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Catastrophic Scene Inside Gaza's Largest Hospital; Cameron Returns In UK Cabinet Shakeup; Trump Calls Political Opponents Vermin; Aired 1-2a ET

Aired November 14, 2023 - 01:00   ET



JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Ahead here on CNN Newsroom, "In The Crossfire," the biggest hospital in Gaza is now out of service as intense fighting causes power outages with a chronic shortage of fuel. "A Little Comeback," former British Prime Minister David Cameron named foreign secretary made a cabinet shakeup. And "Words Really Do Matter," Donald Trump labels political opponents vermin, warns of a sinister threat from within, the rally speech which echoed the language of Hitler and Mussolini.

ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Center, this is CNN Newsroom with John Vause.

VAUSE: One by one, hospitals across Gaza have been forced to close. According to Gaza's Health Ministry, 21 out of 35 are no longer functioning because of damage from Israeli airstrikes or artillery fire, or because of a lack of fuel. Now that includes the major medical center in Gaza, the Al Shifa Hospital. Conditions there are described as catastrophic not only for patients but for thousands of people who have taken shelter into hospital as well as the surrounding area.

The director of Al Shifa says there is no longer fuel to run generators, which means no electricity, and request to Israel for 600 liters of fuel needed to run those generators every hour have gone unanswered. The Israeli say 300 liters of fuel was delivered to the main entrance of Al Shifa on Sunday but medical staff were prevented from reaching it by Hamas militants. Israel has long said Hamas command center is located directly below the hospital. That is an accusation backed up by one US official but an allegation denied by doctors there as well as hospital administrators and Hamas.

Along with no electricity, Gaza's second largest hospital, Al Quds, has also seen clashes between Israeli ground forces and Hamas fighters. The Israeli say they came under fire from militants embedded with civilians at the hospital entrance. Israel says more than 20 Hamas fighters died in the exchange of fire. On Monday, the US president spoke about his concerns at the Gaza's collapsing health system.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: And my hope and expectation that there will be less intrusive action relative to the hospital. The hospital must be protected.


VAUSE: On Monday, 11 news organizations wrote to the leaders of Israel and Egypt, asking for better access to Gaza for journalists. Since October 7, the territory has been mostly sealed with very few people are allowed in or out. CNN's Nic Robertson was recently in Gaza, but he was under constant escort by the Israel Defense Forces. It's important to note, CNN did not submit either video or script to the IDF for review, and retain full editorial control over the report you're about to see.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice-over): Driving into Gaza with the Israeli forces, it's a warzone. The conditions of our access only show officers know faces of soldiers and don't show sensitive equipment. We are passing mile after mile of destruction. Buildings blown, collapsed, nothing untouched by the fury of Israel's hunt for Hamas. Streets here crushed back to sand.

ROBERTSON: Shops, everything that we see, no sign of any civilians here. And the soldiers have been telling us that even inside the stores, they've been fighting things like rocket propelled grenades ready to use against them as they were advancing through this area.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): A few miles in, we pull up at a command on post. Soldiers living in blown apartment buildings.

ROBERTSON: Every building I'm looking at here, wherever you turn, is destroyed, it shot up. Hard to imagine how civilians endured the bombardment here.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): Our next journey much deeper into Gaza. We arrive 100 meters from a battle with Hamas. Tanks blasting targets in nearby buildings, the IDF's top spokesperson waiting for us.

DANIEL HAGARI, IDF SPOKESPERSON: We are conducting an operation inside Gaza, next to Rantisi Hospital.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): Israel is facing massive international pressure over the destruction of homes, the shockingly high civilian death toll, and in the last few days over it's apparently heavy-handed tactics at hospitals.

HAGARI: We have here the tunnel, the bulldozers reveal the tunnels that we suspect that underneath the hospital.


ROBERTSON (voice-over): Hagari has brought us here to show the connection he says exists between Hamas and the Rantisi Children's Hospital.

HAGARI: We're now here in an area between a hospital, a school and a terrorist house. ROBERTSON (voice-over): A Hamas commander he says live there. He points out the solar panels on the roof.

HAGARI: This is a tunnel that was sliding, like this is the floor. You can see here.

ROBERTSON: This is the ladder going down.

HAGARI: You see the ladder going down.

ROBERTSON: I see the ladder going down, yes.

HAGARI: OK. This is 20 meter tunnel. And look what's here -- look at the -- look at the -- look at the tunnel, (inaudible) there but look down here. The same cables are going down to the tunnel, OK --

ROBERTSON: So the hard wire into the tunnel --

HAGARI: So what I wanted to show you, the solar panels on the terrace house provide electricity directly to the tunnel. We've entered a robot inside the tunnel, and the robot saw a massive door, a door that is the direction of the hospital.

ROBERTSON: We're in what is an active fire zone here. You can hear the small arms fire. The IDF say that's still played in this area. We're getting (inaudible) just taking a bit of cover because they said we're still taking fire. But over here, we were able to smell what smell like rotting flesh that is perhaps buried underneath the rubble. No -- no don't go up high. That expose yourself.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): As we move off to the hospital 100 meters away, we're still taking fire.

HAGARI: We're still conducting an operation. Operation conducted by a Special Unit, the Israeli Navy SEALs are researching the hospitals.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): Hagari later tells us he took a big risk bringing us into such a combat zone. It is clear he wants this story told.

HAGARI: We're searching here to see the connection of the tunnel to the hospital, OK? Don't fall here.

ROBERTSON: So this is where the connection --

HAGARI: We are looking for the connection.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): As we finally reached the hospital, it is already getting dark. A huge hole has been blasted through the walls into the basement.

ROBERTSON: Why is the hospital so damaged?

HAGARI: We'll talk -- why is the hospital so damaged?

ROBERTSON: Damage like this -- HAGARI: I'll explain it to you. It's an important question.

ROBERTSON: Yes. Yes, it is.

HAGARI: We came to this hospital five days ago. There were still patients inside the hospital, we did not enter into the hospital.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): He claimed since then all patients were evacuated by hospital staff.

HAGARI: We assist this evacuation, of course, to make it a safe pass for all the patients in the hospital. We do not know that the hospital is entirely clear, we do not know. We only entered to this area which was suspected because we're being fired.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): Hagari leads us through a warren of basement corridors to this room.

HAGARI: This was the armory, OK?

ROBERTSON: This was the Hamas armory.


ROBERTSON (voice-over): He shows us a few rusting guns and some explosives. These guns alone have potentially huge implications for Gaza's hospitals, and Israel's apparent push to take control of them.

ROBERTSON: The International Committee for the Red Cross say that hospitals are given special protection under international humanitarian law in a time of war. But if militants stole weapons there or use them as a base of fire, then that protection falls away.

ROBERTSON(voice-over): In other rooms, he shows us a motorbike with a bullet hole in it that he suspects was used by Hamas attackers October 7th, and nearby possible evidence hostages could have been held here.

HAGARI: We are now in the basement in the same area yards from the motorcycle. We see a chair, we see a rope. We see here a woman's clothes or woman's -- something covering woman.

ROBERTSON: She think a woman was tied up in this chair.

HAGARI: This is an assumption, going to be checked by DNA.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): For evidence, Hagari says, points towards Hamas and possible hostage presence below the hospital.

ROBERTSON: And by bringing us here to this hospital and showing us the connection that you believe exists between the terrorists and possibly hostages, what does it say about the other hospitals here in Gaza?

HAGARI: Cynically, Shifa Hospital is known, by facts, by intelligence, to be a terrorist hub. And also it's suspicious also in holding hostages. This is the best shelter for the terrible war machine of Hamas. ROBERTSON: But the hospital authorities said they have no knowledge of Hamas or other groups inside the hospitals. Is that possible?

HAGARI: I think it's not possible for an hospital to have this kind of an infrastructure. We knew the terrorists were here. We knew, we knew by intelligence is also we got some fire from this area.

ROBERTSON: From this area or this building?

HAGARI: From this area, and we were right to fire because what we found in armory.


ROBERTSON: But so much damage all around here.

HAGARI: Yes, there is damage all around here because Hamas made it impossible for us to fight them. They built all this infrastructure in tunnels and in hospital around areas populated.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): As we exit the hospital, it is already dark.

ROBERTSON: We're just getting ready to leave right now. The firefight still going on, still intense, bullets fired, explosions going on up the street there.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): This war and the controversies surrounding it far from resolved. Nic Robertson, CNN, Gaza.


VAUSE: Staying in Northern Gaza, where Nic just reported from, thousands of Palestinians are still taking refuge inside some of those hospitals, including one family desperately trying to get the attention of the US government. CNN's tells us the story of a wounded American teenager trapped in a warzone and her father's plea for help.


JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Darkness has descended on yet another Gaza medical facility, Al Quds Hospital where they've been trying to save lives with the very little they had left, but it's become nearly impossible. This was just hours before Gaza's second largest hospital was declared out of service on Sunday.

Like other hospitals in the north, the fighting has been closing in on Al Quds, where thousands of displaced had been sheltering amongst like the injured. Among them are at least two US citizens Farah Abuolba and her mother Noha (ph).

FARAH ABUOLBA, AMERICAN INJURED IN GAZA: I want to feel like, oh, I can move my fingers. My fingers are gone now.

KARADSHEH (voice-over): Farah says she was injured in an attack on their bus on the road south as they tried to make their way for a third time to the Rafah Crossing with Egypt. The family blames Israel whose military denied to CNN that they struck that street on that day.

ABUOLBA: I walked from the beach, like it was probably three miles from the beach to the hospital. I could have given up. I felt like all my blood -- all my blood drips all over me. How I felt when I saw my hand falling or how I felt my skin just in my bones breaking, and how I saw my wrist just turn blue. I knew that my hand was gone.

KARADSHEH (voice-over): This interview with Farah was filmed a few days ago by a journalist working for CNN on the eve of her 17th birthday, before the hospital was almost completely cut off from the outside world.

ABUOLBA: When I sleep, I dream of what happened to me. I can hear the rockets when they hit me, and my sister and my mom just screaming when they saw my hand fall.

KARADSHEH (voice-over): This is a scene just outside the hospital. This video released by the Israeli military captures a militant carrying a rocket propelled grenade they say was part of a group that attacked their forces. Palestinians deny anyone armed is inside and say the Israeli military is surrounding and targeting the hospital. Israel says it's targeting Hamas.

Farah was born in Gaza and left with her family when she was three. They were back to visit family when the war broke out. For her father, Karam Abuolba in Pennsylvania, the past few weeks have been hell desperately trying to get his wife and daughters back home, exchanging almost daily emails and calls with the State Department.

KARAM ABUOLBA, FATHER AND HUSBAND OF AMERICANS IN GAZA: I'm asking, is there a Class A, Class B from the US citizen for all the US citizen. I pay tax for the United States of America to support Israel to shoot and to pump my daughter and my wife? I need the President, I need Mr. Blinken to listen to this message.

We are a US citizen. We are loyal to this country. Send the Red Cross, send them to support the US citizen. They are outside. They are not hostage with Hamas.

KARADSHEH (voice-over): A father's desperation to make his family suffering heard. Like so many thousands, he feels no one is hearing Gaza's cries for help.

K. ABUOLBA: I feel everything hopeless. I feel like I'm dead.

KARADSHEH (voice-over): Jomana Karadsheh, CNN, London.


VAUSE: We'll take a break. When we get back, back to the future for David Cameron. The prime minister who lost the Brexit referendum and the man many blame for problems facing Britain today makes a political comeback, promising to help fix them. Also, Donald Trump seems to have intentionally or otherwise borrowed some of the most hateful rhetoric from the worst dictators in history, not just to gin up a crowd of supporters but also what could be a clear warning of what lies in store if he's reelected.



VAUSE: A cabinet reshuffle in UK has led to return to politics of the former British Prime Minister David Cameron. The current leader of the Conservative Party, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, announced Monday that the Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, had been sacked for inflammatory comments about policing of pro-Palestinian protesters in London. They then announce David Cameron's comeback as foreign secretary. All Cameron says he gladly excited.


DAVID CAMERON, INCOMING BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY: Well, I know it's not usual for a prime minister to come back in this way but I believe in public service. The Prime Minister asked me to do this job, and it's a time where we have some daunting challenges as a country, the conflict in the Middle East, the war in Ukraine. And, of course, I hope that six years as prime minister, 11 years leading the Conservative Party gives me some useful experience and contacts, and relationships and knowledge that I can help the Prime Minister.


VAUSE: CNN's Clare Sebastian takes a closer look at Cameron's return, the government and to the cabinet.


CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A relaxed stroll that belied the drama of this moment, a shock return for a British prime minister who seven years earlier left Downing Street after Britain voted to leave the European Union.

CAMERON: It has been the greatest honor of my life, to serve our country as prime minister over these last six years, and to serve as leader of my party for almost 11 years.

SEBASTIAN (voice-over): David Cameron, who had led the campaign to remain in the EU, resigned from government after the 2016 Brexit referendum. Now he's back on the political stage as foreign secretary tasked with managing the country's relationships abroad.

His appointment coming amid a cabinet reshuffle which ousted hardline Home Secretary Suella Braverman, accused of fanning social tensions and undermining the police out of a pro-Palestinian demonstration in London this weekend. That proved the final straw.

SUELLA BRAVERMAN, FORMER HOME SECRETARY: It's the coalition of chaos, it's the Guardian-reading, tofu-eating, wokerati-dare I say, the anti- growth coalition.

SEBASTIAN (voice-over): Her tenure already marked by confrontational rhetoric towards migrants, protesters, even the homeless had sparked more rifts in the already fractured Conservative Party, which has seen a recent revolving door of prime ministers and the array of outrage, including a lobbying scandal that embroiled both Cameron and the current Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

Amid plummeting approval rating, Sunak had attempted to break with the past.


RISHI SUNAK, UK PRIME MINISTER: We've had 30 years of a political system which incentivizes the easy decision, not the right one.

SEBASTIAN (voice-over): And although Sunak and Cameron had publicly disagreed, not least on Brexit, Cameron attempted Monday to move beyond that saying he is ready to work together on "a daunting set of international challenges" including supporting Sunak's efforts in the war in Ukraine and the crisis in the Middle East.


SUNAK: Well, Prime Minister, thank you for your warm words and for welcoming me to Israel.

SEBASTIAN (voice-over): So while some are welcoming the return of an experienced hand, others see it as more evidence Britain's ruling party is heading on shaky grounds towards another general election. Clare Sebastian, CNN, London.


VAUSE: Donald Trump Jr. was back in the witness stand, Monday, his second appearance but first for the defense in the $250 million civil fraud case against his father. Don Jr. walk the court through a fawning video presentation of various Trump properties, calling his father an artists with real estate.

The judge has already ruled the former president and co-defendants are liable for fraud after falsely inflating the value of Trump properties in an effort to get better rates on loans from banks. Don Jr.'s testimony was attempt to show that if anything, the properties were actually undervalued.

Now, amid all his legal problems, he twice impeached, four times indicted, Donald Trump Sr. is amping up the hate speech on the campaign trail. The former President spent the weekend echoing the kind of language used by Hitler and Mussolini. Kristen Holmes has details.


KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Former President Donald Trump ramping up his inflammatory rhetoric.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The threat from outside forces is far less sinister, dangerous and grave than the threat from within. HOLMES (voice-over): Denigrating his political opponents on the left as "vermin" during a Veterans Day speech in New Hampshire.

TRUMP: We will root out the communists, Marxist, fascist and the radical left thugs that live like vermin within the confines of our country.

HOLMES (voice-over): The White House condemning Trump's remarks, likening them to language used by authoritarian leaders, "using terms like that about dissent would be unrecognizable to our founders, but horrifyingly recognizable to American veterans who put on their country's uniform in the 1940s," White House spokesperson Andrew Bates said in a statement.

As the former president commands the GOP primary with his combative rhetoric, his allies are already planning an agenda for a potential second term. The proposals include leveraging the Department of Justice to go after his political rivals.

TRUMP: I mean, if somebody -- if I happen to be president and I see somebody who's doing well and beating me very badly, I say, go down and indict them.

HOLMES (voice-over): A Trump 2025 agenda would also expand the hardline immigration policies Trump pursued during his first term in office.

TRUMP: We will begin the largest domestic deportation operation in American history.

HOLMES (voice-over): With the mass detention and deportation of undocumented immigrants.

TRUMP: I will shut down this travesty, terminate all work permits for illegal aliens and demand that Congress send me a bill outlawing all welfare payments to illegal migrants of any kind.

HOLMES (voice-over): It's part of an escalation in anti-immigrant language by the former president.

TRUMP: It's poisoning the blood of our country. It's so bad. And people are coming in with disease, people are coming in with every possible thing that you can have.

HOLMES (voice-over): Trump's darkening political rhetoric appears to resonate with Republicans. South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, who campaigned on a more optimistic message, suddenly ended his presidential bid Sunday after failing to gain traction in the polls.

SEN. TIM SCOTT (R-SC): I think the voters, who are the most remarkable people on the planet, have been really clear that they're telling me not now, Tim.

HOLMES: And the Trump 2025 agenda as it's been laid out here, is really just the tip of the iceberg. We have also heard about Trump allies who are building a database of loyalists, people who would go and serve the president from day one. We've also heard about allies working with lawyers trying to draft executive orders so that these policies can be implemented, that Donald Trump can sign off on them as soon as he gets into office shall he be elected. Kristen Holmes, CNN, Washington.


VAUSE: Timothy Snyder is a Professor of History at Yale University, whose 2017 book on tyranny was a prescient guide to recognize the warning signs of tyranny in society. An updated version is now available, which includes the January 6 insurrection as well as current events. Professor Snyder, thank you for being with us.


VAUSE: I want to start with some video, which was obtained by ABC News. It's the former Trump attorney, Jenna Ellis, speaking to prosecutors in Georgia as part of her plea deal in the election interference case. She says she was told by a senior Trump official that even though the President had lost the 2020 election, he had no intention of leaving the White House. Here's she is.


JENNA ELLIS, FORMER TRUMP ATTORNEY: -- said to me, and kind of excited to him, well, we don't care and we're not going to leave. And I said, what do you mean? And he said, well, the boss, meaning President Trump, and every one understood the boss, that's what we all called him. He said the boss is not going to leave under any circumstances. We are just going to stay in power.



VAUSE: How significant is that statement in understanding the events, which led up to January 6, an event which have since followed?

SNYDER: Well, there are three pretty big things in there. Number one is the existence of a prior plan, number two is the knowledge on the part of a lot of people that they had, in fact, lost the election, and number three is the intention to lie about it and stay in power. It's a moment, an important moment, a long -- a much longer story which begins with him essentially saying in 2020, that the election will be rigged, and his (inaudible) on January 6 then thereafter, to actually try to carry out some sort of coup d'etat. Legally speaking, also, I've got to say it, it looks pretty bad.

VAUSE: Then we fast forward to this past weekend, and the comments that Trump made at a Saturday rally. Here's the headline for the Washington Post. Trump calls political enemies "vermin," echoing dictators Hitler and Mussolini. So, is there's some sort of connection here between the remarks made by Trump over the weekend and what Jenna Ellis was saying, the former Trump attorney, and the fact that, you know, he had no intention of leaving the White House and that they were essentially going to reject the outcome, the will of the people, you know, the democratic outcome of the election.

SNYDER: Yes. There's a very profound connection, a very profound connection. And the connection is, of course, that elections never really mattered to Trump. He doesn't really believe that votes or the will of the people are what determined or should determine who's in power. I think Trump would probably characterize anyone who believed in democracy to use one of his favorite words, as a sucker.

His view is clearly that, you know, you get some votes and that makes him look plausible, all the better. But whether or not to actually come to power, this doesn't matter, right? He's going to try to come to power one way or the other. He demonstrated that in 2021 and he's announcing that he'll do it again. When he says in his speeches that he is a confirmed denier of elections, that's what he means.

He means that and he's running in '24 not to actually try to win in any legitimate way, he's running just to get enough votes to be plausible, and then he's going to go for it in one way or another. And so, it is all of a piece in already having tried to stay in power after he lost an election. He's setting the stage for trying to do it again. And he's announcing that he's going to do it again. He's making that very clear.

VAUSE: The response from the Trump campaign has been either threatened anyone who is critical of what the former president said over the weekend, essentially warning that they will be crushed. There's a headline there from New York Times, or there'll be ridiculed.

Here's what a Trump campaign spokesman told the Washington Post. Those who tried to make that ridiculous assertion, the connection to the dictators, are clearly snowflakes grasping for anything because they're suffering from Trump derangement syndrome. How threats and ridicule of opponents and critics been used historically by dictators and autocrats in this sort of situation?

SNYDER: Yes. I mean, the first thing to point out here is, there's something ironic about the snowflake thing, which is that they can't take criticism at all, you know. And Trump is a funny kind of strong man because, along with his own obvious fascism, what he's, you know, he's really a Mussolini looking for a Hitler. When he says that internal enemies are more threatening to external enemies, I mean, what that brings to mind is his record of and his desire to, you know, look for a Putin or look for someone else, to be the kind of dominant figure in a relationship, which is the way the way he's done this.

But of course, you're absolutely right. I mean, the idea that those who criticize don't really belong to the national community, and they're to be called names, is typical authoritarian strongman or even fascist practice. And even, you know, things that seems sort of stupid and silly like Trump derangement syndrome, the idea that people who disagree with a politician are suffering from a disease, that's also very typical. It's something that Putin does all the time with the claim of Russophobia. The idea that anyone who's actually reasoning, anyone actually has an opinion, anyone who's thinking for themselves, anyone who uses the English language, anybody who expresses themselves as an individual, whatever, that these people suffer a disease. And the only way to be healthy is to follow the leader. The only way to be healthy is to do exactly what he says. We've seen that before. That's dangerous and it's basically calling upon people not to be pluralists, not to believe in law, but just to follow this one man. That's what that disease rhetoric means.

VAUSE: And very quickly. Here's the head of the Republican National Committee, Ronna McDaniel, when asked about Trump's comments at that rally. Here's she is over the weekend.


RONNA MCDANIEL, CHAIR, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE,: I'm not going to talk about candidates that are in a contested primary. I'm not going to comment on candidates and their campaign messaging.



VAUSE: What happens when those who should speak out are silent? And what are your concerns for this next presidential election?

SNYDER: Well, with freedom -- you know, with freedom comes responsibility. And if you are not responsible for your political party, for your fellow candidates, you are not going to be free for very long.

The basic underlying concern about this campaign is that last time Trump ran in a kind of fascist style. This time he is actually running on a fascist platform. He is announcing that if he is elected, he will do away with the rule of law, set up camps, declare some kind of state of exception and govern in a completely different way.

So he's made it very clear that, you know, there are two things we should be worried about. We should be worried about the fact that he's not really concerned about whether he wins or not. He wants to seize power.

And the second is that if he seizes power this time, he will try in a much more determined way to change the regime from day one.

VAUSE: Professor Snyder, thank you so much for being with us. we really appreciate your time, sir.

SNYDER: Very glad.

VAUSE: With that we will take a very short break here on CNN. Back in a moment.


VAUSE: Welcome back, everyone.

I'm John Vause. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Monday that Israel is determined to see the war with Hamas through to the end. What that means for Gaza's hospitals remains unclear. Many are being caught in the cross fire targeted by Israel because they appear to have been used by Hamas to store weapons and protect fighters.

Here is CNN's Jeremy Diamond. But first a warning: his report contains graphic images.


JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Gaza's largest hospital collapsing under the weight of war. Doctors at al-Shifa Hospital scrambling to keep patients alive emits power outages and severe shortages, including these premature babies wrapped in foil and blankets in a desperate attempt to keep them alive out of their incubators.

In the hospital's yard, dozens of dead bodies slowly decay, unable to be buried. The hospital's complex has been struck repeatedly amid nearby fighting with Hamas militants. Israeli military now closing in, accusing Hamas of operating and underground command and control center beneath the sprawling multi-block medical facility.

REAR ADM. DANIEL HAGARI, ISRAEL DEFENSE FORCES SPOKESPERSON: It is here in Shifa Hospital where Hamas operates some of its command-and- control cells. This is where they direct rocket attacks, command Hamas forces.


DIAMOND: But the Israeli military says this image, which CNN cannot independently verify, shows the location of those underground facilities. And now, as Israeli forces encircle the hospital, a U.S. official backing up Israel's allegations saying Hamas has a command center under the hospital, uses its fuel intended for the hospital and positions its fighters inside and around the hospital complex.

Tonight, the Israeli military says it found this cache of weapons in the basement of another hospital, Al-Rantisi Children's Hospital, which was evacuated this weekend.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here is a body vest for terrorists to explode and (INAUDIBLE) among hospitals, among patients.

DIAMOND: The Israeli military also uncovering this tunnel entrance which the IDF says is next to a school and about 200 yards from the same hospital.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A woman's clothes and a rope.

DIAMOND: And saying they found signs that Israeli hostages may have been held in the hospital basement.

Today, the Israeli military also says it opened fire on Hamas militants who were embedded among civilians at the entrance of al-Quds Hospital where this man with a rocket propelled grenade can be seen in drone footage released by the IDF.

Hamas denies it operates in hospitals. There is some past evidence linking Hamas to the hospital. The human rights group, Amnesty International, writing that in 2014, Hamas interrogated and tortured alleged Israeli collaborators in a disused outpatient clinic within the grounds of Gaza City's main al-Shifa Hospital.

The Israeli military has opened corridors to evacuate people in and around Shifa hospital. But medical officials there say that there is no way to evacuate many of their 700 patients.

"How do we get 700 patients out on stretchers and beds," the director general of the Hamas-run health ministry tells CNN. "Some of them are in intensive care and some of them are amputees. How do they want them to leave?

For many are simply trapped.

Jeremy Diamond, CNN -- Ashkelon, Israel.


VAUSE: Joining us from Rafah in Southern Gaza is Tom White, director of UNRWA, the main U.N. agency in Gaza, or what is left of it.

Tom, thank you for being with us. It is what -- about 8:30 in the morning there. So at this hour, any update on negotiations to allow fuel into Gaza, or is the account (ph) status unchanged? Delivery there simply not possible at least from Tuesday.

TOM WHITE, DIRECTOR, UNRWA: Thanks, John. Well, the fuel situation is really dire. Essentially the whole aid operation here, is living off the smell of an oily rag. We announced yesterday, that we did not have fuel for our semi-trailers to collect aid from the border. We have already had one of our main water contractors who's distributing drinking water, run out of fuel. That would affect 200,000 people.

And In the next 24 -- 48 hours, 60 water wells, 2 (INAUDIBLE) desalination plants, hospitals will all shut down.

VAUSE: It seems beyond comprehension that as bad as things have been, you know, at the moment in the last weeks in Gaza, what you are talking about is just even worse to come. How does this continue?

WHITE: Well John, this morning you might say, there's been a few -- there's been some rain clouds, late last night and some heavy downpours today. So the situation for many people has become more desperate, because they are living outdoors now.

The south is just overwhelmed with internally displaced people. We cannot provide enough shelter for them in our schools. And so people are now sleeping on the streets, they're building lean-tos against anywhere they can find. So the situation is becoming more desperate.

You know, of course, I'm very concerned that without fuel in the next 24 -- 48 hours, we won't be able to provide clean drinking water. And particularly with this rain that's when we will see the cross contamination of water sources. And I'm very concerned that if something like cholera takes off here in southern Gaza it will be absolutely devastating.

There is a simple fix. We need fuel in Gaza so we can serve the population.

VAUSE: Your latest situation report warns that by Thursday, communications will begin to fail, when telecommunication companies run out of fuel to operate their data centers and major connection sites.

Without communication, will there be any way to know how many are in need, how many are displaced. Is it even possible to assess the full extent of the crisis?

WHITE: John, what is very clear is that when the communication goes down here, it sends a sense of panic amongst the community if they cannot connect with family and friends.


WHITE: But for us it makes it near impossible to run the aid operation. So it is very clear that without fuel for power cells, there will be no communications network here in southern Gaza. You know, very, very tough on the people, and effectively another contributing factor which is bringing this aid operation just to a collapse.

VAUSE: Also that most recent report says, and you touched on this, almost 1.6 million people have been displaced across Gaza since 7th October.

Put that in context. That is what -- about three-quarters of the entire population right now?

WHITE: Correct. Essentially, most of the population which was more densely-populated than the south, have moved to the south. You know, the south is overwhelmed. Everybody is either displaced or they are hosting displaced families. If you are out on the streets these days, people are just trying to survive. Everybody is carrying a yellow water can looking for water. They are queuing for bread and the big thing now is people are scavenging for whatever wood they can, because cooking gas has run out.

VAUSE: How safe is it right now in Gaza? Not just from the Israeli airstrikes, but I mean within the terms of a functional society?

WHITE: So obviously, everybody here or everybody in the south, fears airstrikes overnight. More big airstrikes into (INAUDIBLE) so it's clear nowhere in Gaza is safe.

The second thing is, and we have spoken about this before. You know, you are pushing a society to the absolute brink. We are very concerned that, you know, if municipal services stop functioning, the private sectors effectively cease to operate. We will see fractures within society. The social fabric will break

down. And we know from other parts of the world that then becomes a very dangerous mix.

VAUSE: On Monday, U.N. headquarters in New York and around the world, flags were lowered in honor of more than 100 U.N. workers killed in Gaza during this conflict. How are you coping with the loss of so many colleagues? How difficult has this been, just to know that so many people you have worked with are no longer there?

WHITE: John, personally, it is very tough. I mean over the last two years I have made a lot of connections with our staff here. It is really tough on our staff. Their families, in fact the whole community. The whole community in Gaza is mourning the loss of so many civilians.

So you know, it is exceptionally tough. As the rest of the world, as U.N. officers lowered their flags yesterday, we decided to keep our flag flying. We could not afford to lower the flag at this time with you know, hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people seeking protection under a U.N. flag, and relying upon the U.N. for their basic needs, their basic humanitarian needs.

So we kept the flag flying. We are here to deliver to the people with what resources we have.

VAUSE: Tom, thank you. Tom White, head of UNRWA in Gaza. Stay safe.

We'll take a short break. Back in a moment.



VAUSE: Welcome back everyone, previously on "Call to Earth", we shared the story of an effort to save a Hawaiian forest bird from extinction due to the spread of avian malaria. Today a recent discovery of the disease in southern Chile has researchers there on high alert, hoping to prevent a similar scenario from happening across Patagonia.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The south Antarctic island of Navarino near Chile's southernmost tip is home to a wide variety of birds. Some are permanent residence, others only summer here during their annual migration.

It's an idyllic destination, and a safe haven for the birds. But the recent discovery of another airborne creature here, has some scientists concerned.

JAVIER RENDOLL, DOCTORAL STUDENT, UNIVERSITY OF MAGALLANES: When I found the first mosquito, that was a signal of things are changing. And changing, probably not in a good way.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: With an average temperature of 43 degrees Fahrenheit, the island is not a place where mosquitoes would typically thrive.

RENDOLL: We know from everywhere else in the world that mosquitoes can carry diseases. It is more than just a mosquito in a particular place. This has its consequences.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: While the pests were only recently detected, the path that led them here actually began decades earlier, in Navarino's neighbor to the north.

In 1946, the Argentine government introduced ten pairs of Canadian beavers to Tierra del Fuego. As seen in this archival clip from the program "Sucessos Argentinos".

The idea was to establish a fair trade. The industry struggled but the non-native beaver population took off and eventually spread to Chile.

Today they number in the tens of thousands. Leaving behind swath of felled trees, and ponds of stagnant water -- conditions that when combined with rising temperatures, create a scenario where both mosquitoes and other invasive species can survive, according to Javier Rendoll.

RENDOLL: It's a pattern, you will see that you get first the mosquito. You get the yellow jacket. You get the European bumblebee, European earwigs and you can track in time that every year, we are just taking new exotic or introduced species. So something is happening.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At the Cape Horn International Center, researcher Juan Rivero in is on the lookout for what he fears the mosquitoes may have brought with them, a strain of avian malaria called plasmodium.

JUAN RIVERO DE AGUILAR, RESEARCHER, CAPE HORN INTERNATIONAL CENTER: Here the pupal (INAUDIBLE) thing is the parasite. This is the whole body. The parasite is inside this red cell. So parasite infects the cells and start growing inside and starts feeding from the red cell.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Avian malaria does not affect humans, but it can be deadly to birds.

RIVERO: Yes. Entire colony of penguins dying from avian malaria at Exmoor Zoo, U.K.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It can be particularly devastating to local species who may have no resistance to the disease.

RIVERO: We have to limit our results to plasmodium infections in a resident bird. So that confirms at least the presence of plasmodium in this regime (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: While there is currently no fool proof solution to stopping the spread of avian malaria, by sounding the alarm FROM this remote corner of South America, Juan and Javier hoped to preserve Patagonia's birds and also have a positive impact on the human population too.

RENDOLL: Bird conservation is a matter of an international issue because birds fly between countries.

RIVERO: So when you think, how we can stop this infection of disease, has to do nothing with the mosquito. We need to change, and change our way of life.


VAUSE: Let us know what you're doing to answer the call with the hashtag Call to Earth.

Again another a short break. Back in a moment. You're watching CNN.



VAUSE: After hundreds of quakes of the weekend they Icelandic Met Office now says seismic activity in the region is decreasing although the volcanic passive assessment remains unchanged. And that's led to the evacuation of thousands as a precaution.

More details now from CNN's Fred Pleitgen.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Now, the authorities in Iceland are saying that the seismic activity in the south of the country, has decreased somewhat. But that certainly needs to be put into perspective. The authorities say that any a measurement period of 12 hours on Monday, they recorded about 900 earthquakes, around the town of Grindavik and the surrounding areas.

And in the same measurement period, a day before they recorded about a thousand earthquakes. So definitely still a lot of seismic activity going on. However, residents that we have heard from, do say that the ground there certainly has become a lot more calm over the past 24 hours. And that could be a good sign.

However, the authorities are saying that the projection is still that there could be a massive corruption that is imminent. And that's why an evacuation order for the town of Grindavik is still very much in effect.

Now, one of the things that the authorities did do is they did allow some people to return to their homes for a short period of time to pick up some of their belongings. It was only none person per household, and only accompanied by the authorities.

And a lot of the folks there, have said over the past couple of days when they were evacuated that they are not sure whether or not they will ever see their homes, whether or not they will ever see their town again because of course, one of the risks but is there is that Grindavik could be destroyed, if in fact a massive eruption takes place right at that location.

Of course, the world is also watching this very closely. A lot of people looking back to 2010 when a massive volcanic eruption in Iceland, caused air travel to essentially be stopped for a period of several weeks.

Certainly something that the world is looking for, because back then a lot of airlines lost a lot of money, a lot of businesses lost a lot of money as well.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN -- Berlin.


VAUSE: Indonesia's president is calling for a ceasefire in Gaza. He took that message to Washington when he sat down with U.S. President Joe Biden. Joko Widodo the leader of the world's largest Muslim majority nation was at the White House after meeting with Arab and Muslim leaders in Saudi Arabia.

In the Oval Office Monday, President Biden talked about efforts by the U.S. and Indonesia to (INAUDIBLE) cooperations but Bo not respond to Widodo's his comments about Gaza.

After meeting the Indonesian leader, the U.S. president is set to sit down with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping. That meeting scheduled for Wednesday in California.

Now to a CNN investigation which has uncovered the world's largest- known online disinformation operation built by the Chinese government to harass critics living in the United States.

CNN's Donie O'Sullivan has details.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I feel really, really afraid.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They use hateful words or threatening words.

JIAYANG FAN, STAFF WRITER, THE NEW YORKER: They will make life very uncomfortable, for those who speak ill of China.

DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They are here on American soil, thousands of miles from Beijing but still being hounded and harassed by the Chinese government.

FAN: I was instantly flooded with messages, asking me to kill myself.

O'SULLIVAN: Her name is Jiayang Fan, a writer for the "New Yorker". She has been targeted with a wave of online harassment since she covered pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong four years ago. More than 12,000 tweets calling her a traitor.

FAN: I was caught so off guard and I was not sure if it was a coordinated effort.

O'SULLIVAN: It is a coordinated effort of fake and anonymous accounts. It is called spamouflage. DARREN LINVILL, CLEMSON UNIVERSITY MEDIA FORENSICS HUB: Depending on

how you measure it, it's the biggest disinformation campaign the world has ever seen.


O'SULLIVAN: Professor Darren Linvill from Clemson's Media Forensics Hub has tracked spamouflage for years. But it has only now been revealed that the vast disinformation campaign is tied to the Chinese government.

LINVILL: Thousands and thousands of messages, repeated over and over again.

O'SULLIVAN: A CNN review of court documents, social media reports and interviews with victims reveals a massive, relentless campaign of intimidation by the Chinese government targeting people on U.S. soil.

JIAJUN QIU, FORMER PROFESSOR IN CHINA, AND U.S. RESIDENT: They told me, they will kill me if I don't delete my YouTube.

O'SULLIVAN: Jiajun Qiu post-pro democracy YouTube videos, criticizing the Chinese government from his office here at this church in Virginia. To hit back the Chinese trolls post thousands of messages attacking him.

QIU: They cover people's eyes, so the Chinese people cannot see the reality.

O'SULLIVAN: A vast campaign of intimidation, that even employs artists to create original illustrations to mock and harass its victims.

It's not just some guy in his basement.

LINVILL: No. I think it's clearly a very sophisticated effort. I'm often staggered at by the number of platforms where we come across their content.

O'SULLIVAN: Some of the people behind spamouflage are these Chinese police officers according to the U.S. Department of Justice. The DOJ charged 34 Chinese police officers for using social and media accounts to track, harass and intimidate specific victims in the United States.

The indictment is full of pictures allegedly taken from inside the special trolling unit, showing laptops, phones, and other equipment used as part of the operation. A spokesperson for the Chinese embassy in Washinton D.C. said the DOJ's allegations are politically motivated and have no factual evidence or legal basis.

CHEN POKONG, ACTIVIST & U.S. CITIZEN: They try to shut me up, and try to silence me, you know, to minimize my voice.

O'SULLIVAN: Chen Pokong spent nearly five years in a Chinese prison for his pro-democracy work. Now he is an American citizen and campaigns from here.

POKONG: They started to make noises, yelling, shouting.

O'SULLIVAN: At the height of COVID in 2021, he organized a Zoom meeting for pro Chinese activists in the U.S. but Chinese police officers part of spamouflage, broke into the Zoom and shut it down.

POKONG: That time, I was myself even shocked. I said what? The CCP don't even allow us to have a meeting, overseas meeting.

O'SULLIVAN: The U.S. State Department has warned that the Chinese government is spending billions of dollars annually on foreign information manipulation efforts. And if it goes unchecked it will reshape the global information landscape.

JAMES RUBIN, SPECIAL ENVOY AND COORDINATOR, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT: The Communist Party's bloodstream is propaganda, repeating over and over it again, trying to get everyone to repeat that same point of view and reject alternatives. That is in the DNA of communist parties.


VAUSE: That was CNN's Donie O'Sullivan with that report.

Thank you for watching a couple of difficult hours on CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause.

Please stay with us. My friend and Colleague Rosemary Church takes over after a very short break. See you back here tomorrow.