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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
New ISIS Video Warns of Attack on NYC; Two Dead, Eight Arrested in Terror Raids, Plot Foiled; Witnesses: Mastermind Was At Apartment This Morning; New ISIS Video Warns of Attack On NYC. Aired 7-8:00p ET
Aired November 18, 2015 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[19:00:12] ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening and welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world tonight. I'm Erin Burnett reporting live from Paris.
We begin with the breaking news, a chilling new video from ISIS threatening New York City. The video showing a man making a suicide bomb, strapping it to his body. It also shows scenes of Times Square, among other popular tourist destinations. This comes as French forces stormed an apartment building in the early morning hours today. They were targeting the reported master minds of the Paris terror attacks.
A vicious fire fights between security forces and suspected terrorists inside. We want to show you exclusive video that I obtained from a man who lives near the scene of the raid this morning. We'll see much more of that in a couple of moments. Five thousand bullet's fire explosives taking out an entire floor in the building. Two terrorists killed including a woman who blew herself up and eight suspects arrested. I was in Saint-Denis where the raid took places and spoke to the number of witnesses who told me they have seen Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the reported masterminded in the neighborhood as recently as this morning. Very early this morning.
I'll have much more on that in just a moment. But first, let's get to Jim Sciutto with the latest. And Jim, let's start with this new ISIS threat coming out late today. Just really an hour or so before this program threatening New York City. What are your sources telling you?
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we've taken a close look at the video. We've also talked to the New York Police Department. You look at some of these images and they are not new. They previously aired in an ISIS rap video that showed this man putting a bomb under his jacket and then they added on pictures of Herald Square in New York City and then they updated it with comments from Francois Hollande. So, it's, in effect, an updated video but the threat itself is something that we know that U.S. officials take seriously. The NYPD they said the same thing. They said that many of these issues, these images are not new.
BURNETT: Right. Someone didn't actually go on the street in New York City and film this video?
SCIUTTO: That's exactly right. You look at some of the images and they appear to be stock images. That said, and the NYPD knows there's no credible or specific threat. That said, they know that New York is a target of ISIS, just like Washington is, and we had the threat just 48 hours ago to Washington. So it's something that they do take very seriously.
BURNETT: And certainly now that we know that they have the ambition and obviously they have shown in Paris that they have the capability. What are you learning from intelligence sources about what led investigators to this apartment, this raid?
SCIUTTO: The key was intercepted communications. They intercepted a phone call from this apartment, a phone call made, they believe, by a woman, a cousin of the alleged ringleader of this, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, which is interesting because you and I have talked many times about how U.S./European counter intelligence officials note that they have gone off the radar. Right. They are using scripted communications, they're going dark, et cetera. In this case, they think the circumstances may be that, you know, that they were nervous. There's a lot of police presence. They may have been trying to warn of something to come. Regardless, intercepted communications. They put this apartment under surveillance and then they go in because they felt that there was an attack that was imminent. They had to go in now.
BURNETT: Yes. There's an attack that was imminent. I have to say one of the things that surprised me from witnesses today, many of them say that they knew Abaaoud was there. They did not choose to contact authorities themselves. Some are illegal immigrants and they have their reason for that fear but they didn't have a rush to call.
SCIUTTO: I'll tell you. French authorities did believe that he was there. They at least had hope. They had some indication, partly because the cousin was there and I'll say they are still doing DNA testing tonight. That possibility is still out there.
BURNETT: Right. Certainly, he could be among the dead. We certainly do not know from the DNA testing yet. Well, the early- morning siege in the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis lasted about an hour, in terms of the raid itself. But then it went on multiple hours after that. As it continued earlier today, I went to the neighborhood where the raid took place and spoke to witnesses who found themselves in the middle of a chaotic and deadly scene.
BURNETT (voice-over): Early Wednesday morning, 4:10 a.m., a massive assault targeting the reported ringleader of the Paris attacks, Abdelhamid Abaaoud. Three teams of French and Belgium security forces, first into two apartments in a Paris suburb. About 20 minutes after the raid began, police shout to a woman.
UNIDENTIFIED POLICE: Where is your boyfriend?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's not my boyfriend. BURNETT: Seconds later, a loud explosion. This believed to be
the moment the woman blows herself up with a suicide belt. We obtained this exclusive video of the raid. The man who filmed it here illegally in this heavily immigrant neighborhood asked that we not show his face.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through a translator): I heard a noise like a grenade. They must have thrown a grenade and finally after five or ten minutes there were cops, the police, they were running, running, running. The explosions, the firing of guns and it kept going.
[19:05:10] BURNETT: From inside the building, more gunfire. Another explosion. Police shooting 5,000 bullets. Phone communications picked up late Tuesday led to the raid. Authorities say those phone calls indicating the woman was in the apartment. Neighbors tell me she arrived in the neighborhood just last night. Almost an hour later, the gun battle still raging. The fire as intense as a war zone. One whole floor almost collapsing. Outside, huge cracks, craters marking the building. Witnesses in the neighborhood I spoke with tell me they believe that Abaaoud was in the apartment this morning. They say he left for this nearby mosque and arrived early for 4:30 a.m. prayers. They don't know if he's dead or alive now. 11:46 a.m., a government spokeswoman announces that the raid is over. Two suspected terrorists are dead. Eight detained.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through a translator): I'm not in a position, therefore, to give you precise, definite answers and identities of the people who died.
BURNETT: Officials say the raid happened right on time. Saying the terrorists were about to launch another major attack in Paris. I ran into the former mayor of Saint Denis outside of the location today. He told me he's not surprised that the terrorists sought refuge in his town.
PATRICK BRAOUEZEC, FORMER MAYOR OF SAINT DENIS, FRANCE (through a translator): Unfortunately, we have at the center of this town a number of buildings, of dwellings and these buildings are owned by people who are not necessarily attentive to who their apartments are rented to and it's actually possible that one of the renters may have participated closely or loosely to what happened last Friday night.
BURNETT: I want to bring in Nic Robertson now, he is live outside of that apartment building tonight where the raid took place in Saint Denis. And Nic, still you know, throughout the day, we all know certain streets were blocked up, activity would happen, everybody would rush to see what was going on and now you are still seeing so much police action.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Erin, just to kind of bring you up to speed with what is happening, there's two basic things going on. We heard the prosecutor talking about the damage. You saw the damage when you were here as well. There's a team of police and I'll step out of the way so you can get a better look down the street. It's just down there on the left. And you can also see men in these white forensic suits sitting at the side. They were seen coming and going in and out of that building, taking stuff, debris out of that. The constant sound of building work is going on here. The police say that this operation, this clean-up operation, this forensic operation down here could last for another 24 hours.
The whole area are still sealed off where right at the police right here. The local residents, if they want to get in, they have to show the police their papers, they are escorted to that buildings, then scored back out if they want to leave again. So, this is still an ongoing investigation down here. And of course the key is, as we heard the prosecutor earlier say, to get in and get the DNA evidence to find out whether or not Abaaoud was in this building and whether or not he was killed, they will do that through DNA forensic analysis. One of the local residents here a little while ago did show me a photograph that matched the outside street down here, showed me a photograph of what he said was the aftermath of that suicide bomber, the female suicide bomber blowing herself up. Three police officers in their forensic suits looking at part of the body of this female suicide bomber. So that part of the DNA testing should be relatively straightforward for the police here and the real question is who is that other body inside there. That work is still going on -- Erin.
BURNETT: Nic Robertson, thank you very much in Saint Denis tonight.
And here with me in Central Paris, Paul Cruikshank our terrorism analyst and Clarissa Ward who was there for the part of that raid this morning that I know you saw. Let me start with you though, Paul. Abaaoud, the mastermind they say. The ringleader behind the attacks here in Paris. Also the recent attacks on the train and also other attempted attacks, is he alive or dead, do they think?
PAUL CRUIKSHANK, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: I don't know. I mean, these body remains are absolutely mangled and so there's DNA testing which is going on right now. And they are trying to get those answers and when they have those answers, I'm sure they will be briefing the public about this. This will be a huge concern to the French public that the ringleader has been neutralized because it would be a nightmare scenario that he perhaps managed to get away, perhaps with some other accomplices and to try to plot more terror here this week in France -- Erin.
BURNETT: And Clarissa, you were there. You heard part of this. I mean, this wasn't just -- it went down quickly -- it went on for hours and hours as you have experienced.
[19:10:08] CLARISSA WARD, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It went on for seven hours. So, our colleague Atika Shubert was there from very early in the morning as that rapid gunfire grenades and explosions were going off. As we arrived on the scene, we saw police were rushing a church and banging down the door, Erin. Trying to get into this church. It wasn't clear what was inside the church and then we were actually able to get up on a rooftop where we could see the back of that apartment building and it was incredible to see all of the windows had been blown out. The entire wall was pock marked with what looked like pretty heavy munitions and we could see forensic experts inside dressing whites with cameras combing through the entire apartment, looking for DNA, looking for any clues as to who was killed and who may have spent time there.
BURNETT: And part of the rush here, Paul, was that they felt they couldn't wait. Obviously they were afraid he would flee if he was there but because they thought another attack might be imminent.
CRUIKSHANK: Absolutely right. The concern was that this was wave two of the Paris attacks. You had the first wave on Friday with a complex, coordinated simultaneous attack. We all saw that play out in Paris. The world was shocked by it. But now with all of the world's media five days later congregated in Paris, these people that appear to be ready to go to launch phase two of this terrorist atrocity and obviously a lot of concern still that there could be other teams still out there, a third team, I mean, you know, I think that's a real possibility given the stunning developments, Erin, of this week.
BURNETT: I mean, we're seeing so many more people, though. Right? At first it was the seven or maybe it was eight attackers in Paris. Now all of a sudden when they read they get what they say is the ringleader, perhaps, and then there's another eight people in custody. There's other people dead and it's bigger than they thought.
WARD: And just yesterday, we were talking about Abaaoud being in Syria. We were hearing that French and coalition forces have been trying to target him with air strikes inside ISIS territory. So we're seeing, within a very short space of time, that a lot of information is changing. The situation is very, very fluid. It's developing. And people in Paris are really deeply concerned. Because as you said, it's growing by the minute. The network keeps expanding and people are fearful that there could be more attacks on the way.
BURNETT: And there is still of course Salah Abdeslam is still on the run.
CRUIKSHANK: He's still on the run. I spoke to an official about this today. And they have sort of traced him coming in to Belgium. They don't know whether he actually got to Brussels. They don't know where in Belgium he is. The trace was lost as he was crossing from the French side into the Belgium side. So, he could be just about anywhere right now. A lot of concern about him. Also, just a lot of concern that ISIS are coordinating a rolling series of attacks against the west. I was talking to official today, they say the intelligence suggests that these French and ISIS foreign fighters are climbing up the hierarchy, they are recruiting fresh recruits who are coming and giving them very quick training and sending them back and they want to have a very fast temper of attacks against France but also on the western countries targeting ISIS and Syria.
WARD: This is a propaganda dream for them, Erin. I would just say, it's the most powerful recruitment tool they have, these types of attacks.
BURNETT: It is. Thank you both very much.
Now, OUTFRONT next, the man the reported ringleader of the Paris attacks, how did he go from a petty crook, a criminal, to a key figure that could inspire others to die?
Plus, five Syrians detained in Honduras with fake passports. Police say that they were headed to the United States.
And a female suicide bomber blowing herself up, part of the rise of women's bombers? A special report coming up.
[19:17:12] BURNETT: Breaking news, DNA testing is under way to determine whether the suspected mastermind of the Paris terror attacks was in fact killed during this morning's raid. French officials believed Abdelhamid Abaaoud was holed up in that apartment that was raided. Now, I spoke to people in the neighborhood today, someone who lived across the street. They told me that Abaaoud was in that apartment. They say he arrived yesterday. This is their neighborhood chatter but this is what they say. They also say he went to mosque this morning. Officials say the suspects in the apartment were planning their next attack. And then Special Forces interrupted it, storming the building.
Christiane Amanpour is OUTFRONT with more on Abaaoud.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Gunfire and explosions marked the start of the dawn raid by French police. The latest developments in the investigation into last week's terror attacks in Paris. Security services were hunting Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the suspected ringleader behind the Paris atrocities. Intelligence experts believed Abaaoud, a Belgian national traveled to Syria in 2014 to join ISIS. There he barged close ties with its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. And he is expected to have been the likely link between senior Islamic State figures and ISIS operatives in Europe. And is said to have been hunted by western powers. I asked U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry about that when he visited Paris this week.
(on camera): Can you confirm for us news of one of the terrorists suspected in this attack, Abdelhamid Abaaoud. There are reports that the United States, France and other allies wanted to target him, sought to kill him in Syria. He is apparently a top-level Belgian citizen ISIS member.
JOHN KERRY, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, I can confirm that he's an ISIS member in top level but I can't confirm whether he was targeted in it.
AMANPOUR: Earlier this year, in January, Belgian commandos raided an ISIS safe house in the Belgian town of Verviers. The ensuing ten-minute gunfight left two terrorists dead and another in custody. Inside, commandos found weapons, fake travel documents and precursor chemicals to make TATP, the same explosives used in the Paris attacks. According to security services, a ten-member terror cell led by Abaaoud was in the final stages of planning a major terrorist attack in Belgium. Counterterrorism officials believe that he was in contact with three of the fighters via cell phone calls which were traced to Greece.
In February this year, the ISIS online magazine "Dabiq" claimed to conduct an interview with Abaaoud in which he boasted about being able to enter Europe and return to Syria at will, saying, quote, "My name and picture were all over the news but I was able to stay in their homeland, plan operations against them and leave safely." Senior Belgian counterterrorism officials said it was possible that he was able to return to Syria from Greece. Hearing nothing from him after he traveled to Syria, officials believed he had faked his own death so that co-easily travel to and from Europe to coordinate the Belgian plot. A tactic, they believe, freed him to plan and execute the atrocities that left more than 100 dead and hundreds more injured in Paris.
Christiane Amanpour, CNN, Paris.
BURNETT: And back with me now, terrorism analyst Paul Cruickshank and U.S. military intelligence, veteran retired Air Force Colonel Cedric Leighton. Okay. Good to have both of you with us. And Paul, you say and you've seen videos of Abaaoud, that he's a sadist.
CRUICKSHANK: He's a vicious sadist. He appears in one video while he's actually spicing his behind sand bags in Syria. And he speaks in the camera and he says, "I enjoyed it when I see the blood of infidels the westerner's spilled." The Jihadist, the -- the martyrism is what we all need to go after. The Muslims who are not coming to join us here, they are cowards, they are a disgrace, they all need to come, they need to help us. They need to come back and they need to launch attacks against the west. So this is somebody with a deep animosity against everybody that doesn't share his barbarist world view. There's video of him driving the corpses of several deceased free Syria army officers across the desert in Syria and there's another video which frankly which is too horrific to even describe on air.
BURNETT: I mean, it is horrific to hear this, Colonel. And it's also frightening. It seems that there was -- complacency may not be the right word but perhaps that naivete might not be the right word. But they are sort of touching on the right feeling in Europe amongst officials, amongst intelligent authorities that these young men are off doing this but it won't come here or they will grow out of it or there just wasn't a belief.
[19:22:20] COLONEL CEDRIC LEIGHTON (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Erin, it's affiliate to appreciate reality, to what these people are doing and the fact that they are sadistic, the fact that they want to, in essence, achieve this apocalypse, is really something that is not being recognized by institutions that weren't built to recognize these kinds of things and that's the danger. We have become complacent.
BURNETT: It's also Paul, it's frightening, yesterday when I talked to the brother of Salah Abdeslam, who's on the run. His brother Brahim wore suicide vest and detonated himself on Friday night. He said he knew other young men in his neighborhood who had all gone to Syria, that they are there now. Right? So he knows them. Today in a neighborhood where Abaaoud was perhaps was in this raid and we don't know yet but people, the neighbor said they saw him. They didn't call. They didn't call to tell police, at least the one that I spoke to admitted that they didn't. So, what does that say?
CRUIKSHANK: Well, I think, first of all, you're talking about very significant information, Erin. Because, you know, if he ended up not being at that residence during the raid, it's perhaps because he left early in the morning to go to very early morning prayers or to run some kind offer errands. He might have gotten lucky, he may have gotten away. I think the fact that his female cousin was there, she had a suicide vest on, highly suggestive that he would have been there as well.
CRUIKSHANK: Because, you know, if you're not married and you're moving in these circles, you have a male relative that's looking after you. And so it's highly suggestive that he would have been there at some point. But if there are these -- accounts of him out in the neighborhood, he may have slipped away. Yet again, remember back in January he was in Greece. There was an international dragnet, the Belgians brought the CIA in because he had been involved in that major plot. He's a very, very slippery figure and he's somebody with this history of criminality, of petty crime, gangsterism, he knows how to like evade security services, the police.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you both very much.
And OUTFRONT next, ISIS tonight threatening New York City with a new video showing a suicide bomber preparing to attack popular tourist destinations throughout the city. What we're learning about that threat tonight.
And in today's raid, a woman detonates her suicide vest blowing herself up. She's believed to be the first female suicide bomber ever in Western Europe. Are women the new weapon for ISIS?
[19:28:40] BURNETT: Welcome back to our viewers in the United States and around the world tonight. I'm live in Paris where we are following several breaking news stories tonight. We are learning more about the massive raid that targeted the suspected mastermind of the Paris attacks. Two dead, eight under arrest. After that raid, the big question though is whether the suspected ringleader is dead or alive. Investigators at this hour are using DNA testing to try to figure out whether Abdelhamid Abaaoud was killed or whether he's on the run tonight. ISIS threatens to attack New York City. In a new video, the NYPD is also promising to increase its presence throughout that city.
Deborah Feyerick is OUTFRONT. And Deborah, I know you just come off the phone with your sources. What did they tell you?
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And I showed those pictures to an explosives expert actually who sort broke it down for me. With the picture we are showing, what that is is that's the inside of a suicide belt and in the video there are obviously many more pictures that are there. You see the man wrapping up that device but analyzing it, it's a detonator cord linked to a high explosives material. What you don't see is the inside in which it appears there are BBs (ph) that have been wrapped up or compacted and what that means, according to this bomb expert, is that clearly this is a device that will not only kill the person who detonates it but because of the BBs inside, the shrapnel effect, it will injure many people, anybody who is in that vicinity.
And that's exactly what we saw happened with the Tsarnaev brothers in Boston when they've detonated their devices. So, this is clearly a big threat to New York. The fact that they are sort of showing their methodology, which is that they plan to do this by a suicide bomb. Again, this is threat. This is only a threat. The Police Department has tamped down on it saying we have been a target, we will always be a target so we have to be prepared for that. But clearly they are taking this very seriously because of the season, because of the holidays and the number of crowds and tourists. So they are looking at this.
BURNETT: And there is more breaking news this evening. Thanks to you, Deb.
Five Syrian men detained in Honduras with fake passports. Their final destination was believed to be the United States. Now, this is according to Honduras police on this late-breaking story.
Evan Perez is OUTFRONT.
Evan, this is a pretty stunning story. I think a lot of Americans sit back when they hear this. What are your sources telling you?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE REPORTER: Erin, this is a concerning story. The authorities said that these five men went through five countries before they even got to Honduras, including going through Lebanon, Turkey and through South America before they ended up in Costa Rica, ended up in (INAUDIBLE), by the capital there and their plan was to head north to San Pedro Sula.
This is part of a larger trend going on around the world of migrants and just earlier this week, police in St. Martin, the Dutch part of the Caribbean Islands, they arrested three people of Syrian descent carrying Greece fake passports. They passed that information to U.S. law enforcement.
What I'm told is happening is that the U.S. is trying to provide a lot of information to these countries in the region, with access to databases of false documents, including passports, stuff that they can also get from Interpol and they are trying to get these countries to do more to try to prevent people from flowing through those countries and perhaps ending up in the United States.
Obviously, a top concern is the type of thing that we saw in Paris, where people might have been using fake documents to be able to move back and forth between Syria and Belgium and France. That's a big concern for the FBI, for U.S. law enforcement and this is something that they say is happening around the world -- Erin.
BURNETT: Happening around the world. Evan Perez, thank you.
I want to go now straight to the Republican senator from Idaho, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Jim Risch.
Senator, thank you very much for being with me.
Let me just start with this ISIS video released a short time ago threatening to attack New York City. Earlier this week, the group threatened to attack the nation's capital. Is this just talk or should Americans truly be concerned?
SEN. JAMES RISCH (R-IDAHO), SENATE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Well, they always take these sorts of things seriously, Erin. But, don't forget, this stuff is all over the Internet. This is not something new or shockingly new.
They want to get us here. There's no question about it. They are shaking their fists at us and they are promising they are going to do it. It needs to be taken seriously, but it really isn't a new threat. It's them merely expressing what they have stated is their intent for some time.
BURNETT: And you just wrapped up your latest information on the Paris attacks. Some of the information is classified. But what can you share with a very concerned public around the world?
RISCH: Well, I think that probably as much coverage has been on this over the last couple of days, there really isn't much new right now. There are pending questions and that is what these DNA results are going to show us. Also, the travel patterns of the people involved.
RISCH: Those things are pending. But there isn't a lot of news right now.
I think probably very troubling is the fact that we went from the attack that happened to the raid that happened earlier this morning in Paris. And if they were going to do those two closely that back to back, that should be very concerning for people in the city of New York City.
BURNETT: Do you know anything, Senator, about what they were planning? I know what the authorities are saying, that there is something imminent, that they were planning to do something. Do you know what that was and how imminent it might have been?
RISCH: You know what? We have some ideas but, Erin, that's up to the French to release that, and I suspect you're going to be seeing that in the next 24 hours of what they were getting ready for, what they believe they had in mind. They obviously had something in mind. They were heavily armed and resisted heavily when the police tried to arrest them.
[19:35:01] BURNETT: Senator, you also have heard our report, the five Syrian men suspected of trying to reach the United States with fake passports. Syrian refugee in France just told me earlier this week, you can get a passport virtually in any name you want, 750 bucks, you get it. You just change the face. Any name you want.
I mean, it's pretty terrifying that it went from nobody hearing about these sorts of issues to all of a sudden you have people trying to sneak in to the United States. You have people coming in to France. All of a sudden, it seems like it's everywhere -- and it went from being nowhere to everywhere.
That's pretty frightening. Was everyone just not aware of the problem?
RISCH: It is very troubling. If this had happened a month ago, probably wouldn't have made the news. But when you have five Syrians carrying false passports, attempting to make their way to the United States, which they clearly were by the path that they were taking, one has to wonder whether or not they are part of a sleeper cell that they are trying to plant here in the United States. It could have been for a very innocent purpose or semi-innocent purpose where they were just trying to come here to live in the United States or something.
But it's very, very suspicious, and I can tell that you the intelligence committee is drilling down on these five right now deeply.
BURNETT: But as you said, they don't yet know at this time anything about motive or what they were trying to do, from your understanding, in your briefings?
RISCH: That is absolutely correct. However, if you take all of the circumstantial evidence around this, the subjective evidence and, most importantly, I think the timing needs to be looked at and it needs to be looked at very, very seriously. So far, they have not used the southern path to enter our very porous southern border. They have not done that in the past.
RISCH: This was clearly an attempt to do this by five Syrians and what they had in mind after they got here, that remains to be seen.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Senator, very sobering. Recently, a Middle Eastern leader was talking and said that he
thought that if he was ISIS, concerned about ISIS, the way to come in would be the United States' southern border and now we see somebody trying to do just that.
OUTFRONT next, the woman believed to be the first suicide bomber in Western Europe. Police getting to her just in time this morning. Why women are the new weapon of choice for ISIS.
And from the Boston bombers to the "Charlie Hebdo" shooters and now in the Paris attack, families banding together to wage terror, brothers. Our special report coming up.
[19:41:43] BURNETT: Officials tonight say they foiled a major attack after a raid in a Paris suburb in the early hours of this morning. One of the two dead terror suspects thought to be the female cousin of the mastermind of the Paris attacks. She blew herself up as police closed in and is believed to be the first female suicide bomber in Western Europe.
Deborah Feyerick is OUTFRONT.
FEYERICK (voice-over): It appears she was ready to die for ISIS. A female suicide bomber in the Paris suburb of 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 the Paris ringleader Abdelhamid Abaaoud.
Though far fewer in number, female suicide bombers are no less lethal in their quest for martyrdom.
WILLIAM BRANIFF, NATIONAL CONSORTIUM FOR THE STUDY OF TERRORISM AND RESPONSES TO TERRORISM: It could be that this is, the organization sees them as a very useful tool because of their femininity.
FEYERICK: In January 2002, Palestinian refugee 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 also strapped on a suicide belt, pushed past a security guard and blew herself up inside a Jerusalem supermarket, killing the guard and 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 husbands' deaths. Among the most prominent attacks, the 2002 siege of a Moscow theater, in which female attackers wore but did not detonate the suicide belts.
Authorities believe several dozen Western women from Europe and the U.S. have either attempted or succeed in reaching ISIS in Syria or Iraq. Perhaps the most famous, Hayat Boumeddiene, a girlfriend of Paris gunman Ahmed Coulibaly who attacked a Jewish market in Paris. After Coulibaly was killed by French commandos, Boumeddiene traveled to Turkey before crossing in to Syria to join the terror group.
FEYERICK: And clearly the big concern is that she will return to Europe to carry out an attack on her own, which would send a very strong message. But ISIS has been aggressively trying to recruit women mostly to join the caliphate. They need women if they're going to form a state. But now, it appears that they are also recruiting them in the actual fight -- Erin.
BURNETT: Deb, thank you very much.
And OUTFRONT next, the Boston bombers, the "Charlie Hebdo" shooters, and now, the Paris attackers, a special OUTFRONT report on why families are banding together to terrorize.
And the first images of the chaotic scene inside a hospital after the Paris attacks. I spoke with one first responder who has a rare bit of good news to share tonight.
[19:48:50] BURNETT: Tonight, police are still trying to determine if the suspected mastermind of the Paris attacks, Abdelhamid Abaaoud was killed in the early morning raid in Saint-Denis.
They are examining DNA to try to figure out if it's him, if they killed him or if he's on the run. They say he's not in custody. Investigators also trying to identify his female cousin who detonated an explosive belt in the raid.
Meanwhile, an international manhunt is under way for Salah Abdeslam, who is believed to be involved in the attack. His brother Ibrahim was one of the Paris suicide bombers.
This isn't the first time we've seen family members commit acts together.
Kyung Lah is OUTFRONT.
KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the Saint-Denis raids, the woman who blew herself up as police approached believed to be the cousin of Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the ringleader in the Paris attacks. Family tied in terror.
Also seen with the Abdeslam brothers, French newspaper "Le Monde" reporting Ibrahim Abdeslam rented this car and then detonated a suicide bomb outside this cafe in eastern Paris during Friday's attacks. As he died, his brother Salah Abdeslam fled.
[19:50:01] Now, Europe's most wanted man, they share a family name, a life history and radical beliefs.
STEPHEN MOORE, FORMER FBI SPECIAL AGENT: A lot, a lot of our cases revolved around family members working together.
LAH: Just look at recent history. Early this year in the "Charlie Hebdo" attack, the brothers spearheaded the massacre. The Boston marathon bombing, homegrown terrorists, and brothers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, he 9/11 hijackers, of the 19, there were three sets of brothers.
MOORE: They will support each other sometimes even when they are not ideally sold on what you're believing in. They are following you, not an ideology.
LAH: In 2013, Ahmed Halane (ph) left his family in England to join ISIS. One year later his twin sisters Salma and Zahra, once popular high-achieving twins, followed and became jihad brides.
And last fall, then-19-year-old Mohammad Hamza Khan packed his bags and headed to Chicago's O'Hare to join ISIS in Syria. Traveling with him, his 17 and 15-year-old brother and sister. U.S. Customs stopped them at the gate.
His mother gave made this impassioned plea.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have a message for ISIS, Mr. Baghdadi and his fellow soldiers and media recruiters, leave our children alone.
LAH: But blood isn't necessarily thicker than beliefs, although police have been questioning the brother of Salah and Ibrahim Abdeslam, Mohamed Abdeslam claimed he wasn't radicalized, telling Erin Burnett why.
BURNETT: You live in the same house. Did they ever approach you?
IBRAHAM ABDESLAM, BROTHER (through translator): No, they know who I am. It's difficult to get close to me. Nobody can radicalize me. I have my own ideas.
LAH: Experts say understanding this trend, knowing that it exists, there is the opportunity for counterterrorism. Efforts, identifying these families, identifying these disaffected youth before they get to the point of trying to board a plane to Syria -- Erin.
BURNETT: Kyung Lah, thank you so much.
And Paul Cruickshank is back with me.
And, Paul, we see so many brothers, the Abdeslam family with one brother on the run, the one who detonated his suicide vest, and the one who says he was not involved that I spoke with -- you know, we don't yet know the full situation there, but it is very clear that brothers seem to band together in a lot of these cases.
PAUL CRUICKSHANK, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: Well, that's absolutely right. But just think about the psychology. You're a younger brother. You worship your older brother and he's becoming radicalized. I mean, you're going to follow in his footsteps in many instances and go to the same groups and follow him perhaps all the way to Syria.
So, we've seen many, many cases of brothers working together, sometimes not just two brothers but three, four, five brothers getting involved in jihad, Erin.
BURNETT: And do they have any idea, something about the family might be part of it or no?
CRUICKSHANK: Well, the (INAUDIBLE) has done some research on this, and a quarter of all foreign fighters, western fighters have familial ties, other people in their families --
BURNETT: Full 25 percent.
CRUICKSHANK: -- who have also joined the jihads. So clearly families are moving over there together. It's not just brothers. It's also brothers and sisters and mothers, and this has become a social movement where whole families have become radicalized.
BURNETT: Paul Cruickshank, thank you.
And next, one doctor recalls what he saw on the night of terror attacks. He also a shares a piece of good news, really good news, and we'll tell you what it is coming up.
[19:58:22] BURNETT: For the first time, we are getting a look at the chaotic scene inside a Paris hospital on the night of the terror attack at Saint-Louis Hospital shows doctors tending to patients in the ER ward. Today, Dr. Matthieu Legrand, the head of the hospital's critical care unit told me about the victims' war-like wounds.
Saint-Louis is located across from two of the targeted restaurants that took in 30 patients, eight of them in critical condition.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. MATTHIEU LEGRAND, HEADS CRITICAL CARE UNIT, SAINT-LOUIS HOSPITAL: No deaths that night, which is very good and we're very glad of that. And it's true, we are afraid because they had very severe damage, because they had very heavy weapons.
BURNETT: They were so injured?
LEGRAND: Yes, they're very badly injured, but they are young and the young people and they are very good facing these injuries.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Dr. Legrand said the attacks hit hard because most of his patients are so young. He said they are all between 20 and 35 years old but he says their youth is going to save them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: How are your patients doing?
LEGRAND: They are doing actually rather fine. Some of them are already recovering very quickly. They are out of intensive care and they have been operated on, of course, some of them several times. All of the patients treated in the hospital will survive.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: All of them are expected to survive, miraculous amid such bloodshed and hate.
Our thanks to that doctor and so many doctors that saved lives.
Thank you for joining us tonight. Our coverage continues right now with "AC360".