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Hamas Repeatedly Denies Operating Out Of Gaza's Hospitals; 11 News Organizations Send Letter Requesting Access To Gaza; Israel Hostage Families Urge For Their Immediate Release; David Cameron Returns to Politics As British Foreign Secretary; Mt. Etna Spews Lava Accompanied by Loud Explosions. Aired 2-2:45a ET
Aired November 14, 2023 - 02:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world and to everyone streaming us on CNN Max. I'm Rosemary Church. Just ahead. CNN is on the ground with Israeli forces in Gaza. We will take you inside the hospital where the IDF says it found weapons and evidence hostages were held there.
A CNN investigation reveals how China is using an online disinformation network to target Americans.
And Cameron's comeback, that former British Prime Minister makes a surprise return to government amid a cabinet reshuffle in the U.K.
ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Center, this is CNN NEWSROOM with Rosemary Church.
CHURCH: And we begin with growing fears. Gaza's hospital system is on the brink of collapse, Following weeks of intense fighting and life- threatening shortages of basic necessities. The director of Gaza's largest hospital, Al Shifa calls the conditions catastrophic for not only the patients but also the thousands of people sheltering inside and outside the facility. Both Israel and a U.S. official claim Hamas runs its operations from below the hospital.
But the militant group and doctors have denied that. The hospital's head of surgery says the staff and patients desperately need help.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. MARWAN ABUSADA, HEAD OF SURGERY, AL-SHIFA HOSPIAL IN GAZA CITY: We don't have electricity, we don't have water, we don't have even the food and we are afraid the middle of the night we don't -- we lose the electricity to the main ICU and to the neonatal ICU. So, this is the issue now in Gaza and we have a lot of killed people, and we would like to bury their bodies. But it is sad to say that it's very dangerous.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Gaza's second largest hospital, Al-Quds doesn't have electricity either. The Israeli military says it killed more than 200 Hamas fighters who fired on Israeli troops from the entrance to Al- Quds while embedded with civilians. The U.S. president expressed concern Monday over hospitals being targeted.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And it's my hope and expectation that there will be less intrusive action relative to the hospital. The hospital must be protected.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: On Monday, a coalition of 11 news organizations sent a letter to the leaders of Israel and Egypt asking their governments to grant journalists better access to Gaza to cover the ongoing war.
CNN's Nic Robertson was able to get into Gaza recently, but he was under Israeli Defense Force's escort at all times. CNN did not submit its script or footage to the IDF and has retained editorial control over Nic's final report. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voiceover): 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 (on camera): 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 (voiceover): A few miles in, we pull up at a command post. Soldiers living in blown apartment buildings.
ROBERTSON (on camera): 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 (voiceover): 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.
BRIG. GEN. DANIEL HAGARI, ISRAEL DEFENSE FORCES SPOKESPERSON: We now -- we now are conducting an operation inside Gaza next to a busy hospital.
ROBERTSON (voiceover): 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 are searching the tunnel with the bulldozers. Reveal the tunnels that we suspect that underneath the hospital.
ROBERTSON (voiceover): 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 (voiceover): 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 the floor. You can see here.
ROBERTSON (on camera): This is the ladder going down.
HAGARI: This is the ladder going down.
ROBERTSON (on camera): I see the ladder going down. Yes.
HAGARI: OK. This is a 20-meter tunnel. And look at here. Look at the -- look at the -- look at the tunnel, be careful here. And look down here. These cables are going down to the tunnel. OK?
ROBERSTON (on camera): So, they're hardwired into the tunnel.
HAGARI: What I wanted to show you. The solar panels on the terrace house provide electricity directly to the tunnel. We've entered -- we've entered the robot inside the tunnel and the robot, so massive door, a door that is on the direction of the hospital.
ROBERTSON (on camera): 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 down here just taking a bit of cover because they said we're still taking fire. But over here, you're able to smell what smells like rotting flesh. Bodies perhaps buried underneath the rubble.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, no.
ROBERSTON (on camera): No. Don't go up high. That expose yourself.
ROBERTSON (voiceover): As we move off to the hospital. 100 meters away, w're still taking fire.
HAGARI: We're still conducting an operation. Operation conducted by a special unit. The Israeli Navy SEALs are researching the hospital. ROBERTSON (voiceover): 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 (voiceover): So this is where the connection?
HAGARI: We are looking for the connection.
ROBERTSON (voiceover): As we finally reached the hospital, it is already getting dark. A huge hole has been blasted through the walls into the basement.
ROBERTSON (on camera): Why is the hospital so damaged?
HAGARI: We'll talk -- why is the hospital so dark?
HAGARI: I'll explain it.
ROBERTSON (on camera): 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 (voiceover): 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 -- which was suspected because we're being fired.
ROBERTSON (voiceover): Hagari leads us through a (INAUDIBLE) of basement corridors to this room.
HAGARI: This was the armory. OK?
ROBERTSON (on camera): This was the Hamas armory.
ROBERTSON (voiceover): 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 (on camera): 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 store weapons there or use them as a base of fire, then that protection falls away. ROBERTSON (voiceover): In other rooms, he shows us a motorbike with a bullet hole in it that he suspects was used by her mass attackers October 7th. And nearby possible evidence hostages could have been held here.
HAGARI: We're now in the basement in the same area yards from the motorcycle. We see our chair. We see a rope. We see here a woman's clothes or a woman's something covering woman.
ROBERTSON (on camera): She think a woman was tied up in this chair.
HAGARI: This is -- an assumption going to be checked by DNA.
ROBERTSON (voiceover): More evidence, Hagari says. Points towards her mass and possible hostage presents below the hospital.
ROBERTSON (on camera): 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 that other hospitals here in Gaza?
HAGARI: Cynically, Shifa Hospital is no by fact, 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 (on camera): 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 any infrastructure. We knew the terrorists were here. We knew.
ROBERTSON (on camera): How did you know?
HAGARI: We knew by intelligence and also we got some fire from this area.
ROBERTSON (on camera): From this area or this building?
HAGARI: From this area and we were right to fire because what we found in armory.
ROBERTSON (on camera): 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. He built all this infrastructure in tunnels and in hospital around areas populated.
ROBERTSON (voiceover): As we exit the hospital, it is already dark.
ROBERTSON (on camera): 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 (voiceover): This war and the controversies surrounding it far from resolved.
Nic Robertson, CNN, Gaza.
CHURCH: Joining me now from Ramallah in the West Bank is Hadeel Qazzaz. She is the spokesperson at Oxfam International. Thank you so much for talking with us.
HADEEL QAZZAZ, SPOKESPERSON, OXFAM INTERNATIONAL: Thanks for having me.
CHURCH: So, as this war continues, we are hearing from the director of Gaza's Al Shifa Hospital, the conditions are catastrophic for patients and those sheltering inside and around the facility. What more are you able to tell us about what is happening in most hospitals across Gaza?
QAZZAZ: Yes. Most hospitals actually are not able to function. They are overcrowded, they are still having lots of people inside, including patients and including evacuees who moved to hospitals because they thought it's safer. And it's a place where -- which by international law shouldn't be bombed. It's unacceptable and unbelievable that in this 2023, there is no possible way to evacuate civilians.
Even checking people who are leaving from the hospital from a security point of view, one by one. There are so many ways that the hospitals could be easily evacuated if there were international forces, if the Red Cross was allowed, if any people who -- anyone who is monitoring the evacuation. What we heard is that even with the Israelis announcing that the Shifa hospital can be evacuated from the eastern side, whenever people try to go to the eastern side, they were shot at and bombed.
So, doctors are sending (INAUDIBLE) since two days three days that they don't have any food, any water. No electricity. We see babies being dying. We see infants who are -- were in incubators. They are dying one by one. People who are on dialysis, this is the biggest dialysis section in all Gaza strip has 50 units. They had some of them had to leave, some of them couldn't, including my aunt actually who is being -- having kidney failure and needed dialysis.
So, we are talking about many who cannot leave at all intensive care people, even doctors who cannot and nurses who cannot leave easily from the hospital.
CHURCH: And of course, the added problem here is that Hamas militants do take refuge inside these hospitals. And we heard there in that report and according to Israel, these hospitals tend to be terrorist hubs and they're talking about Al Shifa there. I mean, that is a problem, isn't it?
QAZZAZ: But this is one side of the story. And that's what requires an international, non-biased force to come and verify it. And that's what the Al-Shifa hospital administration was telling us on media all the time. Bring someone and come and check out. What's happening and you just say that yourself, your report was censored. So, it could be. It could be. I am -- I don't know, actually, I'm not on the ground.
But there is a need for a third party to verify it. And that's welcomed by the Palestinians for sure. It's welcomed by the doctors and the hospitals and the hospitals come and check but nobody is allowed. Journalists are evacuated forced, if they don't evacuate, they are bombed. Nobody has cameras that are -- can show otherwise.
One of our colleagues actually was living in Gaza and with her extended family and the Israeli army came and separated men and women and the men disappeared. And we don't know where they are. The women were directed towards the south where over the road, they could see bodies on the streets. Now, we have up to more than 1100 thousand and people who are accounted for as killed by the Israeli aggression.
But then we don't know the number of non-accounted for. The bodies in the streets, the bodies in the Shifa Hospital and around the different hospitals, there are bodies that no one can reach to them, to the degree that we heard disturbing stories about stray dogs eating these bodies, and we are hearing -- it's inhumane. There is a difference between distinguishing -- between civilians and anyone who's accused of malicious or aggressive acts, violent acts.
So, I'm sure with the level of intelligence that is there in the world and the level of technology, there should be ways of verifying who's innocent and who's not there well. But now what we are seeing that everyone is equal and everyone is accused, until proving non-guilty, which is the opposite to the basic human rights of everyone has the right to defend themselves in improving non-guilty.
So, what we are seeing is really catastrophic situation where women and children are the majority of casualties. They are staying in homes and then the homes are destroyed on top of their heads. That's what we are seeing. That's what we are hearing. That's what we hear from people on the ground. They had -- one of the journalists who was evacuating from Gaza said that she had to cover the eyes of her nine years old sister because of the number of bodies on the street.
These are people who were fleeing from the north of Gaza and they wanted to seek refuge. We know that in the south of the Gaza Strip, which is supposed to be a safe space, at least 500 were killed in the last month. In areas that we're supposed to be safe refugee -- refuge for them. Until this morning in Khan Younis and can unis which is one of the southeastern Gaza cities, a house was bombed and 20 people were killed.
QAZZAZ: So, there is no safe space. Literally, there is no spot that is safe at the moment in Gaza. And this adds to the agony of people who cannot find food, who cannot find water. A ceasefire is a must and it has to be administered at this stage by another international power. Someone who can actually verify what's happening. Journalists, including you need to be in on the ground to see what's happening and to verify the stories. CHURCH: Yes. And that is problematic in itself, of course. Hadeel Qazzaz, thank you so much for joining us. We do appreciate it.
QAZZAZ: Thank you.
CHURCH: A new Hamas video claims and Israeli woman held hostage in Gaza has been killed in an Israeli airstrike. CNN is not showing the video and has not been able to confirm her death or if the airstrike claim is true. The clip was posted on Monday on Hamas' military wings Telegram channel. The Israel Defense Forces says Hamas mask continues to use psychological terror and acts inhumanely through videos and photos of the hostages. It adds that the woman's family is aware of the videos existence.
Well, meantime, families of Israeli women and girls held hostage by Hamas are urging their immediate return home. Choking back tears, they held a meeting in Tel Aviv on Monday, calling on aid organizations to speak up and advocate for their release.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
YARDEN GONEN, SISTER OF HAMAS HOSTAGE: My sister has asthma and chronic sinusitis. They can only imagine how she's struggling, gasping for air wherever she's being held underground. Can you understand the feeling of fighting to breathe? My sister doesn't have a price for her freedom. Does your sister have a price? I don't think so. It's on your hands. Please act now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Israel says Hamas took more than 200 Israelis hostage in the October 7th attack.
Well, the U.S. government is facing growing pressure to push Israel for a ceasefire in Gaza. During a meeting at the White House Monday, Indonesian President Joko Widodo said the United States must do more to stop "atrocities in Gaza." Mr. Biden did not respond to those comments.
Meantime, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is acknowledging discord within the State Department over the Biden administration's policies on the war. In an e-mail to staff, Mr. Blinken wrote, some people in the department may disagree with approaches we are taking or have views on what we can do better. We've organized forums in Washington to hear from you and urged managers and teams to have candid discussions. We're listening, what you share is informing our policy and our messages.
So, let's go now to Senator Clare Sebastian who is joining us live from London. Clare, international pressure is intensifying on Israel to halt military operations in Gaza. And as we just heard, the U.S. president is feeling that pressure to within his own administration. So, what is the latest on all of this? And of course, where is it going? CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Rosemary. We actually had a rare acknowledgement from the high levels of the Israeli government on Monday that this pressure was increasing. The foreign minister Eli Cohen saying that they have -- he said, two to three weeks before heavy international pressure begins for a ceasefire. Now that timescale potentially up for debate because we are already seeing heavy international pressure from aid agencies that is the World Health Organization.
Human Rights Watch this morning calling for those hospitals strikes to be investigated as war crimes from the Arab and Muslim world. Collectively, we heard from the French president, Emmanuel Macron on Friday saying that the only solution was a pause, he said going to a ceasefire. So that pressure is already mounting. Now, so far, the prime minister says that, even after those two to three weeks as that pressure mounts that isn't going to necessarily stop Israel from its operations in Gaza.
And we also heard from the Prime Minister Netanyahu on Monday on a visit to troops, he also not wavering. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, PRIME MINISTER OF ISRAEL (through translator): This is neither an operation we're around, but a war to the end. It is important to me that you know this, this is not lip service but from the heart and mind. If we do not finish them, it will come back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SEBASTIAN: Now, of course, the question is also about the United States is Israel's most powerful ally. We have heard more nuanced creeping in to the rhetoric certainly from Secretary of State Antony Blinken and President Biden, of course, choosing his words very, very carefully on Monday saying that it was his hope and expectation that there will be less intrusive action when it comes to the hospitals.
We also heard as well from John Kirby, the U.S. National Security Adviser Speaking to CNN's Jake Tapper and he ended up clarifying what Biden had said, which I think underscores the delicate situation the United States is in. Take a listen to that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KIRBY, U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL COORDINATOR FOR STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS: When you bury those targets inside civilian infrastructure, particularly a hospital, where there's innocent patients and little kids who have severe issues that need looking after, it makes it much harder for any military force to go after those targets, because the hospital itself ought to be -- as the President said, ought to be predicted.
So, he's really talking about this incredibly difficult conundrum that Israeli military forces are facing right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP) SEBASTIAN: And of course, as you said, they are grappling with internal divisions within the State Department. USAID as well, the White House there have been pro-Palestinian protests in the U.S. Here in London, there was one that ended at the United States Embassy. I think people around the world whether or not they explicitly blame the U.S. for what's going on, they do believe that it is within the U.S.'s power to change things. Rosemary?
CHURCH: All right. Thanks to Claire Sebastian for that live report from London.
Coming up next, CNN uncovers a vast campaign of intimidation by the Chinese government targeting people on U.S. soil. Details of the investigation just ahead.
CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Well, the White House says U.S. President Joe Biden has kicked off a significant week of high-level diplomacy, starting with his Monday meeting with Indonesia's president. On Wednesday, Mr. Biden will sit down with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in California to discuss a number of issues including their bilateral relationship. But as those two leaders prepare to meet, a CNN review has found the Chinese government has built the world's largest known online disinformation operation to harass its critics here in the United States.
CNN's Donie O'Sullivan has the 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 (voiceover): 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 (voiceover): 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 wasn't sure if it was a coordinated effort.
O'SULLIVAN (voiceover): It is a coordinated effort of fake and anonymous accounts and it's called spamouflage. DARREN LINVILL, PROFESSOR, CLEMSON UNIVERSITY MEDIA FORENSICS HUB: Depending on how you measure it, it's the biggest disinformation campaign the world has ever seen.
O'SULLIVAN (voiceover): Professor Darren Linvill from Clemson's Media Forensics Hub has tracked spamouflage for years. But it's 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 (voiceover): A CNN review of court documents, social media reports and interviews with victims revealed a massive, relentless campaign of intimidation by the Chinese government targeting people on U.S. soil.
JIAJUN QIU, FORMER PROFESSOR AND U.S. RESIDENT: They told me, they will kill me if I don't delete my YouTube.
O'SULLIVAN (voiceover): Jajun 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 posted thousands of messages attacking him.
QIU: They cover people's eyes. So, the Chinese people cannot see the reality.
O'SULLIVAN (voiceover): A vast campaign of intimidation that even employs artists to create original illustrations to mock and harass its victims.
O'SULLIVAN (on camera): It's not just some guy in his basement.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. I think it's clearly a very sophisticated effort. I'm often staggered at the number of platforms where we come across their content.
O'SULLIVAN: (voiceover): Some of the people behind spammer flash are these Chinese police officers according to the U.S. Department of Justice. The DOJ charged 34 Chinese police officers for using social media accounts to threaten, 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 Washington, D.C. said the DOJ is allegations are politically motivated and have no factual evidence or legal basis.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. They try to shut me up. They try to silence me, you know, to minimize my voice.
O'SULLIVAN (voiceover): Chen Po Kong (ph) spent nearly five years in a Chinese prison for his pro-democracy work. Now he's an American citizen and campaigns from here. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They started to make noises. Yelling, shouting.
O'SULLIVAN (voiceover): At the height of COVID in 2021, he organized a Zoom meeting for pro-Chinese democracy activists in the U.S. But Chinese police officers part of spamouflage broke into the Zoom and shut it down.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 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 (voiceover): 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: A Communist Party's bloodstream is propaganda. Repeating it over and over again and trying to get everyone to repeat that same point of view and reject alternatives. That's in the DNA of communist parties.
CHURCH: CNN's Donie O'Sullivan with that report. And we'll be right back.
CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone.
Well, a dramatic cabinet reshuffling in the U.K. is leading to the stunning return to politics of former British Prime Minister David Cameron. The current leader of the Conservative Party, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, announced the sacking of Home Secretary Suella Braverman on Monday after her inflammatory comments about the policing of pro- Palestinian protests in London.
Sunak then announced he would be bringing back Cameron as the foreign secretary. Cameron resigned as prime minister in 2016 after Britain voted to leave the European Union.
Well, joining me now from London is John Rentoul. He is the chief political commentator for "The Independent" and visiting professor at King's College London.
Appreciate you joining us.
JOHN RENTOUL, CHIEF POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, THE INDEPENDENT: Good morning.
CHURCH: So, even former U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron admits his return is unusual. Why did Rishi Sunak bring back Cameron as his new foreign secretary in this reshuffle that was, of course, triggered by the dumping of his home secretary? RENTOUL: Well, he, obviously, thought his cabinet needed more
reassurance, more experience and alert to the center. Not only did he get rid of Suella Braverman, who was definitely posturing towards the right wing of her party with a view to possibly succeed Rishi Sunak eventually, but he decided to further annoy the right wing of his party by bringing back David Cameron who, of course, advocated to remain and will annoy all the progressives MPs and the Conservative Party, but will send a signal, I think, of reassurance and competence to the -- to the British people.
CHURCH: I suppose it's yet to be seen. But why would Cameron agree to this after a seven-year absence?
What's he hoping to achieve, do you think, with his surprise political comeback?
RENTOUL: Well, the simple answer to that is he said -- he was saying to friends that he's bored. I mean, he became prime minister at a very young age and he left the office at a fairly young age. I mean, he's not yet 60. He's got -- he's got more to give, he thinks.
More crudely, I suppose, he would rather be remembered for a short but successful stint as foreign secretary than for the prime minister who fought and lost the referendum and left office immediately afterwards.
CHURCH: So, I the big question here is, will this dramatic reshuffle help or hinder the beleaguered Prime Minister Sunak, who faces a likely catastrophic electoral defeat next year, doesn't he? That's according to the polls anyway.
And why has it been so difficult for successive conservative leaders to offer stability to the people of the U.K.?
RENTOUL: Very good question. I mean, that's why -- I mean, David Cameron does offer a sense of stability. In a way, it sort of ties Rishi Sunak with entire period of conservative government since 2010, since David Cameron himself was prime minister, which is slightly paradoxical as Rishi Sunak was announcing itself as a candidate of change to his party conference only a few weeks ago.
Whether it will have an effect, who can say? I think -- I think getting rid of Suella Braverman as home secretary clearly helps the government. She was a destabilizing influence. I think David Cameron, we will have to wait and see whether his inclusion in the government helps Rishi Sunak minimize the damage to the next election. And I think what he's engaged in is defensive politics, trying to minimize losses rather than trying to hold on to power.
CHURCH: Right. And, of course, Suella Braverman, as we've been discussing, was sacked Monday for her inflammatory comments about policing of the pro-Palestinian protests in London over the weekend. But she has long caused fractures in Sunak's government, hasn't she?
So, why did it take this long to fire her? What happens to her now, as we discussed, she has leadership ambitions of her own, doesn't she?
RENTOUL: Yes, absolutely. I mean, it turns out the issue that caused the breach between her and the prime minister wasn't the policing of the pro-Palestinian march. Rishi Sunak has decided to get rid of her before. Her inflammatory comment was a suggestion that people who sleep rough on the streets of British cities were doing so as a lifestyle choice. That really offended a wide swath of opinion, not just in the country, but in the Conservative Party. There are very few of her most stalwart defenders on the right of the Conservative Party who defend those comments.
And Rishi Sunak had decided that she wasn't a team player. All the arguments about pro-Palestinian march over remembrance weekend added to his urgency getting rid of her. But he'd already decided to do so. And she will now want to set out to become leader of the opposition after an election defeat. But I don't think she has as much support as she think she does among her fellow MPs.
CHURCH: We'll see where all of this goes. John Rentoul, thank you so much for joining us and sharing your analysis and perspective. Appreciate it.
RENTOUL: My pleasure.
CHURCH: And still to come, people in a small town in Iceland have been evacuated amidst fears of a possible volcanic eruption. We'll have details for you on the other side of the break.
Stay with us.
CHURCH: Europe's most active volcano is spewing its fiery lava once again. Mount Etna interrupted Sunday, sending molten lava some 4,500 meters, nearly 15,000 feet above sea level, according to the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology's Etna observatory. A huge plume of smoke could be seen rising into the red sky over Sicily and some loud explosions were also heard. However, it's not expected to disrupt nearby air services as it did when it last erupted back in August.
Well, there are fewer earthquakes but the volcanic threat remains in Iceland. That is according to the island's meteorological office. More than 3,000 residents have been urged to evacuate as authorities predict the imminent interruption of a southern volcano. They say 900 earthquakes hit the area from midnight to 1:00 p.m. local time Monday. That is a decrease of 1,000 from the day before.
And, finally, first class menu from the Titanic sold for more than $100,000 on Saturday. It appears to be the only surviving one of its kind, the menu details the first dinner on board after the Titanic set sail. Meal options included oysters, sirloin of beef with horseradish cream and Victoria pudding. The menu is heavily water stained with some of the lettering erased. That is likely because it ended up in the ocean, of course, when the Titanic sank in 1912.
I want to thank you so much for joining us this hour. I'm Rosemary Church.
"WORLD SPORT" is coming up next. And I'll be back in about 15 minutes with more CNN NEWSROOM. Do stay with us.