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Pennsylvania Water Authority Hacked; Emergency Aid Faces Uncertain Future in Congress; Israel-Hamas Truce Holding. Aired 11- 11:30a ET
Aired November 28, 2023 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: Right now, the fragile truce between Israel and Hamas is holding, despite Israel and Hamas accusing each other of violating the terms of the hostage deal reached five days ago.
The IDF is reporting this morning that three explosive devices were detonated near Israeli troops in two different locations in Northern Gaza and that Hamas militants also opened fire on IDF troops, who responded to the attack.
Now, Hamas is calling the clash a -- quote, unquote -- "field skirmish." This morning, plumes of smoke were seen over Gaza. Now, while this is happening, another group of Israeli hostages are expected to be released from Hamas captivity today. Their families were notified early this morning.
Unclear if this exchange of fire in Gaza does anything to jeopardize those plans.
SARA SIDNER, CNN HOST: OK, so here are where things stand right now; 51 Israeli citizens and 18 foreign nationals have been released by Hamas since the pause began on Friday.
Families of the hostages set to be freed today, as you heard, have been notified. And the families who are not having hostages freed have also been notified.
Meantime, the U.S. continues pushing to expand this hostage deal, CIA Director Bill Burns in Qatar today meeting with Israeli and Egyptian leaders for a broader deal that would include releasing men and IDF soldiers.
The trip comes as a number of Americans are still being held hostage in Gaza.
Our Kaitlan Collins is in Tel Aviv for us.
What do you know at this hour?
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN HOST: Right now, you are seeing both sides accuse each other of violating the terms of this agreement.
But it doesn't appear to have gone far enough to cause either of them to pull out of it. The deal is very much still in place. You have seen those complaints from Hamas and from the IDF, but, so far, this is still moving forward. We're waiting any moment now to see this actual exchange of the fifth group of hostages get under way.
We have not seen that activity yet. Of course, that involves a lot of activity that typically we have been watching hour by hour, minute by minute, every night as these hostages make their way from the hands of Hamas to the Red Cross, then to Egypt and then finally here in Israel, mainly here in Tel Aviv, where they're dispersed at a group of hospitals and reunited with their families.
And so we're waiting to see the ticktock of that actual release start to happen. But as we're waiting on that, there is a bigger question looming. And that's what happens after day six of this temporary truce, because we did see it get extended by 48 more hours.
We know that right now officials are meeting in Doha to talk about whether or not to extend it further. I'm told that the CIA director wants this to be extended not only for several more days, but also to start to include men that are being held in Gaza, IDF soldiers, both men and women, that are being held in Gaza.
We know Hamas prioritizes them higher than the women and children. So, basically, it's a higher price for Israel to get them out. Whether or not that happens remains to be seen. There are still a lot of women and children that we are waiting to see who is on this list today.
Some of these children, we know, are not going to be on this list. Everyone has seen the 10-month-old baby, Kfir Bibas. He is not expected to be on this list. Neither is his brother. So we're still waiting to see who is on this list, what that looks like.
CNN's Alex Marquardt is also tracking all of this, as we are watching closely to see what it is that comes next.
And, Alex, right now, based on what we're hearing from officials on every side of the negotiating table here, it's still an open question.
ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: It is, Kaitlan.
And I think you put it really well. The question now is essentially day seven. What happens on day seven? This meeting with CIA Director Bill Burns and his Qatari, Israeli and Egyptian counterparts comes at a really pivotal moment, where we have had what we believe today will be the fifth successful day of a pause and hostage release.
That will likely hopefully continue into a sixth day. But what happens beyond that? Now, Burns really has become the point person for the Biden administration when it comes to these hostages. From the outset, he has been engaging with his Qatari and Israeli counterparts to try to get this deal across the finish line.
They were successful in nailing down this deal for 50 Israeli women and children over the course of four days. But now our understanding is that, certainly, the Biden administration wants to extend this pause in the fighting. They want to try to get more hostages out, but not only women and children.
There is very much that question of men. There are seven American men among the hostages, among them three who have ties to the IDF. So, as you point out, Kaitlan, the negotiations over those men, over those IDF soldiers -- and there are many of them -- are going to be very tough, very complicated.
And you can imagine that Hamas is going to want to exact a very high price for them -- Kaitlan.
And, Alex, the longer this pause goes on, I mean, the bigger the question is of what Israel is going to do next. I mean, we see what Hamas gets from this. It's quiet in Gaza right now. There is no fighting. They have time to regroup after that constant bombardment from the skies and then the Israeli ground invasion that happened in Gaza.
But the question here, right now in Israel, there is support for an extension of this pause, because people want these hostages to get home. I think the underlying question is how long that support goes on for before Israel starts to feel international pressure to where they feel like they can't restart the ground campaign that they seem very intent on restarting at this point.
MARQUARDT: We know that Israel has built in essentially an expectation that this could go along as 10 days, because, when this started, they approved a list of 300 Palestinian prisoners for release.
Now, remember that, for every Israeli hostage being released, three Palestinian prisoners are also being released by Israel at the same time. So there is an expectation that it could continue into a 10th day. Now, Hamas has every incentive to do that. They get a break in the fighting to rest and reset, as you say.
They allow for more aid to get into Gaza, for that aid to be distributed. And they allow for more of these prisoners to be released. But there is very much a question of what will happen if and when Israel relaunches this military operation.
We're getting a sense from the Biden administration that they don't want Israel to go back to what they were doing before, senior administration official saying yesterday that they want Israel, if they're going to start their military operations back up again, to be much more surgical, much more tactical, more careful and cautious, Kaitlan.
COLLINS: Yes, we will see if that advice from the United States works, how Israel responds to that.
Alex Marquardt, as we are tracking these ongoing negotiations in Doha right now, thank you for that. Also this morning, we are hearing from the IDF, confirming the death
of a third hostage in Gaza. Ravid Katz was kidnapped from the kibbutz Nir Oz in Southern Israel on October 7.
CNN's Oren Liebermann is tracking this development.
Oren, what do we know about when the IDF learned of when this man was killed, any other details they have about how?
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: So far, we have gotten few details on an exact cause of death or an exact date of death.
The IDF only confirmed that 51-year-old Ravid Katz, his body was confirmed dead inside of Gaza. Now, we have heard this name before, at least the family name, and that's because his sister Doron Katz and her children were released at the beginning, on Friday, if I'm not mistaken, or earlier in this truce agreement.
So, the family now learning the horrible news that Ravid Katz died inside of Gaza. He is the third Israeli hostage to be confirmed by the IDF to have died inside of Gaza. Within about a week several weeks ago now, it was 19-year-old Corporal Noa Marciano, whose body was discovered in Gaza and brought and buried outside of Israel, and then 64 -- 65-year-old grandmother Yehudit Weiss.
Both of those, it's worth noting, were found, according to the IDF, within about 50 meters of Al Shifa Hospital, which Israel has long said was a Hamas terror compound and had Hamas infrastructure underneath. So they also said, at least when it comes to Noa Marciano, that she was injured in an Israeli airstrike that killed her captors.
They then say Marciano was taken to Shifa Hospital, where they say she was then killed. Now, we don't have those sorts of details about Katz at this point, but that is something we will keep looking into to see what more can be learned.
That was always certainly a major concern of the families of the hostages. What happens the longer this goes on? How many more will Israel discover?
COLLINS: Yes, I mean, we're just learning so much by the moment.
Oren Liebermann, if you get any more details on this, make sure you bring those back to us. Thank you so much for that -- Kate.
BOLDUAN: Kaitlan, thank you so much. We're going to get back to you guys all in just a moment.
Joining me now to talk more about all of this is Shawn Turner, the former director of communications for U.S. national intelligence.
Shawn, the pause in fighting, let's start there. It's now entering this two-day extension, and this offers two more days to get more hostages out and back into safety. But with these two days, and with now hearing that the possibility of trying to negotiate an even broader and longer agreement, what is Hamas doing during this truce? SHAWN TURNER, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Yes, Kate, thanks for
You ask the key question there. Look, we all have to acknowledge that the fact that we have seen 69 hostages released so far is the best news that we possibly could have gotten since the start of this conflict.
But I'm thinking about this from a military and intelligence perspective. And what I know is -- what we all know is that these terrorists are not taking time out to enjoy the relative calm that's associated with this pause.
What they're doing right now is, they are plotting, they're planning, they're contemplating their next move. They fully understand that Israel is committed to resuming this war and doing everything in Israel's power to take Hamas off the battlefield.
So what they're thinking right now could be anything from how they capture and death -- and live on to fight another day, two, how they recharge, resupply, reenergize, and take the fight to Israel once the hostilities start again.
BOLDUAN: Can I also ask you about what Kaitlan and Oren were just talking about, as we have now learned, a third hostage is confirmed dead and -- while in captivity, his body being held by Hamas and Gaza?
Why would Hamas or any terrorist group holding on to an innocent hostage, why would they hold on to someone who has died? What is going on here?
It really starts to raise questions about sort of command and control within Hamas. There is a body within Hamas that's participating in the negotiations and that has leverage with regard to the hostages and what happens with those hostages.
But it's also the case that you may have different factions, different groups, hostages held in different areas where the command and control of what happens at those areas may not be centralized. And so I think there's a lot of work that has to be done here to figure out exactly why this happened, particularly during a time when we have this pause.
But I think it's safe to say that this is outside of what those who are negotiating with the Qataris and with the Israelis and the United States, what those -- what they intended to happen here. I think this is probably what we would refer to as stray voltage with regard to command and control.
BOLDUAN: Can you also talk to me about -- now we know that the CIA director, Bill Burns, is in Qatar with also the director of Mossad meeting and pushing to try to expand this agreement that would then expand the hostages to be released beyond women and children, to include potentially men, potentially even soldiers.
We have heard from Israel that the price gets higher as this goes on. What does that mean? How does this negotiation go?
TURNER: Yes, I think it's no mistake that Tony Blinken is heading back to the region, and you have got Bill Burns, who is just a masterful statesman, involved in this negotiation.
I think that what we can't deny here is the fact that we have U.S. citizens who are being held, and Hamas understands that the United States is Israel's closest and most important ally, and so there is going to be a different calculus with regard to the release of U.S. citizens.
With regard to the release of women and children first and then men, there's just a logistical aspect of being able to control the number of hostages you have and to use those hostages as leverage. So, I think that what we're seeing here is sort of -- it's a game of chess.
On the part of Hamas, the whole idea here is, how do we maintain as much leverage as we possibly can based on who we keep and what affiliations they have? And for the United States, this really is about, primarily about one thing. The United States simply does not want to see hostilities resumed before all of those hostages are recovered.
So, we just have to see how this plays out, but, really, this is a masterful game of chess here.
BOLDUAN: A horrific game of chess.
Shawn, thank you so much for coming in. Always appreciate your time.
So, we're talking about the negotiations to get more hostages out, but as more hostages are being released, we are hearing new details about their time in captivity. We have told you about 9-year-old Emily Hand. She was kidnapped by Hamas during a sleepover at a friend's house, her father originally told she was dead, then later found out that she had been taken hostage.
You're seeing pictures of their reunion finally. Now she is back in the arms of her father.
And Thomas Hand spoke to CNN's Clarissa Ward about these first moments and also what she told her father about her time in captivity.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THOMAS HAND, FATHER OF RELEASED HAMAS HOSTAGE: I had to put my ear on her lips, like this close, and say: "What did you say?"
"I thought you were kidnapped."
CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: She said: "I thought you were kidnapped?"
HAND: She thought I was in captivity. They thought they'd kidnapped me. She didn't know what the hell happened, apart from that morning.
So, she's presumed everyone's kidnapped or killed or slaughtered, or -- she had no idea.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: She had no idea -- 173 hostages and their families still in a waiting -- you can't call it a waiting game. It's a waiting nightmare.
Omri Miran and his family, they were terrorized by Hamas for hours before he was kidnapped from their kibbutz Nahal Oz. His wife, Lishai Lavi, their two young daughters, they survived, but were forced to watch as Omri was taken away.
On Sunday, they found out that he is confirmed on Sunday to still be alive. Now, Lishai joined us. we spoke to Lishai earlier this morning. And she described the nightmare that her family continues to live through now for seven weeks and also the new pain that she's feeling reacting to hearing what Emily Hand told her father just now when she got out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LISHAI LAVI, WIFE OF HAMAS HOSTAGE: We are very happy to see the others, the children, the mothers, come back to Israel, in one hand, but, in the secondhand, 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 fathers 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 he thought about it, Emily, and I think to myself, Omri did not -- don't know what happened with us.
He don't know we are alive. He don't know that me and his daughters are OK physically. And it's horrible to think about it, what he's through right now in his head.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: Seven weeks. Omri Miran and 173 hostages still remain in captivity, kidnapped by Hamas terrorists.
Today, 10 more hostages are expected to be released by Hamas, those families now waiting and holding their breath -- Sara.
SIDNER: All right, thank you, Kate.
Still to come: a precarious rescue in Northern India. How crews rescued 41 workers in Uttarakhand that were trapped in a collapsed tunnel for more than two weeks underground.
Also, any moment now, President Biden is expected to arrive in Georgia for the tribute service to the former first lady Rosalynn Carter. We will have details on how she is being remembered today.
BOLDUAN: The Senate majority leader has vowed to bring more funding for Israel and Ukraine to the floor for a vote next week.
But where it's headed is still as unclear as it was before all of Congress left town for the Thanksgiving break, stuck in limbo over a range of issues, now including a dispute over funding for the Southern border with Mexico to be included in this package.
CNN's Manu Raju on the Hill with the very latest.
So, Manu, they're back in town. I mean, it's Tuesday. The Senate came back yesterday. Where are things going with this?
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, there's a lot of concerns that this whole effort could collapse, not just aid for Israel, aid to Ukraine, in large part because of a dispute over immigration policies.
Republicans want to tighten immigration policies, given the influx of migrants at the Southern border. There is still a dispute within both parties over how to deal with that issue, given that Congress has spent decades unable to resolve immigration, a lot of concerns about whether they can actually get a deal on this very complicated issue in order to unlock aid to Israel and aid to Ukraine.
Democrats are insisting that Israel aid must go along with aid to Ukraine as well. Republicans are insisting that immigration changes should be added to Ukraine. And then the House side, they want spending cuts to offset the price tag of all of this, which leads -- is leading to a lot of concerns about whether any of it could get done this year, Kate.
BOLDUAN: So, as that is going on, also stuck in limbo still for, what, has this been nine months now or something are these military promotions held up by Republicans Senator Tommy Tuberville.
You spoke with him about what he's hearing from military officials. What is he saying?
RAJU: Yes, this has been happening for pretty much the duration of this year, several hundred military nominees waiting for their promotions in the face of Tommy Tuberville's blockade, demanding changes to the Pentagon's policy dealing with abortion, reimbursements for military personnel to travel out of state.
He is saying he's not going to back down even in the face of growing pressure from within his own party. And he claimed to me that he was even getting support from people in the military for him to stand firm.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RAJU: And you're not worried about the national security implications of the hold?
SEN. TOMMY TUBERVILLE (R-AL): No. I have -- as I have told you, I have talked to admirals and generals.
I have had people call me. Now, I have had people call me over holidays saying, keep doing what you're doing. We're not having any problem.
RAJU: Who are those people?
TUBERVILLE: Well,there's -- they're people that are in the military. I wouldn't throw anybody underneath the bus, but...
RAJU: You can't name names?
TUBERVILLE: No, I'm not going to name anybody. But it's good to hear from people that are actually doing what they're doing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RAJU: But there are other military officials, including the leaders of the Pentagon, who are making very clear that they believe that Tommy Tuberville's effort here is essentially undermining national security, putting the country at risk.
And we have heard from Republicans who believe -- who are siding with Lloyd Austin, the defense secretary, raising their own concerns, people like Lindsey Graham, Joni Ernst, Dan Sullivan, GOP senators trying to pressure Tuberville to back off this effort.
Now, where does this go from here, Kate? It remains to be seen. There will be a meeting today behind closed doors where Republican senators are expected to discuss how to resolve this. Tuberville told me he may have some ideas to get around the standoff. But there's not much expectation that this could be resolved, which is raising even more concerns about the impacts on national security.
And what the Senate may do to get around Tuberville is still an open question, as Democrats contemplate other measures, other off-ramps, but they need Republican support to get there, even as GOP concerns are growing.
BOLDUAN: Yes, I mean, if Tuberville has ideas of how to get around this, one idea would just be drop the holds, have a policy debate over policy, rather than holding up military holds, as Republicans and Democrats and the heads of the military have said would be the path forward.
But Tuberville seems to be a man on an island right now and continues to be. It's good to see you, Manu. Thanks for the reporting -- Sara.
SIDNER: Federal authorities have launched an investigation after a hacking attack on a water authority near Pittsburgh possibly by an Iranian-backed cyber group.
One local official says the group took control of one water station. Workers were able to operate manually and continue regular service with no interruptions.
CNN's Sean Lyngaas is joining us now.
Sean, this is sort of the kind of thing that governments everywhere fear.
SEAN LYNGAAS, CNN CYBERSECURITY REPORTER: Right. It's concerning. I mean, this is critical infrastructure, Sara.
This is the water facilities that we all rely on for our way of life. As you pointed out, there was no threat to the water supply itself, but water facilities across the U.S. have traditionally been very under-resourced in terms of their ability to invest in cybersecurity and protect themselves.
It's often a shoestring budget kind of operation. These are engineers who operate the facilities. They're very knowledgeable about engineering practices, but not always cybersecurity. Now, in this case, the water facility did immediately call federal authorities, who, like you said, launched an investigation.
This has the attention of senior U.S. cyber officials across the government, I'm told by sources, and it's very much an ongoing situation. The case that the hackers were apparently trying to make was more of a psychological one, just to get people's attention.
I'm not sure, Sara, that they were actually after doing anything to damage the water facility itself, rather, to make a statement. That's what these types of suspected Iranian hacking groups do. They want attention, media attention. Obviously, this is a serious incident.
However, we have to stress that there was no threat to the actual water supply. That being said, in the coming days, you can bet that officials from both the federal, state, and local levels will be investigating this and trying to get to the bottom of how the hackers were able to breach this facility -- Sara.
SIDNER: Yes. I mean, it's certainly a threat that has -- everyone has received as something that could grow.
They have also -- I noticed that you have reported they have also, that same group, done this in Israel since October 7. So there's a lot to look into here.
Sean, thank you so much for your reporting -- Kate.
BOLDUAN: All right, we're going to show you live pictures now from Atlanta, the casket of former first lady Rosalynn Carter approaching the church where the memorial service will soon be beginning.
We're watching these beautiful moments to honor the beautiful life of the first lady, humanitarian and political great, really, as we have learned, by her husband's side, known as his greatest political adviser during his time in office, and their long love affair.
We have been told that Jimmy Carter himself will be attending the service, despite the fact that he has been in hospice with ailing health for, I believe it has been nine months now.
Joe Biden, Jill Biden, they are on their way to Atlanta to attend the service. And we have also learned that all living former first ladies, Jill Biden.