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Almost Two Dozen Killed in Mali Hotel Siege; Interview with Brett McGurk; New Evidence Paris Woman Did Not Detonate Suicide Vest; Manhunt for Paris Terror Suspects; Terror Suspects Under U.S. Radar?; ISIS Fighters Reportedly Fueled by Drugs. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired November 20, 2015 - 17:00   ET


[17:00:00] WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, breaking news, terrorists storm a Radisson hotel killing almost two dozen people and holding U.S. citizens hostage. The captives reportedly subjected to a religious test. We're learning new details of how American military personnel helped end this latest terror nightmare.

Still at large, the search for at least two of the Paris attackers intensifying tonight one week after the horrifying rampage through the streets of the French capital. But is the global manhunt closer to finding two of the world's most wanted terrorists?

Victim or killer? New video shows the moment a suicide bomber detonated an explosive vest during that dramatic raid. And now a twist as investigators reveal

the bomber was a man, not the female relative of the mastermind. Was she another innocent victim?

Terror drug, a powerful amphetamine not only fueling the finances of is, but also turning its fighters until what some are calling super human killers. Is a dangerous drug driving this ISIS jihad?

We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in The Situation Room.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BLITZER: We're following the breaking news, including a terrorist hotel siege that's left at least 21 people dead, suspected Islamic extremists with ties to al Qaeda storming the Radisson hotel in the capital of Mali in North Africa with at least five Pentagon personnel inside.

Also, the manhunt for two of the terrorists from the Paris attacks intensifying tonight, one of them 26-year-old Saleh Abdelsalam and the other still unidentified. The ongoing fear prompting French lawmakers to extend the state of emergency for three months.

And a twist in the investigation, the Paris prosecutor's office now saying the suicide bomb seen in this dramatic new video was not detonated by a female relative of the mastermind Abdelhamid Abaaoud who was also died in the violent raid. Officials are

revealing it was a man who actually set off the explosive vest.

We're covering all angles of the breaking news this hour with our guests, including President Obama's special envoy to the global coalition to counter ISIS, Brett

McGurk, and our correspondents and our expert analysts, they're also standing by.

Let's go straight to Paris. CNN's John Berman is on the scene for us once again. John, there are significant new developments in the investigation tonight.


This is exactly one week ago tonight that this city, this country was beginning to understand the new challenges it faces. 130 people dead, hundreds more injured. Now, one week later a terrorist ringleader is dead, several more terrorists dead, many in custody

being questioned tonight. But importantly, Wolf, at least two very much at large.


BERMAN: Tonight, authorities believe at least two killers are still on the loose. Counterterror officials across Europe are scrambling to find one unidentified assailant and 26-year-old Saleh Abdelsalam, last known to have fled toward Belgium in the hours just after the attacks.

As the investigation expands, extraordinary new video of the predawn raid in Saint-Denis. French police and military commandos close in on the exact spot where the architect of the Paris attacks, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, is holed up, plotting more carnage according to authorities.

You hear the violent exchange of gunfire. And then the blast of a powerful suicide belt.

But in a new twist French officials now say it was not the female cousin of Abaaoud who killed herself in that explosion as they had reported before. They now believe it was a man standing near her. His body blown to pieces even into the street.

Abaaoud was later identified dead on the scene as was that female cousin and a third body of a still unidentified man. It is unclear whether Abaaoud was killed

by police or blew himself up.

Paris prosecutors identify the female as 26-year-old Hasna Aitboulahcen.

Former neighbors on the outskirts of Paris tell CNN that French authorities are now questioning her mother and her brother.

New questions tonight, was she a terrorist or a victim? Her final words caught on tape before the fatal explosion raise questions about her relationship to the Paris ringleader.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Where's your boyfriend.

HASNA AITBOULAHCEN (through translator): He's not my boyfriend.

BERMAN: Through an attorney, Abaaoud's father tells CNN that he is relieved his son is dead.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He said exactly that this was the behavior of a psychopath. For him it was proof that his son became devil.

BERMAN: Tonight, the investigation continues trying to learn exactly how and where Abaaoud and an expanding list of terrorists planned and carried out this string of deadly attacks in Paris one week ago. A new piece of the puzzle tonight, surveillance video showing Abaaoud aboard a Paris metro train last Friday, roughly the same time as the bloody attack on the Bataclan concert hall.

French authorities now say they have launched almost 800 searches and raids, detained more than 100 people and seized nearly 200 weapons.


BERMAN: Tonight we have new information from the Paris prosecutor's office, word that not one but two of the suicide attackers at the Stade de France, that's the soccer two of them passed through the same processing point in Greece on October 3 more than one month ago, raising new questions about just how these terrorists exploited the refugee crisis perhaps to move into this country prior to the attack -- Wolf.

BLITZER: More shocking information coming in.

All right, John Berman, thank you very much.

Let's bring in our senior international correspondent Clarissa Ward who's also in Paris for us. Clarissa, we saw this suicide explosion in the new ABC video. We're now also learning she did not necessarily detonate that bomb. What more are you learning about this female relative of Abaaoud? What was her role?

CLARISSA WARD, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, to be honest, Wolf, we really don't know very much. We know that she's 26 years old, that her name was Hasna Aitboulahcen. She's believed to be the cousin of Abaaoud. And for days, for two full days it was believed that she was the one who had detonated that explosive vest.

Now we are finding out that she is not the one who detonated that explosive vest, that it was one of the two other men in that room. Both of those men were also killed. One of them was Abaaoud. So the question is, who was the third man? Or is it possible that Abaaoud even detonated the vest?

And just to give you a sense, Wolf, we spent the day in Saint-Denis again outside that apartment building two days after this raid. There are still forensic

experts going in and out of that building combing through the wreckage.

You can imagine the scenes of carnage that there must have been in that room for them for three days later or two days later to still have trouble identifying

some of those bodies and to only just now realize that Aitboulahcen is not the one who pulled the trigger on that suicide vest, Wolf.

BLITZER: So, do they have any clue who this third individual might have been?

WARD: If they do have a clue, Wolf, they're certainly not sharing it. The question now is who is the third dead man. Abaaoud was in there, the cousin Aitboulahcen, was in there, who is that third person? Could it be the eighth attacker, Salah Abdelsalam who we know

is still at large? That is probably unlikely, because we know that he was last spotted after the attacks on his way to Belgium.

But all of this brings home, Wolf, is one central theme here: this is an ongoing operation, an ongoing investigation, the network is ever expanding. You heard John Berman there talking about 800 raids. We know more than 100 just last night alone.

So this is really an enormous operation and there is no sense that it's coming any closer to ending, Wolf.

BLITZER: Clarissa Ward in Paris, thank you.

Let's go to that terrorist hotel siege in the North African nation of Mali. A United Nations spokesman now says at least 21 people are dead in an attack that may have been carried out by a group with ties to al Qaeda.

Our chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto has the very latest for us.

Jim, this is a Radisson hotel, the so-called Radisson Blu. There were American citizens inside. Explain the latest information we're getting on what happened.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, we understand there were two to three attackers. They entered, it's believed, using diplomatic plates to get past the security there. There's a known terrorist threat there. There would be security outside the hotel. That's the way they got in. that's a known terror method, we've seen it in a number of countries: you make yourself seem like you're a diplomat, like you're a soldier, a policemen, you get past that security.

Just two to three attackers on a target like that with hundreds of people inside. They were able to hold a number of them hostage, thankfully most of them got out, but

to kill roughly two dozen of them. The trouble is there are hundreds, there are thousands of targets like this not just around Africa but in Europe. It's impossible to secure all of them 100 percent.

And we saw that there today in Mali.

BLITZER: Who do they think, Jim, was responsible? Could there have been a link to the Paris attacks? SCIUTTO: There's no perceived link to the Paris attacks. You have two al Qaeda linked groups that are claiming responsibility including a group that's been active in Central and North Africa. It took over a refinery in Algeria, killed a number of westerners this last year.

So, listen, this is a competition among these groups. It may very well be that al Qaeda seeing ISIS grabbing the attention it has with its attacks in Paris is trying to show its strength in a place where it has strength. Not one but two al Qaeda linked groups there.

That said there are also ISIS linked groups there. But the best information at this point is that this is more likely an al Qaeda connection than an ISIS connection.

BLITZER: We understand there were some U.S. special forces on the scene in Mali. What was their role in resolving this?

SCIUTTO: What the U.S. military tells us that one U.S. special forces soldier helped with the evacuation from the building, did not have a central role in raiding the hotel. You have about two dozen U.S. special forces based in Mali right now. They've been there two or three They've helped train Mali special forces. And Mali special forces definitely played a central role in this.

And it shows you, listen, we know the French have had ground troops in Mali because they take the terror threat there very seriously. But the U.S. has had forces there for a number of years now as well. They've identified this threat. They are allocating

resources there. It's not a huge contingent, but it's one that's meant to be a force multiplier to help the local forces respond to this threat.

You also have a military contingent there from the U.S. to protect the embassy as well, which was not far from this hotel. And as you said, Wolf, there were Americans in the hotel. Thankfully they were able to get out safely.

BLITZER: Thankfully indeed.

All right, thanks very much. Our Jim Sciutto reporting.

Let's talk about all of this and more with President Obama's special envoy to the global coalition to counter ISIS, Brett McGurk.

Brett, thanks very much for joining us.

Based on all the information you're getting, is there a connection between what has happened in Mali today and the Paris attacks?

Brett MCGURK, WHITE HOUSE SPECIAL ENVOY TO GLOBAL COALITION TO COUNTER ISIS: I think, Wolf, as your reporters just pointed out these are all late-breaking situations. We've been in touch with our people on the ground in Mali throughout the day. We have confirmed that no Americans were lost in this barbaric terrorist attack. We don't see anything right now to connect anything that happened in Mali to Paris. But obviously

we're continuing to follow-up very aggressively.

And as Jim just mentioned we have about 25 U.S. special forces on the ground. And we understand that some of them played a heroic role in helping to evacuate some of the casualties and the hostages today.

BLITZER: Do we know -- or do you know for more specifically whether this was ISIS, al Qaeda, a combination thereof or some other terror group?

MCGURK: Again, hard to say.

Indications now is this is more of an al Qaeda affiliated group. There of course is a competition going on for the mantle of this global jihad between ISIL and al

Qaeda, which gets into issues that developed in Syria over recent years.

But again, Wolf, it's just too early to say. This is a late-breaking situation.

BLITZER: Are there occasions? Because we've been told there are in various countries where ISIS and al Qaeda elements actually cooperate, is that possible in

this particular case?

MCGURK: It's possible. It's really hard to say. A lot of these groups are interwoven, kind of marbled together. In Syria, you definitely see the big, the kind of sharp distinction between the al Nusra Front, which is al Qaeda's global affiliate in Syria and ISIL, but in other places there's more of a looser affiliation.

But again, Wolf, far too early to say. The most important thing is we've been very focused on with our colleagues in Mali and Bamako in making sure that Americans are safe and we're pleased to hear that they are. And we're also of course proud of the role that our brave special forces played in helping to bring some of these casualties to safety.

BLITZER: ISIS as you know has threatened to attack New York and Washington, D.C. in two separate propaganda videos released over the past few days. Here's

the question, does ISIS really have the capacity to strike at Times Square or Herald Square, New York, or the White House or the monuments here in Washington as they've threatened?

MCGURK: Well, we've seen, I think James Comey the head of the FBI and the attorney general spoke yesterday about the fact we have no credible actionable intelligence of any sort of plots like that in the homeland. And one of the reasons is because since 9/11 we've worked so hard to really harden the homeland against -- you know, we know everybody that's coming in on an airplane. We track people very closely. So we see no actionable intelligence right now.

But I will say, you know, in the hours after the Paris attack President Obama pulled together his entire national security team with the most important agenda item

number one making sure that we are doing all we can to protect the homeland. And then number two to make sure we stand in full solidarity with our French partners.

I just came back from Paris, and I think we all it's really remarkable resiliency, courage, resolve, strength, I think we've all been impressed with how they've responded to this attack. And we're going to stand in solidarity with them. They are moving the Charles De Gaulle aircraft carrier to the eastern Mediterranean. It's there now. It'll then relocate to the Gulf, that's going to increase our capacity in terms of the overall air campaign.

We signed an intelligence sharing agreement with them to get them more information to help them respond. And working really hand in glove with our French partners and with the entire global coalition.

Here at the State Department on Monday, we'll have all the ambassadors of the coalition together to talk about the next steps in this campaign, to talk about things that we hope they can do because there's a greater role for all members of the coalition to play. And the vice president will be here to address them and answer questions they have.

But we have to intensify our efforts. We are intensifying our efforts. And we want to take the fight to ISIL in the heart of its phony caliphate in Raqqa, Mosul and elsewhere.

BLITZER: We're going to talk about that, that effort now to destroy ISIS. We're getting some new information, Brettt McGurk, stay with us. We'll take a quick break. Much more right after this.


BLITZER: We're following the breaking news in the Paris terror attacks including the revelation by Paris prosecutors that the suicide bomb set off in that dramatic raid was detonated by a man, not the woman police initially thought, a relative of the terror mastermind Abdelhamid Abaaoud, all of whom were killed.

We're back with President Obama's special envoy to the global coalition to counter ISIS, Brett McGurk, he's joining us from the State Department.

Brett, in the past month alone, past few weeks ISIS has been able to bring down a Russian commercial airliner killing 224 people. They've carried out the

deadliest attack in Paris since World war II killing another 130 people. They've had suicide bombings in Beirut, in Baghdad, in Turkey.

Here's the question, the coalition -- and you're the special envoy -- is the coalition right now losing this war to ISIS?

MCGURK: Well, there's no question I think as I've said on your show before, Wolf, this is a -- we have 30,000 foreign fighters, these jihadist fighters that come from a 100 countries all around the world and poured into Syria in recent years. We've never seen anything like it.

If you run the numbers, and numbers vary from the 80s, but it's about twice as many as went into Afghanistan in the '80s. And those guys came from just a handful of countries. So we've never seen anything like this.

We have to join together as a global community and a global coalition to eviscerate these foreign fighter networks and allowing these people to get across

borders. We've done a pretty good job at it here in the United sin terms of tracking everybody who comes in. There's more for the EU to do, frankly. And I think the reports out of Brussels today that they've

set a target date now by the end of the year to pass legislation, to put in place a passenger name record information for everybody flying on airplanes going across borders in the EU and coming into the EU, that's very important. That has to happen. That's something we've been encouraging them to do for some time.

We also need to focus, Wolf, on degrading and destroying their core in Iraq and Syria. I've been to about 30 capitals all around the world from North Africa to the Gulf to Europe and to Asia, and one thing that is attracting all these young people to come in to join ISIS is this notion of this phony caliphate.

A year ago, Baghdadi's narrative was this war, flags, constant expansion, planting his flag throughout this expanding phony caliphate. So, we need to focus on making sure that we shrink it. In Iraq, we've taken back about 40 percent of the territory that ISIL controlled a year ago and we're going to continue.

We've cut off the roadway between Raqqa and Mosul, we did that just 10 days ago. That's going to continue. We're putting in U.S. special forces into northern Syria to help enable and advise local forces to take the fight to ISIL and isolate and trap them in Raqqa. Those efforts are going to intensify.

But we need to work this at every single line of effort: military, diplomatic, economic. There's more for every coalition member to do. And that's why we're getting all the ambassadors here together on Monday to talk to them about what they can do and what we're going to do together as we increase the pressure on ISIL.

BLITZER: So how long is it going to take to liberate Raqqa, the so- called capital of the Islamic State?

MCGURK: Well, the first step is to isolate and entrap them -- cutting off roadways, cutting off supply networks, cutting off the infiltration networks.

Six months ago their main infiltration route from Turkey was a town called Talabiad. We worked with local forces to take that away from them. Right now, there's a 98 kilometer stretch of border they still control with Turkey. We're in active discussions with the Turks to combine and join forces with forces on the ground in a coordinated campaign to pressure ISIL...

BLITZER: So how long is this war in other words going to last?

MCGURK: I'm not going to put a time frame on it, but we're going to do all we possibly can to begin this isolation stage. It's already started, to cut and entrap

them in Raqqa. And as we do that, Wolf, what's important they get nervous, they do stupid things, we can find them and we can kill them. That happened with Jihadi John, the barbaric terrorist that took the life of brave American journalists not long ago, we found him in Raqqa and he's no longer alive.

BLITZER: What about Mosul? Mosul is the second largest city in Iraq, a city that used to be a city of 2 million people. ISIS took over, the Iraqi army ran away,

left tons of U.S. military equipment behind for ISIS to use. They've got all that gold, all that money.

This is a rich terror operation right now because of what they stole in Mosul, the oil that's going on. Where's the Iraqi army in all of this? They seem to be MIA.

MCGURK: Well, the first step in Mosul is to isolate it, to cut off the roads. That's something that we did with the Kurdish Peshmerga in taking Sinjar just the other


The second step is to push up from the north.

BLITZER: But when is that going to happen? When is any of that going to happen? Because right now the Iraqi army is not there.

MCGURK: Well, the Iraqi army right now is focused on two fronts, one on Baiji (ph) up the Tigris River about 50 kilometers south of Mosul and second on Ramadi. They now have Ramadi surrounding, or moving. It's difficult. They've taken 1,200 casualties, the Iraqi security forces, many of them that we've trained. They're taking casualties. They're now fighting.

They're moving meter by meter through IED chains,, through sniper belts. They're moving meter by meter fighting and taking back territory.

But in Mosul, Wolf, we just set up -- and this took a lot of political effort with the Iraqi-Kurdistan government and the central government in Baghdad, a headquarters in Mahmor (ph), just east of Mosul, to plan for the liberation of Mosul, to organize the local tribes. We have a new governor of Nineveh (ph) province. I won't get into all the details to help organize and coordinate this effort.

But it's going to be a strangulation and isolation campaign. We want to strangle them, cut off the networks, cut after the supply lines. It's not going to be a D-Day kind of thrust into Mosul.

But that strangulation and isolation has already begun. And that's why you saw the Kurdish Peshmerga take Sinjar, and that Sinjar operation was coordinated with

similar operations of Arabs and Kurds in eastern Syria cutting off this key highway 47 that feeds Mosul from Raqqa.

So cutting off those supply routes was the first step. And now we're just going to continue the strangulation and pressure while we're doing air strikes every day into Mosul every time we find their leaders. We killed, in fact, Haji Mutaz (ph), the number one ISIL leader in Iraq. We found him, tracked him outside of Mosul and were able to strike him.

It's going to take time, Wolf. We all need to do more. We need to stand with our French partners. And as an entire global coalition enhance our resources and intensify our efforts.

BLITZER: Brett McGurk is the president's special envoy to the global coalition fighting ISIS.

Brett McGurk, thanks very much.

MCGURK: Thank you.

BLITZER: Coming up, surprising new twists as the investigators reveal the latest details about the Paris terror attacks and the raid that killed the suspected mastermind.

Also, the powerful drug ISIS fighters say gives them battlefield courage and makes them feel invincible.


[17:31:24] BLITZER: We're getting new details about today's terror attack on a Radisson Hotel as well as new twists in the investigation of last Friday's terror attacks in Paris. The United Nations spokesman now says at least 21 people died in today's attack on the Radisson Blu Hotel in Mali's capital. According to the State Department about a dozen Americans were rescued from the hotel in France. Prosecutors revealed a third person died during Wednesday's raid and shootout in a Paris suburb.

Still unidentified man may have set off the explosion seen in this video obtained by ABC News that killed a female relative of the suspected mastermind of the Paris attacks who also died during the police raid.

Meanwhile, authorities across Europe they are hunting for suspects who got away last Friday. Our justice correspondent Pamela Brown is joining us. She has new details on the investigation. What are you learning, Pamela?

PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, tonight we're learning a recently identified suicide bomber at the Stade de France apparently entered Greece with the other Paris bomber who used a Syrian passport to enter under the guise of a refugee. This as European officials continue to hunt down other attackers on the run and any of their associates.


BROWN (voice-over): Tonight, chilling new video of a bloody sidewalk in front of one of the Paris cafes. Bodies lie motionless as frightened passerby scramble to help the victims. One week after the deadly attacks, a manhunt underway across Europe for 26-year-old Salah Abdeslam. French police stopped him briefly just hours after the attacks but let him go before they realized his role in the rampage.

FORIA YOUNIS, FORMER FBI AGENT: If he's doing the right thing such as maybe not using cell phones, not staying with people that might be his previously known associates, it is possible to hide out especially if he's gotten further and further away from where the attack location is.

BROWN: Tonight we're also learning more about Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the suspected architect behind the attacks. Closed circuit television not yet released to the public shows Abaaoud at a Paris metro station while the attacks were taking place, according to a source close to the investigation.

Alexander Chateau was Abaaoud's attorney when he was charged with petty crimes.

ALEXANDER CHATEAU, ABAAOUD'S FORMER ATTORNEY: In 2013 he was wearing a beard and he was studying his religion. But he has no sign of radicalization. No odd or speech about society or something.

BROWN: Abaaoud was killed during a police raid right outside of Paris. A 26-year-old woman was also killed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where is your boyfriend?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's not my boyfriend.

BROWN: Shortly after her voice was heard, an explosion rocked the apartment, seen here in video obtained by ABC News. French officials initially believe she blew herself up, but now we're learning it was actually another male suicide bomber. Tonight, it's not clear if that bomber was Abaaoud or a third man who remains unidentified.


BROWN: Well, at this hour that is still something investigators are trying to figure out, who that suicide bomber was. Meantime, a Moroccan source is belief among Moroccan intelligence is that Abaaoud had contact with ISIS operatives in Syria when he was in France and that the attacks in Paris were ordered directly from Syria -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Pamela Brown, thanks very much.

Joining us now in THE SITUATION ROOM our CNN law enforcement analyst, the former FBI assistant director Tom Fuentes, our national security analyst Peter Bergen, our justice reporter Evan Perez, and our CNN military analyst retired Major General James "Spider" Marks.

[17:35:09] Guys, I need you all to stand by for a moment. Evan, you're getting some new information. I just want to make sure we digest it first. Stay with us, much more coming up right after a quick break.


BLITZER: We're following today's dramatic revelations from investigators in Paris. They now say the person who died during this week's terrorist raid on that terrorist hideout was not necessarily the woman who set off that explosive device.

[17:40:09] It was the man who did it and the chain the prosecutors say that the suicide bombing took place during the raid and it did in fact kill those people. There's a mystery in fact what that woman was doing there.

We're back with our military, law enforcement and terrorism experts.

Evan Perez, you're getting new information from investigators on what was going on. What are you learning?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, there's growing concern that at least one of the Paris attackers and possibly more had clean enough backgrounds that they could have traveled to the U.S. under the visa waiver program. Now officials tell CNN that one of the attackers, at least one of the attackers was on the no-fly list, four were on the watch list known as Tide.

Now there are 1.1 million names on the Tide list. The no-fly list is the highest level security list. There's disagreement frankly among law enforcement and intelligence agencies about how well the watch list would have worked to stop the attackers from traveling here. One intelligence official tells me that human sources and other intelligence methods would have filled the gaps, but law enforcement officials are very concerned that that's not the case.

Now this is not a new concern. In the past year Homeland Security Department has added new requirements for information for citizens traveling from the 38 visa waiver countries. But as a sign that the Obama administration is taking this potential gap seriously, you expect to hear in the coming days new steps that European countries in the visa waiver program are expected to provide more information to the United States about their citizens.

One U.S. official does say that the vast majority of people who are either attackers or plotters, Wolf, were on watch lists and that most were on the no-fly list. Obviously they're still trying to gather information about exactly who these men were.

BLITZER: Tom Fuentes, if they were on U.S. watch lists, no-fly lists, would the -- would the European allies automatically have known that as well?

TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, they should have. And they should have also been able to communicate that to the U.S. You know, following 9/11 France was the first country in the world to supply a flight manifest to the FBI before the planes took off for the U.S. so if they are still doing that, and if they had done that in this case, if any of them had intended to come here, they would have come up before that plane left the ground to stop them from boarding.

BLITZER: Peter, how important is it for investigators to determine the role of that woman who died in that raid? What her connection to these terrorists was, how important is it for the investigation?

PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, you know, we've seen ISIS recruiting women. We have data showing that one in seven of ISIS' Western recruits are female. And this is kind of an unprecedented development. I mean, this is obviously a very misogynist group but in the past jihads in Afghanistan both, you know, we have seen women being part of the support network in the same way. So here we don't know what her role is but it's quite possible she's part of the kind of support network.

PEREZ: Let me just say real quick. That's actually something the FBI just recently told us, that while the numbers are going down of American travelers, what they are noticing is more females and younger.

BLITZER: That are being recruited --

PEREZ: That are being recruited to travel overseas.

BLITZER: What motivates these young women to become ISIS supporters?

BERGEN: Well, some of them have the fantasy that they're going to meet the man of their dreams. I mean, a lot of them are getting married over there. They're thinking they're joining the perfect Islamic society. And utopian views of what life under ISIS is like plus marriage is a powerful recruiting tool for some of these people.

PEREZ: How did that work out for her?

BLITZER: Yes. What's very disturbing, Spider, is that one of the terrorists who was directly involved in this massacre Friday night, Salah Abdeslam, he's still on the loose right now. He's either in France or Belgium, reports maybe the Netherlands. What does that say that this guy is still roaming around presumably Europe some place?

MAJ. GEN. JAMES "SPIDER" MARKS, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, first of all, we know we've got really good positive identification on him. And he's been broadly broadcast throughout the intelligence network, all the law enforcement folks in Europe are absolutely engaged in Interpol, is got him at the top of the list. So this is the most wanted guy in Europe.

What can happen, however, is you can drive from Paris all the way to Damascus. So there's no telling where this individual might be right now.

BLITZER: That's the same thing you're hearing as well. PEREZ: That's a big concern, Wolf. The fact that there is this flow

of fighters that sometimes they're hiding among refugees, for instance, as a way to get across. And they've got safe houses, they've got routes that go through Romania, and then ferries down the coast. I mean, there are all kinds of different ways in which they can evade police and authorities who are looking for them.

BLITZER: Tom, we heard from the New York City police commissioner Bill Bratton today, there's still no credible specific threat to New York city despite these ISIS propaganda videos saying they're going after Times Square or coming after the White House. And -- but still next week, Thanksgiving holiday weekend, a lot of people traveling, getting on planes. I assume, local, state, federal law enforcement, they're raising their security preparations out of an abundance of caution?

[17:45:04] FUENTES: Well, they have been. But, you know, each time an incident happens they raise it again. So the people go from working 60 hours a week to 70 to 80 to 90. I mean, you know, they've been in this mode, attack after attack after attack in the intelligence and law enforcement community.

As far as the -- there's no credible threats. If there was they'd take it out right now. What you'd be hearing is that somebody's under arrest or later you'll hear that they were taken into custody. So they're not going to put that, yes, we have a credible threat. By the way, go shopping. You know, that's not going to happen. So they take them out if they know.

BLITZER: And what's really alarming is that soda can bomb that apparently brought down that Russian airliner over Egypt and Sinai killing all 224 people onboard, it looked so small and it could have been detonated either remotely or some people now suspect by a suicide bomber who was aboard that plane.

BERGEN: Yes. And the fact that it's small, I mean, think about the underwear bomber who's going to commit suicide on Northwest Flight 353 over Detroit on Christmas Day 2009. I mean, it was a very, very small piece of explosive that would have brought down the plane. The planes are inherently pretty unstable. Once you open a gap in them you're going to bring it down.

BLITZER: Spider, just quickly, this Mali Radisson Hotel that was attacked today, a lot of people were killed, could have been worse, but still a lot of people were killed. Is it just coincidental coming a week after Paris? Or is there a connection here?

MARKS: I would say it's coincidental. The confluence of the French being involved, because Mali is a prior colony, and they have a very tight relationship, but the trade craft used in the Radisson attack and what we've seen in Paris is entirely different.

BLITZER: All right, guys --

MARKS: You would have seen a whole bunch of people killed inside that hotel, far more than were killed if it was an ISIS-related type. BLITZER: Yes. Suspicion is it's not ISIS but al Qaeda obviously.

That's a different organization. Just horrible terrorists.

Coming up, the ISIS terror drug, a powerful amphetamine fueling the group's finances, and according to some experts producing so-called fearless fighters.


[17:51:26] BLITZER: The breaking news tonight, CNN has learned that more than one of the Paris terrorists were on the U.S. no-fly list and four of them on a broader terror watch list. The Paris attacks raising new fears right now about ISIS which may be using a drug to fuel its fighters' brutality.

CNN's Brian Todd is digging deeper into this for us.

Brian, the drug could be behind, we're told, some of the horrors that were committed.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Certainly could, Wolf. We have new information tonight from U.S. officials who say there is a powerful amphetamine called captagon, circulating throughout warzones of the Middle East. It's illegal, it flows freely on the black market, and tonight we're told jihadist fighters are believed to be using it as a go-pill on the battlefield.


TODD (voice-over): A captured ISIS militant named Kareem tells CNN how he got his battlefield courage.

KAREEM, CAPTURED ISIS MILITANT (Through Translator): They gave us drugs, hallucinogenic pills, that would make you go to battle not caring if you live or die.

TODD: When our CNN team interviewed Kareem last year, he was being held by Kurdish militants in northern Syria. It was impossible to know if he was telling the truth or if he was being coached by his captors. But tonight, a U.S. official tells CNN it's believed some jihadist fighters are using the drug captagon, a dangerous and powerful amphetamine.

How would it fuel them on the battlefield?

DR. ROBERT KEISLING, PSYCHIATRIST, MEDSTAR WASHINGTON HOSPITAL CENTER: It keeps you awake. You can stay awake for days at a time. You don't have to sleep. It gives you a sense of well being and euphoria. And you think that you're invincible and that nothing can harm you.

TODD: Recently the U.N.'s drug czar said ISIS and the al Qaeda affiliated Nusra Front were believed to be smuggling the chemical precursors for captagon. A U.S. law enforcement official tells CNN there's a robust black market for the drug in the Middle East. Analysts say the profits fund weapons purchases for jihadist groups. MATTHEW LEVITT, WASHINGTON INSTITUTE OF NEAR EAST POLICY: Hezbollah,

people affiliated with Hezbollah have a long history in the production and sale of captagon. At one point there was a fight between Hezbollah affiliated persons because some people were angry they weren't getting a cut of some of this business.

TODD: Captagon was developed in the '60s and was first used to treat people with hyper activity. It's since been banned in the U.S. and elsewhere. And while some question the drug's prevalence among fighters who preach Islamic purity, analysts say jihadists can find the justification.

(On camera): Is it hypocritical? Is it a violation of cultural religious principles?

DAVEED GARTENSTON-ROSS, FOUNDATION FOR DEFENSE OF DEMOCRACIES: Jihadists would argue that this is not hypocritical, that first of all, it's not a drug that's being taken to get high.

TODD (voice-over): Psychiatrist Robert Keisling who's treated thousands of addicts says captagon is so hallucinogenic it can make a user hear voices and see things that aren't there.

(On camera): That can hurt you on the battlefield, right?

KEISLING: Absolutely. Yes. But I think they had made a decision that keeping these guys awake for four or five days at a time and giving them a sense of invincibility is worth whatever harm or side effects the drugs have.


TODD: For whatever sense of euphoria or invincibility captagon might produce, Dr. Keisling says there are horrible downsides. Users he says can become psychotic, brain damaged and of course could become addicted to this drug for years to come -- Wolf

BLITZER: Brian, we have recent information indicating it's not just the jihadis who may be using these pills and smuggling them, there are others, as well.

TODD: That's right, Wolf. An extraordinary story here. Just a couple of weeks ago a member of the Saudi royal family was detained at the Beirut airport for allegedly trying to smuggle two tons of captagon pills into Saudi Arabia. The U.N. says amphetamines are the most prevalent type of drug used in Saudi Arabia.

BLITZER: Very disturbing information. All right, Brian, thanks very much.

We're continuing to follow the breaking news. We now have new details, new twists in the investigation into the Paris terror attacks as the death toll climbs.

[17:55:07] And we're learning new information about Americans at the scene of a terrorist hotel siege that left at least 21 people dead. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Happening now, breaking news, American terror death. Attackers with AK-47s storm a Radisson Hotel leaving a trail of bodies and bullets. We're now learning one American is dead. There is a new claim of responsibility tonight. Is there any link to the terror in Paris?

Escaping the manhunt. A week after the Paris attacks hundreds of raids fail to find a primary suspect who's still at large and still a terror threat right now.

[18:00:07] And tonight, the search is expanding and a state of emergency in France is being extended.