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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees
IDF Soldiers Kill Three Militants In Exchange Of Gunfire In Ashkelon; Biden Condemns Hamas Attacks As Sheer Evil; Evidence Of Hamas' Brutality At Israeli Kibbutz; 100 Plus Bodies Found In One Israeli Kibbutz After Hamas Attack; Biden Condemns Hamas Attacks As "Sheer Evil"; Mother Of Shani Louk: We Have Received Information That She Has A Bad Head Injury And Is In A Gaza Hospital. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired October 10, 2023 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DANNY DANON, FORMER ISRAELI AMBASSADOR TO UNITED NATIONS: And I think in a few days, we will start to show the might of the IDF, the strength of the Israeli people. We put politics aside now. We are united and we are going to go into war against Hamas.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Ambassador Danon, thank you very much. I appreciate your time.
DANON: Thank you very much. Thank you for coming here now.
BURNETT: Yes. Well, we are -- it is important. And we are glad to be here with you. Thank you so much.
DANON: Thank you.
BURNETT: And thanks very much to all of you for joining us for our live coverage here from Israel.
AC 360 with Anderson, also in Israel tonight starts now.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening. It is 3:00 AM in Israel where even now, more evidence keeps coming to light of the barbarity, the cruelty and depravity with which Hamas began these terror attacks some four days ago.
There is new video and accounts of what these killers inflicted up close on young and old, men, women, children, innocents.
You'll hear from survivors tonight.
President Biden weighed in on it today and confirmed there are Americans being held by Hamas and we'll bring you that as well. But first the latest on where things stand.
We are in Ashdod again, about 19 or 20 miles north of Gaza and it is there in Gaza within the last few minutes, there were more strikes and we could just hear a large thump of a distant explosion.
To the immediate south, in Ashkelon, Israeli Forces say they killed three Hamas militants overnight during a gun battle in the city's industrial area. Above Ashkelon, in recent hours and throughout the day, more incoming rockets for the Iron Dome defenses to cope with.
You see the images, part of an especially heavy barrage that Hamas launched at the city. Now, compounding matters, danger on another front. Israeli Defense Force is saying a number of rockets were fired into the country from Syria. They landed in open areas. No word though on damage or injuries.
Israeli Air Force in the meantime spent all day hitting targets in Gaza, killing they say members of Hamas leadership. The IDF says the airstrikes are focused on the group's infrastructure and operations, but does admit to striking mosque if there's Hamas activity going on inside they say.
And as I mentioned a moment ago, we've got even more video that shows nothing which could even remotely be described as an act of war, which is why as hard as it might be to stomach, we want to show it to you.
It was taken from a car's dashcam. It's a little hard to make out. It's from Saturday morning. It's near the Nova Music Festival where the slaughter of more than 260 Israelis took place and others and it is at a bomb shelter where people had taken refuge.
In the video, you see Hamas gunmen arrive. One immediately approaches a shirtless man who is against the wall outside the bomb shelter at the top of the frame and forcing him to the ground kicking him several times. Another man approaches, menaces him but is pulled away. The doorway you see there is to the shelter, more gunmen gather around the entry, some wearing fatigues, some in civilian clothing, all carrying assault rifles and they kind of mill around briefly taking turns kicking and stomping the guy on the ground.
Then as others back away, one of the government unclipped some kind of grenade from his belt and lobs it inside the bomb shelter. Seconds later, a man who had been sheltering inside actually then runs out, we just saw him lobbing it, runs out of the shelter.
The gunman then open fire on the man firing on automatic and we don't know what happened to that person.
Nic Robertson visited this very shelter yesterday. He found bullet holes empty shell casings, evidence of gunfire inside at the people taking cover inside.
We're going to hear more from Nic in a moment about that as well as his visit to a border kibbutz where he spoke with an IDF Major General who finally late yesterday cleared the area of dozens of Hamas attackers and is now frankly unable to comprehend the civilian carnage he himself has seen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAJOR GENERAL ITAI VERUV (RET), ISRAELI MILITARY: Some people are out with their children and they killed them. They killed babies in front of the parents and then kids and the parents, they kill parents and we found babies between the dogs and the family that killed before him. He cut the head of the people.
I heard during my childhood about the war in Europe and the Holocaust, of course. All of my family came from Europe and they are survivalists et cetera et cetera. I never think that I would see my eyes picture and scenes like this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Very emotional and strong statement of support by President Biden today for Israel from the White House. He spoke to Hamas' barbarity and America's response to it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So in this moment, we must be crystal clear: We stand with Israel. Like every nation in the world, Israel has the right to respond and indeed has a duty to respond to these vicious attacks.
Let me say again, any country, any organization, anyone thinking of taking advantage of the situation, I have one word, don't. Don't.
Our hearts may be broken, but our resolve is clear.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: The president confirmed that 14 Americans are known dead so far, and at least some 20 are unaccounted for. He also confirmed that Americans are among the hostages now being held by Hamas, but didn't give a number on that.
Now we mentioned the fighting, the rocket bombardment in Ashkelon just south of here. For that, let's go to CNN's Clarissa Ward.
So I understand, it's been a busy night in Ashkelon where you are. Hamas warn residents there to leave the city before 5:00 PM local time. So what's happened?
CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: At exactly 5:00 PM, Anderson, a massive barrage of rockets came slamming into the city. Most of them, I should say were intercepted by the Iron Dome, but since then, really, I would say it was about four hours where there was just sort of a seemingly endless cycle of sirens going off, more rockets coming in, people frantically trying to get to shelters.
It had been then quieter for a little while. We then heard an announcement over the sort of hotel Tannoy system telling people to stay in their rooms and we could hear a helicopter gunship coming from that direction. It turns out, according to Israeli Defense Forces, that there was some kind of a battle where three Hamas militants were actually killed that resulted in a fire as well. We could still smell that fire and sort of see it glowing in the distance back there, but really underscoring that despite what Israeli Forces had said earlier in the day that they were confident that all Hamas militants had been effectively killed or captured and pushed out of southern Israel.
In actual fact, it does appear that there are still isolated skirmishes taking place -- Anderson.
COOPER: And Clarissa, is it clear to you if those gunmen that they were looking for had recently crossed over since the initial waves that people -- of fighters coming across the border Saturday morning and throughout the day on Saturday, or was this holdovers, leftovers, people who had been here who hadn't headed back and would have been hiding?
WARD: I think it's very difficult to say. The Israeli Defense Forces haven't released any information about that. One would assume, and I should say it is speculation that these were militants who maybe had been inside southern Israel for a couple of days or perhaps lying low for a little while.
It's not that hard for people to hide here. It is very hard for the IDF to keep track of where lone gunman may be lying in wait potentially.
We saw along the roadside in a different part, along the Israeli-Gaza border today another situation where the IDF have closed off the road. They were very clear with us that we couldn't go beyond a certain point because again, they thought they had cleared most of these militants, but they are still finding incidents where they are popping up.
And it's difficult, I think for them to have a precise knowledge of how many came in, when they came in, which ones were killed, who might still be here -- Anderson.
COOPER: Clarissa Ward, thanks so much.
CNN's Nic Robertson, as we mentioned visited a kibbutz today that was the scene of atrocities, to put it bluntly, as many frankly of the kibbutz is near the near the Gaza border have been the scene of -- where Hamas has murdered -- we also have stories about a bomb shelter that we showed you a moment ago where Hamas also murdered fleeing civilians Saturday morning.
Nic joins me now.
So Nic, what can you tell us about the bomb shelter near the music festival?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, you really got a sense stepping in there or just looking at it from the outside of the ripped up shoes that were outside and the bloodied water bottles, but stepping in, you really got a sense that something utterly, utterly awful had happened in that -- the bloodstains on the walls, bloodstains on the ceiling, and this awful smell of the decay of human flesh. Horrible.
Just this sense that something horrible had happened there, that that people had gone in there because these are the rocket shelters that people go and hide in when they hear rockets, and that it was just where the cars were parked where all those young festivalgoers were coming out, racing away, running away from Hamas trying to get in their cars and drive away.
COOPER: Nic, you went to a kibbutz, which was the scene of tremendous brutality, early Saturday, just like a number of these agricultural communities were attacked because they are very close to Gaza.
Can you just talk about what you saw? Because we played some sound from an Israeli General, who was involved in taking that kibbutz back from Hamas militants in intensive fighting over the last several days. What else did he tell you?
ROBERTSON: Yes, I was really struck by you know, what had happened there that it was so close to Gaza, about, I would say, less than -- somewhere between half a mile and three quarters of a mile to the fence. And so it was one of the first places that Hamas militants would have reached, and they came in through the fence there.
But the way that they treated the people, the way that people had been bound up and then executed, killed in their own homes was really something quite shocking.
And this is what the general was explaining. It taken the Israeli Defense Force 48 hours to be able to ultimately defeat Hamas. And he said when he got in there, of course, that's when they began to realize and see just how bad the situation was, as he described it.
Real concentrated brutality. Families killed together. Mothers, fathers, children, he even said that some of them had been decapitated. Now we didn't see evidence of that, but we did see them loading the body bags of these innocent civilians, loading the body bags into the backs of trucks to take them away.
COOPER: And I just want to be clear, because there have been you know, some people I've talked to, a politician here who was talking about 40 babies who had had their heads cut off, I just want to be clear, this general you spoke to said that some people or persons did have their heads cut off. He didn't say a baby, but babies he said were killed, correct?
ROBERTSON: Absolutely correct. He said babies were killed. He said that heads were cut off. He didn't say of whom, of what age or what gender and we didn't see anybody with their heads cut off and we didn't see any babies with their heads cut off.
We do know that some of the executions, the style of the executions, and we've heard this in a number of different locations and we heard it again as today that people -- that Hamas was cutting people's throats and they were killing them that way. So was this what the general was referring to? It's not clear.
COOPER: Yes, yes, he had said I think they cut the head off a person or people. I just think the words matter because obviously it is sickening and brutal enough.
You know, I just want to stick to the facts.
Nic Robertson, I appreciate the reporting. Thank you so much.
The video that we showed you where civilians were slaughtered inside that that bomb shelter or gunned down fleeing. The grenade tossed inside shows only one of many such shelters near the border with Gaza and near that music festival site.
We do not know whether it was the one in which a man named Rafael Zimerman took cover where he was wounded after he says that Hamas gunmen threw gas or flashbang grenades inside and were for hours, he played dead as the people, dozens of people who were sheltering inside there crammed together were killed.
I spoke with Rafael a short time ago.
COOPER: Rafael, you hid out in a bunker near the music festival site. How did you find that location?
RAFAEL ZIMMERMAN, SURVIVED HAMAS ATTACK AT MUSIC FESTIVAL: About the bunker -- it was inside of the festival and we started to run after the rockets -- A lot of rockets come into the festival. A lot of like -- we cannot count how many and we started to run, me and my friends, a couple of friends.
And we started a car in the middle of the streets like really close from the festival and the car took us to the bunker. The bunker was like two minutes from the festival, really close, and in the middle of the street, in a bus station was a bunker just to protect from the rockets.
COOPER: When you got to the bunker, were there other people already in it or were you one of the first to get there?
RAFAEL ZIMERMAN, SURVIVOR AFTER HAMAS ATTACK: Me and my friends like we were one of the first to be there like, and after came a lot of people. A lot of people like I was in the -- like in the back of the bunker because I was one of the first persons, so I was like really in the back.
And after that, almost 40 or 50 persons came inside of the bunker, a really small bunker like it's not for too many people, but they are supposed to protect everybody, but it's not what happened.
COOPER: Were people talking? Were people being quiet? Can you hear what was going on outside? ZIMERMAN: Yes, like we were inside talking about what's going on. And my friend he said like he had experienced -- and then he said like, now we are starting a war and we're supposed to stay here like for two weeks, like two police officers were outside of the bunker protecting and after five minutes -- five minutes started a big fight, a big fight of shooting.
They started to throw grenades --
COOPER: The police were fighting against the attackers.
ZIMERMAN: Yes, two polices and I was like in the back of the bunker and the polices was inside on another side, but outside so after that, they started to scream "Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar" and they throw a gas inside of the bunker.
With the gas, you cannot breathe. It's impossible to breathe after 30 seconds, like everything was starting to be black.
COOPER: So it was like a smoke grenade?
ZIMERMAN: No, it was gas. Real gas because it was impossible to breathe, like it is to kill for sure. Because a lot of people died because of that. I'm sure about that.
And in the middle of the gas, the people became like insane. Insane, imagine without breathing, you don't have like, you cannot go outside because if -- you know if you go outside, probably they're going to take you or they're going to shoot you.
So we didn't have option, we did not have option.
COOPER: Did they come inside the bunkers and shoot or were they just -- I mean, you're saying they were gassing you. They were gassing the people inside of the bunker.
ZIMERMAN: The first thing was the gas. The first thing was the gas. After they came inside and they started to shoot. They started to throw flashbang, a lot of flashbang I remember. I really hurt because of the flashbang a lot of -- so I just protected myself and after hours of that, I just covered myself with dead people, a lot of dead people.
So I stayed there inside like for hours like just waiting for dying, you know, I just wanted to die in this because I suffered so much, so much -- the gas. Just -- in the middle of the gas, I just remembered. I don't know how it was, but now I know. I know how it was. I just started to think how was in the Holocaust with the Jews, like in 30 seconds you're dead and you will not have option.
You cannot breathe. You cannot -- it's crazy. It's crazy. I begged for the help. I don't know how I am alive. I don't know.
COOPER: That's what was in your mind. You're in this bunker with men and women, young people being gassed and you thought of the Holocaust.
ZIMERMAN: Yes. I thought about the Holocaust. I don't know how I kept in my mind like thinking, I don't know how, so I just weren't sure --
COOPER: Were you on the floor? You said you covered yourself with people who had died? Were you sitting on the floor? Were you lying on the floor? Were you still standing?
It sounds like there were so many people in there. Could you sit down?
ZIMERMAN: No, everybody was like dead, with the bodies on the floor, not sitting. I was like covered with the people. I was like that, like with that people and on the top of them and without move, because if I move, I know then probably they're going to catch me.
COOPER: At that point, did you know if there was anybody else like you who was still alive in that bunker?
ZIMERMAN: Yes, yes, Because I felt somebody moving. I felt -- but with me, just came out more six persons. Just that.
COOPER: Six people came out, finally.
ZIMERMAN: Yes. Yes. Just that. I don't know how. I don't know how. After I came out from the bunker. I just watched myself, just touched myself and said, I am alive. It is a miracle. It's a miracle.
We were partying. We are, you know, we are just partying and the life. Young people just living. A lot of people from all the world, it doesn't matter their religion. It doesn't matter from where you are.
This is about life. What they are doing. They don't ask where you are -- from where you are. Which is your religion? So it doesn't matter. They just want to kill.
So, now, it is about life and death. It is not about land, it is not about religion. It's about death and life. They are terrorists. They are not humans. They are animals. They are not humans.
COOPER: I understand you have shrapnel wounds in your back.
COOPER: What do you do now? How do you go on? What? What? Surviving this? What happens now?
ZIMERMAN: You know, when I came out, and I saw myself and I saw one of my friends came out also. One of them not, Hanane (ph), he is a hero. I have to say that he's a hero. I saw him going to the front of the bunker to try to protect everybody. And he's my friend. He was there and he is dead.
And about your question, I am a miracle. I know that. I know that. I'm a miracle. I'm a survivor. And I have to be glad I have to be, you know, happy about my life.
I'm really, really sad about everything that's going on. Everything, everything. I just wanted peace. Just that. So if I am here, I can try to send this love for everybody. This is my mission here.
COOPER: Rafael Zimerman, thank you for talking to us. It's unimaginable what you experienced. It is unthinkable and I'm sorry.
COOPER: More ahead. New developments from the White House as well as more on President Biden's uncompromising message to Hamas and the commitment he made to Israel's defense.
Later my conversation with a woman we spoke to the other day. Her name is Ricarda Louk. Her daughter, Shani is one of the hostages and at first was believed to be dead. Tonight, her mother believes it's possible she may still be alive. Details on that ahead.
COOPER: Just a short time ago, National Security Council spokesman, John Kirby told CNN's Wolf Blitzer that the White House is having active conversations with Israeli officials about recovering Americans now being held by Hamas.
Earlier today, as we showed you at the top of the program, President Biden through his full-throated support behind Israel pledging to "make sure Israel has what it needs to take care of its citizens, defend itself, and respond to this attack."
CNN's Kayla Tausche is at the White House for us tonight.
So a very strong statement of support for Israel. A lot of Israelis I spoke to were even surprised by the firmness of the resolve. What more can you tell us about the tone the White House is taking on this war?
KAYLA TAUSCHE, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, the White House has taken on a forceful condemnation of terrorism and anti-Semitism starting at the very top with President Biden and essentially providing the most vocal support possible for Israel's right to defend itself, full bore against Hamas terrorists in the words of National Security adviser, Jake Sullivan, even with the risk that that means civilian casualties could rise.
The White House is also pulling out all of the stops when it comes to providing new assistance to Israel in more tangible ways, suggesting that there's going to be an urgent request made to Congress upon its return and also the White House announcing that it's going to be re- upping ammunition and interceptors for Israel's Iron Dome, which Prime Minister Netanyahu personally requested in his phone calls with President Biden.
And while there is existing funding remaining in existing aid packages, Anderson, the White House has made it very clear that they're going to be going back and asking for more.
COOPER: The administration said that they believe there are at least 20 Americans unaccounted for or missing. Do we know how many Americans at this stage the US believes were taken hostage and the administration's plan to try to aid Israel in doing something about that?
TAUSCHE: There's no clear number at this point, Anderson on exactly how many hostages they believe Hamas has taken into custody.
Jake Sullivan told CNN's MJ Lee earlier today that 20 or more Americans are missing, but that it is still the administration's hope that they are simply going to be located in a different place and that they have not been unnecessarily kidnapped. That being said, President Biden said that he has deployed hostage recovery experts. He has offered to share intelligence with Israel to get some of these people home.
And I'm told this evening that the State Department has already been in touch with families of some of these individuals to make sure that their wellbeing and whereabouts are, if not known at this moment, known very soon.
COOPER: Kayla Tausche, thank you very much.
More on how difficult it will be if and when Israeli troops go into Gaza on the ground, how treacherous any attempts to locate and rescue hostages may be.
CNN's Ben Wedeman has done extensive reporting from Gaza over the decades and knows the area very well. Ben joins us now from Jerusalem.
So Ben, let's talk about -- I mean, you're talking about a population of more than two million people, a very small area with a tunnel system that is very extensive.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, the tunnel system is extensive and it's obviously for the exclusive use of Hamas and most Gazans actually don't know where the tunnels are located, oftentimes after Israeli incursions, for instance, several years ago, I was in Gaza after one of these flare ups between Gaza and Israel, you could tell from cracks in the middle of the road where there was probably a tunnel underneath.
Now, where would these captives be held? Probably in areas, which are densely populated like refugee camps, and areas where there are lots of civilians, sort of to provide, cover and deter the Israelis from really just going in with a large force.
So the tunnels, the density of the population, are going to pose huge challenges in addition to the fact that -- you know, keep in mind that according to the CIA, 40 percent of the population of Gaza is under the age of 15. So the danger that will come with an Israeli ground incursion and probably a very large one this time around to the population and to people who are just simply too young to either be involved in any way in this conflict is massive, Anderson.
COOPER: Let's talk about the challenges of finding some of these hostages or any of these hostages during an aerial bombardment.
WEDEMAN: Yes. That's going to be very difficult in an active war zone to actually be looking for people. And let's not forget, in addition to Hamas in Gaza, there are lots of other factions, Islamic Jihad, the popular front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Democratic front for the Liberation of Palestine and many others heavily armed throughout the Gaza Strip.
These people are members of the community and every neighborhood has several members of these armed militias who are ready and waiting for the Israelis to come in. So finding these people is going to be difficult.
And the intelligence necessary to find them is going to be difficult as well. Keeping in mind that what we've seen from Saturday is that Israeli intelligence isn't quite what many people thought, despite the fact that when you're in Gaza, the sound you hear 24 hours a day is drones overhead are all around the perimeter of Gaza. There are balloons with surveillance cameras. There are cameras all around the walls around the fences around Gaza.
In addition to the fact that there are many collaborators for Israel inside Gaza, despite that the Israeli -- the intelligence system failed. And keep in mind that in 2006, Gaza militants captured Gilad Shalit, who was a soldier with the Israeli army. And he was held for several years, I think, until 2009 when he was released in an exchange of prisoners. But the Israelis were never able to get him out.
And it's going to be even more difficult trying to get out more, perhaps, in a hundred hostages who will be probably deployed all around the Gaza Strip, which I think as I've pointed out before, is twice the size of Washington, D.C. Anderson.
COOPER: Yes. And children among them, little children.
Ben Wedeman, thank you for reaction to all of this, as well as President Biden's comments today.
We're joined by Michael Oren, the former Israeli ambassador to the United States. Ambassador Oren, thanks for being with us. We heard from President Biden today. He refrained from asking Israel to hold back in any way militarily, oftentimes in statements in the past.
There have been a condemnation of activities by Hamas, but also calls for restraint. There wasn't a call for restraint. He did talk about, you know, operating by the rules of war. But I'm wondering what you made of what the president said.
MICHAEL OREN, FORMER ISRAELI AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED STATES: Well, if one can hear a green light, Anderson, we heard a green light tonight.
Listen, I've been involved in U.S.'s relationship for many decades, both as the historian and as a practitioner. I've never heard a speech like that. It was the most pro-Israel speech I'd ever heard. It was deeply impassioned. It was unequivocal. And it's supportive Israel with its condemnation of Hamas, of terror, of even anti-Semitism worldwide.
And it was very specific. It came true that it also surprised me. The president went further than I expected to go, even the best assets of what that speech could be. He was very specific by saying that the forces, the naval forces that have been moved toward the coast of Lebanon and into the Gulf of Hormuz, in the Persian Gulf, were not just there to observe. They were there to deter in a very active way.
Though he said there'd be no boots on the ground, that could -- does not preclude other types of military activity. And it was very clear about sending a warning both to Hezbollah and to its masters in Tehran. You don't get involved in this, while the president was giving a very bright green light to Israel to move forward.
Maybe the only caveat was what you mentioned, Anderson, with him saying, you know, we in our armed forces in the United States and Israeli defense forces operate according to law. And he sort of juxtaposed this with Hamas, which was a terrorist organization.
But I think you'd probably read to the lines is that I think in that was an expectation that the Israeli forces moving forward would hew as closely as possible to international law.
COOPER: Jake Sullivan made reference to ongoing discussions about civilians in Gaza and the possibility of some sort of, you know, border crossing that perhaps they could use to get out of Gaza from to avoid, you know, to avoid getting hurt in any kind of offensive that's taking place. That's obviously something that Egypt has been very resistant to in past years. Short of Egypt opening up their border.
Is there any place for, you know, residents in Gaza, in Gaza City, who want to get out, can?
OREN: Well, not really on the Israeli side. It's not easy. The obvious place for refuge for these Palestinians would be in El Arish, south of Gaza in the Sinai Peninsula under Egyptian sovereignty. Again, the Egyptians have always been resistant to that. This is going back a long time. There have been long time plans to try to resettle some of the Palestinian refugees in El Arish. But that would be the only sort of exit for them.
On the Israeli side, it's populated, as we discovered much to our horror and that as Hamas knew in crossing the border and massacring Israeli civilians. So that would be non-starter.
I think that probably those discussions also are touching on the question of humanitarian disasters. So Israel has affected a total blockade on Gaza.
Now, it's long been misunderstood, I should say, put my cards on the table, Anderson. I was in charge of that blockade for the Israeli government for about a year. I wouldn't wish this on anybody, but it was a purely a military blockade. It was blockading armaments or what they call dual use items, things that could be used as armaments, could be a two by four, which could be used to building a tunnel, for example.
But in other, in any way cut out -- cut out electricity. It didn't cut out food or medicines. In fact, if there were any restrictions on the food and medicines going into Gaza, it was Hamas that did that because Hamas like keeping a certain level of humanitarian disaster in suffering in Gaza to keep the population dependent on Hamas and keep the population angry.
But there was a -- there was a terminus through which Israel had the capacity of put out -- handling about 1,200 huge trucks of food and medicine every day. Hamas would let in about 400. And that was very frustrating for us. But Israel also worked to improve the electricity, the water supply in Gaza thinking erroneously. This would somehow incentivize if Hamas to focus on running the Gaza Strip and not killing us. It was a misconception.
But having said that now Israel has cut off electricity. It's cut off a lot of the food going in. And that's going to create a very dire situation in very no -- in a very short period within Gaza. I don't think that Israel wants to see Gaza starve, but we're going to have to figure out a way, perhaps with international organizations like the Red Cross, where essential food stuff can be brought into the Strip.
COOPER: Ambassador Michael Oren, thank you.
OREN: Thank you.
COOPER: Well, coming up ahead, this is one of the many people now missing after attending the music festival, the Hamas government attacked Saturday. The mother of Shani Louk will join his next.
We spoke with her on Sunday. Tonight, she believes she may have some word that it's possible her daughter could be alive.
COOPER: The incoming rockets we have witnessed today are just one reminder of the war that began on Saturday here. We've also obtained new video from the Israeli Defense Forces showing how Hamas attackers got into one kibbutz on Saturday.
Now, like many of the videos circulating from that day, it's disturbing. There's no doubt about it. But the reason we're showing it to you is because it shows a level of planning and potential knowledge of how to infiltrate this particular kibbutz that is striking.
According to the IDF, the video begins outside the main gate of one of the kibbutz that was attacked on Saturday. You can see two Hamas gunmen in camouflage holding rifles at the top left of the screen. Now one of the gunmen eventually crosses to the other side of the road. You can see him standing next to what looks like a guard house or a security station.
Both then wait for someone to arrive and open the gate. A few seconds pass. Eventually a civilian car arrives. As the gate then opens, the two gunmen rush from either side of the car begin firing into it. We have cut that part out, murdering the people inside.
Moments later, the gate is now open, the two gunmen are then able to enter. The car with the apparently lifeless body of the driver rolls forward. One of the gunmen then appears to try to knock or tip down the camera filming the scene. The car keeps rolling forward. You then see one of the gunmen walking calmly into the kibbutz.
Now according to Israeli authorities, more than 100 bodies have been found at this particular kibbutz. That's how bad this slaughter was.
I'm joined now by the international spokesperson for the Israeli Defense Forces, Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus.
Lieutenant Colonel, what is your assessment on when you see a video like this of the level of training and experience of some of these Hamas fighters who took part early on in this terror attack?
JONATHAN CONRICUS, INTERNATIONAL SPOKESPERSON, ISRAEL DEFENSE FORCES: First of all, it hurts. It hurts to see that they were able to get into an Israeli community. And, yes, you cut out the really gory details of how they fire into the vehicle and what the viewers can't see. Or maybe they've seen in other clips is the results of these activities.
The whole attack, what we're seeing is the -- one of the last stages of a very meticulously planned and executed attack. This was what they were aiming for. This was the whole aim of the operation to get into Israeli communities, murder Israeli civilians, take hostages and get out.
And that is, unfortunately, sadly, exactly what they did. And today, the world, through the international media, was able to get a first access and see the carnage that they left behind. The dead bodies of Israelis, women, children, parents, grandparents in the kibbutz. And it's beyond words.
The monstrosity is beyond words. It's something in Israeli general who was there showing it to the journalist said that the only thing that he could reference it to would be scenes of a pogrom or something else from the Second World War or the Holocaust. There's no other historic reference for a Jew to look at the scene like this and understand what we're seeing.
COOPER: Yes. It's really only in the last today. And I think, in no doubt in the coming days, the true horror of what occurred on many of these kibbutz agrarian communities is really coming to the fore. I mean, we saw as you're talking about it as Kfar Aza. There's also near Om (ph) and other kibbutz communities.
You know, these are --I mean, these are peaceful communities of 300, 400 people that have been there for decades and decades. These aren't new settlements that have popped up in East Jerusalem that may be controversial, that are controversial.
And yet, the level of brutality of the terror attacks in these kibbutz. I mean, it's really now just starting to be revealed.
CORICUS: Yes. You know, if we want to take it to the political, these kibbutzim were there. They were founded before 1948. And many of the people who live there, I know, because I have friends there, are people who believe in the two-state solution who had friends in Gaza, and who really believe that a long-lasting peace could be achieved with Gaza and Palestinians.
I've had discussions with people in the kibbutzim, friends of mine, who believe in that. And then they wake up to hear gunshots in their kibbutz, and they fight for their lives, barricading themselves inside their bomb shelters, only to have their houses torched for them to flee out of the burning house, and then massacred on the lawn in front of their house.
And today, we saw the bodies that were left outside of the houses and the kibbutz and it is appalling. So there's no -- you know, for anybody who is seeking to justify and explain, you know, on an academic level, why would Hamas attack these targets, there's nothing to it.
This is pure, unfiltered hatred, fueled by crazy religious extremism, and some crazy idea that by killing Israeli civilians, they can somehow beat Israel and create some Sharia-based political entity in the wake of what they will destroy.
All of these are, of course, dreams that never ever will come true. But it just goes to show the kind of organization and the kind of beasts that we have on the other side of that border, their line of thinking.
And again, this wasn't, you know, some local initiative and an operation that went astray or people, operatives on the ground who got carried away with themselves. This was the plan. The Hamas spokesperson, a day and a half after the attack happened, he said, the attack went according to plan, and we are happy with the consequences. So that is what we're looking at.
CONRICUS: Those are the consequences.
COOPER: Yes. Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus, thank you.
I want to catch you up now on another -- or actually I should say the mother that we introduced you to several nights ago. She was desperate for word of her missing daughter. And she still is desperate for any information. She feels she have -- may have a ray of some hope tonight.
Her daughter is Shani Louk. She was at that music festival where a man I spoke to earlier made it out alive. But at least 260 people were slaughtered at that festival. Many were taken hostage as well. You probably have seen or heard about the video of Shani Louk that we're going to show you that emerged shortly after the attacks. We have blurred it out. It is -- it is just horrific to look a un-blurred. It's bad enough blurred.
The video shows her seemingly unconscious in the back of a truck being displayed like some slaughtered trophy by these thugs sitting on her. One gunman's leg draped over her waist. People are spitting on her. The crowds are chanting, God is great. Another holds a clump of her dreadlocks. The crowd as I say, cheering, spitting. It is sickening, but it happened, and it's real.
I spoke to her mother, Ricarda Louk, just before air.
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COOPER: Ricarda, thank you so much for talking to us. The last time I spoke with you, you had seen your daughter Shani in the back of that truck being driven through the streets.
RICARDA LOUK, DAUGHTER ABDUCTED FROM MUSIC FESTIVAL: Yes.
COOPER: People celebrating, chanting. It was horrible. What have you learned about Shani?
LOUK: Yes. We heard information that she is alive and that she has a bad head injury and is in a hospital. But that's all we know. And that gave us hope. I mean, you know, after the video you saw it, it's impossible to see if she's alive or dead. It was very scary and we were very worried.
But now it gave us a little bit of hope that she's at least in a hospital, even if it's in a bad condition, but it's better and that's why we hope we can free her and get her out of there. That's what we're trying to do.
COOPER: How much confidence do you have in the information you receive? Can you say where you got this information from?
LOUK: I can't really reveal exactly where it come from. I don't want to endanger anyone. But it came from a reliable source to our friends. So that's all I can say to this for now.
COOPER: I know -- I know last time we spoke also you had said that you had evidence that her credit card -- somebody had tried to use her credit card repeatedly. I believe it was later on Saturday. Has that given you any indication about perhaps where she may be?
LOUK: We noticed when they used her credit card, try to use it. It was in (inaudible) Jabalia, something in a shop and it was near a hospital, but we don't know really if this is the hospital. There are many -- there are few hospitals in Gaza. And the second time it was Uber. So it also didn't give us much more information. Yes.
COOPER: But you believe she may -- she may be in a hospital in Gaza? LOUK: Yes, we believe so.
COOPER: And have you heard anything from German or Israeli authorities about your daughter? Or have you been in communication with German or Israeli authorities?
LOUK: Yes. I'm in connection with them, but there's nothing new and we try to put a little bit more pressure on by -- we send a lot of media and videos for me again today and especially to Germany to get the attention of Germany and intervene and free our daughter.
I know there is some discussions between Israel and Germany that they say whose responsibility is to free her because she has a dual citizenship. And we feel like she's falling in between because the last message we got from Germany that, OK, Israel is that they will take care of Israel citizens. So good luck with that. And that was the last message I got from the officials -- in the German government, which is a little bit disappointing now.
Because Israelis are currently not really in a good position to negotiate. As you know, I mean, in the middle of the attacks, back and forth, and nobody's talking about negotiations at the moment. That's why we really plead to the German government to help us now before it's too late.
I mean, she's in the middle of a war zone now in a hospital. There are many bombs around them. And sometimes no electricity, sometimes no water. So we don't know how long this can take. And we don't know really who to talk to.
COOPER: If she is in a hospital or -- and she is alive, what would you want anybody around her to know?
LOUK: I mean, to keep her safe, to keep her alive, to treat her as a human being, and just to keep her well until we -- until she can return to home. That's all. Just be human to a sick person that is injured.
COOPER: Ricarda Louk, thank you for your time. We'll continue to be in touch. Again, I'm so sorry for what you're going through.
LOUK: Yes. Thank you. Thank you very much.
COOPER: Her mother still has hope.
Coming up next, a woman searching for information on her cousin and her cousin's two young children, just 3 years old and 9 months old. She has seen video of them being abducted from their kibbutz. Other family members are also now missing. We're going to talk to her head.
COOPER: Early Saturday morning, very close to the Gaza border, a kibbutz, a farm community home to some 300 to 400 Israelis called Nir Oz, was attacked by Hamas. The video shows gunmen here racing toward it. You can also see smoke rising in the distance from the kibbutz. Still not clear how many people living in Nir Oz were killed, were wounded, or kidnapped.
But a cameraman from Gaza uploaded a video he made of the kidnapping of a woman named Shiri Bibas and her two little boys, 3-year-old Ariel, and a 9-month-old Kfir. Take a look.
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Cooper: Earlier today, I met with Shiri's cousin, whose name is Yifat Zailer.
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YIFAT ZAILER, FAMILY MEMBERS KIDNAPPED BY HAMAS: Every hour, things get clearer and more horrific. It's something that we can't really understand. A nightmare. A nightmare.
COOPER: Yifat is searching for any information about her cousin, Shiri, her kids, and the rest of her family.
When did you realize something had happened?
ZAILER: Saturday morning around 10 o'clock. We lost connection with my cousin.
COOPER: It wasn't until she saw this video Saturday that Yifat knew Shiri and her kids had likely been taken hostage.
ZAILER: I can see the horror in her face. I think they might have been in a state of shock. They were still dizzy and not understanding what's going on around them. This video is horrible, but it's the only proof of life we have. Other families don't have that. It gives me something to hold on to.
COOPER: Shiri lives with her husband, Yarden, and their two children.
Have you had any word about her husband?
ZAILER: Nothing. Nothing. We don't know.
COOPER: Also, missing is Yifat's uncle and aunt, Yossi and Margit Silberman (ph).
ZAILER: My aunt has Parkinson's disease. Without her medications, her body stiffens. We're a small family, and half of them are kidnapped.
COOPER: Half of your family's?
ZAILER: Yes. This is it. I can't believe this is happening. I can't believe this is our lives now. COOPER: Yifat has children of her own but can't stop thinking about Shiri's kids, Ariel and Kfir.
ZAILER: I want to know that they are being fed, if their diaper was changed. If he still got his formula in his bottle, something to eat.
COOPER: They need formula. They need everything.
ZAILER: We need a sign of life.
COOPER: I'm so sorry.
ZAILER: The only thing that helps me be sane right now is sitting here with you and showing their faces and telling their story. I want my family back, please. I want my family back.