda, the black flag (INAUDIBLE) enveloped the entire world. That's their iconography. Now, do they really believe they are going to have advancing columns march on Washington, D.C. or on London or in Paris? No.

The second best thing for them is to do this. To discombobulate, to traumatize and to terrorize. And in so doing, they are trying to manipulate western politics. They want the very debate that we are having now, you know, the rise of the sort of xenophobic isolationist sentiment, all Muslims out. That is music to ISIS' ears. They have cast their struggle as a civilizational religious one. When Victor Orban (ph), the leader of Hungary gets up and says Hungary is a Christian nation. We don't want Muslims coming here. That's perfect. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi couldn't put better himself. When Marie La Pen in France said we should shut down the border and don't let any Syrians in, again, perfect, because they know, they understand, that is the catalyst. That is going to radicalize Sunnis at an industrial scale and thus continue to populate the caliphate.

This has always been an international project, you know. We think that somehow we can, you know, absent ourselves or complete extract ourselves in the Middle East. Even if we are not interested in the Middle East, the Middle East is always interested in us. This is the fundamental lessons to take away. They are not going to stop. And even if they are defeated, even if they are booted out of Raqqa, the real goal will be providing a credible alternative, convincing Sunni Arabs in particular that United States is on their side. That we have their best interests at heart. That we are looking to defend them and protect their human rights.

Right now, I know reported on Syria for almost five years the level of conspiracism, the level of dejection and disaffection and looking at the United States, not as a bumbling haphazard imperial power anymore, but as an active agent for the marginalization of Sunnis has reached a record scale. This is a geopolitical crisis. And as geopolitical crisis, there is now bleeding out, hemorrhaging into Europe and eventually possibly, God forbid, though, the United States again. So we have to take this seriously. And again, this is just the beginning.

LEMON: Michael Weiss, thank you very much. I appreciate you joining us here on CNN.

Again, I want to update our viewers on the breaking news that we have, reports of gunfire in a northern suburb of Paris, officers again according to sources there, according to CNN affiliate WBFM, officers have been shot and wounded during a race seeking the so-called ninth Paris attack suspect.

Also, breaking news here in United States, two Air France flights en route to Paris having to be diverted to two different cities. Updates on the breaking news right after this break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:37:54] LEMON: Breaking news tonight, French police confirm to CNN that there is an ongoing police raid in St.-Denis, a Paris suburb. Police did not confirm reports that officers have been shot in the operation. Listen to this video.

(VIDEO CLIP PLAYING)

LEMON: The video continues to loop and you can hear the gunfire.

Joining me now is Benjamin Haddad, fellow at the Hudson Substitute, Juliette Kayyem, CNN national security analyst and Michael Weiss, CNN senior editor at the "Daily Beast" and co-author of "Isis, inside the army of terror."

There is a whole lot of breaking news. So everyone, bear with us. A lot of this information just coming in. But I want to pose to my experts what they make of this raid in this north suburb in Paris. Benjamin to you first.

BENJAMIN HADDAD, FELLOW, HUDSON SUBSTITUTE: Well, first as your correspondent has underlined earlier, St.-Denis is the town where Stade se France which is where some of the suicide attacks were carried last Friday.

Now over the last few days, though the French have ramped up security against terrorist networks, radical networks in France. A lot of arrests were carried out in France and also in Germany and Belgium. So there is a large security sweep all over Europe because there were attacks that are carried out by French citizens. They were planned in Syria and prepared, organized if Belgium against the French targets. So this is, you know, a whole regional sweeps.

But what the French are doing right now is expanding the operations against radical cells, even beyond the ones that are directly linked to the attack on Friday. But using the measures within in the state of emergency that was declared by Francois Hollande to also target lot of suspected radicals or potential link to extremist cells.

LEMON: Benjamin, if we can put that video back up if you are listening in the control room. Viewers I think need to know, that Benjamin, you grew up in Paris. And your brother was in the stadium during Friday's attack.

HADDAD: Yes, absolutely.

[23:40:01] LEMON: I am being told that this particular neighborhood, St.-Denis, is a heavily immigrant enclave. Tell us about this neighborhood.

HADDAD: Yes, absolutely. I mean, St.-Denis is in - is one of the departments on the northeast of Paris, arguably one of the most impoverished in the area with a heavy diverse and immigrant population. So it is possible that some of the cells where radical groups would emanate, where you would have incitement and maybe a radical underground mosque would be held in these kind of areas.

LEMON: What might this be, Juliette to you, Juliette Kayyem, we were told initially that this may be in response, and this from our affiliate which BFM reporting that response to a ninth suspect, originally we were told there were seven, and then there were eighth, and now there are nine. Are there possibly more?

KAYYEM: Absolutely. I think they can't know what the number is yet because as we have been saying this investigation is ongoing. I find it hard to believe the only people were involved, I don't think anyone does believe it were the men there that day last Friday. They needed a support team to help them fund this train this get the arms. So I would imagine that this number is going to go higher in any event.

And just to pick up on this sweep notion, we are going to see this for the next couple of weeks, these investigations, these attempts to break up cells. What we haven't seen yet, what is new about tonight is, of course, the - at least what looks or sounds like the exchange of arms, of gunfire, between police and those they're trying to get, which would then make me think that this is actually related to Friday, unless there is another cell that they didn't know about and they happened upon in this investigation. So this is a unique night in this regard.

LEMON: And Michael, we are just getting information from police that they didn't want to confirm about the officers, whether officers had been shot in this operation. And obviously, so they don't want to give away all of the information. But they are confirming there is a police raid ongoing in St.-Denis, which is, again, a north suburb. And Benjamin knows a lot about it. He grew up there. But again, we can expect these operations to be going on in particular neighborhoods that may have folks who would be prone to joining is, heavily immigrant enclaves, such as this.

WEISS: Sure. I mean, not necessarily immigrants. You can have people who were born in France, but are the sons of, you know, immigrants, the first generation, second generation French nationals. This is the way - I mean, I lived in London for three years which is - it has a similar problem with radical Islamists ideology and jihadi -- jihadism. I mean, there is a scarcely an international terrorist attack. It doesn't work its way back to some British university or even some neighborhood in the U.K. And it was exactly this problem, you had children of you know from fairly well educated Bouzios (ph) backgrounds, who were attending schools. I mean, you know, one of the suspects in the Parisian attacks was a Belgian who went to one of the most elite I think finishing schools or secondary schools in the country.

This is a problem, alright. I mean, children who have access to radical ideology who are (INAUDIBLE) remotely through the internet, watching the sermons of Anwar al-Alwaki (ph) or indeed, I mean, you can live stream ISIS clerics, Friday prayers and sermons on a platform called Zela. You can get it on your mobile phone. Anyone in the world can listen to this stuff. So it's like having it pumped into directly in your sitting, you know, in a mosque in Raqqa, itself.

This is the problem. And you know the French are going to find that their entire city, their entire country is probably honeycombed with exactly these kind of networks. And it's not even necessarily people who are actively plotting terrorist attacks. But people who are tracking this kind of sentiment and ideology.

LEMON: And this, Benjamin, we saw similarly after "Charlie Hebdo" are the same sorts of things where we are reporting on different police operations after the initial attack.

HADDAD: Yes, absolutely. I mean, beyond the people who are directly linked to these attacks, you have to keep in mind that the French intelligence service have a list that they call the (INAUDIBLE), the S-listing which lists all the people linked in a way or another to radicalism. So they went on radical websites who might have been radicalizing jail. That doesn't mean they're plotting terrorist attacks, but at least there are people who are potential threats on civilians. And on this list, 11,000 people.

So that's way beyond the 500 people that we think are currently in Syria might come back as foreign fighters. This is an issue that is well beyond it. As Mike pointed out, it goes on the internet. A lot of the people we are tracking today, radicalizing jail as well that was the case of for example, (INAUDIBLE) who was the killer and the Toulouse terrorist attacks against Jewish kids in 2012 or (INAUDIBLE), the terrorists of (INAUDIBLE) that followed just after the "Charlie Hebdo" attacks. [23:45:16] LEMON: Juliette, in the short time we have left, can you

explain the danger that law enforcement faces when they go into neighborhoods like this. Again, we are getting reports that officers had been injured in this shootout, in this raid. But just the danger of going into neighborhoods like this where you don't know what you are facing or up against.

KAYYEM: It's simply, this is, these sweeps are happening very, very quickly. So that the normal approach of someone who might be a terrorist, which sometimes takes a long time. You make sure that you protect the first responders and the police officers. It's not happening right now. We are seeing too many raids. They are just approaching quickly. So their physical vulnerability is quite high.

They also likely don't know what they're coming upon or what they are happening upon when they get there. And so - and this is, I mean, finally, this is urban, these are urban approaches. I mean, this is somewhat rare in Paris in most western countries to have shootouts like this in urban areas.

So this is France has made a concerted effort and a conscious decision as they should that they are going to be overbroad after last Friday. And they are going to approach anyone who is remotely connected to anything that they might view as nefarious. And so, that's where France is right now.

LEMON: And it is understandable that they are doing so. This is a night-of-breaking news here on CNN.

Coming up, more on our stories, our breaking news stories. The police raid a neighborhood near Paris in the northern suburbs of Paris and two Air France flights on their way to Paris diverted because of two security threats. We are going to update you on both breaking news stories right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:50:38] LEMON: Breaking news tonight here on CNN. French police confirm to CNN that there is an ongoing police raid in St.-Denis which is Paris suburb. Police did not confirm reports that officers have been shot in the operation.

We also have more breaking new here. President Barack Obama speaking just a short time ago in the Philippines, talking about the battle with ISIS and hitting back at critics of the program to resettle Syrian refugees in the United States.

Joining me now is Saba Ahmed, president of the Muslim Republican coalition.

Saba, it's so good to have you here. All that's going on, when you see what's happening in the airplanes that have to be diverted on the airplanes that were going to Paris having to be diverted, when you see what's happening in the northern suburb of Paris, it shows you just how on edge everyone is right now.

SABA AHMED, PRESIDENT, MUSLIM REPUBLICAN COALITION: Thank you, Don, for having me.

I can totally understand. It is horrifying what has happened last week. I mean Muslims, non-Muslims, all of us are terrified about what could happen next. We are all stand in solidarity with Paris. Obviously, they do not represent Islam. They have ISIS has perverted the teachings of Islam to commit such atrocities. There is no basis for suicide in Islam. There is no basis for killing innocent human beings, killing one person is as though you have killed all of humanity. So, I'm not sure what Islamic teachings they're following. But they're completely against our faith.

LEMON: You know, President Obama just addressed reporters. I want you to listen to this. He addressed reporters after meeting with the president of the Philippines, here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When individuals say that we should have a religious test and that only Christians, proven Christians, should be admitted, that's offensive and contrary to American values. I cannot think of a more potent recruitment tool for ISIL than some of the rhetoric coming out of here during the course of this debate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Reaction to the president.

AHMED: We, obviously, shouldn't have any religious trusts to admit or not admit people. But the thing is, this is the same president who has not acted in the last four years. He watched as 220,000 Syrians were murdered by the Assad regime and then the ISIS. Everybody is just kind of like he didn't follow through on his red lines. He didn't do anything when he had the chance. And now he is complaining about the refugees fleeing to Europe and trying to bring some here to the states.

I mean, United States has provided quite a bit of aid. But like, obviously, we can do more. But I don't understand why the Islamic countries in the Middle East are not taking any of the refugees. Why do they have to come all the way to America? They could easily be assimilated in other Arab countries. But, you know, I don't see Saudi Arabia taking refugees, I don't see Egypt.

LEMON: Why won't they then? Why do you think they won't do it?

AHMED: I mean, they have security issues, obviously, they have security concerns about bringing in refugees. And so and I don't, I mean, obviously, maybe they're not as generous and compassionate as Americans. But the thing is, they have very serious concerns about people coming in, because like you saw in Paris one of the people was a refugee. He did come in as sad as it is and obviously it's not the orphans or the woman and children. It is, but it's very hard to understand how somebody could be radicalized or put through the process. I mean, I personally as a Muslim, I'm offended by a lot of the

rhetoric, but I just want to see more leadership coming out of the Muslim countries in the Middle East which are neighboring Syria and other areas.

LEMON: They're still investigating whether that individual did actually come in through, maybe through the process or was it actually a refugee or not?

AHMED: Either way, I think, you know, having -- the thing is, America is one of the largest, I mean, we have over a million immigrants and refugees that come to the United States every year. We have more people coming in than any other country. But I think, you know, it's time for Arab nations to also take some leadership and responsibility for their fellow brothers and sisters in humanity and in Islam. You know, we are all supposed to be one community and so they should be the ones to step up and help the Muslims in Syria.

[23:55:24] LEMON: Saba Ahmed, thank you.

AHMED: Thank you.

LEMON: We will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:59:26] LEMON: Two breaking news sources to tell you about tonight. One, a police raid taking place in a suburb north of Paris. That word came to CNN from French police. Gun fire is reported. However, police did not confirm reports that officers have been shot in the operation.

Also, two Air France flights from the United States to Paris were diverted tonight for security concerns. Both planes landed safely. One in Salt Lake City. The other if Halifax, Nova Scotia.

A lot going on. So our live coverage of the terrorist attacks in Paris as well as the breaking news now continues with CNN's John Vause and Aisha Sesay. They are in Los Angeles. Fredrick Pleitgen joins them live in Paris.

Thanks for watching. Good night.