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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees
Now: Heavy Explosions Seen And Heard Over Gaza; Netanyahu Warns It Is Only The Beginning As Israel Tell Gazans To Evacuate; UN: Evacuation From Northern Gaza Impossible, But Some Are Trying To Flee Southern Gaza; U.S. Intel Warned Of Increased Risk For Hamas Violence In The Days Before Terror Group's Unprecedented Attack; Crucial U.S. Military Supplies Arrive In Israel; House In Disarray As Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) Hunts For Enough Votes To Be Speaker. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired October 13, 2023 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
AMIR KATZ, IDF RESERVIST: But they're bringing -- cooking food for us, they are giving us everything we want. I have like if I want like 10 toothbrush, if I want, like it's unbelievable to see the unity that our nation has.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: You hear in the background, Shabbat, the music, the prayers as they're getting ready to celebrate the Sabbath. Ten toothbrushes that you heard him say, something so specific, and so personal. We all can relate to that -- ten toothbrushes.
And it's also something that raises the reality that such an intense outpouring of daily generosity is both incredible and not infinite. And that means the world watches to see what Israel will do in these coming days.
Thank you so much for joining us. AC 360 begins now.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, "ANDERSON COOPER: 360": It is 3:00 AM here in Tel Aviv, Israel and there are signs all around us today that a much wider and more deadly phase of the war may soon take place.
This was the scene just a few hours ago while I was reporting on air.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Sirens are going off which has not occurred here for really today. Certainly, over the last several days. They are quite extensive sirens. You hear them all over Tel Aviv right now.
This just started about 15 seconds, maybe 30 seconds ago. So it remains to be seen if rockets do come generally, they come from that direction.
That sounded like Iron Dome intercept. That was a rather large explosion. That is something we have not heard very much here in Tel Aviv.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, today, the death toll from Saturday's attack rose yet again to more than 1,300. It has been almost exactly one week since that attack, and there is a sense here in these early morning hours that Israel is preparing to strike back with the type of force we haven't yet seen.
This is video of airstrikes along the Gaza strip that we received just moments ago. The country's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu said today that the near constant airstrikes on Gaza are "only the beginning."
We've already seen incursions into Gaza today and more on that in a moment. So what is next based on the artillery and troop massing at the border would be a significant ground invasion.
President Biden today was asked what concerned him most about that possible invasion? He had one word, death. We do not know the timing of any such invasion or whether a final decision has been made. We do know that today, Israel dropped leaflets across Northern Gaza. They read in part: "For your safety, you should not return home until further notice from the IDF."
As part of a warning, Israel announced giving them more than 1.1 million civilians in the northern part of Gaza, a 24-hour period to evacuate. That window was to end in about four hours from now.
Scenes like this were common in Gaza today, civilians trying to get out, trying to escape, several evacuees were seen loading a car with a dead body. When asked why? They responded, we don't know where to bury our dead.
This is a map of the region, the area of evacuation is highlighted in red toward the top center of the map. Those leaflets that I mentioned said civilians need to head south of the river, you see marked there, Wadi Gaza, you can also see the Rafah Crossing at the southern end of Gaza bordering into Egypt. That crossing is closed for Gazan civilians.
The US has pressed Israel and Egypt to keep the crossing open to aid the evacuation of among others, the 500 to 600 Palestinian-Americans estimated to be in Gaza.
However, sources tell CNN, it is not clear if that crossing is fully functional, following multiple Israeli airstrikes in the vicinity earlier this week.
A top White House official today, John Kirby called the evacuation "a tall order." Making the effort even more complicated, Hamas has called on Gaza residents to ignore it, to not evacuate.
A Hamas spokesman urged Palestinians to "remain steadfast" in their words and that "the only direction we are migrating is back to our rightful land." There was a new threat from the north of Israel today as the country traded fire with Iranian-backed Hezbollah based in Lebanon to the north, and in the West Bank, the Health Ministry says that eight Palestinians were shot dead by Israeli forces during protests in support of Gaza.
This was the scene in Baghdad, Iraq today where hundreds of thousands are estimated to have protested the Israeli airstrikes.
In a symbol of both US diplomacy and military might, both the secretaries of State and Defense were in the region today, Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Arab leaders and pressed the case to minimize civilian casualties. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin meanwhile, declared the United States' unwavering support for Israel.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LLOYD AUSTIN, US SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Now this is no time for neutrality, or for false equivalence, or for excuse says for the inexcusable. There is never any justification for terrorism, and that's especially true after this rampage by Hamas, and anyone who wants lasting peace and security for this region must condemn and isolate Hamas.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: With the region poised for a more intense phase of the war, we have reporters across Israel near the Gaza border, plus in Washington, DC.
So there's certainly a lot to get to over this next hour. We want to start with our international diplomatic editor, Nic Robertson.
Nic, as we saw last night, new strikes from Israel on Gaza. What have you been seeing? What can you tell us?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Literally, as you were talking, Anderson, a jet flew over, two huge big reverberating explosions from behind us. We've had a fair degree of that this evening, a lot of heavy artillery as well.
And something interesting that we haven't seen before, some kind of weapon system being used just over my shoulder in the last sort of 30 minutes, with sort of low-level explosions close to the ground, cascading some sort of illumination or fire or it is intersecting with something, we can't see.
But that seems to indicate that there are ground level troops close to the border with Gaza. We know that there was that incursion over the past 24 hours. The IDF saying they went in, they were trying to get again Hamas leaders, they're trying to get information about hostages, a limited incursion, a small incursion, but nevertheless, the first time that they've gone back into Gaza, since this past weekend.
So, you know, again, it fits the picture of the tempo, just picking up and even so, you know, we had a salvo of rockets coming out of Gaza from here, two hours ago, intercepted by Iron Dome, and from my perspective, that was perhaps the biggest salvo we've had in a couple of days.
So Hamas taking -- there was a pause in the missile strikes, they took that 20 minute pause, fired some rockets out. So, they are still there. They're still active -- Anderson.
COOPER: We heard Prime Minister Netanyahu say today that it is only the beginning. To you, what does that suggest?
ROBERTSON: Yes, it is suggests to me, he is trying to sort of set the scene for the country that this is not going to be quick. But what he said he wants to do, which is completely crushed Hamas militarily, he is now sort of saying, well, that's not going to happen quickly, and that creates the impression that it may not happen during the military incursions, that there may be phases to follow on for that.
Of course, it does help him as prime minister because he is facing criticism for the fact that it was on his watch that there were these intelligence failures, that there was this massive death toll, so there is a political accountability there. And in a way, he gives himself more time to solve it by saying that this is going to take some time.
The indications from military analysts here is that incursions would be relatively short, and in part that is because of that difficulty of working in a highly populated civilian environment with a potential for high civilian casualties. The standards that Israel and its allies set for it in not causing additional casualties and the pressure from the international community and from the UN agencies as well working inside Gaza, you know, who are giving a very, very dire assessment of the situation there.
The medical system close to collapse, huge numbers of people 400,000 people displaced from their homes already. Some hospitals are running out of the ability to treat people, no new medical supplies coming in.
So against that backdrop, it's more likely to be limited incursions that can have limited results, and therefore the whole thing, the process would take longer.
COOPER: Nic Robertson, thanks very much.
More now on those incursions by Israeli troops into Gaza to search for hostages that we learned about today. I'm joined now by Clarissa Ward for more on that, and also what we know about the situation in Gaza right now.
Clarissa, let's start with these incursions by Israeli troops.
CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So Anderson, the Israeli military has put out a statement, but it is a very limited statement. Essentially, all they say is that during the past day, there have been a series of incursions of Israeli forces into Gaza. They say they had kind of a three-fold mission. They were trying to destroy Hamas weaponry. They were also trying to take out some Hamas militants who have been firing anti-tank missiles onto the Israeli side of the border and they said they have been trying to collect evidence -- collect evidence that presumably might help them to locate the position of these hostages.
You may remember that Hamas yesterday said that at least 13 hostages had been killed in airstrikes. I think no one would be exactly shocked to imagine that Israeli Special Forces, for example, might have some kind of a presence or might be launching sort of smaller incursions into Gaza to try to help pin down the location of those hostages, potentially even to think about some kind of a rescue, although obviously that would be very fraught and challenging for a number of reasons.
But that's all the information that the Israelis have given in terms of those incursions that they described taking place during the past day -- Anderson.
COOPER: And what's the latest on prospects for any kind of humanitarian corridor out of Gaza? And do we even know how many people have actually moved to that southern sector?
WARD: So it doesn't appear at this stage that so many people have actually moved. We saw scenes this morning in Gaza of kind of chaos and confusion, people panicked people wanting to get to safety, not knowing where to go, not really having anywhere to go Anderson and the prospect of a humanitarian corridor, it is something that is ongoing in terms of efforts, there has been resistance, it is obviously very complex. How many people would you let out? Where would they go? Are you going to kind of create a tent city in the Sinai Peninsula for potentially more than a million people?
So, a lot of details to be ironed out. And meanwhile, it's the people in Northern Gaza specifically, today, who have been suffering most acutely. Take a look.
WARD (voice over): They grab whatever they can and set off, many of them on foot with no set destination.
After six straight days of relentless bombardment, Palestinians in Northern Gaza woke up to leaflets from Israel's military, ordering them to move to the south of the densely populated enclave. The deadline given to the UN was 24 hours.
But there is nowhere for them to go. Efforts to open a humanitarian corridor through Egypt have so far been fruitless, and shelters are completely overwhelmed.
The head of the UN's Palestinian refugee agency called the order "horrendous" and said the enclave was rapidly becoming a hellhole.
The streets of many neighborhoods are already ghost towns, hollowed out by ferocious strikes, those who remain, alone with their grief. (ABU HASSAN speaking in foreign language.)
WARD (voice over): 'My sons, my daughters, my neighbors are all gone," resident Abu Hassan (ph) says. "I only have one message to the Arab and Islamic world, have mercy on us. For God's sakes, there is nothing left."
In several cities across the world today, there were protests in support of Gaza, but the drumbeat of an invasion is growing ever louder here. And the price that Gaza civilians are paying for Hamas' bloody attacks is already so high.
At the Shifa Hospital yesterday, some of the youngest victims lined the hallways on a stretcher, on the floor of the hospital, a young girl pants with fear. "You're a good girl. Praise God, you're here," the man tells her. "Don't cry, my dear." "Everyone is dead," she says. "There's only a few left."
In another bed, a young boy lies heavily wounded, reassuring his father: "Don't be scared. Don't be scared, dad," he says. "I am fine."
But with no promise of safe refuge, fear is the only sane reaction.
COOPER: I mean, those images are just horrific. Clarissa you've been talking to a young woman inside Northern Gaza tonight. What did she tell you?
WARD: That's right, Anderson, 22-year-old dentistry student, Yara al Hajek (ph), exceptionally bright. She told us essentially that she's terrified. She's confused.
Her family doesn't know where to go. They are in that part of Gaza along with more than a million people who've been told to leave their homes and move to, it's not clear where. She doesn't know exactly what they're going to do. She doesn't want to leave until they have a good sense of where ago.
Have a listen to what she had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
YARA AL HAJEK, DENTISTRY STUDENT IN GAZA: I'm actually terrified. I'm trying not to show it, but it's all the situation around us. It's like they're saying that you could die at any moment. You don't know -- I don't even know if I'm going to live for the next minute. So, yes, it is really terrifying.
WARD: Have you lost any friends or family throughout the strikes of the last seven days?
AL HAJEK: Yes, there's a friend. She actually got out from her house to her cousin's house. When she was there, like the area was targeted and the house got bombed and she's gone.
WARD: What was she like?
AL HAJEK: She really liked to joke a lot, laugh with us a lot. Even though in school, you know, even though in school we had tough times, she just always -- she just always know how to make us laugh. Sorry.
WARD: Don't be sorry. Don't be sorry.
AL HAJEK: We just want peace. That's -- that's it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WARD: And Anderson, the name of Yara's friend was Asma Abdul Kareem Abu-Salah (ph). She was killed, according to Yara at 3:00 AM in Khan Yunis in Gaza, and it's worth mentioning as well that Hamas is telling people not to leave their homes, to stay in place, to stand strong, but so many like Yara are desperate to get to safety. They just don't know where that safety is -- Anderson.
COOPER: Clarissa Ward, thank you.
Last night, we introduced you to an EMT, Shalom Avitan (ph) who told us a remarkable story. It was the night of the attack, Saturday after already helping survivors in one city, he and his team rushed to a nearby kibbutz. He says after they arrived, a soldier handed he and his colleague, babies, twins.
This is Shalom Avitan holding one of them. The twins, Guy (ph) and Roui (ph) are 10 months old. Their mother, Hadar (ph) and father, Ayti (ph) were murdered. Fourteen hours passed before the babies were found, thankfully alive.
Shalom says they were screaming, dehydrated and the baby changed, clinged to him. Today, I spoke to the brother of those baby's mother, their uncle Dvir Rosenfeld.
COOPER: Dvir, I'm so sorry for your loss. You, your parents, four of your siblings live on kibbutz, Kfar Aza. So many people were killed and kidnapped there. Tell us what happened to your sister and her husband.
DVIR ROSENFELD, SISTER AND BROTHER-IN-LAW KILLED, TWIN NEPHEWS SURVIVED HAMAS ATTACK: Friday evening, we celebrated, all of us together with all the kids, all the grandkids, we celebrated my mom's birthday. It was the first time in a long, long, long time that all of us were together and woke up Saturday morning to literally hell.
COOPER: When did you know something was wrong?
ROSENFELD: No, not until half six in the morning.
Woke up we heard a lot of missiles and bombs starting to fall in the kibbutz, then realized that something is happening but in the beginning, we didn't hear, it wasn't too different than other times that they shot on us.
But very soon, we started to hear hand grenades and automatic weapons and screaming in Arabic just outside of the houses, just outside of my window. Then we realized that something different is going on and we got into the shelter.
My wife, myself and our baby and slowly, slowly the electricity just fell down. We stayed with no aircon, no light, no air, no nothing. And slowly from the messages on WhatsApp between the friends and family and people in the kibbutz, we realized that what's going on all over.
COOPER: Do you know at this stage what happened to your sister and her husband? Did they have a safe room?
ROSENFELD: Yes, all of us have these shelter rooms. And in the beginning, I think around quarter to seven, seven in the morning, my sister was still on WhatsApp on the family group, and all of us texted to each other that we alive and we are in the shelter room and everything is all right, at that point.
But slowly, slowly, all of the -- all of us kept texting and except them. They didn't answer, but we knew that all of us having problems with the connection and with the electricity or I don't know, maybe this is the story we wanted to tell to ourselves, to feel better about it.
But after five, six hours, we started to think that something is wrong, and when we got these messages from their neighbor, that he hears the twins screaming, nonstop. Plus, the fact that they didn't answer us, even text for many, many hours, I think that even though we didn't want to believe, we knew that something is wrong there.
COOPER: And I know you've talked to investigators who have sort of pieced together what happened. Your sister left the safe room, I understand in order to get some milk for her babies.
ROSENFELD: Yesterday, just yesterday, the two guys from the Special Forces, our secret service that literally took out the babies from their beds, after 14 hours that they were alone.
From what I understood, yes, they found my sister in the kitchen with the bottles around her, so probably because she realized that they're going to be stuck there for many hours, she went out to make them the bottles. Yes.
COOPER: I knew her husband was killed as well. I spoke to one of the paramedics last night, a man named Shalom Avitan, who actually was handed one of your nephews right after they were rescued. The other nephew was handed to another EMT that he was working with.
COOPER: And I know he brought them I think to the hospital. How are your -- how are the little kids doing now? How are the boys doing now? ROSENFELD: So first, I want to speak also about Ayti, my sister's
husband. They found him lying in the entrance to the shelter room, and from what I know Ayti, I have known him for many years, he is -- he was -- sorry, also an officer in the Army, combat soldier, so I know that he did his best to stop these terrorists from getting into the shelter, getting close to the babies and I know that he did his best to just be there and stand, be the obstacle between the terrorists and the babies.
I saw the pictures with the paramedic that held one of the babies. It is sad, it's very sad. But on the other hand, they are smiling, they are healthy and they are so young that they do not really understand and realize what happened to them yet, but it looks good. Yes.
COOPER: What do you want people to know about your sister and about her husband? They sound like such loving parents.
ROSENFELD: They were amazing people. Amazing parents. Amazing couple. They did everything right. They had everything planned for them, for the babies. They did everything, everything every single day, every single thing for them -- for these babies. This is why they also risked their lives for them.
COOPER: Dvir, I'm so sorry for your family's loss and for your loss and for those kids' loss. Thank you so much for talking to us. I wish you the best.
ROSENFELD: Much appreciated.
COOPER: Still to come tonight, a closer look at just how involved the US military is in a war that appears ready to get far more dangerous and deadly. Our Jeremy Diamond has the latest in our relationship with Israel, the Defense secretary calls "ironclad."
And later, footage we haven't seen before from inside a bomb shelter in a place I just visited, the grounds where a massacre occurred at that music festival, considered the deadliest of Saturday's attacks to date.
COOPER: There's newly released comments from President Biden about American hostages being held in Gaza. This is what he told "60 Minutes."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I say we're going to do everything in our power to find them, everything on our power. And I'm not going to go into the detail of that, but we're working like hell on it. Because I think they have to know that the president of the United
States of America cares deeply about what's happening, deeply. We have to communicate to the world this is critical.
This is not even human behavior, it is pure barbarism.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Earlier today, President Biden held a call with the families of 14 Americans still unaccounted for. His comments come as Israelis are still clamoring for answers as to how a country that prides itself on its intelligence and military capabilities could have missed an operation that, as we reported last night, seemed to have been in the planning stages for about two years with training sites right across the border from Israel.
Tonight new CNN reporting about US intelligence in the days before the assault, warning of a potential increase in attacks by Hamas. Our chief national security correspondent, Alex Marquardt, joins us now with details.
So, talk more about what the U.S. intelligence community knew before the attack and where that information may have come from, how specific was it.
ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, there were indications. There were warnings within the U.S. intelligence community and the Israeli intelligence that there could be an attack. However, they were not terribly specific. They were rather broad, sort of more strategic analysis about something that could happen.
There were three separate pieces, three separate reports, two American, one Israeli in the days leading up to the attack last weekend. September 28th was the first one, a U.S. intelligence report, saying that there could be a cross-border attack by Hamas from Gaza.
Then a couple days later, on October 5th, just two days before the attack, there was a CIA wire that said that Hamas -- that there was an increased possibility of a Hamas attack from Gaza. And then, finally, Anderson, right before the attack, the day before on October 6th, there was an Israeli report that was circulated among U.S. officials that indicated that there was some unusual behavior by Hamas.
That was passed on from the Israelis to U.S. officials. But none of these three were all that out of the norm, and they certainly didn't speak to the horrors that we saw unfold. There's no specificity about timing, what would unfold, how Hamas would carry out this attack. These were much broader warnings, Anderson.
COOPER: Did Israel have access to the U.S. assessments? Because it's not clear to me how much intelligence gathering the U.S. has independently from Israel in this region. MARQUARDT: Well, no doubt in that region broadly, the U.S. is getting so much from Israel. They are a terrific intelligence partner for the U.S., particularly when it comes to the Palestinians. You know, the Israelis are watching very closely in the West Bank and in Gaza, the U.S. really relies on Israel when it comes to those militant groups in Gaza, whether it's Hamas or Islamic jihad or others.
So, Anderson, generally, the flow of information would be from the Israelis to the U.S. Certainly, the U.S. has its own intelligence, but the bulk of that intelligence from the region about Palestinian militant groups would come from the Israelis.
So, it's unclear to what extent these assessments were shared, certainly, because they were analytical and relatively broad. You would think that the Israelis had things like that themselves. We also heard from the secretary of defense earlier today saying that if there had been a plot picked up by U.S. intelligence, that certainly would have been shared with Israel. Anderson?
COOPER: Alex Marquardt, thanks so much.
More now on the U.S. reinforcing its support as Israeli forces appear to be positioned to launch a ground invasion. CNN's Jeremy Diamond got to look at the latest round of US military aid that arrived in the country.
JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Tonight, U.S. support for Israel looks like this, a hulking U.S. military transport plane bolstering Israel's war effort against Hamas, landing at Nevatime Air Base, where CNN secured exclusive access as airmen offloaded its cargo.
This C-17 military cargo plane just landed here in Southern Israel. It is bringing fresh U.S. weapons and ammunition for Israel's fight against Hamas. Today, the secretary of defense, Lloyd Austin, coming here to inspect the shipment, vowing that U.S. military support for Israel will continue to flow at the speed of newer (ph).
LLOYD AUSTIN, DEFENSE SECRETARY: I know how hard you've been working. You've been really hustling to get this here as quickly as you could. And there's a lot more that follows this.
DIAMOND: This was the second shipment of military equipment to Israel just this week, delivering precision-guided munitions, artillery shells, and Iron Dome interceptor missiles, which help protect civilians from Hamas rockets.
AUSTIN: It's not just a show of support, it is support. And it's just the leading edge of the border.
DIAMOND: We've already seen some civilian casualties in Gaza. What kind of assurances do you have from the Israelis about how they'll use these munitions? What kind of assurances?
AUSTIN: Jeremy, this is a professional force that's well-led. So, I'm sure they'll do the right thing.
COOPER: And Jeremy joins me now from Ashdod. So, as the U.S. provides these weapons to Israel, what else did Secretary Austin had to say particularly about upholding the laws of war?
DIAMOND (on camera): Well, as you could probably tell there, Anderson, the secretary of defense initially didn't seem to really want to answer my question about civilian casualties.
In fact, there were a couple of us security officers, I'm not sure if there was really or American, who were kind of pulling me back as I was trying to ask the secretary some questions there. But he did eventually get there.
And earlier in the day as well he also address the notion of democracies, and he said that democracies have a particular responsibility to uphold the laws of war. And he also explains that he was willing, that the United States will be willing to share its expertise with Israel in reducing civilian casualties during urban warfare in creating humanitarian corridors for civilians to escape.
But it is important to note that this additional shipment of U.S. weapons and the fact that the U.S. is vowing to provide more weaponry to Israel in the coming weeks comes against the backdrop of rising civilian casualties inside of Gaza. A total of 1,900-plus people, that's civilians, as well as combatants, have now been killed inside of Gaza.
But if you look at that number of those 1,900, 614 of those are children. It just gives you a sense of the civilian casualties that result whenever there is war inside of Gaza.
COOPER: And anymore on efforts negotiated some sort of humanitarian corridor?
DIAMOND: Well, we do know that U.S. officials are continuing to press both the Israelis as well as the Egyptians, who, it's important to note, control the southern border of Gaza to allow some kind of humanitarian corridor for, in particular, American citizens who are inside of Gaza but also other civilians to be able to flee south and eventually leave Gaza and head into Egypt via the Rafah crossing in the south there.
But as of now, you know, I've spoken with a couple of U.S. officials, Anderson, who say that both the Israelis and the Egyptians have a number of concerns. At the top of the list is the notion of how exactly are they going to screen individuals to know whether they are civilians or whether they are combatants, terrorists perhaps as well. And, secondly, Egypt is also concerned about having a massive flow of refugees, a million people, perhaps flowing into their country.
So, we do know that that is an ongoing discussion that U.S. officials are having. And it's also important not to lose sight of the fact that Egyptian officials are also key in this discussion beyond just the Israelis.
Beyond that we know that Israel has given folks in Northern Gaza 24 hours to evacuate to the south. And for now, that seems to be the focus. As the borders of Gaza remain closed, people are just being told to go further and further south. But, really, there's not much place to go. Anderson?
COOPER: Jeremy Diamond, thanks very much.
Joining me now is retired Army Major General James Spider Marks, a CNN military analyst. General Marks, as we reported earlier, the IDF announced today that it had made local raids over the past. several or the past day, I should say, in the Gaza Strip using infantry armed forces in an effort to, quote, eliminate the threat of terrorists and weapons in the area and locate hostages.
Talk to me about what these raids tell you about Israel's plan. I mean, does this sort of probing, gaining intelligence softening up areas before a ground invasion?
MAJ. GEN. JAMES SPIDER MARKS (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: It provides an opportunity to expand upon, you know, confirm or deny intelligence. That's one of the, what I would say, downstream benefits of doing this.
But this operation was conducted primarily because I can tell you that probably was based on a high level of confidence on the intelligence that they had on where hostages might be. And that becomes very perishable. That's targetable intelligence.
And so the Israelis conducted these raids, hoping they might be able to receive, might be able to get their hands on some hostages and bring them back. As a result of that, you certainly are going to expand and increase your intelligence collection. It's not necessarily a direct harbinger for a ground operation, but it can be used that way.
COOPER: A lot of humanitarian groups operating in Gaza are saying, look, moving a million people in 24 hours is impossible, it's going to be a catastrophe. I mean, we have seen in wars in past decades large movements of mass migrations of people in very short order of time. If Hamas wanted civilians to move, they could play a role in that. But, clearly, it's not in Hamas's interest to have civilians out of the war zone.
MARKS: That's exactly correct. When you're motivated to get out of the way of combat, inevitable combat, that's sufficient for you to just get up and go as best you can. Certainly, you've got those that have to be assisted. You've got the elderly. You've got folks in hospitals. I got all that. Hamas could facilitate this. But Hamas has said to their citizens, their Palestinian residents, stay in place.
Because what they want to do is use them as human shields. It's exactly what it's all about.
Israel will do as best it can -- yes, please go ahead.
COOPER: No, no, no, go ahead.
MARKS: All I was saying is that Israel will do the best it can in terms of collateral damage assessment, proportionality. They are going after military targets. They are trying to reduce the number of civilian casualties, whereas Hamas will put civilians in the front of their formations in an effort to mix them with those military targets. So, you end up with the narrative and you end up with the horrible pictures of civilian casualties as a result of this invasion. It's an inevitability. It will happen. Civilians will be killed in this assault in Gaza. It is guaranteed.
COOPER: And given the network of tunnels in Gaza that Hamas has built up for movement of weapons, for movement of their forces, how complex is any ground invasion going to be?
MARKS: Very complex. What has to happen when Israel decides to cross into Gaza? It will probably cross in multiple locations. When you do something like this, you want to get as deep as you can, as quickly as you can, so that you can then set up a corridor, and then, in the case of Gaza, you then want to maneuver north to reduce those pockets.
What you don't want to do is enter into Gaza and establish some shorter objectives, then move to another objective and then move to another objective because, as a result of that, the bad guys are going to move and get out of there as best they can. You want to try to get as deep as you can, as quickly as you can.
And then what you have is this labyrinth, this internecine set of these tunnels, which will be incredibly difficult to clear. Israel is very much aware of that. They've done this in the past. The key is what objectives are you going to establish and when do you determine that you've met those objectives. Because the last thing Israel wants is to own the Gaza. They figured that out in 2014, and they left after about a month.
COOPER: Yes. Retired General James Spider Marks, I appreciate it. Thank you.
Next, the video -- I want to show you a video of people hiding from Hamas, a gunman in a bomb shelter. This occurred on Saturday during the slaughter at the music festival. The Israeli Defense Forces took me to the grounds where the destruction and the brutality is still painfully visible. We'll tell you what happened inside that bomb shelter, coming up.
COOPER: Before we go any further, we want to warn you, parts of this next story may be difficult to watch and, frankly, even to contemplate.
[20:45:03] We're learning more about what happened at that Nova Music Festival where 260 people were murdered last Saturday making the single deadliest attack in these terror attacks. It occurred almost one week ago, Saturday morning.
The Israeli Defense Forces took me to the site where the wreckage and the carnage is still plain to see.
COOPER (voice over): The music was playing, the dance floor packed, and the rockets began. Just 3.3 miles from the border with Gaza, it didn't take long before Hamas gunmen arrived. Some party goers were able to get to their cars but many were killed before they could get away.
REAR ADM. DANIEL HAGARI, ISRAEL DEFENSE FORCES: They were waiting here with a machine gun.
COOPER: Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, a soldier all his life, has never seen anything like it.
HAGARI: This is a massacre scene. I don't have any other recall of memory in the history of Israel since it was established for this kind of event.
COOPER: The bodies and body parts of the dead have been removed but people's possessions are strewn all around. The carnage is clear, burned out cars, bullet holes, blood stains on seats.
From some cars, the IDF has retrieved dash cam videos that show Hamas gunmen roaming the site for hours, shooting freely. This one shows a bloodied hostage being led away. Then under the car you can see another man hiding. He moves slightly, then stops. A gunman runs right up to him and shoots him point blank in the head or upper body.
HAGARI: I don't know how people can explain this. I don't have the words to explain it, and then running away on motorcycles with girls to Gaza.
COOPER: Fleeing east across open fields was the only way out for many, but they were easy targets. Others sought safety in nearby bomb shelters. This is dash cam video of a Hamas gunman tossing a grenade into a shelter. When a man runs out trying to escape, they fire on him repeatedly.
In another shelter a few miles north of the festival site about 30 people tried to hide. A man named Noam Cohen recorded inside. You can hear the panic in their voices asking what's going on. Are there Israeli soldiers nearby? We aren't going to show you what happened next. Cohen says Hamas gunmen repeatedly toss grenades into the shelter. People inside were blown apart. It's one of the most gruesome videos we've ever seen.
This is some of the aftermath. Noam Cohen survived hiding under body parts. That's him terrified but alive. We found the shelter in the town of Alamein (ph) yesterday evening. Someone had put a curtain up over the doorway, but nothing could hide the smell as you enter. My cameraman, Neil Hallsworth, who's experienced a lot of war, began to retch and had to step outside.
There's bloody hand prints on the wall. There's blood smeared on the walls. See, probably these are either bullet holes or from the grenades that were thrown in here.
Body parts have already been collected from here, but blood soaks clothes and shoes remain.
This looks to be a bloody handprint The shelter is no more than 15 feet long, maybe 5.5, 6 feet wide. The idea of so many people packed in here, standing shoulder to shoulder terrified screaming, it's incredible that anybody was able to survive.
There are other shelters like this, other tragedies still to be discovered. The full horror of what happened here is just starting to come to light.
COOPER: I want to let you know on Sunday night, on The Whole Story, we have a whole special hour devoted to piecing together the terrifying events, what occurred at that music festival. As you said, this is the single deadliest attack in on civilians in Israel's history and in the terror attacks of this past week. That's at 10:00 P.M. right here on CNN on Sunday.
Now, new details from a survivor of another attack last Saturday, Golan Abitbul was awakened and dawned by the sound of rockets and immediately knew something was wrong, then came the automatic gunfire and a text warning him that his kibbutz was being invaded by Hamas.
Quickly gathering his wife and four children, Golan rushed them into the safe room with no one else to protect his family. He decided to face off against the men who had come to kill them.
I spoke with Golan earlier this evening about he and his family survived.
COOPER: Golan, after you secured your wife and four kids in the safe room, I understand you got your gun and you waited in the kitchen. When did you see the Hamas gunman who had come to your neighborhood?
GOLAN ABITBUL, SURVIVED ATTACK ON KIBBUTZ BE'ERI: It took several hours until the first one got inside our neighborhood. I could see them in the outskirts of the neighborhood, but we could hear the fighting. We could hear the shooting close nearby and to I think just outside of the neighborhood. We could hear them launching RPGs and shooting with heavy machine guns and it was all outside. But inside our neighborhood, it took like, I think, three hours or four hours until the first one came in.
COOPER: Did you see them? I mean, how close did you see them before you actually engaged with them?
ABITBUL: I think it was about five or six meters as they just came from the corner and into my line of sight. And I understood that they're going to approach my balcony and this is the entrance to my home and I just shot them a few times. I don't know if they were hit or not, but I shot several times and changed position and shot again and that's it. And they fired back on the house and on my position where I stood and then they shot around.
I don't know if they knew where the shot came from, but they decided to change, to go to somewhere else. I don't know. I guess I was lucky. They didn't decide to push forward.
COOPER: To come further. Because you had a 9 millimeter handgun, I understand. They obviously had RPGs, they had automatic weapons.
ABITBUL: They had Kalashnikovs and heavy machine guns, the one I saw.
COOPER: And when the Israeli Army arrived, they evacuated your kibbutz. But I understand that you had one last encounter with a terrorist.
ABITBUL: No, it wasn't me. We were evacuated to the extraction zone. And then we with several hundred or several -- a lot of people, I don't know, it was dark, but all the people were evacuated from the Kibbutz. We were there and we were unprotected. And then one terrorist just
shot from the tree line. And the IDF were there to keep us safe. They eliminated them pretty quickly. It felt like ours because we had to lie down on our kids and make two grown-up kids got lost in that mess. And it felt like ours.
COOPER: We were just playing video showing IDF forces evacuating your family. That's incredible that one was laying in wait, hoping to kill somebody else as they were being evacuated.
I know you're deploying and you're joining your reserve unit tomorrow.
COOPER: What are your feelings about what lies ahead?
ABITBUL: Yes, I get deployed. I'm no longer in a fighting unit. I'm too old for this and I have a bad back. But I'm in the Army identification unit in the DNA lab for the last several years. And I'm going to help my unit. This is my unit. And I need to -- I feel that I was helpless for so many hours and now I need to go and give back and start doing, start changing the picture.
And then so I need to go and help my unit to identify the bodies of my friends that were slaughtered, give them closure, give closure to all the families, yes.
COOPER: Yes, bring answers to the families of their loved ones. And you protected your family too when the moment came.
Golan, I appreciate talking to you and I wish you the best.
ABITBUL: Thank you very much.
COOPER: Well, just ahead, as the conflict ramps up here in Israel, it is building a pressure in Washington to fill the House speaker vacancy. The latest on that fight, next.
COOPER: We're going to continue to bring you the latest in the war here in Israel. We're also following the latest in Capitol Hill, where House Republicans are in chaos over efforts to elect a new speaker.
CNN's Melanie Zanona joins us now from the Capitol. So, where do things stand right now?
MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: Well, Anderson, we are on day ten without a speaker, and Republicans have gone home for the weekend. Earlier today, Republicans huddled behind closed doors, where they tried to select a new speaker candidate, and they settled on Jim Jordan, the Trump-backed candidate who earlier this week came up short against Steve Scalise, who ended up dropping out of the race. But, Anderson, it is clear that Jim Jordan is also going to have a major math problem, just like Steve Scalise did and just like Kevin McCarthy did.
Now, Jordan and his allies say they're going to spend the weekend working the phones, trying to win over holdouts. They're also hoping that the base gets fired up and tries to urge members to get behind Jim Jordan. But in a secret ballot vote today, we're told that 55 Republicans indicated they would not back Jordan on the floor, and he can only lose four of them.
So, he has a massive hill to climb, particularly with moderates who are worried about a number of Jordan's controversial votes, including his vote to object to the 2020 election.
COOPER: So, where do House Republicans go from here, I mean, if it's not Jordan?
ZANONA: Yes. Well, Jordan is going to try to take this thing to the floor potentially on Tuesday. If he fails, we could see a number of other dark horse candidates jump into the race.
There's also discussion about giving more temporary power to Patrick McHenry, who is the interim speaker, who can't do much except to preside over speaker elections.