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Battle For Mosul Continues; Trump Travel Ban Held Up By Hawaii Judge; Refugees Face Difficulties. Aired 11:30a-12p
Aired March 16, 2017 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN ANCHOR: I want to get you straight to France where the President Francois Hollande is speaking on today's two attacks, one in
Paris, one in Grasse. We haven't got him at the moment.
All right, let's bring in Melissa Bell for you. A shooting at a high school in the south and in the capital, Melissa, an explosion at the
offices of the International Monetary Fund. What can you tell us at this point?
MELISSA BELL, CNN PARIS CORRESPONDENT: A day of tension here in France. Of course, the two events are entirely unrelated. What we now know
happened in Grasse in the south of France, not terribly far from Nice, Becky, is that a young man, a 17-year-old, went into this high school
heavily armed and shot in the direction of his headmaster.
That headmaster was wounded and is receiving treatment and a number of students were also wounded in that attack. It appears to be - of course,
this investigation has just begun - the effect of a disgruntled student, someone according to the president of the region in which the town of
Grasse finds itself who had psychological problems, a young troubled man.
Now, of course, this is attracting a lot of attention because, here in France, it is a relatively rare occurrence. You really have to go back to
2005 to get the last shooting in a school, leaving aside the attacks (INAUDIBLE) which were in the context of a terror attack back in 2012.
But the last school attack by a troubled school-aged person, if you go back to 2005. So, it's an extremely rare occurrence. Clearly, all of France is
watching very closely what happened in Grasse today.
And, of course, here at the IMF, the headquarters of the IMF here in Paris, roughly at the same time, there was about midday today this letter bomb
arrived here and was opened by an employee. Now, we now know that she suffered light wounds. We heard from the chief of police a short while ago
who said that it was in fact a sort of fireworks that had been opened in this letter rather than a large explosive device.
Now, one of the key lines of questioning for French police is going to be whether there is any link at all, Becky, between the explosive device that
was posted here that arrived through the mail here today and the one that was posted to Germany's finance minister yesterday. Now, that one was
intercepted before it could go off. German investigators believe that it was posted from Athens and a far left Greek group has claimed
So, was the attack here at the IMF today - of course, Berlin and the IMF blamed by many Greeks for the austerity that's made many of their lives so
hard, as they see it, over the course of the last few years. There is a lot of debate out there and that anger from the far left.
Was that also what happened here today? Was that anger also directed at the monetary fund and was that what led to this letter being posted? For
now, authorities have not made any link between the two, Becky.
ANDERSON: We're just weeks away from an election, of course. This must be incredibly unsettling in France. What are authorities telling us and what
sort of security you're seeing in place?
BELL: It is substantial. We just heard from the French president, as you say, Francois Hollande speaking there in Correze, which is a region from
which he comes, that he's represented as a parliamentarian for many years, his own turf, if you like.
And he's just expressed himself about it, reminding the French public that the state of emergency that was brought in after the terror attacks of
November 2015 remains in place until July 15. Now, that was voted a few weeks ago by France's national assembly.
So, his attempt really to reassure the public and say, look, we're doing everything we can to keep France safe. He's also confirmed that these two
very separate incidents are now the subject of two investigations that are underway to try and figure out exactly what happened.
First of all, how here at the IMF that letter bomb could have got through since the one that was targeting the German finance ministry yesterday was
successfully intercepted? How was it able to get through and injure a woman here at the IMF headquarters in Paris?
And in the case of what happened in Grasse, French high schools simply don't have the kind of security that you see in other countries. Should
there be greater security? Should it be possible for a student to walk in heavily armed into a high school? Those are some of the questions that
they'll be looking at as they try and get to the bottom of exactly what the young man was thinking of.
He himself is in police custody and being questioned. His father is believed to be a local counselor and he said that he'll be fully
cooperating with authorities to help them to get to the bottom of what was going on in his son's mind, Becky.
[11:05:03] ANDERSON: Melissa Bell on what is a very busy day in France today. Melissa, appreciate that. Thank you.
With the highest voter turnout in three decades, the Netherlands handed victory to Prime Minister Mark Rutte and his conservative VVD party on
Wednesday. The far right populist Geert Wilders got walloped in this pivotal election, coming in a distant second.
His extreme views on barring Muslim immigration, clearly, failing to persuade Dutch voters. On the other hand, the left leaning Democrats, 66
as they are known, performed strongly as did the Christian Democrats.
Well, the Green Party also registering big gains Wednesday. Let's get to our Atika Shubert in Amsterdam for more on the election results. So,
Atika, an impressive voter turnout and results which at least in Holland has succeeded it seems in stemming this momentum of populism that we
witness in so many countries in Europe. What do you make of the result and what are its consequences?
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think what it shows is that it was a highly contentious election. Voters came out
because of the issues. And what we've seen is a real diverse range of votes. Absolutely, it was Rutte's night, but you have to remember, his
party, even though they gained the most votes, actually lost seats.
And so, what we saw instead was voters going to smaller parties, not all to the PVV, which was what was being predicted earlier in the campaign, but
they actually went to some of the parties on the left. GroenLinks, for example, quadrupled the number of seats they had.
And I think what's happened here is that people are saying, yes, we don't want to vote for the establishment parties necessarily, but we want to have
alternatives. And so, they have found some of those alternatives further on the left.
Now, the key will be whether or not he can actually - Rutte can actually form a coalition of some sorts. It's more likely to be center right. But
whatever the result is, it will not include Wilders. Rutte has made very clear, as have a number of other party leaders, that they will not work
with him, that any coalition government will not include him. So, Wilders will have to be relegated to an opposition role.
ANDERSON: An interesting young character from the Green Party who was an impressive result last night, many drawing analogies to the Prime Minister
in Canada. Just tell us about Jesse Klaver.
SHUBERT: Yes. Jesse Klaver, yes, he's a young politician, much further on the left of the spectrum, but absolutely, he's being touted as sort of the
new hope on the left. He's sort of more of a progressive and his party is the GroenLinks Party. They're the one that quadrupled their seats.
So, clearly, they have managed to really capture a significant chunk of the vote. And they captured, I'd have to say, nearly all of the vote share in
Amsterdam and they polled very highly among young voters, especially.
And what this is doing is actually giving hope to those people who are looking to see what happened to the left in Europe. When you look at the
fact that the Labour Party basically plummeted in the amount of seats - I think they lost something like - more than 20 seats in this election,
people are wondering where their votes went to, some of them went to far right parties like the PVV, but also progressive parties like the
So, it'll be interesting to see how they play into all of the bartering for coalition government if they're included. And if they are, they could end
up pulling the agenda a little further to the left.
ANDERSON: Atika Shubert is in Amsterdam for you this evening. Atika, thank you.
They are trying to put plans into practice. But for the Trump administration, the hurdles only mount it seems. Repeal and replace, that
was the idea. But now the new healthcare bill faces increasing opposition even from members of the president's own party.
A budget blueprint, Trump's team stresses, hard power with a major military spending blitz, but chances
are slim that Congress will approve the president's plan as is.
Plus, blocked again, not one, but two federal judges have stopped Mr. Trump's second attempt on what is his controversial travel ban. Well,
calling that an unprecedented judicial overreach.
The president himself is gearing up for a legal fight. He said it was if necessary he will take the battle over his executive order all the way to
the Supreme Court. Senior Washington correspondent Joe Johns has the details for you.
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (VOICE-OVER): New this morning, another blow to one of President Trump's key policy proposals. A
federal judge in Maryland becoming the second judge to rule against President Trump's revised travel ban.
DONALD J. TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You don't think this was done by a judge for political reasons, do you? No. This ruling makes us
[11:00:06] JOHNS (voice-over): The president talking tough after the ruling last night.
TRUMP: This is, the opinion of many, an unprecedented judicial overreach.
JOHNS: A Hawaii judge blocking the ban nationwide just hours before it was scheduled to take effect, ruling that the state had reasonable grounds to
challenge the order as religious discrimination, and pointing to the president's own words as proof.
TRUMP: I think Islam hates us.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Is there war between the West and radical Islam? Or is there war between the West and Islam?
TRUMP: It's radical, but it's very hard to define. It's very hard to separate because you don't know who is who.
JOHNS: The judge also citing statements from some of Mr. Trump's top advisers.
RUDY GIULIANI, TRUMP ADVISOR, FORMER NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: When he first announced it, he said Muslim ban. He called me up. He said, "Put a
commission together. Show me the right way to do it legally."
JOHNS: And policy adviser Steven Miller, who argued last month that the new ban would have the same impact as the old one, which was also blocked
by the courts.
STEVEN MILLER, TRUMP POLICY ADVISOR: Mostly minor technical differences. Fundamentally, you're still going to have the same basic policy outcome for
the country, but you're going to be responsible to a lot of very technical issues were brought up by the court.
JOHNS: The commander-in-chief arguing that the Constitution grants him the power to suspend immigration when national security is concerned.
TRUMP: This is a watered-down version of the first one.
I think we ought to go back to the first one and go all the way, which is what I wanted to do in the first place.
JOHNS: This setback comes as President Trump unveils his first budget proposal, calling for a $54 billion increase in defense spending, offset by
massive cuts to the EPA, State Department, Agriculture and Labor Departments.
MICK MULVANEY, DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET (via phone): The president very clearly wants to send a message to our allies and our
potential adversaries that this is a strong power administration.
Joe Johns, CNN, the White House.
ANDERSON: Let's get more on the challenges facing the Trump administration from CNN's political director David Chalian. And for our viewers sake, I
want to take a look, David, at some of the winners and losers in President Trump's proposed budget, for example.
The biggest cuts include, as Joe rightly pointed out, the Environmental Protection Agency, its budget slashed 31%, 28% cut to the State Department,
21% less for agriculture, defense gets 10% boost, there's a 7% increase for Homeland Security and 6% more for Veterans Affairs. How do you read that?
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, I think you read it like you read any budget that a president puts out.
First and foremost, this doesn't just become law. What this is is a list of priorities and I think it should surprise no one what President Trump's
priorities were. He campaigned on this. He said he was going to increase national security and defense spending and cut elsewhere, and so these -
he's clearly making known what his priorities are, but it's an opening bid.
And for a president who literally wrote the book, The Art of the Deal, he knows it's an opening bid. It lays out the blueprint and now he goes and
negotiates with Congress as everybody sort of figures out what their bottom line will be when it comes time to passing each individual appropriation or
spending bill to award the funds for each program.
ANDERSON: Clearly, his first executive order knocked back wasn't an opening bid. There was - we just heard him suggest that when he was
talking about what he considers a watered-down version, which has also been blocked.
How damaging is that for not just his administration, but for Donald Trump himself at this time? How is he feeling about what he's achieved in these
first 50 days?
CHALIAN: Yes, he is desperately looking for a win here. You may recall during the campaign Donald Trump said we're going to win so much, you may
even get tired of winning.
Well, he really needs to sort of score a W on his scorecard because, as you noted, the travel ban, the healthcare, the budget we were just talking
about, this is all mired in the political mud here in the United States right now.
And other than a very well received nomination for the Supreme Court in Neil Gorsuch whose confirmation hearings begin next week, he just hasn't
had in his first couple months in office a clean win.
Now, specifically on the travel ban, you mentioned those words of watered down, those words are going to come back to haunt him, just like the words
about the Muslim ban from the campaign trail or his advisors.
The courts have been using these words for what the original plan was as a way into understanding President Trump's intent in when signing the
executive order. And that's why they're halting this travel ban.
[11:15:01] And so, yesterday, for him to say, well, I really wish we were still going with the first one, that's going to come back in the appeals
ANDERSON: So, if you were to sit back, reflect on, as you have, those first 50 days and say he needs a big win, what might that be?
And, David, just for context here, how many other presidents passed have had big wins in the first 50 days? I guess, my question is how out of the
ordinary is this new US administration?
CHALIAN: And we're passed the 50-day mark now and we're just a month shy of the 100-day mark. You have seen in previous administrations some big
legislative priority had momentum, whether it was President Obama getting his stimulus through, President Bush getting some of the initial work on
his tax cuts through, some of the early priorities.
But we shouldn't take that to mean that Donald Trump is in some unique position. It is tough to sort of get out of the gate, especially when
you're doing something upfront as big as healthcare. It is just an enormous piece of legislation that he's trying to work on out of the gate
here, and so it is - I would point to that, though, when you ask the question, where is he going to get that win from, if indeed he can get that
Obamacare repeal and replace through the Congress, which is no guarantee, obviously, and get it to his desk, that would be an enormous victory for
him and really give him some momentum for some of his future priorities such as tax reform or infrastructure spending.
ANDERSON: David Chalian in the House for you out of Washington. It's 11:16 mid morning there. 9:16 here in the UAE. Thank you, David.
Up next, the US secretary of state says there is a clear need for a new approach to deal with North Korea. Rex Tillerson is meeting with US allies
on his first official visit to Asia. Will there be a big win in this for the Trump administration? We're live in Tokyo and Washington up next.
ANDERSON: Promises of a new policy on North Korea after decades of "a failed approach." That's the mission and message from Rex Tillerson as he
begins his first official visit to Asia as US Secretary of State. He's been meeting with the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and other top
officials in Tokyo. His next stops are Seoul and Beijing.
Now, Tillerson says he's exchanging ideas on a new strategy for dealing with any threat from North Korea. CNN's Will Ripley is with us from Tokyo.
[11:20:02] WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Becky. It was certainly remarkable to hear Secretary Tillerson shred apart the last
20 years of foreign policy from the previous three administrations, Democrat and Republican, when it comes to North Korea.
He said it has been a failure. It hasn't worked, which is true, because North Korea, during that time, a time that it received more than $1 billion
in US food and energy aid, has only accelerated, including recently, the last several years, really accelerated its nuclear and its missile
programs. Of course, US aid cut off to the country six or seven years ago.
But what Tillerson did say is that there needs to be a new approach and that approach needs to include closer cooperation with Japan and South
Korea. Those three countries working together and also needing to bring China more into the fold.
What we didn't get in this press conference in Tokyo, Becky, was specifics. Will Secretary Tillerson be sanctioning Chinese companies that trade with
North Korea, defying United Nations sanctions that are in place? Will there be a more global approach, an expanded approach trying to deal with
North Korea similar to the Iran deal?
That's what some State Department sources are telling CNN, but, of course, that will be noteworthy given how candidate Trump blasted the Iran deal,
saying it was a horrible deal. And now, if the State Department is looking at a similar approach with North Korea, that certainly raises many
But as of right now, we hear that the approach is bad currently, that they need a new approach, but we still don't know for sure what that approach is
going to be with the Trump administration, Becky.
ANDERSON: Will Ripley is in Tokyo for you. Thank you, Will. We're going to take a closer look now at the state of the State Department under the
helm of Rex Tillerson, the former ExxonMobil CEO and no formal diplomatic experience when he left the private sector. He's kept a low profile since
joining Donald Trump's team, speaking to reporters only a few times.
And in a sharp departure from tradition, he did not take any accredited reporters with him to Asia, inviting only one journalist from a
conservative publication. Tillerson's department faces steep cuts in Mr. Trump's new budget, but he said he's ready to do more with a lot less.
Let's get more from Washington.
CNN's senior diplomatic correspondent Michelle Kosinski live for you today at the State Department.
And Trump did say he'd rip up the rulebook and that is certainly the message from his top diplomat on this, his first big visit outside of the
US and it's in Asia. Will, of course, outlining some of the questions though that still remain unanswered from state, not least on North Korea.
What do you know that the rest of us don't, if anything?
MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN SENIOR DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENT: Sorry, Becky. I didn't catch the last part of your question. What was that?
ANDERSON: Yes. What do you know about this Trump administration's foreign policy and the portfolio that Rex Tillerson has that the rest of us don't
at this point because it's still very unclear, isn't it?
KOSINSKI: Yes, much of it is. What we keep hearing from the State Department is new approaches, new ways of dealing with things, fresh set of
eyes, things like that. But when it gets down to detail, for example, we went through this with Russia sanctions, what is the policy going to be.
We don't know what the policy is on Israeli settlements. Exactly, they're still working on that, they say.
And now with North Korea, we know that they want to do more. Obviously, everybody wants to change North Korea's behavior. Now they want to change
things out, but they don't want to, at this point, get into too many details.
Will Ripley outlined some of the things that other sources are telling CNN that the administration might want to do. But it's, obviously, going to
take some time and they want international input on some of these things as well.
The result is that sometimes the policy sounds a lot like the prior administration. For example, on Asia, the State Department was asked over
and over again, what about the pivot? What about President Obama's rebalance to Asia? Is this going to be the same thing? Is not the same
And what we find is that they don't want to use the same words and definitions. But they say, well, the US is going to remain a Pacific
power. It's going to stay active and engaged in Asia and that's pretty much the same thing. Where you see differences, of course, are in trade,
the fact that President Obama was pushing and pushing the Trans-Pacific Partnership. This administration doesn't want to do that. They want to
approach nations bilaterally and work out deals one on one instead of as a large group.
ANDERSON: So, do more with a lot less is what Rex Tillerson said he's happy to do and it seems with a lot less visibility. What's the message
from the administration about their interest in foreign affairs here?
[11:25:07] KOSINSKI: Yes. Well, I think that the news of a cut of 37% to the State Department's budget, 50% to UN programs, it is absolutely
shocking, especially to people within the State Department here. They don't understand how the US can continue to further its mission of
democracy and humanitarian needs, human rights around the world without funding those programs.
And you have people like - I think what's extraordinary is when you see groups you wouldn't necessarily expect, like more than 100 former generals
and admirals in the US military writing a letter to Congress and saying, no, we need these kinds of programs, we need to fund the State Department
fully or we need to buy more ammunition. That's just how it works. They believe in the power of soft power, which is how these programs are
But then on the other hand, you have Rex Tillerson saying, look, the State Department is at historically high funding right now. It's a reality that
the US government needs to be more efficient across the board and we need to do this. So, he has a point there.
Surely, there is some excess within the system as it is now. He is trying to strike a balance, saying he needs to make these cuts, but he's also
advocating for certain programs that he feels are necessary.
What it's going to boil down to is there is going to a little balance there, but they're going to have some people very, very upset with what is
cut, things like climate programs. I think they are pretty much gone at this point, Becky.
ANDERSON: Criticism from many perhaps within the media that Rex Tillerson traveled to Asia with no accredited reporters. That is a break with 50
years of tradition. Once again, perhaps it's a story of ripping up the rulebook. But just how significant is that, do you think?
KOSINSKI: Just the change. The change alone raises eyebrows. And kind of the way it was done. This led to an extremely contentious exchange
yesterday in the State Department's briefing with the spokesperson, who hasn't always been kept apprised of what the policy is towards the press.
That in itself is awkward.
He was asked questions like, you are the press spokesperson, why didn't you know who was coming or who wasn't coming? Or what kind of access is this
person that was handpicked by the administration going to have.
And his answer was, he didn't know. So, that's caused problems. But when you look at the dynamic of this, you have a group of people, as the State
Department defined it, implying that it was the White House really at work here behind this decision.
They handpicked one reporter from a fairly new, not part of the pool, obviously conservative outlet, it's a website, to be on the plane with the
secretary. So, that in itself is more access. But I think that the parameters that were set by the White House here are very clear. And the
question that remains is, is this really the message that you want to send not only to the American public, but to the rest of the world on this first
ANDERSON: Michelle Kosinski in Washington for you, at the State Department today, viewers. Michelle, it was a pleasure. Thank you. We'll get you
up-to-date on all the world news in just a moment. And then -
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We lost everything, our house, our beliefs, our belongings. We don't belong to here anymore.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: And many others in Mosul have lost something even more precious. Their lives. CNN's report from inside the city is next.
[11:30:00] BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Welcome back. It's just after half past seven here in the UAE. I'm Becky Anderson with
CONNECT THE WORLD for you, and the top stories this hour are the following. France is launching inquiries into two attacks today. One person was
wounded by a letter bomb at the International Monetary Fund offices in Paris. And the 17-year-old suspect has been arrest for a high school
shooting in southern France. At least three people there were wounded.
U.S. President Donald Trump is vowing to fight after his second attempt at a travel ban was struck down just before it was to take effect. Mr. Trump
says it is an unprecedented judicial overreach and he will appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte is celebrating victory in Wednesday's national election. His conservative BVD Party beat out the far right
populist Geert Wilders, who came in a distant second. The election was widely seen as a test of populist right wing sentiment across Europe.
Well they are outgunned, they are outnumbered, but they are still not out of Mosul. ISIS militants using every desperate tactic that they can to
cling to their last stronghold in Iraq. Snipers, car bombs, suicide attacks, Iraqi soldiers are inching, inching closer to taking back all of
the city or what is left of it, at least. Ben Wedeman now shows us what's become of the heart of ISIS' want to be state, and some who are trapped in
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): They keep on coming. However, with whatever they could take, happy to have made it out
of Mosul alive.
WEDEMAN: The shelling was violent, says Jasen (ph). I haven't slept in two days.
It was hard, says Suriya (ph). We stayed inside without anything, not even bread.
Their city now a bleak landscape of violence, destruction, and death.
Khadijah Hussein (ph) still has four walls and a roof, but her home is a charred shell. ISIS fighters ordered her family to leave. She refused, so
they doused it with gasoline and set it on fire.
My children survived, thank god, she says. But why did they do this?
WEDEMAN (on camera): We're just two kilometers or just over a mile from the grand Nouri (ph) mosque, that's that leaning minaret (ph) over there
where on the fourth of July, 2014, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the so called king of the Islamic State, made his first public appearance. And Iraqi forces
are just blocks away.
WEDEMAN (voiceover): The state he declared from Mosul has turned to rubble and ash. So many of its inhabitants now homeless and hopeless. Struggling
through the mud with his mother's wheelchair, Sufjan (ph) is going for good.
[11:35:06] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We lost everything. Our hearts, our beliefs, our belongings. We don't belong here any more. We want peace.
WEDEMAN (on camera): Will you come back?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I can't. I can't. I'm too scared. They will kill us.
WEDEMAN (voiceover): And so many of those who supported Baghdadi, either dead -- or prisoners like these, state (ph) unknown.
This is what has become of Baghdadi's State.
ANDERSON: Ben is now back in Erbil, which is about an hour's drive, I believe, from Mosul. On the fight for the historic center of the city,
proving particularly fierce, can you just explain, if you would?
WEDEMAN: Well this was what was expected, Becky, that they would take full advantage of the narrow streets and alleys in that part of the city, where
it's particularly difficult for Iraqi forces to take advantage of what they have, which is lot of armored vehicles. And ISIS is using sort of
everything they have at their disposal. Suicide car bombs, yesterday a suicide bulldozer, actually, went off just about 150 meters from us, in an
area that Iraqi forces were confident they actually controlled. So it does appear that the leadership of ISIS has indeed left the city. But what
they've left behind according to many residents we spoke to, are hardcore fighters, many of them foreign fighters. They talk about people who look
oriental, Russians, Chechens, or others, who are clearly willing to fight to the very death.
Now we've seen some video that would indicate for instance that ISIS are using things like chlorine bombs, which are of course a form of chemical
weapons. Something that goes a long way to unnerve those Iraqi forces who are trying to battle street by street, house by house, through the old
city. Becky --
ANDERSON: All right, Ben, thank you for that. Ben has been bringing us some incredible reports from the front lines in Mosul. A few weeks ago,
you may not have seen this. If you have, it's worth seeing again. He went to a medical clinic in Mosul. Set up inside an abandoned bullet-riddled
house, the volunteers from the New York City medics risked their own lives in the war zone to give urgent medical help to anybody who needs it.
Here's one of the medics that Ben spoke to.
WEDEMAN (voiceover): Jeff Evans (ph) normally works in Boulder, Colorado.
JEFF EVANS (ph): So that guy had a gunshot wound right under his arm, like right below his armpit. And I think he's actually escaped from it
penetrating his lung. So I think it bounced down into his gut. But that's a critical patient, you know. First thing he said was, I don't want to
die. I just want to be able to go fight again.
WEDEMAN: Some of the injured here are coming straight from the battlefield.
EVANS: This is shrapnel.
WEDEMAN: Here, they check their wounds.
EVANS: Green here, too.
WEDEMAN: Change their bandages -- and send them on to the nearest hospital.
Jeff left behind his wife and 11-year-old son to come here.
EVANS: I think, as a father and as a husband, that the onus is on me to live through example and to do things that show my son how important it is
to live in a way a selfless life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Well Jeff's back in Colorado, he joins us now. We very much appreciate the time that you're giving us tonight. You e-mailed CNN
describing your time in Mosul. I think that was just as you were leaving. I want to share what the team here thought was one of the more striking
moments, Jeff, you wrote about. Quote, civilians were delivered to our trauma bay on wooden carts and broken wheelchairs. Right out of the gate,
we lost a civilian little girl. The absolute barbarism shook us all up.
It sounds basic at best, absolutely awful at worst. Just how bad is life inside Mosul?
EVANS: Well, thanks for having me, Becky. It is -- I don't think any of us were quite prepared emotionally for what we were going to experience
there. Our whole mission at NYC Medics was to go be able to deliver humanitarian trauma support to both the military and civilians. And -- we
knew we would be close. We knew we would be part of a pretty dynamic situation. But I think it's impossible to prepare yourself emotionally for
what we saw.
[11:40:11] And just the tragedy that is playing out everyday for, for these Iraqis that are, really in essence, fleeing for their lives.
ANDERSON: At one point I know that ISIS discovered your secret location. Just tell us a little bit more about that.
EVANS: Yes, it's a little bit of a tenuous place for us to be. Trying to be close enough to the front line where we can create impact and receive
trauma casualties in a very expeditious way, and then still be far enough back to where we're safe. And the decision was made unanimously amongst
our group to move forward. And in fact we were very, very close to the front line, which -- the front line is not a hard and fast line. It's a
very fluid, dynamic thing. It changes minute by minute.
And in one episode, the third day, we were very, very close to the center city north of the airport. Mortars started to get closer and closer to us.
Everyone that dropped became progressively closer. We found out later that an individual had moved into the neighborhood and was identifying our
position by releasing pigeons up into the sky and then sending the pace distance from the pigeon release over to our trauma clinic to ISIS
operatives, and as a result, they were lobbing mortars on us. And in fact one of them was so close, within 50 feet of our trauma bay, that one of our
security guards got hit and suffered significant injury. But we resuscitated him and got him out of there. But it was sticky, and we felt
like that's what we signed up for. We wanted to create positive impact as a result.
ANDERSON: Yes. And you guys -- it's not like you're a bunch of wallflowers, is it. You guys are pretty hardened, and the shock, as you
tell this story, I think is palpable.
Just for our viewers' sake, just give us a sense of what those patients that were you helping, who have had to live under ISIS control in Mosul now
for what, two years, just tell us about what they were telling you about life.
EVANS: Well, you know, regarding every civilian casualty and injury that we saw, the story was universal in the sense that, the oppression was real,
the fear was real, many of the folks that we saw were extraordinarily dehydrated and malnourished because they had been hiding in basements for
day upon day after day and were finding just an opportunity to flee. A small window of time.
And just, the anxiety, the tension, and the overwhelming fear. You could see it in eyes, you could feel it. And then of course, we were receiving
patients that were coming to us with massive trauma. I mean -- very profound trauma. And you know, they -- you could still see even behind
this physical trauma was an emotional trauma as well. Our job was to fix the physical trauma, but what was left that we couldn't help was the
emotional, and that runs deep. Who knows if that will ever heal.
ANDERSON: A description of chaotic and frightening scenes. Jeff, we very much appreciate your time. Thank you.
Live from Abu Dhabi, this is CONNECT THE WORLD. Coming up, nearly a year after deadly terrorist attacks in Belgium, this man, the suspected
ringleader, is still at large.
[11:46:44] ANDERSON: You're with CNN's CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Becky Anderson. It is quarter to eight here in the UAE. The man believed to be
the ringleader behind deadly attacks in Belgium nearly a year ago is still on the run. CNN's Erin McLaughlin traces the movements of the mysterious
Oussama Atar Emoti (ph), Belgian national, could be plotting next.
ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): March, 2016, two blasts, moments apart, at Brussels airport. An hour later, another
bombing at a metro station. The deadliest act of terrorism in Belgium's history, carried out by a network of ISIS operatives with clear ties to the
Nearly a year on, the search continues for this man -- the suspected ringleader in both attacks. His name? Oussama Atar. His face, well known
to this former Belgian intelligence officer who was talking on camera for the first time about his interrogation of the convicted terrorist.
It was July, 2006 in Iraq. The young Belgian national was in U.S. custody.
ANDRE JACOB, FORMER BELGIAN INTELLIGENCE OFFICER: I seen a young boy, disappointed to be there. Surprised also, and trying to tell us that he
was not a terrorist.
MCLAUGHLIN (on camera): Did you believe him?
JACOB: I think that at that time, he was not already a real terrorist.
MCLAUGHLIN (voiceover): Court documents show atar crossed the Iraqi border illegally. Jacob says he was found with weapons. But at the time, he saw
Atar as an asset, not a threat.
MCLAUGHLIN (on camera): Did you recommend his release?
JACOB (through translator: Indeed, our conclusion on the basis of the interrogations at Camp Cropper was that this person could have potentially
been recuperated. The Americans didn't want to take that risk.
MCLAUGHLIN: (voiceover): His family joined a campaign to transfer Atar on medical grounds, and according to documents from his commission of inquiry,
the Belgian government repeatedly pushed for his return. After more than seven years in prison, Atar was eventually released by Iraqi authorities.
No longer, says Jacob, a disappointed young boy.
JACOB (through translater): His time at the Iraqi prisons and American jails made him become a character who's more than radicalized. He became a
MCLAUGHLIN: He had forged links with other jihadists in prison, including the founder of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. According to an official
letter, Belgium promised not to give Atar a passport and to monitor his activity. But a source close to the inquiry says the foreign ministry did
issue him a passport. And even though his name was on the foreign fighters list, the source says he was allowed to visit his cousins in Belgian
prisons at least 20 times. The same cousin who is would go on to carry out the Brussels attacks. Belgium refused to comment, citing the ongoing
[11:50:02] MCLAUGHLIN (on camera): According to a source close to the inquiry, Atar travelled to Tunisia. There, authorities arrested him for
having been in prison in Iraq. He was released, told to leave the country, from there he travelled to Turkey. According to the source, he simply
MCLAUGHLIN (voiceover): But he still maintained contact with family online, radicalizing his two cousins who would carry out the Brussels
attack. According to a judicial source, Atar even had the confidence to return to Brussels in August after the attacks, visiting family,
undetected, what the former intelligence officer who once thought he could bring Atar in regrets. He wishes he could have brought him back to
Brussels in time to make a difference.
JACOB: Because maybe it could have been a solution to avoid these terrorist acts. But who knows what would have happened.
MCLAUGHLIN: With Atar still on the run, he now wonders what will happen next. Erin McLaughlin, CNN, Brussels.
ANDERSON: Live from Abu Dhabi, this is CONNECT THE WORLD, I'm Becky Anderson for you.
Coming up, after escaping Somalia, this family lived in the refugee camp for years. CNN follows their journey as they try to reach the United
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAMO FARAH, OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST: It's really bad, and it, it hurts, because you know, there's still family members, there's people out there
you grew up with, and -- I guess we have to do something about it. Particularly you know as a father of four kids myself, and seeing kids in
that pain -- it hurts.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Now that is a heartfelt plea from Samo Farah. Born in Somalia, he is a four-time Olympic gold medalist for Britain. He is now making a
public plea for the victims of the African famine. Somalia, one of the countries on President Trump's revised travel ban, of course. And the
status of the executive order now on hold has left many anxious. (inaudible) meets a family with a disabled kid who has struggled for years
to reach the United States. Have a look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Suriya Musay Ifti (ph) and her five children have found a new temporary home in this transit center in Nairobi.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I've been waiting for so long. Right now my hopes are very high. I'm in very high spirits, very grateful
to God that I'm going to depart.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's been a long journey. For seven years, they lived in this refugee camp after escaping war-torn Somalia. The Somali family's
resettlement to the United States was canceled twice since President Donald Trump's first executive order was announced.
Daughter Asha (ph) has cerebral palsy. The whole family take turns to look after the little one. And she needs constant care, which made them a
priority for resettlement.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I have a small disabled child, and when I was told about the executive order, I totally lost hope.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hope has returned to mama Suriya (ph).
But not far beneath the surface is sadness and fear. Her family will again have their hopes dashed and be forced to return to the U.N.'s Kakuma (ph)
The moment has arrived for the family. At last, Ashar (ph) and her family are able to leave. They're heading to Texas where a resettlement program
[11:55:00] Even in the relief of departure, anxiety. Suriya's (ph) life as a refugee will be over, but the memories of war and the abuses she
suffered will stay with her. (inaudible) CNN, Nairobi.
ANDERSON: All right. It's time for your parting shots, folks. And what do we have in store for you today? No less than a visitor from the Emerald
Isle. The Irish Prime Minister is in Washington, meeting the American President, Donald Trump, maybe hoping for a little of Enda Kenny's Irish
luck to rub off. Mr. Kenny's tie isn't the greenest thing in America right now. For that, you'll need to look to Chicago. It has turned its main
river a deep green to celebrate Ireland's national holiday. Yes, it is that time of year again. It's St. Patrick's Day on Friday. To all of you
celebrating -- have fun. I'm Becky Anderson. That was CONNECT THE WORLD from the team here. It is a very good evening. Thank you for watching.
Of course, CNN continues after this.