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Iraqi Christian Pray For Better Future. Pope Francis Praises Iranian Nuclear Framework, Calls For End To Violence Everywhere; Garissa University Gunmen's Bodies Paraded Through City; Russia, ICRC Call For 24 Hour Humanitarian Ceasefire In Yemen. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired April 5, 2015 - 11:00:00   ET


[11:00:10] GEORGE HOWELL, HOST: A country in mourning. We are learning more about one of the terrorists believed to have caused Kenya's grief.

We are live in Garissa Kenya where officials are trying to understand how this attack could have happened and how others can be prevented.

Plus, the crisis in Yemen. Relief agencies are calling for a ceasefire, a pause to take of the wounded. We'll have the very latest from the capital

city of Sanaa.

And Pope Francis gives his Easter message. More on what he had to say. And a look at how Christians in Iraq are praying the coming year will be

more peaceful.

ANNOUNCER: This is the hour we connect the world.

HOWELL: Good day to you. We start this hour with the massacre at Kenya's Garissa University. New details about one of the alleged gunmen. CNN has

learned the father of the suspect is a local chief in a northern county. These revelations come as Kenya begins three days of national mourning.

Families left the mortuary in tears on Easter Sunday after identifying the bodies of one of their loved ones.

Reports say the shooters targeted non-Muslims.

CNN's Christian Purefoy joins us now live in Garissa with the very latest. So difficult and hard to see that video. And I can only imagine,

Christian, what those families are going through.

CHRISTIAN PUREFOY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, George, the president of Kenya announced three days of national mourning quite simply

because of the scenes you are seeing, you know, on the video.

Families today in Nairobi went to the morgue to identify the bodies. And we know, you know, that 147 have been killed. And, you know, at this

university it wasn't just people from this community in Garissa, it was from all over Kenya.

So, you know, this is really a national tragedy, George.

HOWELL: And Christian, what more do we know about the suspects? Obviously this latest information that is confirmed through Reuters about one suspect

being connected to an official. But what more do we know about the others?

PUREFOY: Well, the Kenya's interior ministry has now said that one of the fighters -- they say there were four fighters for terrorists, sorry, that

went in to that university. They've identified one of them as Abdirahim Abdullahi. They say he is the son of a local politician from northern


Now CNN has spoken to the father. And he says that he has not seen his son since he left university shortly after he left university in 2013. And the

father said he'd really given up on him.

But also the interior ministry have said they now know who is the mastermind behind this attack is, a man named Mohamed Mahamoud.

Now very little is known about this man at the moment. There is a reward on him, sort of most wanted posters have been put out by the interior

ministry. And there's a reward for over $200,000.

So, you know, pieces are beginning to come together about who exactly was behind this attack. Interior ministry, George, has asked for anyone with

any more details on these people to come forward.

HOWELL: Christian Purefoy joining us there live in Garissa, Kenya. Christian, thank you so much for your reporting there.

In Yemen, Houthi rebels have reportedly gained some ground despite Saudi- led air strikes that had been pressing on now for more than a week.

These gains were reported in the port city of Aden. And it comes at a time when the International Red Cross is calling for a 24 hour ceasefire to

treat the wounded. Russia also asked the UN security council for a resolution instituting a humanitarian pause, but no decision has been made

at that meeting on Saturday.

Hakim al-Masmari joins us now live from the capital city of Sanaa via Skype. Hakim, thank you so much for your time this day.

What more can you tell us about these rebel gains in the city of Aden?

HAKIM AL-MASMARI, JOURNALIST: There's (inaudible). They're being attacked from the air. Right now in Aden, the Houthis are gaining (inaudible) and

they control almost the entire port of Aden. And this is happening while warships are attacking them and attacking their positions in Aden near the


So, they're gaining. And these airstrikes are not affecting them. On the other hand, these strikes are hurting Aden in general. At times, they also

target civilian residents and cause more damage than good.

In Sanaa, also the attacks have been tremendously high. And last night's attack and today's attacks were not only airstrikes, there were cruise

missiles that targeting the military infrastructure of the Houthis.

So this is very worrying, because all the military bases in Sanaa are all in civilian areas. So the casualties in Sanaa are also very high. In Aden

alone, you have 180 killed over the last week or so. And in Sanaa it's even more than that. And these numbers will only escalate if no ceasefire

soon. And this is what Yemenis are worried about that Yemen could reach into the next Syria if there's no ceasefire.

[11:05:29] HOWELL: Hakim, very quickly here, we're looking at these images there on the ground. And you know this best there on the ground yourself.

How desperate is the situation for people who have been cutoff by these airstrikes and fighting?

MASMARI: It's very worrying right now. As we're talking right now on my right there's meetings right now between political factions. President

(inaudible) party here in Sanaa, they're all meeting right now trying to find a political solution, or an opening ways for dialogue. It -- and

helping (inaudible).

They've convinced the Houthis to resume dialogue if these airstrikes are halted. So there is still hope for dialogue. And Yemen can never be

solved, the crisis can never be solved only through dialogue. All the political factions here are strong. Each sides are strong. So this can

never be solved by war. And that's why they're meeting right now and trying to find a solution to this crisis before it's too late.

HOWELL: Pointing out there is still hope for dialogue. Hakim al-Masmari, you've been with us for many days. We appreciate your insights and

reporting there in the country of Yemen. Thank you.

As the situation in Yemen continues to fall apart, many people are in dire need of food and medicine. Later in this broadcast, we ill talk with a

spokeswoman with the Red Cross about efforts to help those who have been caught in the fighting there.

Now on to Syria. Rebel groups there are making some alarming advances across that country. The Assad regime has lost control of both the

northern city and a border crossing to the south. Some of the rebels are linked to extremist groups.

Senior international correspondent Nick Paton Walsh reports that ISIS is now creeping closer to the capital city.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The conflict at so much of the sectarian violence in the region, the Syrian civil war, has just in

the last week taken a significant turn with rebels, some of them aligned with al Qaeda making substantial advances.

It was a seismic moment in the four-year war in Syria, somewhat lost to the turmoil engulfing the region. After months of deadlock, suddenly a key

city changed hands, rebels, an alliance ranging from al Qaeda to moderate Islamists swept into Idlib and refugees flooded out, a sign that perhaps

rebel backers in the region had taken the gloves off, a worrying moment of ascendant, too, for the Nusra Front, al Qaeda's affiliate. But above all

the huge blow for the regime.

One of the four major cities in the north now firmly in rebel hands. Days later, to the south, another major regime asset fell.

The main southern border crossing points with Jordan, in flux for years, were also taken decisively by rebels, a similar yet less unified mix as in

Idlib taking at night a vital regime link into Jordan.

Another blow for the Assad regime, which has sat comfortably watching ISIS's rise, yet less comfort for them at seeing this very close to

Damasus, ISIS fighters calling out for rebels to surrender in the beleagured refugee camp of Yarmouk, home to long-term Palestinian refugees.

It's been emptied, starved, but it's very close to regime strongholds in the capital.

Clashes continue as major parts of Syria's landscape change hands yet again, human suffering beyond quantifying in the balance.

Now the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Saturday that 90 percent of that Yarmouk refugee camp was in fact now under the control of a

mixture of ISIS, the Islamic State and Jabhat al Nusra, the Syrian al Qaeda affiliate.

There is clearly a lot of momentum now against the Syrian regime in key areas. And this is just one other nightmare complicating an already

turbulent region.

Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Beirut.


HOWELL: Still to come this hour, Iran finally has a framework deal for its nuclear program, but not everyone is happy about it. Hear what critics

have to say about that framework and why the Israeli prime minister is among them.

Plus, Easter in a war zone. We take you inside a church in Iraq where Christians celebrate Easter even as fear hangs overhead.


[08:12:25] HOWELL: You are watching CNN. And this is Connect the World. I'm George Howell. We're glad to have you with us.

Let's move now to the country of Iraq, the city of Tikrit may have been liberated from ISIS last week, but fear still reigns supreme there. One

Iraqi security official described that city as, quote, out of control.

Explaining to CNN that he has witnessed homes being set on fire, he's seen shops looted. And he blames the militia and some members of Iraq's army.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has also called on troops to restore order in the city.

The next big move for the Iraqi army is to liberate the country's second biggest city from ISIS, the city of Mosul. Iraq's defense minister told

senior international correspondent Arwa Damon that Troops are preparing themselves for an even tougher battle.


ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Tikrit is being touted by Iraq and the US as a success, at least when it comes to the first phase of

Iraq's war against ISIS.

But comparatively speaking, it may have been the simplest of battles the nation faces.

The big question being asked right now is what's next?

KHALED AL-OBEIDI, IRAQI DEFENSE MINISTER (through translator): Liberation of Tikrit has put us into the next phase to move to the north Ninevah and

west Anbar. Theoretically the plans are set and we have majority of the supplies we need.

DAMON: Iraq's defense minister says it's not just about having the military power to take Mosul.

OBEIDI (through translator): The battle for Mosul is unique, it's Iraq's 2nd largest city, and there are about 2 million people. We have to take

this into calculation.

Terrorist groups have announced it as the capital of the Caliphat. ISIS will fight fiercely for the city. According to our intelligence they have

tunnels and bunkers. They will fight in full force for Mosul.

DAMON: Iraq's military units, at the request of the defense ministry, are going through intense training with US advisers.

Exactly what is it that these units are being trained on, are actually receiving because the us was here for close to a decade training up the

Iraqi army, what failed then that is forcing us into this situation right now?

OBEIDI (through translator): The problem wasn't with the training it was with the building of the army and it wasn't built in a way to face these

challenges, it was built to be a conventional army. But Iraq is facing terrorism. And we only have one counter terrorism division, that's how it

was built wrong.

DAMON: A mistake neither Iraq nor the region can afford to see happen again, especially given how checkered the battlefield dynamics are.

You have the Iraqi army, then you have the Iraqi police, then you have the Hasdh Al-Shaabi, then you have the Iranian advisers, then you have the

Americans in the sky. I mean, it's a lot of moving parts of nations that aren't necessarily natural allies and it puts the government and yourself

as minister of defense in a very tricky position because you have to balance these different interests that are coming together in this one


[11:15:31] OBEIDI (through tranlato): Of course it is an important subject and this is where you see the role of the commander. You have to deal with

conventional forces and volunteers. those volunteers come from everywhere, young and old, there is no connection between them. There are no

regulations and rules controls them. It is a difficult and a big challenge to armed leadership.

DAN: The time frame is contingent to the situation on the ground and whether or not Iraq can rise to meet that challenge.

Arwa Damon, CNN, Baghdad.


HOWELL: As Arwa mentioned, it is a complicated coalition of people together in this fight. You can learn more about the developments in Iraq

on our website. More details on the looting and the violence in the city of Tikrit as well as the progress that Iraqi forces are making. You can

also watch Arwa's interview with the Iraqi defense minister online. It's all at

Live from CNN World Headquarters here in Atlanta, this is Connect the World. Straight ahead, churches around the world celebrate Easter Sunday.

We visit one such church in Iraq where the congregation is praying its future will be better than its past.

And he is perhaps the most vocal critic of the nuclear deal with Iran. Benjamin Netanyahu is making his feeling known once again. Find out what

provisions he wants in place before any deal is done. That's next here on Connect the World.


HOWELL: You are watching Connect the World live from CNN World Headquarters here in Atlanta. I'm George Howell.

Iran's foreign minister told state media that all UN security council resolutions against his country will be immediately scrapped when a final

nuclear deal is reached with world powers. Mohamed Javad Zarif was talking after the Iranian government and the so-called P5+1 group of nations

reached a provisional agreement in Switzerland on Thursday.

But one of the leading critics of the deal, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has told CNN's state of the union what he believes is lacking

from that deal. Listen.


BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, PRIME MINISTER OF ISRAEL: It doesn't roll back Iran's nuclear program. It keeps a vast nuclear infrastructure in place.

Not a single centrifuge is destroyed. Not a single nuclear facility is shut down, including the underground facilities that they built illicitly.

Thousands of centrifuges will kept -- will keep spinning, enriching uranium. That's a very bad deal.

Secondly, Iran is going to have sanctions lifted, including crippling sanctions, pretty much up front. And that's going to have billions and

billions of dollars flow into the Iranian coffers, not for schools or hospitals or roads, but to pump up Iran's terror machine throughout the


And it's a military machine that's now engaged in conquest throughout the world in Iraq and Syria and Yemen, around the borders of Israel elsewhere.

So I think that's very bad. Third, the restrictions that are placed on Iran are only temporary. And after a few years, Iran will have unlimited

capacity to build unlimited nuclear infrastructure. That's very bad. That's what's in the deal.

Now, here's what's not in the deal, the ending of their ICBMs, their intercontinental ballistic missile programs. That's not in the deal. And

those missiles are only used for you. They're not used for us. They have missiles that can reach us and are geared for nuclear weapons.

And, secondly, no one is asking Iran at all in this deal to stop its aggression in the region and its calls to annihilate Israel.


[08:20:44] JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, clearly -- and, clearly, the White House has said that -- and, clearly, the White House has said...


NETANYAHU: Very bad...


NETANYAHU: ... and the region and the world.

ACOSTA: And you said that it would threaten your country's survival. You stand by that?

NETANYAHU: Absolutely.

If a country that vows to annihilate us and is working every day with conventional means and unconventional means to achieve that end, if that

country has a deal that paves its way to nuclear weapons, many nuclear weapons, it endangers our survival.

I will tell you what else will happen. I think it will also spark an arms race with the Sunni states, because they understand exactly what I just



HOWELL: So, we find ourselves in an unlikely situation where Mr. Netanyahu is aligning himself with some of his Arab neighbors.

Let's get some international perspective on this story. We want to bring in Oren Lieberman in Jerusalem and Sunlen Serfaty in Washington. Thank you

both for being with us.

Oren, let's start with you. Will Israel take a wait and see posture with this deal, or do you get a sense from officials that they will be more

hands on in their approach as the negotiations continue?

OREN LIBERMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we know Netanyahu has pushed against this from the very beginning. And we've seen him ramp up not only

his rhetoric, but his efforts in the last few days. And I very much expect to see more of that.

It's no coincidence that he's getting out there today. He's on the talk shows this morning on CNN's State of the Union. He wants to make sure he's

heard. And over the past few days we've seen him using stronger and stronger rhetoric, using terms like horrible war and terrible war -- I'm

sorry, he used the term horrific war.

And I expect to see much more of that. We saw him especially last week working with congressional Republicans when House Speaker Boehner and

Senator Mitch McConnell were here. So he worked with them.

We did hear him say in his State of the Union interview that he's also spoken with congressional Democrats. That could be a big problem for

President Obama over the next few months as he keeps working that path.

HOWELL: And what more an you say just about selling this deal in the United States? Obviously, I would imagine officials here, legislators,

will continue to get pressure from officials in Israel.

LIEBERMAN: Absolutely. He'll keep doing that. It's not only Netanyahu speaking out against it, it's also his intelligence minister who has been

very vocal about this. And they'll keep working the phones, just as Obama is trying to sell the deal on that end, Netanyahu will try to sell people

against it on this end, again working with the Republicans who have already shown quite a bit of skepticism on this deal.

And now we hear Netanyahu saying that he's making phone calls to the Democrats trying to sort of rally support to make sure that if there is a

final deal, Israel's security remains one of the key components of that deal.

We heard Netanyahu say just two days ago that he wants in the final deal Iranian recognition of the state of Israel, that would be a huge step.

We'll see how likely that is over the next few months.

HOWELL: Oren Lieberman with us there in Jerusalem. Oren, thank you.

Now let's turn to Sunlen Serfaty in Washington.

The same question to you Sunland. So, you know, the commander-in-chief now sort of the salesman in chief trying to make this pitch to legislators.

How well is this going to go?

SUNLEN SURFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's really an uphill climb for President Obama and the White House that's working hard to sell this deal.

And you have to imagine that the White House anticipating such a strong reaction from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the two leaders talking on

Thursday evening after the framework of this deal was announced.

And Netanyahu revealing this morning that the two leaders had an hour long phone call that night, really underscoring the differences that they do

have in this.

And the main argument that the White House is making as they try to sell this both internationally, but also domestically here where there is a lot

of skepticism, is that this really is the best option they believe and laying out the options as this deal, the status quo or the increased

potential for war.

And Netanyahu this morning saying that he didn't agree with this. He wants the U.S. to fight for a better deal, to increase sanctions. And there is a

receptive audience to that on Capitol Hill. We heard from Netanyahu that he's talked to, he believes, two-thirds of the members of the U.S.

Congress. That is a huge number working in opposition to the White House lobbying effort.

Now we heard from Senator Dianne Feinstein from California. She's a Democratic Senator. She had some blunt words for Netanyahu this morning.

She believes that he's doing more harm than good.


SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN, (D) CALIFORNIA: Well, I think he said what he's had to say. And to be candid with you, this can backfire on him. And I wish

that he would contain himself, because he has put out no real alternative in his speech to the congress, no real alternative. Since then, no real



[11:25:22] SERFATY: And the U.S. Congress will be back from recess in two weeks.

There are a whole series of bills, George, just lined up ready -- waiting for President Obama that really challenge him on the details of this bill.

He's been working the phones, calling out members directly, calling the leadership. It could be a messy fight ahead -- George.

HOWELL: And Sunlen, you have these two world leaders who are certainly selling very different visions. What about their relationship, their

working relationship.

SERFATY: Well, that's a great question, because there has been a lot of tension along -- around the relationship recently. Since the beginning of

the year when the prime minister visited here not on the invitation of the White House, but at the invitation of Speaker of the House John Boehner

when he addressed congress just a few months ago.

And I thought it was interesting that Netanyahu was asked directly this morning by CNN's Jim Acosta if he trusts the president. And his answer was,

well I trust that he's doing what's best for the United States, so not really a direct answer there.

Also, President Obama himself. He's really straight away from trying to describe their relationship in a certain favorable light. He's described

it as a businesslike relationship. So clearly the two men are treating this as not necessarily a friendship. They know they have different paths,

especially on this issue. But certainly a lot of tension around this.

HOWELL: And Sunlen, certainly that is the perspective there form Washington, D.C.

Oren, I'd like to ask you the same question there in Israel, what is the perception of this relationship between President Barack Obama here in the

United States and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu?

LIEBERMAN: I think it's pretty well recognized that there's a lot of tension in that relationship. And we heard over and over again that the

relationship between the two world leaders has hit an all-time low. And yet it seems to be getting frostier and colder and worse. And yet at the

same time both leaders have gone out of their way to say that the strategic relationship, the security coordination, the financial ties, that those are

as strong as they've ever been and that's not going anywhere.

Both have repeatedly said that over the last few months. And yet there seems to be little doubt that these two do not have a great personal

relationship between each other. And this Iran deal only worsening that relationship, because they both made it clear they simply disagree on what

the best decision is on how to approach this. So, adding more tension to that relationship.

HOWELL: Oren Lieberman with us live in Jerusalem. And Sunlen Serfaty of course in Washington, D.C. We appreciate both of your reporting on this .

The latest world news straight ahead here on Connect the World.

Easter celebrations take place around the world. But for the congregation at this church. And in Iraq, their prayers are particularly poignant.

Find out why after the break.


[11:30:36] HOWELL: This is Connect the World. I'm George Howell. The top stories that we're following this hour.

Despite days of Saudi-led airstrikes in Yemen, Houthi rebels have reportedly gained ground in the southern city of Aden. This comes as both

Russia and the International Red Cross call for a 24 hour humanitarian ceasefire in the country.

A senior official in Iraq tells CNN that looting and fires erupted in the city of Tikrit shortly after that city was freed from militants last week.

At least 20 homes were set on fire and more than 50 shots were looted or damaged.

The pope gives his annual Easter message in a rain-soaked Vatican City. Pope Francis called for an end to violence everywhere and for those in need

to receive humanitarian aid.

This Easter Sunday, people in Kenya have started to take part in three days of national mourning after a deadly terror attack on a university campus

there. Families of the victims identified their loved ones at a mortuary.

Meanwhile CNN has learned that the father of one of the alleged gunmen is a local county chief. He says his son graduated from law school back in 2013

and then disappeared a year later.

Kenyan officials say special forces killed all four alleged al Shabaab gunmen. Authorities paraded their bodies through the town of Garissa.

CNN's David McKenzie has more on this unusual move. And we must warn you that some of the images in this report are disturbing.


DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A gruesome parade through Garissa town, the images far too shocking to show unblurred.

We're following a convoy now. The police have piled what they say are the terrorist's bodies into a back of a truck and the whole town is coming out

to see.

The alleged gunmen locked in a macabre embrace, wrapping in an orange tarp, driven into a primary school for viewing.

In the baking sun, the stench is overpowering, but some in the crowd want more.

You want them to be burned?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because these humans, they killed innocent children. We want to burn these people.

MCKENZIE: Perhaps the police want to prove they killed the gunmen, or perhaps they just want to avenge the dead.

They're not driving the van next to the crowd so people can inspect the bodies. It's getting pretty chaotic here.

They spirit away those suspected of killing so many. Now they're evacuating the students, the terror, searching their bags for explosives,

their university shut down.

UNIDNETIFIED MALE: So these are the (inaudible) that you are seeing here.

MCKENZIE: Clinton Mbaya (ph) says his girlfriend was murdered with six of their friends. He says the gunmen slit the throats of the men. He says

they didn't want to waste their bullets.

UNIDNETIFIED MALE: ...most men. They were slaughtering.

MCKENZIE: These students came to Garissa to build a better life. Now they are leaving broken their friends lost in brutal violence, their futures


David McKenzie, CNN, Garissa Kenya.


HOWELL: Some background now on the ground al Shabaab. It is considered a radical Islamic militant group in Somalia with ties to al Qaeda. The name

means Youth in Arabic. They've been waging a violent insurgency against the Somalian government and its allies since 2006. Their goal is to turn

Somalia into a fundamentalist Islamic state.

al Shabaab grabed the world headlines back in 2013 when gunmen attacked the Westgate mall in Nairobi, Kenya resulting in a four-day siege, you'll

remember, that killed 67 people.

They made headlines again in February, releasing a video urging Muslims living in the United States and Britain and Canada to launch terror attacks

against high profile shopping malls.

As fighting escalates in Yemen, Russia and the International Red Cross are calling for a 24 hour humanitarian pause. The UN says more than 500 people

so far have been killed and more than 1,000 wounded in the conflict between Houthi rebels and forces loyal to President Hadi.

The security council held an emergency meeting on the situation on Saturday, but no decision was made.

The International Red Cross says an immediate ceasefire is needed in Yemen to tend to those injured in these recent air strikes and the fighting that

has taken place on the ground. The Red Cross says supplies like food, water and medical items are desperately needed in hard hit areas and parts

of the city of Aden.

Marie-Claire Feghali is the spokeswoman for the International Committee of the Red Cross and she joins us now by phone from the capital city of Sanaa.

Marie-Claire, thank you so much for your time.

As we see the fighting continue and these airstrikes press on, what is the situation there for civilians, for innocent people on the ground who have

been cut off by this fighting?

[11:35:35] MARIE-CLAIRE FEGHALI, SPOKESWOMAN INTERNAITONAL COMMITTEE OF THE RED CROSS: The situation is every day worse than the day before, because

due to the intense fighting that is continuing on the ground between the different groups, but also the airstrikes, people still cannot go out to

get into the parts of the city of Aden for instance. They still cannot go out to get the proper food replenishment, the water and the proper

medication as they need.

The situation remains difficult. It was difficult yesterday. It is the same today and we called yesterday for an immediate 24 hour of humanitarian

posts to allow people to go out, to allow also the Yemen Red Crescent society to help pick up the bodies that are still in the street in several

parts of the town. And I'm talking specifically about Aden.

But also to help the people just go out and breathe and not stay the way they are stressed and perhaps hungry and thirsty as they are now.

HOWELL: One other question, and very briefly here, but what's your next step? So there was no decision in this last meeting, what's the next step?

FEGHALI: Look, as far as the ICRC is concerned, what we are looking forward now is just to get our medical supplies in and to be able to

dispatch them throughout the country in Yemen. And for this, there have been positive developments in our negotiations with the party. We have now

received the permission from the coalition to send in two planes carrying medical supplies. We are also in contact with the Yemenis on the ground

here so that once we received those supplies we can respond to the medical needs.

Our next step is to respond to the emergency that is prevailing in the country.

HOWELL: Marie-Claire Feghali, thank you so much for your insights as the fighting continues there in Yemen and certainly your group and Russia as

well looking for a pause to help people who have been injured. Thank you so much for your insights.

Saudi Arabia is taking the lead in Yemen. And this effort to stop an advance -- the advance of the Houthi rebels. And we've seen the impact of

airstrikes the kingdom has led inside that country. But critics say that those attacks have killed civilians and are doing very little to stop the


Becky Anderson hosts special editions of Connect the World all next week from the Saudi capital Riyadh. You will hear the latest from policymakers

and hear what Saudis have to say about their country's very assertive foreign policy effort. That starts at 6:00 p.m. there, 7:00 p.m. in Abu

Dhabi, 4:00 p.m. in London, only here on CNN.

It was raining in Vatican City, but that did not stop thousands of worshipers from braving the weather to hear Pope Francis give his Easter

Sunday message. The Pope Called for violence everywhere to end. In particular. He mentioned his wish for peace and the process of peace

between Israelis and Palestinians to resume.

And he highlighted the conflicts in Syria and Iraq, paying for humanitarian aid to get to those who need it.

As Christians in Baghdad gather together to celebrate Easter, they were also remembering a brutal attack on worshipers five years ago, persecuted

then by al Qaeda, now by ISIS. The congregation prayed that their future would be better than their past. CNN's Jomana Karadsheh has this report.


JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: October 31, 2010, one of the worst attacks on Iraq's Christians, al Qaeda militants stormed this

Baghdad church during mass and took dozens hostage, turning the evening into a blood bath.

47 Christians were killed, many more wounded.

On this Easter, the scene is very different at our Lady of Salvation. Packed with worshipers, young and old, the church has been renovated, the

victims remembered with their names engraved here.

There isn't much celebration here, but it's not just about that horrific day. Iraq's Christian community has endured even worse days since.

Christians have been persecuted. They've gone through so much tragedy and pain, the priest tells them. He asks them not to give up and hold on to

their faith.

He also asks them to pray for fellow Christians driven out of their homes in northern Iraq by ISIS last year. It's for families like the Mathis (ph)

that they pray. The young couple and their two children fled Farakosh (ph) in August, the town once known as Iraq's Christian capital now under ISIS


Mathis (ph) says they have a happy life, surrounded by friends and family, then ISIS came and destroyed it all.

"They drove us away," he says, "and took away all our memories."

The family fled with nothing but the clothes on their backs. They found sanctuary here at our Lady of Salvation, living in an abandoned building on

the church grounds. 26-year-old Basma (ph) says this is the only place where she feels safe.

"Wherever we go, we are threatened. My family and I have nowhere else to go," she says. "What do we do if they come for us here? What kind of life

is this? Death is better than this life."

It's occasions like this that are the hardest away from home, they say, but this is all they have left.

Jomana Karadsheh, CNN, Baghdad.


[11:41:03] HOWELL: The Connect the World team wants to know what you think. We want to hear from you. Let us know what your prayers are for

this Easter Sunday. Have your say there. And you can also tweet me as well. I'll take a look to. @GeorgeHowellCNN.

This Easter Sunday Pope Francis hailed the framework deal on Iran's nuclear program as he prayed for peace and stability around the world. The past

few decades have certainly been tough for many in Iran. And it's easy to forget that before the revolution, the country was a very different place.

Few places have changed more than the city of Abadan on the Iraqi border.

In today's Parting Shots, we look back at its golden age.


RASMUS ELLING, UNIVERSITY OF COPENHAGEN: ...Rasmus Elling. I am assistant professor of Iranian studies at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.

What we see in these pictures are people from all over the world who have come together to Abadan in the 40s, 50s and 60s before the revolution and

before the Iran-Iraq war. Abadan had the best cinemas in the Middle East. They have produced some of the best writers, novelists, poets and


It used to be a shining beacon of modernity and progress and cosmopolitanism in the Middle East. It used to be the home for people from

all over the world who would come there to work in the oil industry.

But now the city has been forgotten.

With this project, we want to bring back the history of Abadan. We want to reintroduce Abadan to the world and make it possible for people who have

memories and experiences from Abadan to reconnect with each other.

And many jazz musicians actually came to Abadan. In this picture, we see Dizzy Gillespie, the jazz legend when he visited Abadan together with --

he's posing together with some of the local dignitaries.

Also, the place of many historic struggles for Iran. The oil nationalization movement in 1951 and later the Iranian revolution. But

people who live in Abadan today also want to reconnect the past when Abadan was an international city marked by peaceful coexistence of people from

across the world.


HOWELL: Certainly amazing to look at those images.

I'm George Howell. That was Connect the World. We thank you for watching.