Return to Transcripts main page
CNN News Central
Today: 10 More Hostages Set To Be Released After Truce Extended; Family Of Hostage Omri Miran Gets Confirmation He's Alive In Gaza. Aired 9-9:30a ET
Aired November 28, 2023 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
EVA MCKEND, CNN NATIONAL POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: Here's how members of her family are thinking about this moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KIM FULLER, JIMMY & ROSALYNN CARTER'S NIECE: We know how much we loved her. And it's just so heartwarming to see how the nation loves her. I want people to remember my Aunt Rosalynn as someone who stood up for what she believed in, you know. She believed in equal rights for women. She believed in caregiving.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCKEND: A true testament to their love story that the former president, 99 years old, that he will be here to honor his wife. Poppy, Phil?
POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Yeah. Certainly quite a day ahead and we will have. Eva, thank you very much. Full live coverage of that, it begins at noon Eastern right here on CNN.
Thank you so much for starting your day with us. We'll see you back here tomorrow. CNN News Central is now.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: And we are standing by this morning for 10 more hostages to be released by Hamas, now the fifth day of the fragile truce between Israel and Hamas. One day more than the original agreement to get hostages out and only one day -- now in only one day more before now fighting could resume. And with these two additional days more hostages will be released and more aid will get into Gaza. Fifty-one Israeli citizens and 18 foreign nationals have been released by Hamas since the pause began Friday.
Just yesterday, among the hostages released was a mother and her three-year-old twin daughters. You see pictures of them there. But they are coming home without their father. He is still being held captive by Hamas in Gaza.
SARA SIDNER, CNN ANCHOR: Gorgeous picture there of that family. The emotional reunions are overshadowed, however, by the harsh reality of life after captivity. In this case, tragic, 17-year-old Noam and his sister, 13-year-old Alma, survived 50 days as hostages in Gaza without knowing their mother had been murdered in the October 7th attack. They learned the tragic news after they were freed.
Israel believes there are still 173 hostages being held in Gaza right now. And this morning, a major diplomatic push by the head of the CIA. Bill Burns is in Qatar to push for the Israel-Hamas truce to continue beyond the pause that we are in right now and expand it just to get out more women and children.
Let's get straight to CNN's Kaitlan Collins who is in Tel Aviv. First off, what do we know about the 10 people who may be coming out now? Has there been a list? And do the families know at this point or have you heard any of that information?
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, we have heard some of that. There is a list that Israel got overnight. They did what they had been doing every day during this temporary truce, which is they start calling the families of not just the people who are on that list, but also the families who are not, to let them know that it is in fact their loved ones who will not be coming home.
So obviously a devastating round of phone calls as a lot of these hostage families are just kind of sitting and waiting by the phone. I spoke to one woman's cousin and she should be eligible under what this deal is for women and children to be released. But they got a call last night saying that she would not be on that list today. So they know what to expect.
And so what we are hearing is that it's going to be around 10 people who are being released, we're still waiting to see what exactly their names are, what their ages are. We know that there are many more women and children who are being held. And so this is day five of this temporary truce.
Another release of hostages that was not necessarily guaranteed, it was only once they got that two day extension that we did learn more hostages would indeed be coming out today. And one thing we have learned is that the youngest hostage which is a 10-month-old baby who turned 10 months old while in the -- while in captivity in Gaza is not on that list today, neither are his parents or his four-year-old brother. Of course, that is Kafir Bibas. He has become one of the most searing images that you've seen this just this young little baby who was kidnapped on October 7th.
Complicating that is the fact that we do believe his family is separated at least from the father, we believe based on hostage videos that his family has seen. And we also believe that they are not even being held by Hamas. The IDF says that they believe that they're being held by another terrorist group in Gaza.
So that it just shows you how complicated this is, how difficult actually figuring out who is going to be on the list each day, which Israel doesn't learn until the night before when they get that list from Hamas truly looks like. And I think what the question is right now is we know we're on day five of this release. We know we're getting day six of this tomorrow based on what this extension agreement is right now. The question is what happens after that. And we are hearing this morning that the CIA Director Bill Burns is in Doha, he is meeting with top officials their, top Egyptian officials and the top -- the head of Mossad as well as they are talking about what is the future of this agreement.
And what I'm told by an Israeli official is that he is they're pushing for an expanded deal. That's a deal that would not just include women and children as this deal does right now, but also men. We know there are a lot of elderly men who are still being held, a lot of young men who were kidnapped from that music festival. And also IDF soldiers, both men and women.
So he is there pushing for that whether or not Hamas is open to that remains to be seen. It would mean, obviously more days of this temporary truce, but it is all still an open question of what's going to come next because Israel has made quite clear they are intent on resuming that military campaign in Gaza, not just the one that's ongoing right now, but also potentially moving to the south. They've been pretty open, about telegraphing that.
And so we're waiting to see what is the outcome of those negotiations that the CIA director is involved in right now. And as we wait to learn more about that we're also learning more about hostages and the death of a hostage who is actually being held in Gaza.
For that I want to bring in CNN's Oren Liebermann. Oren, we just got this confirmation from the IDF. What are they telling us about what happened to this hostage and what we know about him?
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: We don't know much at this point, Kaitlan, about the circumstances of the death. But the IDF says Ravid Katz who is 51 years old, died. They just -- they confirmed his death inside of Gaza in captivity. He was taken from the kibbutz of Nir Oz in the terror attack on October 7th.
And we don't understand or we don't know at this point exactly when he died. But the IDF announcement marks the death of the third hostage in captivity, that's after 19-year-old Corporal Noa Marciano and 65-year- old grandmother, Judith Weiss.
It's also worth noting that Ravid Katz was not taken on his own. In fact, his sister, Doron Katz and her children were released at the beginning of the hostage exchange. They came out on Friday. So just learning now the horrible news that one member of their family died while in Gaza.
As for what else is happening, we've just heard from the IDF that there has been an exchange of fire that threatens the ceasefire agreement here. I'll read you the statement which came out a short time ago. Over the last hour, three explosive devices were detonated adjacent to IDF troops in two different locations in the northern Gaza Strip violating the framework of the operational pause. They also say in one of those locations, they came under fire and returned fire. That's significant because it is clearly the largest violation of the pause in the fighting that we have seen thus far. Now, Kaitlan, we've gotten no indication that this threatens the overall agreement. We have a list of the hostages to be released tonight. And so far, at least, it appears that that process is continuing. But this is definitely worth keeping an eye on to see if it rattles what has already proven to be a fragile deal in more than one instance.
COLLINS: Yes. And we also know, you know, there's not a direct line of communication between Israel and Hamas. They're going through the Qataris. And so that only complicates when there is fire exchanged in Gaza right now. We'll continue to monitor that, see if it does threaten this temporary extension that we're seeing play out.
But Oren, you're also learning more about what these families are learning about their loved ones as they're coming home what they have just gone through in Gaza for the last 51 days. What are you hearing from these hostages?
LIEBERMANN: So far, we've only heard little bits here and there about the experiences. And I think it's safe to say what we are hearing is frankly horrible. It seems some has the hostages were held below ground. Some were held above ground and moved around repeatedly during 50 or so days of captivity.
Meanwhile, from what we've heard from doctors who treated many of these freed hostages, as well as from the families of the hostages themselves, they barely got enough food subsisting mostly on pita bread, and sometimes some rice or other carbohydrates like that, clearly not enough. Doctors have said that some of the freed hostages lost a tremendous amount of weight, in fact, that threatened the life of one of the elderly hostages, who is at least as of a couple of days ago in critical condition, and doctors are monitoring her to try to get her to recover. So the nutrition was a big question.
Of course, it's also a major issue of simply being in captivity. What that was like having to be quiet, not being able to communicate, obviously, with family members not having any idea what else had happened, not understanding the scope or the scale of the horror on October 7th. We have heard from the families of hostages who came out who had to tell a newly freed hostages, you have lost members of your family who are killed in the terror attack of October 7th.
It is all in all a horrific picture of what they've endured over the course of the past seven weeks. And part of the challenge of the mental health process that they are just now beginning.
COLLINS: Yes. It just can't even imagine how lengthy that process is going to be for so many of them. Oren Liebermann, thank you for that report. And Oren mentioned what we're hearing the tidbits from these hostages who obviously what we're hearing also is that psychiatrists are telling their family members not to press them certainly not the youngest ones for more information, instead to let them talk about it when they're ready to talk about it. [09:10:09]
One of those situations is Thomas Hand, who of course initially believed his nine year old daughter Emily had been killed on October 7th, something he said he was grateful for thinking about the conditions that hostages were likely living through in Gaza. He later found out that she was in fact alive and that she was being held as a hostage. And in a remarkable journey, the two of them were reunited this week. She was released in this group of hostages. And he's talking about their reunion, in an interview with our colleague, Clarissa Ward.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THOMAS HAND, 9-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER RELEASED BY HAMAS: She'd be here in a couple of minutes, like temporarily fair, and all of a sudden the door opened up and she just ran. It was beautiful. Just like in -- just like I imagined it, you know, running together. I squeezed, I probably squeezed too hard. And certainly when she stepped back a little, I could see her face was chiseled, like mine, whereas before she left there was, you know, chubby, curly, young kid face.
Yes, she has lost a lot of body weight. And the color, I've never seen her so white. The other and the most shocking, disturbing part of meeting her was she was just whispering. I couldn't hear her. I had to put my ear on her lips like this close. And say, what did you say? (Inaudible).
CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: She said, I thought you were kidnapped.
HAND: She thought I was in captivity. They thought they'd kidnap me. She didn't know what the hell happened apart from the morning. So she's presumed everyone's kidnapped or killed or slaughtered. She had no idea.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: And Kate, obviously just hearing that interview from Thomas Hand talking in depth with Clarissa about what it was like to finally be reunited with her. But also, it just underscores what a long road she has ahead of what this nine-year-old girl. She is barely nine years old. She turned nine while in captivity, what she has been through and also how to process that.
And he himself as a dad was saying, you know, he's a bit lost on how to navigate this, how to handle this. And he's been speaking with the psychiatrist about what is the best path forward. And of course, Emily is just one of many children who were held for more than 50 days and more children that are still being held. And as we're hearing, you know, the youngest on that list, not expected to be released even today. And that list of hostages that we are expecting to see here in the next few moments be released.
BOLDUAN: Absolutely. And you're hitting on an important point to remind everyone of what Thomas Hand is recounting is what happened with his nine-year-old, barely nine-year-old daughter survived. I mean, my -- I think my daughter is probably about one month older than Emily. She's nine as well. And it's just imagining my daughter, anyone's daughter going through in recounting anything like this is just gut, heart, soul crushing. But at least she is back in the arms of her family. Kaitlan, we're going to get right back to you. Thank you so much for bringing us that. And much more of Clarissa Ward's report on her conversation with Thomas Hand will also be coming as well.
And this morning with the release of hostages, we do know that Israel believes that 173 hostages remain in Gaza after being kidnapped during the October 7th Hamas terror attack. One of those hostages is Omri Miran. He was terrorized along with his family by Hamas for hours before he was kidnapped from their kibbutz Nahal Oz. His wife, Lishay Lavi, their two young daughters forced to watch as Omri was taken away, now seven weeks ago.
Joining us now is Omar's wife, Lishay Lavi. Moshe, it's good to see you again. Since we last spoke, you receive word on Sunday that a confirmation that Omri is alive. Tell us more about what you have learned.
LISHAY LAVI, HUSBAND OMRI MIRAN KIDNAPPED BY HAMAS: We just know that he's alive from to this point until the point that we are the message, you know, where three days past, so now we don't know where he is and we don't know what his conditions. And we are in the same situation. And, you know, we get that message and it was great to hear. And it give a lot of power.
But, you know, we are three days after and we are in the beginning again. We don't know what his condition. We don't know if he is alive or not now. And these days will be really difficult. There is a lot of emotions in these days. We are very happy to see the others, the children, the mothers come back to Israel in one hand.
But in the second hand, Omri is still over there. And a lot of people, a lot of fathers over there, a lot of children, a lot of mothers, and a lot of others is over there. And we don't know when he's going to come back. We don't know what's going to happen. And I saw now what Emily's father say, what she thought about it, Emily. And I aid to myself, Omri, did not -- don't know what's happened with us, you know, he don't know we are alive. He don't he don't know that me and his daughters are OK, physically. And it's horrible to think about it what he threw right now in his head.
BOLDUAN: Absolutely. I hadn't even appreciated that. He has likely has no idea he was taken away. And you and the girls were left there. Your daughter screaming for him. He has no idea.
LAVI: Yes. He has no idea. And this is really it's hard to think it's not -- I'm not thinking about that a lot. But now when I saw, I'm most proud of say about it. So it's something that in my head now that really he don't know what's happened after. Like, we don't know what's happened to him. We don't know what -- where he is, what he ate. I don't know if they give you -- if they give them, you know, something to put because Omri was taken with his boxer, you know, shirts. So, and the winter is come. So I don't know what he's wearing. And he's not -- he don't know, either what's happened to us. And it's really difficult.
BOLDUAN: It's just a rolling nightmare. You have one moment of hope and encouragement when you hear -- when you heard on Sunday, he was alive. But you're right. Days now have passed and the nightmare continues for you and your girls. We know we've been hearing now as more women and children have been released, that now the conversation we know officials are now trying to expand the conversation to push the agreement further to release hostages beyond women and children, elderly men, and maybe possibly also that would then, you know, and if you want to horribly have to put them into categories, then maybe Omri and other Israeli men would be in a category after that.
I mean, what would you want those who are negotiating, these hostage releases to know about Omri because women and children were seen as the, quote unquote, easiest to get out. And Omri is definitely not seen as it's going to be more difficult to have Omri to be released.
LAVI: Yes, it's so horrible situation. I want to say that Omri is the first of all, before he is the man, he's the first of all, father. This is his identity. He waits a lot of time, a lot of fear to be a father. And before two years, we had Roni. So, first of all, he is the father. He's a therapist. He needs soul (ph). And this is what he's doing for -- when he is in Europe is that therapy or shiatsu therapy and to heal we -- persons. And I hope that is something that helped him over there and to the other person he's with. And we need him here, you know.
There is hostages over there in Gaza. And I want to say, a sentence that it's really hard to me to say. But me and my two daughter, Roni and Alma, we are still hostages, you know, not physically. We had better conditions, of course. But we are mentally hostages also. Roni is continue waiting for him every day. Every morning, she asked if he's going to come back today and every night. He understand that he's not going to come back. And --
BOLDUAN: Lishay, I wanted to ask you about that. Because you were missing a husband, but you're two sweet daughters, they're two years old and I mean, you and I have been speaking for weeks now. Alma is now eight months old. Yes, now eight months old. They're missing their father. How are the girls doing? I mean, what are you noticing as the week stretch on especially with Roni as she obviously knows more?
LAVI: You know we always say about Roni and Roni can speak and Roni speak a lot and told everyone that he got lost. And we are told her that, yes, daddy got lost and a lot of people searching for him. She asked about the all the picture that she saw with Omri on them. It's really hard to also because she don't really understand why her father is all around in a picture, in a t-shirts. So we are saying to her that not everyone know how Omri looks, so this is why this picture because a lot of people searching him. And Roni really wants to show Omri that the new house that we have, the new room it's not really a house, it's a little room that we have and the new kitten (ph) garden that she's got. But with Roni we can speak and she can speak. Alma she eight months old already. We passed like two months.
There is -- it's a lot in a children. It's -- Omri don't see her the first time that she sit, the first time that she eat. Now she stand. And Alma I don't know what you thinking. I don't know what you know. We -- I tried to tell her to tell her also that daddy really miss her and daddy love her and to show and I show her a picture with him. But we really don't know what she thought, what she know.
BOLDUAN: We will. And we're going to make sure.
LAVI: And if she recognize him.
BOLDUAN: Well, that and that's exactly right. I mean it's a quarter of her life essentially that her father has now been taken away from her. Lishay, thank you for coming on again. We will continue to show that picture to make sure that Alma and Roni's daddy, everyone knows his face so everyone can be searching for him as well. Thank you so much, Lishay.
LAVI: Thank you. And I want to add one sentence. Please continue to be with us. Please continue to support us. Please like a stream our story until the last hostages come back home. Come back to Israel. Please. Thank you very much.
BOLDUAN: Thank you. We'll be in touch. Sara?
SIDNER: That was touching Kate. I think the thing that I got from that was emotional hostages that these families that are waiting are also hostages as well from their emotions and their mental state.
Just ahead, join us for this, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is warning that aid to Israel and Ukraine could be in jeopardy if he says Republicans don't budge and including border security in the package. We'll ask Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley where things stand now. That's ahead.
SIDNER: New this morning, Israeli defense officials traveled to Washington and met with some Senate Democrats on Capitol Hill to talk about the war with Hamas. A source in the room says the meeting was led by senior military staff who work at the Israeli embassy. They discuss steps to reduce civilian casualties, increased funding for Israel and potential conditions for aid.
The meeting comes as that aid as well as emergency funding for Ukraine and Israel is still stuck in Senate limbo with Democrats and Republicans blaming one another. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer warned that Republicans demands over border security could sink the aid package altogether. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): The worst thing we can do is to make something as bipartisan as Ukraine aid conditional on partisan issues that have little chance of becoming law. Sadly, that's what may well be happening right now. Because the biggest holdup to nationals -- to the national security supplement is an insistence by some Republicans, just some, on partisan border policy as a condition for Ukraine aid.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SIDNER: So Schumer plans to bring a national security package to the Senate floor, and as early as next week.