Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Student planned kill zone in his high school


NYC mayor says slashing spike due to gun control, as critics blame passive policing

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio says the explosion in random slashings this year shows the city is getting guns off the streets, but critics say it’s another NYPD policy that is driving the blade attacks: The end of stop-and-frisk.

De Blasio’s claim earlier this month that violent criminals are using knives, razor blades and boxcutters to maim strangers because they can’t get their hands on firearms prompted skepticism from law enforcement experts. Slashings have jumped about 20 percent this year compared to the first three months of 2015, with attacks occurring on the subway, at tourist attractions and in outer borough neighborhoods long plagued by crime.

“I’m not quite sure why violent people would switch to knife carrying over gun carrying when their chances of being stopped and frisked or arrested are already so low.”

- Heather McDonald, Manhattan Institute
"I’m not a criminologist,” de Blasio told reporters in response to a question about the knife attacks. “But I can safely say that guns are being taken off the street in an unprecedented way. Some people, unfortunately, are turning to a different weapon.”

Some law enforcement experts aren’t buying the mayor’s explanation for the rise in knife crime.

“These criminals didn’t just start carrying knives out of the blue or because of the guns getting taken — I don’t believe that for a second,” former NYPD Detective Scott Prendergast, who runs the private investigation service Cornelius Investigations, told FoxNews.com.

Instead, Prendergast blames the rise in knife attacks on de Blasio for ending “stop-and-frisk,” a policy in which police officers stop people based on suspicion and frisk them for weapons or other illegal items.

“The increase in knives is more connected to ending stop and frisk . . . so the criminals know they can carry knives like they did back in the 1980s,” Prendergast said.

Heather Mac Donald, a fellow at the Manhattan Institute who studies crime, agreed.

“I’m not quite sure why violent people would switch to knife carrying over gun carrying when their chances of being stopped and frisked or arrested are already so low,” she told FoxNews.com.

Asked for evidence backing up the mayor’s claim about guns, the NYPD sent FoxNews.com data showing that gun-related arrests in 2016 have risen to 559 from 476 during the same period last year. And that at the same time as they arrested more people for having guns, shooting incidents fell to 130 from 161 and murders fell to 44 from 63.

Those statistics are consistent with the mayor’s argument, but Prendergast noted that crimes in general are up.

There were 402 more felonious assaults so far this year compared to the same time period last year – a 14 percent increase. Through the first two months of the year, there were 567 slashing attacks, some 20 percent above the pace set in early 2015.

Police data also show that shootings, while down in 2016 so far, are still higher than they were two years ago when de Blasio took office.

“I have lived and worked in New York City my whole life and it is definitely starting to remind me of the 1980s as far as unsavory characters being a lot more visible,” Prendergast said.

De Blasio said the city’s next project is to crack down on illegal knives and that the best way to do so is with “broken windows” policing – meaning enforcing laws against relatively minor crimes and shaking the perps down for weapons.

“I believe in quality-of-life policing, or ‘Broken Windows Policing,’” de Blasio said.  “I get the reports every day. Someone’s jumping a turnstile [or] someone had some other kind of infraction and… it turns out they have a weapon,” he said.

But critics say de Blasio doesn’t fully allow police to practice what he preaches, because this year New York City decriminalized a host of minor crimes including public urination, drinking in public and littering.

“So obviously they’re not doing ‘broken windows’ policing,” Prendergast said.

ICE: 124 illegal immigrants released from jail later charged in 138 murder cases

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has revealed that 124 illegal immigrant criminals released from jail by the Obama administration since 2010 have been subsequently charged with murder.

A Center for Immigration Studies report on the data from ICE to the Senate Judiciary Committee added that the committee is not releasing the names of the murder suspects.

"The criminal aliens released by ICE in these years — who had already been convicted of thousands of crimes — are responsible for a significant crime spree in American communities, including 124 new homicides. Inexplicably, ICE is choosing to release some criminal aliens multiple times," said the report written by CIS's respected director of policy studies, Jessica M. Vaughan.

She added that 75 percent were released due to court orders or because their countries wouldn't take them back.

What's more, her report said that in 2014, ICE released 30,558 criminal aliens who had been convicted of 92,347 crimes. Only 3 percent have been deported.

Her analysis is the latest shocking review of Obama's open-border immigration policy. And despite the high number of illegal immigrants charged with murder, the list doesn't include those released by over 300 so-called "sanctuary cities" and those ICE declined to take into custody.

Concealed carry permit holder fatally shoots ax-wielding attacker

A customer at a 7-Eleven store outside Seattle shot and killed a masked man who attacked a clerk with an ax early Sunday.

Investigators said the shooting happened at the store in White Center at approximately 5:45 a.m. local time. Witnesses said the man entered the store and swung a hatchet toward the customer before turning his attention to the clerk.

As the assailant attacked, the customer pulled out a pistol and fired, hitting the suspect. The clerk suffered minor injuries to his stomach and the suspect was pronounced dead at the scene.

The customer who shot the suspect is described as a 60-year-old Seattle man who visits the store every morning to get coffee. His name was not immediately released.

Authorities said the man who shot the attacker had a concealed carry permit and likely would not face charges as a result of his action.

"This could have been a lot worse,” King County Sheriff’s Sergeant Cindi West told KCPQ. “The clerk could be the one laying there dead on the floor right now.”

The motive for the assault was not clear. Investigators said the ax-wielding man remained silent throughout the assault. The assailant's identity was not immediately revealed, and authorities described him only as a man in his 40s.

Mexican beach resort hit by wave of Jet Ski cartel assassinations

In the 1980s and 1990s, Colombian drug cartel hit men pioneered the technique of using motorcycles when carrying out a murder to guarantee a quick escape.

Now cartel hit men in Mexico have taken the idea to another element.

waverunner hitman.jpg

In the coastal resort city of Acapulco, sicarios have begun pulling up to beaches on Jet Skis to carry out mid-day murders.

According to a report in the Daily Mail, there have been four such Jet Ski assassinations in Acapulco this year, with the latest occurring in late January, when an assassin swam to the beach of Acapulco Bay from a nearby Jet Ski, 9-mm. pistol in hand, and shot a 46-year old beach vendor three times in the chest.

The murder happened in broad daylight while sunbathing tourists looked on.

The killer than swam back out to his jet ski, which was being driven by an accomplice, and the pair fled down the coast.

Once seen as a cheap alternative for many U.S. and European tourists, Acapulco's violent crime rate has skyrocketed in recent years as drug cartels operating in the state of Guerrero have battled for control of the town and its trafficking routes.

Along with the cartels, local criminal organizations are using extortion and other means to pursue money out of local businesses and vendors. While the latest Jet Ski killing remains unsolved, it is believed by authorities that it was meant as a message to others to make extortion payments to the criminal groups.

Despite the visibility of the beach-side attack, Acapulco's violence has generally remained out of site of its tourist zones. But the Jet Ski attacks show a more brazen attitude, which would be a bad sign for the state of Guerrero, where tourism accounts for 80 percent of the economy.

The city, which finished 2015 with a homicide rate of 105 per 100,000 citizens, is the most violent in Mexico and the fourth most violent city in the world.

Suspected bomb blows up car in Berlin, killing driver

German police believe a bomb caused an explosion that killed a man driving through Berlin during the morning rush hour Tuesday.

The deputy chief spokesman for Berlin police, Carsten Mueller, told The Associated Press that the explosion occurred at about 8 a.m. (3 a.m. EST) in the western district of Charlottenburg.
Mueller says that "investigators are working on the assumption that it was an explosive device" inside or on the vehicle that caused the blast.
A picture posted by Berlin police on Twitter showed the wreckage of a silver VW Passat station wagon on the street, its windows blown out and its front end smashed in.

March 15, 2016: This image shows a car believed to have been blown up by a bomb in the Charlottenburg district of Berlin, Germany. (Twitter/@polizeiberlin)

Mueller confirmed that nobody else was injured in the blast despite heavy traffic. Experts checked the vehicle but found no further explosive devices, he said.

Hours after the blast, police were concentrating on the possibility that the explosion might be linked to organized crime, said Kerstin Ziesmer, a police spokeswoman.

She said investigators had identified the man who was killed but declined to name him, citing the ongoing investigation.

The city has seen a spate of violence linked to biker gangs involved in the drugs trade in recent years, but Mueller said police were looking into all possible scenarios that might have led to the blast.

The explosion occurred about half a mile from the capital's landmark Victory Column.

Austrian leaders urges Merkel to limit migrants

Austria's chancellor is urging his German counterpart to follow his country's example and set a limit on the number of asylum seekers Berlin is prepared to accept.

The appeal from Werner Faymann appears aimed at increasing pressure on German Chancellor Angela Merkel ahead of Thursday's EU refugee summit.

In an interview published Tuesday by the Kurier newspaper, Faymann says that "Germany too needs a point of reference," and urged Merkel "to say clearly and openly" that there cannot be uncontrolled migration into Europe.

Austria capped the number of asylum-seekers it will accept this year at 37,500 after nearly 90,000 applied for that status in 2015.

Macedonian authorities said Tuesday they have sent back hundreds of refugees and migrants to Greece, a day after they bypassed a fence at a closed section of the border in a mass push to continue their journey north to Europe's prosperous heartland — a move Greece blamed on "criminal misinformation" potentially spread by volunteers working with migrants.

Interior ministry spokesman Toni Angelovski told The Associated Press that the migrants "have been returned to Greece."

About 700 people pushed their way into Macedonia Monday through an unguarded section of the border, frustrated at being stuck for weeks in a waterlogged tent city outside the closed crossing of Idomeni. More than 1,000 men, women and children are believed to have entered Macedonia after walking about 5 kilometers (3 miles) across country, and fording a swollen stream near the Greek village of Hamilo.

International court convicts Congo's ex-vice president of murder, rape and pillage

THE HAGUE, Netherlands –  The International Criminal Court convicted a former Congolese vice president Monday of murder, rape and pillage for commanding troops who committed widespread atrocities in the Central African Republic in 2002-2003.

The conviction of Jean-Pierre Bemba marked the first time the court has convicted a suspect based on his role as a military commander. It also was the court's first judgment focusing on a brutal campaign of rape by troops in an armed conflict.

Bemba, 53, is the highest-ranking person yet convicted by the court. He showed no emotion as Presiding Judge Sylvia Steiner read out the long judgment highlighting horrific crimes by his militia.

He will be sentenced following a separate hearing. His defense lawyers can appeal.

Presiding Judge Sylvia Steiner of Brazil outlined a litany of rapes by members of Bemba's militia, the Movement for the Liberation of Congo, after it was deployed to Central African Republic to help forces loyal to then-President Ange-Feliz Patasse fight rebels led by Francois Bozize. Bozize's forces ultimately won and he replaced Patasse as president.

Steiner said women, girls and men were targeted by Bemba's forces, often with multiple soldiers raping women and girls in front of other family members.

In one incident, a man's wife was gang raped and when he protested he, too, was raped at gunpoint.

"Entire families were victimized," Steiner said. "Victims included the elderly men, women and children."

Israeli spy chief Meir Dagan, dead at 71

JERUSALEM –  Meir Dagan, a former Israeli general and longtime director of the country's spy agency, died on Thursday. He was 71.

Dagan directed the Mossad from 2002 until he retired in early 2011. Under his leadership, the Mossad reportedly carried out covert attacks against Iranian nuclear scientists and unleashed cyberattacks, including the Stuxnet virus, developed in cooperation with the United States. That digital weapon reportedly delayed the Iranian nuclear program.

Israel has never publicly confirmed any role in the Stuxnet attacks, but its involvement is widely assumed both inside and outside the country.

Born in 1945 in Ukraine to Holocaust survivors, Dagan reached the rank of general in the Israeli army and was known for innovations in battling terrorism. In the 1970s, he pioneered what became the "Mistaravim" unit, in which Israeli commandoes go undercover as Palestinians to capture militant suspects.

Dagan was appointed to head the Mossad by the late former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, and shared his tendency to disregard traditional protocol to achieve military goals, said Ronen Bergman, who covers intelligence affairs for the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth and is working on a history of the Mossad.

Meir Dagan in 2010.

Dagan's operations against the Iranian nuclear program restored pride in the Mossad after botched overseas operations, Bergman said. Dagan also cultivated ties with intelligence agencies in other Middle Eastern countries who shared Israel's fear of Iranian nuclear aspirations, he said.

Nevertheless, Dagan's career also had some embarrassments. Under his leadership, the Mossad was believed to have assassinated Hamas operative Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in a brazen operation in his Dubai hotel room in 2010. Hotel CCTV footage captured apparent assassins disguised as tennis players. A number of countries accused the Mossad of forging passports under their citizens' names for the suspected killers to use. Israel has never confirmed or denied involvement.

In recent years Dagan became a fierce opponent of a military strike on Iran. He openly criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's opposition to the recently implemented nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.

Days before Israel's elections last March, Dagan headlined a Tel Aviv rally and tearfully implored voters to vote out Netanyahu.

"He was concerned that we, the generation that achieved statehood, are leaving our children and grandchildren a state that is not better than the one we had," former Mossad chief Danny Yatom told Israel Radio.

Despite their differences, Netanyahu helped Dagan arrange a liver transplant in Belarus in 2012 after he could not undergo the procedure in Israel due to his age.

Israel Radio reported Thursday that Dagan's corneas would be donated.

Netanyahu remembered Dagan as "a daring fighter and commander."

"A great soldier has passed away. May his memory be a blessing," Netanyahu said.

Dagan was known for carrying a photograph of his grandfather being humiliated by Nazi soldiers shortly before being murdered.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said Dagan "symbolized for many the rebirth of the State of Israel from the ashes of the Holocaust."

Dagan is survived by his wife and three children.

IS Supporters Crowdsource “Evidences” by which to “Execute” Alleged Captured Spy

Islamic State (IS) supporters on social media claimed that a “suspected spy” was captured by fighters in the Philippines, and requested “evidences” by which to “find her guilty and execute her.”

Brussels terror: 34 killed in explosions at airport, subway station

Three explosions that ripped through the Belgian capital of Brussels on Tuesday killed at least 34 people and wounded about 170 more, according to Belgian media, and raised the reality of terror once again in the heart of Europe.

"We were fearing terrorist attacks, and that has now happened," Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel told reporters.

Belgian federal Prosecutor Frederic Van Leeuw said late Tuesday morning that it was too soon to know exactly how many people died in the bombings. Yet Belgian state broadcaster RTBF, citing emergency services, reported 20 dead at the Maalbeek metro station and 14 more killed at Brussels' international airport.

After the blasts, Belgian authorities again hit the streets looking for those tied to Tuesday's carnage and who might launch more attacks.

Citing judicial sources, RTBF reported that raids were underway midday Tuesday around Brussels, targeting people linked to the attacks. And at the international airport, a controlled explosion could be heard after troops zeroed in on a suspicious package, according to the Belgian crisis center.

Brussels attacks: Live updates

While there's been no official claim of responsibility, many prominent ISIS supporters celebrated Tuesday's deadly terror attacks in Brussels on social media.

One widely circulated Twitter post among these ISIS backers featured the words, "What will be coming is worse."

Belgium is no stranger to terror. Just a few days ago, authorities there captured Europe's most wanted man, Salah Abdeslam -- the latest of many suspected terrorists caught in the small European country. And a U.S. counterterrorism official said, "The Belgians have been sitting on a ticking time bomb," given all those who have gone to Syria and Iraq to join ISIS, then possibly come back home.

Still, these facts don't take away the shock and horror of those who lived through Tuesday's carnage.

"You cannot believe it; you cannot believe it," said Jef Versele, who was in the airport's departure hall when bombs exploded there. "It was so insane. Not in my backyard."

Brussels man: 'It was a matter of time'
At least one of the two airport explosions was a suicide bombing, Van Leeuw said. A blast happened there outside the security checkpoints for ticketed passengers and near the airline check-in counters, an airline official briefed on the situation said.

The subway station blast happened in the Brussels district of Maalbeek, near the European Quarter, where much of the European Union is based.

Richard Medic, who arrived at the station shortly after that explosion, wasn't surprised by the carnage after all that Europe has gone through recently, including November's massacre in Paris that ISIS claimed responsibility for.

"I think, after the Paris attacks, we were assuming something like this would happen," the Brussels resident told CNN. "And it was a matter of time."

Yet Versele, the airport witness, said that he thinks Belgians should not hole themselves up.

Instead, he said, they should continue to live their lives and travel "to prove that we're not afraid of those who have done (the attacks)."

Europe, U.S. on alert as well
Belgian authorities bolstered security after Tuesday's attacks, including shutting down all Brussels metro stations and evacuating the city's airport.

This comes as the terror threat level in Belgium went up to four -- its highest. That step-up means that army soldiers can be sent onto the streets to meet security needs.

In addition to the airport, broadcaster RTBF reported that the National Pensions Office in Brussels had been cleared after two suspicious packages were found inside.

All but essential staff were also sent home from a nuclear power plant in the eastern city of Tihange, said a representative of Engie, the French company that operates the facility. Belgian authorities ordered this evacuation, though the representative did not provide further details.

The effects of Tuesday's attacks have been felt outside the Belgian capital as well.

As far away as the United States, authorities in places like New York, Washington, Chicago and Los Angeles took special precautions like increased K9 sweeps of subways and additional police patrols. This was especially true around airports, subway stops and train stations, with scenes like those in the U.S. capital -- where police pulled out and checked travelers at random -- not uncommon.

U.S. ramps up security

Similar, if not more intense measures were enacted around Europe.

NATO, the military alliance that is headquartered in Brussels, increased its own alert level and expressed solidarity with Belgium.

"This is a cowardly attack, an attack on our values and on our open societies," NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in a statement. "Terrorism will not defeat democracy and take away our freedoms."

European calls for solidarity
As in other places, British authorities ordered an increased police presence at ports, airports, Tube stations and international train stations, said Prime Minister David Cameron.

Eurostar, a high-speed railway that goes to England and France, noted a number of schedule and other changes, including canceling service between London and Brussels.

Gare du Nord station in Paris, a stop for Eurostar as well as subway trains, was evacuated Tuesday afternoon after an abandoned suitcase was found, police said. Throughout France, 1,600 more police hit the streets after the Brussels attacks, French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said.

"I express my entire solidarity with the Belgian people," French President Francois Hollande tweeted. "Through the Brussels attacks, the whole of Europe has been hit."

That sentiment was echoed by Belgium's Michel during what he called "a dark time for our country."

"More than ever, I call on everybody to show calm, but also solidarity," the Prime Minister said. "We are facing a difficult, challenging time. And we should face up to this challenge by being united."

Airport witness: Windows broken, ceiling parts down
The darkness set in not long after the sun rose in Brussels. Anthony Barrett said he heard something about 8 a.m. local time from his hotel across from the terminal building.

"When I opened the curtains and looked out, I could see people fleeing," he told CNN.

Barrett saw stretcher after stretcher carrying people out of the airport, with luggage trollies also used to transport the wounded.

In the airport's departure hall, witness Versele noticed "people ... shouting and running around" after the first blast, then even more pandemonium after the second explosion, which was, "in my eyes, much more powerful."

That blast blew out windows, created a lot of smoke and caused parts of the ceiling to fall, he added.

"People were on the floor," Versele said, estimating that he saw 50 to 60 people who seemed to be unable to walk. "... It was quite a mess."

Witnesses: 'People were on the floor'

Traveler Jeffrey Edison had cleared security and was out by the gate, several hundred yards from the departure lounge, where the explosions occurred. He told CNN he didn't hear the blasts but "suddenly saw" 200 to 300 people rushing toward him from the security checkpoint.

He says it took authorities around 25 minutes to tell the passengers what had happened, before evacuating the area and leading the passengers to the runways.

Officials have not yet named those killed or wounded. The injured at the airport do include three Mormon missionaries -- ages 19, 20 and 66 -- from Utah, according to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Soccer star: 'I wish for Brussels to act with dignity'
About an hour later, during the tail end of Brussels' rush hour, another blast went off at the Maalbeek metro station.

Sander Verniers was heading toward there when this explosion occurred, producing "strong winds going (through his train) and some noises that shouldn't be there." Belgian troops met the passengers as they got off the train and walked along the tracks.

"We all had to get out," Verniers told CNN. "There was a lot of smoke."

Subway witness: We fled through smoke

Subway witness: We fled through smoke 01:36
The Belgian crisis center tweeted that all public transportation in the city has been closed.

"Stay where you are," it said.

Kristalina Georgieva, the vice president of the European Commission, said that all the organization's institutions are at "alert level orange" and that all meetings on its premises and outside have been canceled. She advised people to stay at home or indoors.

Abdeslam, who authorities say was involved in the Paris terror attacks last year, was arrested in the Brussels suburb of Molenbeek on Friday. Belgium's Prime Minister deflected a question about whether there's any link between Tuesday's bloodshed and Abdeslam's capture, saying it is too early to tell.

He said Tuesday that he had "no information" about who was responsible for the attack, adding that authorities will find that out, but right now their focus is on caring for the victims.

Belgian national soccer team captain Vincent Kompany tweeted that he was "horrified and revolted (that) innocent people (are) paying the price again," but he urged people not to encourage those wishing to lash out.

"We must reject hate and its preachers," Kompany said. "... I wish for Brussels to act with dignity."

CNN's Nima Elbagir, Joshua Berlinger, Jason Hanna, Evan Perez, Sheila Upadhya, Euan McKirdy, Margot Haddad and Mick Krever contributed to this report.

By Greg Botelho, CNN

Arizona House OKs bill that stiffens penalties for undocumented immigrants

Arizona House OKs bill that stiffens penalties for undocumented immigrants
Published March, 2016 Fox News Latino

Immigration detainees stand behind bars at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), detention facility on February 28, 2013 in Florence, Arizona. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
An Arizona House panel voted on Thursday to deny parole, probation or any type of early release to criminals who were in the United States illegally when they committed a crime.

In a 5-3 vote the panel approved SB 1377, which makes a judge impose at least the “presumptive” sentence for a crime and denies the person any chance to argue for a more lenient sentence. The bill adds on to a current Arizona state law that permits judges to consider various factors – including immigration status – in determining how long of a sentence to impose.

The measure was passed following an emotional testimony by Steve Ronnebeck, whose son Grant was shot to death by an undocumented immigrant while working the graveyard shift at a convenience store. The man who shot his son had been convicted of burglary in 2012 and was placed on probation.

Ronnebeck said the man who shot his son had been out on a $10,000 immigration bond for more than 470 days.

Despite arguments from several Democrats that the bill improperly targeted undocumented immigrants, they were overruled by Republican legislators who called it a “reasonable policy” to consider immigration status when deciding on parole.

“People who are here illegally are already breaking the law,” Republican Rep. Eddie Farnsworth said, according to the Arizona Daily Star.

The approval by the House of SB 1377 comes less than a month after Arizona’s Senate sent it to them.

Sen. Steve Smith, R-Maricopa, sponsored a bill that would essentially make it impossible for immigrants in the country illegally to receive any leniency in the courts when they commit serious crimes. The proposal originally would have repealed a law letting state corrections officials release prisoners to federal authorities after serving half their sentences, but an amendment left that law in place.

Smith said the bill came in response to a case from last year in which an immigrant who entered the country illegally and was out on bail for a separate crime shot and killed a 21-year-old convenience store employee over a pack of cigarettes.

"It's a good first step in the right direction of protecting families like his," Smith said, referring to the victim's father, who was in attendance for the vote.

Story of the Paris attack

By Paul Cruickshank, CNN

The night that shook Paris started with three rental cars: three cars with three teams of terrorists maneuvering through the Friday evening traffic, armed with the weapons of war.

A little before 9 p.m., a Renault Clio driven by Salah Abdeslam, the Paris plotter captured on March 18 in Brussels, pulled up outside the national stadium. An international soccer friendly match between France and Germany was just kicking off and 80,000 fans, including French President Francois Hollande, were already inside. Three men got out of the car and headed toward the stands.

One of them -- Bilal Hadfi, a young French citizen living in Belgium -- can be seen on surveillance video speaking into a cell phone. The other two were Iraqis who had slipped into Europe weeks before by posing as refugees. One of the trio was dressed in a Bayern Munich football team jogging suit. Concealed underneath their clothes were shrapnel-filled suicide vests held together with tape.

A few miles away, a black Seat Leon weaved toward the busy cafe district of Paris. The man behind the wheel, an already notorious Belgian ISIS operative named Abdelhamid Abaaoud, was on the phone speaking to Hadfi at the stadium to make sure everything went according to plan. In the passenger seats, two of his childhood friends, Chakib Akrouh and Salah Abdeslam's older brother, Brahim, clutched their Kalashnikovs, readying themselves.

Not far away, a black Volkswagen Polo with another trio of heavily armed terrorists headed toward the Bataclan concert hall, where hundreds had gathered to hear the American rock band Eagles of Death Metal. The French ISIS fighters in the car -- Ismael Omar Mostefai, Samy Amimour and Foued Mohamed-Aggad -- had all recently been on the front lines in Syria, and were moments away from carrying out the worst massacre in the modern history of France.

salah abdeslam info cardParis Attack Suspect Abdelhamid AbbaoudParis Attack suspect Bilal HadfiParis Attack suspect Ahmad Al MohammadStade de Paris bomber, name unknownParis Attack Suspect Samy AmimourParis Attack Suspect Foued Mohamed-AggadParis Attack Suspect Ismael MostefaiParis Attack suspect Ibrahim Abdesalam
A night of terror
It is still not clear why the stadium attackers arrived slightly late for the game, but eyewitness accounts suggest they did not have tickets. A security guard at Gate R told French police that starting at 9.05 p.m., he blocked a man resembling one of the Iraqi stadium attackers four times from trying to trick his way in, according to French police documents. One eyewitness interviewed by police remembered seeing three attackers, including Salah Abdeslam, talking to one another after being refused entry into the stadium.

Interrogated after his capture four months later, Abdeslam claimed he had been assigned to blow himself up at the stadium but backed out, according to Paris prosecutor Francois Molins, who said the claim should be treated with caution.

The French police reports make clear that eyewitness accounts are not always reliable and, in the case of the many interviewed after the Paris attacks, were sometimes contradictory. What is clear is that at a certain point after dropping off the stadium attackers, Salah Abdeslam drove away with his suicide vest.

MORE: Six questions about Paris suspect's arrest

Explosion at the Stade de France
At 9:20 p.m., the first of what would be several large bangs thundered across the stadium. The Iraqi suicide bomber -- who according to the security guard had been trying to sneak in -- blew himself up outside Gate D, killing one other person. A doctored Syrian passport in the fake name of Ahmad al Mohammad would later be found near what remained of his right foot.

At the moment of the first blast, Bilal Hadfi, the young Belgian member of the stadium attack team, was still on the phone with Abaaoud, the plot ringleader, who was impatiently maneuvering his Seat rental car through the traffic on Rue Bichat to get to the cafe district. Inside the car were his childhood friends Brahim Abdeslam and Chakib Akrouh. The elder Abdeslam brother had traveled from Belgium to Syria in January 2015, where like Akrouh he had joined ISIS.

Kalashnikov fire in the cafe district
Their attack began at 9:25 p.m. when a car in front of Abaaoud blocked his path. Five shots were fired from the Seat Leon, killing the driver of the car. According to some eyewitnesses, Abaaoud stopped the car in the middle of the road, turning on the blinking hazard lights. Shouting "Allahu akbar," Arabic for "God is great," all three terrorists then got out of the vehicle and sprayed the terrace and windows of the Cambodge and Carillon cafes with their Kalashnikovs, killing 13 people.

At 9:30 p.m., a second bang was heard in the stadium. A second suicide bomber, dressed in the colors of Bayern Munich, detonated his vest outside Gate H. Fortunately, no one was killed. Hollande, the French president, would soon be evacuated from the stadium. The third suicide bomber detonated his explosive vest 20 minutes later, next to a McDonald's restaurant near the stadium, injuring over 50, including seven seriously.

By the time of the second explosion at the Stade de France, the Seat Leon was at a new location. At 9:32 p.m., Abaaoud's team got out of the vehicle, again shouted "Allahu akbar" and opened fire at revelers at the Casa Nostra and Bonne Biere cafes near the Place de la Republique, killing five. One of the surviving eyewitnesses noticed one of the shooters was wearing orange sneakers, Abaaoud's footwear selection that night.

Night of terror: Paris attacks
32 photos: Night of terror: Paris attacks
The killers then jumped back in the car. At 9:36 p.m., the cafe killers opened fire on La Belle Equipe cafe, killing 19. As at the other cafes, most of those who lost their lives were sitting on the outdoor terraces. Eyewitnesses later recalled the gunmen did not speak to each other as they calmly sprayed the cafes and cars traveling down the road with bullets.

The car again sped off to a new location. At 9:40 p.m., Abaaoud dropped off Brahim Abdeslam at the Comptoir Voltaire cafe. According to eyewitnesses interviewed by police, he was wearing a hooded jacket over several layers of clothing when he brusquely entered the covered interior terrace of the establishment. He smiled at the other patrons, apologized for interrupting their dinner, then blew himself up. Their killing done for the night, Abaaoud and Akrouh drove up toward the Montreuil suburb of Paris, where they would abandon the car.

The Bataclan attack: 'We're starting'
At around 9:40 p.m., Bataclan attackers Ismael Omar Mostefai, Samy Amimour and Foued Mohamed-Aggad parked their Volkswagen Polo in front of the concert hall. At 9:42 p.m., one of them took out a Samsung smartphone and sent a last text to a cell phone located in Brussels: "We're getting going; we're starting." They then tossed the Samsung phone into a garbage can near the entrance of the Bataclan.

The phone was later recovered and has provided key information to investigators. They believe the men who received the text message on a cell phone located in Belgium outranked Abaaoud in the Paris attack conspiracy. One of them was Mohammed Belkaid, an Algerian confectioner turned ISIS operative killed on March 15 in Brussels. The other man was using the fake identity Soufiane Kayal and was identified on March 21 by the Belgian federal prosecutor as Najim Laachraoui, who went to Syria in February 2013, and is still at large.

MORE: New Paris attacks suspect named

In total, 21 phone calls and 2 text messages were exchanged between the Samsung phone and the cell phone geolocated in Belgium after the latter phone went active, 24 hours before the attack.

Investigators believe Belkaid and Laachraoui provided direction to the Paris attackers from Brussels before, during and after the night of the attacks, using multiple cell phones. According to French police reports obtained and viewed by CNN, the second of those cell phones, geolocated in precisely the same area in Belgium as the first, was communicating with Hadfi at the stadium and with Abaaoud's cafe team as the attacks unfolded, suggesting the attack was being coordinated in real time from Brussels.

The encryption app
Several hours earlier, at 2:14 p.m., the Bataclan attackers had downloaded the encryption messaging app Telegram onto their Samsung smart phone, according to police reports. No recovered content from the messaging app is mentioned in the French police documents, suggesting there were likely communications by the Bataclan attackers that will never be recovered.

Aftermath of Paris terror attacks
31 photos: Aftermath of Paris terror attacks
As well as offering end-to-end encryption, the Telegram messaging app offers an option for users to "self-destruct" messages. At 4:39 p.m. on November 13, one of the attackers downloaded detailed floor plans of the Bataclan venue onto the Samsung phone and conducted online searches for the American rock band playing there that night, the Eagles of Death Metal.

Almost all of the 89 people killed inside the Bataclan lost their lives during the first 20 minutes of the attack. The gunmen first killed three people on the sidewalk outside the concert hall, then entered and moved to the floor area of the venue, peppering the concertgoers with automatic fire, while shouting "Allahu akbar."

Inside the Bataclan
As one fired his weapon, the other reloaded so they could kill as efficiently as possible. Researching the floor plans appears to have paid off for the perpetrators. As some of those inside tried to escape through an emergency exit, they found a third terrorist waiting for them on the other side, according to the French police documents.

According to the eyewitnesses cited in the French police documents, the attackers spoke perfect French, taunting those lying wounded on the floor of the concert hall by saying, "Anybody who moves, I'm going to kill."

'Where are those Yanks?'
After the initial wave of killing, the gunmen stopped and asked each other "Where is the singer? Where are those Yanks? It's an American group, you're bombing us with the Americans, so we're going to hit the Americans and you," according to an eyewitness cited in the police documents.

The terrorists then addressed those fighting for their lives on the floor, telling them they had been dispatched from Syria by ISIS to carry out the attack to avenge French airstrikes in Iraq and Syria.

World reacts to Paris attacks
40 photos: World reacts to Paris attacks
At 10 p.m., two local French police officers arrived at the venue. Although only armed with handguns, they managed to take out Samy Amimour. As Amimour fell mortally wounded to the floor, he triggered his suicide vest. According to police documents cited by Le Monde, when the other two terrorists opened fire on the police officers from above, they were forced to retreat.

The two surviving terrorists, Mostefai and Aggad, then took some of the surviving hostages, and according to documents cited by Le Monde, herded them to an L-shaped corridor deeper inside the building. According to police documents obtained by CNN, by then the terrorists had seized several cell phones from concertgoers to try to access the Internet but could not find a signal.

Hostage rescue
By 10:45 p.m., France's rapid response commandos, a unit known as RAID, were on the scene. According to the French police documents obtained by CNN, they started communicating with the hostage-takers from outside the corridor via cell phone. The terrorists threatened to start executing their prisoners unless they received a signed paper promising that France would leave Muslim lands.

At around that time, Abaaoud, the Paris team leader, was spotted by a witness outside the Bataclan concert hall, apparently barking orders into a hands-free cell phone to the two surviving terrorists inside. Investigators later traced the cell phone he was using that night to the area outside the Bataclan. After abandoning the Seat Leon in Montreuil, he had ridden the metro back into the center of town to coordinate the final phase of the attack.

Just after midnight, the RAID commandos stormed the corridor, rescuing all the hostages alive. According to eyewitness reports cited by Le Monde, Mostefai and Aggad were cut down by police bullets. At least one of them managed to detonate his suicide vest.

A second attack is thwarted
Seven terrorists in the 10-man attack team were now dead. Only Salah Abdeslam, Abaaoud and Akrouh remained alive. Their attack was the deadliest in Europe since the 2004 Madrid train bombings. The death toll would soon rise to 130, with hundreds of others injured. Only fast detective work over the next few days prevented the death count from increasing further.

Instead of returning to a house rented by the cell in Bobigny, Abaaoud and Akrouh set up a makeshift camp that night in a small wooded area near a highway overpass near Rue des Bergeries in Aubervilliers, not far from the national stadium.

A helpful cousin
This is when Abaaoud's female cousin Hasna ait Boulahcen came into the picture.

According to close associates interviewed by French police, she had been in love with Abaaoud ever since nearly marrying him when she was 16 and had stayed in touch with him online after he joined ISIS in Syria. According to others interviewed by police, she had recently herself become radicalized and had started wearing a full veil.

According to French police documents, Boulahcen received several calls from Belgium between November 13 and November 16 to guide her to Abaaoud's location. The working assumption is these calls were placed by Belkaid or Laachraoui in Brussels, asking her to help Abaaoud find a place to stay.

She met him in his hideout late in the evening of November 15, according to French police documents. Police received a tip about the meeting the following day from a female confidential witness who had accompanied Boulahcen to the hideout. When this witness was eventually interviewed, she told police she had met a man wearing orange sneakers who claimed he had taken advantage of refugees to come to France with 90 others to carry out attacks.

French police began monitoring Boulahcen's phone and following her after the tipoff, and also put the wooded area in Aubervilliers under surveillance, according to police documents.

According to the female confidential witness, Abaaoud was planning a followup attack on the La Defence shopping district in Paris on November 19, while his accomplice was hoping to hit a police station. In order to help them carry out the attack, Boulahcen was given 4,000 euros to buy suits and shoes for Abaaoud and Akrouh.

French raid in Saint-Denis
15 photos: French raid in Saint-Denis
On November 17, Belkaid, accompanied by Laachraoui, transferred 750 euros to Boulahcen from a Western Union office in Brussels so she could rent lodging for Abaaoud and Akrouh. Boulahcen then contacted somebody she knew in the criminal underworld to arrange for the men to stay at a ramshackle dwelling with no running water in Saint-Denis. That night she went to the wooded area to pick up Abaaoud and Akrouh in a taxi and took them to the property at about 10:30 p.m.

Just a few hours later, in the early morning of November 18, RAID commandos moved against the residence. The firefight that followed was so intense, one of the ceilings caved in. Akrouh detonated his suicide vest, Abaaoud was also killed, and Boulahcen suffocated to death, according to the police documents.

Slipping through the net
After driving away from the stadium on the night of November 13, Salah Abdeslam abandoned his Renault Clio rental car in the 18th district and then jettisoned his suicide vest in a trash can in the southern Paris suburb of Montrouge.

Around 11 p.m., Abdeslam called Mohammed Amri, a friend from Brussels, to ask him to pick him up. A few hours later, Amri and a second friend, Hamza Attou, picked Abdeslam up in the capital and drove him back to Belgium.

Their car was stopped three times before it reached the Belgian border, including at 9 a.m. near the town of Cambrai, but the men were not detained because French police had not yet established that the Volkswagen Polo that was recovered outside the Bataclan had been rented by Salah Abdeslam.

After their arrest in Brussels later that day, Amri and Attou -- who face trial for helping Abdeslam escape -- told investigators that he was in a state of emotional distress and threatened to blow up the car unless they drove him to Brussels. When they dropped Abdeslam off in the city, he melted away, and for months the trail for him went completely cold.

Investigators get a break
Fast forward to March 15, and investigators got a lucky break.

Timeline of the Paris terror suspect capture

Timeline of the Paris terror suspect capture 02:10
When Belgian and French police arrived at what they thought was an abandoned residence which intelligence suggested was connected to the Paris attack, three terrorists inside opened fire on them.

One of them was Mohammed Belkaid, the Algerian ISIS operative who had helped coordinate the Paris attacks by phone from Belgium. He provided covering fire as the other two fled, and was later shot dead by a Belgian police sniper.

When police moved in they found Abdeslam's fingerprints and DNA and other evidence suggesting he had been in the apartment recently. They also found a Kalashnikov, ammunition, an ISIS flag and detonators, raising concern the men inside may have been planning an attack. The trail of Europe's most wanted terrorist had gone from stone cold to red hot.

Abdeslam would soon make a critical mistake. After fleeing from the apartment, Abdeslam and his accomplice phoned an associate who was under surveillance, according to a senior Belgian counterterrorism official. "He came right into our net," the official told CNN.

As a result, three days later police located Abdeslam and his accomplice in Molenbeek and took them into custody.

Opinion: What's at stake if Paris suspect talks -- or doesn't

A drumbeat of terror
The road to the Paris attacks began several months earlier, when an ISIS media team in Syria arranged for the attackers to be filmed in a gruesome propaganda video. Nearly all the attackers who later gathered in Paris are seen clutching the throats of prisoners in orange jumpsuits before beheading them. "If it's not with our knives it will be with our Kalashnikovs. It's an order from our emir Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi to fight you in your lands, and Allah willing our appointment will be on the Champs Elysees," declared the future Bataclan attacker Mostefai.

Western intelligence agencies believe the top leadership of ISIS signed off on the Paris plot. The group has set up an external operations division reporting up to Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, one of Baghdadi's top deputies, according to U.S. officials.

Laying the groundwork
Abaaoud was assigned the task of leading the attack team in Paris. Radicalized in jail in Belgium for a string of robberies he committed with Saleh Abdeslam, he had risen up the ranks of ISIS after first traveling to Syria from Belgium in early 2013. The following year, Abaaoud briefly returned to Belgium to abduct his 13-year-old brother Younes, who his family believes has since been killed in Syria, according to French police documents. On his return to Syria, according to the testimony of a French ISIS fighter, Abaaoud had been assigned to an internal security unit of ISIS, before being tasked with organizing plots against Europe.

In late 2014, Abaaoud slipped into Greece and from an Athens apartment issued coded instructions to an ISIS cell in Belgium preparing a major gun and bomb attack. But Belgian security services got wind of the plot and in January 2015 neutralized the immediate threat in a fierce gunbattle on the cell's safe house in Verviers in eastern Belgium.

Plotting against France
Abaaoud escaped the dragnet and returned to Syria. According to French police documents, one of those interrogated in Belgium in the weeks after the plot was thwarted was Abaaoud's childhood friend Salah Abdeslam, who claimed he did not share Abaaoud's radical views.

Back in ISIS' Syrian de facto capital, Raqqa, Abaaoud worked feverishly with several other French-speaking ISIS operatives to set in motion a string of plots against France.

A key figure in the group was Fabien Clain, a veteran French jihadi about 10 years Abaaoud's senior, who European intelligence agencies believe is a driving force behind Dar al-Islam, ISIS' French magazine. Before arriving in Syria, Clain had spent jail time in France for recruiting for al Qaeda in Iraq and, as CNN has previously reported, also threatened to attack the Bataclan concert hall.

During the course of 2015, Dar al-Islam's repeated threats against France did not escape the notice of European counterterrorism officials. The day after the Paris attacks, it was Clain who claimed responsibility on behalf of ISIS, suggesting he played a senior role in the conspiracy.

Looking for recruits
According to a senior Belgian counterterrorism official, Clain and Abaaoud were on the lookout for fresh recruits who could be given quick training for a week or two and then sent back to Europe to launch attacks.

The first plot Abaaoud and Clain allegedly instigated was a plan by Sid Ahmed Ghlam, a Paris-based student, to attack a church in Paris. Ghlam made two trips to Turkey, where he met with operatives connected to Clain who assigned him to launch an attack. The plot was thwarted in April 2015 after Ghlam accidentally shot himself in the leg.

In June 2015, Nicholas Moreau, a French suspected ISIS recruit, was taken into custody by French authorities after being deported from Turkey. He was later charged with being part of a conspiracy with relation to a terrorist enterprise. Under interrogation, he claimed Abaaoud was "the principal commander of future attacks in Europe" and had been charged by ISIS with examining the background of potential recruits for those attacks, according to French police documents. Although analysts believe Moreau exaggerated Abaaoud's importance, it was clear he was quickly becoming one of the caliphate's most dangerous operatives.

Belgium: Europe's front line in the war on terror

Weapons training in the park
That same June, Abaaoud assigned Reda Hame, a French ISIS recruit, to return to France and launch an attack on a crowded concert venue. Hame claimed he had backed out of the planned attack when he was arrested by French authorities.

CNN has obtained the transcript of his August 13 interrogation by French police. Rame claimed he had been provided hands-on weapons training, including in the use of Kalashnikovs and grenades, by Abaaoud in a park in Raqqa in early June. According to Hame, Abaaoud gave him his assignment, "choosing an easy target, like a group of people, a concert for example, where there is a crowd. He specified that after carrying out the attack I should wait for security services to arrive and die while taking out the hostages. He added that if lots of civilians were hit, the foreign policy of France would change."

Jihadi 101: The books at the core of ISIS recruitment

Jihadi 101: The books at the core of ISIS recruitment 03:49
A few minutes later Hame was asked if he was aware of any attacks in the works against France. "All I can tell you is that it's going to happen soon. It's a veritable factory over there -- they are really looking to hit France or Europe," Hame replied.

There were also links to Abaaoud in an attempted attack on a high-speed train heading toward Paris later in August 2015, which was thwarted by the heroic intervention of three Americans. The gunman, Ayoub el Khazzani, had connections to associates of Abaaoud, according to French police documents.

Moving fighters into Europe
Although investigators do not yet have a complete picture, they believe most of the 10-man attack team entered Europe in the late summer and early autumn of 2015.

In early August, Salah Abdeslam took a ferry from Greece to Italy in the company of Ahmed Dahmani, a Belgian associate. It is not clear if they were in Greece to pick up operatives coming back from Syria. All 10 of the Paris attackers except Salah Abdeslam were featured in the ISIS video filmed in Syria and released after the attack. Dahmani, who investigators believe was part of the broader Paris attack conspiracy, was subsequently arrested in Turkey after boarding a flight from Amsterdam the day after the attacks.

On September 9, Salah Abdeslam was checked at the Hungary-Austria border after driving all the way to central Europe from Belgium in a rented Mercedes, on one of two trips that month that Belgian investigators suspect were to pick up members of the cell who had worked their way from Syria through Greece and the Balkans.

In the car with him were two ISIS operatives who Belgian investigators believe outranked Abaaoud in the Paris attack conspiracy. One of them was Belkaid, the Algerian ISIS operative who was killed in the March 15 firefight in Brussels. The other man was Najim Laachraoui, who went to Syria in February 2013 and is still at large.

Abaaoud himself had slipped into Europe by the end of September. Investigators later established through eyewitness accounts that he had been present at some point that month on the Greek island of Leros. It is still not clear whether he disembarked in Leros or went there to pick up other members of the cell.

On October 3, the two Iraqis tasked with blowing themselves up at the Stade de France disembarked on Leros from a boat carrying almost 200 migrants. They used doctored Syrian passports to register as refugees and then took a ferry to Athens, before traveling through the Balkans to Hungary, then Austria. They then joined the other members of the conspiracy in Belgium.

Building bombs in safe houses
Investigators have established that the group gathered in at least three safe houses in Belgium in the weeks before the attack. An apartment they rented on Rue Henri Berge in the Brussels district of Schaerbeek on September 1 served as the bomb factory. Here the group manufactured the high explosive TATP and inserted it into suicide vests. It is not yet known who made the bombs. A sewing machine used to stitch together the vests, as well as the fingerprints of Salah Abdeslam and the DNA of Laachraoui, were later found at the property.

According to Belgian public broadcaster RTBF, the apartment was rented by Mohammed Bakkali, a Belgian extremist. He -- along with Salah Abdeslam, Mohammed Belkaid and Najim Laachraoui -- played a key role in the logistics and planning of the attack, officials told CNN. Bakkali was arrested in Brussels on November 26 and faces trial. According to a senior Belgian counterterrorism official, police recovered surveillance footage at his residence of an official working at a Belgian nuclear site.

On September 3, the conspirators rented an apartment on Rue de Fort in Charleroi, Belgium, where Abaaoud's fingerprints were subsequently found. And on October 5, Laachraoui rented a large villa with a climate-controlled cellar in the small town of Auvelais near Charleroi, where traces of Abaaoud's presence were also found, according to a senior Belgian official.

Rental cars and final preparations
Between November 11 and November 13, rental cars arranged by Salah Abdeslam shuttled back and forth to Belgium, ferrying the attackers to Paris. After the attacks, authorities recovered surveillance footage showing the attackers stopping off at various highway service stations en route. One of the drivers, Mohamed Abrini, a Belgian-Moroccan from Molenbeek, is still at large.

The Bataclan attackers congregated at the "City" hotel in the Paris suburb of Alfortville. Syringes were later found in one of their rooms, which investigators believe were used to add the final detonating chemical necessary to arm the suicide vests.

The stadium and cafe attackers stayed at a dilapidated house on the Rue Georges Tarral, in the northeastern suburb of Bobigny, rented by Brahim Abdeslam. At 8:30 p.m. on November 13, an eyewitness saw a Renault Clio pulling away from the residence. Driven by Salah Abdeslam, it made its way toward the national stadium just a few miles away in Saint-Denis to launch the opening phase of an attack that would traumatize France.

So far, according to French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, eight with direct links to the attacks are in custody in Belgium and two in France.

But Fabien Clain, Mohammed Abrini, Najim Laachraoui and an unknown number of others remain at large.

Friday, March 4, 2016

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