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The Lead with Jake Tapper
Sources: Hamas Releases Two Israeli Hostages; Israel Releases Video Of Hamas Brutalities During Attack; Sources: Intelligence Shows Iranian-Backed Militias Are Ready To Ramp Up Attacks Against U.S. Forces; Sources: U.S. Asks Israel To Delay Gaza Invasion For Hostage Talks; Bodies Pulled From Compound Of Orthodox Church In Gaza that Was Hit By Israeli Airstrike; Antisemitic Incidents In U.S. After Hamas Attack On Israel. Aired 4-5p ET
Aired October 23, 2023 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper, live on a rooftop overlooking Tel Aviv, Israel. It is just after 11:00 p.m. here, and it has been 16 days since the horrific terrorist attacks by Hamas caught this country, and frankly much of the world, by complete surprise.
We're going to start tonight with breaking news. Hamas has released two more of the hostages it kidnapped from Israel during its October 7th terrorist attack. That's according to multiple sources who say the hostages are Nurit Cooper and Yocheved Lifshitz. The Lifshitz family said in a statement that the women were handed over to the Red Cross and will shortly to Israel.
We happened to be at the time with Israeli Defense Forces spokesman Jonathan Conricus, when the news came in, and this is part of his reaction.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JONATHAN CONRICUS, ISRAELI DEFENSE FORCES SPOKESMAN: They are differentiating, distinguishing, between only Israelis and double citizens, or perhaps, only foreigners, which rings familiar for me, as a Jew, and as a third generation Holocaust survivor. It brings familiar from other times in our history.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Israel believes around 220 people were kidnapped victims are still being held by Hamas. And the White House believes a handful of those kidnapping victims are Americans.
A U.S. official told CNN today that Israel believes at least some of the American hostages are still alive, and sources say the U.S. has been pushing Israel to continue delaying its ground incursion into Gaza to allow more time to get hostages out, as well as allowing crucial humanitarian relief into Gaza. I want to bring in CNN's Alex Marquardt, as well as CNN's Jeremy
Diamond, who is in Ashkelon, Israel.
And, Alex, we're hearing that these two hostages are Israeli citizens, all that we're hearing some other information about maybe one or both of them also might be dual citizens. I'm not quite sure. It's early yet. How did these investigations unfold?
ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: It is early yet. We're certainly trying to learn more, but there's a lot that we have learned, Jake, and just the past few moments. This is, of course, the second release of hostages we've seen since Friday. Judith and Natalie Raanan were released on Friday, American citizens. Now, we have the release of Yocheved Lifshitz, 85 years old, and Nurit Cooper, 79 years old.
The results of these ongoing and rather intense negotiations that Hamas is speaking with both Qatar and Egypt. Qatar, certainly leading those efforts from our understanding.
So we got word not too long ago that these two Israeli women were being released by Hamas. There are released into Red Cross custody. We understand from the Lifshitz family statement, from Yocheved Lifshitz's daughter, that they were given to the Red Cross at the Rafah crossing. That is the Gaza border crossing with Egypt, and that they will soon be back in Israel, and we assume handed over to Israeli officials.
Yocheved Lifshitz's daughter says she can't put into words the relief that she is now feeling that her mother is now safe. But Jake, we should note that her father is still among the more than 200 hostages still in Hamas custody. So, this is the same mechanism, the same model, if you, well that was used for the release of the Raanan women on Friday. They are still in Israel, I understand. They're going to be de-briefed by U.S. officials so that the U.S. can glean what they can in terms of intelligence, how they were held, how they were moved around, whatever the U.S. can learn about that time in custody in Gaza.
Jake, I should also note that one day after the release of these Raanans on Saturday, Hamas said they were reeling to release two more people. And at the time, over the weekend, the office of Prime Minister Netanyahu, he called that false propaganda from Hamas. So I think they're going to be a lot of questions right now for the prime minister. We also have to see what will happen now, Jake. This is sort of a slow trickle of these hostage releases, one of course, Israel, the U.S., and all these other countries who have hostages are demanding that they all get released immediately, Jake.
TAPPER: And, Jeremy, what does this particular hostage release mean for Israel's potential plans for a ground invasion?
I have heard it speculated that Hamas is doing exactly what it's doing so as to delay the ground invasion. JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, there's no question that that
is certainly one of the aims of Hamas here. I mean, they have held these two women, for example, who are being released tonight for more than two weeks, and yet it's only now that they say they're releasing them on humanitarian grounds.
And so, it appears clear that Hamas has been repeatedly dangling the possibility of releasing additional hostages in order to try and get Israel to delay and perhaps inevitably push off, indefinitely push off, rather, a ground invasion.
But I think what appears clear is even as the United States has been asking Israel to delay its ground invasion in order to leave more time for these Qatar led mediation efforts to try to get some hostages released, Israel may be willing to delay that invasion for a matter of days, perhaps. But ultimately, Israel is going to move forward with this ground invasion. It is clear when you're on the ground, as we were today, seeing the enormous massing of troops, tanks, armored personnel carriers, bulldozers, all within just a few miles of the Gaza border, ready to go.
Troops certainly prepared to go at a moments notice as soon as they get that command. And also, as we listen to Israel's top military officials, Israel's top political leaders as well, all of them really not mincing anywhere it's about what is coming next. Making clear that there will be a ground invasion, making clear that this will be a, quote, multi lateral operation as the defense minister said tonight, from air, land, and sea.
And so, it seems very difficult to imagine Israel backing off from that position, given the bellicose rhetoric that we've heard from Israel's political and military leadership in recent days.
TAPPER: All right. Alex Marquardt and Jeremy Diamond in Ashkelon, thank you so much.
Today, here in Israel, there's a renewed effort by Israeli officials to try to not only dispel myths and rumors, but also be clear about Hamas's brutality against innocent civilians. The Israeli Defense Force has gathered hundreds of international journalists today to show them proof, to show them videos such as this one, which the IDF released today, proof positive, evidence of Hamas brutality. The IDF says this is proof of the brutality of Hamas. They showed up for mass gunman shooting a driver on an Israeli highway.
Beyond this video that they released today, they also showed another 40-minute long film from the GoPro data on the bodies of dead Hamas terrorists, 40 minutes. This was shown to CNN and other journalists, both last week and today. We're not going to show you these videos, this 40 minutes, so graphic, so disgusting, so disturbing from the point of view of the terrorists.
But you should know what's in them, some of the images that the journalists who saw them witnessed. Such as, a father and his two young sons, maybe seven or eight, running for their lives into a shelter of some sort, a terrorist throws a grenade into the shelter, the dad is killed, the boys are wounded.
Another shows a terrorist trying to be had a man with some sort of garden hoe. Another shows a truckfull of terrorists throwing the corpse of a woman onto the road. Images of burned babies.
I asked IDF spokesman Jonathan Conricus why, why does Israel feel the need to show this evidence? To show this proof to the world?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CONRICUS: People are looking away. And I think that the world needs to know, needs to see, and needs to understand what we feel, and what Israelis feel, and what brought all of us into this horrible situation. And if you don't know, if you aren't aware of the horrible, atrocious murders, beheadings, mutilations, rape, and all of the burning people alive, all of these horrible things that we never thought that we would witness as an Israeli military, of our civilians, but if people aren't aware, they won't be able to understand where we are, and they won't be able to understand where this is going.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: I want to go now to CNN's Clarissa Ward who is in Cairo, Egypt.
And, Clarissa, you've been following a different story, the dire crisis in Gaza, the dire need for food, for medicine, for water.
Today, another 28 trucks were able to enter the territory for Egypt, but that still is not enough.
CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No, Jake, it's really a drop in the bucket. You're talking about, in the last few days, some 60 trucks that have managed to get into Gaza. And just to give you some perspective, before this war, three weeks ago, 455 trucks a day, according to the U.N. In the last 60 days, there's been no aid going in. On a normal level, there would've been more than 7,000 trucks going in during a 16-day period. And meanwhile, this is happening against the backdrop of relentless and punishing bombardment, the scenes in these hospitals are just extraordinary. It's harrowing.
We spoke to one doctor in the Al Shifa hospital in Gaza City. He said two days left before their fuel runs out. The situation will go from critical to dire. And I warn our viewers that some of the images they're about to see are distressing.
WARD (voice-over): You are entering the Al Shifa hospital in Gaza City. This is just one minute on one day. The doctors tell us it could be any minute from the last 16 days. It is the scene from hell. Many of the patients are young children. The reception area now a triage center, everywhere you turn, another casualty.
Every one of these people has been ordered by Israel's military to evacuate the hospital, including the staff, already outnumbered and overwhelmed. And as the punishing bombardment continues, the wounded keep flooding in. Doctors say there is nowhere else for them to go, and no safe way to transport them out.
DR. MARWAN ABUSADA, CHIEF OF SURGERY, AL SHIFA HOSPITAL: We have the mass casualties once or twice a day, but now, we have every half an hour casualties. So, it's overloaded our emergency departments, and our OT department and IPT (ph) are overloaded with patients.
WARD: Dr. Marwan Abusada warns that the situation is about to get dramatically worse. The hospital, he says, it's just two days away from running out of fuel, needed to power the generators that are keeping the hospital and its patients alive.
If you do run out of fuel in two days, what will you do? I mean, what can you do?
ABUSADA: I think the international community will be part of the process of killing our people. If they don't act on Israel and allow to get the fuel entrance to Gaza, what to do for the people who are ICU or mechanical ventilator? What about the neonatal, the small babies? We have more than 130 in our neonatal, ICU units. What do we do with them? They will, okay, I think we are allowing them to die in these stations (ph) if we don't have fuel to run our generators in the hospital.
WARD: Just a trickle of aid has been allowed to cross into Gaza, and none of it fuel. Blocked by Israel, it says over concerns it will be taken by Hamas. Hundreds of trucks are waiting along the Egyptian side of the border.
The diplomatic efforts to establish a continuous humanitarian corridor have failed, and there is no more time for debate.
WARD (on camera): Now, Jake, Dr. Abusada said that of that aid, those 60 some trucks that have come into Gaza, none of them yet have actually made it to his hospital in the northern part of the enclave. That is the part that is supposed to be evacuated, that Israelis have ordered to evacuate for obvious reasons. You saw in our story there, it's simply not possible to evacuate. Not clear when he will actually get his hands, or when his hospital will get their hands on some of that aid.
One other important point, other than the fuel that he underscored, is water. There is a real crisis now with water. He said a lot of people are drinking brackish water. There are some 50,000 pregnant women in the Gaza Strip right now, according to the U.N. He said they're seeing increased rates of preeclampsia in these women because of drinking impure women.
Really this crisis, no end in sight, Jake. And the stakes are so high now.
TAPPER: Clarissa Ward in Cairo, thank you so much.
There is, understandably, tremendous sense of outrage and unease here in Israel for so many. Any sense of security has been tragically shattered. For others, the October 7th attacks, as grisly as they were, have spurred in some new sense of purpose and service.
ILANA BAR, SISTER KILLED BY HAMAS: My sister killed. She go to run next to kibbutz Erez, between Erez and Netiv Sara (ph) and she's not back. And I just buried her last week.
TAPPER (voice-over): At the Tel Aviv airport, what would be normal arrivals and departures are now 16 days after the horror of October 7th punctuated by the emotions of war, some coming now to join the fight. And those leaving, searching for escape.
BAR: I don't have a home anymore. I don't know where we're going to live.
TAPPER: Ilana Bar had just buried her sister, Naomi. She was killed while out on a run near a kibbutz Erez. Ilana had also survived an attack on her kibbutz near Netanya.
BAR: We are lucky we are alive, because we have 16 (ph) terrorism in my kibbutz. We are lucky and say thank you to God.
TAPPER: After much more than two weeks of war, and facing a much longer future of uncertainty, some families are looking to flee.
YULLYA VERIN, LEAVING ASHKELON WITH HER FAMILY: We decided to leave for a while, because we live here in Ashkelon, and it's like a tough time to be here. So, we have a chance to leave and stay in a safe place for a while. So, we decided to go.
TAPPER: Some people are just arriving in Israel from all over the world. They've been moved to come and try to help in any way they can.
JEFFREY FORMAN, VOLUNTEER FROM FLORIDA: I can't help. I'm a volunteer. I brought 400 pounds worth of supplies for the soldiers. We're going to drop them off, and then I'm going to volunteer in a hospital. I felt like I had to do something, felt like I had to get up. I volunteered here before, and I just knew I had to come.
TAPPER: Others are trying to return to normal, saying the last few weeks have been a reminder to celebrate life and love.
SHMUEL SPERO, ARRIVING FOR SON'S WEDDING: My son is getting married here, Thursday night. We're forging ahead, and it's big joy, and, you know, Jews are jugglers. So, we're juggling the pain, the sorrow, with the joy. It seems like you had to do both at the same time, you know? We have to juggle. (END VIDEOTAPE)
TAPPER: Scenes from the Tel Aviv airport today.
Coming up later on the lead, the son of one of the founders of Hamas, who became an informant for Israel, undercover with Hamas. He has a message for the U.S. and the world that you're going to want to hear.
But, first, concerning U.S. intelligence showing Iranian-backed militias want to ramp up attacks on U.S. forces in the Middle East. We're going to go to the Pentagon for the new reporting. That's next.
TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. Live in Tel Aviv, Israel, on the heels of this war entering a new chapter.
A new disturbing warning from the Pentagon, intelligence shows Iranian-backed militias are ready to ramp up attacks against U.S. forces in the Middle East.
I want to go now to CNN's Oren Liebermann at the Pentagon.
Oren, this comes as to attack drones targeting U.S. forces base in Syria were shot down today. What does this new intelligence tell us?
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Jake, the U.S. has intelligence that Iranian-backed militias in the Middle East, that would be Shia groups in Iraq and Syria, are preparing for the possibility of escalating and ramping up the attacks they've carried out, according to multiple U.S. officials. And this would be, as Iran looks to take advantage of the situation and the conflict in Gaza between Israel and Hamas, also taking advantage of the anti-Israel and anti-U.S. sentiment growing across the region.
Now, Iran backs these groups, funds these groups, and arms these groups. The question now, how direct is the support? Officials say it's not that Iran is necessarily saying go carry out these attacks, but according to these officials, it appears that Iran is encouraging them and doing nothing to stop them. A far more direct link than U.S. officials believe around had with the initial October 7th attack carried out by Hamas. In that case, U.S. officials said Iran was surprised by the attack.
Here, there is no surprise. There's a much clearer link that the U.S. is seeing, and it comes, as you point out, with a number of attacks that have taken place against U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria on the U.S. positions there. It also comes as just a few days ago, we saw the USS Carney, a destroyer in the Red Sea there, intercepting a number of drones and missiles that the U.S. says where intended for Israel.
That's also part of Iranian-backed groups trying to take advantage of the situation and attack U.S. forces, and in that case, the forces of Israel across the region. Here is John Kirby, spokesman for the national security council about
the links they're seeing here and the growing threat.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KIRBY, WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL COORDINATOR FOR STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS: Now, we know these groups are supported by the IRGC and the regime. We know Iran continues to support Hamas and Hezbollah. And we know that Iran is closely monitoring these events, and in some cases, actively facilitating these attacks and spurring on others who may want to exploit the conflict for their own good, or for that of Iran. We know Iran's goal is to maintain some level of deniability here, but we're not going to allow them to do that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LIEBERMANN: The current situation, the U.S. sees a significant threat across the Middle East, including the possibility of attacks on U.S. forces, according to a senior military official speaking with reporters just a short time ago. So, this is something the U.S. is watching very closely.
In addition to all the steps of taking to beef up force protection, including the addition of a Patriot battery and battalion in the region, as well as a FAAD air defense batteries. So, the U.S. taking threats very seriously.
TAPPER: Oren Liebermann at the Pentagon, thanks so much.
How much say does the U.S. have on Israeli plans very grounded innovation?
Well, my next guest knows very much how these negotiations play out. Stay with us.
TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper, and I'm live in Tel Aviv.
We're getting some brand-new video of the two hostages who were just released by Hamas. And you can see, if you look, paramedics tending to Nurit Cooper and Yocheved Lifshitz. The Lifshitz's family put out a statement confirming that the two women were handed over to the Red Cross at the Rafah crossing.
Sources tell CNN that the U.S. is trying to delay the ground incursion into Gaza and hopes of getting even more hostages out, and more aid into Gaza.
With me to discuss, former Israeli ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren. Mr. Ambassador, good to see again.
MICHAEL OREN, FORMER ISRAELI AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED STATES: Good to see you.
TAPPER: Do you think that President Biden will be able to continue prevailing upon Prime Minister Netanyahu to continue delaying the ground incursion for the reasons laid out? To let humanitarian aid in, and to allow more hostages out?
OREN: I don't know that he's actually prevailing upon Benjamin Netanyahu to do this. The National Security Council has denied it. The State Department has denied it. Let's say for arguments sake, they are asking Israel to delay a bit. It's going to be one of many considerations from the Israeli government. There's a question already the troops are ready to go in, whether they gather enough evidence and intelligence about enemy positions, about the location of the hostages.
And finally, we want to get all of the Palestinians away from the combat zone. Have them in the middle of a cross fight is not good news for us either. So, there are many other considerations.
And keep in mind, write a total mobilization, 360,000 soldiers have been mobilized. These are the young women and men that are the backbone of our economy. They left their families, their homes --
TAPPER: It's quiet.
OREN: Empty, right?
OREN: There's only a limited time you can keep that many people away and keep the mobilized, and it's now been two weeks. It's a very long time.
TAPPER: When do you think the ground incursion could begin? Let me just also ask you, is that wise? I mean, does it make sense? I've heard a lot of smart people like General Petraeus people who know urban combat, same taking some time and thinking strategically might not be the worst idea.
OREN: It's not the worst idea, but we have other clocks going. Again, one of those clocks is how many days can we keep this 360,000 mobilized. How fast we can move that Palestinian population out of the war zone, other considerations. It's true.
But at the end of the day, there's no alternative but for Israel to go in. Understand that for us, this is existential. If Hamas gets away with butchering, murdering, burning, raping 1,400 Israeli citizens, then this place becomes kind of uninhabitable.
I don't know if you raise your kids, or if anybody would. I mean, this will be the equivalent of losing 54,000 Americans in two days. What would the United States do? There's no way that we can restore our security, our deterrence power.
We're in a tough neighborhood, and begin to deal internally, because a lot managed internally, the relationship with the people of Israel in the state of Israel we cannot do that if Hamas wins this round. And a cease-fire? It simply means Hamas winds, and we lose.
TAPPER: Yeah, I mean, I didn't bring that up, the cease-fire. But let me ask you some logistical questions. How many people in Hamas do you hold responsible for what happened on October 7th? Because I've heard many people say Hamas is not the Palestinian people.
I mean, the Palestinian people did elect Hamas in the elections of 2006, and since then, moss has not allowed an election, and they've killed a lot of people that where their political opposition. And in many ways, the Palestinians have been victims of Hamas in many ways as well, right?
TAPPER: So how many would you hold responsible?
OREN: Personally? Well, about 150,000 actual members of Hamas.
TAPPER: But, I mean, is that the like the Baath party? Like some of them members of Hamas because they have to be to have a government job just to be trash collectors?
OREN: Well, let's look in Judea and Samarra in the West Bank. You have Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, he's been president -- he's now the 18th year of his four-year term. Why doesn't he stand for reelection? Because in every poll, Hamas destroys him. Hamas has a landslide victory.
So Hamas is very, very popular among the Palestinian population. That's why there's a strong feeling among Israelis that we have a conflict not just with the terrorist organization. We have a conflict with a large segment of the Palestinian people.
Having said, I'm a person -- I'm not the spokesman of the government anymore.
As you know, I'm in favor of humanitarian aid, opening up that corridor for many reasons, first of all it has to do with our character as a Jewish and democratic state, but I also think ultimately, the IDF, the Israel Defense Force, we'll have more time in space to fight Hamas if the international community is not accusing us of being inhumane.
But -- but out in the Israeli public, there's a real sense that the Palestinian population, or a big segment of it, both in Gaza, in the West Bank, like Hamas, applauded Hamas, and applauded our people when they were being butchered.
TAPPER: There's been a lot of comparisons with a potential in Israeli ground incursion with when the U.S. was in Iraq, and the U.S. fought in Fallujah. And it was a bloody, awful fight. And, obviously, Gaza City is much bigger than Fallujah. And, the Iraqi fighters were gentlemen compared to Hamas.
OREN: It's even worse than that. I've fought in Gaza. It's actually worse. What's worse is that, you know, it's a war of alleys and cul- de-sacs. They're all booby-trapped, they're mined.
TAPPER: Right. And Iran --
OREN: Right. But the worst fighting is underneath.
TAPPER: Oh, right, you have the tunnels.
OREN: And the real fighting is underneath. You're talking about dozens, dozens of miles of bunkers and tunnels. All of them are booby trapped. We have forces that are trained to go underground and fight underground.
TAPPER: That's why I'm saying, is it why is to go in that way? As opposed to special forces and taking longer but doing it more effectively? I'm no military strategist, I'm just saying --
OREN: Again, number of clocks. One of the clocks says, how long? You know, say if you've got a million Palestinians out of southern Gaza, out in the winter, and that's another clock, by the way. The rain is going to start falling here. It's clear tonight, but it has been raining here.
How long can that situation be sustained? And I think sending in special forces to deal with the Hamas force of 150,000 people, which is proven to be militarily very well-equipped, it's not the response. I think there's no really alternative to Israel sending in a significant force and taking down Hamas full force, and doing it as cautiously as we can, because this is going to be costly for us.
The big debate here is whether we should deal with Hezbollah first. And it was a debate I had written in the Israeli press about the possibility that maybe we should contain Hamas because they're not going anywhere, right? They're trapped. We can continue getting them from the ground, from the air, any different way.
But Hezbollah as a force, a threat, is about 15 times larger than Hamas. They have 150,000 rockets. They can could hit anything in Israel with a bigger payload, and many of these rockets are very accurate, and they have a terrorist force that is been killing Syrians by the hundreds of thousands for ten years. So they are vicious, vicious, vicious.
And there's a fear, and I think of a base fear, that one Israel isn't by -- Gaza, bogged down, the troops are tired, maybe running low on ammunition, that's when Hezbollah will strike us. That's almost a conventional wisdom here, that Hezbollah at a certain stage will not be able to stay at. The big question is, who strikes first? Who gets the preemptive?
TAPPER: Former Israeli ambassador to the U.S., Michael Oren, good to see you again.
OREN: Good to see you, Jake. Be safe.
TAPPER: Thanks for being here. I really appreciate it.
Coming up next, a strike near a Christian church in Gaza City impact after the Israeli military says it tried to target a Hamas command center.
Stay with us.
TAPPER: Residents of Gaza say they feel nowhere is safe as the IDF ramps up its aerial bombardment in the region, going after Hamas. Places of worship, refugee camps, schools, where innocent civilians are trying to stay safe are caught in the crosshairs because as we know, Hamas uses innocent civilians as human shields. They embed themselves within the populace.
CNN's Jomana Karadsheh reports now from southern Israel, and a warning, some may find her report disturbing.
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is a war on Hamas, Israel says. But it is the people of Gaza who are paying the heaviest price. No place safe, no place spared Israel's wrath. Danger looms around every corner of this besieged land. Every day, every minute spent in fear of one death may strike.
Many now write their children's names on their legs so that if they're killed, their little ones are not just a number. Israel says it doesn't target civilians, it's Hamas, they say, that's using them as human shields. They tried to avoid civilian casualties, they say. But the numbers and pictures tell a different story in a place where it is the innocent who are the majority.
Hospitals, schools, mosques have been bombed, and on Friday, Gazans absorbing another horror, one that hit their tiny Christian community. An airstrike on a building at the compound of the Saint Porphyrius Orthodox Church, one of the oldest churches in the world, where hundreds had sought refuge from the relentless bombardment.
But this was no sanctuary. A scene of chaos at this house of worship, with no power, they use their phones to light up the rubble and big bodies and survivors out of the carnage.
Daylight brought the painful scenes of those searching for shrouded bodies for their loved ones, the inconsolable grief of those who found them. The gut wrenching grief as the father warned his children, and a grandmother, her little George.
RAMZI AL-SOURI, GAZA RESIDENT (through translator): With no prior warning, they bombed civilians in the church. They killed my three children. They killed my cousins. My whole cousin's family was wiped.
KARADSHEH: The Israeli military said the airstrike was targeting a Hamas command and control center nearby.
They said this was not the intention, what they call collateral damage. Seventeen Christians, entire families, including infants perished in the strike. Twenty-six-year-old Viola was killed, along with her husband and baby girl. Her sister, Yara, her husband, and children, also gone.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Unbelievable, unbelievable. We are here 2,000 years, and we're not going to leave. We'll stay here. We'll continue our life as all the population in Gaza Strip.
KARADSHEH: So much, grief so much anger, and the silence over their suffering, and those who won't stop the bloodshed.
RAMY AL-GEIDA, GAZAN WHO TOOK SHELTER IN CHURCH: This is a message to the world, and specifically this message to Biden, president of the United States. He should know the Christian Arabs, Christian community in Gaza are being targeted. No one is safe here in Gaza, everyone in danger.
KARADSHEH: Shell-shocked survivors, both Christians and Muslims sat around the church this weekend. There's seemingly nowhere left to run.
KARADSHEH (on camera): And, Jake, the death toll in Gaza is continuing to rise according to the Palestinian house ministry they say. More than 5,000 people have been killed. They say the majority of them are women and children, more than 2,000 children.
U.N. experts who have unequivocally condemned Hamas's attack on Israel, the atrocities committed against Israeli civilians are warning that what is happening in Gaza right now is a violation of international laws, with the siege and the Israeli bombardment, they say it's collective punishment a population and this military operation they say is resulting in crimes against immunity, Jake.
TAPPER: Jomana Karadsheh, thank you so much.
And as these images of horror play out around the world, we are seeing more displays of antisemitism in the United States. And that story is next.
TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD, live from Tel Aviv, Israel.
The Department of Homeland Security in the United States is warning that the war between Israel and Hamas will likely increase antisemitic and anti-Muslim hate attacks inside the U.S. That's according to ABC News.
As CNN's Nick Watt reports for us now, we are already seeing multiple disturbing incidents of antisemitism.
DEMONSTRATORS: Palestine will be free!
NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Americans from many walks of life show support to the people of Gaza.
DEMONSTRATORS: Free Palestine!
WATT: Meanwhile, it's largely just Jews at the very few demonstrations at the sport of Israeli civilians who were tortured and slaughtered October 7th. And for the more than 200 taken hostage and still held by Hamas terrorists inside Gaza.
Some Jews who marched, for example, for Black Lives Matter or the women of Iran, feel let down.
CHLOE LEVIAN, ISRAEL SUPPORTER: It's really, really upsetting to see that people, our people, to see people who we stand with not stand with us.
RABBI SHARON BROUS, FOUNDER/SENIOR RABBI, IKAR: Our humble ask is that people give a dam when we die.
WATT: That's Rabbi Sharon Brous in the now viral sermon.
BROUS: It feels like a great sense of abandonment people who've been in the trenches working with for many years not only don't grieve when Jews massacred, but they actually celebrate it. It's devastating.
WATT: She is a regular critic of the Israeli government, and a peace advocate.
BROUS: People feel like they're forced to have to choose between this or this. When in fact what we have to do is find more of an imagination to dream of a different kind of future in which all people can live in justice.
WATT: In Brookhaven, Georgia, antisemitic flyers were passed out overnight Saturday. In San Diego, an Israeli cultural center closed indefinitely after being vandalized twice in three days.
KERRY SCHLOSSBERG, VOLUNTEER, HOUSE OF ISRAEL: It seems that a lot of feelings of antisemitic hatred have been dormant mostly, until now.
WATT: In Los Angeles, a Jewish school says that after a game, our football team experienced a variety of antisemitic language and gestures, including the Nazi salute. Mostly from the stands, although a couple of the opposing players were involved as well.
BROUS: Having that history is still so alive in our spirits, and in recent memory, it does alert us to the hints of those kinds of major social currents in our own time.
DEMONSTRATORS: From the river to the sea.
WATT: In Skokie, Illinois, Sunday, a pro-Palestinian counter-protest sprung up near an Israeli solidarity rally. Someone pulled a gun, fired in the air. The governor is calling for calm in a state that has seen a rise in hate and real hurt for its Jewish and Arab citizens.
Nick Watt, CNN, Los Angeles.
TAPPER: Our thanks to CNN's Nick Watt for that report.
Coming up the son of a founder of Hamas who became an informant for Israel. We'll bring you his message for the U.S., for Israel, and for the world. That's next.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
TAPPER: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper, standing on a rooftop overlooking Tel Aviv. And it's just after midnight here. It has been 16 days since the absolutely horrific terrorist attack by Hamas caught this country and frankly most of the world by surprise. We are going to start tonight with breaking news, the release of two more hostages who were held captive, kidnapped by Hamas.
Video, new video shows Nurit Cooper and Yocheved Lipchitz right after they crossed the border from Gaza into Egypt this evening. They were met by paramedics and taken away in ambulances.