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American Journalist Freed; Tracking Foley's Killer; Israel-Gaza Conflict; Iran Says It Shot Down Israeli Drone; Michael Brown's Funeral; Ebola Outbreak; Parting Shots: Making Skateboards in Tehran

Aired August 25, 2014 - 11:00   ET


BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: On the retreat in parts of Iraq, on the rise in much of Syria. As the ISIS threat spreads, we're going to ask whether

western powers are any closer to doing business with Bashar al-Assad.

Also ahead, needing a new kind of revolution, chaos reigns in Libya as political wounds refuse to heal. We'll tell you who wants what and why so

many are willing to die to make it happen.

And Iran says this is an Israeli drone it found on its territory. Stay with us as we examine the evidence.

ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Abu Dhabi, this is Connect the World with Becky Anderson.

ANDERSON: Right, all our top stories from here in the Middle East and around the world are just ahead. It's just after 7:00 in the evening here.

First, I want to take you to St. Louis, Missouri where a funeral service is underway for Michael Brown.

This is the beginning of proceedings today. Michael Brown, the unarmed black teenager shot dead by a white police officer, and his death

setting of days of violent protest in Ferguson, Missouri with no clear answers as yet for the community.

Thousands of mourners are turning out for the funeral. We'll have a report a little later in the hour.

Well, the threat the militant Islamic group ISIS poses to Iraq and the region may be enough to bring archenemies together for a common cause.

Syria says it's ready to accept support from other countries, including the United States and the UK to help in the fight.

Now it comes after ISIS took control of a strategically important air base near the border with Turkey. Syria's foreign minister says, and I

quote, "Syria is ready for cooperation and coordination at the regional and international level to fight terrorism. But any effort to fight terrorism

should be done in coordination with the Syrian government. And he says Syria must feel that the cooperation is serious and not double standards."

Well, ISIS seems to be taking some serious hits in Iraq. The group appears to be gaining strength once again in Syria. For the very latest,

let's get you to Irbil in northern Iraq where Anna Coren is standing by for you this evening.

Now, is that an accurate description of what is going on, on the ground? This back and forth, of course, across a border. ISIS, or IS

would say doesn't exist in their Islamic caliphate, Anna?

ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, absolutely, Becky. These militants, they move freely between Syria and Iraq. Obviously their

safe haven, their sanctuary is in Syria, that's certainly where they have their training camps.

But they come across the border, according to officials. Their force ranges between 40,000 to 50,000 fighters. And here in Iraq they move,

they're advanced, which, you know, they do control a third of Iraq's territory, has taken a real hit. The reason being, those U.S. airstrikes.

They've pummeled those enemies lines. And according to the senior Kurdish officials that we have spoken to, Becky, they believe that ISIS here in

Iraq is on the back foot.

Take a look.


COREN: With lightning quick advances across much of Iraq, the marauding bloodthirsty militants with their black insignia appear to be an

undefeatable force on a mission to terrorize the country.

But when ISIS suddenly turned its attention towards Kurdistan, northern Iraq it underestimated the opposition. From the skies, the United

States pounded enemy positions, helping Kurdish and Iraqi forces on the ground to drive back the Islamic extremists. Recapturing Mosul dam, a

turning point.

According to senior Kurdish official, ISIS is now on the back foot.

MARSOUR BARZANI, KURDISTAN REGIONAL SECUIRTY COUNCIL: They have changed their tactics for sure. Now they are not moving in long convoys,

they're trying to avoid airstrikes by using civilian vehicles.

COREN: While they may control one-third of Iraq, ISIS is overstretched, fighting on multiple fronts in dozens of towns and cities,

calling in reinforcements from areas they already control to help in battle.

(on camera): While ISIS propaganda would have us believe they're a conquering force expanding their so-called caliphate, senior officials here

say that is not the case. From the militants that they have captured and interrogated, they admit morale has taken a direct hit ever since U.S.

airstrikes began more than two weeks ago.

(voice-over): And for that reason, the Kurds are calling for an ongoing U.S. air campaign, hinting at the possibility of striking ISIS

targets in Syria, its safe haven.

BARZANI: Airstrikes, expanding airstrikes, and authorizing them to target the leadership of ISIS, or to expand the geographical areas of the

airstrikes is going to also be very effective.

COREN: But no one here is pretending this war will be over in a couple of months. ISIS, now thought to have a force of at least 40,000 fighters

across Syria and Iraq, is in for the long haul.

BARZANI: Mosul to them is very important, so they will probably fight to death to keep Mosul. And there are some key areas that are very

important to them. That doesn't mean that they have given up attacking new areas.

COREN: A harsh reality, but one these fighters say they are prepared for.


COREN: Now, Becky, officials tell us that the militants that they have captured here and then interrogated have admitted that morale is low

because of those U.S. airstrikes. U.S. Central Command says to date there have been 96 U.S. airstrikes, 62 of which have been focused around Mosul

dam, hitting those key ISIS positions that artillery and really just containing them, not defeating them. We have to stress, this is not

defeating ISIS, but certainly is containing them and stopping their advance, Becky.

ANDERSON: Thank you, Anna.

There are signs that the White House could be considering airstrikes in Syria to go after ISIS. And that couldn't come soon enough for some top

Republican leaders in the U.S. who say the militant group poses an imminent threat to the United States.

Senator John McCain joined other Republican leaders on Sunday's TV talk shows to say President Obama cannot give ISIS a base of operations in


Well, Athena Jones joins us now live from the White House. Athena, how does the administration view the offer of help, or coordination, as it

were, from Syria, in fighting this militant group?

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: HI, Becky, well I've spoken with White House officials here and they say that there are ruling out any sort

of cooperation or intelligence sharing with the Syria regime. The Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes said just last week that President

Bashar al-Assad is part of the problem, part of the reason that ISIS has been able to gain such a strong foothold in Syria and gained so much ground

there. And so part of the long-term strategy when it comes to defeating ISIS is going to be, according to the administration, strengthening Iraqi

security forces and also strengthening the moderate Syrian opposition there on the ground in Syria and that is where these airstrikes come in.

We know, of course, the U.S. has already launched nearly 100 airstrikes on the Iraqi side of the border, but is the U.S. going to start

doing airstrikes in Syria? That's the question being considered today.

Just a few minutes from now secretary -- Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is going to be coming here to the White House to meet with President Obama

to discuss this.

Now we know from our own Barbara Starr, Pentagon correspondent, that no final decision have been made.

And one of the big questions is something that you brought up, which is, is ISIS primarily a regional threat, or is it a direct and imminent

threat to the U.S.?

We heard from Secretary Hagel last week say that ISIS is beyond anything we've seen and is a threat to every interest we have.

But we also know that the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security put out a bulletin last week that said that there is no credible homeland

security threat linked to ISIS.

But that said, of course, you have Republican members of congress who see ISIS as a big threat.

Let's listen to what Senator Lindsey Graham from South Carolina had to say on CNN over the weekend.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R) SOUTH CAROLINA: Do they have the capability to hit the homeland? I would say yes. It's about time now to assume the

worst about these guys rather than underestimating them. They're not the JV team anymore, they're the most prominent terrorist organization in the

world, but they're not the only one.

They're in competition with the other jihadist groups. And the gold medal will be awarded to the group that can hit America.


JONES: And so Graham is just one other Republican senator--

ANDERSON: Athena -- sorry, go on, go on.

JONES: --Senator Graham is just one of the Republican senators calling for action, but of course there are a lot of questions that remain, like

intelligence gathering in Syria and also whether there would be any sort of international support for such an effort -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Yeah. Athena, with respect to Senators McCain and Graham, we sort of heard this before from them. And clearly they are no fans of

President Obama. What do they want to see happen next? Are they calling for strikes plus boots on the ground? I mean, they've got to have an

alternative. If they don't like what President Obama is doing or saying, what is their alternative at this point?

JONES: While certainly they would leave it up to the White House to come up with a plan and a strategic vision, and that's what they want to

see from this White House. You heard Senator McCain over the weekend saying that the U.S. can't lead from behind. They have to be in a

leadership role.

But Senator Graham said that he would be in favor of even putting boots on the ground to help defeat ISIS. And that's something that the

White House has clearly been very, very reluctant to do.

So it certainly seems as though Republicans would push for the administration to go a lot further than many Democrats would be comfortable

with and that the administration is comfortable with.

Right now there's no real discussion of, of course, of boots on the ground. The discussion right now is whether those airstrikes that are

going on in Iraq will end up also happening in Syria. And that's what we're watching and waiting for -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Yeah, and a big unanswered question, never say never. Will Bashar al-Assad be brought in from the cold? That will be a question up

for discussion for some days and weeks to come, I would expect.

All right, Athena, thank you for that.

We're going to have much more from Iraq and Syria later in the show, including details on the release of an American journalist who was held

hostage in Syria for two years.

We'll also take a look at the role the internet plays in tracking down Jihadists, including the killer of James Foley. That and more still to

come this hour on Connect the World with me Becky Anderson.

Still to come tonight as well, Ebola is now reported in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Why officials say it is not related to the outbreak

that's ravaging West Africa.

And Islamist militias cease control of Tripoli's main airport from a rival group. Why this could be the beginning of a much bigger battle for




ANDERSON: At this hour in St. Louis, Missouri, a somber farewell to Michael Brown. He was the unarmed black teenager shot dead by a White

police officer in the suburb of Ferguson, sparking widespread protests. The mood, one of sadness rather than anger this Monday, as Brown is laid to

rest there at the Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church.

We're going to get more on the mood in the community for you with a live report in about a half hour's time, but mourners beginning to file

into the church. That funeral service scheduled to begin in about 15 minutes time.

You're watching CNN. This is Connect the World with me Becky Anderson. Welcome back.

Libya's capital is in shambles after weeks of fighting between rival militia. And this could be a warning of a wider conflict to come. An

alliance of Islamist militia centered in the city of Misrata say they are now in control of Tripoli's main airport.

Now they seized it from a group of more moderate militia from Zintan who had control of the area since the Libyan civil war three years ago.

Fierce gun battles are shelling have destroyed much of the airport. Thousands of people have fled the fighting, including workers from the U.S.

embassy, the UN and other international organizations.

Now Libya's parliament has denounced the Islamist fighters as terrorists, but the government seems powerless to stop the fighting.

Well, one nationalist leader quoted in the New York Times article I read earlier on today said that Syria, and I quote, "entered this tunnel

and we can't find our way out."

Well, the cost of not finding the light at the end of this tunnel will have an impact not just on Libya and Libyans, but the entire middle east

and North Africa region, and by extension the rest of the world. And that means you and me wherever you are living and watching this show.

Jomana Karadsheh joins us now from Baghdad. You, of course, Jomana, are normally in Tripoli but are covering what is going on in Iraq at


But you have probably have forgotten about Libya than I will ever know. So let's just step back for a moment. What has happened?

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, for the past two-and-a-half, three years since the fall of Moammar Gadhafi, or

if you ask Libyans, they say the day that Moammar Gadhafi died, that is the day that Libyans were no longer united with a common cause.

So, these militias that were former rebels fought on one side turned their guns on each other a lot of times. We've seen many incidents that

power struggle, trying to control Tripoli and Libya in general has really escalated. We saw these intermilitia fights over territory and other


But this is the worst fighting that we have seen take place since the revolution. As you mentioned real impact there on Tripoli. And these two

militias that were involved are the most heavily armed militias in Libya from Misrata and Zintan. And there was always this concern that these

tensions, this power struggle between them could turn violent and it did.


Who are the main characters here? Who is fighting who?

KARADSHEH: Well, what happened with that attack on the airport, Becky, is a coalition, an alliance of militias from the city of Misrata and

Islamist militias from Tripoli and other places, launched an offensive to try and kick the Zintan militias out of the airport where they have been

since 2011.

They felt that Zintan is controlling the airport very symbolic, that they control Tripoli. So they wanted to take over that.

But one key figure right now in Libya, or has been over the past few months, has been General Khalifa Haftar. He's a retired general under

Moammar Gadhafi in the revolution after he had defected in the late 1980s, he became a rebel commander. And in April, Becky, he emerged, coming out

saying that he is starting a so-called war on terrorism in Benghazi to fight Islamist extremist groups there.

But what he did, he actually divided the country, really polarized the country into two camps, one that opposed what he was doing, one that was

with him. But what he managed to do is that he pushed the more moderate Islamists into the extremist camps, making them join forces, in some cases,

in Benghazi.

But it's a very different dynamic in Tripoli. But those divisions, and that polarization really it can be seen across the country.


Let me just pause for a moment. The Islamist militia from Misrata claimed that Egypt was responsible for airstrikes on that Tripoli airport

over the weekend. 15 people were killed and at least 30 were wounded. Egypt has flatly denied this. The Egyptian president says, and I quote,

"there are no Egyptian troops or planes in Libya and no Egyptian military action in Libyan territory."

Back to you, Jomana, it feels like this is another proxy war. There are, and correct me if I am wrong here, support for the anti-Islamists

coming from the likes of possibly Saudi, Egypt, possibly where I am here in the UAE. And support perhaps for the Islamist militia from the likes of

Qatar and Turkey.

Which, am I right and saying, or am I being naive here?

KARADSHEH: Well, if you ask many Libyans, this is what they believe, Becky. They believe that what is going on in Libya is someone else's

battle taking place there.

We saw that happened during the revolution with various countries like Qatar, like the UAE, supporting, financing, equipping and providing support

to these various groups. So this is not unknown.

Right now, what they feel is happening in their country is a battle between Islamists and anti-Islamist forces that is supported by countries

like you mentioned. They say Egypt, the UAE on one end, and Qatar and Turkey on the other end. There's this feeling that this is not only driven

from within Libya.

And to add to that, Becky, over the past week we have seen two mysterious airstrikes taking place in Tripoli, one a week a go and one on

Saturday. No one know whose fighter jets those are and who carried out those airstrikes on storage facilities, on locations used by the Misrata

militias and Islamic militias. So it just adds to whatever conspiracy theories, or feelings people have about what's going on.

ANDERSON: And then, finally, you have the international community. Let's just explore this line of inquiry here, because the international

community, after throwing its weight behind the ouster of Colonel Gadhafi, one assumes will support the anti-Islamists who will be more likely to

provide the sort of stable, loosely termed, stable Libya that the U.S., Britain and France, for example, would like to see in order to get a slice

of that oil action.

Certainly Francois Hollande, as his government collapses beneath him and resigns, has said that Libya is his number one priority at present.

Egypt is hosting foreign ministers from the region. I spoke to the Egyptian foreign minister myself about a month and a half ago. He said

Libya is his number one priority.

Where do you perceive the international community to stand on this? And what happens next?

KARADSHEH: Well if you ask Libyans, analysts, people who are looking at this situation from being there, it does look like the international

community has been very reluctant in dealing with the Libya issue. This is not something new, Becky, we have seen Libya descending into chaos, into

this anarchy and possibly into civil war for the past two plus years, yet nothing really has been done by the international community to try and

prevent that.

So the feeling is it would probably be Libya's neighbors more of the Arab countries, North African states that might try to step in and do

something about what's going on, because they cannot afford to have Libya destabilized and spilling over into their borders, there's always that fear

of the weapons, the extremists. It's been a magnet for jihadi training and recruiting there. So there is always that concern.

But if you ask the Libyan government, or what remains of the Libyan government right now, what they want from the international community, they

have been saying that they want some sort of a stabilization and institution building mission.

Now there are questions is it's too late for this right now.

ANDERSON: What is a stabilization committee? Well, it's fascinating stuff.

Lots and lots and lots of questions on this story. We'll get you back on this, because it is an important one.

When you talk to anybody in this region her in the UAE, broadcasting this show, this is our home, they say that Libya really is a country to

watch at present. People very, very concerned about what is going on there.

Live from Abu Dhabi, this is Connect the World with me Becky Anderson. I'm going to have our world news headlines in just a few minutes. First,

though, we're going to introduce you to the rail system that is set to lighten the load of commuters in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa.

Transformations up next.


KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia and headquarters of the African Union, is

undergoing a major transport construction booth that is expected to give rise to a modern railway.

The city light rail project, as its called by residents, will be its first mass transit system and a pioneer mode of transport in the region.

The rail network will connect the city from east to west and north to south with a planned total length of about 75 kilometers. When finished,

it will have more than 35 stations and run on electricity as part of the country's new push for clean energy.

GETACHEW BETRE, CEO, ETHIOPIEAN RAILWAYS: And this (inaudible) will be traveling between stations within six minutes. Eventually, this number

will be reduced to three minutes and then finally 90 seconds.

LU STOUT: The contractors and workers say the digging, excavating and laying of the tracks has been an uphill task in the busy capital. But the

end seems to be in sight. The ambitious multimillion dollar project, funded by public money and foreign loans, is expected to be complete by

early 2015.

BETRE: The financing of the project is very difficult -- right of way is one of the most managing the stakeholders, the utilities, local

utilities, all these are very demanding. But like they say, where there is the will there is the way.

LU STOUT: The Africa Development Bank classifies Ethiopia as one of Africa's top performing economies. And the government, as well as the

country's private sector, believe the city light rail project will solidify this position further.

MULU SOLOMON, FORMER, PRESIDNET, ETHIOPIAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: When you see the foreign investors coming, one of their major requirements is

infrastructure. When it's finished, the impact on the economy, the impact in attracting the foreign direct investors is (inaudible)

LU STOUT: Most of Addis Ababa's population of about 4 million people relies on buses and share taxis to get to and from work. Many spend a

significant amount of time stuck in the gridlock traffic that characterizes the morning and evening rush hour.

The city rail promises to decongest the roads and ease that pressure.

SOLOMON: By the time most (inaudible) are in the office, they are already overworked (inaudible). But now, it's a (inaudible) time it's

fast. That's one of the advantage. And then also it's accommodate a large number of people.

LU STOUT: Definitely a train that many in Addis Ababa will be happy to catch.



ANDERSON: You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson, here on CNN. The top stories for you this hour.

The mother of Peter Theo Curtis, the American journalist released by Islamist rebels in Syria, says she spoke with her son by telephone on

Sunday. He told her he was in disbelief that he was free.

Meanwhile, British officials say they are close to identifying the killer of another American journalist, James Foley, who had his head cut

off. A memorial was held in his name in New Hampshire on Sunday.

Russia's foreign minister says Moscow wants to send a second humanitarian convoy to Ukraine, possibly sometime this week. That follows

a controversial unilateral aid delivery from Russia, more than 200 trucks entering Ukraine without permission. They returned to Russia on Saturday.

Thailand's new prime minister has been endorsed by the nation's revered king. General Prayuth Cahn-ocha now holds three of the country's

most powerful positions: prime minister, army chief, and military junta leader. He seized control with a coup in May after months of protests

against the government of the former prime minister.

Officials from the White House, celebrities, and other dignitaries have joined the family of Michael Brown for his funeral in Missouri. He

was the unarmed black teenager shot dead by a white police officer. His death set off days of violent protest. And these are live pictures coming

to you from that funeral today.

Brown's great uncle, Pastor Charles Ewing, scheduled to deliver the eulogy, and the civil rights leader Reverend Al Sharpton also due to speak.

This at the Friendly Temple Missionary Church in St. Louis, Missouri, with Gospel music in what is a packed auditorium. Some 5,000 people packed into

this church. We're going to get more on this with a live report from Missouri for you just a little later in this half hour.

ANDERSON: Let's get back to one of our top stories, now, the release of American journalist Peter Theo Curtis. The White House says he will

soon be reunited with his family. Now, Curtis was held by Islamist militia for some two years. Nick Paton Walsh has more on what we know about his

abduction and the successful effort to win his freedom.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After a week of horror, finally some good news: an American held hostage

in Syria by Islamist rebels for nearly two years is free.

Forty-five-year-old Peter Theo Curtis, a freelance author and journalist, released Sunday after being held by the al-Nusra Front, a

Syrian rebel group with ties to al Qaeda. His family thanking the governments of the US and Qatar for their efforts.

While the US has denied any involvement and details about his release remain unclear, Curtis was handed over to United Nations peacekeepers in

the Golan Heights, who then released him to US government officials.

PETER THEO CURTIS, FREED HOSTAGE: My name is Peter Theo Curtis.

WALSH: These videos show Curtis during his last few months in captivity. In this video, a rebel points a gun at his head while Curtis

speaks rapidly, as if under duress. Curtis was captured near the Syrian- Turkey border in October 2012 and held in Aleppo with American journalist Matthew Schrier.

The two locked up for months before planning their escape. Schrier, breaking free through a window with Curtis's help. Curtis, however, got

stuck trying to escape.

MATTHEW SCHRIER, SHARED CELL WITH PETER THEO CURTIS: And I'm pulling him and I'm pulling him as hard as I could. We weren't making any headway

and we were making too much noise, and the windows were open and the lights were above me, and the sun was coming up.

WALSH (on camera): And you must've known then that you had to leave him.

SCHRIER: Yes. It was -- I tell you, it was one of the hardest things I ever had to do. I'm not going to have closure until he's home.

WALSH (voice-over): Curtis' release comes just five days after ISIS released a video of one of its militants beheading American journalist

James Foley. On Sunday, his parents releasing a letter on Facebook that they say he composed in captivity. He talks about sharing one cell with 17

others and playing games made up of scraps they found. Foley had a fellow hostage memorize the letter, dictating it to his family upon release.

British officials close to identifying the ISIS militant responsible for the beheading. Experts say he speaks with a distinctly British accent.

Investigators making headway using clues in the video to pinpoint the killer out of hundreds of British Muslims who had joined ISIS

PETER WESTMACOTT, BRITISH AMBASSADOR TO THE US: We've been putting out a great deal of resource into identifying this person. I think we're

not far away from that.

WALSH: Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, London.


ANDERSON: As we've just heard in Nic's report there, British experts are closing in on the identity of that militant who beheaded James Foley in

what was that horrific video. For more on that, let's get to CNN's Atika Shubert. She joins me from our London bureau. What have you learned,


ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, as you heard there, the UK ambassador to the US saying they hare getting closer to

identifying the man in that video, and it's quite possible they have already identified him. They're simply not saying at this point.

Basically, they're looking not just at his-- the voice, but also, the build of the man in the video, the height, and also looking at how the

video was specifically edited. There's a number of cuts in there, which suggests, of course, that he may not have been on the only one there and

that there may have been more than one person involved.

Obviously, the people operating the camera, but perhaps more people involved in the actual killing as well. So, these are all things that

experts are now poring over, and they're comparing that video to everything they have on known jihadists that have traveled to Syria online. So,

they're pouring through videos, audio recordings, everything they've had.

They haven't said who this man is, but you know that the hunt is on for him, and if they haven't already identified him, are clearly very


ANDERSON: I know this has been a beat of yours for some time, a reporting beat of yours for some time, so you've got a real sense of the

context of this story, not least just how many men and women, perhaps, have left the UK in order to go fight abroad, specifically in Syria and in Iraq

for ISIS. So remind of us the context of this story. How many people are we talking about here?

SHUBERT: We're talking about hundreds from here in the UK, probably somewhere in the range of 400 to 500, although some terror analysts say it

could be as many as 700. To put that into perspective, that's about the same number, that go to fight there in Iraq and Syria, as the name number

who actually volunteer to fight with the British army.

So, it's an interesting perspective -- comparison to make, but I think it's also important to point out there are three million Muslims here in

Britain. So, we're talking about an extremely small percentage that actually go to join the fight against Syria and Iraq.

And in fact, even though it may seem from this video that Britain is at the forefront of these sort of extremists that are coming out of Europe,

Belgium, France, and also Russia have a much bigger problem. We're talking about hundreds more in those countries. And especially in Belgium, a very

small country, proportionately, there are a lot more militant fighters that come out of Belgium.

So, it's not just a problem for the UK, but for Europe, and in fact, worldwide. One of the things about these online videos is that they are

really recruitment videos to get more and more young Muslims to join into establishing an Islamic caliphate.

ANDERSON: Yes, fascinating. Atika Shubert on the story for you. Thanks, Atika.

We are seeing renewed violence across the Israel-Gaza border, I'm afraid. The Palestinian Health Ministry says at least 16 people were

killed in Israeli airstrikes on Sunday. The Israeli military says one of those attacks targeted Mohammed al-Ghoul, the man who overshadows Hamas

finances -- or oversees them, sorry.

And four Israelis were wounded when Hamas launched rockets and mortars at the Erez border crossing. Let's get you to Jerusalem, now. The IDF

also says at least 117 rockets were fired into Israel from Gaza. Karl Penhaul is following the latest developments from Jerusalem.

Karl, in all of this, our viewers might be asking, well, what about these cease-fire talks? No sign, it seems, of a breakthrough, we are told,

in talks, we are told, that are still between the Palestinians and the Israelis. Have they got camps in Israel, still, who are talking, or is

that all off at this point?

KARL PENHAUL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Over the weekend, it certainly it seemed that everything was off. And then this morning, we

started to hear a little bit of a media buzz that maybe the Egyptians would come through and make a renewed call for cease-fire talks come this


That hasn't happened so far. The Israeli government earlier on in the day came out and said look, there's nothing that we can tell you. We then

heard from some of the Palestinian sources, look, maybe something is afoot. Maybe there are a couple of proposals here that would bring us back to the


But certainly now, as night is going to begin to fall, nothing firm on the table, and we've certainly heard no more word from the Egyptians.

Difficult to tell until a proposal surfaces, Becky.

ANDERSON: All right. I want to get to another story, and get some response from you on the Israeli side, too. Reports of an Israeli drone

being downed in Iran. What do we know about this story?

PENHAUL: We have really heard nothing from the Israeli military. We have, of course, put in calls there and asked them anything that you can

tell us about this. They have simply made no comment at all. From what I've seen from the Iranian side, then, they claimed that it was a stealth

drone, so even a little more sophisticated than your normal drone.

If you look, taking things back to Gaza, well, Hamas fighters today on their TV station were parading bits of what appear to be some kind of drone

that they said they had shot down over Gaza, but certainly if the Iranians are claiming there was a stealth drone that was sent by the Israelis over

some nuclear facility, then that would be a much higher-tech one than Hamas was showing us on their TV. But from the Israeli side, no word on that,


ANDERSON: All right. Karl Penhaul is in Jerusalem for you. Live from Abu Dhabi, I'm here, you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Becky

Anderson. A desperately sad day for the people of Missouri. Just ahead, I'm going to take you to the community saying farewell to a gunned-down

teenager, Michael Brown.

ELIJAH HANKERSON, PASTOR: -- you know what it is to lose a child. Oh, God, you gave up your only son 2,000 years ago on that cross. We thank

you that he gave up his life for us that we might live.



ANDERSON: You're looking at live pictures from St. Louis, Missouri, where a funeral service is underway for Michael Brown, who was the unarmed

black teenager shot dead by a white police officer, and his death setting off days of violent protest in Ferguson, Missouri, with no clear answers as

yet for the community.

Well, thousands of mourners have turned out for this funeral, which is at the Friendly Temple Missionary Church in St. Louis in Missouri, with

Gospel music, as you can hear, in what is a packed auditorium.

Let me get you to Ferguson, now, where Stephanie Elam is standing by. Stephanie, how is that community saying goodbye?

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, it is definitely an entire community that is feeling what is happening today. And at the

church, you have some 5,000 people that are, 2500 in the sanctuary, and then overflow rooms for another 2500. There are dignitaries, there are

politicians, there are also some celebrities here in America, and probably around the world, that are in there as well.

But a lot of people turning out to say goodbye to Mike Brown and taking a pause from that entire discussion about police relationship with

black men, especially here in St. Louis and in Ferguson, although the conversation could be broadened to America.

And taking a pause from that conversation to just really allow this family this moment to say goodbye to their 18-year-old son, something that

has not been able to happen in the more than two weeks that have passed since he did die.

And this is the location where he did die, right here in the middle of the street. You can see, there's a makeshift memorial that is there.

That's the place where Mike Brown's body was in the street for four hours after he died.

And so while the community here is not done being angry about the loss of life, they are saying they're taking a pause to respect the family, not

protest today, but to really just focus on who this young man was and remembering him for that, Becky.

ANDERSON: Yes, paying their respects. It looks very, very quiet where you are. And after I consider the sort of pictures that we've seen

over the past week or so, that's good news, of course. What sort of police presence is there around today?

ELAM: Well, it's definitely a very different tone, Becky. I've been here in Missouri, now, for a week. I got here Monday last week. And the

tone that you feel in the city today is a much different one. So, a week ago, it was contentious, there was -- you could feel the tension building

up between police and between people who were protesting and marching in the evening.

Now, you can't see the police as often. They've moved back off the streets. As far as around the church, they're doing crowd control and

they're also making sure that traffic is flowing. But a much calmer presence here, and you can feel it. People are much more relaxed.

And so now, especially at this location, people are able to come, pay their respects. We've seen some people come and pray, we've seen some

groups come. We saw a group of young black men all about Mike Brown's age, all college students, and come here to just pay their respects and remember

who this was, and also to think about what they can do to play a role in changing the relationship between police officers and the black community

here in Ferguson, Missouri, Becky.

ANDERSON: Stephanie Elam on the story for you. You're looking at live pictures from the church where a funeral service is underway this hour

for Michael Brown. He was the unarmed black teenager shot dead by a white police officer, and his death, I'll remind you, setting off days of violent

protest, which Stephanie was talking about there in Ferguson.

With no clear answers as yet for the community, but as Steph points out, it's not the story this hour. That is the story this hour, those live

pictures coming to you from a church packed with mourners for Mike Brown.

A Liberian doctor who received an experimental drug for Ebola has died. It's believed the serum, called ZMapp, has helped other patients

fight the disease. Meantime, new cases of Ebola have been reported in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Its health minister there announced that two people have tested positive in the city of Gera. Lab and quarantine stations have been set up

in the town, and officials in Congo say the strain found there is different from the one behind the outbreak in West Africa. Now, the World Health

Organization is planning its own tests to confirm that.

Join Isha Sesay all this week starting just under three hours from now for special coverage of the Ebola crisis in West Africa. That is at 19:30

London, 20:30 in Johannesburg. And before then, you can tweet us your questions about the outbreak, that's hash tag #CNNebola. Or post them to

our Facebook page. We'll have experts answering your questions live on CNN News Center.

Well, coming up after this short break on CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson, halfpipes, throw-downs, and making boards in a basement.

We bring you skateboarding from the Iranian capital of Tehran.


ANDERSON: Well, a lot of the news that comes out of the region is about war and misery, I'm afraid. But sometimes you've got to step back

and remember that many young people here in the Middle East want to move past conflict. In tonight's Parting Shots, then, we take you to the

streets of Tehran, where the focus is less on regional rivalries and more on how to land a perfect kick-flip.


REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He is skilled at the throw-down, a move that gets you on a skateboard at near-

full speed. He can do a perfect mini-ramp jump, a leap off an incline that gets you and you wheels airborne. He's smooth at grinding the rail. And

he can kick-flip with the greatest of ease.

M.J. Rahimi has mastered some of the world's most popular skateboarding tricks. But the one skill that's fast making M.J. a

recognized name is crafting skateboards inside his basement in Tehran, Iran, a country that's steadily putting itself on the map in the world of

action skateboarding.

"I'm very happy I'm making skateboards," he says. "My biggest dream is to make a skateboard and have a professional skate on it."

Rahimi says his first homemade board shattered into pieces, but he kept at it. When the sport started picking up popularity in Iran several

years ago, demand for affordable equipment picked up, too.

M.J. starts by gluing together thin layers of maple wood, then presses them into sloped boards, and carves and sands them into shape. "When I

first started, my dad said it'll never work. But now he supports me," he says.

M.J. plans to create an affordable brand and sell his boards at a growing number of skate shops in the Islamic republic, where trendy

teenagers shop for gear to the tune of the latest techno beats.

ALI REZA ANSARI, T-SIXTY SKATE SHOP: We are doing our best to improve skateboarding here, and we have really good skaters here.

SAYAH (on camera): Ever since the 1979 Islamic revolution, the leadership here in Iran has been very wary about the spread and influence

of Western culture. Rock n' roll music, for example, is banned. So is dancing in public. But when it comes to skateboarding, not only does the

government seem fine with it, in many ways, they're actually supporting it.

The government has authorized six skate parks in the capital Tehran alone, and others in Ahvaz, Isfahan, Shiraz, Tabriz, and even the holy city

of Qom. Perfect arenas for Iran's growing skateboard community to ride M.J.'s skateboards, made in a basement in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Reza Sayah, CNN, Tehran.


ANDERSON: I'm Becky Anderson, that was CONNECT THE WORLD from the UAE. Thank you for watching. I'm going to leave you this hour with more

pictures from the funeral of Michael Brown, who was shot this month in Ferguson in Missouri. I'll be reading your headlines after.