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War in the Middle East

Aired July 22, 2006 - 22:00   ET


ANNOUNCER: Trouble on the line, a deadly Israeli air strike slams Lebanese TV towers, cutting service in private telephone networks.
No need for translation. Hurry, hurry, hurry is understood. More than 700,000 run for cover.

Hezbollah fires back, targeting northern Israel with roughly 100 katyusha rockets.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I urged them to leave as soon as possible. Why? Because the Palestinian shooting. And because the shooting, we want to stop the shooting. We shoot back.


ANNOUNCER: With the rockets falling on Israel, the IDF wants to have a clear range of fire.


SANJAY GUPTA, HOST, "HOUSECALL": As far as I can tell, giving care to those with worsening mental health is simply not a priority.


ANNOUNCER: On the verge of a breakdown, the physical injuries are obvious. But the mental impact yet to be measured.

Tons of humanitarian aid is on the ground. Trouble is, how to get it to isolated towns and villages.

And the U.S.' top diplomat makes no apologies for waiting to make a trip to the embattled region. This is a special Saturday night edition of ANDERSON COOPER 360, "Crisis in the Middle East, Day 11".

ANDERSON COOPER, HOST: And good evening. Thanks for joining us. Those watching out throughout the United States and also on CNN International. We are broadcasting to you live from Beirut, a city tonight still under attack.

Parts of it under attack from Israeli war planes. Several explosions have rocked this Lebanese capital in the overnight hours, lighting up the night sky. There has also been intensive fighting in the south of Lebanon, as Israeli forces trying to flush out Hezbollah positions from the air, and also significantly on the ground. We're covering all the angles tonight. First, here's what we know at this hour.


COOPER (voice-over): Lebanon's eyes and Lebanon's ears knocked off the air today by Israel. Radio stations, TV broadcasting, land line and mobile television service, very little is working tonight after a day of air strikes that targeted transmission towers and satellite dishes across the country. Israeli officials say Hezbollah uses the station to communicate.

Impending incursions or a show of force? Israeli troops and tanks growing in number on the Lebanese border. The army insists no massive invasion, but does have a control of a town inside Lebanon tonight. The generals call it a foothold and again advise civilians in the area that it's not safe for them there.

And then there's the exodus, more than 25,000 people with foreign passports. Europeans, Canadians, Asians, and Americans, fleeing their jobs, their families, and their studies. Most of them first to Cyprus. Most of them unsure when they'll ever be able to come back.


COOPER: And of course, there's the human toll of all of this. And it continues to worsen. Every day, here are the numbers. The latest figures that we have.

Lebanese security forces are reporting at least 266 people inside Lebanon have died as a direct result of this now 11 day-old Israeli offensive. South of the border, Israel reporting 19 soldiers and 15 civilians killed, mostly from Hezbollah rocket launchers.

We have this story covered from all different angles from Israel, from Syria, from here in Lebanon, throughout the entire region. Correspondents deployed throughout the entire Middle East.

Joining me live tonight, we have John Roberts who is in Haifa, Christiane Amanpour, who's along the Lebanon-Israel border. We have correspondents in Tel Aviv and elsewhere in southern Lebanon as well.

Let's go straight to Christiane Amanpour for the latest. Christiane?

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, the Israelis say that they have taken a strategic town which sits on a hill just inside the border. This after about four days of fighting. A lot of it we witnessed from the Israeli side Avivim. Israel lost six casualties there.

But mindful of the incredible number of casualties that are being created in Lebanon by the bombardment that's now into -- well into its second week. We've been hearing a lot from the Israeli military about how they're trying now to take care to move civilians out because they want to hit Hezbollah hard.

We still don't know, although they say they've disrupted Hezbollah's capability, the rockets keep coming, we still don't know how effective their campaign has been.


AMANPOUR (voice-over): Ten days of fears, Israeli air and tank bombardment, and the Katyusha rockets are still falling on northern Israel. A small Israeli armored unit waiting by the border watches a firefighting flame trying to douse flames spreading along the hillside.

At a briefing near the front, the Israeli army shows reporters some of the ammunition, anti-tank rockets, and other weapons it says its soldiers have captured after battling Hezbollah militants on the ground in southern Lebanon. They call those in and out missions.

(on camera): From the army chief on down, the Israeli military is now not talking about an invasion. All these tanks and troops, it says, are designed to reinforce the current "limited ground incursions underway".

Separately, diplomatic sources tell CNN that this activity could last another several weeks with potentially a cease-fire in place in about three week's time. But one that's backed by a political solution that envisages the Lebanese army and a robust new international force taking over in southern Lebanon.

(voice-over): In the meantime, the Israeli army says it's trying to make a Hezbollah-free zone by hitting them hard on the ground. So with leaflets, loud speakers and flares, the Israelis are trying to get the Lebanese civilians to move out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I urge them to leave as soon as possible. Why? Because Hezbollah is shooting. And because they're shooting, we want to stop the shooting. We shoot back.

AMANPOUR: As his commanding general says, Israeli forces want to open fire freely.


AMANPOUR: So now with the diplomacy about to get under way, we're still waiting to see just how much headway that the Israelis think they can make against Hezbollah. Anderson?

COOPER: Christiane, they said they've occupied now one major town in south Lebanon. Do they plan to occupy more?

AMANPOUR: Well, you know, they're very careful not to say occupy. They say they're sitting -- at least they have the vantage point now on that hill. But they say over and over again, and this goes to the heart of the invasion question, that they don't want to occupy, they don't want to hold ground. They're just trying to push Hezbollah back and get as many weapons and what they call separate Hezbollah from their weapons and ammunition.

COOPER: All right, Christiane, thanks for that. We'll check in with you later on.

John Roberts is in Haifa, where they have seen a number of air raid sirens, a number of rockets falling today. John, what's the latest there?

JOHN ROBERTS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, Anderson, where the very first sliver of dawn is beginning to creep across Haifa.

We've been in this vantage point all night long and have been hearing artillery firing across the border, even though it's 20 miles away. And we have seen a couple of F-16 fighters heading north to Lebanon. And we can confirm, talking with an Israeli army spokesman, that the IDF, the Israel Defense Forces for the very first time hit the Lebanese town of Sidon.

It's a seaside town, that's probably about halfway between Beirut and Tyre just above the Lebanese border. According to the Israeli army spokesman, they targeted a religious compound that is operated by a Shiite cleric with close ties, they say, to Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah.

We believe that that religious compound would include a mosque, a library, as well as a seminary. Apparently, the building was completely destroyed.

It was believed that there was nobody inside at the time, but four passersby were hurt in that attack.

We'll very soon find out whether or not the operations by the IDF in southern Lebanon have been effective at all in trying to suppress the number of Hezbollah rockets that are being fired into Lebanon.

Here's what the count was from yesterday. As many as 160 rockets flew into Israel. Nine of them were targeted at Haifa. All of those landed in an open area, caused no damage. There were no casualties. Air raid sirens were going off all day though.

A little further north of here in the seaside town of Nahariya, they took at least 22 rockets. There were a couple of people hurt when those rockets slammed into three homes.

In Karmeal (ph), a town a little bit further inland to the east, more than 20 rockets fell there as well. Another couple of people hurt.

There were also rockets in Safed and Karyat Shmona, up near the border with Lebanon.

As far as how long this is going to go on, one of the daily newspapers here in Israel, Eretz (ph), one of the big dailies has got a bit of a prediction this morning. Its headline in its Sunday edition is that Condoleezza Rice is going to give Israeli leaders another week to complete their operation. This, according to some senior Israeli officials that they quote.

That would seem to indicate that Condoleezza Rice may be coming here on Monday. And according to these officials, tell them that when she comes back in a week, she wants to see hostilities wrapping up. Anderson?

COOPER: Certainly international pressure is growing. John Roberts, appreciate that report. We'll check in with you as events warrant.

CNN's Ben Wedeman has been traveling in southern Lebanon. Very dangerous territory down there. And the Israeli military has been telling civilians in south Lebanon to get out, to move further north. And many of them seem to be heeding that warning. Ben Wedeman reports.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): "Hurry, hurry, hurry" shouts a Lebanese soldier, trying to break a bottleneck at the Litani River, 20 miles from the border with Israel. The Israeli army has warned that Lebanese civilians should get out and go north. Lebanese officials say nearly a million people have been made homeless by the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah.

"This bombing, we're afraid" says Hanna Hijasi (ph), "we haven't seen any fighters, they (the Israelis) are bombing our homes."

And they're bombing in the hills above the road, hunting for Hezbollah's elusive targets. In better times, the drive from Tyre to Beirut would take an hour and a half. Now it takes up to five hours, if you're lucky. Israeli missiles and bombs have cratered roads and destroyed bridges, forcing traffic onto dusty, congested tracks. Despite it all, some are still defiant. "We're with the resistance" shouts this refugee, referring to Hezbollah's militia, who are nowhere to be seen in this mess.

(on camera): Cars are going out, but now cars are going into the south, many of them to pick up relatives in villages in the south that are under bombardment.

(voice-over): Round the clock fighting drove this family out of their home.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because of that, because there's no food or water, nothing there left.

WEDEMAN (on camera): Where are you going now?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know. I don't know where I go.

WEDEMAN (voice-over): No time to talk, time to go.

Ben Wedeman, CNN, south Lebanon.

(END VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: Well, when we come back, we're going to talk to Retired Brigadier General James Spider Marks about the Israeli strategy, what it looks like on the ground, what they're trying to achieve. That's next on "360."


COOPER: It's not a good idea to venture into the southern suburbs of Beirut, the area known as Datya (ph) without an escort. Hezbollah controls this territory. And that's why Israel has been focusing their attacks on this neighborhood.

So we're now pulled over to the side of the road and we're waiting for someone to come pick us up.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There have not being surgical strikes. And it's very, very difficult, I think, to understand the kind of military tactics that have been used. You know, if they're chasing Hezbollah, well go for Hezbollah. You don't go for the entire Lebanese nation.


COOPER: Statement made by a British official, who was visiting the region, causing a lot of controversy in this part of the world. Critical of Israeli defense forces strategies and tactics thus far.

Let's take a look at those tactics. And in particular, what is happening on the ground in south Lebanon. Joining me now is Retired Brigadier General James Spider Marks.

General Marks, thanks for joining us. They have seized a town that they say is important. Why is it so important to the Israeli defense forces in south Lebanon?

BRIG. GEN. JAMES MARKS (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Anderson, let me show you on the map. Let me walk a little closer and demonstrate for you what Israel has achieved today.

They attacked to the north and they seized the village of Maroun al Ras. And from the Israeli town of Avivim, it's about a mile and a half up to Maroun al Ras.

Now what's significant about Maroun al Ras is the following. It sits on a hilltop. And as a result of that, it has incredibly commanding terrain of Lebanon as you head to the north.

But as you orient yourself to the south, you can see what the Hezbollah lost, an equally commanding position into Israel.

Now that's the definition of key terrain, Anderson. But as you come up from that, and you look at what might be a buffer zone, the significant piece of terrain here is the Litani River. Now the terror weapon that Hezbollah has been using against Israel for the last several weeks and for years is the Katushya rocket. It has a range of about 12 miles. If you push Hezbollah and its inventory of weapons north of the Litani River, you've denied that capability to be fired against Israel. That's why the buffer zone is so important.

COOPER: You know, Israel has already taken a number of casualties. Six Israeli commanders were killed in that town earlier in this week. This fighting, I mean, if it continues on the ground as we think it is going to, it is going to get very bloody indeed, isn't it?

MARKS: Anderson, it will. And the casualty count will go up. Clearly what Israel is trying to achieve is to push Hezbollah back. They are trying to go after their stockpiles as they can find them. And that's very hard to do because Hezbollah lives within the cities. It lives within the village. This is a classic guerrilla type of melting into the landscape.

COOPER: And as the -- I mean this case, the Israeli army is the offensive force, they are moving into what they consider enemy territory. Hezbollah has been able to basically strengthen their positions for years in this area set up all sorts of defenses.

MARKS: Anderson, the defense always has the advantage. And Hezbollah is on the defensive right now. So they command the terrain. They have intimacy with this terrain. They know it like the back of their proverbial hands.

However, Israel was there. They vacated six years ago. But you're exactly correct. In the intervening six years, Hezbollah has been able to reinforce their position and create a lot of obstacles. Create, kill sacks. And they will try to pick the Israelis off as they move north and deeper into the area north of the border.

COOPER: All right, General Marks. We appreciate your perspective. Thank you very much.

MARKS: Thanks.

When we come back, I'll talk to a representative from the Israeli Defense Forces, ask him about some of the criticism that British foreign ministry official leveled at Israeli forces. We'll be right back.


COOPER: Sorry, what is the name of the Israeli? We want to talk to one representative from the Israeli Defense Forces, who is joining us from Haifa. And I'm sorry, sir, I don't have your name. What is your name?

Guy Spigelman is joining us. Mr. -- Captain Spigelman, appreciate you joining us. I want to ask you about the statement made by a representative from England. Kim Howells, British Foreign Officer minister said this. He said of the Israeli strikes, he says these have not been surgical strikes. He says that instead. the Israelis are targeting "the entire Lebanese nation". Your response?

CAPT. GUY SPIGELMAN, IDF SPOKESMAN: Yes, let's just remember how all this started with the Hezbollah terrorist organization that's operating as a state within a state, coming and attacking Israel, kidnapping soldiers, killing eight others, and raining down missiles, threatening the lives of a million Israelis.

I mean, already we've seen 15 civilians killed and another -- over 400 injured.

Now Israel has to defend itself in this, as any country would, and is going in and targeting the terrorist infrastructure that exists throughout Lebanon.

Most of our targets are in the south of Lebanon, where those Katyusha missiles are being launched from. And you're seeing limited pinpoint ground incursions, as well as aerial attacks on missile launches, on ammunition dumps, on transport routes.

And we will attack any site that aids the terrorists from carrying out those horrendous attacks against civilians in the state of Israel.

COOPER: Previously, some people from the Israeli military have said that they have degraded, destroyed as much as 50 percent of Hezbollah's military capabilities. Is that true? Do you still stand by that?

SPIGELMAN: Yes, we are in the process now of crippling the Hezbollah. I mean, what our aim is here is to prevent this situation from occurring again, where a terrorist organization operating within its sovereign state can actually come and attack our citizens. We -- all we want is to cripple this organization so that U.N. Resolution 1559 can be enforced, and that the Lebanese government can actually take responsibility and exercise their sovereignty.

And so yes, we are achieving our aims. We are carrying out our mission in a planned way. We're very happy with the progress, but it's going to take some more time. And we have plenty of more capability, and a lot of resilience and patience in order to achieve that aim of crippling the Hezbollah.

COOPER: How are you going to be able to push Hezbollah out of south Lebanon without occupying town after town? You're already holding onto one town in the last 24 hours. Do you plan to hold onto more?

SPIGELMAN: Look, we're going to be operating in south Lebanon, as I said in what we're calling pinpoint, sort of in/out-type of operations. We have no desire, and let me state this again, no desire to be an occupying force in the south of Lebanon.

We left Lebanon six years ago. We have no claims over the territory there. We'd like to just leave in peace at the international border. And we're going to carry out -- keep on carrying out operations from the air, land, and sea until such a time as the Hezbollah is moved back from the border with Israel so that they cannot strike our civilians and threaten their lives, and threaten their daily life in the north of Israel.

COOPER: Captain Spigelman, we appreciate you joining us. Joining me now here in Beirut, Ibrahim Mousawi, chief editor of foreign news for Hezbollah's Al Manar TV.

Mr. Ibrahim, thanks very much for being with us. You heard the Israeli spokesman. Do you believe them, that they don't want to hold on and occupy south Lebanon?

IBRAHIM MOUSAWI, AL MANAR TV: Nobody believes them. I mean, this is preliminary plan by the Israelis because I mean Condoleezza Rice, the Secretary of State, says that it's a new Middle East that we're seeing is going to emerge. I don't believe it's going to emerge without the crucial and deep changes in the whole scene.

And this thing and order to change you have to make a kind of occupation, again, in order to hold to your position and to dictate new policies and conditions on the critical level.

COOPER: Does it seem to you that Hezbollah's military capabilities have been significantly degraded? I mean, some are saying as much as 50 percent.

MOUSAWI: I don't want to mention myself. And you have seen yesterday, they did send -- it was the heaviest day. They sent more than 160 missile into the northern provisions of the Israeli occupation.

I mean, this will tell you that they still hold to their capabilities and that the Israelis were lying.

And there is one thing that I want to mention that the Israeli IDF spokesman has said now. He said that, you know, this is a terrorist organization. They have taken captives. And they sent missiles and they killed.

No, this is not right. The Hezbollah has carried on operations, has taken captives. And they directly offered in direct negotiations, leading to a swap.

And then Israelis responded to this offer by targeting bridges and killing civilians and whatever it was only after two days of this heavy revenge by the Israelis that Hezbollah started to send missiles.

COOPER: Israel would say why should they negotiate with Hezbollah? Why should they reward the kidnapping...

MOUSAWI: They have done it before. Hezbollah has taken captives before. You're talking about terrorist states. You're talking about war criminals that are working there. So I mean...

COOPER: You're saying Israel is a terrorist state? MOUSAWI: Of course. Of course. Israel is a terrorist state. This is in the eyes of tens of millions of Arabs and Muslims. And Hezbollah, that they consider a terrorist state, is a freedom fighter resistance movement that is venerated and appreciated by all of the people in the Arab world.

COOPER: Hezbollah has a strong social role here in Lebanon that they have hospitals. They provide lots of services for people. Why not focus on that? Why not -- why doesn't Hezbollah fully concentrate on becoming a political force, gaining more seats in the Lebanese parliament? Why not give up their weapons?

MOUSAWI: They are doing this, but first things first. If you want to groom and to decorate your house, you have first to have the house and to make sure that it's going to continue to be your house.

If you are threatened by occupation, then you have to stand up to this occupation and resistance.

COOPER: But Israel says look, it was not Israel that attacked first, that this was a provocative act on the part of Hezbollah.

MOUSAWI: Israel still occupies parts of Lebanon (Inaudible), according to the Lebanese government. And to the Lebanese people, Israel has still held captives in its custody. They could have freedom in the year 2000. There was a swap. And there were states agreed to leave them.

And then, for one reason they didn't accept and they thwarted the whole operation. So they should be held responsible for not freeing those people. Otherwise, they could have spared us this -- all of vicious cycle of...

COOPER: And Israel says they did not free those people because they were true terrorists and were the worst of them.

MOUSAWI: They have freed people. I mean, the whole Hezbollah, they consider as a terrorist. They went into negotiations with Hezbollah before. Why not now? I mean, spare the whole...

COOPER: You think ultimately that's what will happen? They'll be some sort of negotiations? They'll be some sort of swap?

MOUSAWI: For sure. Absolutely.

COOPER: No doubt about it?

MOUSAWI: They're going to go down to the (INAUDIBLE).

COOPER: It has certainly happened before. Back in 2004 was the last one.

MOUSAWI: Three times before.

COOPER: Yes. Ibrahim Mousawi, appreciate you joining us from Manar TV. Thank you. MOUSAWI: Thank you.

COOPER: When we come back, we'll have a lot more from Beirut. Also, what is happening on the ground in southern Lebanon and throughout the whole region. Stay with us.



GUPTA: Let me give you a sense of how a hospital works during a war. First of all, we've come two levels below the ground. That's where all the patients need to be. And everything changes once you get down here.

First of all, that's the radiology waiting area. Now it's a maternity ward. You have pregnant women that actually deliver their babies. The babies are here as well. Babies, arriving in a troubled homeland.

So I guess this really makes it hits home. You see a baby. She was actually born June 8th. She weighed less than a pound. And in the middle of her...


COOPER: We'll talk more with Dr. Sanjay Gupta, coming up. He's been visiting hospitals all around Beirut and Lebanon. We'll talk to him shortly.

It is just dawn here in Beirut. It has been a night of explosions. About more than a dozen explosions we've heard echoing through this capital city, mostly in the south of Beirut and Hezbollah-controlled Beirut.

And even after more than 11 days of bombardment, Hezbollah is still firmly in control of the southern suburbs of Beirut. We'll take you there in a little bit.

Let's bring you up to date what is happening right now. Here's the latest information.

Israel has seized control of a southern Lebanese village, calling it a first foothold toward creating a buffer zone. And Israeli forces for the first time struck the southern port city of Sidon, hitting a building allegedly linked to Hezbollah.

Also, Israeli air strikes targeted a half dozen transmission towers in northern Lebanon, knocking out phone and TV service. One TV employee was killed.

And meantime it's believed up to 5,000 Israeli troops are massing along the Lebanese border. Israel says it has no plans, however, for a full-scale invasion.

It has been a very busy day in northern Israel, a day of air raid sirens and rocket attacks. John Roberts is in Haifa. John?

ROBERTS: Good evening to you, Anderson. As far as what the Israeli Defense Forces are doing in southern Lebanon, they're trying to clear out Hezbollah strongholds and outposts in the eventuality that a multinational or international force could come into that area and serve as a buffer against Hezbollah attacks against Israel until the Lebanese military can take over.

So what they're trying to do is they're trying to get all of the people out there, so that they can literally attack with impunity to try to clear out Hezbollah.

One of the most recent attacks, as you said, was in the city of Sidon in Lebanon, about halfway between Beirut and the Lebanese border. The Israeli Defense Forces targeted a religious compound believed to house a mosque, a library, and a seminary. They say that it was run by a Shiite cleric with very close ties to Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah. And the IDF said that it was a building that was being used to serve Hezbollah.

With dawn breaking here in Haifa now, people are wondering what Sunday is going to hold, whether or not there is going to be any rockets coming in. The Israeli Defense Forces say that as many as 160 rockets came in yesterday. Nine of them were targeted toward Haifa, but they fell into an open area harmlessly.

Further north, though, toward the border, Nahariya was hit by at least 22 rockets. Three houses were hit, a number of people were injured. Same story in Karmeal (ph), further to the east. Sufed (ph) was also hit, as was Kiryat Shmona.

Those rockets just keep coming across the border, Anderson. And the Israeli Defense Forces say that until those rockets are stopped being fired by Hezbollah, they will continue to attack. They will continue to hit Hezbollah hard. Anderson?

COOPER: It's one of those contradictory things, John. I mean, on the one hand, Israeli Defense Forces say that they have degraded Hezbollah's military capabilities perhaps by as much as 50 percent. And yet, the rocket attacks just keep coming.

ROBERTS: Yes, they just can't root out those in placements, because some of those Katyusha rockets, while they may be carried on the back of trucks as multiple launchers, some of them can be transported by a single person. A person with one of those Katyushas on their back can set it up, fire it into Israel.

And there are so many of them as well. Estimates between 10,000 and 15,000. So it is going to take a long time for them to clear those out, if they can ever get all of them.

COOPER: And obviously, those are very highly mobile, as you said. We talked to Brigadier General James Spider Marks about that. They can just be loaded up, broken down, and moved very rapidly. And a lot of pre-set positions already also throughout southern Lebanon. John Roberts, appreciate that report from Haifa. Sanjay Gupta has been traveling here in and around Beirut, visiting hospitals, talking to doctors, trying to look at how set up this country is to receive even more casualties. Take a look.


GUPTA (voice-over): I've seen firsthand what this war has done.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He lost his leg.

GUPTA: And I know it's the physical injuries that are obvious and most widely discussed.

But it may be this mother with worsening mental illness, who is much more reflective of true Lebanon. Unhurt, but terribly frightened. Can she be reached?

She is displaced and willing to share her story, but not her name. She tells us that she was under the bombardment in the heavy- hit southern suburbs of Beirut, leaving her home, destroyed. Severe headaches, terror, that just won't subside.

She calls it a medical problem with her mind. Already diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, it has been made even worse by the constant explosions, endless noise, the unknown.

She tells us she should be taking medication to control her emotions, but cannot. She has lost them in the raids and has no way to get them or any other treatment.

(on camera): As far as I can tell, getting care to those with worsening mental health is simply not a priority. I mean, they've bombed out Beirut here. It's hard enough to get basic need to people who have recently been injured.

And that's even getting more difficult. I want to point out something. We're standing in a nursery of a large hospital in Beirut. This is a nursery. I mean, look, you have the bunny rabbit cut-outs here on the window. You have the teddy bears on the curtains. You have pictures of babies that were actually in this nursery when an air strike occurred.

(voice-over): And so, treating illness of the mind falls further and further behind. This is the view from a psych ward in Sahel (ph) Hospital. No longer available to any of the mentally ill in Beirut.

(on camera): And then, we're standing in a hospital. This is actually a hospital. Glass obviously all around. And this is a patient care room, right here. I mean, you can see what's happened here. The glass actually went through. Some of that struck the patient. The patients were injured. About 30 patients were injured during this particular air strike.

But that's what happens when one of these missiles actually hits the ground. (voice-over): Add to that reports from the Lebanese Information Ministry of ambulances on fire in the south, making medicine that much harder to practice. And many, like this mother, even harder to reach. How many like here are there in Lebanon at this time?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where are they? They're all over the place.

GUPTA: Perhaps she will be able to get treatment for her invisible illness in Syria or Jordan. Just being away from all this destruction will probably help as well.


COOPER: Well, in response to reports that Israeli air strikes have hit a hospital in Lebanon, the Israeli Defense Forces gave us this statement. "The IDF does not target civilian infrastructures and makes every effort to avoid harming civilians. At this point, no concrete accusations have been made in this regard. The IDF will look into any specific information on such claims, if presented."

There have been these reports of ambulances being hit in the south. What do you know about that?

GUPTA: Well, you know, the ambulances, I haven't seen those personally. But you know, you just saw the hospital. And it becomes one of those situations where maybe they're not being targeted, but certainly, you know, I mean the blasts are so close to the hospital, a nursery in this case, where you know, babies are sitting in this nursery. All the glass flies and the entire hospital shakes.

30 people are injured that are already sick. I mean, I don't know what to make of it. I don't know if this targeting or what this is, but certainly not avoiding, you know, health care institutions in this case.

COOPER: Well, certainly, I mean in -- especially in south Lebanon, but also in South Beirut, any Hezbollah positions are very much in these communities. And I mean, I was walking around in South Beirut earlier. And you go. You know, there's a residential building. And then there's a, you know, possible Hezbollah office.

And so, if you're targeting that office, even the percussive blasts are going to damage any buildings around that.

GUPTA: Yes, you know, you're right. And I got a sense of this for the first time. I've never really seen what a bomb can do like this, one of these huge bombs.

But there was a bridge, for example, that was across from this one hospital in the piece. And that bridge was completely taken out. You could see that. And obviously, the percussive blasts from several of the buildings all around that, the glass flying.

This hospital's not usable anymore, though. So you know, you talk about the casualties increasing. And the hospitals actually, you know, not being able to take care of patients makes it that much more difficult.

COOPER: Sanjay, thanks very much for that report. Sanjay's been reporting from the entire region over the next several days.

When we come back, we'll talk to CNN's Nic Robertson here in Beirut about the latest attacks in Beirut overnight. A number of explosions rocking this capital. Also targeting what they say, Israel says is Hezbollah infrastructure. Satellite transmission towers, television towers, even cell phone towers. We'll be right back.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): We waited three days to get evacuated. And then the Marines came and they did great job with the Navy. And it was the best. And they got us out of there. And we're glad we're home.


COOPER: More than 8000 Americans have been taken out of Lebanon with the help of the U.S. government. Thousands and thousands of other foreign nationals as well.

Good evening and welcome back. We are live in Beirut, where the morning has now come. The beginning of Day 12 of this conflict. Welcome to our viewers in America and all around the world watching on CNN International.

There were a number of explosions here in Beirut over the night time hours. CNN's Nic Robertson has been covering that for us. He joins us now also from Beirut.

Nic, what do we know about the blasts?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We know that they were in the south of Beirut, obviously the area that's been targeted many times recently. There's the area where Hezbollah's heartland. We don't know specifically what the targets are.

We know that Hezbollah has pulled a lot of the residents of that part of the city out. We haven't heard about high numbers of civilian casualties. So it would seem they are falling in those same areas where the civilians have moved out from.

But we don't know exactly what the targets are. But quite a heavy night, quite a strong continuous night from about 1:30 a.m. in the morning. Quite a lot of booms coming from those suburbs, Anderson.

COOPER: Yes, certainly probably the loudest night in the last two days. We're also looking at pictures of some of the -- the satellite transmission towers, the LBC, Lebanese Broadcasting towers that were hit. Why did the Israeli Defense Forces target those structures? ROBERTSON: It's an interesting question. And really, the only analysis you can come to is that they want to deny parts of the country this sort of the country, north of Beirut, at least, the opportunity to watch what's happening on television.

They didn't just knock off the Hezbollah-affiliated Al Manar TV, but they knocked off the Lebanese Broadcasting Company, knocked off future television. Very popular stations.

In the north of the country there, a Christian, predominantly Sunni Muslim part of the country. There must -- this analysis and this study of these sites that have been hit must be going on in government circles here.

Of course, the sort of overriding image and message is that in several weeks, there's going to be diplomacy and a cease-fire perhaps. And the government here must be looking at what's going to be left of the infrastructure and the country.

What are they -- how are they going to get the message out to the people? So there must -- this must be at least for government ministers here, a concern to see this type of infrastructure being degraded.

These are the broadcast channels that they use to reach the population. It's not just Hezbollah's means of reaching the population either, Anderson.

COOPER: And even after all these bombings, I mean, Hezbollah does, Nic, seem very much in control of the southern suburbs still in Beirut. I mean, you spend a lot of time in that area. They still are firmly entrenched there.

ROBERTSON: They are. And they're entrenched more perhaps in the minds of the people there. And this is perhaps their biggest asset, that people do trust them, do believe in them, do believe in their leadership, and do believe their leadership's doing the right thing.

So while the community may have dispersed being -- living in schools in the center of Beirut or community centers elsewhere, the sort of -- the network of Hezbollah and the support structure for it is there and in that community.

You know, you see people coming out of there. And they will -- you'll ask them questions about, well, what do you need? Do you need blankets? Do you need mattresses? And then they'll start shouting in support of Hezbollah, the feelings of those people very strong, Anderson.

COOPER: All right, Nic Robertson, appreciate that report. Let's check in with Carol Lin right now for the look at the day's other top stories. Carol?

CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks, Anderson. Things are still bad in Iraq right now. The U.S. is putting its plans to draw down troops on hold tonight. Still, the government says it is making headway.

15 suspected terrorists were killed in a three day -- or three hour battle today just south of Baghdad.

And a draft U.N. Resolution on Iran's nuclear program has hit a stumbling block. U.N. diplomats say Moscow is now refusing to endorse a key part of the measure. The provision demands Tehran frees uranium enrichment or face sanctions.

In Ohio, four inches of rain fell so fast, residents say there wasn't any time to brace for the flash flooding. It could take a couple of days for this area outside of Cleveland to wring out and clean up.

And it looks like about 80,000 New Yorkers won't get their power back until some time next week. It's been out since Monday. The electric company isn't sure what happened. Officials say the damage to the underground network in Queens is far worse than they first thought.

And Tiger Woods is hanging onto the lead at the British Open. But just barely. He goes into tomorrow's final round with a one-shot lead at 13 under par. Ernie Els, Chris Dimarco, and Sergio Garcia are right on his heels.

The two-time British Open champ as never lost a major when leading after 54 holes. That's the end of news for you. Let's go back to Anderson Cooper on the front lines of the Middle East crisis. Anderson?

COOPER: Carol, thanks very much. What we have been seeing this war being covered in a whole new ways. We've seen attacks captured on cell phone cameras even.

When we come back, the story of one blogger in Lebanon, how he sees the war. We'll be right back.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hezbollah, Nasrallah, they are puppets of the Iranians. They're supplied by Iran. They get all of their weapons from Iran. And we really feel that we can't continue as we waited over the last six years for diplomacy to work.


COOPER: Spokeswoman for the Israeli government speaking earlier this evening. It is dawn here in Beirut. No telling what this new day, Day 12 of this crisis will bring. Israeli troops massing along the southern Lebanon border, already holding onto one town. Perhaps even more in the coming hours.

This war is being covered in lots of different ways. Not only just on television, but also on the Internet. And more and more, we're hearing from bloggers, Lebanese bloggers.

CNN's Randi Kaye has the story of one young man who is seeing the war right outside his living room window.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These mother [ bleep ] are killing everybody here.

RANDI KAYE: It's the war in Lebanon unfiltered.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Holy [ bleep ]. Holy [ bleep ], man.

KAYE: Video posted online by bloggers. Residents and stranded tourists, raw and very direct.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Holy [ bleep ].

KAYE: This video, apparently of Israeli air strikes, was shot by 24-year-old Bassem Mazloum from his home in the Bekaa Valley, 40 minutes from Beirut.

BASSEM MAZLOUM, BLOGGER IN LEBANON: The uncensored version of my video with me swearing pretty much tells you how scared I was when they, you know, when they started hitting close to home. And you can't even hear that. Basically by the time you hear it, it's -- you know, it's either too late or just in time and it's gone. I mean, if you hear it, you know you're alive, basically.

KAYE: We talked to Mazloum via webcam from New York. The jerky image, proof of the fragile communications these days from Lebanon.

MAZLOUM: They are pretty much launched from the jets. And I've seen my fair and heard my fair share of the explosions. The after shocks are very intense. And so it makes you think, I mean, what if it does hit you? I mean, what's it going to do to you?

KAYE: If anyone in Lebanon might be sympathetic to Israel, Mazloum seems to fit the profile. He was born in Lebanon, but raised in Canada and America. He counts Israelis among his friends in the United States, and says he firmly believes Hezbollah should be disarmed.

But missiles blowing up in the next neighborhood have a way of hardening your views. And his blog, like most originating from Lebanon these days, is consumed by civilian suffering, and why the U.S. is not pressuring Israel to stop.

MAZLOUM: The lack of effort to stop is basically what I could call a massacre is intense. It gets too slow. It just starts eating at you and takes something away from here. I'm scared about my relatives here. I'm scared about all the friends that I've made here.

KAYE: Opinion, information, raw footage, passion, and fear. It's all there for anyone with an Internet hook-up.

MAZLOUM: It's going to be a rough night here today.

KAYE: Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.


COOPER: We'll be back here in Beirut tomorrow at the same time for a special Sunday two-hour edition of "360."

Coming up next, "CNN Presents: Inside Hezbollah." See you tomorrow.


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