Return to Transcripts main page
Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees
Israel Warms Of Ground War: "We'll Enter The Gaza Strip; Some Aid Trucks Arrive In Gaza As Humanitarian Crisis Grows; Israeli Military Says It'll Increase Airstrikes In Gaza; IDF: We Struck Tunnel Under Mosque Over "Imminent Attack"; United Nations: Israel Hits Refugee Camp In West Bank; Bodies Of Dad And Daughter Found After Music Festival Attack. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired October 21, 2023 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to our continuing coverage Israel at War. I'm Anderson Cooper in Tel Aviv tonight alongside John Berman in New York, or short time ago, we received this new video showing Israeli tanks and military personnel near the border with Gaza. The IDF said today its increasing his airstrikes on Gaza and its top commander told his forces quote, "will enter the Gaza Strip". Last hour the international spokesman for the IDF told me that quote, their general spirit is one of combat readiness and a very clear resolve and what needs to be done, obviously no mention of timing of any kind of ground operation.
That scene is similar to what CNN's ground team saw with its own eyes earlier today. They witnessed dozens of tanks and armored personnel carriers and bulldozers, the kind of vehicles you would expect to see in any possible ground operation headed into Gaza. We should point out our team saw other locations just like this one. All in all, CNN saw hundreds of tanks and armored vehicles. When President Biden was asked today whether he was encouraging Israelis to delay a possible invasion, he would only say and I quote, "I'm talking to the Israelis."
Now this comes as trucks carrying food, water and medicine were finally allowed to cross into Gaza from Egypt, Palestinian officials as well as the World Health Organization saying it is not nearly enough. Moments ago, we heard Clarissa Ward reported that negotiations are ongoing to try to allow at least as 100 trucks a day to cross that that southern border into southern Gaza. That would be five times as many as we're allowed in today. Lot to get to in the next hour.
Nic -- Nic Robertson is on the ground in Stuart Israel. What has been happening tonight where you are Nick?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes. Cup of -- cup -- another couple of huge explosions just now coming from the direction of Northern Gaza. Hard to tell what is precisely being head. But we do know the tempo of those strikes has been up tonight compared to yesterday compared to the day before. And that certainly accurately reflects what the IDF is telling us that they are going to increase that their airstrikes into Gaza. And this is to make their troops safer on the ground.
So where are those troops on the ground at the moment, and it does seem that they are poised just on this side, the Israeli side of the Gaza border fence. It's very hard to get access to them, at least on the eastern edge of Gaza, because we took a big long tour down there today to try to compare and contrast what we'd seen a week and a week or so ago. You know, I think what we saw the very early phases after the 7th of October was a real rush of heavy equipment and armor and you could see it on the trucks coming in and a lot of reservists. You could go outside some of the military bases down there, not far from Gaza, and see hundreds, probably thousands of vehicles, civilian vehicles belonging to reservists who showed up at bases to, you know, to come and join the army and be ready for an incursion. That sort of sense of momentum isn't there. But in places, for example, where we saw tank units at the side of the road not far from Gaza, doing last minute repairs on tanks just a couple of days ago, they're gone. It's impossible to say, have they gone forward closer to the border or are they on pause and gone back to bases.
But that sense of what Israel requires to have an incursion and having it in place and ready to go? It definitely feels as if we're at that moment. But it's but it's very hard to make that assessment. And it -- and by all accounts, it does seem very hard for Israeli politicians to make the best judgment of when -- of when the military who will make their best judgment in military terms of when it's right to good politicians with the background of hostage release over, you know, the past 24 hours of some humanitarian aid discussion of more aid going in. That does seem to sort of be a factor in perhaps why the ground incursion hasn't happened yet, Anderson.
COOPER: Nic, the -- an IDF spokesman told me last hour we were talking about operations that are going on he said that there was a military aircraft that struck what he described as an underground tunnel at a mosque in the northern West Bank. Have you learn any more about that?
ROBERTSON: Yeah, in Jenin, and it does seem that this has been something that has been generated by real time active intelligence. The IDF has indicated that there were a couple of operatives there in Jenin who they were aware of that were planning some kind of operation. And with that real time intelligence, it appears that they chose to strike that loss.
Now we've seen in this past year, and I went into Jenin after one of the ground incursions that the Israeli military do, those ground incursions take up to hundreds of troops. They cannot act as fast as an airstrike can on active timely intelligence. And we have seen the IDF really try to narrow down and pinpoint what they believe are Hamas and Islamic Jihad cells in Janine and go after them, because they have felt that the security in the West Bank, as far as Israel is concerned, is deteriorating at a detriment to the safety of Israeli citizens. So this seems to fit in with that context. But what we've seen in the past when, when the IDF goes into Jenin that is a big level of anger in Jenin and other towns in the West Bank about these types of incursions. And it does seem likely that this strike will continue to keep tensions in the West Bank and a very high level, Anderson. COOPER: And do we know because the U.N. just put out a statement a short time ago, INRA saying that there was an operation that had been going on for many hours in a refugee camp and that I think as many as 10 people had had been killed. Is that the same operation that the IDF was talking about the tunnels under the mosque? Do we know?
ROBERTSON: It doesn't -- it doesn't seem to be because the name of the refugee camp, they've given is, doesn't seem to -- it doesn't appear to fit with the location of that mosque in Jenin itself. There are refugee camps within -- within Jenin and it is a very, very crowded, densely packed environment there as well in many ways, like some -- some parts of Gaza.
COOPER: Again, Nic Robertson, appreciate it. Thank you. More ahead now. The -- joining me now is Jeremy Diamond in Ashkelon in Israel. Jeremy, we saw the first trucks deliver aid to Gaza. That was it, 20 trucks that was supposed to be kind of the beginning. If it went, okay. The hope was by the United States and Egyptian officials and certainly Palestinians in southern Gaza who are desperate for aid, that there would be a regular flow then of food, water medicine. What's the latest on that?
JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, international aid groups and organizations are certainly welcoming the fact that those first -- the first trucks carrying humanitarian aid have finally entered Gaza in the two weeks since this war began. But they also make very clear that much, much more is needed to alleviate the suffering of the people of Gaza, that they are currently facing. Multiple different aid groups describing the situation in Gaza as a dire humanitarian crisis.
We heard earlier today from the World Food Programs Executive Director Cindy McCain, who said that Starvation is rampant inside the Gaza Strip, she described the situation as quote, "catastrophic". And she said this quote, "cannot be the last convoy to enter".
Now, as you mentioned, Clarissa our colleague, Clarissa Ward is reporting that there are ongoing negotiations for additional humanitarian aid to enter. And there have also been discussions, I can tell you in talk from talking to U.S. officials about establishing a humanitarian corridor for not only aid to flow in, but also for civilians, including American citizens to exit. Remember, it's been a week now since American civilian citizens inside of Gaza were told by embassy officials to go towards the Rafah crossing, believing that it would open for them to exit. And yet still a week after they were told to go there, they still have not been able to leave.
Part of the complication here is the number of different organizations and countries evolved involved in these negotiations, not only U.S. officials, but Egyptian officials, Palestinian officials inside of Gaza, as well as Israeli officials who all have to sign off in order for these negotiations to go any further. At the same time, we know that the death toll inside of Gaza continues to rise. And as we look at this ground invasion as potentially being imminent concerns about civilian casualties are only going to increase.
I spoke with a commander of a Special Forces unit as they were conducting a training in preparation for this ground invasion. And something that he said really struck me because he was talking about the fact that the Israeli military has directed civilians to leave the northern half of the Gaza Strip to head south. And what he also said was that anyone who has chosen to stay in the northern half of the Gaza Strip has quote chosen a side. And that message to his troops is effectively that anyone who is inside that half of the Gaza Strip could potentially be considered an enemy could potentially be considered a target.
At the same time, he made clear that they are going to avoid striking schools, hospitals, those types of locations and that they will still take precautions as it relates to civilians. But at the same time, we know that the IDF has loosened the rules of engagement, raising the specter of more civilian casualties going forward.
COOPER: Yes, that -- yes, Jeremy Diamond. Thank you. Three year old Abigail Marie Dawn is believed to be among those held hostage tonight by Hamas taken after her father was shot a holding her shielding her with his own body. Her mother, a U.S. citizen was also killed, but not before she was able to hide Abigail's brother and sister in a closet saving their lives. Originally, Abigail's family thought that she had been killed alongside her father only now are they discovering that she wandered to the home of another family, who took her in, but was later taken hostage.
Joining me now is Liz Naftali (ph). She's Abigail is great aunt. Liz, I'm so sorry for your family is going through this is unthinkable. Can you -- do you know what happened that morning on October 7th to Abigail?
LIZ NAFTALI, ABIGAIL MARIE DAWN'S GREAT AUNT: Oh, I just want to say one thing, because there was so much miscommunication, so many stories. And originally that morning, we actually thought that the mother locked her kids in the closet. Those kids actually saw their mother be killed by Hamas terrorists in their home. They ran out to their father. He was then holding with Abigail, and he was murdered.
They then thought Abigail died. They ran back to the house. They actually locked themselves in this closet. This only we found out after they were freed and they were able to explain what happened. They stayed in that closet until almost until dark so they were in that closet for over 12 hours.
Abigail survived the shooting and talked to her neighbors the neighbors took her in and husband wife with three kids. They put her in the bomb shelter as they went out to defend a kibbutz he was injured. And then the next thing they understood was that an eyewitness saw Hamas terrorists taking the mother and the little children away from the kibbutz. So that's how we know and that's what we got through the week as people started to understand how the story unfolded.
COOPER: And you're sharing this photo of Abigail's family for the first time in it we see Abigail's two siblings who are 10 and 6 years old. I mean, I, they attended their parents funeral. I understand just yesterday. I was going to ask, how are they doing? But it's a ridiculous question.
NAFTALI: It is, but this is what I will say. I mean, to see your parents both being murdered and then to go to their funeral. And the only saving pieces that we have a beautiful family. We have a large family. They -- and they lived on a kibbutz where they had grandparents and their other cousins and aunts and uncles. So they are used to being with family. And that is the -- I guess we would call the blessing in this moment that it's a beautiful large family and they're safely now with other relatives.
And we just pray and hope that Abigail will be returned to be with her siblings and her grandparents, aunts and uncles and everybody. And that's if you have trouble doing -- I think there -- this was on kibbutz Carranza before October 7th.
COOPER: Okay. Which is obviously the scene of terrible brutality. The release last night of the two American hostages does that -- does that give you hope? Does it -- what did you think when you heard?
NAFTALI: I thought it was very hopeful was the beginning and I look forward to other hostages being released. We had I feel like that was a good beginning.
COOPER: So many families, which is one of the many horrific things about the last few weeks is that they have had to go through videos on telegram and on these other social media channels looking through horrific videos just searching for any kind of image of their loved one. Has someone in your family done that looking for I mean, have you seen has there been any image of Abigail since October 7.
NAFTALI: There's nothing that we have found or that we know of the only thing that we know is a witness is Somebody from the kibbutz amongst the crazy chaos of that moment saw her and the family being the mother and these little children all be taken away.
COOPER: Oh, is there anything else you want people to know?
NAFTALI: Well, I would love to just take this moment to one, appreciate all the people that have been supportive of our family and supportive of what's going on and recognizing the atrocities that took place. But I also want to encourage President Biden to work with the Qatari officials and those in the region to secure Abigail's release, and the release of all the hostages from all the nations. Because I feel like at this point, that's one step towards one saving lives. And also, I hope, calming things a bit.
But we have a lot of lives out there to save and I really hope that that will be the priority of everybody in the meantime, in the days to come. Because each one of those vibes just like Abigail, our family, here in America and in Israel, is so valuable. So I really hope that that is part of the plan and that is what will take place.
COOPER: Liz Naftali, thank you so much.
NAFTALI: Thank you.
COOPER: A sad update to tell you about a young woman that we just mentioned in our last hour while speaking to a family who's whose son, Paulin Goldberg (ph) was taken hostage with a severe wound. That young woman we were talking about as Ruth Parrish. She was 17 years old. She was at the nova music festival with her father Eric, when the gunman attacked for days they were missing. There's a lot of concern, obviously about both of their safeties. She was wheelchair bound with a physical condition, according to reports needed a feeding tube to be fed. Sadly, we have learned her body and her father's body were found near that music festival by volunteers.
Coming up as Israeli troops gather at the Gaza border, there are certainly growing fears that conflict could soon spread beyond Gaza plus the American mom and daughter who were captured by Hamas and now on route home to talk to their rabbi about how they're doing.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, welcome back. John Berman here. This is our coverage of Israel at War. All reporters inside Israel right on the border with Gaza has seen an increase in activity among the Israeli troops stationed there. Infantry tanks, vehicles ready to go into Gaza at a moment's notice. When that will come? We don't know but it could happen soon.
With me now CNN military analyst retired Major General James spider marks and spider one of the things we are hearing is that Israel has increased the intensity of its airstrikes all over Gaza. Nic Robertson isn't set out right here is hearing bigger and bigger blasts. What is Israel doing right now from the air?
MAJ. GEN. JAMES "SPIDER" MARKS, (RET.) CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, these are final preps for the ground assault that's coming in. Now what we see here is these are strikes red and yellows just signify dates that have taken place airstrikes that have taken place over the course of the last couple of weeks.
BERMAN: This is up to the 75 days ago.
MARKS: Correct. Correct. We would see and as you could tell, Gaza city doesn't have many strikes in that area. So what we would see is Israel would begin to go after known targets that they haven't struck before that will be in direct support of the ground assault. So this may have been going after support activities, command control activities, maybe some logistics, may have been going after tunnels that they know have exits, where they can strike them. The next series of strikes will go after very precise targets to support the ground assault that's coming in to Gaza.
Now, in addition, we just saw these two Americans, the mother and daughter that came back, John, that significant. BERMAN: Okay. Explain that. There are some 210 hostages. Two have now
been released. What information would you try to get from them?
MARKS: As an intelligence officer, I would want to sit down with his mom and daughter and say, Please give me a sense of the people that were holding you. You may not know where you were in Gaza. You probably were blindfolded. You are in darkness. You might have been in tunnels. You moved from different locations. You have no clue.
But when they took the blindfold off, what did you see? What did you hear? Give us a sense of those kinds of environmental goals that allows the intelligence picture to get more refined and more refined. And then you do that over time, you get that much more precise targeting as a result. This is a great opportunity. God bless. They're free. But take advantage of this opportunity and see what you can extract from them.
BERMAN: How many people were holding you? Where are you with any other hostages?
MARKS: What did you hear in the background?
BERMAN: Inside or outside?
BERMAN: Above ground, below ground. May not know but might have some sense.
BERMAN: It -- is that the type of thing that would then shapes perhaps the operations that are that seem imminent?
MARKS: Very well could. And in fact, remember, the IDF wants to go after military and political leaders of Hamas. That's kind of mission number one, if you can go find those individuals, kill those individuals, you're off to the races in terms of rolling this thing up. What that type of information, if you could get it from the mom and the daughter gives you more precise intelligence that would help those primarily special ops forces that would be doing those very direct hit missions against the leadership spread.
BERMAN: I'm not sure how much more time we have in this discussion. But if we can, we talk about the possibility of this conflict widening beyond the borders of Israel. I put this map up here because there's been a lot of concern of right here, just that small border right there between Israel and Lebanon, where there's been exchanged the fire back and forth between the Israelis and Hezbollah, which is an Iranian backed militia, which operates inside Lebanon. That concerns right there. But everything in red here is a place either it is Iran or a place where Iran has got enormous influence and well-armed proxies. So if this war to spread, what would that look like?
MARKS: Well, what would happen and first of all, this is the Shia Crescent. So this is where the influence lies. Bear in mind we've got U.S. soldiers in Syria. We've got U.S. soldiers in Iraq and we get it up here in Syria.
Those locations, albeit not large numbers, it doesn't matter. These are U.S. soldiers on the ground. And those two locations, they could be targeted as well, initially, we've already seen that. We've already seen the U.S. Carney right here intercepted some drones and some missile strikes.
BERMAN: From Iranian backed Houthis (ph) in Yemen.
MARKS: You bet. You could also say, good old friend, Qatar, which is very closely aligned to Hamas. So you could see if this thing were to increase in its volatility and its rage, which clearly defines it, you got to look at right there Straits of Hormuz. You got to look at the presence of U.S. naval vessels, and what the spillover might be, again, very, very critical what's happening on the border with Egypt and what's happening on the border with Jordan.
BERMAN: All right. Is a tough map for Israel, but in many ways has been a tough map for Israel for 75 years.
BERMAN: This has its own unique complications today, though. Spider Marks Great to have you here. Thank you so much General.
MARKS: Thank you, John.
BERMAN: Coming up. We're just getting word of an Israeli strike on an alleged tunnel at a mosque that was over an imminent attack that happened in the West Bank here. Anderson Cooper will speak lit official in the Israel Defense Forces next.
COOPER: I'm Anderson Cooper live in Tel Aviv. We're following the breaking news of two apparent strikes by Israeli forces including one against what Israel says was an underground tunnel at a mosque in the West Bank. Joining us now is IDF Spokesman General Jonathan Conricus.
Lieutenant Colonel, I understand that you've put out some new pictures which I think we're going to show. Can you talk about this strike?
LT. COL. JONATHAN CONRICUS, ISRAEL DEFENSE FORCES INTERNATIONAL SPOKESPERSON: Yes, there was. This was a joint operation between the IDF and the ISA Israeli security agency in Hebrew, Shabak. The intelligence was based much on ISA work and the strike was done by the IDF. The issue here was an imminent attack, we had live intelligence about an imminent attack by a known terrorist network that had been using that mosque and the underground facility under it for terror purposes for a long period of time. You will remember that -- and this was a Hamas and Islamic Jihad joint operation. You will remember you remember that in July this year, the IDF launched a two-day operation called Home and Garden against set networks in Jenin. And already then that area was exposed as something that Hamas and Islamic Jihad were using for terror purposes. At that time, we decided not to strike or dismantle the tunnel network. We mapped it and documented it. Now, as there was an imminent threat against Israelis, we decided to do that.
COOPER: Can you say what the imminent threat was?
CONRICUS: To conduct a strike against Israeli targets, most likely civilian. Although I don't have final details on that yet. This is a cell or a network that has already done quite sophisticated attacks against Israel. One of them being about a month ago when they struck when they activated an IED, which was based on cellular activation, which is much more sophisticated than the run-of-the-mill attacks that we see many times in Judea and Samaria. So this was a high-level network and hence, an imminent threat. And that is why we decided to take it out.
COOPER: The UN tonight reports that -- UNRWA reports that there was an Israeli strike the hit in a refugee camp in the West Bank that they said the operation was going on for about 28 hours. They say that 13 people were killed, including five children, what -- what can you say about that?
CONRICUS: I am definitely not aware of any reports of children's surely not that number. I am aware of the fact that we have done quite extensive operations both into column in Jenin and in other locations. Also in Jericho.
COOPER: I think it was Nur Sham (ph),
CONRICUS: Nur Sham, yeah, Tulkarm, if I'm not mistaken. So yes, there's been significant activity over the last two weeks. We have rounded up about 450 Hamas operatives in Judea and Samaria, that have either been part of Hamas infrastructure, or planning to execute attacks against Israeli targets military or civilian. So there's an ongoing conflict here on in Judea and Samaria as well. We are aware of significant Hamas attempts to escalate the situation to threaten Israeli communities and Israelis traveling on the road. And it's really a race who gets there first if they get to do the attack or we are able to preempt them.
In this case, we were able to take those terrorists out before they had the opportunity to strike.
COOPER: I just learned that Israel had put out a statement a couple of days ago about Ruth Peretz who is the 17-year-old woman in the wheelchair, young woman in the wheelchair, the nova music festival who was there with her father. There had been reports she had been had been taken. Apparently, she has actually -- her body actually in the body of her father has actually been found. Can you confirm that? Because I just saw that, and apparently was released a couple of days ago. Do you have any information about where she was found?
CONRICUS: So yeah, as we've discussed before, you know, the situation on October the 7th, the sheer amount of casualties that we had, and the geographical spread of where those casualties were the fact that some were killed inside Israel, and then some were taken into Gaza. Some of the hostages actually were taken into Gaza and some for various reasons. Were not taken into Gaza.
And what we've done over the last few days is to collect. We've launched tactical operations in the perimeter of the border in order to collect information. And as I've also said before we are doing a lot of efforts to try to identify bodies. And once a positive identification is made using DNA and advanced techniques, then the authorities can report to families, whether or not they are considered hostages or missing or if they are confirmed then. And I am rather confident that at least with this situation, this is what happened. They were presumed missing, but then their bodies were found. And we understood that they have indeed been murdered by Hamas.
COOPER: So, in some cases you're finding -- and -- and correct me if I'm wrong, or if I'm misunderstanding. In some cases, I'm not saying it's in this case. But in some cases, you're finding people who may have been taken initially from like De Novo music festival site but didn't make it into Gaza. Maybe after they were initially taken. Somebody decided to just execute them.
CONRICUS: Correct. Sadly, yes. We have found quite a few I cannot say how many. But there have been Israeli bodies, body parts found by Israeli troops in the perimeter area. As I said, a very very, you know, a scene of carnage. A carnage that wasn't defined to one geographical area. But really, we had to go and search the old- fashioned way with boots on the ground and really look for parts in a complex area. And unfortunately, we found parts in various locations. That is part of the effort that we're doing in order to bring information to the families and to understand where the loved ones are, if they are missing or dead, or if we think that they are held hostage by Hamas.
COOPER: Jonathan Conricus, thank you for your time.
CONRICUS: Thank you.
COOPER: Two American hostages are free and on the way home we'll be open to speak with someone who knows the mom and daughter well, the rabbi from the temple that they go to back in the U.S. next.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: More now on the two fried American hostages, Judith Raanan and her 17-year-old daughter, Natalie, they live near Chicago. They were visiting a family -- they visiting family in the (inaudible) a kibbutz in southern Israel when they were captured. Joining us now is the rabbi to the Raanan family. Rabbi Mayer Hecht.
Rabbi, thank you so much for being with us. Have you had a chance to speak to them yet? RABBI MAYER HECHT, FRIEND OF RELEASED AMERICAN HOSTAGES: John, thank you so much for having me. This is been such an overwhelming and incredible past Shabbat. We just concluded the Shabbat I have not had a chance to reach out to anybody yet. All I know is that we've been so -- so incredibly overwhelmed with this beyond-amazing news. And our community members have been coming together throughout the Shabbat.
And last night, Friday night, we had a candle-lighting event and the whole community got together. Today we had the community together and people were sharing their emotions and sharing their elated joy. And everyone had a chance to share their feelings. It was just a really, really special special day. The Shabbat today was -- was beyond belief.
At the same time, of course, you know, our hearts are still pained and deeply concerned because we know that there's -- yes, we are our close friends. People who to us are like family have been released. But we still have over 200 plus hostages who are to us like brothers and sisters as well in Israel -- in Gaza, and we continue to pray for them. And we continue to hope for their release.
But again, we our hearts are filled with joy and gratitude to the Almighty God for this incredible miracle.
BERMAN: You know, I hadn't considered that that they were released. You knew they were released before Shabbat and then you've had this last day to be with the congregation to celebrate that moment. When you do get them home, when you do have them in front of you inside your congregation, what's the first thing you're going to say to them?
HECHT: Oh, my goodness, I'm going to say thank you, God Almighty. And I was so excited and happy to see you both here. We are really looking forward to that moment to that day. And we will make the celebration of the century.
BERMAN: I understand Natalie is about to turn 18. So it's just next week, I think is her 18th birthday.
HECHT: I believe it's this week on Tuesday, what I heard.
BERMAN: Talk to me about both of them.
HECHT: Judith is an attendee in our congregation every Sabbath. It's to have the feeling like today when we gathered together, everyone was talking about how Judith would be here with us. And typically, she would be walking around bringing the goodies from our -- from our Sabbath lunch to everyone passing around the food and making sure everyone was taking care of going from person to person and helping them she's a generous kind soul, someone who was always there for other people, someone who always gave of herself for others and her daughter, Natalie.
From what I hear Natalie is the same as her mom. She wasn't the regular by our congregation. But Natalie is -- has been with us from time to time. And Natalie is so kind and generous and also such a giving and kind hearted soul. So these are really special people and for us this the fact that
they've been released, is it just incredibly, overwhelmingly elating just lifts us up so much and it gives us hope for the rest as well.
BERMAN: Hang on to that hope. Rabbit Meyer hack. We appreciate you being with us. Thank you. If you see them before us, please give them a big hug.
HECHT: Absolutely, John. And as you conclude this interview, please share with the viewers that the prayers and the good deeds that we did for Judith and Natalie, it really had an effect. So let's continue sharing that goodness, sharing the kindness, sharing the message of peace and light that will overpower and will prevail against the darkness that we're facing. It works so let's continue bringing those prayers and kind deeds to the world.
BERMAN: Thank you so much Rob. I really appreciate it.
HECHT: Thank you.
BERMAN: Let's talk more now about the hostage crisis. With us a CNN Senior National Security Analyst Juliette Kayyem. And in Yes, it will take prayer. But it will also take an enormous amount of diplomacy in action to get more of these hostages back.
A key player in all of this is Qatar, the nation of Qatar, which is where the Hamas political leadership lives by the way. In Qatar, yet the United States has a good relationship with them. How is this going to work?
JULIETTE KAYYEM, FORMER U.S. ASST. SECY. FOR HOMELAND SECURITY: Right. So Qatar has long believed that having a political relationship with Hamas is actually beneficial in Hamas was the sort of governing authority of Gaza. So there was no one else really to talk to at the time. And believes its continuing role now is helpful in the hostages.
So releasing hostages does take prayer, as a rabbi said, but it's not done. Because like Hamas, all of a sudden got nice. It's done because Hamas sees an interest in releasing Americans. That's all they've released so far. And the -- and the reason why the two interests are, Qatar is telling them you better do this. Because -- because we need a narrative, essentially, because people are angry at Hamas for what they did. The Palestinians and Arabs are not united about around Hamas at all there is what was the strategy for Hamas doing it.
There's a second interest for why you would release the Americans and that is because Hamas and Qatar also listened to the news. They know that there is growing concern across all communities about the humanitarian issues in Gaza right now and is trying to create everything is about storytelling. It's to create a narrative that Hamas are the good people who released the American hostages and ---- and that -- that they're willing to release hostages makes it more imperative that Biden try to delay Netanyahu from going in because we don't know what the what the number is, but anywhere between 100 and 200 hostages.
So that -- so everyone, this is not -- this is not done because of prayer. And it's not done because Hamas is all of a sudden, like, yeah, that's a good idea. It's -- they're trying to figure out their interest as well.
BERMAN: Well, what do you think Hamas really wants from these hostages?
KAYYEM: Oh, well, what is delay? So Israel has a moral quandary right now, which is, you know, they're ready to go. I mean, we've been waiting, you know, they're they're ready to go. This is not a question the moral quandary is, does Israel go in knowing that they will lose their hostages? Because I don't think we know I don't think Israel knows where they are as well as -- as other country hostages. So that's basically the first. The second isn't it -- what is Hamas want?
Hamas wants to create a narrative that that brings people back to them and everyone talks about the Arabs as if they're unified. There is a lot of anger about obviously what Hamas did not just by the United States and the Israelis but -- but by Palestinians and Arab countries. They're now trying to show that they can be reached that there was a reason for it. That they -- that they can have a that they can be rational in this -- in the madness and horror that they unleashed against the Israelis over a week or two weeks ago now. So that's basically what this is. So I do not think Israelis will be released. I would suspect you know, whatever the number is more Americans would be released because they're playing to to that on (inaudible).
BERMAN: Juliette Kayyem, a lot of people right now a lot of families hoping. Right.
Breaking news here in the United States, a synagogue leader in Detroit found stabbed to death outside her home. We're going to speak with a close friend of hers next.
COOPER: Some tragic news out of the U.S. tonight, Samantha Woll synagogue leader in Detroit was found outside her home stabbed to death. Please say it is still unclear what the motive or circumstances were surrounding her murder. Joining me now is Moreno Taylor, former co-worker and friend of Samantha Woll. Mr. Taylor, I'm so sorry for your loss and -- and the community's loss as well. What was she like?
MORENO TAYLOR, FRIEND OF SAMANTHA WOLL: I appreciate that. Anderson, I just want to first and foremost, my thoughts and prayers go off to Sam's family and friends. She was such a bright light in our community. And you know, I've done so much to contribute to the revitalization of the city of Detroit. Sam was -- she was energetic. She always had that bright smile that you're showing now. You know, she greeted everybody with love, compassion. And she really lead -- she is someone who embodies her values.
COOPER: How did you get to -- you're co-worker, how did you get to know her?
TAYLOR: Yep. We worked last year on ag Dana Nestle's reelection campaign. She was the political director, I was the field director. So we spent a lot of time on the road together staff, you know, events and you know, in the campaign world, you know, you get to be like family and you know, Sam was like a little sister to me. And so this is just -- just shocking and I'm still you know, kind of numb and I think many of us are because you know, Sam didn't deserve this.
COOPER: So many people have talked about the --the drive that she had, what do you think -- what do you think her drive was? What do you think was based on?
TAYLOR: You know, it was definitely around her faith first but you know, Sam was someone who really believed that you know, you have to put in work to you know, make the community what you want it to be. You know, whether it be knocking doors on campaigns or whether dedicating her time to causes that she believed in. You know, she really lived it you know. She wasn't somebody that just talked about it. She, you know, put in the work and -- and you know, we're we need more samples other --
COOPER: People were -- there's a number of people who have talked about her said that she was at a great good place in her life that there were new opportunities ahead and she was very excited it sounded like about the future.
TAYLOR: Know I haven't talked to Sam and the pattern in a few months so I can't speak directly to that but that would not surprise me at all. You know, Sam was very much in tune with community and had a lot of leadership roles and she was not afraid to speak out and speak truth to power and so that's one of the reasons why I think this is just such a shock to so many in the community.
COOPER: Police are still trying to figure out exactly what happened. Moreno Taylor, thank you so much. And again, I'm so sorry. We're talking about these circumstances.
TAYLOR: I appreciate you bringing light to Sam's wonderful life and this is just a tragedy. So anything we can do to find resolution sooner than later. I appreciate that. Thank you so much, Anderson.
COOPER: Yeah. You take care. That's it for us from here in Tel Aviv. Right now coming up, Sir Seidner reporting the whole story, terror in Israel ahead.
COOPER: Welcome to the whole story. I'm Anderson Cooper in Tel Aviv. One of the worst scenes of slaughter during the Hamas terror attack on Israel was at the Supernova Festival, a dance party just 3.3 miles away from the border with Gaza. More than 3,000, mostly young people had gathered in an open field. It became a killing field. The sight of the single biggest loss of civilian life in Israel's history. Over the course of about six hours, terrorists killed more than 260 people there. Many were slaughtered at the site. Others were ambushed or hunted down as they tried to flee. We still don't know how many party-goers were kidnapped and how many of those people may still be alive, being held somewhere in Gaza, Hamas has posted hostage videos online and desperate family members in Israel have resorted to scrolling through jihadist videos searching for any images of their loved one.