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CNN International: U.N.: Only One Hospital Still Operational In N. Gaza; Families Of Hostages March From Tel Aviv To Jerusalem; White House: Biden Kicks Off "Week Of High-Level Of Diplomacy"; Russian Shelling Kills Three In Southern Ukraine; Mexico's First Openly Non- Binary Magistrate Found Dead; CNN Goes Inside Gaza Combat Zone With Israeli Forces; Also Found Signs Hostages Possibly Held There; CNN Explores Region Of Japan In A New Travel Series. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired November 14, 2023 - 08:00   ET



MAX FOSTER, CNN HOST: Hello, you're watching CNN Newsroom. I'm Max Foster in London.

Just ahead, officials warn that Gaza's entire medical system is, quote, "collapsing". They say only one hospital in the north of the strip remains operational while southern hospitals can't admit more patients.

Then CNN's Nic Robertson travels to the Gaza combat zone with the Israeli military. We'll bring you his full report from what he describes as one of the worst war zones he's ever seen.

Plus, we'll have a preview of the main event to the sidelines of the APEC annual summit in California. A bilateral to U.S. President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.

The U.N. says only one hospital in northern Gaza remains operational this hour. Hospitals in the south are rapidly running out of room as Israel presses its attacks on Hamas. Israel says it has evidence of Hamas fighters in and around Gaza City's hospitals, including this highly edited video. You can see a man with a rocket propelled grenade launcher at the entrance to the city's Al-Quds Hospital.

CNN has geolocated the video to the hospital entrance. The Palestine Red Crescent has said there were, quote, "no armed individuals inside the hospital". Israel is urging the northern hospitals to evacuate, but Palestinians say that's impossible at the moment.


NEBAL FARSAKH, SPOKESPERSON, PALESTINE RED CRESCENT SOCIETY: Our teams are reporting they have seen so many bodies in streets with no ambulances are able to reach to them and transfer them. We have received hundreds of calls for people's crying while they are trapped in their homes in Gaza City and the north. They are unable to evacuate their homes because the whole area is -- there is a military operation and simply anyone who tried to go out will be a target for Israeli militaries. Even us as ambulances, we don't have a safe access to those areas. So unfortunately, we feel helpless. We can't reach the people who are in critical conditions and they need us.


FOSTER: Jomana is following that. I mean, it's the same story, but it's getting more desperate every day.

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It really is. By all accounts, Max, you're hearing from NGOs, aid groups, you're hearing from doctors in Gaza, although it's getting harder and harder to hear from them right now because of the situation when it comes to communications inside Gaza.

It is catastrophic, and we are talking about more than half of the medical facilities in Gaza have collapsed at a time when they are desperately needed. And just in the past couple of days, you're seeing the two largest medical facilities in Gaza, Al-Quds Hospital and Shifa Hospital. They're no longer operational, and they've got hundreds of patients in these hospitals.

They've got their medical staff in there, and they just can't get them out. The fighting has been closing in on these hospitals. They say they're surrounded by Israeli forces. They say they're being targeted. You've got the Israelis on the other side saying that Hamas is using these hospitals. In the case of a Shifa, alleging that they're -- they have a command and control center underneath the hospital.

When it comes to Quds, they say that fighters have embedded themselves with the civilians there and have fired on their troops. This is being denied, not just by Hamas, but by Palestinian officials, by doctors in these hospitals who are saying, no, there are no armed fighters in these hospitals. Send international independent groups to come and investigate and see what is happening and what is actually at these hospitals.

And we've had the smacks throughout. You've had claims, counterclaims. It's very hard for us to really verify what is happening on the ground because we're not there. We don't have access to Gaza for the most part, so we don't really know what is happening.

But what is very clear is that you've got the civilian population that is bearing the brunt of this war, and they continue to pay the heaviest price. I mean, the images, the testimony we've had in the past couple of days coming from Shifa Hospital, where they're just watching patients die, they say, because they've run out of fuel.

No generators running where they've lost a number of ICU patients in addition to the newborn babies, because they can't run their incubators and now they're struggling to keep about 30 of them alive.


FOSTER: Jomana, thank you very much. Later in the show, Nic Robertson did get into Gaza, but he was embedded with Israeli Defense Forces. So it's that point of view, but it's a pretty incredible piece. When you look at it, he does question the IDF along the way as well about what they're showing him.

He's witnessed miles and miles of devastation and destruction all above ground. But underground, IDF soldiers show him where they are concentrating their operation. That includes inside a children's hospital that Israel says was used by Hamas. We'll see what evidence they can give us for that.

Now families of some hostages being held by Hamas are marching from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, calling on their leaders to do more to bring their loved ones home. They're expected to reach Jerusalem on Saturday, where they plan to protest outside the Prime Minister's office.

It comes after a new video emerged on a Hamas social media channel claiming an Israeli woman held hostage in Gaza was killed in an Israeli airstrike. CNN isn't showing any of the video and hasn't confirmed her death either.

CNN's Oren Liebermann joined the families in Tel Aviv where they kicked off their march earlier today.

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We are here at the head of the march of the families of the hostages from where they were set up for the past two weeks or so in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, leading the march here. Many here have spoken about their frustration, the lack of answers they're receiving, the demand that the government do everything it can to release the hostages.

Some 240 still held in Gaza from the very young, their grandparents, grandmothers and grandfathers. The message that they are trying to send to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the War Cabinet is, do whatever it takes, make whatever deal is necessary to bring them home as soon as possible.

Regardless of the deal, their priority, not destroying Hamas, not destroying the tunnels, but bringing the families home. For the past two weeks or so, they've been outside the Defense Ministry when the War Cabinet has met, trying to make sure that the government hears them in that way. They feel that that hasn't been enough.

So now they've taken to the streets of Tel Aviv, where they will march from here to Jerusalem over the course of the next several days. This march, very reminiscent of a march from more than a decade ago, when the family of Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier who was held prisoner in Gaza for five years, decided they too had had enough, and marched from their home in northern Israel to Tel Aviv, by the time they -- to Jerusalem.

By the time they arrived in Jerusalem, they had thousands with them and put a tremendous amount of pressure on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to make a deal to free their son. This, the same idea, but now the family of 239 or so hostages trying to put that same sort of pressure to bring their family home. They're trying to demand answers and this is the way they're doing it now.

Oren Liebermann, CNN, on the streets of Tel Aviv.

FOSTER: A little later on, U.S. President Joe Biden will head to San Francisco for an annual APEC meeting, the main event, however, will be on the sidelines of that summit when Mr. Biden meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping. No word yet on where the meeting will take place. This will be Mr. Xi's first trip to the U.S. since 2017.

Arlette Saenz joins us from the White House. I mean, we're not going to get anything substantial out of this meeting, but the tone of it will be really important, won't it? And hope -- the hope that it won't ramp up tensions, which undeniably exist.

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Max. The ultimate goal of President Biden sit down with Chinese President Xi Jinping is trying to bring some more stability to the relationship and preventing it from deteriorating even further, as we've seen this moments of tension and strain over the course of the last year.

Now this is expected to be a substantive meeting. They haven't said exactly where in the San Francisco area it will be, but they are expected to spend a considerable amount of time to each other, hashing out through a number of issues, that are important to both countries.

Now one thing that the White House is eager to really press Chinese President Xi Jinping on, is trying to restore those military to military -- apologies for the sound -- trying to restore those military to military communications that China had pulled the plug on just last year.

Officials believe that trying to restore this will prevent any misconceptions or surprises from arising potentially on the front -- military front between the two countries. It's unclear whether they will actually come out with a firm agreement on that matter, but it is a top priority for President Biden.

The President is also working to discuss the conflict between Israel and Hamas and really lean in on pressing Chinese President Xi Jinping to leverage his relationship with Iran to try to discourage them from taking any actions to widen this conflict even further.

Now officials today are saying that they could be on the cusp of a big agreement when it comes to trying to address the fentanyl crisis in this country. Sources have said that China may soon agree to crack down on the export of the source chemicals used to make fentanyl.


This could be a major achievement for President Biden at a time when Republicans have really sought to leverage the fentanyl crisis in this country against him. The President is also expected to bring up issues of disagreement, areas of disagreement, including the situation in Taiwan and China's military aggression in the South China Sea, as well as human rights abuses. But the key goal for President Biden in this moment, as he is heading for this meeting tomorrow, is really trying to bring a little bit more stability to the relationship at a time of tension.

FOSTER: Arlette at the White House, thank you.

In southern Ukraine, Russian shelling claimed three lives earlier today. It happened in the Kherson region, according to the Ukrainian military. At least 15 other people were injured, including a child. The area was liberated by Ukrainian forces, but the area near the Dnipro River continues to come under Russian fire.

Protests erupt in Mexico as the country's first openly non-binary magistrate is found dead. Hundreds of people, many from the LGBTQ community march to Mexico City to demand justice and a thorough investigation into the death of Jesus Ociel Baena. Baena and the partner were found dead on Monday inside their home. Authorities say the cause of death is unknown, but they do not suspect foul play at this time.

Well, still to come, witnessing the destruction of the Israel-Hamas war first hand. CNN's Nic Robertson embedded with the IDF goes deep inside Gaza. His report just ahead.


FOSTER: The big focus right now in Gaza is on the enclaves cutoff hospitals, which appear to be reaching the point of no return as intense fighting erupts nearby. CNN's Nic Robertson was able to get into Gaza recently and was taken by Israeli army to a hospital. He was escorted by the Israeli Defense Forces at all times.

But CNN did not submit its script or footage to the IDF and has retained editorial control over Nic's final report. Here it is.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice-over): Driving into Gaza with the Israeli forces. It's a war zone. The conditions of our access only show officers, no faces of soldiers and don't show sensitive equipment.

We are passing mile after mile of destruction, buildings blown, collapsed, nothing untouched for the fury of Israel's hunt for Hamas. Streets here crushed, back to sand.

(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 finding things like rocket-propelled grenades ready to use against them as they were advancing through this area.


(voice-over): A few miles in, we pull up at a command post, soldiers living in blown apartment buildings. (on-camera): Every building I'm looking at here, wherever you turn, it's destroyed, it's shot up. Hard to imagine how civilians endured the bombardment here.

(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.

BRIG. GEN. DANIEL HAGARI, ISRAEL DEFENSE FORCES SPOKESPERSON: We are now 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 its apparently heavy-handed tactics at hospitals.

HAGARI: We are searching the tunnels with the bulldozers to reveal the tunnels that we suspect that are 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 are now here in an area between a hospital, a school and a terrorist house.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): A Hamas commander, he says, lived 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 here?

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 tunnel. Be careful here.

ROBERTSON (on-camera): Yes.

HAGARI: But look down here. The cables are going down to the tunnel. OK?

ROBERTSON (on-camera): So they're hardwired into the tunnel?

HAGARI: So, why wanted I show you the solar panels on the terrorist 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 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 they're still clearing this area out. We're getting down here. Just taking a bit of cover, because they say we're still taking fire.

But over here, we were able to smell what smelled like rotting flesh, bodies perhaps, buried underneath the rubble.


ROBERTSON (on-camera): No, don't go up high. Don't expose yourself.

(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 our special unit. The Israeli Navy SEALs are researching the hospital.

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 (on-camera): So, this is where the connection --

HAGARI: We are looking for the connection.

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

(on-camera): Why is the hospital so damaged?

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

ROBERTSON (on-camera): So damaged like this, yes.

HAGARI: I'll explain. It's an important question.

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 (voice-over): He claims 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 clean. We do not know. We only entered to this area, which was suspected because we were being fired.

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

HAGARI: This was the armory, OK?

ROBERTSON (on-camera): This was the Hamas armory? HAGARI: Yes.

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.

(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.

(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 here a chair, we see here a rope. We see here a woman's clothes or a woman's something covering woman.


ROBERTSON (on-camera): So you think a woman was tied up in this chair?

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

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

(on-camera): And by bringing us here to this hospital and showing us the connection that you believe exists between the terrorists and the possibly hostages, what does this 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 terror war machine of Hamas.

ROBERTSON (on-camera): 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 a hospital to have this kind of an infrastructure. We knew the terrorists were here. We knew. We knew, by intelligence and also we got some fire from this area.

ROBERTSON (on-camera): From this area, this building?

HAGARI: From this area. And we were right to fire because what we found an 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. They built all these infrastructure in tunnels and in hospital, around areas populated. ROBERTSON (voice-over): As we exit the hospital, it is already dark.

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

(voice-over): This war and the controversies surrounding it far from resolved.

Nic Robertson, CNN, Gaza.



FOSTER: Well all this week, we are exploring Japan, off the beaten path in CNN's new travel series, "Next Big Trip". Today, CNN's Will Ripley learns the ancient art of making Japanese rice wine, and where it all began.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Shimane is the birthplace of sake.

(on-camera): They really make you work for your sake.

(voice-over): And this, the Saka Shrine, where the gods are said to have gathered to enjoy their sake.

(on-camera): Oh, well, we really have to work for our sake today, I think. Ohayou gozaimasu.


RIPLEY (on-camera): Hi, nice to meet you.

IMAOKA: Good morning.

RIPLEY (on-camera): Nice to see you.

IMAOKA: Nice to see you.

RIPLEY (on-camera): Do you do the stairs every time you come here?


RIPLEY (on-camera): Oh, OK. Well, you're a better man than I am.

(voice-over): This is local brewmaster Toshiaki Imaoka. He visits this temple to pray for a good brewing season. Something I'm all too happy to help him out with. The Saka Shrine is dedicated to the Shinto god of sake brewing. And what would a good Sake Shrine be without huge round drums of sake?

(on-camera): There is a really deep connection between sake and spirituality, isn't there?

IMAOKA (through translator): Well, nowadays we know how to make sake and what's in it, but a long time ago, they didn't know and they thought that was a gift from the gods.

RIPLEY (on-camera): I appreciate you taking the time to show us around here about where I'm really curious to see, is your brewery. If you don't mind, can we go?

IMAOKA: (Speaking Foreign Language).

RIPLEY (on-camera): Arigato. Let's go. All right.

IMAOKA: Let's go.

RIPLEY (voice-over): It's the start of the brewing season. Toshiaki's team is in full swing.


I'm gearing up to join in.

(on-camera): Arigato.

(voice-over): The brewery still uses many traditional methods.

(on-camera): Everything starts going wrong the minute I touch the equipment.

(voice-over): The so called kojiki steams the rice. Everything is done by hand.

(on-camera): This is like a sauna kind of room here. It has a texture that's like very -- it's firm, but also delicate.

(voice-over): This is the part of the brewing process where we get to sample a starter batch of sake called shubo, which happens to be my favorite thing ever.

(on-camera): It's like cream of wheat mixed with like a shot of something sweet, it's so good. I like it. You could sell it just like this. I would buy it.

Can I have a little more?

(voice-over): Will Ripley, CNN, Shimane Prefecture, Japan.


FOSTER: He did leave eventually. Today is King Charles's 75th birthday. And the celebrations are well underway. A short while ago, the milestone was marked by gun salutes in central London. And on Monday, the British monarch hosted a traditional tea party at Highgrove House with community members, teachers, and NHS workers attending that event. King Charles is also launching the Coronation Food Project, a campaign meant to help alleviate and eliminate food waste and hunger across the U.K. He's also expected to attend a private birthday party at Clarence House later.

And before we go, a new baby is bringing new hope to a national park in Sumatra in Indonesia. A male elephant calf was born over the weekend to the delight of conservationists working to save the endangered Sumatran elephants.

Rangers say the yet to be named baby and mother are in good health. According to the World Wildlife Fund, the species is on the brink of extinction with fewer than 3,000 left in the world right now. Sumatra's elephant population has been threatened by poachers who target the animals for their tusks and deforestation, which increases conflicts between elephants and humans.

Thanks for joining us here on CNN Newsroom. I'm Max Foster in London. World Sport with Amanda is up next.