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IDF Blames Hamas Rocket for Hospital Strike; Food Crisis in Gaza; Conflict's Negative Impact on Israel's Image; Violence in Libya; Beirut: Secret City; Reflections on Middle East; Hamas Claims Israeli Air Strike Hit Hospital; Interview with Qatari Foreign Minister; Robot Cops Help Ease Traffic In Kinshasa

Aired July 28, 2014 - 11:00   ET


BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: It is 6:00 in the evening here in Lebanon. That is the Mohammed Al Amin Mosque. And Lebanon's Islamic community

joining Muslims around the world in celebrating the end of Ramadan. But the occasion, I'm afraid, overshadowed by the mounting death toll in Gaza

as the Israel-Hamas conflict ended its third week.

I'm Becky Anderson, this is Connect the World live for you tonight from Beirut.

My exclusive interview coming up with one of the region's key players, Qatar's foreign minister on what it will take to end this latest flare in

the violence.

Also ahead, more misery for the MH17 families: Heavy fighting in Eastern Ukraine keeps investigators from reaching the crash site of what

was the downed plane.

ANNOUNCER: This is the hour we Connect the World.

ANDERSON: Well, an uneasy lull in fighting shattered in Gaza. Hamas through an al Aqsa TV report, say direct strike from an Israeli drone has

hit Gaza's al Shifa Hospital.

These images said to show the chaos at the hospital in the wake of the attack. Right now it's not clear how many people were killed or injured.

Well, just shortly before the airstrike hit, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged both Israel and Hamas to begin ceasefire talks. The UN

secretary-general and the security council echoing that appeal earlier calling for an immediate humanitarian truce.

We'll be live with the very latest from Gaza in just a moment.

Our Atika Shubert, though, on the Israeli side of the border in Ashkelon. And Atika, what is happening where you are on the ground right


ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, there was a bit of a lull this afternoon where we didn't see many rocket strikes and the

IDF seemed to be holding its fire somewhat. But that lull seems to have ended. Just now we had two sirens going off here in Ashkelon. We heard

the two -- the booms of them landing and then also in the Ashkol (ph) area it seems that at least two people were wounded by a mortar that landed


Now Israel is responding with force. We've seen those pictures coming in from Gaza. It does look like the al Shifa Hospital was hit. We're

still trying to figure out just how many people were killed and injured there, but it does look like a number of children may have been hit in that

attack, so it does unfortunately look like any sense of de-escalation in the conflict how now disappeared and a ceasefire seems very far away,


ANDERSON: Atika, what is being said from the Israeli side on this -- on this hit on this hospital?

SHUBERT: They haven't made any official response yet. We are pursuing the Israeli Defense Forces for some kind of reaction.

What they have said, of course, in the past is that they do not target civilians but that they often find rockets are launched in densely

populated areas.

Having said that, of course, a hospital should not be hit no matter what the justification for it. So we'll have to see what the IDF says.

Why exactly it was targeting in the area of this hospital and what exactly they were trying to hit.

ANDERSON: Atika Shubert is on the ground. And of course here at CNN we are digging for more information on that. As we get it, we will bring

it to you immediately. More on that, as I say, as we get it.

We got a lot more on the conflict between Israel and Hamas. Coming up, UN shelters are a lifeline for thousands of Palestinians in Gaza, but it's

a challenge to make sure that everyone gets enough to eat.

Plus, the Qatari foreign minister speaks to me about the conflict's devastating impact on civilians in Gaza.

And later we'll take a look at the broader impact of the violence on the region.

Well, moving on for the moment, Pro-Russian rebels in Eastern Ukraine say the Ukrainian military is now in control of parts of the MH17 crash

site. Heavy fighting appears to be moving form the town of Horlivka closer to the area where the plane went down on July 17,

Just like on Sunday, a team of international investigators was once again turned back on Monday. They were on their way to the crash site, but

stopped because of the battles nearby.

Well, CNN's Kyung Lah is in the Ukrainian capital Kiev. And she joins us now.

Kyung, what do we know at this point about what is going on on the ground>

KYUNG LAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, what we're getting a lot of today is he says, they say. What we've heard from the

Ukrainian military is that they have made some advances, but they deny that they are in control of any part of the crash site.

What they are saying is that they did come extremely close, specifically from the south. But they're sticking to the line that there

is a unilateral ceasefire from their side. The foreign minister on CNN did say that there will not be any fighting at the crash site because they

still have not secured the scene, they still have human remains there and they still want to get parts of the plane out of there before there is any


But what we are hearing from the number two in command of the Donetsk People's Republic is that there is, indeed, fighting. That's their story.

They are saying that there is fighting, there is Ukrainian tanks there as well as artillery. This would be a gamechanger if that is the case.

Now we cannot independently confirm either story, because there's simply no independent eyeballs at the crash site right now. There was, as

you mentioned, Becky, that group that was trying to get in there, Dutch police as well as independent investigators, they simply had to turn around

because the fighting around that area has become so intense and it has gotten alarmingly close to the plane site -- Becky.

ANDERSON: At this point -- and we've been talking about this now for, what, since this plane went down -- just exactly what is Russia doing in

all of this? We've spoken at length about the international community putting pressure on Russia to put pressure on these pro-Russian separatists

to allow access to this site. What are we hearing from Moscow at this point?

LAH: Denial, denial, denial. That has been continuing.

Now we have heard some of that language soften somewhat. But we have continuously heard from Russia that they are denying it.

Now this flies in the face of all the evidence that we have seen coming out of the United States, various maps showing that it certainly

appears that Russia is building forces along the border, that weaponry is coming from Russia, since the plane went down, into this contested region.

But the story from Russia continues to be denial -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Kyung Lah is in Ukraine for you today.

I want to get you back to our top story. Hamas through an al Aqsa TV reporting a direct strike from an Israeli drone that has hit Gaza's al

Shifa Hospital.

Ian Lee is in Gaza City and he joins us now.

What more do we know at this point, Ian?

IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, we did hear that explosion here and the situation is very fluid. We have a team on the ground there

right now. But what I can tell you is what we're hearing from al Aqsa TV, that is a Hamas-run television station, they are saying that at least 10

people have been killed and over 40 wounded in this attack.

And I've been to Shifa hospital. It is a large compound. It is the main hospital in Gaza, many different buildings making it up. And when you

walk around there the one thing that struck me was the number of people who have taken refuge there, taken shelter there during the fighting, you look

around, there's tents set up, there's mattresses all over, children are running about playing in the yard. So if there is an air strike there, it

would create a lot of casualties because there's just a lot of people there. And that's apart from the doctors, the patients, the patients'

families who are there as well.

And any hospital is hit is obviously -- and a strike on a hospital is against the rules of war -- there's going to be an investigation about how

this could happen.

Right now there is just a lot of questions, the situation is fluid, and we're careful to draw conclusions because we don't know exactly what

happened and just the magnitude of this situation it's very -- we're very careful right now -- Becky.

ANDERSON: OK, what you may be able to help is with is the following, do we know whether there was a -- what's known as knock on the roof, a

warning from the Israelis that this might be a target? The Israelis have also said in the past, and continue to say -- I'm not eluding necessarily

to Al Shifa Hospital -- but facilities in the past that they will target those that house Hamas operatives.

So any sense that there was any warning about this? And any sense from the Israeli side, at least, at this point, that they believe that

there might be militants working in that facility.

LEE: Well, Israel has accused Hamas of using the hospital in the past to stage some of their leadership. They accuse of taking shelter there as


But when I was at the hospital yesterday, actually, we did have a knock on the roof just across the street and we -- when I was there, we

also had explosions very close that would shake the compound.

So Israel has been striking around the hospital. We haven't seen anything like this where they would actually hit.

But these knocks on the roof, they're not harmless. We've seen in the past not too long ago when one of these knock on the roofs hit a house,

children were playing on the roof, three children were killed in that strike. So even if they do send this warning shot, they are lethal as


And as we're looking right now, it looks like something like that could happen, yet we're still waiting to hear from our team on the ground

exactly what the details are.

ANDERSON: And as we get that, of course, we will -- viewers bring that to you.

A deteriorating situation there, it seems, in Gaza. Ian, thank you.

You're watching Connect the World live from the Lebanese capital this evening, Beirut.

This is a country with confidence and impressive resolve, but its challenges are many, not least the ongoing lack of a head of state here,

the influx of more than a million refugees from neighboring Syria, the terror threat posed by the involvement of ISIS in that civil war, and the

homegrown activities of Hezbollah and then there is the involvement of Hezbollah in the crisis unfolding to the south here in Israel and in Gaza.

Well, when the program continues, I'm going to speak to another key stakeholder in that situation. The foreign minister of Qatar, he's been

accused by Israel and others of arming Hamas and funding terror. And he seeks a better future for the people of Gaza. We'll bring you an exclusive

response to those allegations and much more after this.


ANDERSON: You're watching CNN. This is Connect the World with me, Becky Anderson, live from Beirut for you this evening. Welcome back.

Now in the conflict between Israel and Hamas questions are being asked about where the weapons used by Hamas come from? Well, Israel insists that

the group's activities are sponsored by the governments of Iran and Qatar.


RON POSOR, ISRAELI AMBASSADOR TO THE UN: Make no mistake, Hamas is not working alone, it is funded by Qatar and Iran. Every rocket flying out

of Gaza could bear the imprint courtesy of Tehran while ever terror tunnel could have a sign that reads "made possible through a kind donation of the

emir of Qatar."


ANDERSON: Well, Qatar makes no secret of the fact it is sending aid into Gaza as it promotes the right of Palestinians to statehood.

The Gulf nation's foreign minister has been centrally involved in the international negotiation process, or mediation to find a resolution

between Israel and Hamas. In my exclusive interview with Khaled al- Attiyah, he denied Qatar was funding terrorism and told me the Israeli government is the real impediment to peace. Have a listen to this.


KHALED AL-ATTIYAH, QATARI FOREIGN MINISTER: No, I think they did this to us, they did this to Secretary Kerry for the past nine months. They

wouldn't want to see peace, simply. Secretary Kerry had put a lot of effort to make this happen. We were supporting him. All the Arabs was

behind the peace and long-lasting peace, but unfortunately you see we have to agreement today being breached by the Israeli.

They breached the deal with the authority when they did not release the fourth batch of the prisoners. And this is all fact.

And I'll tell you something, Israel never leveraged on the pragmatic approach of Hamas. Hamas was so -- and I'm not here to defend Hamas, I'm

not, but I'm giving you a history. Hamas in 2006 accepted to enter the election. And I remember at that time Condoleezza Rice was trying to

through us to urge Hamas to enter and participate, which they did and they won.

So they have decided to practice democracy, though Israel did not leverage on the pragmatic things.

ANDERSON: I want to ask you about your relationship with Hamas. The Israeli lawmaker Neftali Bennett echoing the outgoing Israeli president

said on CNN, and I quote, "Qatar is funding Hamas. Qatar is a mass funder of terror and death all around the world including a quarter of a billion

dollars to Khaled Mashaal who has his headquarters in Qatar."

He went on to say that FIFA should cancel the World Cup here because of what is going on.

Your response?

AL-ATTIYAH: OK, let me tell you something. First of all, Bennett and Lieberman (ph) when they speak about Qatar that we are supporting

terrorism, I'll tell you something they are not -- they don't support terrorism, in fact they do practice terrorism. And this settler wing who

are daily trying to mess with the Palestinian life, they are the one who are practicing this terrorism.

ANDERSON: But Khaled, what is the nature of your support for Hamas? Can we clear this up?

AL-ATTIYAH: Well Qatar does not support Hamas, Qatar supports the Palestinians. We are always -- we reach out to our people in Palestine,

our -- we consider them our family for humanitarian assistance. We are building schools, hospitals, roads. If you think this is tool for

terrorism, then I don't know what we should call what Israel is doing with the Gazan people.

ANDERSON: With respect, if not Qatar than who is funding the purchase of long range rockets and sophisticated tunneling equipment?

AL-ATTIYAH: You should ask Hamas on this.

ANDERSON: And I will, if I get a chance to talk to Mr. Meshaal.

Are you absolutely convinced that the money that you channel to Hamas in what you call humanitarian aid isn't being refunneled elsewhere?

AL-ATTIYAH: Let me make this straight, we don't channel this to Hamas, we channel it to the people of Gaza. We have proven this so many


For example, we have (inaudible) $450 million for the rebuild of Gaza. And we are on the ground doing this hospitals and housing. All the

contractors who is doing the job in Gaza for our project are Fatah contractors, for your information. All the money is funded through our

bank, Jordan and through the authority -- Palestinian Authority. And we have proven this with documents.

So no one can come and accuse Qatar of doing this without having any evidence.


ANDERSON: That was the Qatari foreign minister speaking to me.

Over the past month, we have had a lot of big interviews, exclusive interviews with leading political figures across the Middle East, and you

can find all of them on the blog. Visit to revisit everything that we've covered on what has been our journey through the

region, including my exclusive conversation with the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, which you can see on your screen right now. During

that interview, Mr. Erdogan sided with Qatar in its approach to the Israel- Hamas conflict.

Another negotiator, or mediator in all of this, providing some context for you as this conflict continues, it seems, to deteriorate.

And just some news coming in for you to CNN. We are just hearing that Israel has resumed air strikes on Gaza following, they say, militant rocket

attacks. Several rocket attacks have been fired from Gaza to Israel in the last few hours, that is according to the IDF. At least two Israelis were

severely wounded on Monday in Israel Eschol (ph) region -- I'm reading this as it comes into you -- from a militant mortar shell fired from Gaza,

according to the IDF.

They've just announced moments ago that in response to militant fire Israel's air force, and I quote, has resumed air strikes on terrorist

targets across the Gaza Strip.

Some very sad news coming to you here live on CNN.

We are live in Beirut for you. This is Connect the World with me, Becky Anderson. We're going to bring you the very latest headlines.

First, though, a new kind of traffic cop stepping back for a moment, how robots are transforming the notorious crossroads in the capital of the

Democratic Republic of Congo. That, your headlines follow that. And I'll be back with those in about four or five minutes time. Stay with us.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the developed world crossing the road is usually as simple as waiting for a green man, but in the capital of the

Democratic Republic of Congo it's not all that straightforward. Kinshasa is notorious for its bad traffic and while police currently try to keep

vehicles moving, a group of local women have decided to give them a hand.

Meet the robot cop, a humanoid standing at eight feet tall with red lights on his chest and back and green lights on its movable arms to direct

traffic at busy crossroads.

On 24 hour duty, the machines are solar powered, equipped with cameras and a program to speak, letting pedestrians know when they can cross the


TERESE KIRONGOSI, INDUSTRIAL ELECTRONICS ENGINEER (through translator): This is the robot. We are in the process of building it.

Here we have already put on the letters. It already has sound.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Designed and developed by engineer Terese Kirongosi and her team at a women's technology cooperative Kinshasa, the

goal is to ease traffic and curb the number of road accidents in the city.

She also says the robot cop's surveillance cameras can pick up traffic events that's otherwise left unnoticed.

KIRONGOSI (through translator): And those offenses the state can collect money, which can allow it to invest, perhaps, and maybe buy

equipment to organize the electricity of the country and things like that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The process of making a robot, though, is slow. It takes one full month to pull together the pieces of aluminum, LEDs and

technology by hand. But the effort is well worth it, according to Madam Kirongosi.

She says she can already see a significant reduction in traffic accidents, because of the robots despite there being only two in action.

And pedestrians, too, are feeling the difference.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Where there is no robot, it is complicated to cross. Drivers come at high speed and crossing becomes a

problem. Now people prefer to cross wherever there is a robot, because they know where to stop.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Despite the challenges, Madam Kirongosi is confident her creations are making positive changes in a continent the

World Health Organization says is the deadliest for traffic accidents and hopes one day to see her robot cops police traffic throughout Africa.



ANDERSON: Welcome back, this is CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson, live from Beirut. Just after 6:30 here local time. And straight

to a development in our top story this hour.

Hamas and Israel trading blame again for the latest attack in Gaza. Just moments ago, we got a statement from the Israel Defense Forces. In a

text message to the media, it says that the damage to Gaza's main hospital done by a failed Hamas rocket attack.

Hamas-run Al-Aqsa TV reporting it was a direct strike from an Israeli drone which hit Gaza's main hospital. These images said to show the

aftermath of that attack, whoever it came from.

Al-Aqsa TV says there are fatalities and kids are among them. CNN cannot confirm that, but we are working the story for you.

Israel announced a short time ago that it had resumed air strikes on Gaza following militant rocket attacks. The Israeli rescue services say at

least two people were severely wounded on Monday in Israel's Eshkol region from a mortar shell.

I want to get you to Ian Lee, who is on the ground for us in Gaza. What more do we know at this point, Ian?

IAN LEE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, what the death toll is standing at right now is ten people -- or ten children, rather, and

that's according to Al-Aqsa TV. They're also saying 40 people are injured.

And like you said, the IDF is saying that it's -- that this strike in Shifa Hospital came from a failed rocket. I have seen rockets fail before.

Just looking out behind me, that is possible. But Al-Aqsa TV is saying, like you said, that this was coming from a drone strike.

And when I was at al-Shifa hospital yesterday, I did notice a knock on the roof and also a bombing that took place very close to this hospital.

So, Israel -- whatever the outcome of what happened today is, we have witnessed Israel strike close to this hospital before.

But unlike the UN school in Beit Hanoun that was struck and UN investigators tried to get out there, Shifa Hospital is close to the center

of Gaza City. It's a place easily accessible by investigators. So, unlike the school, it's likely that the investigators will get on the ground

quickly to determine what is caused -- what caused the explosion.

Right now, we do have a CNN crew on scene. They are gathering information as well. A lot to come in the hours ahead.

But this also highlights this humanitarian crisis that we're seeing here in Gaza. A lot of refugees, a lot of people taking shelter, refuge

from the fighting, taking shelter in Shifa hospital. When I was there, I saw tents everywhere, I saw people sleeping in corridors.

This is an area that has doubled as hospital and makeshift shelter. And so, if there is a sort of strike, it's very likely that a lot of people

would be killed, a lot of children as they're running around.

While talking to doctors as well, there, yesterday, they said that there is a problem with medication. They don't have the medication, the

things that they need to continue providing the care. As well as doctors are just tired. This again highlights this humanitarian crisis that we've

seen here in Gaza.

There's also another angle to this as well, and that is food. The World Food Program has been trying to feed over 160,000 people. We went

out with them yesterday to see their operation in action. Take a look.


LEE (voice-over): As the sun sets over the Gaza strip, one of the largest operations is over -- for now. No, it's not the fighting between

Gazan militants and the Israeli military. But this massive mission was born out of the three-week conflict. The battle-weary civilians must eat.

In central Gaza City, flour hovers in the air. Strong backs initiate the process: 109 metric tons of flour mixed with fresh water, the lifeline

of over 160,000 Gazans at UN-run shelters. With so much food insecurity, only the humming of these machines is constant.

On one side, dough goes in. Fresh bread out the other. Sorted and packed, it's ready to be delivered. Micro buses weave through the streets

as if they have a 30-minutes-or-less guarantee. Finally, we arrive at the Zeitoun Elementary School for Boys, turned shelter.


LEE: Volunteers unload the truck. All give a helping hand. We meet United Nations World Food Program Gaza director Raoul Belletto, who leads

this humanitarian effort. He explains it's the people who aren't in UN-run shelters that keep him up at night.

RAOUL BELLETTO, DIRECTOR, UNITED NATIONS WORLD FOOD PROGRAM, GAZA: That's why we have still a lot of -- a number of people still trapped in

the affected areas who have not received assistance at this time.

LEE: Administrators go through the lists of names and number of family members. Tickets are distributed, then the food.

LEE (on camera): I want to give you an idea of just how massive of a daily operation this is. This is just one school that feeds over 2,000

hungry mouths. And right now in Gaza, there's 84 shelters like this one.

LEE (voice-over): This can't last forever. Money is tight, and supply routes at times questionable. "We just want to return to our homes.

This is all we want. We want to live with dignity," this man complains.

They'll be here until the war is over. Full bellies tonight. Tomorrow, this will all start again.


LEE: And Becky, this over 160,000 people are people that they're feeding just during this crisis. On a normal basis, they feed hundreds of

thousands of people in the strip who they say are food insecure.

Now, the World Food Program says right now, they're handling this well. They're able to continue. But they do need $45 million by the end

of this year. That's to make sure that everyone is fed and that they can continue their services, Becky.

ANDERSON: Ian, thank you for that. And viewers, as we get more information on this attack from whoever it was on the al-Shifa hospital, of

course, we will bring you more on that.

All right. This conflict having an increasingly negative impact on Israel's image in the region and around the world.




ANDERSON: Over the weekend, thousands of people protested in the Belgian capital, Brussels, against Israeli actions in Gaza. With me to

discuss this is Rami Khoury. He's the director of the Issam Fares Institute at the American University of Beirut. He's also a Middle East

expert and a regular guest on this show.

And sir, thank you. It's an absolute pleasure to be here in Beirut. Normally, you and I talk remotely. You in your latest article allude to an

Israeli policy of "mowing the lawn" when it comes to Gaza. What do you mean by that?

RAMI KHOURY, AMERICAN UNIVERSITY OF BEIRUT: Well, it's an expression that the Israelis have used. It's quite a racist expression, actually,

quite vulgar. Because what it means is like you have to mow a lawn every once in a while to keep it down, the have to go into Gaza every few years

and do vicious attacks to keep the Palestinians down.

And of course, the problem with mowing the lawn is that you have to do it perpetually. Neither the lawn wins nor does the mower win, because this

is an endless conflict. And this is what the Israelis have thought would be a workable approach, but it doesn't work.

ANDERSON: You've said, and I quote, "Israel -- or the Israeli military assaults, like the one in Gaza these days, cause Israel to lose


KHOURY: Well, the problem Israel has really is that since 1947, 48, when this conflict began between Palestinians and Israelis, the Israelis

have tremendous military might and strong international support, and they have a degree of international legitimacy.

But they have not been able to use those assets to suppress the Palestinian rights for their national existence. And the Palestinians have

become stronger and more determined over time, and the Gaza clashes are the most recent example of this.

ANDERSON: You could suggest that the military might, the international legitimacy of what's been going on, and the durability of the

respective identities and nationalities has provided what has been for many years, now, a status quo.

My sense is, when I was in Israel last week or the week before, talking to people across the board, including youngsters from both sides of

the divide, this status quo cannot continue.

KHOURY: Absolutely. And this is what you're seeing in Gaza. This is the third war, or clash, in the last six years, and the important thing is

that with every one, the technical capabilities of the Palestinians become greater, and the political will to keep resisting becomes greater.

And they're very clear: they want to have the siege lifted, and they want to live a normal life, and they want a permanent resolution of the

Arab-Israeli, Palestinian-Zionist conflict. That's what they want.

ANDERSON: What worries me is that there are children on both sides of this conflict -- now, I'm thinking post Intifada 2000 -- who have known

nothing but the physical and metaphorical walls that divide these two communities.

Does that worry you? It really -- it hit me like a brick when I was there. And I felt like things were hardening on both sides, not becoming

any easier.

KHOURY: I think that's absolutely correct. You see it in polling in Israel, you see it among the resistance activities of Palestinians and the

support they get from Palestinians all over the region. People in exile or under occupation will resist.

The Israelis did it when they were Babylon, and the Palestinians do it where they are in exile and under subjugation. They will keep fighting

until they can live a normal life.

The change that's needed in Israel is like what happened in South Africa, when a powerful white regime, apartheid in South Africa, and the

Zionist regime in Israel, realizes that it's unsustainable. And they have to do this every two years, and each time, they're forced to go to a cease-


So, a big change has to happen on the Israeli side. The Arab side has made the change. We've given them the Arab peace plan. We're willing to

co-exist with a Jewish majority state in Israel, but the Palestinians must have equal and simultaneous rights with the Israelis and not rights that

can be just leftovers after the security of Israel is guaranteed. And that's the change that hasn't happened yet.

ANDERSON: Rami, it's always a pleasure to have you on. We thank you very much, indeed, for joining us.

KHOURY: Thanks for having me.

ANDERSON: Several Western governments have evacuated their embassies in Libya. I want to move away from this region for a moment, because this

is an important story as well. They are urging their citizens to leave the country immediately.

Rival Islamist militant groups and government forces have been fighting. It's the nation's worst violence since the 2011 uprising that

ousted Moammar Gadhafi. Nearly 100 people have been killed in the past two weeks.

Rocket fire hit a fuel container near Tripoli Airport on Sunday night. It's still burning, and the interim government warns of a possible

environmental disaster. Jomana Karadsheh joins us on the line from Cyprus, normally in Tripoli as CNN's main body there, as it were. She's got more

details from where she is at present. Jomana?

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Well, Becky, the fighting there has entered the third week. There is no

lessening in the fight in Tripoli. Today, residents are reporting more heavy shelling taking place.

The fighting, as you mentioned, is really focused around Tripoli International Airport, the airport road, which has several residential

areas, and also in parts of western and southern Tripoli. All sorts of heavy weapons are being used, artillery also and Grad rockets also reported

by residents in some areas.

And a really dangerous situation, which you just mentioned, that happening overnight with a part of a shelling that was taking place, this

indiscriminate shelling that we've been seeing for more than two weeks now, a shell hit a main storage facility of fuel on the airport road.

That contained millions of liters of fuel. According to the government, the first tank has been on fire since last night, and now the

government is saying a second tank is on fire. Pictures coming out of Tripoli show a big, thick plume of smoke.

And the government is now really warning, saying that this situation, the fire is out of control and that they need help. They cannot deal with

this, and they're urging citizens within a three-kilometer radius to leave the area.

A very, very dangerous and critical time right now in Libya, Becky, with fighting in Tripoli. Also in Benghazi, there's no stop in that fight

that we've seen, clashes that have been taking place there for two months, now, intensifying also.

ANDERSON: Jomana on the ground for you in Cyprus this evening, reporting on what is an escalating situation, it seems, in Tripoli in


Live from Beirut, I'm Becky Anderson. You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. Coming up, we'll go off the beaten path somewhat in Beirut to see

this ancient city from what is a new perspective. Stay with us.


ANDERSON: Well, CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson, has been in region, in the Middle East, on what has been a month-long tour, and it

is, sadly, coming to an end tonight, although, of course, CNN will continue to cover the pertinent stories from this as ever, from this region.

We, though, ourselves have taken you behind the scenes, oftentimes, to the cities that we have visited and given you a sense through the eyes of

those who live there and know them best, which, I think, is the right thing to do.

And what better way to get a look at Beirut than from the publisher of the city's first street atlas. Have a look at this.


BAHI GHUBRIL, PUBLISHER, BEIRUT STREET ATLAS: Welcome to Beirut. This is what you probably expect from my city: noisy, polluted, chaotic,

wonderfully, visually blasting. Like every city, this is what you see on the superficial outside. The best of Beirut, however, is on the layer

beneath. I'm going to take you to discover the hidden treasures of what lies below.

Let's start with going to Gemmayze. Through my work of mapping Beirut, I've uncovered the streets that are beyond the main roads.

Obviously, the company I set up, Zawarib, is mapping geographical city of Beirut, but as a person, in order to do that, we've uncovered the hidden

treasures of locations of places inside those streets.

Architectural salvage yard. It's in the center of Gemmayze, very trendy and contemporary young district of Beirut. However, it's capturing

the oldest part of Beirut. It's trying to salvage the historical artifacts, the archeological and architectural beauty of a Beirut that's

actually disappearing.

This is Beirut Exhibition Center. It's one of my favorite places in Beirut because it promotes, showcases, sponsors, local contemporary artists

-- local and regional artists. It's a wonderful open space. The exhibits are constantly changing, beautifully curated. It's open all day long. And

best of all, it's free for everyone.

We're now in Mar Mikhael district of Beirut. I brought you here because this is the latest of the areas to be developed by the

entrepreneurs making restaurants, bars, art galleries, a couple of cultural spaces. All springing up from old houses and buildings around the


I love Beirut for its changing nature, for its continually looking for something. You feel energy, the vibe in the people on the streets. It's

not a settled city yet. It's not mature. It's still looking for an identity, a purpose, of what's it about?

The definition of a city, and the Mediterranean helps with the chaos, and yet, the beauty of it, the smell of the jasmine trees and the fig trees

and the open garbage and the soot burning and the sea air at sunset, all mixed together, is my Beirut, and I love it. It's very intense.

That's been a taste of my city, my secret city, a city that is constantly changing and evolving, and a city that I truly adore, Beirut.


ANDERSON: I've got to say, I share his views on Beirut. It really is quite something.

Coming up after this short break on CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson, we've traveled throughout the Middle East this month in search of

the people making the news and the cultural icons defining the region.

I want to take a look back on what we've learned and consider just how things now stand during what is a pivotal summer for this pivotal part of

the world. Do stay with us for that.


ANDERSON: Well, the end of Ramadan marks the end of CONNECT THE WORLD'S month on location throughout the Middle East. Before we began our

journey through this region more than four weeks ago, we suggested that this could be a crucial summer for the region, a summer of reckoning. And

so it has proven.

After giving you a closer look at the people and politics of our new home, the city of Abu Dhabi, we traveled to Cairo, the capital city of a

country in transition. I sat down there with the Egyptian foreign minister, Sameh Shoukry, seen here with the US secretary of state, John


He told me that he and his boss, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, need to restore Egypt's image after a clampdown on the Muslim Brotherhood and

the jailing of journalists.


SAMEH SHOUKRY, EGYPTIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: I recognize, of course, that there has been a perception of heavy-handedness or of motivations that

are suspicious. That perception in particular, I think, needs to be changed by a more realistic view of what is going on in Egypt.


ANDERSON: Soon after our arrival in Cairo, Egypt turned from a country on the defensive to a potential regional peacekeeper. Events had

taken a turn for the worse across the border in Israel and Gaza, with the murders of teenagers on both sides.

In Jerusalem, outgoing Israeli president Shimon Peres, seen here receiving the US Congressional gold medal, told me when we got there that

he longed for an end to bloodshed and a workable two-state solution.


SHIMON PERES, FORMER ISRAELI PRESIDENT: Jewish mothers that was their children called up Arab mothers that was their children, and vice-versa,

and there was a hidden empathy and understanding on both sides. I don't think that anybody was really happy.

So, unfortunately, we have both blood and tears. I wish that the amount of blood will go down and the tears will be tears of happiness, not

tears of regret and sorrow.


ANDERSON: Another potential regional mediator wasn't buying it. The Turkish prime minister and presidential candidate Recep Tayyip Erdogan's

language on Israel was less than diplomatic when we arrived in Istanbul and I sat down with him on the next leg of my journey. We met in Ankara.


RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, PRIME MINISTER OF TURKEY (through translator): The fascism that was applied by Hitler, if you put all these on the table

just like that, you can see that what Israel does to Palestine, to Gaza right now, has surpassed what Hitler did to them.

We don't approve. We don't accept what Hitler did, either. But right now, we do not accept this persecution, the massacre, the genocide by



ANDERSON: Well, our month winds up here in Lebanon, a country where the political leadership, like Mr. Erdogan, is no fan of Israel. And yet,

the conflict unfolding to the south of here is only one source of concern at a time when the Syrian war on its eastern flank is producing hundreds of

thousands of refugees -- over a million, in fact -- and the looming threat of ISIS terrorism.

I'm Becky Anderson. That was CONNECT THE WORLD. Thank you for watching. "The International Desk" with Isha Sesay is up next. From

Beirut, it's a very good evening.