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No Cease-Fire in Bloody Fighting Between Israel and Lebanon

Aired July 26, 2006 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, CNN HOST: Tonight, Israel suffers its bloodiest day yet after two weeks of combat while it levels a ten-story building in Tyre and Hezbollah lobs more than 100 rockets into Israel.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is under siege from foreign diplomats as talks on stopping the warfare go nowhere.

We'll get reaction from Senator John McCain, a potential presidential candidate; Senator John Warner, Chairman of the Armed Services Committee; and more.

Plus, into the rubble from Beirut to Haifa with those desperate for humanitarian aid; back in the United States families who have been sweating bullets and dodging bombs to get their adopted babies out of Lebanon.

And the latest with reporters on the front lines and it's all next on LARRY KING LIVE.


KING: Good evening.

We have top journalists everywhere in the region and we're going to check in with all of them, beginning with John Roberts in northern Israel. John, this was -- was this the roughest day yet for the Israeli troops?

JOHN ROBERTS, CNN SR. NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It was the roughest day for the Israel Army, Larry. In Bint Jbeil, which is that Hezbollah stronghold in southern Lebanon they lost eight soldiers. Three of those were officers.

It was tremendous and tense. It's described as a vicious firefight. The Israeli army was engaged in some clearing activities trying to clear out pockets of resistance just trying to make sure that the area was secure.

Hezbollah launched a counterattack, fired off some booby traps, those improvised explosive devices that we hear so much about from Iraq. They also had tank-busting missiles. They had mortars and automatic machineguns and it was just this sort of thing that the Israelis were not expecting.

They thought that they had cleared most of Hezbollah out or at least had them bottled up but apparently, according to one source that I talked to, they might have been hiding in a bunker and came out and they attacked the Israelis just as they least expected it.

KING: Michael Ware, our CNN correspondent in Beirut, what's the latest on that building strike in Tyre, Michael?

MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Larry, we know that the strike has taken place in and brought down a ten-story building, so they're going through the rubble now.

Tyre has been the center for almost ceaseless Israel strikes. The Israeli Defense Force, the IDF, has claimed that Tyre and its surrounds has been a source of innumerable Katyusha rocket launches into northern Israel, so we suspect that their focus on that southern Lebanese city shall continue -- Larry.

KING: John King, CNN's Chief National Correspondent, is in Rome. Was this a bad day for diplomacy, John?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Larry, as you know the diplomats try to say they're from the glass-half-full crowd, not the glass-half-empty crowd. But they came here hoping for a grand bargain.

The Europeans and the Arabs want an immediate ceasefire. Condoleezza Rice's position was "I can deliver Israel but only if you accept my terms and that is the ceasefire that includes disarming Hezbollah."

They couldn't get that grand bargain so now, Larry, they have to do it the old-fashioned way you might say, the hard way, going city by city trying to negotiate issue by issue.

Secretary Rice will return to the region. She will try to convince the Israelis. If we get a ceasefire to get it you need to give back some land. You need to be prepared for a prisoner swap.

The bigger question can the Lebanese government enter into negotiations with Hezbollah and convince it to disarm, convince it at least to pull back from southern Lebanon, try to become more of a political entity than a terrorist entity, very difficult questions, Larry. The goal was a big grand bargain here in Rome today. They failed at that. The diplomacy continues but boy it's a steep hill.

KING: Thanks, John King, as ever right on the scene, John King in Rome.

Now we go to Jerusalem, Christiane Amanpour, our CNN Chief International Correspondent. Now what's the view from there, Christiane, in Jerusalem?

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the view is one of increasing disgruntlement actually, certainly amongst the pundits and the analysts and the armchair generals who are looking at this and saying to themselves and to everybody else "This is now two weeks on. We were told that it was going to take several days and now we're being told it's going to take several weeks.

Today, two weeks in, the biggest number of Israeli military casualties, the biggest number of Katyusha rockets that have been fired since this all began, 151 today according to the IDF and people here are asking "So where is this military action going? What is the strategy?" And they're asking a lot of questions about that.

KING: Is this the case, Christiane, I believe you said it a week ago it's going to get worse before it gets better?

AMANPOUR: Well, look, I've been in a lot of situations like this where there are those diplomacy days and whether it was in the Balkans or elsewhere often you have a spike on the days of the diplomacy.

But there is a feeling that, in fact, perhaps the full magnitude of Hezbollah's guerilla activities, its preparedness, its bunkers, its missile storage, its rocket storage, its ammunition storage, its IED, perhaps not enough intelligence on that was known.

And, as the military commanders have -- you know all along they've sort of said it's going to take as long as it takes but there's been another view from the political side who have said "Well it could take a few days." And now it's obviously going to take several weeks.

KING: And now we go to Washington, Brigadier General James "Spider" Marks, our CNN military analyst, former Army intelligence officer. Why, general, is the Israeli Army having so much trouble in Bint Jbeil?

BRIG. GEN. JAMES "SPIDER" MARKS, U.S. ARMY RET., CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, Larry, Bint Jbeil is an urban area obviously and we're going to walk down into that if we can and I'll -- and I'll demonstrate the very nature of combat on complex terrain in an urban area.

This is Bint Jbeil and, again, we're looking back south toward Israel. When you look at Bint Jbeil you could tell that there's no symmetry to the roads. There is very, very tight compartmentalization. This is a tough place to see an enemy, engage an enemy and then try to do something with that enemy to try to destroy him.

Now, we don't have very good imagery to get up close into Bint Jbeil, Larry, so what we're going to do is we're going to go over to Tyre as an example. We have very good imagery in Tyre and we're going to use this simply representatively of what it's like to fight in a city.

Here we are in Tyre. As you can see, it's got some major boulevards identified in green. Those are 35 to 40 feet in width. You can get main tanks down these. You can have traffic both ways.

Additionally, as you can see as we move through here, we have roads, secondary roads that are about 15 to 20 feet in width, a little tougher to maneuver and to get a good shot down those alleyways. And then you have some very distinctive alleyways where you can get single file soldiers that are dismounts coming out of vehicles or coming out of houses but that's about what you can get in those alleyways.

But we remove that symbology (ph) and now let's get into a tank, Larry, and let's move in this direction, which is a westerly direction down this major boulevard in a Merkava tank, which is a Mark 4 Israeli tank.

We stop at this point right here. This is a classic kill sac. We've got an enemy position identified here. It limits the option of the Israeli force that is here, whether it's dismounted, infantrymen on their feet, or they're buttoned up in a tank or an armored personnel carrier.

There's very little they can do. Their backs are against a building here and all they can do is either fight through the ambush or try to get out of that kill sac, very, very tough fighting in this type of terrain. Again, this is an example of how you would conduct combat in urban areas. We'll go back to Bint Jbeil.

KING: Thank, general. Yes, we'll go over that later. Bint Jbeil will be discussed as will Tyre with Brigadier General James "Spider" Marks and more of our analysts and journalists all around the world and especially in the region.

But, when we come back, Senator John McCain of Arizona will have some thoughts. Don't go away.


KING: A little while ago I spoke with Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, and I began by asking him if this war is really necessary and what he thinks it's all about.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: You know I think what it's really all about, Larry, is an extension of the war on terror. You've got a state-sponsored terrorist organization, i.e. Hezbollah and Hamas but Hezbollah we're talking about now, who has been trained and equipped by the Iranians.

I do not believe Hezbollah would have attacked into Israel without the encouragement of the Iranians. The Iranian Revolutionary Guards are training Hezbollah in southern Lebanon.

So, when you get a terrorist organization that is supported by a radical Islamic state, like Iran, then you get a very, very potent kind of situation. So, I view it as an extension of this war against radical Islamic extremism which we're going to be involved in for a long, long, time.

KING: Senator, Tom Friedman, a very bright op-ed columnist in The New York Times says today, "Wonder what planet" -- "One wonders what planet Secretary of State Rice landed on from thinking she can build an international force to take charge in south Lebanon without going to Damascus and trying to bring the Syrians onboard." How do you respond to that?

MCCAIN: Well, there's nobody I have more respect for than Tom Friedman. In this case, there's plenty of ways to communicate with the Syrians. Remember the Syrians were never adequately punished for their assassination of the Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri and they have been helping both terrorists in Iraq, as well as support for Hezbollah.

In all due respect to Tom Friedman, I think there are lots of ways to communicate and Tehran is where most of this is emanating from. And, finally I do believe that we could assemble an international force and that's what's going to be required because Hezbollah cannot continue to control southern Lebanon.

KING: Secretary Rice continues to say in Rome that a ceasefire -- no ceasefire unless it's sustainable. How do you know any ceasefire is sustainable?

MCCAIN: It probably isn't. We've had them in that area in the past. But I think there's one thing you can be certain of, Larry, and that is that if we allowed a ceasefire that kept Hezbollah in place, how long would it be before they got the go ahead from the Iranians and started raining rockets down onto Israel again? That's why it's important to enforce the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1559, which said Hezbollah has to be disarmed.

Now, if the Lebanese people want Hezbollah as a political force I guess that's their choice but for Hezbollah to control parts of their country without the consent of the Lebanese people is something that untenable and the threat that they continue to face as far -- that they continue to present to the state of Israel.

KING: We have an e-mail for you, Senator McCain, from Heather in Epsom, New Hampshire and it says, "Larry, I would like to ask Senator McCain if there is any hope that, if he were president, he would take a new approach to securing peace in the Middle East?" What would you do differently?

MCCAIN: I'm not sure, Larry, and for me to articulate something different obviously might be a criticism and I'm not sure right now that I'd like to criticize this administration because I think they're doing the very best they can.

I would have done things differently in Iraq, as you know, even though I continue to support our effort there. I think this is a very difficult situation.

Heather, as you know in the past, Henry Kissinger or Jim Baker or whoever was secretary of state could shuttle from one capital to another that basically controlled the fighting and that's much more difficult when you've got terrorist organizations that are doing the fighting and so it's much more complicated.

KING: What's the damage to the United States in the Arab world in all of this?

MCCAIN: Well, I think one thing we've kind of not appreciated as much as we should is that other Arab nations for the first time in one of these conflicts have condemned the aggressors, i.e. Hezbollah, and I think that's important.

I also agree that it's as important to bring this fighting to a halt as quickly as possible but it has to be done comprehensively. Are the extremists stoking the fires of extremism against Israel as we speak? Yes, but in order for us to prevail I think we have to recognize that there may be short term damage.

In the long term, it's just -- look, suppose there were terrorist organizations south of our border that was attacking our country. I think the American people would demand that we not only have a ceasefire with them but that we remove the threat.

KING: The United States is sending more troops to Iraq. What do you think?

MCCAIN: I think it's necessary. I think it was necessary a long, long time ago. I think one of the biggest mistakes we made that we've paid a very heavy price for was not having enough boots on the ground. I said that three years ago.

The sectarian violence in Iraq, in Baghdad, is serious. I'm glad we're doing it because things are not good there now. The police do not have control and so it's a very difficult situation.

I met with the national security advisor to the Iraqi prime minister and he said things are pretty tough. He didn't say they're going to lose but things are pretty tough right now.

KING: What do you think of the idea of a special envoy to the whole region?

MCCAIN: I think it's fine. I think it's something we have done for many years in both Republican and Democrat administrations and there are so many issues that need to be sorted out in the area that it would probably be appropriate.

In the short term what I pray for is that enough of Hezbollah's threat can be eradicated so that the parties will sit down, international peacekeeping force, Lebanese government eventually taking over control of their entire country and peace in the region. It's going to be tough.

KING: Would your friend, Colin Powell, be a good choice for that?

MCCAIN: He'd be an excellent choice for that. He knows the region. He has the trust and respect of the people in the region. I think he deserves a rest so he probably wouldn't be too happy that I'm recommending him.

KING: Do you think he will be a factor again on the American scene?

MCCAIN: I believe that he remains one of the most respected Americans in our nation today and I am absolutely convinced that Colin Powell will continue to serve this nation. When we go down to the old soldier's home and blow the cavalry charge, he'll be the first one at the gate.

KING: One other thing, he may be an opponent of yours in primaries, do you still maintain a high regard for Rudy Giuliani?

MCCAIN: Oh, absolutely. Rudy Giuliani is a great American hero and a role model to all of us. I have the greatest respect and friendship for him.

KING: And when are you going to make an announcement?

MCCAIN: Next year, next year.

KING: On this program?

MCCAIN: I can't think of a better place.

KING: Thanks, John.

MCCAIN: Thanks, Larry.


KING: Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, member of the Armed Services Committee and no matter where you stand politically a true American hero.

By the way, the prime minister of Turkey will be with us tomorrow night.

We'll be back with more LARRY KING LIVE right after this.


KING: We welcome now to LARRY KING LIVE in Washington, Senator John Warner, Republican of Virginia, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee; in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Governor Bill Richardson, the Democratic governor of New Mexico and former Ambassador to the U.N.; and returning from Jerusalem, Christiane Amanpour, CNN's Chief International Correspondent; and in Beirut, Michael Ware, CNN Correspondent, has covered the region for years.

Senator Warner, is the United States right in this war or words about a ceasefire?

SEN. JOHN WARNER (R), VIRGINIA: Larry, I think the secretary of state said an urgent ceasefire, one that's sustainable. It makes no good sense to provide for some cessation of the fighting unless you can predict the reasonable future that it will not resume.

But I'm gravely concerned about this situation, Larry. It is quite serious, as I think my good friend and colleague John McCain stated and, indeed, your entry piece on the news.

We see the whole world focusing on the loss of life on both the side of Israel and Lebanon and the damage that's being done and the hardening of views. John McCain mentioned that first time in history the Arab world, certain portions of it have indicated their lack of respect in any way for what Hezbollah has done. But, on the other hand, how can we sustain that if this war continues to cause the damage and loss of life as its doing?

I think frankly, Larry, if I may say, the Israeli intelligence made incorrect evidence as to the capabilities of Hezbollah, quite apart from the rockets, the tunnels, the storage places, their ground positions and the difficulty that the brave Israeli forces are now encountering in trying to root them out.

KING: Governor Richardson, what's your read on the ceasefire thing?

GOV. BILL RICHARDSON (D), NEW MEXICO: Well, there I agree with Secretary Rice. You can't have a cessation of hostilities unless there's a framework in place, unless there's guidelines and benchmarks on what both sides are going to do and unless there's going to be an international peacekeeping force.

Where I disagree with the approach is, one, we need a permanent Middle East envoy or Secretary Rice should stay in the region, like Henry Kissinger used to do. Secondly, I believe it's important that we really get our allies.

Here's where we have to do aggressive international coalition building, a U.N. resolution that involves a peacekeeping force of Muslim countries, Turkey, Morocco, Egypt, Italy, France, others to step up and be part of this force.

Lastly, I do think you have to deal with Syria. How can you disarm Hezbollah? How can you control their supply lines without dealing with Syria? Now that doesn't mean it should be immediate with Secretary Rice but they have to be plugged in to an overall settlement because we have diplomatic relations with Syria. The relationship is not good but it doesn't make sense to try to fashion a settlement without all the major actors.

Iran is another story. I believe you have to deal with them differently. But with Syria they're directly engaged and I do believe we have to move in rapidly. Unless there is aggressive diplomacy this situation is going to deteriorate to the point where you can't put it back together.

It's reached the point where the U.N., I believe, mistakenly is saying that Israel killed some peacekeepers deliberately. That's just tension. That is so incorrect and wrong. Why would Israel want to do it?

But it's a response to the huge, huge suspicions there and the increased tension and the killings and the humanitarian disaster. So, I think the U.S. is the major player there, Larry, and we have to get engaged every day directly at the highest level.

KING: Christiane, anything new about the international peacekeeping force? What does Israel want there if anything?

AMANPOUR: Well, actually no because it's going to take several weeks, according to diplomatic sources to actually hammer out what this mandate is, what the configuration would be, the mission, et cetera. And, of course, who would be the troop contributing nations?

You just mentioned, Governor Richardson just mentioned the issue of what happened yesterday when four U.N. peacekeepers were killed and this was at a long time observation post, since 1948 it had been there. And the U.N. had called ten times during that day to warn about the increasingly close missile fire from the air.

But the point of that is the U.N. sources tell me that that is going to have a chilling effect on some of the contributing nations, the potential contributing nations because they need to know that when they come in they're not going to be targeted, mistakenly or otherwise, by any side and that there must be some way to get in.

But it's a little bit of the chicken and the egg situation because on the one hand we say we need the peacekeeping force for the ceasefire and, on the other hand, the military, the Israeli military we've been talking to says they can't ceasefire until we have the peacekeeping force. So, it's a bit of a conundrum here.

KING: Michael Ware in Beirut, how long can Hezbollah sustain attacks?

WARE: Well that's a very good question, Larry. Certainly at this point there's absolutely no hint that Hezbollah is tiring or that its capability to launch offensive operations has really been dampened.

I mean we've heard the Israeli Defense Force say that the aim of these operations is to cripple that very capability from Hezbollah but talking to politicians from its political faction, talking to some of its members of its more militant organization, their morale seems very high. Their organization, their infrastructure seems very much intact.

And you look at the role that Hezbollah has played here in the security dynamic of Lebanon. Even Lebanese Army generals, defense analysts, former members of the U.N. peacekeeping forces of the past say that essentially the Lebanese Army it's a matter of wide consensus, could not possibly hope to defend Israel -- excuse me to defend Lebanon against Israel.

So the defense of the country is being contracted out to Hezbollah, an insurgent group that is much better equipped to handle the kind of assault that Israel can launch. If the Lebanese Army has tried to stand toe-to-toe with Israel, Hezbollah says they wouldn't last a day. One former general said they wouldn't last an hour.

KING: I got it. Thanks, Michael, Michael Ware in Beirut, Christiane Amanpour in Jerusalem.

We'll come back with Senator Warner and Governor Richardson right after this.


KING: Before we have some more moments with Senator Warner and Governor Richardson, here's the late headlines.

A bloody day for Israeli troops. At least nine are killed fighting Hezbollah in Southern Lebanon. Israel strikes a ten-story building in Tyre. Hezbollah fires more than 100 rockets into northern Israel.

Still no cease-fire. At the peace conference in Rome Secretary of State Rice says any cease-fire needs to be sustainable. And 12 Palestinians are killed in an Israeli operation in Gaza.

Senator Warner, I know you've been critical at times of all of this. Where's it going, in your opinion? What's going to happen?

WARNER: I don't know any of us can make a sound decision now. But I want to add another dimension to this thing. You cannot look at this situation, tragic as it is, in Israel and Lebanon and Gaza and Palestine, without thinking about the American forces bravely fighting the terrorists in Baghdad tonight and elsewhere in Iraq. I'm concerned about those GIs because this situation could spill over and incite more force being used against our troops there and our coalition partners. And that's very serious.

We have an enormous, enormous sacrifice of life, of limb, of fortunes, of money spent in Iraq to try to get that government to where it is today. And I spent three sessions with Prime Minister Maliki today. I think he handled himself quite well. It was a good visit. But time and time again I came up with the concern that I have, that this tragic situation elsewhere, in Lebanon and Israel could incite more wrath against our troops and could tip that fragile balance of that government in Iraq trying to get on its feet and govern its nation.

KING: That government, Governor Richardson, which we helped establish and became a democracy to Iraq, that government does not support our position vis-a-vis Israel, doesn't it? So does Senator Warner have a point?

RICHARDSON: Well, Senator Warner does make a good point, that the conflagration in the Middle East could adversely affect the security of our troops and Americans traveling there. He makes a good point. I would turn around a little bit what he said, which was very eloquent, that right now our obsession with the situation in Iraq, our huge commitment of troops, resources, policy makers thinking about it, has cost us that we've not focused on the real threats to our country, international terrorism, nuclear proliferation, the situation in the Middle East, the need for more resources in Afghanistan, North Korea, the relationship with Iran. So what we need right now is aggressive, dramatically strong diplomacy led by the United States to stop some of this killing and bring a peace process in the Middle East.

I agree with the position of Secretary Rice of separating the cessation of, of keeping the cessation of hostilities linked with a framework. But it's going to reach a point where we've got to try something new. And what I think the new element here is an overall peace effort led by the United States, a special envoy or Secretary Rice, and a discussion with Syria. You can't have Syria out of this. Eventually Iran but I think that's another step. Israel is our friend. The longer this goes the more Israel is going to be hurt. Not just militarily but you don't want an angry region at Israel simmering at every occasion.

KING: We will be back, and both of you gentlemen will be coming back with us frequently, we hope, as we hope this winds down. Senator John Warner and Governor Bill Richardson, we thank you both. When we come back, Sanjay Gupta, who today visited the largest hospital in Haifa. And we'll be back with Sanjay and a sad story along with him. Don't go away.


CONDOLEEZZA RICE, SECRETARY OF STATE: There is much work to do, and everyone has a role to play. We all committed to dedicated and urgent action to try and bring about an end to this violence that indeed would be sustainable and that would leave the Lebanese government with the prospect of full control of its country. This is very important.



KING: We're having trouble making contact with Sanjay Gupta, our CNN medical correspondent. We're going to Beirut now, and we're going to join Fatima Ghossein. Fatima is the 18-year-old bombing victim in Beirut. Her cousin has been killed in an Israeli attack. Her mother and sister are nearby. Her story was brought to our attention by Cassandra Nelson of Mercy Corps. Cassandra, you remember, was with us last night. If you want more information on what Mercy Corps does, they're a wonderful organization, it's Fatima, what happened?

FATIMA GHOSSEIN, BEIRUT RESIDENT: Hi. We were sleeping. We were sleeping at 3:00 a.m., wake up at bombs, noise, at bombs noise. It was so, so high -- so loud, noises. We wake up scared. I think...

KING: Go ahead.

GHOSSEIN: ... We began to go in home and near each other, we think that the building is going on us. In the first bomb -- the second bomb the building began to fall down. We came down to the another building. We were -- we were jumping on the wall to another building because it was safer to us than we wait till 6:00, from 3:00 to 6:00 under the bombs voices in Beirut.

We know that my cousin was hit by the bomb, the second bomb. Then my father call us at 5:30 that he was dead on the phone. He called. We waited till 10:00 to go out from Beirut because we cannot feel safe there. After the bombs it was near our home. We...

KING: How old was your cousin?

GHOSSEIN: My cousin was 16-years-old.

KING: Were you very close with him, Fatima?

GHOSSEIN: Yes. He was my favorite cousin. Then we go there to Khaifun (ph) and we hear what had happened in Beirut. We wait -- we are sitting two days at max. We're now 13 days and we cannot see our home or know if it is still or gone or something like that. We sit in Khaifun (ph) in the hostel.

KING: How do you feel about all of this? Are you angry at Israel? Are you angry at the Hezbollah? How do you feel?

GHOSSEIN: I feel sad. I feel that I lost everything, my past, my everything I can live it. I was living it. Everywhere I was living in -- everything is gone, even my school. They hit it. It's gone.

KING: How old are you? You're 18?

GHOSSEIN: Yes, I'm now 18.

KING: Are you going to stay in Beirut?

GHOSSEIN: Yes, sure. It's my country, yes. It's my whole life.

KING: Thank you, Fatima -- Fatima Ghossein. A tragic story in Beirut. There are many. She was brought to us by Mercy Corps. And if you want more information, We'll be right back.


KING: Unlike the last piece, in a moment we'll have some happy stories for you. But first let's go to northern Israel and Anderson Cooper, who will host "ANDERSON COOPER 360" at the top of the hour. What's on deck tonight, Anderson?

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Larry, tonight we're going to take a look at the latest on the fighting on the ground in south Lebanon. It has been intense, as you know. These last 24 hours Israeli Defense Forces saying that eight Israeli troops were killed in the town of Bint Jbeil.

This is a town they said they had control of yesterday. Clearly the fighting there is still intense. Some Israeli officials saying it is hand to hand, house to house, street by street. Hezbollah has dug in and is determined to put up a fight.

We'll take a look at that. And also the latest on the diplomatic moves and what's happening all throughout the region, Larry. That's at the top of the hour.

KING: Thank you. Anderson Cooper, who's been there from the get-go.

Let's go to East Lansing, Michigan. Two families to talk with. Marwan Hourani, who's a pizza franchise owner. He spent days near his television watching and wondering if his wife and newly adopted daughter would be able to return home. Obviously, they have. Now Nawal's with them and the 4-month-old baby, Therese (ph), is in her arms.

Also in East Lansing is Dr. Christopher Abood. Dr. Abood is a neurosurgeon. He awaited the return of his new family, second cousin -- he's a second cousin or Marwan Hourani. And his new family is Ruth Abood, the mother, who struggled to evacuate from Lebanon with her newly adopted son after the fighting broke out. Her little son, 3- month-old Joseph Christopher is in her arms. And her daughter, Ellen Abood is there as well. Marwan, what happened? Your wife was doing what in Lebanon?

MARWAN HOURANI, WIFE EVACUATED LEBANON: She was trying to get the baby here, to finish the adoption paper, Larry. And the war broke, and everything went to nothing, you know, like we didn't know when and how and what going to happen. And we kept hoping for a cease-fire and never happen.

KING: The baby was adopted in Lebanon? Was the baby adopted...

M. HOURANI: The baby was -- yes. Yes, Larry. The baby was adopted in Lebanon.

KING: Did you hear from Nawal at all?

M. HOURANI: I used to call her. I used to be able to call her every day, yes. Every day, every single day, Larry.

KING: Nawal, how frightened were you?

NAWAL HOURANI, EVACUATED LEBANON: I was not too far but I came here.

KING: Were you very frightened?

N. HOURANI: Very fighting?

KING: Frightened. Were you scared?

N. HOURANI: Yes. I was so scared, for sure.

KING: How did you get out?

N. HOURANI: Oh, we took a boat. The army and navy, they help us. And we took a boat for the Cyprus, from Cyprus to Germany, then from Germany to Michigan.

KING: And Marwan, how did you find out she was OK? M. HOURANI: Just by the phone, Larry, just by the phone. And then you know, definitely we got all kinds of help here from our government, from our Congress, and Congress Mike Rogers and Senator Carl Levin and everybody. We got tons of help here.

KING: So you're completely happy...

M. HOURANI: We got tons of help, everybody.

KING: ... You're happy with what the government did?

M. HOURANI: We can't be any happier, Larry. We can't be any happier. We can't be in any other place, any better place than United States. God bless America.

KING: Let's talk to your second cousin, Dr. Christopher Abood, who's a neurosurgeon. Tell me the story of where Ruth was, doctor.

CHRISTOPHER ABOOD, WIFE EVACUATED FROM LEBANON: You know Larry, we had traveled to Lebanon several times in the past few months after we found out that we were going to be able to adopt our son John. And Ruth and I had traveled to Lebanon July 7th and I was there about five days and came home while she stayed in hopes of completing the paperwork and then I would travel back to bring them home. But the day after I returned the war broke out and she was in Beirut, close to the bombing at the time, and it was very concerning for all of us.

We made contacts through our State Department and Homeland Security, and fortunately, with the help of Congressman Joe Schwartz, who was just a tremendous advocate for us, and Congressman Rogers and Congressman Dingell and Senator Carl Levin, really worked as a team together to help arrange to get them humanitarian parole, which is a waiver of sorts to help bring them home. And we were very lucky to have that happen, and we're very appreciative of our government's efforts to help bring them home.

KING: Ruth, were you scared?

RUTH ABOOD, ADOPTED LEBANESE CHILD: I was very scared. You know, I have a 3-month-old son, and I didn't know if we were going to get out. I didn't know if his paperwork would be finished, if we could even bring him home. And all I knew is that I wasn't going to leave without him, no matter how long it took.

KING: Is it easy to adopt in Lebanon?

R. ABOOD: It's not easy. It's a difficult process. It's not done very often. And it typically can take a long time, as the paperwork is kind of sits on a desk until it goes to the next desk and it sits there.

KING: How did you get out?

R. ABOOD: Chris called on a Friday night and said, Ruth, I think the paperwork is done. Go to the embassy Saturday morning. We were there at 7:30. The paperwork was waiting for us. After we got his papers, we went straight to the boat, straight to the port. We waited in line several hours, got on a boat. They didn't tell us where we were going. It didn't matter. We got to Cyprus. We went to a camp. From there we got on a plane to Germany. They didn't want to let us out of Germany, but they did, and we got to Detroit. And oh, gosh, it was unbelievable.

KING: We're very happy for you. Ellen was with you, doctor?

C. ABOOD: Yes. She was here with me.

KING: Thank you all very much, and we're so happy for you. We're happy the United States was able to assist and those Congressmen and Senator Levin and the rest in Michigan. And from East Lansing, Marwan Hourani, Nawal Hourani, Dr. Christopher Abood and Ruth Abood all safe at home. And we'll be back with one of our favorite people. She's laughing already. Remember Nada Ghattas? We talked to her every day. She was in a phone booth on the roof. She was trapped. She couldn't get out. She didn't know what was going to happen. She's here. We'll meet her right after this.


KING: For four or five consecutive nights this beautiful young lady, Nada Ghattas was with us by phone from Beirut. She was recently evacuated to the United States after that stay in Lebanon. She was visiting her parents when the war broke out. How did you get out? I didn't expect, you know, we kept hearing from you every night. I thought you'd be a regular on the phone.

NADA GHATTAS, U.S. CITIZEN BACK HOME FROM LEBANON: I figured I might be, but luckily I found a way out.

KING: How did you get out?

GHATTAS: Well, we ended up, originally we were told by the embassy to just wait for a phone call, and they would contact us. And I kept hearing about people going down to the port and just getting on the boat. So I contacted the embassy on Friday morning and I said which way should I go? Should I just go down to the port or should I wait for you to call? And they said no, just go down to the port. So Saturday morning at 5:00 a.m. I went down to the port, waited about five hours through processing to get on the boat to Cyprus, and seven hours later they disembarked or ...

KING: Did they check that you're a citizen?

GHATTAS: Yes. They check you're a citizen, search your bags, make sure obviously you don't have anything that will make the boat stop going to Cyprus.

KING: Were you traveling by yourself?

GHATTAS: I was actually traveling with a relative. She was an elderly woman. So I was escorting her to wherever she needed to go.

KING: And you were working in a restaurant there? GHATTAS: No.

KING: You work in a restaurant here?

GHATTAS: I work in a restaurant here. No. Over there I was actually on vacation. Well, it wasn't too much of a wonderful vacation.

KING: Are you going back to work?

GHATTAS: I am going to go back to work starting Sunday. So.

KING: When it broke out, where were you?

GHATTAS: When it broke out, I was, I had just woken up, honestly, I'd just woken up the morning of Thursday, I believe it was like Thursday morning, about ten days ago or so forth, and my dad was, as soon as I woke up my dad was like they bombed the airport. I was like, oh, really? So I knew at that point it wasn't good. I said we should leave. And my parents, you know, their home is in Lebanon. So they said let's just wait one or two days.

KING: They live there?


KING: And they're still there?

GHATTAS: No. I finally convinced them to get out. And they drove to Jordan through Syria.

KING: And they're going to stay in the Middle East, though?

GHATTAS: Yes. They are going to stay for a while.

KING: Are you going to stay here?

GHATTAS: I am going to stay here.

KING: What was it like? What did you do all day? You can't get away. What did you do?

GHATTAS: Honestly, we kind of prepared for our departure. We went down to the banks. A lot of people were at the bank trying to get their money changed from Lira to Dollars because the Lira was going to be so volatile at this point. So people just ended up at the banks. There were many lines there. Supermarkets, people were shopping. They just, all the shelves were empty. And you know, you just kind of watch news and visit people and see how everyone's doing.

KING: Any bombs near you at all?

GHATTAS: Not near me. We heard pretty much all the bombs that hit Beirut. We felt them.

KING: Were you angry at the Hezbollah or at Israel? GHATTAS: I was just angry my vacation was ruined. Honestly, you know, you're angry at both sides.

KING: You were evacuated from Saudi Arabia.

GHATTAS: Yes. I was in the Gulf War.

KING: What was that about?

GHATTAS: I was living in Riyadh with my family during the Gulf War as well. And we got evacuated through the U.S. embassy as well at that time. So.

KING: Do you ever think that there's sort of a little cloud hanging over you Nada?

GHATTAS: Yes, sometimes I do. I do think so sometimes. So I figure I'll stay in the United States for a while. Chances are slim over here that I'll cause any problems.

KING: Have you talked to your parents in Jordan?

GHATTAS: I have. They're safe. Everyone's well.

KING: And they're going to stay there? Will they go to Beirut?

GHATTAS: They will if the situation gets better. They will go back. It's a difficult situation for a lot of Lebanese to leave their homes.

KING: Do you like Beirut?

GHATTAS: I love Beirut. It's beautiful. It's absolutely beautiful. It's a great city. People are wonderful. And it's just sad what's happening to it and the whole country of Lebanon.

KING: The Paris of the Middle East.

GHATTAS: It was. It was.

KING: What about your personal life? You got a boyfriend?

GHATTAS: Well, not at the moment. But you know.

KING: He left you because you were trapped?

GHATTAS: We have a few in the works maybe. I'm just teasing. No. We're singles right now. So.

KING: It's good to have you back.

GHATTAS: Thank you very much.

KING: Good to see new person after all those, what time in the morning were we on the phone?

GHATTAS: About 4:30 in the morning.

KING: You were a noble, noble journalist

GHATTAS: It was the only thing that kept me alive at that point. So, thank you.

KING: Good to see you.

GHATTAS: Thank you Larry.

KING: Nada Ghattas, she's back and we're all better for it. We thank her very much. Tomorrow night, the prime minister of Turkey will be with us and then John Walsh and family and that should be quite an hour. Speaking of quite an hour, we have quite a two hours coming up with Anderson Cooper in northern Israel, right near the border. Anderson, you're next.


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