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Father Of 16-Year-Old Hostage Waiting To See If Son Will Be Freed; Travel Rush Underway Ahead Of Thanksgiving Day; Humanitarian Crisis Continues To Grow In Gaza. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired November 22, 2023 - 11:30   ET



NIR SHANI, 16-YEAR-OLD SON KIDNAPPED BY HAMAS: As soon as possible. And until I get the phone call telling me, listen, your son is here and he's safe, I'm just in the same position. I'm not going on this roller coaster of emotion.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, that's understandable. Have you allowed yourself to imagine or start thinking of the moment you will see him again, what you'll do, what you'll say when you would get that phone call?

SHANI: I guess I'll hug him and kiss him. I don't think there would be too much words to be said. He really surprised to see his mother and to know that his two little sisters were survived. Because the last time he saw them, they were surrounded with six terrorists. And we had some kind of a miracle that they -- those terrorists just vanished, and they got to survive this terrible day.

But he did lose many of his friends. And we did lose 90 people of the community. Almost every second-day neighbor that we have is dead or killed or raped or burned or whatever. So, it will be devastating for him. And we have a long, long grind with him when he comes back.

BOLDUAN: How are his sisters doing with -- you know, in this moment, hearing this news, the maybe 16 hours until this could begin, how are his little sisters doing?

SHANI: That -- they're not really into it. We're not talking too much about it. They know that some talks and that he might be released. But as I said, until it happens, we shouldn't be too much excited, and we shouldn't be too much disappointed that it wouldn't happen.

I'll be happy for every hostages that will be released, as I said, little babies, the people wouldn't be able to held on much longer. So, anyone who will be released is good. And it's a blessing.

BOLDUAN: Yes, that is a blessing. You know, the torment of having your child taken by terrorists -- held by Hamas is hard to imagine. I read something this week, Nir, written by another parent. Her two daughters, I believe they're 15 and 8 years old, they're among the hostages. They're also being held by Hamas.

And this is how she put it. She wrote. I have nothing left to ask of this world but this. Take me to my girls. Take me to Gaza. I cannot wait for more news of the hostage deals to come and go. You have failed to free my girls, so take me to Gaza.

And she also writes. When I reach them, however, I reach them I will hug them so hard that for a moment they might forget where they are. I will place myself in front of them and they will finally be able to sleep as I hold them.

How do you put words to this existence that you all have been forced into?

SHANI: I don't know what to tell you -- I don't know what to tell you. We're just hoping to see him as soon as possible. I wouldn't go to Gaza. My son was kidnapped with another neighbor, a great person, named Yoshi Sharabi, and another boy.

And I think he met a girl from his school and another friend from the school and another guy who used to serve with the so many kidnaps that it must -- I guess he's not feeling alone. And I believe in his strength to hold on and to survive. And we'll be waiting for him here in Israel until he come.

BOLDUAN: Can you tell me quickly -- briefly more about your son about a mate and what you're holding on to every day and think about?

SHANI: I mean, he's a great kid. He's quiet. He's domestic. He is a -- he's a close circle of a few friends that are very close to him. And they love to hang out with them.

They're playing their guitar. They're listening to hip-hop music. He loves soccer. He loved the sea. He used to went surfing.

And last year, he went to sailing class and they sailed the yacht back and forth. And we're just missing him with his presence and want to see him back as soon as possible.

BOLDUAN: Yes. We're showing all of our viewers pictures of your -- of your beautiful son right now, Nir.

SHANI: Yes, I can see that. Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Yes. Thank you so much, Nir, for coming on. We hold your family in our hearts today.


SHANI: Thank you, Kate. Bye.

BOLDUAN: We'll be right back.


BOLDUAN: Always. Welcome to one of the busiest travel days of the year, which means you and millions of your closest friends that you've never met have the chance to say hello to each other today, either on the roads or in airports across the country. OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Friends -- the best friends you never want to make. This Thanksgiving travel week --

BOLDUAN: (INAUDIBLE) You just haven't met them yet.

JIMENEZ: Yes, I guess that's true. I'm just going in a glass half- empty here. A travel -- the Thanksgiving travel week shaping up to be the busiest in years we're continuing to monitor. This is what traffic looked like earlier at LAX though, I will say hard to distinguish between a normal day. I mean, the traffic in LAX.

BOLDUAN: I was just going to say, is that a good day at LAX?


JIMENEZ: CNN's Pete Muntean is on the other side of the country at Reagan National Airport outside Washington, DC. All right, Pete, we checked in with you last hour. How's it looks in this hour? Better? Worse?

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Well, we are kind of through the morning rush now. Although, take a look at this video from earlier at the peak of things. This is a not really pleasing view to all the passengers who are coming here at 7:00 a.m. this morning. It was a replay really -- (INAUDIBLE) at one point.

BOLDUAN: Is that the baggage line? What is that?

MUNTEAN: The good -- that's the line for TSA, the North checkpoint here at Terminal Two.


MUNTEAN: And it -- the good news is that it was only about 25 minutes to get through the standard line here. That is under the TSA's guarantee of 30 minutes. So, they are keeping things moving. The issue is really not getting to your gate, though it is really what happens after.

And weather continues to be a huge factor. Here are the latest numbers from FlightAware. We've seen about 1300 delays so far nationwide today after 5200 yesterday. Airlines still in recovery mode. And the FAA says low cloud ceilings, this big storm system that's moving through airports on the East Coast, could still have a pretty big impact.

We saw a ground stop earlier today for flights going to New York's LaGuardia. There were arrival delays going into JFK. We've seen departure delays, meaning flights held on the ramp at Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, and also, George Bush Intercontinental Airport just popped up on the list.

So, we know that airlines, according to the airline's top lobby have really tried to coordinate with the FAA to try to bump -- blunt the blow. And I want you to listen now to Nick Calio of Airlines for America.


NICHOLAS CALIO, CEO, AIRLINES FOR AMERICA: Two things basically, the weather always is the key. And then there's air traffic controller shortages. But the weather will be the key.

We've been working with the FAA to adjust routes to move things around. And we feel ready. I think that they feel ready as well.


MUNTEAN: The FAA has closed off these offshore shortcut routes that would have helped airlines speed things up because of reports of severe turbulence. So, the bottom line here is that a lot of people may end up driving, and they won't have a lot of company. AAA says about 49 million people will drive 50 miles or more over the next five days. And we are about at the worst point for that.

The worst time to drive today according to AAA between 2:00 and 6:00 p.m. So, hit it now or wait until later. The best real traffic you can find is tomorrow. But in some places today, we could see traffic spike 80 percent above the norm. It's going to be tough.

BOLDUAN: I have to say, and, Pete, I want your take on this one. One is Omar going to make his flight tonight. Two, I've always been so appreciative when people are kind enough to stop and say hello and talk to us at airports. Because if you've ever seen me in an airport traveling with two kids who have strong opinions, I'm not in the -- I'm not in the shape that one would want to put a camera in front of my face. So, I'm always so appreciative.

JIMENEZ: Yes. I mean, look, it takes --

MUNTEAN: People are very kind to me. I have a lot of visitors here at the airport. And I always appreciate that.

BOLDUAN: Well, you're the mayor --

MUNTEAN: I think Omar will probably make a flight tonight.

BOLDUAN: You're the re -- you're the mayor of Reagan National. So, they have to be nice to you.

JIMENEZ: Pete Muntean, a pleasure as always.

MUNTEAN: Thanks. I'm waiting for my sash in the mail.

JIMENEZ: Yes. Please come back to us when you get that sash.

MUNTEAN: Anytime.

JIMENEZ: Pete Muntean, thank you. Now, obviously, look. We've got a lot that we're following. We're following Thanksgiving travel.


JIMENEZ: Potential delays. We've obviously been following what's been happening overseas in Israel, including a planned four-day pause in hostilities. And so, we're going to ask how much of a difference is this actually going to make to thousands of Palestinians suffering in Gaza. We're going to talk with a representative from the World Health Organization coming up next.



JIMENEZ: Now, Israel and Hamas have agreed to a four-day pause in fighting, set to begin tomorrow, along with a swap of Hamas hostages and Palestinian prisoners. But for now, the fighting continues in Gaza where thousands of civilians have been killed, and a humanitarian crisis is expanding. So, joining us with more from Cairo, Rick Brennan, Regional Emergency Director for the World Health Organization. Thank you for being with us.

I know things have been incredibly busy there. Now, for starters, part of this deal, as we understand will include aid trucks entering Gaza from Egypt, carrying aid relief, medical supplies fuel. How much of a difference do you think this is actually going to make?

RICK BRENNAN, ACTING REGIONAL EMERGENCY DIRECTOR FOR EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: Well, first of all, it is -- it is great news. And we're delighted for the release of the hostages that -- (INAUDIBLE) been calling for unconditional release of the hostages. That's a tremendous step forward.

And it is good news that we have the opportunity now to scale up the aid effort. We have a huge job ahead of us. And particularly in the health sector now. We've seen a massive degradation of the health system. 25 of 36 hospitals across Gaza are now non-functioning.

So, we've seen anywhere from 3500 hospital beds down to 1400 hospital beds across the entire region. Just the tip of as, of course, as you've indicated, massive numbers of injuries. Health needs are skyrocketing.

So, we're going to take the opportunity to move more supplies and, of course, life-saving medicines and other medical commodities. What we really need to focus on is expanding the capacity of the remaining functional hospitals. So, that means bringing intended facilities, prefab facilities, and perhaps international emergency medical teams.


It's a massive job. The window of opportunities is rather small. But we will be giving it everything we've got.

JIMENEZ: Yes. And look. To this point, you know -- you know, the United Nations, an agency at least, is saying that almost 1.7 million people in Gaza have been displaced since October 7. I mean, that's nearly the entire population, almost half of a total population that's under 18 years old.

The UN has been among those calling for humanitarian pauses for aid, which again, we're on the verge of seeing glimpses of. But what do you believe is most needed for the current humanitarian situation in Gaza? Obviously, as you mentioned, it is a huge immense situation that we're faced with here.

BRENNAN: Well, it's all the basic necessities of life. Its food. Its clean water. Its shelter. You know, we're coming into the -- into the winter season now, and there --

JIMENEZ: Would you like more times than just the four days that we're looking at here?

BRENNAN: Absolutely. I mean, look. A ceasefire -- a pause is one thing. Of course, what the humanitarian community and the UN have been pulling for us, is an end to the fighting. You know, we had -- tragically, one of our staff killed last night. That one married woman, 29 years old, along with 55 of her family members. Her husband, their 6-month-old baby, their first and only child, and 50 family members who are all taking refuge in her parent's home.

You know, a wonderful young woman, public health expert, working with amputees -- you know, working in prosthetics surgeons. So, you know, there -- that story is told over and over and over again. A pause is one thing, but a ceasefire is what we really need to put an end to the violent deaths, as well as to give us an opportunity to address the current -- these massive humanitarian needs on the right scale.

JIMENEZ: Yes. And look, over the past few days, you all, the World Health Organization, and others in coordination, helped to get a number of premature babies out of the Al Shifa Hospital. Which for those following, that's where a lot of the fighting has centered over the past week but obviously, one of the largest if not the -- in the entire -- in Gaza.

And so, some of those babies now receiving treatment in Egypt. And obviously, we're in a pause now. But how did that operation happen, and how were you able to operate when that fighting was so intense and ongoing around that hospital?

BRENNAN: We're -- yes. Well, we've actually got an admission there today. In fact, the guys are coming back from Al Shifa right now with 22 chemo and dialysis patients. 29 patients with spinal injuries. And we're hoping that they've been able to through the last Intensive Care Unit patient.

So, the way that those missions are organized, of course, huge logistics planning has to be organized in consultation and in negotiations with the fighting forces so that we get the security guarantees, we get the safe passage. We had to line up 15 ambulances today to move up to collect those patients. I haven't heard from the team. We've got a call. We're going to be doing a debrief as soon as they get back to Rafah.

So, again, a lot of logistics planning, but very much consultation and negotiations with the fighting forces so we can get safe passage. And it has been an active combat zone around the hospital. This is the admission we've done the last few days. JIMENEZ: Yes. Well, Rick Brennan, please keep us posted on the progress there. And please do stay in touch. Rick Brennan, thank you.

BOLDUAN: Coming up for us. 16 hours until that truce between Israel and Hamas is set to begin. And we're hearing more from families of hostages who are waiting to hear if their loved ones will be released. Up next, the great aunt of this little girl, the youngest American hostage, just 3 years old.



JIMENEZ: We continue following the breaking news this morning. In just hours, Hamas is set to release dozens of hostages who have been held for weeks. At least 50 women and children will be let go as part of a truce between Israel and Hamas.

BOLDUAN: In exchange, the war will effectively come to a temporary halt, four days the fighting will stop, and 150 Palestinian prisoners will be released from Israeli jails. Now this morning, families of the hostages are really holding their breath, including the family of 3- year-old Abigail Edan.


LIZ NAFTALI, GREAT AUNT OF 3-YEAR-OLD HAMAS HOSTAGE ABIGAIL MOR EDAN: I keep thinking about these innocent children and that no child should be held hostage, no child should be in the middle of this. And they should be released, and they should come home right away to their families. And Abigail's fourth birthday is on Friday. And no child should spend their birthday as a hostage somewhere in the dark.

NOA NAFTALI, COUSIN OF 3-YEAR-OLD HAMAS HOSTAGE ABIGAIL MOR EDAN: These are our grandparents. These are our aunts and uncles. These are our parents. These are our children. And we need them back with their family after everything we've gone through.

ABBEY ONN, THREE RELATIVES HELD HOSTAGE BY HAMAS: We want everyone home, right? We have, in just my family, two of them that would be considered in this deal, but the offer wouldn't. But I think the thing that we all agree on is that children are not part of war.


And so, if there is a deal where they can bring the babies and the children home, then it gives us hope. It turned our lives upside down. I barely work. This is a full time 24/7 job where you're not eating, you're not sleeping.

This is what you think about if your eyes closed at night, and when you wake up in the morning. And it's all-consuming. It is something that we are not processing. We're just living through until every one of these hostages are home and our soldiers are safe.

(END VIDEOTAPE) BOLDUAN: 16 hours now until that truce sets in.


BOLDUAN: So much to come.

JIMENEZ: Of course.

BOLDUAN: Thanks for being here, Omar.

JIMENEZ: Of course.

BOLDUAN: And thank you all so much for joining us. This is CNN NEWS CENTRAL. "INSIDE POLITICS" starts now.