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The Lead with Jake Tapper
Netanyahu: "This Is A Time for War"; Israel: Soldier Kidnapped By Hamas Has Been Rescued; American Trapped In Gaza Describes Dwindling Resources; Forensic Experts Work At Makeshift Morgue To Help Identify Bodies Mutilated By Hamas; Police Visited Maine Gunman's Home Weeks Before Shooting. Aired 4-5p ET
Aired October 30, 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, and I'm standing on a rooftop looking out over Tel Aviv. It is just after 10:00 p.m. here, and it's been 23 days since the horrific attacks by Hamas that caught this country, and frankly, much of the world by surprise.
We start today by this declaration from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, quote, this is a time for war, Netanyahu said during an address just a few hours ago.
Despite the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, and the thousands of casualties, including an untold number of civilians and children, Netanyahu dismissed calls by some countries for a cease-fire. Although the United States is not among them, saying Israel simply cannot stop its mission to target and destroy Hamas, the government that sent invaders into Israel to cruelly slaughter some 1,400 Israelis.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: As the United States would not agree to a cease fire after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, or after the terrorist attack of 9/11, Israel will not agree to a cessation of hostilities with Hamas after the horrific attacks of October 7th. Calls for a cease-fire are calls for Israel to surrender to Hamas, to surrender to terrorism, to surrender to barbarism. That will not happen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Tonight, Israel's military is moving further into Gaza, increasing its attacks on what it says are Hamas targets. Israel claims it has killed dozens of terrorists over the last day, but the IDF also were able to rescue one of its own soldiers, they say. The IDF says private Ori Megidish was released earlier today, after being kidnapped by Hamas on October 7th. This photo was released by the Israeli government after Private Megidish was medically cleared and reunited with her family. Today, Hamas released a short video with three other women who are
believed to be hostages. One of the women pleaded with the Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to free them. CNN is not going to show the Hamas video, but the prime minister's office did confirm the identities of the three women -- Yelena Trupanob, and Danielle Aloni and Rimon Kirsht.
We learned a heartbreaking update earlier today about another victim of Hamas that we told you about. The Israeli government says Shani Louk, a German Israeli woman who was kidnapped by Hamas on October 7th from the Nova Music Festival, Shani has been confirmed killed. Shani was at the Nova Music Festival in southern Israel, where young people around the world had gathered to celebrate music and peace when Hamas attacked. Her body was seen on video, Hamas video, after the attack. She was seemingly unconscious in the back of a Hamas truck, being driven into Gaza.
We're going to show you the video at her family's request, and we want to video, the video is graphic. Her mother specifically gave CNN permission to air the video. She wants to show the world the brutality of Hamas. We are blurring the image of her seemingly unconscious, naked body.
A source familiar with the identification of Shani's remains told me that the discovery of a fragment of a bone from the base of a squall, specifically the -- bone, was recently located, and it was a DNA match.
For Shani's family, that fact, combined with the horrific video we just showed you, and the circumstances of Shani being kidnapped by Hamas on October 7th, lead a team of experts to conclude that Shani had been killed by Hamas.
CNN's Jeremy Diamond is an Ashkelon, Israel, for us right now, just north of Gaza.
Jeremy, let's start with the IDF soldiers rescued today. What do we know about how all this went down?
JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, Admiral Hagari, the IDF spokesman is saying that this was a ground operation that resulted in the release of Private Ori Megidish.
This operation was carried out overnight by Israeli forces inside the Gaza Strip, but beyond that, we aren't getting many details about this. And that may be for operational security reasons, and maybe because the IDF wants to continue carrying out similar operations to free additional hostages.
This is the first time that the IDF has confirmed that an operation carried out by its ground forces resulted in the release of one of these hostages.
Previously, we've seen four other hostages released, and it is all been as the result of some kind of negotiations, and what Hamas has described as a humanitarian decision to release those hostages. This female soldier was posted at Nahal Oz, near the Gaza border when she was kidnapped on October 7th. She's now with her family. We saw images released by the IDF of her with her family, and she appears to be in good condition -- Jake.
TAPPER: Jeremy, tell us about what you saw today, closer to the Gaza border.
DIAMOND: Well, listen, the IDF is continuing to expand its ground operation. This is been made clear by the IDF, that rather than this overwhelming force of hundreds of thousands of soldiers invading the Gaza Strip at once, at least for now, what is happening is what they've described as this expanded ground operation, and they're continuing to add soldiers to that effort, continuing to grow the size of that operation.
Today, as we are posted along the Gaza border, what we could hear was less aerial bombardment than we've heard in the last several days, but we did hear a lot of artillery being fired at the Gaza Strip, and also, a lot of machine gun fire throughout the day, indicating that there is active fighting that is still going on between Israeli forces and Hamas militants.
Our photojournalist, Matthias Sam (ph), was also able to get images of some of the destruction in Beit Hanoun, which is the northernmost city in the Gaza Strip, where we know that Israeli forces have rolled in with tanks. You can see some of the buildings there, really shells of themselves, only the foundation still remaining.
But these operations are still continuing, Jake. The IDF says it is carried out strikes on more than 600 targets over the last several days, and they are vowing to continue to expand this, as we heard the Israeli prime minister today saying there is a time for peace, and there's a time for war.
Right now, he said, it is a time for war -- Jake.
TAPPER: All right. Jeremy Diamond in Ashkelon, thanks so much.
Let's bring in CNN's Jim Sciutto. He's in northern Israel.
Jim, what's the latest on Israel's offensive in Gaza, especially given Netanyahu's comments today that Israel will simply not agree to any sort of cease-fire?
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Yeah. Well, the headline, Jake, from his comments, and he did not leave any uncertainty about this, is that Israel is going to continue pushing forward. We are limited with our vision into Gaza but what we can see from the outside, for instance, Jeremy standpoint, and what the IDF shares.
What the IDF has shared is simply that there is armor on the ground, armored units, tanks, armored personnel carriers, infantry, engineering units, presumably used to breach some of those Hamas defense tunnels, IEDs, et cetera, that they've killed dozens of terrorists, and they've made some forward progress. It appears at this point at least several miles into Gaza, and it appears approaching from more than one direction, from the north, but also from the east, moving towards Gaza city, where one could expect that they will face greater resistance.
This is the area, and more urban area, and this is an area where it's expected Israeli forces will face the most severe resistance, and the kind of resistance that U.S. advisers, military advisers, have been warning Israeli military commanders about based on the U.S. military's own experience and similar battles in places such as Iraq, in Fallujah, and Mosul.
That's the most vision we have inside Gaza right now.
TAPPER: All right. Jim Sciutto, thanks so much.
Egypt says at least 75 aid trucks are waiting on its side of the Rafah border to cross into Gaza as the humanitarian crisis in Gaza gets worse by the hour. There are more than two million civilians inside Gaza, more than half are children.
And as CNN's Salma Abdelaziz reports, they are paying a tragic price for the actions of their government, Hamas. A warning, some of the images you're about to see are graphic.
SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is what the so- called second stage of war looks like. Panic and suffocation inside northern Gaza's Al-Quds hospital, terrified families and patients with nowhere to run. Air strikes nearby, after the IDF told people here to flee south.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have over 400 patients who are inside the hospital. Many of them are in the intensive care unit.
Evacuating them means killing them.
ABDELAZIZ: The evacuation order, called impossible, by the World Health Organization and the U.N. Both stressed hospitals and civilians must be protected, including some 12,000 displaced people sheltering inside Al-Quds hospital.
Tell us we are safe and we will leave the hospital, he says. There is no safe place. Not in the south, not in the whole of Gaza.
Near constant airstrikes now pound the enclave, while Israeli troops expand their ground operations. The IDF insists it is eradicating Hamas.
But on the ground, in this densely populated territory, utter devastation is the consequence. There are 2 million people, half of them children, trapped here under bombardment and under siege. This is revenge, a cowardly, racist campaign, he says. In this area,
we are one family, we are kind people. Instead of waking up to the call to prayer, we woke up to an airstrike.
The anguish and horror inside of Gaza, sparking mass demonstrations, from New York City, to London, to Rome, and calls for a cease-fire are growing louder. U.N. members overwhelmingly voted for an immediate and sustained truce last week.
But even as Palestinian families bury their youngest, more than 3,000 children killed in three weeks, Save the Children said, citing Gaza's Hamas-controlled health authorities, amplifying the global outcry, Prime Minister Netanyahu vows that this is only the beginning.
Salma Abdelaziz, CNN, London.
TAPPER: And our thanks to Salma Abdelaziz for that report.
As this horror plays out, the U.S. estimates 500 to 600 Americans remain trapped in Gaza, many near the southern Rafah crossing, near Egypt. You know, at home, if you've been watching the league, that we've been following two families in particular.
I asked White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan what is going on? Why can't these Americans get out of Gaza?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAKE SULLIVAN, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: The Egyptians are prepared to allow American citizens and foreign nationals to come through the Rafah gate into Egypt. The Israelis have no issue with that. Hamas has been preventing their departure and making a series of demands. I can't go through those demands in public, but that is the subject of the discussions and the negotiations that are ongoing. We're trying to work through those.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: One of the Americans near the Rafah crossing, as you may know, is Abood Okal. He, along with his wife and their one year old son, are from Massachusetts. They were in Gaza visiting family when this all started.
Despite the spotty communication, he has been sending our team voice must, updating his situation. Here's what he sent our team last night.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
ABOOD OKAL, AMERICAN STRANDED IN GAZA: We are almost out of drinking water today. I think we have enough just to last us through the night, and then tomorrow, we will be basically out. We hit four different bakeries to buy bread, any type of bread, actually. And it was total mayhem, just like we expected, and actually quite heartbreaking to see the amount of people, people told us that they stood in line starting at 1:00 in the morning the night before. And that's all to be able to get one portion of bread, which is about 25 to 30 pieces of pita bread, and averaged sized pita bread. We stood in line for six hours to get that amount, which basically would be good enough for a day or two at the most, enough for everyone in the house.
I think Gaza has reached a point where it does not matter where you're from, or how much money you have, or who you know. Everyone is in the same boat in terms of the dire daily struggle to survive.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
TAPPER: And Abood sent us another voice memo today. It gets more heartbreaking every time we get an update, yet he keeps going, simply trying to keep his family alive. Listen.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
OKAL: We've run out of drinking water yesterday. As the desalination station that's nearby -- we've been relying on has run out of fuel to run the generators. So what we did is we roamed the main road on the streets here in Rafah City, where we're staying to look for, basically what's become the norm now, which is trucks or horse carts that are loaded with big tanks.
There's been an increase in artillery shelling. That's been the most noticeable update. Near the eastern side of the study were staying. And, also, every once in a while, we would hear heavy caliber gunfire that we believe is fired from tanks, and our biggest fear now is that the ground invasion is imminent.
We've been in touch with the State Department since day one, a few hours into the war, and our frustration continues, and builds up every day that we are still stranded here, and risk our lives.
Still staying in the same house with my wife Wafa, my son Yousef, my sister Haneen, and her three kids, all are Americans, along with 40 other people, in total, ten Americans in the same house, and managing to stay safe so far, and trying to secure resources for our day today.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
TAPPER: We're going to keep bringing you Abood Okal's updates and his sister Haneen's updates, as long as he sends them.
And please know, Haneen is from New Jersey. You might remember her a couple weeks ago. We are doing everything we can, we're calling every person possible. We are trying to get the Okal family out of Gaza.
And we are -- President Biden, get the Americans out of Gaza. Do everything you can to get the Americans out of Gaza.
Knowing these Americans are stuck in Gaza, could the U.S. be more forceful in its pressure to get them out? An influential voice in the space will join us next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD, live from Israel.
Just moments ago, we saw the Iron Dome defense system here in Israel, intercepting rockets fired by Hamas into Tel Aviv. We saw the Iron Dome intercepting it right overheads. A reminder just because major cities and Israel have not been flattened by the terrorist group, just because the death toll in Israel is not in the thousands, it's not for a lack of trying by Hamas.
Hamas has fired thousands of missiles aimed at Israeli population centers. It's only because of the Iron Dome missile defense system that more Israeli civilians have not been killed.
Tonight, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is rejecting the idea of a cease-fire in Gaza, saying that would mean Israel would essentially be surrendering to Hamas terrorists. Moments ago, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby seem to agree with that determination.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KIRBY, NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL COORDINATOR FOR STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS: We do not believe that a cease-fire as it is the right answer right now. We believe a cease-fire right now benefits Hamas. .
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Let's bring in Richard Haass. He's a foreign policy expert and most recently he was the president of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Richard, good to see you as always.
So, Prime Minister Netanyahu this evening invoked Pearl Harbor and 9/11 when he said there would be no cease-fire today. He said there is no more willing to do so as United States would be after 9/11 or Pearl Harbor. But when President Biden visited Israel, this month, he urged Netanyahu to proceed with caution and strategy. And to remember the lessons learned to not react out of rage.
Will history show that Netanyahu acted in that way with strategy and not out of anger? Do you think?
RICHARD HAASS, PRESIDENT EMERITUS, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: Well, I think it's very much in the balance, but I have to tell you, I hope I'm wrong here I am skeptical. It's not quite clear to me how Israel is going to be able to, quote/unquote, eliminate or destroy Hamas militarily.
I think Hamas is as much a network idea or movement as it is a finite organization with the headquarters that you can destroy and even if this analysis is wrong, it's not clear to me to whom you would transfer authority. Particularly in Israeli occupation it's unlikely to be a legitimate way to anything else.
So I understand the Israeli position but going back to what John Kirby said, yes the administration supports Israel's right of self-defense. It feels a cease-fire is inappropriate now.
But when does not change? Is it a week from now two weeks from now? A month? What is the criteria for which the United States would say enough. What is your definition of success? What can you reasonably expect to accomplish here using military force?
TAPPER: So, let me -- let me ask you this. Let's assume that one hates what Israel is doing in Gaza right now, let's just posit it that as a given. What is the proper response?
Israel sees what happened on October 7th as the government next door, and Hamas is the government of Gaza. The government next door sent in an army, slaughtered civilians, 1,400 people, most of them civilians. Some of the army, but let's be frank, there is conscription here. So even the 18, 19, 20 year olds that were in the army didn't have a choice. But slaughtered them, took more than 200 hostages.
What is the proper response? What would any country in the world to if the government next door was dedicated to eliminating the country and sent in armed individuals to slaughter civilians. What would any, what would Sweden? What would do with Switzerland? Do what would Jamaica do?
HAASS: I think we need to separate two things, one the government in this case, Hamas is dedicated to seeing the end of the Jewish state. Nikita Khrushchev once said the Soviet Union will try to bury us, what matters most is that Hamas cannot succeed. That's on Israel.
And Israel failed obviously on October 7th.
So one thing Israel needs to do is rebuild its defenses rethink its intelligence. So Hamas regardless of its intentions can never again achieve anything in the same zip code that was achieved on October 7th.
Secondly, they do have a right to self defense, I would say go after Hamas, but do so in a way that does not bring in so many people in Gaza. So I think more discreetly. It might mean more targeted strikes but fewer of them. It might mean commando light raids on the ground. Just do it in a way that essentially you're mainly hitting the terrorists rather than the communities they are trying to mesh themselves in.
TAPPER: Do you think any country in the world would do it that way?
HAASS: Well, again, after 9/11, we learned the hard way about what happens if you overreach. Urban warfare is not an easy undertaking. And look I understand the emotions. I understand all the desire to eliminate Hamas, to kill 30,000 terrorists part of the organization. My view is that it's simply unlikely to succeed, but if one reduces
dramatically Hamas's footprint and capability. One rebuilds Israeli defenses and rethinks its intelligence capability. I think it creates a totally manageable situation.
Again, I know people want to solve this once and for all. That's the -- that's the instinct. What I'm suggesting, I'm not sure that's on the menu of available options.
TAPPER: So, I think they also -- the Israelis, they want to make sure they can't do it again even like in a week or two. They don't feel like they have the -- I'm playing devils advocate here, we're trying to have a conversation. But --
HAASS: Let me be clear, Hamas's ability, their ability to do it again to use your phrase depends not simply on their own absolute capabilities, it depends not simply on their intentions, but on Israeli vulnerabilities.
Israel can reduce Hamas capabilities. They can't change their intentions. What it mainly can do is dramatically increase its defensive capabilities.
So even if Hamas wanted to try something like this again. It would fail dismally and everyone involved on the Hamas side would die. And trust me if that happened once or twice they would rethink their strategy. That is in Israel's control to bring about.
TAPPER: Richard Haass, thank you so much. Appreciate it, sir.
Coming up next, what one woman describes as pure cruelty. A disturbing report that the world really does need to see, to understand the scope of the Hamas attacks.
Stay with us.
TAPPER: Three weeks and change after the brutal terrorist attack by Hamas, doctors and forensic experts are working around the clock, still trying to identify bodies. They're trying to bring answers for so many families desperately waiting on news as to what happened to their loved ones.
As CNN's Sara Sidner reports, one of the challenges is how badly some bodies were mutilated beyond recognition. A warning, some images you're about to see in this report are quite disturbing.
SARA SIDNER, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): These are Hamas militants, arriving at kibbutz on October 7th, terrorizing residents. SON: Please we are going to die.
MOTHER: We are trying to send the army, we love you.
Please, please, he is losing a lot of blood. He is going to die.
SON: Mom, hold him, hold him, okay.
MOTHER: The army is here everywhere, the terrorists are everywhere.
They are throwing grenades everywhere.
MOTHER: They are throwing grenades on us.
SIDNER: The last conversation between a mother and son in kibbutz Be'eri.
Daughter Michal Pinyon shared with us, her last memory of her mother as Hamas descended on her parents' home.
MICHAL PINYON, RESIDENT OF KIBBUTZ BE'ERI: I know after an hour she was writing, help, help. And then it was quiet.
SIDNER: The next time she saw her parents they were in coffins.
But some families have yet to say goodbye. Outside Tel Aviv, at the rabbinical Shura military base, inside these containers there are hundreds of unidentified bodies many mutilated and in fragments.
HAIM WEISBERG, HEAD OF THE RABBINICAL DEPARTMENT IN MILITARY RABBINATE: This place is indeed pure, it's holy, it's a paradise but it's also hell.
SIDNER: Forensic experts, dentists and rabbis are working day and night to identify the victims of October 7th.
The smell is completely overwhelming. I mean completely overwhelming. Even with this on. And it is refrigerated but some of the bodies are just in pieces, doesn't take much to be really badly affected by this looking at the horror of that.
Even those whose job this is our struggling.
CAPTAIN MAYAAN, FORENSIC DENTIST: You see the lack of humanity, you see pure cruelty. During our process, we heard the screams. We heard the cries of the family that came and said their last goodbye.
SIDNER: The brutality of the Hamas attack is forcing a change to burial rites here, usually very strict in Judaism.
WEISBERG (through translator): According to Jewish law, we bury the dead when they're in the ground. In this case, we bury them in their coffins because we want to respect them but also because there isn't much left of them.
SIDNER: Michal Levin Elad and her colleagues say this is the worst thing they have ever seen because of the evidence of torture.
MICHAL LEVIN ELAD, HEAD OF NATIONAL FORENSIC INVESTIGATION DEPARTMENT: I started crying and the other people hugged, we had these breaking moments, these are atrocious crimes, these are crimes against humanity. This is not regular murder or terror attacks or bus explosions. We've seen all of this in Israel but never anything like this.
SIDNER: What she does know for sure, this is more death and torture than she has ever seen in her career. Cemeteries like this one are popping up across the country.
This is just a temporary grave site that's being dug for the victims of the October 7th Hamas attack. Look at these graves, you can see the one that's some of the things they loved in life, there are some gruesome details. One of these grapes for example, has two bodies from a family buried together. Families are insistent that these temporary resting places are just that, temporary.
PINYON: We don't want them to be buried in another place, they are people, this is their home. This is their community. They cannot be buried anywhere else.
SIDNER: That's because so far, kibbutz Be'eri is still under the control of the Israeli army. It's too dangerous to go back, and Pinyon realizes her family is just one of potentially 1,400 having to make this awful decision.
Three weeks in, she says they have no idea where they can go home again. And when they can finally bury her parents Amir and Mati (ph) in their final resting place.
SIDNER: And Amir and Mati had just retired. They were ready to start using their pensions to enjoy their lives, and their lives were taken because of the Hamas attack -- Jake.
TAPPER: No words. Great piece, thanks so much.
I met a man here who had escaped the cruelty of the Nazis as a boy, only to face Hamas eight decades later and I'm going to bring you his history, next.
TAPPER: The subject of our next story has lived and suffered the horrors of history repeating itself. At the age of eight, his family fled the rampant antisemitism in Poland. Just before the Nazi invasion, and then on October 7th, 83 years later, his life was in danger again by the antisemites of Hamas this time, also looking to kill Jews. I bring you now his story, and a warning that some of the content is disturbing.
TAPPER (voice-over): During the October 7th terrorist attack on his kibbutz, 92-year-old Dov Golebowicz kept close to his phone.
DOV GOLEBOWICZ, SURVIVED HAMAS ATTACK ON KIBBUTZ NIRIM: My phone which told me where all these people were crying for help where they were and they didn't get to my suburb.
TAPPER: His neighbors were at least nine people were killed or kidnapped used a group messaging system to call in desperate warnings to each other.
GOLEBOWICZ: I started hearing people saying that there were Arabs wandering around all over the place, in their homes, and, what's going on. Send the army, send the army.
GOLEBOWICZ: No army. And then we were hysterical. People were very frightened even though they were in a safe room. Because one of them, I was told she couldn't they were holding on to the candle, to keep it from opening.
TAPPER: Dov was alone in his home's safe room, in the oldest section of the kibbutz, protected by a gift from his son.
GOLEBOWICZ: My son who is an engineer and was -- he already saw you can't lock those safe rooms from the inside, you can close them but you can't lock them. They didn't think of that one. He made up a wooden bar, just a wooden thing with a bit of iron on it which you can hook on top of the handle so you can open it from the outside. That's what I stuck on, I hadn't used it before.
TAPPER: Dov remained locked in a small concrete room for ten hours.
How scared were you where you were inside the safe room?
GOLEBOWICZ: I was worried. Scared that we'll, you're feeling so many things. My parents left Poland because of pretty rampant antisemitism.
TAPPER: When he was 8, his parents pulled their family out of Poland.
They escaped just one week before the naughty invasion that would eventually force his uncle and future father-in-law to Auschwitz. During the war, Dov and his family stayed safe in Australia reading of Hitler's horrors as they spread across front pages.
Eventually, Dov joined a Zionist youth movement where he met his future wife Lily. And in 1955, they moved to Israel where they built a family.
GOLEBOWICZ: We were sent to kibbutz Nirim.
TAPPER: Because that's a left-wing kibbutz?
GOLEBOWICZ: That was one of the very in need of people.
TAPPER: Dov, in the kibbutz he helped create, were marking the anniversary of their community this year on the eve of the October 7th attack.
GOLEBOWICZ: The kibbutz had a birthday party, to celebrate the establishment 77 years. On Friday night and the morning of the -- Saturday morning, 6:30 alarm started, shelling, shelling what they call red alert. So --
TAPPER: Did you ever, think I scraped the Holocaust, but now I'm going to get killed by Hamas? Did that cross your mind?
GOLEBOWICZ: You're mentioning, I don't believe many places safe really.
TAPPER: Still leaving his land is not an option he says. Not again. This is where he built a life. This is the land where his children and grandchildren live.
Are you going to go back?
TAPPER: You're going to go back to Nirim?
GOLEBOWICZ: Of course.
TAPPER: Of course?
GOLEBOWICZ: When they took down the two towers America sent everyone to save homes. But oh it's not the two towers, but you go back to your home, in my opinion, my mother's opinion, you don't let terrorists break you down.
You know, there was a revolt -- we got a revolt in '43, they wanted to show then to show something. One of them wrote a song, a poem which was turned into the song of the Jewish partisans. And the first line said never say you are going on the last road. We are here.
We are not going to give in anyway. I'm going to die with my boots on, I hope. I hope.
TAPPER: Dov's wife Lily passed away nine years ago, October 7th would have been their 70th wedding anniversary. What a true honor it was to spend an afternoon with that gentleman.
We'll be back in a moment.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [16:51:45]
TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD, live from Tel Aviv.
We're going to have more on the war in Gaza in just a moment. But we're going to turn to another major story in the U.S. There are serious questions for law enforcement in Maine over what they knew about the mental health of the gunmen who opened fire and took 18 innocent lives last week. CNN has learned that the U.S. Army asked local police for a welfare check on the shooter after a worried soldier warned he would, quote, snap, and commit a mass shooting.
Local authorities went to the shooter's home, but failed to contact him, that was September 16th. That was less than six weeks before he carried out the deadly mass shooting.
CNN's Shimon Prokupecz is in Maine.
Shimon, tell us more about what you're learning.
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, we have learned from a report that the local authorities in Maine where the gunman lived went to his home. There is a report that was done on a welfare check, what we have learned is that on multiple occasions, up to about three or so, they tried to make contact with the shooter, at one point they went to the home on September 17th and they believed he may have been inside the home, they called for backup because they were concerned, the police, but nothing was done.
They never spoke to him. They never tried to retrieve his weapons. They never took him in for any kind of evaluation. So today, Maine's governor had a press availability. And we came here to ask her, what does she know? What is her reaction to all of this?
She said everything is under investigation and that she refused to simply answer any questions about what contact the gunman may have had to police. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. JANET MILLS (D), MAINE: I think determining and understanding all of the facts surrounding this event is crucial, all of the facts. The Maine state police is as I said undergoing a thorough investigation of every aspect of the case, facts are important and it's important question that you ask. There are many other important questions that will be determined in the coming weeks and months.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PROKUPECZ: And, Jake, we just simply couldn't even get a reaction to this new information as she said the investigation is going to continue. But I can tell you just talking to law enforcement officials who had seen this report, they are all extremely alarmed by what they read and by the inaction of the officers here in Maine -- Jake.
TAPPER: Shimon Prokupecz, thank you so much. Appreciate it. And this notes, since last Wednesday's massacre in Maine, the
deadliest mass shooting in the U.S. so far this year, there have been 13 other mass shootings across the United States according to the Gun Violence Archive. Thirteen other mass shootings just since that one.
Israel Defense Force tanks rolled into Gaza today as Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu insisted that his country would not agree to a ceasefire. What might this mean for the wider region? That's next.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
TAPPER: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.
I'm standing on a rooftop looking out over Tel Aviv. It's just about 11:00 p.m. here, and it's been 23 days since the horrific terrorist attacks by Hamas caught this country, and frankly much of the world, by surprise. Live pictures tonight over Gaza where we've heard some gunfire and explosions over the last half hour.
Also tonight, significant updates on multiple people who were kidnapped by Hamas on October 7th. A female Israeli soldier who was kidnapped is now reunited with the family -- her family. The Israeli defense forces say Private Ori Megidish was rescued during ground operations and is doing well after medical evaluation.