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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees
Hundreds Believed Dead In Gaza Hospital Blast; Hamas Attack Survivor: "We Want To Protect Our Country"; Sister Of Woman Murdered By Hamas: In Her Final Moments, We Believe She Fought For Her Children. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired October 17, 2023 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DAVID KIRKPATRICK, STAFF WRITER, THE NEW YORKER: If only it could become a regional conflict, we would love that. But we don't see any sign of it. Hezbollah is going to more or less abide by its ceasefire with Israel," he said, and he did not expect this war to expand, on that other front.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: David Kirkpatrick, thank you so much. It's good to have you on the program again.
KIRKPATRICK: Good talking to you.
COOPER: Talking about the idea of a regional conflict, back in a moment, with very latest, on the explosion, at the hospital. Palestinian officials blaming Israel. Israel categorically denies that, says Islamic Jihad is responsible.
While protests break out in cities, across the Middle East, we're joined by a spokesperson, for the Israeli Defense Force, when we come back.
COOPER: A bit more than two hours, until the sun comes up, here, in Tel Aviv. This is a country that is both at war, and still in shock, from the initial atrocities, that caused this war, the terror attacks that took place here, last Saturday.
Now, it appears that the face of what already was a dire and potentially widening crisis, has been transformed, potentially, by a fresh human tragedy.
Today, explosions at the Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital, in Gaza City, full of patients, and also reportedly hundreds of people, from the very old, to the very youngest, who have sought refuge there, over the last -- in the last week or so. Hundreds are believed dead.
We neither know the precise number, nor who is responsible, for the blast. Hamas blames Israeli airstrikes. Israel's Military says there's evidence, it was a rocket, from Islamic Jihad that went astray.
CNN has learned that Israel has provided Washington, with intelligence connected to the explosion. There had been some talk, by the IDF, of potentially releasing that information, or some of it, publicly. We're waiting to hear it and see if they choose to do that.
The only thing clear, right now, the enormous human toll, and the chaotic scenes, of overworked medics, trying to address it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (FOREIGN LANGUAGE).
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COOPER: This is new video, from Al-Shifa Hospital, where many of the wounded, the mortally, gravely injured, were sent, from the other hospital. Many were very young, young people, arriving there.
Beyond the raw images, which speak for themselves, are the accounts, from people, at this hospital, describing the sheer number of dead and wounded, with very little space, to treat the injured, and dwindling space to hold the dead.
This is what people are waking up to. It has already derailed the summit, which was planned for later today, with President Biden, in Jordan. It has ignited fresh protests there, and in a number of other countries, in the region. And the day is just beginning.
CNN's Sara Sidner is here with me.
A lot we do not know about this blast. But what we do know are the images, of the children, and women, and men, civilians, being taken to other hospitals. It is other hospitals, which are already overwhelmed, and on life support.
SARA SIDNER, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Yes, they're overwhelmed. And the families have already been going through the fact that there's not enough water to drink, there's not enough food. And then, you have this attack. We don't know who was responsible for it, at this point in time.
There is no evidence that has been shown to anyone, of the evidence, except for Israel, saying that they have shared some intelligence, with the United States. We were expecting the IDF, to share some of that video, which they said they would, within the next hour. So, we will see.
COOPER: They said they were in the process of declassifying.
COOPER: And not sure if it's going to be publicly released or not.
SIDNER: Exactly. But then, also had said -- initially, they put out some video, and then it was taken down, off of Twitter. And so, we're all waiting to see what happened here. Regardless of what happened, what we saw happen, is that there are so many people, who have been injured, or killed, out of hospital, a place, where people expect to be safe. And so, watching these images is just it's galling. It's horrible, to see what happened there.
But in this sort of fog of war, you've got both Hamas, the Ministry of Health saying this has been an attack, by Israel.
You've got Israel saying "No, no, no, no. This was an attack by the Islamic Jihad," which is another terrorist group that exists within Gaza.
COOPER: Right. They said it's a rocket, fired by the Islamic Jihad, which fell short, or misfired --
COOPER: -- which happens with some regularity --
COOPER: -- according to Military experts. We just talked to former CIA Director, David Petraeus about it.
COOPER: In terms of what's happening, we're seeing protests, obviously, in the West Bank. There are -- protesters calling for Mahmoud Abbas, to step down.
COOPER: We've seen protests in Beirut. We've seen protests in Baghdad. This is potentially extraordinarily damaging.
SIDNER: It is. And it is part of the sort of existential threat that Israelis, and the Israel Military, always worries about, that there is going to be a conflagration that this is going to blow up, and that they will be surrounded, by countries, who decide that they are going to attack Israel. Particularly, they are worried about Lebanon, they are worried about Hezbollah.
Hezbollah, by the way, is a big supporter, of Islamic Jihad. Both of them sort of influenced by Iran, and funded by Iran. So, there is a lot of worry that this is going to ratchet up the tensions, instead of sort of, we have what in the eighth or ninth day, of this war that has been declared, by Israel, after the Hamas surprise attack, that killed so many people. And you've got the hostages also inside --
SIDNER: -- of Gaza.
But this happened in Gaza City. This is a place, where the Ministry of Health, which is run by Hamas. People were evacuated to this hospital, also, because there is such dire straits, going on, in that part, because that's the part of Gaza that the IDF told people to leave.
But a hospital is a hospital, and they're trying to treat people. It is a complete and utter mess.
SIDNER: It is a horrible, horrible situation, because hospitals are considered sacred places, where people are supposed to be able to heal. And now, you have this.
SIDNER: And who knows what this is going to mean, for this conflict, going forward?
COOPER: Yes. Sara Sidner, appreciate it, tonight.
I'm joined now by Kayla Tausche, at the White House.
Kayla, what's the latest, from President Biden, on the hospital explosion? I know he's en route to the region.
KAYLA TAUSCHE, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, the President was briefed, by his National Security team, earlier this afternoon, a last-minute gathering, of his team, to talk about what intelligence they had, and what intelligence they lacked, and to try to draw any conclusions before the President took off, for Tel Aviv.
I am told that the U.S. has not yet drawn any conclusions, about who is behind this attack, and that some officials believe that they may not be able to, amid the fog of war, to borrow a phrase, that one official used with me, and that Sara just used, just a few moments ago.
But even so, President Biden, releasing a statement, from aboard Air Force One saying that he's saddened and outraged by the attack, and that he's directed his National Security team, to keep looking at new information, as it comes in.
But Anderson, this is one of the risks that was calculated, by the President's team, when they decided, just 24 hours ago, to go forward with this visit. It was a calculated risk.
But it was important enough, for President Biden, to make that personal show of support, to Israel, and to also seek to have his personal presence, in the region, deter any rogue actors, from opening up a second front in the war.
Officials say, if those are the deliverables, from this trip, that will be enough, but also downplaying the expectation that there would be any sort of near-term deal, for an immediate delivery, of aid, for refugee passage, or for hostage release. And of course, with the cancellation of that summit, between Biden and Arab leaders, that removes one possible forum, for any of those deals, to get reached. Now, President Biden is going to be meeting, with Prime Minister Netanyahu, at length, and then with his War Cabinet, to try to glean what Israel needs, insofar as security aid goes, right before the White House goes back to Congress, to ask for more financial assistance.
So certainly, there will be items, on the agenda, where the President will try to move the needle forward, on some of these discussions. But they say that this is really about personal diplomacy, and that the President is willing, for that to be the focus of the trip, even if nothing else is secured, Anderson.
COOPER: Kayla Tausche, thanks so much.
Joining me now is IDF spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus.
Lieutenant Colonel, thanks for being with us.
Can you talk about why the IDF is so confident, in its conclusion, that this hospital was hit by an Islamic Jihad rocket?
LT. COL. JONATHAN CONRICUS, IDF SPOKESPERSON: Hi, thank you for having me, again.
We are confident, because we have based our statement, on a significant review, analysis of visuals, as well as other sources of intelligence, our own systems that monitor our own fire, and our systems that monitor enemy fire. So, it's not one source. It's multiple sources.
And in order not only to tell, but really to show, we're going to release, in the near time, I've seen the footage myself, and it will be released soon. Very, very clear images that prove, I think, for anybody, with an unbiased and clear opinion, that this was not an IDF strike.
This was a rocket that fell, and was misfired. And that whatever happened in that hospital, and whatever many casualties that were, or were not caused, in that explosion, was not done by the IDF.
COOPER: Can you talk any more about -- I know you're going to be releasing these -- about the how many images you'll be releasing? What is the nature of these images?
CONRICUS: Yes. They will be aerial images, taken from above, by an Israeli UAV, that monitor the area, flew above it before, and then flew above it afterwards. And there will be comparisons, of the area, before and after.
You'll be able to see that the level of the destruction, and the impact, on the area surrounding, where the explosion, the center of the explosion was, is not consistent at all, with an aerial bomb, dropped by the IDF. Most of the buildings are intact, and there was very limited damage, which indicates that it wasn't a big IDF bomb.
And many other pieces of very clear and hard-to-refute proof that this was not an IDF bombing.
COOPER: You had earlier talked about the possibility of intercepts, actually voice intercepts, between -- well, I'm not sure who they were between. Or is that something you also believe is evidence that this was not IDF? And are those going to be released?
CONRICUS: Yes, they will hopefully also be released soon. They're being processed and translated. And they will prove that the terrorists themselves were aware or became aware that there was a misfire, and that one of their rockets had landed in Gaza. That myself I haven't heard yet. I understand it exists.
COOPER: Was the --
CONRICUS: The visuals I have seen.
CONRICUS: And they will be released soon.
COOPER: Was the IDF conducting any air strikes, or artillery fire, in that area, in Gaza City, around the time of the explosion? And were any rockets coming from Gaza City?
CONRICUS: Rockets were coming from Gaza City. And we released that to the media, basically a print screen, of our rocket radar, where there's a red dot, where the rockets were fired from. And we can see the direction of the rockets that were fired, which go straight from where they were fired from, above the hospital, and then towards Israel.
Many of the rockets continued into Israel, and were intercepted by the Iron Dome. And one of those rockets misfired, exploded, and then landed close to the hospital, in that area of the parking area, of the hospital.
And so, we have, as I said, many sources of information. We don't base our claims on one source.
And, as I said before, this isn't just me thinking, or saying. This has been approved by the highest levels in the IDF. We stand behind it, and we will release the information, so that everybody can see for themselves. I am happy to be held to those standards.
And I only wish the other side, and we're not necessarily criticizing CNN, but I am -- I only wish other media would hold the other side, Hamas, a party to a conflict, to the same professional standards of scrutiny, and not automatically say, report that this was an Israeli strike, on a hospital.
And it took a lot of time and a lot of hard work, to get those headlines changed. And I think that's unfortunate, because I think it's misleading. And I think that what we're seeing, around in the area, now, reports of marches and demonstrations, and riots and violence, much of that is because of, how should we say, hasty reporting and jumping to conclusions.
COOPER: If Islamic Jihad -- and so, just to be clear, you're saying this was an errant rocket? It was a misfire, among other rockets fired by Islamic Jihad? You said it exploded, and then landed in the parking area, by the hospital.
Was there an explosion on the ground? Or was it an explosion in the air? Do you know?
CONRICUS: I don't know. What I know about that is what I saw on the Al Jazeera footage. And that isn't our source material. So, I can't verify that information.
What I've seen is footage of what it looked on the ground afterwards, a fire basically, just as you're showing now on the screen. But we don't have footage, of the moment, of the explosion. We have before and after. And that's what we are going to release.
COOPER: Do you know what time you're going to release it?
CONRICUS: Believe me. I don't think that anybody, in the world, wants me -- wants it will -- faster than what I do. And it is at work, being translated and prepared. As soon as it will be ready, it will be released for the world to see.
COOPER: Colonel Jonathan Conricus, I appreciate your time. Thank you.
COOPER: More now, on conditions, inside Gaza. It comes from Yousef Hammash. He lived -- lives in Gaza. He's a spokesman, with the Norwegian Refugee Council.
I spoke to him prior to the hospital tragedy.
COOPER: Yousef, can you explain where you are, Yousef, and what you've been seeing today?
ON THE PHONE: VOICE OF YOUSEF HAMMASH, NORWEGIAN REFUGEE COUNCIL: Hey, I am in -- I had to evacuate from the northern part where I live to Khan Younis, which is southern part of Gaza Strip. It was a horrible journey, taking all that risk, moving all my family members, who are almost 20, including my sisters and their children.
Now, we are all hosted, in one of my relative's houses, in Khan Younis. And we are lucky because we have relatives there. Otherwise, other people, who couldn't have that option, unfortunately, either they're staying in schools or they're seeking safety in massive hospital, or they are thrown (ph) in the streets, which is something new for us in Gaza.
We never saw homeless people in Gaza. But now it's easy to. You see people on pavements and sidewalks are staying, sitting, just trying to find safety. People who fled from the north and Gaza City had to do that option because they want to just save their own lives. Situation here is unlivable.
COOPER: And in terms of -- has any aid from U.N. organizations been able to get to the south? I know. I talked to somebody from the WHO earlier. They are hoping to get supplies to the South. Are there any tents that are set up to accommodate people? Are there any supplies that you know of coming in?
ON THE PHONE: VOICE OF HAMMASH: Unfortunately, nothing from that type (ph) before had been delivered for people who are displaced on the streets. People who can, who could manage to get access to school (ph) but they are overwhelmed. There is not enough space for anyone.
I think the main concern for everyone who work on the humanitarian sector is safety. There, it's not safe to move around, and I don't think we have also in our storages, here in Gaza, what could be enough to deliver for all this amount of people who were displaced suddenly.
COOPER: How are -- I don't know if you have children. But, in this situation, for children, it must be incredibly scary. How are the children around you doing?
ON THE PHONE: VOICE OF HAMMASH: I have two children, who are with me. Eliaa is 5-years-old and Ahmad is 2-years-old. And I have my sisters, who have children also. It's scary, especially for the children. They're always panicking, and everyone is stressed, even us as adult. Unfortunately, it's not easy also for us, this situation.
Honestly, even my children are traumatized, and I feel useless in front of them, and having this feeling is you can't compare it to -- I don't think there is something worse than this feeling, to sit in front of your children, being useless, completely useless, cannot do anything for them, and even sometimes having the feeling that you cannot provide them safety.
We feel, I feel, I have regret I have children, and I made the decision to have children in Gaza. This is my responsibility, and I'm really sorry to say that I regret that. I regret that I do have two children living all of this chaos here.
COOPER: That says a lot that you have that feeling of regret. That's a terrible thing to feel.
ON THE PHONE: VOICE OF HAMMASH: What made me have this feeling is being a useless father, who cannot provide safety for his children. In this age, what they need from me, except safety and food.
I'm doing my role, of providing them food, on a daily basis, going early in the morning, in front of the bakery, trying to find anything we need. But I cannot provide safety, this is out of my hand. That's why I feel useless, and I feel guilty.
COOPER: I'm so sorry for what you, and your family, and so many, are going through. Thank you for talking to us.
ON THE PHONE: VOICE OF HAMMASH: Thank you. Thank you so much.
COOPER: A father made to feel useless, and regretting having children.
More on how this all could play out, in the hours and days ahead, as the images from today sink in, as the region potentially gets more inflamed and President Biden arrives, CNN's Fareed Zakaria, joins us.
Also, a live report, from southern Lebanon, on the Israeli strikes there, and the threat Hezbollah poses, to northern Israel.
COOPER: Looking, there are protesters, tonight, footage taken within just the last several hours, of protesters, on the streets, in Irbid, Jordan, in Baghdad, and Ramallah, on the West Bank, part of a wave of demonstrations, in the wake of the explosion, at the Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital, in Gaza City. This is, of course, the early reaction.
To help us see where it all might go, we're joined by Fareed Zakaria, Host of "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS."
Fareed, we see the protests across the Middle East, tonight, in the overnight hours. Israel says it has shared proof with U.S. that shows the hospital was blown up, or the blast was caused by a misfire, by Islamic Jihad. They say they're going to release that information publicly.
Do you think any public release of information will do anything to quell the protests?
FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST: Unfortunately, I don't, Anderson.
This is happening at a time when you know as well as I do, the nature of media, and the way in which news travels, through social media channels, means that people are going to get the information, the news, they want. They're going to get the interpretation of it they want. And each side, whichever side you don't like, you're likely to blame for this.
Obviously, I have no idea whether there is a way to objectively figure out what actually happened. But what is most likely is that both -- each side will interpret it, as an Israeli strike, on the one hand, and the Islamic Jihad, on the other.
But it points out the larger issue, Anderson, which is why so many people, in the United States, and my understanding is the Biden administration have been urging Israel, to exercise caution, to be strategic, about all -- where it hits is that this is what happens in war. This is the fog of war.
And the danger here? And this is, after all, why Hamas planned these terror attacks, was to provoke Israeli action, which then has the effect of producing these kind of images. And they can then exploit them. And Arab countries will feel more reticent, to deal with Israel, more reticent, to normalize relations.
So, it's important to just remember, what was Hamas' goal here? Hamas' goal was to get the Israelis, dragged into Gaza. And that's why it seems, to me, just exercising as much -- as many smarts as much strategy, about this, becomes very important.
This particular event, it's impossible to know. But you know the world of social media. It's, I've already seen it. It's going viral in two completely different directions.
COOPER: I mean, having covered this region, for a while, over the decades, I feel like we have all been here before. We have seen this cycle play out, time and time again. And it's one of the impossible things, about this situation, is people see things, two completely different ways, or multiple, completely different ways.
Does it -- I was just talking to General David Petraeus. And he was expressing the hope that there is some sort of a plan, for whatever the ground operation may be that Israel does, in Gaza, is that they have, and other regional actors have, some sort of a plan, for what happens, after that.
If they are in fact successful, and eliminate Hamas, what happens then? Who fills that vacuum?
ZAKARIA: Yes, I saw your very thoughtful interview. I very much doubt it, because in order to come up, with a plan, like that, Anderson, imagine what you would have to do.
So, first of all, Israel would have to be able to thoroughly root out Hamas, root and branch. That means going into building after building, neighborhood after neighborhood.
Think about how long it took the United States, assisted by Iraqis, to clear out cities, in Iraq, like Mosul and Ramadi.
Then, you have to figure out, OK, you've destroyed Hamas. Who is going to rule Gaza? Is it going to be the Israelis? Is it going to be some international force? Because remember, whoever tries to rule Gaza, is going to face an insurgency, launched by Hamas and Islamic Jihad. They're not going to let somebody else do it.
So, are the Saudis really going to go in, and try to rule over Gaza, and kill Arabs, Palestinians, in the process? I don't think so. Are Europeans going to be willing to do it? I don't think so.
This is why it is such a potential quagmire. Because you can -- the Israeli army is extraordinarily strong and powerful and disciplined. They will probably be able to do a lot, to -- you know, if you remember, they used to say in Iraq, to clear, but then you have to hold. Who is going to hold Gaza, once you've gotten rid of Hamas, even if you can get rid of Hamas? COOPER: Yes. Fareed Zakaria, thank you.
Now, to a young couple, who survived the massacre, at that Nova music festival, where hundreds were killed, 260 or more, according to Israeli authorities. After these two escaped, Zohar Arad, and Liron Rokach, reported for reserve duty, with the IDF, the very next day.
I spoke to them earlier, this evening.
COOPER: Zohar, can you explain, why it was so important, for you, despite everything you've just been through, at the festival, to report for reserve duty?
ZOHAR ARAD, SURVIVED ISRAELI MUSIC FESTIVAL ATTACK: Yes, of course. And in Israel, we're in a small country. So, everyone knows everyone.
So, when we're at the party, we lost many of our friends. Many of our friends got murdered. Many of our friends are still in Gaza. And then, when we came home, we talked to each other, and then understand that we want to help our country to -- we want to protect our country.
COOPER: Liron, what's going through your mind, as you prepare for, what could be a long war?
LIRON ROKACH, SURVIVED ISRAELI MUSIC FESTIVAL ATTACK: All I think is about the people that get murdered, the big massacre that Hamas is doing to people, and about friends that are now in Gaza. And we don't know if they're -- if they are OK, or armed, or they need a hospital, or something like that. And we all what I think about is about them, and that we want to bring them back home safe to the family.
COOPER: Zohar, you were at the Supernova festival? And can you just talk a little bit about what you two went through? Because I understand you obviously escaped. But what was it like for you?
ARAD: It was terrifying, actually. And when we get out, from the party, we thought that our problem, it's only the rockets. But when we get to the road, we see the terrorists, start shooting at our friends. And they -- and we are lucky that we getting to our car. And then, when we saw, he started to shoot our car.
It was terrifying, to see all our friends get murdered, and to see all of these terrorists. The thought that, maybe, they will kidnap me, it was, I can't explain it, in words.
COOPER: Liron, you lost friends, at that festival?
ROKACH: Yes. So, some friends that -- we are friends from the army. I lost them, in this festival. They also like the trance music, and like to, the festivals in Israel. And I lost them. I didn't realize it in the first hours. But when I get home, after all this terrible day, I understand that I have a lot of friends that will never come back from this party.
COOPER: And I understand, Liron, you made the decision, to report for reserve duty, the very next morning?
ROKACH: We want to bring our friends that in Gaza, safe, and to show Hamas, and to show all the terrorist organization, in the other country that any of us, that we are here, in Israel, and we are here to stay, and we don't afraid, from nobody. And we are here to save our country and protect it from all the terrorist organization in the world.
COOPER: Well Zohar, and Liron, thank you so much, for your time. I wish you the best.
ROKACH: Thank you.
ARAD: Thank you.
ROKACH: Thank you to invite us.
COOPER: Well, coming up next, the protests that we have seen, over the last several hours, in Lebanon.
Plus, Israel says it exchanged fire, once again, with Hezbollah.
Ben Wedeman is in southern Lebanon, has more, on the fears of a possible second front opening, next.
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(VIDEO -- POLICE IN LEBANON USE TEAR GAS, WATER CANNONS TO DISPERSE PROTESTERS OUTSIDE U.S. EMBASSY)
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COOPER: This is new video we received, just moments ago, of protests, earlier, in Lebanon, police using tear gas and water cannons, to disperse protesters, outside the U.S. Embassy. Just some of the outrage, after that blast, at a Gaza hospital, Israel and Gazan officials dispute who is responsible.
The protests come after Israel said it exchanged more fire, with Iranian-backed Hezbollah, today. The Chief of the Israeli Defense Force said, if Hezbollah makes a mistake, it will be, quote, "Destroyed."
Ben Wedeman has more, on the fears, of a second front opening, in this war.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Strike after strike after strike, and every strike is followed by an Israeli counterstrike. Combatants and civilians killed on both sides.
Hezbollah is testing just how far it can go, hitting Israeli targets, without igniting a full-scale war. But the stakes here are treacherously high.
HERZI HALEVI, CHIEF OF THE GENERAL STAFF OF ISRAEL: (FOREIGN LANGUAGE).
WEDEMAN (voice-over): If Hezbollah makes a mistake, the Israeli military's Chief of Staff warned, on a tour of the border, it risks, in his words, "Annihilation, annihilation, annihilation."
HUSSEIN JECHI (ph), HEZBOLLAH PARLIAMENT MEMBER: (FOREIGN LANGUAGE).
WEDEMAN (voice-over): "Hezbollah isn't wavering. We're not afraid of Israel. And we're not afraid of the Americans behind them," Hezbollah parliament member, Hussein Jechi (ph) tells me.
HOSSEIN AMIR-ABDOLLAHIAN, MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF IRAN: (FOREIGN LANGUAGE).
WEDEMAN (voice-over): And behind Hezbollah stands Iran, who's Foreign Minister warns, if diplomatic efforts fail, to stop Israel's attacks, on Gaza, the opening up of new fronts is inevitable.
AMIR-ABDOLLAHIAN: (FOREIGN LANGUAGE).
WEDEMAN (voice-over): And South Lebanon could be that front.
In some places, a wall separates Lebanon, from Israel. In others, it's wide open. From a hill, by the border, you can peer down, into Israeli border towns, like Metula, now largely abandoned, but for soldiers scurrying from house to house. Israel and Hezbollah have battled here before. And they may soon be at war again.
COOPER: And Ben Wedeman joins us now, from Lebanon.
Ben, you mentioned, in the last hour, that you had heard, what sounded like explosions, coming from the Lebanon-Israel border. Have you heard anything else?
WEDEMAN: Well, they continued for quite a while, Anderson.
And then, we heard from the Israeli Military that somebody fired an anti-tank missile, at their troops, and they fired back.
And normally, when they fire back, that means sustained artillery fire, that really echoes around the hills, here. And this has really become the pattern, five, six, seven times a day, it seems, Hezbollah is testing Israeli defenses. And what we've seen, from the video, is they're getting very precise, in their strikes.
COOPER: Do you expect more protests, today, in Lebanon?
WEDEMAN: Yes. Well today, being Wednesday, not where you are, but there will be protests. In fact, Hezbollah has announced "Day of Rage," in Beirut.
And what we've already seen, as you mentioned, those were many Hezbollah supporters, among the protesters, outside the U.S. embassy, and the protest is going to be held, in the capital, Beirut.
And we are expecting that some of the "Day of Rage" is going to be played out, along the border, with Israel, not in terms of protests, but in terms of fire.
COOPER: Ben Wedeman, thanks so much.
Joined now by someone, who was with us, last night, Rami Igra, former Mossad Division Chief of the Hostages & MIA Unit.
Rami, thanks for being with us.
I'm wondering what your reaction is to what we've seen, over the last several hours, since the hospital blast, in Gaza.
Hamas, Islamic Jihad, pointing the finger at Israel.
Israel saying, it's an errant rocket, from Islamic Jihad. And they're going to hold a press conference, I believe, they said, at 9- something, this morning, in Israel, offering what they say is the evidence.
RAMI IGRA, FORMER DIVISION CHIEF OF MOSSAD HOSTAGES & MIA UNIT: Yes, Israel has said, the Army spokesman has declared that they have solid proof that this will be shown in video that we are talking about a failed Islamic Jihad rocket.
But Anderson, we've been here before. Every skirmish, if you look past -- if you look at the past, every skirmish, where the Palestinian resistance groups, and it's not only the Hamas, find themselves under pressure, there is, all of a sudden, some humanitarian catastrophe, that they have created, in order to somehow stop the fighting.
This shows that Hamas, at this stage, is very pressured. And they are looking, for some way, to stop this Israeli attempt, to annihilate them, to eradicate Hamas, from the Gaza Strip.
And as I said to you, yesterday, Israel has no choice here. There is no -- there is nothing that we can choose. Life under threat is not going to continue.
COOPER: Does this -- what -- the blast, at the hospital, whoever caused it, does it now make it more difficult, for some sort of sector, in the south, to be created, where humanitarian supplies can come across, or even that the Rafah border can be opened, and American citizens can get out?
IGRA: It shows, again, as we spoke yesterday, the Hamas is using, the citizens, of the Gaza Strip, as human shield. And they are stopping citizens that are trying to go to the south, from doing so. They're doing this even violently. It's not a question, of asking citizens, not to go to the south. It's forcing them, to stay in the north, to be human shields.
This is a catastrophe that a murderous organization is doing, to its own citizens. The citizens are being used here. It just shows all of us, and Western civilization, why it is so important, for all of us, to eradicate this kind of organization, from this earth.
COOPER: I talked to General David Petraeus, earlier. And he raised the question, and his hope that whatever happens on the ground, in terms of ground operation, by Israel, in Gaza, and assuming that they are successful in seriously, hurting Hamas, what happens then?
Is there a plan in place, for who would fill the vacuum? Who would run Gaza?
IGRA: It's a problem. And let me remind us that in every instance, in the past, this was the question that stopped us, from eradicating the Hamas. And we fell in love with the possibility that the Hamas might -- that this devil might change. But -- and we've been feeding this devil. And one morning, on Saturday, the 7th of October, this devil woke up, and showed all of us its true nature.
I don't think that we have any choice. At the end of the day, 6 o'clock, after the war, we will all have to find some kind of solution, maybe an international force, in the Gaza Strip, and then the Palestinian Authority, or some kind of solution.
But the solution that we've been living with, Hamas in Gaza, Hezbollah, and we'll go back there, in a minute, to Hezbollah, in Lebanon, is no solution. It's feeding the devil. And this devil wakes up, one morning, on the 7th of October, and slaughters your citizens.
This is something that none of us can live. And none of us includes all of Western civilization.
COOPER: Rami Igra, I appreciate your time, tonight. Thank you.
Coming up next, the family of a Canadian-Israeli mother, murdered in her kibbutz home, by Hamas, in front of her children, who were then kidnapped, to be used, for propaganda. One of them shot, survived. We'll talk to the family ahead.
COOPER: Adi Vital-Kaploun was 33-years-old, and lived on a kibbutz, in southern Israel. When we first told you, her story, she was missing, after the Hamas terror attack. We later learned she had been murdered by Hamas. Her two sons, just 4-years-old, and 4-months-old. The 4-year-old was wounded. They were kidnapped, and forced to walk to Gaza. They were used as propaganda, then let go.
I spoke to Adi's mom, and her sister, her mom's Jacqui Vital and Ayala Vital -- excuse me, Ayala Vital-Joseph, earlier tonight.
Ayala, I know you and your family are sitting shiva, right now, for your sister. What do you want people to know about her?
JACQUI VITAL, DAUGHTER KILLED BY HAMAS AT KIBBUTZ HOLIT: I'm going to answer about my daughter.
She was a superstar. She was born a superstar. Everything she touched really was golden. If you were in the house, today, or the past few days, to hear what people, stories that we don't know, stories that we do know.
But she excelled in everything that she did. She was an athlete, a musician. She top of the class, all through school, through university, cum laude, she just finished her Masters.
And she was kind, gentle, smile on her face, all the time. And she always saw the big picture. She had a plan in life. And she stuck to it, all the way. Everything had to be, when it was the right time for her. And that's how her life was.
COOPER: And she was always that way? From the time she was born, you said she was a superstar.
AYALA VITAL-JOSEPH, SISTER KILLED BY HAMAS AT KIBBUTZ HOLIT: She was just good in everything she did. And she touched so many.
VITAL-JOSEPH: And so many people loved her. And she was so modest, like.
VITAL: She didn't want us -- she didn't want to tell us that she was graduating, this summer, cum laude. A week before the ceremony she said, my friend --
COOPER: She didn't want to tell you?
VITAL: No. She talked -- she said to me, my friends told me I have to do.
COOPER: I would have been bragging about that to everybody who would listen.
VITAL-JOSEPH: Not her.
VITAL: Not her.
VITAL-JOSEPH: She didn't brag about anything.
VITAL: Never. I mean, it's something (ph) sometimes, or today, quite really (ph).
COOPER: I spoke to -- I spoke to Avital, Adi's neighbor, who told me that when these gunmen came, and killed Adi, that Avital didn't know, first of all, that she had been killed. But that they gave her children, to Avital, who had been hiding in a closet --
COOPER: -- with a neighbor, whose name, I think, was Haim (ph), who got killed, in that closet.
COOPER: How are -- how are the children doing, right now?
Because, at the time, Avital didn't know that they had witnessed their mother being murdered.
VITAL-JOSEPH: Well, we don't exactly know what happened, the last minutes, because they're kids. And you're not supposed to ask them, "What did you see exactly?" It's not right psychology. It's not right to ask them. So, we don't exactly know what they saw or didn't see exactly.
But what we believe is that she fought for them. We know she told them that she loved them. And we're so happy that they are here, and they got saved. But we don't exactly know, what they saw, and what exactly were the last words, in the last minutes, before they got to Avital.
VITAL: We know that the --
COOPER: I know one of the children, I believe, had a gunshot wound, on the foot. How are they doing?
VITAL: He's good. He was operated on like 10 days ago. And he's walking.
VITAL-JOSEPH: He's walking.
VITAL: Running, yes, playing with his cousins. He's good. He's good. And the baby is fine. Baby is fine.
COOPER: I know that Hamas made a video of Adi's kids, when they were released, as part of their propaganda. We're not showing that video.
But I'm wondering what your reaction was, when you learned about it.
VITAL-JOSEPH: I can say what my reaction was, because I saw it on TV, surprisingly. And my husband recognized, Negev. And I was shocked. I was shocked. I called my brother. I told him, "What is this? Who sent this? What are they trying to say?" We -- I couldn't understand.
But immediately, they said on the TV here, that it's not Adi. So, I was relieved that someone is saying this is not Adi.
VITAL: It's not the --
VITAL-JOSEPH: It's not the mother of the children.
VITAL: That's what they wanted people to believe.
VITAL-JOSEPH: And we want people to know that it's not the mother of the children, in that video.
COOPER: Ayala, and Jacqui, is there anything else you want people to know about Adi?
VITAL: She would want you to know that she loved the land of Israel that she moved to live, in that part of the country, because it's a beautiful part of the country. She loved the land. Her husband loved to work in the land. That's where we belong. It's where we belong.
COOPER: Jacqui, and Ayala, I'm so sorry for your loss. And I wish you continued strength, and peace, in the days ahead.
VITAL: Thank you.
VITAL-JOSEPH: Thank you so much.
COOPER: And we'll be right back.
COOPER: CNN's coverage, from Israel, continues.
"CNN NEWS NIGHT" with Abby Phillip, starts now.