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Pope: Paris Attack Part "Of The Third World War"; French Media: Syrian Passport Found On One Attacker; British Prime Minister Pledges Support To France; ISIS Claims Responsibility for Paris Attacks; Eiffel Tower Closed. Aired 8-9a ET
Aired November 14, 2015 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: France is under a state of emergency. ISIS is claiming responsibility for the terror attacks that has left more than a hundred people dead across the city. We have live coverage for you from around the globe.
Good morning to you. Thank you for your company. I'm Christie Paul.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good to be with you. We have a team of correspondents and analysts covering the attacks from all angles this morning. We're going to go straight to Hala Gorani anchoring our coverage live in Paris.
HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Thank you, Victor, Christi. The pope is calling what happened here, quote, "A piecemeal third world war." It is a major statement. It's been used before, but he has used it to describe specifically what happened overnight in the French capitol.
Our Vatican correspondent, Delia Gallagher is following that part of the story and she joins me on the phone from Rome. So Delia, tell us a little bit more about this terminology, this expression that the pope used to describe these terrorist attacks.
DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN VATICAN CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): The pope is including these latest attacks in what's he has called before a piecemeal third world war. In other words, that we are now in a situation where we don't fight traditional wars, but we had in World War II, for example, where you have countries clearly allied on different sides.
We are now in situations of conflicts around the world which may or may not be connected. It gives us a sense as the pope said in the past a sense of anxiety and insecurity and a sense of being in a third world war.
It is peace mill. It is not a clear country against country. It's well defined in that sense. It happened in a lot of different places around the world. That's a reference that he used again this morning to refer to the Paris attacks. He was speaking in the phone interview to the Italian bishop's television station. That in itself is kind of unusual for a pope to give a phone interview like that, but obviously, extraordinary circumstances this morning.
The Vatican had already issued their condemnation of the attacks in the early hours of this morning. So the pope also said in his comments that he was moved and saddened and obviously close to the people of France and he said I do not understand these things are hard to understand.
Sort of I think we've gotten use to Pope Francis being able to speak to the people and being able to speak in a common language. Again, the peace mill third world war is a phrase that Francis believes very much.
These conflicts that we are seeing around the world, it gives us a sense of being in a third world war, people being scared and frightened and indeed dying. So he uses this phrase and is now obviously putting the Paris explosions and the Paris death into that context -- Hala.
GORANI: All right, Delia Gallagher, thanks very much, our Vatican correspondent in Rome.
To our viewers now we are bringing you live images of the people laying flowers not too far from our position here outside the concert hall where dozens and dozens of people were murdered by several terrorists.
These were coordinated attacks as we've been reporting, six locations and a crowded concert venue behind me, popular restaurants, bars, football stadiums. We don't know if other attackers are at large.
Police are searching for any possible attackers or accomplices. French media are now reporting that a Syrian passport was found on one of the attackers.
I want to bring Clarissa Ward now. What can you tell us specifically about the media reports about these Syrian ID documents found?
CLARISSA WARD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hala, these reports are coming from French media, from police officials who are saying essentially that they believe a Syrian passport was found near the bodies of one of the attackers who hit that soccer stadium here in Paris during that France/Germany game.
We don't know the name of that attacker. We don't know if the documentation was in fact genuine. All we know at this stage is that some form of a Syrian passport was found near the body of one of those attackers so we are working to get more information on that.
[08:05:10]I also wanted to bring you up to speed with France's interior minister, who has just given a press conference here. He said that, you know, France as you mentioned, Hala, many times France is now in a state of emergency. This is the first time that France has been in a state of emergency since 1958. So just be clear to our viewers, this really is not unprecedented obviously, but this is unchartered territory certainly.
He said that that could be mean more restrictions on people's movements among other measures. Border controls tightened certainly when we arrived this morning at the airport, there were very, very, very long lines. Longer lines than I've seen there before as people were being processed through passport control.
He also said the people who work for the Defense Ministry as opposed to the Interior Ministry have also been placed on high alert. All markets have been closed, museums, schools, everything is closed.
You know, Hala, the French like to protest a great deal. There were some plans for protester marches in solidarity with the victims. All protests and marches have been cancelled until Monday as French authorities try to get their head around everything that's going on, a lot of moving parts here -- Hala.
GORANI: Quickly, Clarissa, let me ask you, do authorities believe other attackers might still be at large? Is that a real concern right now?
WARD: I think it's certainly a concern, but what we're hearing from French authorities, essentially they're being pretty tight lipped. They don't want to commit to saying that there aren't other attackers at large.
But at the same time they can't definitely say that there are other attackers at large. But certainly if you look at the scale of this operation, Hala, the number of deaths, the level of weaponry, the sophistication of the entire multiple targets selected, it's hard to believe all this could have been done with just eight men.
This would have needed a facilitation of a larger network and one can only assume that right now French security officials are very much focused on trying to not drill down on the nose of this that nexus and that network.
GORANI: Clarissa, tell our viewers a little bit more, of course, the French president blamed ISIS and then addressed as a nation and ISIS itself (inaudible). The Islamic State is claiming responsibility. Tell us more about that claim.
WARD: That's right. We've seen an online statement from ISIS that bares all the hallmarks of other online statements that we've seen from them previously. They call these suicide bombers soldiers of the caliphate.
They said that the locations and targets have been specifically selected and essentially they were hailing what they call this blessed operation in Paris and warning people here.
I believe the quote was the smell of death will not leave their noses as long as France remains a part of the coalition that is actively engaged in fighting ISIS in Syria and Iraq.
We also heard being circulated on ISIS affiliated social networks sites, a French language, which is like an Islamic chant or song essentially stalling the operation that these men carried out and we're still working to find out more information about who disseminated that French language chant or song -- Hala.
GORANI: All right. Clarissa Ward, thanks very much. It has started to rain here. It has gotten significantly colder and grayer. Grim weather here to match the grim news overnight of France's worst terrorist attacks in living memory.
As we've been reporting the terrorist also carried out attacks outside of Paris soccer stadium where 80,000 fans including the French president himself were watching the match. CNN's international diplomatic editor, Nic Robertson is live outside the stadium.
Parisians and French people in general, Nic, are still trying to wrap their head around the fact that in the French capital, just a few hundred yards from the president of this country, three suicide bombers blew themselves up. It's remarkable that this has happened only nine months after the Charlie Hebdo massacre.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: People are asking themselves here as well, Hala, were these attackers who appeared to be these three suicide bombers appeared to be waiting for the end of the soccer match.
Were they getting closer to the stadium because of the increased security because the French president was there or did they have an idea he was going to be there?
[08:10:06]What we know is the first of the suicide bombers to detonate explosives happened near here at the main gate, the main entrance of the stadium, somewhere where they could expect a lot of people to be coming out at the end of the match.
They weren't able to get in because of this heightened security presence. What we do know is it appears that that was the first of the beginning of the wave of attacks across the city.
Twenty minutes later when people were fleeing the stadium, that's when the second suicide bomber detonated his explosives. It gives the appearance of being coordinated to try to use the chaos and confusion of people escaping the first blast walking directly into the next blast.
The third and final blast was the suicide bomber detonating closest to the western entrance to the stadium. Again, the question that is being asked and we're hearing it, the French media asking this question as well. The increased security because of the French president being here.
Did that keep the casualty toll far lower than it could have been? Only four people reported killed here. One can only imagine if the suicide bombers had actually gained access to the stadium containing 80,000 people crowded and close packed in there -- Hala.
GORANI: All right, Nic Robertson, thanks very much. Of course, with tens of thousands of people and three suicide bombers, the death toll could have been a lot higher.
Right now, I want to play sound from the British Prime Minister David Cameron. He spoke a short time ago about the attacks. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID CAMERON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: The events in Paris are the worst act of violence in France since the Second World War and the worst terrorist attack in Europe in a decade.
Our hearts go after the French people and to all those who lost loved ones. Today the British and French people stand together as we have so often before in our history when confronted by evil, shocked but resolute, in sorrow but unbound.
My message to the French people is simple we stand with you, united. While the full picture of what happened is still emerging, we know there were multiple terror incidents across Paris and over 120 people are feared dead with many more injured.
We must be prepared for a number of British casualties and we're doing all we can to help those caught up in the attack. These were innocent victims enjoying a Friday night out with friends and family at the end of a hard week.
They were not seeking to harm anyone. They were simply going about their way of life, our way of life, and they were killed and injured by brutal callous murderers who want to destroy everything our two countries stand for, peace, tolerance, and liberty.
We will not let them. We will redouble our efforts to wipe out this poisonous extremist ideology and together with the French and allies around the world stand up in all we believe in.
I've just a meeting of Cobra to review the security situation here in the United Kingdom. The threat level is already at severe, which means an attack is highly likely and will remain so.
Our police and intelligence agencies work round the clock to do all they can to keep us safe. Ever since the coordinated firearms attack in Mumbai in 2008, we've all been working together to ensure we could respond to such an attack.
This summer police and other emergency services carried out a major exercise to test our response for multiple firearms attacks and in the lights of last night's attacks we will review our plans and make sure we learn any appropriate lessons.
It is clear that the threat from ISIL is evolving. Last night's attacks suggest a new degree of planning and coordination and a greater ambition for mass casualty attacks. We must recognize that however strong we are, however much we prepare, we in the U.K. face the same threat. That's why we continue to encourage the public to remain individual vigilant. The terrorist aid is clear. It is to divide us and destroy our way of life.
So more than ever we must come together and stand united and carry on with the way of life that we love and that we know and that will never be moved off.
[08:15:08]I hope to speak to President Hollande later today and make clear that we will do whatever we can to help. Your values are our values. Your pain is our pain. Your fight is our fight and together we will defeat these terrorists.
GORANI: The U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron reacting to the attacks in Paris. We'll take a quick break. When we come back, I'll talk to a witness from the horrific terrorist attacks in Paris. Stay with us. Stay with CNN for our breaking news coverage.
GORANI: All right, welcome back, everybody. We continue our breaking news coverage of the terrorist attacks in Paris. I'm joined by an eyewitness, Erin Allweiss. She is from New York. You're here on a work trip and you were very close to this location. Tell us what you saw and what you heard.
ERIN ALLWEISS, EYEWITNESS: Just went to dinner and suddenly we heard gunshots on top of us really loud. We were told that it was some sort of A.K. 47 and we were all under the table and the people who owned the restaurant were incredible. They ran to the door to lock it. We thought that the gunmen were coming through.
GORANI: Did you realize right away that they were gunshots?
ALLWEISS: Yes, it was really clear. I think we were all hoping that they weren't gunshots, but everybody got under the table and it was a group of 20 people. We knew.
GORANI: How far from where you were did this all take place and unfold would you estimate?
ALLWEISS: It was right outside. It was 20 meters from the restaurant where there was a shooting. Somebody went to investigate. We didn't know that this was an isolated incident or we thought it was an isolated incident.
GORANI: You didn't realize it was obviously six coordinated attacks across Paris. How long were you in the restaurant? Were you on lockdown?
[08:20:10]ALLWEISS: Six hours in the restaurant and they were probably 40 people there kids, and the people who owned the restaurant were incredible. About 20 minutes after the shootings, police officers did arrive. It took 20 minutes and the street was on lock down. GORANI: So for 20 minutes, gun fire was still going on outside the restaurant?
ALLWEISS: No, but there were people who came in, some victims who have been shot at and a woman came in crying, who -- as the people were fleeing the scene, they had shot at her car and so she stayed with us.
But the gunshots have stopped and we started to see on Twitter that the stadium has been attacked and other things came to light.
GORANI: So while you were on lockdown, you were checking your phone and Twitter and you realized at that point, my goodness, this is one of several attacks across Paris.
ALLWEISS: Right. We actually weren't even on lock down at that point, we were just terrified and sitting at the table, and I don't think they knew whether to serve us or what to do because it wasn't clear.
One of the photographers we were with actually went and took pictures at the restaurant and that's when we knew people were in fact killed. He told us that about four to ten people had been shot outside of this cafe.
It was a gorgeous night in Paris not like this and people were outdoors, sitting there.
GORANI: So people were killed essentially murdered, gunned down, just really yards from your position, from where you were.
ALLWEISS: Yes, and it's so easily could have been us and it was an awful moment. I think we're all thankful and so sad for the city we love, people who live here and people who love to visit it.
GORANI: How do you feel today? Because sometimes when a shocking event happens you don't really process it fully until the next day. How do you feel today?
ALLWEISS: Just sad. To be honest, it was strange to be so in the center of things and weren't processing the news and so concerned about all our friends. I'm still in shock and really, really, really sad for the city and for my friends here.
GORANI: And it was a close call. You're from New York, a city that's known, that had 9/11 that was a traumatic experience for that city and country as well and here you are in Paris going through as well. I don't know, would you, it's a question that's been raised. Would this be the French 9/11?
ALLWEISS: I wouldn't want to comment on that. I think after the attacks were so heart breaking last year and this is 10 months later and steps from where the march of peace took place. That is particularly poignant at this moment and I'm thinking of how we can come together and move forward and have this be something that doesn't happen again. GORANI: Would you consider leaving because you have a meeting on Monday, right?
ALLWEISS: Absolutely not.
GORANI: You're staying in Paris?
ALLWEISS: Yes. There is no reason to leave and to be honest I'd rather have it to be known that this is a place where I would love to be. It's a wonderful city. I absolutely love the people here. This has become my second home. I go back and forth for work so I would like to stand with Paris by staying here.
GORANI: Erin Allweiss, thanks very much. We really appreciate your time and sharing your story with us. As you mention, the weather is now matching the mood across the French capital. Thanks so much for joining us. Best of luck to you.
Let's bring in Daniel, the former deputy undersecretary for science and technology for the Department of Homeland Security, and Sajjan Gohel as well, international security director at the Asia Pacific Foundation. Both of them join us now live.
Daniel, you see the hallmarks of a typical ISIS attack here. The French president is blaming (inaudible) and ISIS is claiming responsibility. What's your analysis?
DANIEL GERSTEIN, FORMER DEPUTY UNDER SECRETARY FOR SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY, DHS: Well, of course, I think we have to take ISIS at its word at this point. They've said that they were responsible for the downing of the Russian airliner, the Beirut attacks and now this. Certainly, I wouldn't want to make another call.
GORANI: OK. Sajjan Gohel, Daniel there mentioned three distinct but apparently related attacks, the downing of the Russian jetliner. We had suicide bombings in the Hezbollah neighborhood of Beirut and now this in Paris. What's going on here? If this is indeed all ISIS orchestrated, it's a major shift in strategy.
SAJJAN GOHEL, INTERNATIONAL SECURITY DIRECTOR, ASIA PACIFIC FOUNDATION: Well, certainly, they have altered their tactics from the assassinations of individuals, they have now gone in for the al Qaeda style of mass casualty attacks inflicting significant damage and creating political economic and social consequences.
In many ways, this is dangerous precedence being set for what could come in the future. I don't believe what happened in Paris is an isolated incident. There will be others inspired by the ISIS propaganda that will want to do something similar in the future.
GORANI: Daniel, U.S. officials now are confronted with the reality that these attacks have happened in Paris twice in the space of 10 months. How do you protect Americans against this type of assault?
[08:25:01] GERSTEIN: Of course, protecting Americans doesn't just start when you have an attack or when you have a threat stream, but it actually begins with trying to counter the violent extremism that's causing these sorts of attacks.
For example, the Department of Homeland Security had a program or has a program called counter and violent extremism which continues to work with communities and to identify people who might be prime for self- radicalization and trying to identify them before they would actually do any harm.
The communities are very important, all of this as well. Finally, we have to have law enforcement and emergency responders that are ready in the event that something like this occurs.
GORANI: All right. A multipronged approach, of course, it is the ideology in the end that drives these terrorist to commit these acts.
Daniel Gerstein, Sajjan Gohel, thanks very much to both of you. When we come back, we'll talk to a journalist who interviewed the Syrian president today and got his reaction. Stay with us.
[08:29:43] GORANI: Welcome back everybody. We continue our breaking news coverage of the attacks in Paris.
I want to bring in -- I want to bring in Guillaume Debre, he's the senior international correspondent for the French network TF1. He had the opportunity, I believe today to speak with the Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.
And Guillaume Debre, you are joining us on the phone from Damascus. What did the Syrian president have to say about these terrorist attacks in the French capital today?
GUILLAUME DEBRE, TF1 SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Well, Hala, he first offered his condolences (inaudible) the attacks. But he had very harsh words during the interview for Western power especially France (inaudible) including Washington as well. He accused the West of having created chaos in Syria by supporting rebel groups -- rebel groups that Paris and Washington consider as moderates like the (inaudible) radical or terrorist.
He said that he had warned the Europeans three years ago that the chaos and the war in Syria would become a breeding ground for terrorism and that terrorism will not be contained in Syria -- by definition it would come to them.
He said he had asked them to change their policies and the fact that it happened is now a consequence of that policy because there's terrorism.
GORANI: All right. Ok. Guillaume Debre of TF1, unfortunately, I think we lost our connection there. But Guillaume Debre, the French journalist from TF1 who just spoke to the Syrian president Bashar al- Assad for his reaction on these attacks in Paris.
Now ISIS has claimed responsibility for these attacks calling them precisely targeted. Our senior international correspondent, Nick Paton Walsh is on the frontlines of the fight against ISIS, in fact. He's live in Erbil, Iraq. He joins me now live.
Talk to us a little bit, Nick, about this online claim of responsibility. Does it match other claims of responsibility?
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The timing is always difficult but yes, it's within this sort of adequately short period of time frame that ISIS claimed responsibility matching the act that it doesn't step away from previous plans of behavior.
The actual claim itself doesn't contain any new shocking giveaway information that you couldn't have gleaned from watching the media or Twitter, Frankly. So we are perhaps still waiting to hear from ISIS whether or not they have details or a video perhaps of some of these, they say, eight attackers. They say all equipped with suicide belts whether they can yield any video perhaps of them speaking before this act.
We've seen that in the past with Coulibaly, associated with the Hebdo attackers earlier this year. So that is one possibility we may see down the line and many may also challenge ISIS' claim as well. We saw that too amongst the confusion of whether it was al Qaeda or ISIS who are fully behind the attacks back in January.
But this does troublingly mark a departure which many sense may have been the case of the downing of the Russian airliner at Sharm El- Sheikh. But while ISIS never began with a mission to attack the West, many presumed that would be eventually what it would come to.
ISIS may say in this statement, in fact, that it is the air strikes of the West, of the coalition against them that is forcing them in towards this. But still this marks a troubling point in the revolution.
On the battlefield here, in the last 48 hours, they've had two serious losses -- the apparent death of Jihadi John, one of their key figures and the loss of the town of Sinjar to the hands of Peshmerga and coalition airstrikes.
Many will ask now is this attack in Paris related to those losses? Is it part of a departure where they're losing their original territory, what they refer to as their homeland here so they're lashing out at their attackers in the West? Or was this always part of the broader plan? Establish the caliphate self-declared (ph) here in Iraq and Syria not far from where I'm standing and then take the attack to the infidel in the West -- Hala.
GORANI: All right. Nick Paton Walsh is in Erbil, Iraq. Thanks very much.
A city in shock: Paris is waking up to the reality that six attacks, six coordinated assaults on soft targets across the city have left 128 people, at least, killed. We have new video right now for you. The CNN team on the ground shot some footage showing Saturday security around the Stade de France which, of course is the soccer stadium where three suicide bombers according to officials blew themselves up.
It is one of the six locations in Paris under deadly attack on Friday evening and of course, authorities are going to want to secure that soccer stadium. The French president was there for a friendly match between France and Germany when these three terrorist blew themselves up.
We'll be right back with a lot more from the French capital.
GORANI: All right. Welcome back. We continue our breaking news coverage of the terrorist attacks here in Paris. It is a city in shock but it's also a city on high alert this morning. The French interior minister says a state of emergency across the country means the government there can restrict people's movements.
For now, Parisians are being urged to stay indoors. City buildings have been closed. School is out as well. But for its part, Paris has rallied together. We have seen scores of Parisians lining up to donate blood, for instance, doing whatever they can to help the nearly 200 people who were injured last night.
Now, others have been coming to a makeshift memorial outside the Bataclan Theater. This is where I am, in fact. Right behind me you see police vans blocking the view but on the other side is that concert venue where dozens and dozens were ruthlessly murdered. People here are leaving candles and flowers along with messages of support for the victims.
And in the meantime, of course, there's the investigation into the attacks underway. Police trying to find anyone who could be connected to these atrocities.
And also in another development CNN's Chris Frates, joins us now with new information about Americans -- we are learning Americans injured in the attacks. Chris what can you tell us about that?
CHRIS FRATES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey. Good morning from Washington -- Hala. The State Department this morning making some news saying that there are Americans who were injured in the attacks there. A States Department spokesperson telling CNN quote, "The U.S. government is working closely with French authorities to identify American victims. We are aware there are Americans among the injured and are offering them the full range of consular assistance." Now the spokesman saying they'll keep the news media posted as they have more information to share.
[08:40:02] Also in Washington this morning: reaction to these horrific attacks.
President Obama spoke with French President Hollande last night, hours after the attack. And he reiterated the United States' support for America's oldest ally offering to help the French investigation any way the U.S. can. Obama and Hollande pledged to work together and with allies to defeat terrorism. Meanwhile, Secretary of State John Kerry expressing outrage and
sadness over the attacks. Kerry spoke this morning, he was in Vienna. He's meeting with foreign ministers there.
Here's what Kerry had to say about the attacks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KERRY, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: So we are witnessing a kind of medieval and modern fascism at the same time which has no regard for life that seeks to destroy and create chaos and disorder and fear. And the one thing we can say to those people is what they do in this is stiffen our resolve, all of us. We fight back to hold people accountable and to stand up for rule of law which is exactly what we're here to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FRATES: Now Kerry said the U.S. embassy in Paris, he reiterated this idea that they're working to account for Americans in Paris and he echoes Obama's pledge to provide whatever help the French government needs -- Hala.
GORANI: All right, Chris Frates in Washington -- thanks very much.
We're going to take a quick break. But to all our viewers in the U.S. and around the world, do stay with us. We have a lot more on that ISIS claim of responsibility and what it means in the overall battle against the terrorist group.
We'll be right back.
[08:45:25] GORANI: Welcome back to our breaking news coverage from Paris.
Images coming in to us of Parisians and well wishers leaving notes and flowers at one of the attack sites. As we've been reporting there were six coordinated attacks across the French capital -- the worst terrorist attack in living memory in this country.
This morning the U.S. State Department is confirming as I was mentioning that Americans are among those injured in the deadly terrorist attacks. All this as France has increased security around the areas that were assaulted.
It has tightened border controls as well which is a significant step. It's not something that they do lightly. They have also declared a state of emergency which gives, by the way, the government many more powers to enter people's homes, to monitor some of their communications.
Let's bring in Peter Neumann. He's the director of the International Center for the Study of Radicalization and Political Violence. Peter, let's talk a little bit about first, I want to get your thoughts overall on what happened in Paris. What was your first thought when you heard six coordinated attacks including suicide bombers and this terrible horrific attack on the concert venue. What went through your mind?
PETER NEUMANN, INTL CENTER STUDY OF RADICALIZATION AND POLITICAL VIOLENCE: Well, the first reaction was, of course, that a lot of people who were studying this were expecting something like that. However, the scale and complexity of this operation I think has surprised every expert. No one expected this kind of attack. We were all waiting for more of these so-called lone wolf/lone actor type operations which are small in scale which ISIS has been calling for, for over a year. No one was expecting ISIS at this point to be capable of directing and pulling off such a complex attack. I think to be honest that came as a big surprise to me.
GORANI: All right. And so you, I mean, how did the experts get it wrong? Because you're essentially admitting and I have to say I was surprised as well because a lone wolf -- an individual lone wolf attack, maybe two coordinated attacks such as the ones we say in January -- that is one thing. This is a strategically complex operation.
NEUMANN: Yes and I guess we were listening to ISIS -- what ISIS was telling us. And ISIS has been fairly expressive in the past about what they were trying to do and where they were planning to go and their message to Europe was always -- and their message to supporters in Europe was always carry out lone wolf attacks. This is what we're currently pursuing. This is our asymmetrical strategy.
In return for the airstrikes we are encouraging our supporters in Europe to strike, to do simple things. We've learned the lesson from al Qaeda, these very complex attacks are difficult to pull off. They never come together. The security agencies are smart enough to prevent them.
And so everyone thought ok, this is the new strategy. They are just simply wanting people to do very small shocking polarizing things and that's fine. That they're also capable of doing very complex things we didn't expect and ISIS never talked about this very much.
GORANI: But do you believe therefore that the command and control for this operation was essentially a continent away in the Middle East or do you believe some of it must have been planned right here, I mean on a strategic operational level?
NEUMANN: Well, this is really speculative. I mean we've heard that some of the attackers spoke very good French. This would point towards local attackers. We've also heard the news about the Syrian passport which would point away from it.
Of course, what I'm absolutely certain of is that the eight people that carried out these attacks were not the only people involved in the planning. I would expect there to be more people uncovered. That's why the French president closed the borders because he is also suspecting that there are other people who are now trying to leave the country.
So I would suspect expect a degree of coordination, a degree of planning that would possibly involve other countries and indeed, we heard from Germany earlier today that an arrest yesterday must have been linked to these attacks.
GORANI: Peter Neumann -- thanks very much. We always appreciate your analysis.
Neumann: Thank you -- Hala.
GORANI: And of course, authorities are now scrambling to figure out more information about the attackers. A Syrian passport, Peter was mentioning that, was found near the body of one of the terrorist outside the sports stadium according to a police source.
[08:49:59] Clarissa Ward is following the latest on the investigation itself. Ok, the significance, if indeed it is a, by the way, genuine Syrian passport because you can buy one for a couple of hundred bucks just in case our viewer aren't aware of that. But if it is a genuine Syrian passport, what does that tell us eventually?
CLARISSA WARD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's not really clear what it tells us, honestly Hala, because it's important for our viewers to know that ISIS territory encompasses old regime strongholds that may well have had facilities where they were able to make passports, make Syrian passports. And was this a genuine Syrian passport, was it fabricated by ISIS within Syria? It's just too early to tell.
But certainly, here is what we do know. We do know that eight attackers have been killed, that the authorities here are now trying to determine forensically taking DNA samples who they were to try to get a better perspective on whether they were French nationals, how old they were, where they were from and how they were able to pull off this attack.
You know, you heard Peter Neumann talking about the initial reaction. But many was -- maybe this was al Qaeda because of the scale of this attack, the complexity of the attack very much in juxtaposition to what we've come to expect from ISIS which are these kind of cheap shot, low hanging fruit, lone wolf types of attacks.
And the other thing he said that I think is very important this could not have happened with just the eight attackers. There has to be a larger network at play here who were facilitating this operation, who were supplying the funding, the weaponry.
So a lot of questions, French authorities now really under the gun trying to determine how wide this network is and where it's base is. And you heard the French interior minister earlier on saying France is in a state of emergency. Essentially we won't hesitate to curtail people's movements, to clamp down on those borders.
When we arrived this morning at Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport there were long, long, long lines simply because they were going through every single, even the European passports, going through everyone's paperwork trying to get a grip on who this network is and what can be done to track them down.
GORANI: All right. Clarissa Ward -- thanks very much. Clarissa is just really a few hundred yards away from me here, behind me at the concert venue, the Bataclan, the site of the worst of the massacres yesterday evening in Paris. Clarissa -- thank you very much. We'll stay in touch.
Let's go to Nic Robertson. He's at the Stade de France, the football stadium. And I believe you have new information about a Paris landmark that is closed. Tell us more.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, the Eiffel Tower, of course, iconic for Paris. We understand that is now closed. We were there just a couple of hours ago. There were armed French police patrolling in groups. There were armed French soldiers with automatic weapons patrolling around the area of the Eiffel Tower. There were a few tourists there at that time.
But that level of security I haven't seen here even in the days after Charlie Hebdo attacks. That level -- we didn't witness it. We also saw in the streets near the Arc de Triomphe, at the top of the Champs Elysees a unit of six French soldiers. Not only did they have their flak jackets and automatic weapons but they were patrolling the streets with their helmets on all in camouflage, of course, walking through the streets.
So the level of security much tighter here than normal -- much, much tighter. When we arrived at the train station this morning the Gare du Nord three French policemen there -- one of them with a long rifle. The sort of thing you would use to shoot accurately at something over a distance of hundreds of meters away.
Now we learn that the Eiffel Tower, that iconic destination for tourists in Paris -- that is now closed at the moment -- Hala.
GORANI: All right. Nic Robertson.
Three days of mourning here across this country. A city in shock, a way of life attacked. Six coordinated assaults across the French capital. A lot more on our breaking news coverage after this.
GORANI: Breaking news here in Paris. One of the attackers has been identified as a French national by his fingerprints, according to our affiliate BFM-TV.
Our Nic Robertson is at the Stade de France soccer stadium and he joins me now live with more on this. Nic, it's not entirely surprising.
ROBERTSON: It's not, certainly given the level of coordination. The number of people involved certainly gives an indication of their knowledge of the area of their preplanning, the fact that they were able, if you will, to blend in here. So to learn that a French national is among the attackers does not come as too much of a surprise.
Obviously, the French authorities are concerned about the hundreds upon hundreds of young French men who have gone to Syria and Iraq to join ISIS and other radical Islamist groups there. The concern, of course, is that some of them come back. We know that over 300 are believed by French security services have returned so far.
So at this stage, to get that information by this analysis of a fingerprint taken from one of the attackers -- that certainly does seem to be -- said to begin to put together some of the picture here -- Hala.
GORANI: Nic Robertson -- thanks very much. We will continue our coverage of the terror attacks here in Paris.
I'm Hala Gorani, live in the French capital. A lot more ahead after a quick break.
"SMERCONISH" starts now.
[08:30:13] MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN HOST: I'm Michael Smerconish.