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Attack On Tunis Museum Leaves 19 Dead; Dole And Gabbana In Hot Water After IVF Comments; Interview with former Manchester City Coach Roberto Macini. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired March 18, 2015 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:17] BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: We are getting reports that a deadly standoff in Tunisia has come to an end within the last hour. That is
coming to us from the Reuters news agency, which is quoting Tunisia's interior ministry.
Now, a Tunisian official says that militants killed at least 10 people, most of them tourists, at a museum near the country's parliament. They
also held many others hostage at the building in the center of the capital Tunis.
Reuters report that Tunisian security forces (inaudible) remaining hostages. An official would only say that two militant (inaudible)
policemen have been killed.
Tunisia was of course the birthplace of the Arab Spring and has until now been held up as a successful example of peaceful reform. But it is also
said to be the source of more foreign fighters to ISIS than any other nation, as many as 3,000 in total.
Well, let's get some analysis on the situation. We're going to get you to Tunis in a moment.
I'm joined now by our regular contributor here in the UAE Faisal al-Yafai who is chief economist at The National Newspaper here in Abu Dhabi.
Details very sketchy at this point. We don't know who these militants were. We're getting details on who some of the victims were. But just
your thoughts at the outset?
FAISAL AL-YAFAI, THE NATIONAL NEWSPAPER: Well, this has been the nightmare scenario for the Tunisians. Tunisia, of course, relatively table country
in comparison to some of its neighbors like Libya.
We know in the last month just almost a month ago to the day that the Libyans, this Libyan militant group allied itself with ISIS and beheaded 21
Now the danger, the fear in Tunis, will be that it is some of these people. They have made their way west. And they are now in Tunisia.
ANDERSON: And just as you speak I'm getting more information. We now, it appears, have 19 dead, 17 of those are tourists at a museum, which is right
next to the parliament building where I believe maybe coincidentally that lawmakers at the time were debating some anti-terror legislation.
AL-YAFAI: Now it may be that this has -- one has nothing to do with the other, it also may turn out not to be ISIS affiliated. But if it is, it
makes a lot of sense. The Bardo Museum is a museum that has a lot of tourism. They know they want to hit tourists in around the Middle East.
And at the same time, it is the place where they've had Jewish, Christian and Muslim artifacts, this kind of coexistence in Tunisia for 3,000 years,
it's that kind of thing, as you saw in Iraq, that ISIS hate most.
ANDERSON: You've -- just out of interest, you've been to that museum, correct?
AL-YAFAI: I have. It's a beautiful place, a beautiful museum. And of course it's the kind of place that the tourists make a beeline for. So if
your looking for a place to attack tourists and attack the tourism infrastructure, well that's the place you'd go to.
ANDERSON; We know that we are waiting on the president to speak, or the prime minister, not sure which at this point. But we're looking at some
pictures here clearly of people as they were making their way out of the museum. This, a very, very frightening situation, as you say, for tourists
and lawmakers who were evacuated from the parliament building.
What does Tunisia do next?
AL-YAFAI: Very hard to say. A lot will depend on who they think these attackers are.
Tunisia still has a tourist industry in contrast, for example, Egypt. The tourism hasn't completely been destroyed since the uprising. So, they'll
want to make sure that those groups that come, and they often come not as individuals, but they come in package tourists.
They'll want to make sure that those tourists feel safe. I think what you'll see is increased security around the tourist resorts to make sure
that people feel -- particularly from Europe -- they come and they feel safe and secure.
ANDERSON: This is what's sold as a fairly efficient and successful transition to a relatively democratic system. When you look behind the
scenes in Tunisia is that how you would describe what's happening post- 2011?
AL-YAFAI: If you look at all the Arab Spring countries you're going to have to describe them by contrasting one against the other, not by
contrasting against some sort of ideal. Tunisia of all those countries avoided the upheavals that you saw in Yemen. Of course, the chaos in
Syria. So it does seem like they did a relatively good job of both reestablish security and making sure that all these different stakeholders
had a stake in the political process.
ANDERSON: When you strip away the veneer, though, and look at the stakeholders, that's what I'm really trying to get at here, because we were
looking at what looked like a successful transition to the inclusion of political Islam within sort of democratic framework. I wonder whether
that's actually the case there?
[11:04:52] AL-YAFAI: Well, we'll have to wait and see. But definitely it's the case that Ennahda, which is the main Islamist party, has always
struggled to sort of keep some of its supporters inside the tent of politics and the others are sort of on the outskirts agitating for violence
or for a more extreme version of Islam.
Rashid Ghannouchi, who is the spiritual leader -- he doesn't hold a particular position, but he's really the leader of Ennahda has tried to
have this balance, Tunisia wanted to show that it could do that in the way that Egypt can't.
This might, if it turns out to be homegrown, this might have an effect on that.
But for now I think the assumption is that it's probably ISIS.
ANDERSON: Yeah, there's a big debate, isn't there, about the inclusion of political Islam here going forward. Those who are minded to exclude it
going down the road might find themselves with more problems. There was one rhetoric -- one debate suggests that then those who actually make an
attempt to include.
AL-YAFAI: Yeah. I mean, they've gone about it in different ways. So the Egyptians, of course, know that they have really gone strong against The
Brotherhood -- if you look at Jordan just in the last few weeks the Jordanians split the Muslim Brotherhood between those people who have been
the opposition for a long time, who believe in the monarchy, who believe in the political system and those people who are espousing more violent.
ANDERSON: I'm going to come back to you, because I know we wouldn't get to Tunis now. And I want to get the picture on the ground as we continue to
look at pictures here of people escaping form the Bardo Museum, which must have been an incredibly frightening episode for those tourists who were
And we're going to talk also how many people in this region are lumping the Muslim Brotherhood together with ISIS and incidents like this and whether
that's actually the reality or even fair.
But let's just talk in a moment.
We're joined now by Yussef Cherif, who is a political analyst with us from Tunis. He's via Skype this evening.
Yussef, what can you tell us at this point about what happened today?
YUSSEF CHERIF, TUNISIAN POLITICAL ANALYST: We know that this is clearly a terrorist attack. We have around 22 people there dead, maybe more. We
have around 20 or more injured. There are like 17 nationalities. Everything is still not finalized and updates are ongoing.
So, we have around 20 nationalities from Italy, Spain, Germany. We even heard of maybe Japan as well. And of course the Tunisian citizen.
ANDERSON: Yeah, and to keep our viewers bang up to date as far as we're concerned here at CNN in contact with the interior ministry, they are
declining to say that this operation has indeed come to an end.
The last we heard 19 dead, 17 of those are -- were foreign hostages and two militants we believed dead.
So, so far as who was responsible for this is concerned, Youssef, what's the talk on the ground?
CHERIF: ISIS. This is what most Tunisians and the international point to hear. This is an ISIS operation. The ISIS -- of course, when we say ISIS
it's no like someone from Mosul or Raqqa sending orders to Tunisian, but people who claim that they belong to ISIS or that they claim allegiance to
ISIS. And it is the main issues with ISIS, it is mainly composed of lone wolves and these kind of cells that (inaudible) the world. And so clearly
people need ISIS or to ISIS ideology.
And they've been threatening to attack Tunisia for awhile now, for maybe one year we had videos, messages, online threats targeting clearly first of
all Tunisia as a kind of secular and not theocratic state, and secondly Tunisia as a democracy, as a newly born democracy. And so this attack
obviously are attacking two things that are the (inaudible) of Tunisia, which is the democratic state and the secular state.
ANDERSON: Stay with me, becuase you've been talking about the flow of foreign fighters joining the ranks of ISIS in Syria and Iraq, and those who
may now be in Tunisia.
We've noted that Tunisia has sent more than any other single country -- I just want our viewers to get the breakdown of the numbers. This is
according to the international center for the study of radicalization and political violence.
Let's get the numbers up for our viewers of some 20,000 militants believed to have traveled to Syria and Iraq. The ICSR estimates that up to 3,000 of
them are from Tunisia, a good bit more than any other country in the region.
A quick check of how that compares, for example, to European country -- 1,200 from France, we believe -- or they believe -- and up to 1,500 from
Russia, a few hundred from the UK, Germany and Belgium each.
So, we're talking about -- oh, I've just given our viewers a sense of numbers of foreign fighters who have been traveling away from Tunisia,
homegrown as it were, into the theaters of war elsewhere, what about those who would associate themselves with ISIS within Tunisia. Those who haven't
tried to travel anywhere else. What sort of scope do you think are we talking about? What extent of numbers?
[11:10:13] CHERIF: So this is maybe the main issue here, because we heard a lot of these commands, of thousands of Tunisians looking to Syria and
Iraq fighting with ISIS, but we didn't have attacks on civilians like the one we had today. We had threats, but no attacks on civilian targets, no
attacks on tourist facilities.
We had, of course, attacks that were limited to the security forces and the military forces in the northwestern part of the country on the borders of
Algeria. But we didn't see witness attacks on civilian or tourist facilities. And this is what we had today.
So, now here's the question, how many of these potential ISIS affiliates are willing to, you know, to stage attacks like this ones, like this one?
Now, of course, you know, what we have -- we've seen the various attacks two months ago it was catastrophic, it was on a scale bigger than the one
we've seen today. And today people in France are living quite normally, because it can be just a lone wolf -- a lone attack and that's it.
But then also we are in a situation where we have Libya next door. And so things can (inaudible) in the next weeks.
ANDERSON: And maybe coincidentally just a week ago a Tunisian fighter leading what we believe to be an ISIS cell in Libya killed there. Who
knows whether this is payback, as it were, for that.
Let me just bring our viewers bang up to date on what we know at this point.
The Tunisian prime minister has just announced that the siege at the Bardo museum is now over (inaudible), the Tunisian parliament where today perhaps
again coincidentally the (inaudible) debated by lawmakers. They evacuated from that building. The siege, as it were, was in the Bardo museum. 19
dead, 17 of those we believe to be -- have been foreign hostages. Two militants at this stage (inaudible) two have been killed.
We were told that there were three at one point, so perhaps we'll find out in the minutes and hours to come that one has been taken in. But we don't
know that for sure.
And you're seeing pictures of people escaping a terrifying experience.
All right, we're going to keep Faisal with us here, because there's a lot more to discuss about what is going on across this region this evening.
Still to come tonight, an exclusive interview as well with designers Dolce and Gabbana after some controversial comments they made that prompted Elton
Joh to boycott the brand. That is in about 30 minutes from now.
But, up next, as Benjamin Netanyahu's supporters celebrate his success in Tuesday's Israeli election, we're going to find out who is celebrating and
who is agonizing. We're going to take a look within the country and outside. Stay with us.
[11:15:34] ANDERSON: Welcome back. It's 15 minutes past 7:00 in the UAE. This is Connect the World with me Becky Anderson.
Another developing story for you, the Tunisian prime minister said the deadly standoffs in Tunis has now come to an end within the last hour. The
prime minister says at least 19 people, most of them tourists, were killed at a museum near the country's parliament. They also held many others
hostage at the building in the center of the capital for Tunisian security forces have reportedly freed all of the remaining hostages. And two
militants and one policeman have been killed.
Now three attackers are (inaudible) and a manhunt has been launched. That's three on the run with a manhunt underway in Tuinis.
Tunisia was, of course , the birthplace of the Arab Spring and until now, at least, has been held up as a successful example of peaceful reform. But
as I remind you, it's also sent more foreign fighters to ISIS than any other nation, as many as 3,000 in total.
More on that as we get it.
Well, it's an election result sure to reverberate around the world. Against the odds, Benjamin Netanyahu seems set for a third consecutive term
as Israeli Prime Minister and a fourth in total.
His victory has huge implications, not just for Israel, but for the Palestinian territory and (inaudible) much farther afield.
Mr. Netanyahu says he won't allow the establishment of a Palestinian state under his watch, citing the threat from Islamic extremism. And he can be
expected to continue his efforts to thwart a deal on Iran's nuclear capacity.
All this could complicate the relationship between Israel and the west, particularly with the White House which has not seen eye-to-eye with Mr.
Netanyahu on a number of issues, not least that deal with Iran.
To discuss this again joined by Faisal al-yafai who is the chief columnist at The National Newspaper here in Abu Dhabi.
It was an interesting statement by Benjamin Netanyahu on the eve of the election saying he sees no possibility of a Palestinian state.
I was talking to Mustafa Barghouti , a Palestinian of repute on the election day, and he said I spoke to you a year ago, Beck, and said I
didn't believe Benjamin Netanyahu ever thought the Palestinian state was realistic.
AL-YAFAI: Yeah. I mean, there's been this sort of implied idea that he was never going to do it and most people, even people in the White House,
believed that he wasn't intending to push towards peace.
However, to make that explicit really puts him on a collision course with his European allies, with his American allies, and even with the
governments in the region here.
ANDERSON: Interesting justification, because he fears the rise of Islamic extremism. Many in this region would say Islamic extremism is as a result
of what the Israelis have done with the Palestinians.
AL-YAFAI; Well, it's not so much -- I mean, that certainly is the case, but it's not so much the rise of Islamic extremism, it's the rise of the
Jewish and Israeli extremism that has made Netanyahu do this. It's because he has to find common cause with the right-wing settler movement. That's
the reason he's doing it.
Remember, Netanyahu has come up with excuses for years -- this is going to be his fourth term -- for years he's come up with excuses why the
Palestinians should not have a state.
ANDERSON: But you concede that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the lack of a peace process fuels the fire as it were in the belly of those who
are waging war in the name of Islam?
AL-YAFAI: That is certainly a common view. It's a common view across the west and across the Arab world. It's not the only reason, but it is -- it
is a justification that is often used. And because when you have a situation like this, a festering sore in the heart of the Middle East along
this occupation of the modern era, when you have something like this that has gone on for nearly half a century, it is natural for people to say that
if it cannot be solved by the United States or by the Israelis, maybe they don't want to solve it. And that provides a lot of justification for anti-
ANDERSON: Before we move on to U.S.-Israeli relations now and going forth -- and that's some interesting debate in and of itself, I just wanted to
hear what Mustafa Barghouti actually said on this show last night.
Mr. Netanyahu's comments on Palestinian statehood have rattled a number of people. We talked about what he said. But let's just hear from the man
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI, PALESTINIAN NATIONAL INITIATIVE: I remember appearing on CNN a few years ago and Netanyahu spoke about the possibility of a
Palestinian State and I said he was lying. And actually now he is proving that he was lying.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[11:20:06] ANDERSON: Those are the words of Mustafa Barghouti.
I want to move on. Does it prove that he was lying at that stage? I mean...
AL-YAFAI: Politicians say a lot of things. It think it's for Israeli electorate to decide whether they think he is a liar.
What's more interesting actually I think is that they do believe that he is the man to lead them despite the scales falling from the Israeli public, he
was -- he caused a bit of a ruckus. The New York Times described it as a racist rant against Israel's Arab population, 20 percent of the country.
Despite that and despite saying that he would have no Palestinian state, he was still voted in.
ANDERSON; I want to get Elise Labott in on this debate. She is in Jerusalem, I believe.
Elise, what happened? I mean, these opinion polls were just outright wrong, weren't they?
ELISE LABOTT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They were outright wrong, Becky.
I mean, there are a lot of polls that were wrong, right. the polls leading up to the election, you had prime minister Netanyahu behind about four
seats give or take no matter what poll you looked at. And then obviously on election night it seemed like it was too close to call and then when the
final votes were counted, the exit polls were wrong and prime minister Netanyahu in fact was a good five seats ahead of Isaac Herzog in the
Zionist Union camp.
I think a couple of things are going on here. First of all, we're talking to pollsters throughout the day. And they say, listen, some of these polls
that are done aren't really set up for the kind of electorate that you have in Israel. A lot of these polls are done by the internet where not all
Israelis -- you know, certainly in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem they have cell phones, but -- and use the internet, but outside maybe not everybody is
using the internet. Maybe a phone poll would have been better.
So maybe it's the kind of methodology that they use.
But also, look, in the last 48 hours -- in the last week, in fact, it's no secret that Prime Minister Netanyahu had a media blitz, a real hard turn to
the right, really trying to energize that right-wing base with the kind of things that you've been talking about in the -- what people are saying is
that they think that that really scared the right, got them out to vote, not only for right-wing party, but for Benjamin Netanyahu.
And what he seems to have done is to have cannibalized some of these smaller far right parties that would have done a little bit better. Now
those votes went to Prime Minister Netanyahu.
ANDERSON: All right. Stay with me, because if evidence were needed of the Obama administration's shifting priorities on foreign police, one look at
the U.S. secretary of state's travel history should provide it.
In 2013, John Kerry made no fewer than nine trips to Israel and the West Bank in an effort to carve out his legacy by way of a Middle East peace
2014, when tensions between Israel and Hamas erupted into all-out war, Kerry visited the region twice.
So far in 2015, he hasn't visited at all.
But here's the thing, he's traveled to Switzerland for Iran nuclear talks four times this year alone.
Elise, how did we get to a point where the U.S. government can't deal with Israel but can deal with Iran?
LABOTT: Well, let's -- it's pretty ironic, obviously. But look this nuclear deal is very important to Secretary Kerry. It's very important to
the Obama administration and what officials tell me is he is really trying to put all this focus on in the short time he has before the deadline. And
then he wants to refocus his attention on other things.
He hasn't abandoned the peace process entirely. When the peace process -- when those peace talks broke down last summer it was pretty clear that the
situation, the conditions on the ground, both on the Palestinian side and the Israeli side, were not ripe for a deal. And Secretary Kerry felt that
he needed to give it some time. Clearly the relationship with Benjamin Netanyahu and the White House has deteriorating since then. And the
administration has been busy with the kind of Islamic extremism that's engulfing the Middle East. The whole campaign against ISIS.
I just think Secretary Kerry needed to step back. I'm told that he hasn't abandoned the idea of a peace process altogether. Not sure if he would
make another go at peace talks, or whether he would put down a peace deal, kind of like a Clinton parameters type of thing and saying this is how the
U.S. sees a peace deal. Take it or leave it. It's up to you to say whether the parties -- whether you're going to make another go at this.
I think it's going to be hard for Prime Minister Netanyahu now, though, after you know kind of making all these extreme pledges like no Palestinian
state to the right-wing base they're going to expect him to make good on those pledges.
I don't see how he really delivers a two state solution now. However, he knows that he has to repair his relations with the White House. It cannot
go on for the next 22 months as it has been, Becky, it just can't.
[11:25:06] ANDERSON: Yeah, fascinating.
All right, Elise Labott is in Jerusalem for you. Lots more to come tonight.
We get your headline wrap at the bottom of the hour, that's five minutes from now.
First, though, filling the digital gap in Uganda, the story of one entrepreneur finding business success through his love for learning.
JOHN DEFTERIOS, EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: When he noticed students were becoming more tech savvy, Charles Muhindo in Kampala, Uganda got the idea
to launch the educational platform BrainShare.
CHARLES MUHINDO, BRAINSHARE FOUNDER: BrainShare is an elearning platform that connects teachers to the learners.
Teachers get to create accounts on the platform. The students also create accounts. So when teachers upload the content, this content is transmitted
to the students regardless of the medium that the students are using to access the content. It can be through the website, it can be through the
downloadable app, or even a feature (inaudible) for those who may not have access to the internet.
DEFTERIOS: BrainShare began taking shape when Muhindo developed it as his final project in engineering school in Kampala.
MUHINDO: So, with the mobile phone, the student has to dial a particular cord, predefined, and then this pulls up a menu that guides them through
the whole process until they get to the specific content that they want to consume at the time.
DEFTERIOS: In 2012, Muhindo won a community innovation award competition from a local telecommunications company and went on to do an internship
with them, that's when he further developed the potential of his app and registered it as a company.
MUHINDO: This particular parcel here, they're trying to get the content from that book into the system and this is partially what the end users are
interested in. They pay to actually see this.
DEFTERIOS: Despite getting some teachers and students to use BrainShare, Muhindo still had obstacles to overcome.
MUHINDO: The biggest challenge was the content development. The platform was very fine, but guess what, without the content in there then the
customers don't have interest in what you've done.
So, to get around this I needed to convince teachers that this was a working system, that if only they could get me the best of their content,
I'd get it uploaded in there and then the people can start subscribing to this content, then maybe the teacher would make something small of this and
I would retain the rest.
DEFTERIOS: Muhindo says his desire to help provide a quality education is why he created the learning platform.
MUHINDO: I was very passionate about the child in that rural area who is - - I should say forgotten. Everyone seems to be focusing on the children going to the preschools around town, but I know inside me that that child
is very brilliant, all they need is access to information.
So I said instead of having to look for other ways of delivering this content to them, let me start with the kind of devices that they are very
[11:32:20] ANDERSON: Welcome back to a fairly windy UAE this evening. This is Connect the World with me Becky Anderson. The headlines for you.
The Tunisian prime minister says the deadly standoff in the capital Tunis has come to an end within the last hour. The premier told the news
conference at least 17 people, mainly tourists, were killed at a museum next to the country's parliament building. They also held more than 100
people hostage at the building in the center of the capital. Tunisian security forces have freed all of the remaining hostages and two militants.
And one policeman, we're told, has been killed. The prime minister also told reporters that three attackers are still at-large.
German police say at least 94 police officers were wounded in clashes with anti-austerity protesters in Frankfurt in Germany. Police say some of
those officers were hit with stones, others were doused with a substance similar to pepper spray. Protesters are rallying against European anti-
austerity policies with today's rally times the opening of the new European Central Bank headquarters.
Israeli Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu says he will work quickly to form a new government. His Likud Party is claiming victory in Tuesday's
parliamentary election. Unofficial numbers from the election committee showed Likud will emerge as the biggest party in the Israeli knesset with
at least 29 seats. Final results are expected in about a week. Expect a coalition, of course, there.
After three days of talks in Switzerland over his country's disputed nuclear program, Iran's foreign minister is tempering hopes that an
international deal can be made by the end of this month. The U.S. struck the same tone on Tuesaday.
And I want to get you back to our top story, that attack on a museum in the Tunisian capital. Atika Shubert is monitoring events from London and joins
I know you've been working your sources. What do we know at this point?
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: What we know is, as you point out, that the prime minister has addressed the nation and announced
that 17 people were killed in all, including a Tunisian security officer. Many of those killed were foreign tourists.
In addition, he said, two of the attackers were killed. The operation at the museum appears to be over, but he also said that up to three attackers
remain at-large. Security services are searching for them now.
Now we're trying to determine exactly the nationalities of the people killed in that attack. We understand from Italy, for example, that a
number of their nationals have been wounded. They have not been able to confirm whether any Italian nationals were killed in the attack.
We've also been calling around to French foreign office. They have reported it also tourists in the area, but have not been able to confirm
whether anyone -- whether any of their nationals were killed in that attack. But obviously this is an area attracting many tourists, many
particularly from Europe. So a big concern that they may have been caught in this attack, Becky.
[11:35:17] ANDERSON: Atika, has any one group claimed responsibility for this as of yet?
SHUBERT: Nobody has claimed responsibility for the attack yet. Now a spokesman for the interior ministry described the attackers as, quote,
Islamists. Now that doesn't name a particular gruop.
We do know that there have been a number of sort of radical Islamist groups operating in Tunisia. Ansar al Sharia, for example, has grown
exponentially over the last few years. But at the same time we also know that al Qaeda in the Islamic Magreb is active in the region. There is
increasing influence from militias next door in Libya. And we can't forget that Tunisia is actually the country with the largest number of foreign
fighters joining groups like ISIS in Syria and Iraq, more than 3,000 according to government estimates.
So we know that hundreds of those fighters have returned in the last two years. So this is what security officials are looking at, all of these
possibilities, are they the ones that carried out the attack, Becky?
ANDERSON: yea. All right. We'll get back to you as and when you've got more to report. For the time being, thank you for that.
That, the siege in Tunisia, which we are told now officially over. The prime minister speaking just moments ago. Three attackers, three
attackers, though, we are told, still on the run.
Well, authorities in Japan are reportedly investigating death threats against the American ambassador there, one Carolyn Kennedy. Kennedy has
been serving in that post for about 16 months now. According to local media, police are looking into phone calls made to the embassy in Tokyo
threatening to kill Kennedy.
David Malko is in Hong Kong with the very latest, David.
DAVID MALKO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Becky, this story developing over the past few hours. Extreme sensitivity given the attack on the U.S. ambassador to
South Korea just a few weeks ago.
What we know, this is all coming in from local Japanese media, a number of death threats, specifically phone calls made to the U.S. embassy in Tokyo,
threatening ambassador Carolyn Kennedy's life. Some of these reports say that the caller was male. He spoke English. Also threats, interestingly
made against the consul general in Okinawa, that's the southern Japanese island. The U.S. has a large troop presence there.
Questions being raised, though, not only about how serious this may be, but also the timing. Police in Japan not saying anything. The U.S. embassy
not saying anything, but the State Department released a statement a short time ago. I'm going to read you a little bit of that. They say, quote,
"we take any threats to U.S. diplomats seriously. We take every step possible to protect our personnel. And we are working with the Japanese
government to ensure the necessary measures are in place.
Becky, no actual comment on the specific details of that threat. That is not surprising, given the sensitivities around a top diplomat in the
The timing, it should be mentioned, Michelle Obama, the U.S. first lady, arriving in Japan just a few hours ago, part of a five day visit to Japan
U.S. President Clinton also in country. Actually spoke at a forum alongside the Japanese prime minister and Carolyn Kennedy. In the next few
days we will see how this develops. Of course at this point, the embassy not saying much. Police not saying much. But certainly heightened
sensitivity in the region given that attack on the U.S. ambassador in South Korea just a few weeks ago.
ANDERSON: Briefly, David, anything from Carolyn Kennedy herself?
MALKO: No statement outright from her. I've been looking at her Twitter account. She's established a social media presence. She's now on
Instagram. Nothing outward.
Her official residence, though, Becky is in the U.S. embassy compound in Tokyo. That is well secured. It is a quiet neighborhood. We'll see if
anything new comes in once Tokyo wakes up in the morning, Becky.
ANDERSON: David Malko on the story for you out of Hong Kong this evening. David, thank you.
Let's get you to Iraq and the U.S.-led coalition force has unleashed a new wave of airstrikes on ISIS targets in northern Iraq. 12 strikes targeted
ISIS positions, more than half of them near Falluja and Mosul.
Well, the Iraqi military released this footage on Tuesday of airstrikes it also launched on three cities in the north.
Well, Iraqi soldiers and militia there are fighting ISIS on several fronts, including in Tikrit.
Now a week ago if you're a regular viewer, you'll know that they announced that 75 percent of the city had been retaken.
Well, now that offensive it seemed has stalled.
CNN's Jomana Karadsheh joins us from the Iraqi capital Baghdad with more on this.
What are you learning about why this assault on ISIS in Tikrit may have stalled or been temporarily suspended?
[11:40:06] JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORREPSONDENT: Well, Becky, if you recall last week you know after these operations had began, this
operation to quote, unquote liberate Tikrit began on the 1st of March, there was a lot optimism and commanders and fighters and here from the
government we heard everything from hours to days to complete control of Tikrit.
But what it seem now, according to Iraqi officials, is that they have surrounded what remains under the control of these ISIS militants. They
haven't given figures. They say a couple of hundred, maybe a few hundred ISIS fighters remain in the city. And they say that they have them
And what is happening, they say, is that this operation has not stopped. They're describing this as a tactical pause. They are -- they say that
it's the advance that has stopped. Operations have not stopped. And this is because of the resistance they're meeting and concerns about what they
will find once they try and push forward.
They say that ISIS has planted hundreds of improved explosive devices. They say there are car bombs and lots of snipers. So they are worried
about heavy casualties from these Iraqi forces if they try and advance.
So at this point in time, according to Iraqi officials they say they have these ISIS militants surrounded, they're cutting off their supplies and
also officials, Becky, say they're concerned about civilian casualties, although we have conflicting reports. We heard in the past officials
saying that almost all, if not all the civilians had evacuated the city in the past. Now they're saying they are worried about civilians casualties
and infrastructure if they do go in.
Very sensitive, because of course Tikrit, a predominately Sunni city, and this is a pretty dominately Shia force that will be going in.
All eyes on them and how they will conduct this operation once they get into the city, Becky.
ANDERSON: Jomana is in Baghdad for you this evening.
I'm in Abu Dhabi, this is Connect the World with me Becky Anderson.
I'm going to bring you the very latest on what is our breaking news story this hour, that attack in Tunis. The premier told a news conference at
least 17 people, mainly tourists were killed at a museum which is situated right next to the country's parliament building.
We (inaudible) first live images from the scene in moments from now.
Also coming up, tonight an intimate look into the complex relationships between Arabs and Jews in Israel. That is in about 10 minutes. And that
will be your parting shot this evening.
[11:44:46] ANDERSON: You're watching CNN. This is Connect the World with me Becky Anderson. Welcome back. We're in the UAE. It is 44 minutes past
The Tunisian prime minister says a deadly standoff in his country has come to an end. And in the past hour. The prime minister says 19 people were
killed at a museum near the country's parliament. It includes 17 tourists (inaudible) and security officer. 22 people, most of them toursits, were
wounded, many others were held hostage at the building in the center of the capital. And this is footage of them escaping.
But Tunisian security forces have reportedly freed all of the remaining hostages. The foreign minister says two militants have been killed, two
militants killed, three attackers, they say, are on the run.
Tunisia was of course the birthplace of the Arab Spring. And it has until now at least been held up as a successful example of peaceful reform.
But to remind you, it's also said to be the source of more foreign fighters to ISIS than any other nation, as many as 3,000 in total. (inaudible)
don't include those who might be sympathizers of ISIS or other jihadist movements within the country.
Well, we are editing our first live report from the scene right now. Do stay tuned for that. As soon as we get it, we'll go to it, of course.
I want to switch codes, as it were now, and move away from the top story of the day. Fashion designers Dolce and Gabbana found themselves in hot water
this week after comments in an Italian magazine stirred controversy. Domenico Dolce said babies born through in vitro fertilization were, quote,
Well, those words drew fierce denunciation from no less than Elton John who has two kids with his husband through IVF. The singer went on to call for
a boycott of the fashion designers.
But in an exclusive interview Dolce and Stefano Gabbana told our Anna Coren that they respect how all people live. Have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: As you know, there's been a great deal of criticism and backlash regarding your comments about IVF.
There's been calls to boycott Dolce and Gabbana. Do you still stand by those comments?
STEFANO GABBANA, DESIGNER: We love gay couple. We are gay. We love a gay adoption. We love everything. It's just -- Domenico is express...
DOMENICO DOLCE, DESIGNER: My point of view. It's my private point of view.
I'm like (inaudible). I'm Sicilian. I grew in the family. We have a sense of the family very strong for myself. My company is a family
company. And I believe in the tradition of family. This (inaudible) change today in my count of four (inaudible) different. Every people's is
freedom for just what you want.
This for me is democracy.
GABBANA: But the problem is the people attach us for this. This is not -- and it was not nice because I think in a different way from Domenico.
COREN: When you say you think in a different way. In what way?
GABBANA: I believe in in vitro, for example. I don't have anything about this.
COREN; So you support IVF.
COREN: Domenico, you don't support IVF.
DOLCE: I think today we don't need to support or no support. You think what you think.
I think today there's too much...
GABBANA: There's not supporting. It's just to believe.
COREN: But you don't judge people who use IVF, who have children through the process of IVF like Elton John. Elton John has come out. He's angry.
He's called for a boycott of your brand.
DOLCE: I don't buy (inaudible). I love them (inaudible) I see them every day. I don't care. I'm freedom.
GABBANA: So, maybe we used the wrong word. Synthentic is not synthetic for sure, because it's not plastic.
COREN: Sure. Sure.
COREN: Has it been blown out of proportion? Has it been...
GABBANA: This is true. This is true.
GABBANA: ...but we don't like the attached on the say boycott Dolce & Gabbana for what? Because I don't think like you? Is this correct? This
is not correct. We are in 2015.
COREN: What would you say to Elton John and other celebrities who rally behind him.
GABBANA: I want to say face forward.
DOLCE: The life is long...
GABBANA: And people chose what you want.
(EMERGENCY BOARDCAST TEST)
[11:51:44] ANDERSON: Well, the Tunisian prime minister says a deadly standoff in his country has come to an end. The prime minister says 19
people were killed at a museum naer th country's parliament. That includes 17 tourists and one (inaudible) at least.
22 people, most of them tourists, were wounded. Many others were held hostage in the building in the capital of Tunis, but security forces have
reportedly freed all of the remaining hostages. And these pictures, of course, reflecting those releases.
Two militants have been killed, three attackers, we have been told, in the last hour, are on the run. We are editing an interview from Tunis for you.
And as soon as we get that, we'll bring it to you.
Before that, it is a big day of football in Europe's Champion's League, let me tell you, with Manchester City traveling to Barcelona in the last 16 of
the competition. It weren't easy for last year's English Premier League champions. They are trailing 2-1 after the first leg in Manchester.
It's been a tough season so far for City. They are six points behind leaders Chelsea, closing the gap to a certain extent in the Premier League,
but piling pressure on the manager Manuel Pellegrini, of course.
Well, staying with Man City, their former manager, Roberto Mancini has told CNN that Pellegrini is, quote, lucky to have inherited the side that he
left behind. Perhaps he would say that wouldn't he?
Mancini won the Premier League for City in 2012 and is currently the manager of the Italian side Inter Milan. He spoke to CNN's Don Riddell.
Have a listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTO MANCINI, INTER MILAN COACH: I had a fantastic moment in England. We won a Premier League after many years. I have a (inaudible) City's
reporters in my hat. I have all that moment in my head because it was an incredible moment. And it's impossible to forego this.
DON RIDDELL, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Do you miss being with Manchester City?
MANCINI: Maybe I guess in the Premier League, because I worked there for four years, three years. And I believe (inaudible) they are in certain
position because I think that play the same players and I'm very proud of this.
RIDDELL: City seem to be struggling a little bit of late. Why do you think that is?
MANCINI: It's not being that City is the best team in the Premier League. (inaudible) now is in the certain position. They are six or nine points
behind Chelsea. I think that City is the best team. And in the Premier League I think (inaudible) the last game we won Premier League in the last
minute. And I think that they have -- they should think that they have a chance to win this title.
RIDDELL: How did you feel when you had to leave city?
MANCINI: I think that one manager can stay in the same team for 10 years. It's really difficult, this. I think it was so-so, because I didn't have a
chance to finish the season only for this.
[11:55:02] RIDDELL: Manuel Pellegrini said recently that he's not under any pressure to win at title every year. How can you relate to that? Does
that -- was your time there similar? Was the pressure different?
MANCINI: I don't know. I think that Pellegrini was really lucky because he got this team that is a strong team and he can have a chance to put
(inaudible) players and he put this team -- but I think that much as the City can win a title (inaudible) I think that City have a chance. And they
should -- they must win a title. They try to must win a title every year.
ANDERSON: All right. I want to get you to Tunis. We've been promising you that we'll get you an update on exactly what is going on there and what
happens next. The very latest on events in Tunis. Journalist Yamsine Ryan joins us on the phone from the scene in the Tunisian capital. Tell us
where you are and what you know at this point?
YASMINE RYAN, JOURNALIST: So, we're standing right outside the museum of Bardo. It's immediately there. We've just seen several rounds of
(inaudible) come out with the hostages. And we can actually hear cheering right now as the people -- the latest, now it's the soldiers coming out and
the army officers. So it appears that they've all been rescued. The two gunmen were killed and also eight people unfortunately were killed early
on. But the Tunisian security offices managed to rescue the rest of them.
ANDERSON: Yasmine, I'm not hearing you. I'm not hearing you, but I believe our viewers are, which is fine.
So forgive me if you've already answered this, but we've been told by the prime minister that there are three attackers on the run. What more do we
know at this point? What are secuirty forces doing to track them down?
RYAN: The secure -- there's still information is -- the situation is evolving. So the information has had to confirm right now. But, yes,
they're trying to track down three more. I'm not sure how the operation is going, but the -- yes, we'll be seeing that in the next few hours.
There were several arrests yesterday of another group of militants. So the Tunisian authorities have been arresting people actually for weeks and
months on a regular basis. so probably they know the identity of these three men and we will see how it evolves -- unless they manage to escape to
Libya, which is another possibility that we've seen in similar incidents in the past.
ANDERSON: Yeah, I'm reminded just how far is the Libyan border from where you are?
RYAN: The Libyan border is about seven hours drive to the south. So it's quite far from Tunis, but there are hundreds of thousands of Libyans living
in Tunisia. And the groups have Ansar al Sharia, which is the group that these gunmen are believed to be connected with, or possibly ISIS, they also
-- they're based in Libya and so -- and the border is quite porous. People come and go freely. So it's a major -- it's been a major security concern
for a long time. And this incident is -- the first incident of its kind that people were expecting something like this might happen sooner or
Yasmine, while we talk, we've just got about a minute or so. If you can just ask your cameraman to just pan around so that we can seen the scene
where you are, because I believe you're very close to the Bardo museum wehre this attack happened earlier on Tunisia time. I wonder if you'll ask
him to do that. And if you can listen to me while you're doing that. Multitasking as it were.
Again, you may have already answered this question...
ANDERSON: So what do we know about -- yeah, go on. Go on.
RYAN: So you can actually see that's one of the latest tourist buses coming out right now. And you cans see the people cheering and -- as has
been happening periodically for the last half hour or so. And we believe this attack was some kind -- may have been retaliation either for the
arrests yesterday or also for the high profile Tunisians who were killed in Sirte over the weekend when Misrata forces moved in to attack ISIS there.
ANDERSON: Yeah, yeah. All right, we're going to hit a satellite break at this point. I'm going to leave you.
iDesk, though, for CNN's viewers is up next.