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Israel's Concrete Evidence Of Hamas Using Hospitals To Hide; Biden Says Talks With China's Xi Were Constructive, Productive; Rebel Group Claims It Captured Towns And Outposts From Myanmar Military; ; Neonatal Babies in Gaza Hospital at Risk; Egypt Trying to Coordinate Transfer of 36 Neonatal Babies. Aired 1-2a ET
Aired November 16, 2023 - 01:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Ahead on CNN, 11 guns, three military vest, nine grenades, two Koran, a string of prayer beads, and a box of dates. But for now, and he promises from Israel concrete evidence to come which proves a Hamas command center operates beneath Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza.
And after meeting with China Xi Jinping for four hours, the U.S. president described talks as both constructive and productive and then says Xi is still a dictator.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Live from CNN Center. This is CNN Newsroom with John Vause.
VAUSE: For weeks now Israeli officials have publicly claimed Hamas headquarters was operating from tunnels and bunkers below the main hospital in Gaza. Al-Shifa Hospital was said to be the beating heart of the militants command infrastructure.
Visuals also telegraphed and Israeli military raid was coming, and now promised that concrete evidence from that precise and targeted operation will be made public soon to prove that Hamas use the medical facility as the terror headquarters.
Around the world though there has been loud a growing condemnation over the Al-Shifa Hospital incursion. The World Health Organization called it totally unacceptable, and a possible violation of international humanitarian law. Pressure is now growing on Israel to justify the raid.
On Wednesday, the Israel Defense Forces revealed weapons and military kit. They say belonging to Hamas was found inside the hospital along with unspecified technological assets. But so far, no evidence of the underground tunnel network buried beneath the hospital. Hamas describes Israel's claims about uncovering weapons as a blatant lie.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JONATHAN CONRICUS, IDF SPOKESPERSON: These weapons have absolutely no business being inside the hospital. The only reason they're here is because Hamas put them here because they use this place like many other hospitals and ambulances and sensitive facilities inside the Gaza Strip for their illicit military purposes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: At a news conference just a few hours ago, the U.S. president said he had urged Israel to be incredibly careful with this operation, while adding that he was absolutely confident Hamas was running a command center under the hospital and he called that a war crime.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: Here's the situation. You have a circumstance where the first war crime is being committed by Hamas by having their headquarters their military, hidden under hospital. And that's a fact that's what's happened.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Right now only one hospital remains open and all of Northern Gaza. Doctors at Al-Shifa say the hospital essentially shut down days ago, when fuel for generators ran dry. And after almost seven weeks of Israel's military offensive on Gaza, the U.N. humanitarian chief says the carnage cannot be allowed to continue. But at Shifa Hospital at least there are no indications the Israelis will be leaving anytime soon. CNN's Nada Bashir has details.
NADA BASHIR, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): Weeks of bombardment had already left Gaza as large as hospital and what has been described as a catastrophic situation. Doctors at Al-Shifa working under impossible circumstances caring for hundreds of patients as Israel's military incursion moves inside the hospital.
DR. MOHAMMAD ZAQOUT, DIRECTOR GENERAL OF HOSPITAL IN GAZA (through translator): The occupation soldiers are still on the ground floor. They are searching employees, civilians, even the injured and patients. Some were stripped and placed in dehumanizing and miserable conditions.
BASHIR (voice-over): Israel's raid on Shiva has been described as precise and targeted, focused, they say on claims of a Hamas command center beneath the hospital. But it is civilians including medical staff and patients that have been caught in the center this unrelenting battle.
AHMED EL MOKHALLALATI, SENIOR PLASTIC SURGEON, AL-SHIFA HOSPITAL: We can't look through the windows and doors. We didn't know what's happening. Tanks are moving within the hospital. You can hear continuous shooting.. You can't hear it now. But again, it's a totally scary situation..
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What are the sounds, doctor? I am hearing sounds.
EL MOKHALLALATI: It's continuous shooting from the tanks.
BASHIR (voice-over): Israeli defense officials say soldiers found concrete evidence that Hamas used Al-Shifa Hospital as what they have described as a terror headquarters. But no further details were provided on the nature of this evidence.
Both Hamas and healthcare officials have long denied a military presence within Al-Shifa. CNN cannot verify either science claims. The IDF has not specified which area of the large hospital complex they operated in. And with over 1,000 patients and medical staff still inside, many have expressed alarm over the civilian impact of the Israeli military operation.
MARTIN GRIFFITHS, UN EMERGENCY RELIEF COORDINATOR: Our concern on the humanitarian side is for the welfare of the patients of that hospital, which is of course, in great peril at the moment, we have no fuel to run it. The babies have no incubators, newly born, some are dead already. We can't move them out. It's too dangerous.
BASHIR (voice-over): On Wednesday, the Israeli military said their troops had delivered incubators and medical supplies to the Al-Shifa hospital. CNN cannot independently verify this claim has not been able to reach the hospital for confirmation.
However, the director general of Gaza's hospitals has warned that babies at Al-Shifa are in severe danger as conditions in the hospital deteriorate further, adding that there is no place to move dozens of incubators outside of the hospital under current circumstances.
But even as Israel tightens its grip on Al-Shifa, now said to be under the complete control of the Israeli military, according to Hamas, doctors say they will continue to do whatever they can to save the lives of those wounded in this devastating war. Nada Bashir, CNN, Jerusalem.
VAUSE: Live to Cairo now Richard Brennan, Emergency Regional Director for the World Health Organization. Richard, thanks for joining us once again.
RICHARD BRENNAN, EMERGENCY DIRECTOR FOR EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN REGION, W.H.O.: Thank you. Thanks for having me.
VAUSE: At this point, what are your concerns about the Israeli ongoing operation at Shifa Hospital from what you've seen? From what you've heard? Are the Israelis abiding by international humanitarian law? What is your biggest worry right now?
BRENNAN: Well, I think we have to remember that even before this military incursion, Al-Shifa Hospital was already under enormous pressure. There'd been a lack of fuel, lack of medicines, lack of staff. Since the start of the conflict, we've only been able to distribute supplies to Al-Shifa twice. So what's that going back five or six weeks or so now.
So even prior to this recent incursion, the doctors and nurses there were doing heroic work. And, of course, now with the entry of the military personnel under the hospital, our concerns become even more grave. It's disrupting further the limited health services that we have.
You asked whether this is consistent with international humanitarian law. I'm not a lawyer. I'm a physician and I'm a humanitarian. We have grave concerns even if a military force has concerns about the use of a health facility for military purposes.
The hospital or clinic does not lose its protection under international humanitarian law. There are certain principles that apply, such as proportionality, distinction, and precaution. Essentially, what we have to do is ensure that the health consequences are minimized in any military operation that may, the military force may wish to justify.
And in the instance of Shifa, we can see that the health consequences have not been minimized. It's been under enormous pressure for far too long. And even now, it's even to use the term of your reporter, completely catastrophic.
VAUSE: Israel has long claimed that Hamas runs this command and control center beneath Shifa hospital. Their claim is now being supported by U.S. officials. Listen to this.
(BEGIN AUIOD CLIP)
JOHN KIRBY, NSC COORDIANTOR FOR STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS: We have information that confirms that Hamas is using that particular hospital for command and control node. That is a war crime.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
VAUSE: What will be the fallout if the Israelis and the Americans are absolutely 100 percent right, and that there is Hamas Command Control Center beneath Shifa Hospital. What happens then?
BRENNAN: Well, our focus is on continuing to provide health and culture and services for the people of Gaza. We'll let you know the legal experts and the politicians address that fallout. But right now, the fallout about which we're most concerned is the catastrophic humanitarian needs and soaring health needs.
John, prior to the conflict, around three and a half thousand hospital beds across Gaza. Right now there are only 1,400.
So our ability to provide health care to the people of Gaza is plummeting as the needs are absolutely soaring unit. I mean, I'm sure your viewers have heard the figures 1.7 million people displaced right now from three and a half thousand beds to 1,400 beds, how now do we provide care for the injured for the pregnant women, for those who have may have medical emergencies due to heart attacks or strokes, and so on, and so on. That's our big focus right now.
And so we have very limited options. We're looking at ways we can expand the capacity of hospitals, particularly in the south, because now we essentially have no access to the north where most of those hospital beds are.
We're looking to medically evacuate patients into Egypt, and we're looking at options for setting up, you know, an appropriate number of field hospitals. But we don't have much access. We don't have full right now, and the aid still remains at a trickle. It is a catastrophic situation.
VAUSE: Let me tell you about this, the IDF says medical supplies long as baby food were delivered to Shifa Hospital as this raid was ongoing either before what was happening. What more do you know about that in terms of what and how much was actually delivered to the hospital?
I guess also, the biggest need right now clearly is fuel for those generators. Where did negotiation stand or getting regular supplies of fuel to the hospitals so those generators could start up and start running again.
BRENNAN: I know I have no more details about the Israeli delivery of incubators and food than you have. In terms of fuel, I understand yesterday, there was around 27,000 liters distributed and it's being used to support some of the key infrastructure, including hospitals.
But again, that's just a small fraction of what's required. Where's the World Health Organization, we are not individually involved in those negotiations. I understand that they're related to the hostage situation. Of course, we've been advocating since day one for the unconditional release of those hostages and appropriate care for the hostages while they remain in captivity.
But we've got to find a way forward. And there's got to be some let up so that we can get the fuel in because it really is the lifeline of the humanitarian operation in Gaza. It keeps the desalination plants going and keeps the hospitals the ambulances going.
The sanitation. I mean, there's no question of solid waste right now. There's garbage piling up in the collective centers and so on. You know, some of the stories we're hearing from our colleagues and stuff on the ground are just absolutely horrific. So fuel, fuel, fuel, fuel is what our colleagues on the ground state is their biggest need at the moment.
VAUSE: Yes. And that's something which can be done through negotiation. Hopefully. Richard, as always, thank you for your time. We appreciate the update. And thank you for what you're doing. Much appreciated. Mr. Brennan there from the WHO.
BRENNAN: Thanks very much. VAUSE: U.S. President Joe Biden says his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping was constructive, productive and frank. The two leaders met for four hours went to San Francisco their first face to face talks and to hear this come says continued tensions mar the relations between Beijing and Washington.
President Biden says they've agreed to restore High Level Communications at a military level, as well as they'll pick up the phone and have a chat whenever there's a crisis or disagreement. They also agreed to crack down on illegal fentanyl production.
Many of the chemicals used to make that drug are exported from China. But even with all their agreements, it's clear there are deep divisions and tensions remain. When asked him whether he trusts the Chinese President, Biden summed up his approach to Xi saying trust but verify then there was the dictator comment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENDETIFIED FEMALE: And Mr. President, after today would you still refer to President Xi as a dictator? This is a term that we use earlier this year.
BIDEN: Well, look, he is. I mean he's a dictator in the sense that he is the guy who runs your country that is a communist country, that is based on a form of government that is totally different than ours.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Live now to our Beijing bureau chief Steven Jiang. So Steven, you know, this was I guess, an off the cuff remark at the end of a news conference but Biden made that comment nonetheless. The last time he labeled Xi a dictator didn't go down very well. It caused a lot of tension put strain back on the relationship and did a lot of good that have been done diplomatically by, you know, members of Biden's Cabinet who traveled to Beijing.
What has been the reaction now because it's been a few hours, has there been any reaction? And if there has been a reaction to what does that say?
STEVEN JIANG, CNN BEIJING BUREAU CHIEF: Well, there has been no reaction because obviously sensors are working very hard to scrub this from the Chinese social media platforms including on broadcast.
But also remember, both leaders do have their domestic concerns and their domestic audiences to address and Mr. Biden's answer in a way as part of that, and Mr. Xi too, even though he faces a lot less domestic pressure, and constraints, but remember, he is facing very strong economic headwinds, and he has to revive this very sluggish economy, which is why part of his mission is to really convince and restore confidence in the Chinese market and economy.
And that's why he chose to deliver a keynote speech at a large gathering of America's most prominent business leaders and obviously, saying all the right things in that setting. And but that's also why both leaders we were able to basically achieve the agreement you just mentioned, a lot of those are low hanging fruits and offense, and oh, climate change, even military to military communications, because that's important, by the way, because at a time when both militaries are facing a growing number of close encounters in a region, and also blaming the error of being provocative and professional, this kind of communication dialogue is very much timely and urgent.
But remember, a lot of these things were actually unilaterally cut off by Beijing last summer, when then U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi went to Taiwan. So in that sense, they were simply returning things to where they were before last summer. But that is still a very positive step forward. Because not just for these countries, but also for the world at large when there are so many geopolitical and economic challenges, you simply cannot have the two superpowers, the two biggest economies at loggerheads (ph) a longer has forever.
But that's also why a lot of analysts said the result is best described as tactical stabilization. Because fundamentally how they view their own strengths and the other's intentions have not changed. Mr. Xi actually didn't mention, it is simply not going to work if America tries to suppress China's rise on a global stage, to surprise China's interest, but he does seem to leave out the second half that he had set in the past domestically. That is, if that's the case, China will have to fight back. John.
VAUSE: Just take me back to June when Biden made this comment during a private fundraiser when he was asked about Xi call him a dictator. Was there the same response in by government centers across China that they removed any reference to it and social media and there was no actual reporting on it?
JIANG: That is one of the most sensitive words or terms if you will, in the sensors, eyes, they simply don't like that. But, you know, this is also not the same time. At the same time this is not the first time this kind of word has been used to describe Chinese leaders.
Remember back in the day, Mike Wallace of 60 Minutes even asked a former leader, (INAUDIBLE) I mean to his face is he a dictator? And John (INAUDIBLE) actually answered that question. But things have changed. I don't think Xi would like to answer that question. And his officials and sensors don't like to hear that word either.
But also, you know, in terms of, you know, all the drama if you're well, even the setting for their meeting for normally the historic house south of San Francisco, John, do you know that was also the setting for that long running American soap opera Dynasty. That show is certainly full of twists and turns not unlike the U.S.-China relationship. John.
VAUSE: Now to get the season cliffhanger or season nine murder in the fictitious country with a gun down at a wedding. Obviously, that didn't happen during this meeting. Steven, thank you. Steven Jiang, Beijing bureau chief. Thank you, sir. We will take a short break. When we come back. CNN has obtained from the Israeli military unreleased video never before seen recorded by Hamas militants as they began that murderous attack on Israeli civilians October 7. It's an exclusive, it's disturbing. But you should see it.
Also a conflicting reports out of Myanmar, about the hunta's military outpost and security forces being overtaken by rebel groups. What does this mean for the military dictators who seize power more than two years ago?
VAUSE: When Hamas militants broke through the Gaza border fence on October 7, many were wearing GoPro cameras to record their brutal attack. Some other videos were then used by Hamas for propaganda, but not all.
CNN has obtained video from one of those cameras via the Israeli military. The IDF says it shows the reality of what happened which many have called Israel's 9/11. In one continuous video which shows 100 minutes of horror as you'd expect a warning some and almost all of what you're about to see is very graphic. CNN's Oren Liebermann has our report.
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): But explosion before dawn on October 7. The time is here. The attack is underway. Allah Akbar God is great they chant as they cross the bridge fence. Go right, go right, go right the say.
Less than two minutes later, they crossed the second security fence. They are in Israel heading towards the kibbutz. The sun is up, and a day that will reshape the region has begun.
This video comes from the body cam of one of the terrorists who took part in the attack. It was obtained exclusively by CNN from the Israel Defense Forces. For the first time we also see video inside Hamas tunnels before the attack. It is a look into a network of tunnels with what appear to be supplies stored in the darkness. Writing on the walls in Arabic says what's hidden is far worse.
Above ground the gunman fires his first shots. Go on men, go on men, he screams. They stop on the way more than a dozen militants gathered here to prepare for the next assault. One has several rocket propelled grenades on his back.
Minutes later, a group advances across an open field moving towards the village of Kissufim. The gunman charges the last bit and spots an Israeli soldier on the ground.
Others join in celebration. Moments later he is more composed as he turns the camera on himself. He says his name and that he's 24 years old, he's a father. He says he killed two Israeli soldiers he asked God for victory and well deserved martyrdom.
On motorbikes now keep advancing moving together along empty Israeli roads or nearly empty. The man cheers as he sees bodies on the road. His is not the first way. He rounds the corner. Here we have seen this place before among the first videos to come out after the attack. This is dashcam video from a car on the same road moments earlier. The car approaches a group of militants who opened fire. The car coast's its driver almost certainly dead by now. It is just after 7:40 in the morning.
After a quick reload the group approaches a military base near the kibbutz of Re'im. For 65 minutes since crossing the Gaza fence, they've had nearly free rein in Israel. The gunman closes the distance with a weapon took from an Israeli soldier opening fire and fire comes back.
This man's part of the attack comes to an end. The terror is just beginning.
Oren Liebermann, CNN in Tel Aviv.
VAUSE: Myanmar's military dictators may be facing the most serious challenge to their hold on power since staging a coup more than two years ago. An alliance of armed ethnic groups has reportedly taken control of crossing points on the border with India, as well as military bases in the north close to China.
These images are said to be security outposts on fire, which was set by rebel fighters. Spokesperson for the military dictatorship label the reports is propaganda that did not comment on other reports that security forces have surrendered to the rebel groups.
Information coming from the rebels has not been independently verified by CNN. The opposition group is one of three ethnic minority insurgent groups which has launched a coordinated offensive against the military security forces since late October. The junta sees power back in 2021.
For more now on the armed uprising in parts of Myanmar, we're joined by Tom Andrews, U.N. Special Rapporteur on Myanmar. Tom, thank you for taking the time to be with us. We appreciate it.
TOM ANDREWS, U.N. SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR ON MYANMAR: Thank you, John. Thank you.
VAUSE: So this armed uprising began, what about three weeks ago. There are reports that just on Wednesday that came out on Wednesday that an entire army battalion has surrendered to one of the armed ethnic groups, which is part of a group known as the Three Brothers Alliance.
This alliance now claims to control crossing points on the border with India as well as towns and villages close to the border with China. So, from your information from no context, at this point, how widespread is the uprising? And how big of a threat does it pose right now to the military dictators who seize power more than two years ago?
ANDREWS: Well, John, it is widespread. We know that the military junta is deeply unpopular with throughout the country. But these latest developments indicate that not only are they have -- they been losing ground, that is the junta losing ground in the country.
But now they're losing ground with respect to their own military. You know, it's very difficult. I talked to a military defectors in the past and just talk about how much of a risk it is to defect, to surrender to opposition forces. They fear for them themselves and their families.
And what we've seen is now two battalions reportedly have surrendered. This latest one just yesterday, you had 127 soldiers but also 134 of their family members. So not only are they surrendering, but they're also -- their families are surrendering and recognizing, of course, the risk (INAUDIBLE) of themselves and their families.
This is increasing. And I think that this is quite significant. As the military finds itself, losing ground militarily, they are deeply unpopular. And I think this is a -- an important step militarily speaking for the junta in terms of what it's losing.
VAUSE: Just a few days ago, Reuters reported the president of Myanmar, the dictator, want the country was at risk of breaking apart due to ineffective management of recent violence in its border regions with China. That does not seem to be an unset, you know, an insignificant risk given there are 135 different ethnic groups in Myanmar.
And after that, though, is the more immediate concern is how far is the military willing to go to put this uprising down to hold on to power and prevent the country from breaking up?
ANDREWS: Well, we have seen, number one, I think that the military -- the country is a unifying force. I mean, there's -- Myanmar is a very diverse country. But what's unifying the country is there vehement opposition to the military junta. They try to claim that they have a force of stability, but they are anything but in certainly in Shan State, where we've seen this this latest development of this entire battalion surrendering, there's great lawlessness in that region, which is not only impacting the people of Myanmar, in that part of Myanmar but also across the border in China.
There are these scam centers that are -- that have been just flourishing because of this lawlessness, human trafficking, people being exploited on all sides of the border. So this junta, this military junta is a source of great instability and it is a unifying factor for so many in Myanmar despite the diversity of Myanmar. They are unified in increasing numbers in their opposition to see this junta.
VAUSE: Fighting has also been reported in Rakhine State, what was home to Rohingya Muslims until they were the victims of attempted genocide by Myanmar's military in 2017. Almost 700,000 fled across the border to Bangladesh. They've been living in refugee camps ever since.
Even back in August though, they had serious concerns about a plan being brokered by China for their repatriation to Myanmar. So would those plans at least now be on hold? How do you send hundreds of thousands of people, most of them children back into a conflict zone?
ANDREWS: Well, now that's exactly right. I mean it is remarkable that this continues to even be discussed. I mean sending these people, hundreds of thousands of people, back over the border and to have themselves surrounded by the very forces that committed genocide against them just a few years ago that sent them over the border into Bangladesh in the first place.
I have spoken to many, many Rohingyas and I have yet to find any that would be willing to go back into Myanmar to face that very, very same army that committed genocide against them. So it is hard for me to even believe that this is being considered seriously by virtually anyone.
VAUSE: Tom, thank you for being with us. There is a lot going on in the world right now, not much of it is very good at the moment. That includes Myanmar, so thank you for helping us report the story. We appreciate your time.
ANDREWS: John, it's my pleasure. Thank you.
VAUSE: A brief pause now here on CNN.
And as we go to break, here is a live view of northern Gaza right now. 8:30 on a Thursday morning, day 41 of Israel's military operation to destroy Hamas.
Back in a moment.
VAUSE: Welcome back everyone. I'm John Vause. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.
Back now to our lead story this hour. Israel's military raid on Gaza's biggest hospital which Israeli officials say is complicated, ongoing, and will take time.
According to IDF commanders at the hospital, evidence has been found which proves a Hamas command center was operating below the medical center. Hamas says that is a blatant lie.
For more now on what has and has not been found at Shifa Hospital, here is CNN's Nic Robertson.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Inside al-Shifa Hospital, Israeli forces are facing their biggest credibility test in Gaza so far after weeks of claiming its basement is a network of Hamas bunkers. The IDF moved-in in the early hours of Wednesday morning but 24 hours later, no evidence of Hamas' subterranean network here has been presented.
REAR ADM. DANIEL HAGARI, ISRAEL DEFENSE FORCES SPOKESPERSON (through translator): We found weapons, intelligence materials, military technologies and equipment. In addition, a military command post was located.
LT. COL. JONATHAN CONRICUS, ISRAEL DEFENSE FORCES SPOKESPERSON: This building of the Shifa Hospital --
Israeli troops reached here a few hours ago. This is where patients come in order to get MRI services.
ROBERTSON: We have no independent access to al-Shifa Hospital, so far.
CONRICUS: If you follow me behind the MRI machine, I will show you what our troops exposed just minutes ago.
ROBERTSON: An IDF spokesman gives an unchallenged tour of what he claims they have discovered.
CONRICUS: There is an AK-47. There are cartridges, ammo. There are grenades in here. Of course, uniforms and all of this was hidden very conveniently, secretly behind the MRI machine.
ROBERTSON: CNN cannot independently confirm the IDF's claims, but two days ago when CNN was taken by the IDF to the al-Rantisi Hospital in Gaza, we posed this question when shown another alleged Hamas weapons cache.
Some people would look at this and then question the reality of what you are showing us.
HAGARI: This is hard evidence that you see here and when we entered the hospital, you asked me, why did you open the back of the hospital like that? Because we knew the terrorists were here.
ROBERTSON: Unlike al-Rantisi Hospital, al-Shifa still has staff inside, seen here a few days ago. But reaching them has been made near impossible as communications were cut as the IDF went in.
One doctor did manage to get a call through.
DR. AHMED EL MOKHALLALATI, AL SHIFA HOSPITAL: The whole hospital is totally like, let me say in a way, handicapped like no one is operating. No one is seeing anyone. It's like all waiting for what's the endpoint of this one. Are we going to survive this moment or not?
ROBERTSON: And a local journalist inside the hospital reached by CNN said he had seen the IDF, quote, "conducting search and interrogation operations with the young men amidst intense and violent gunfire inside the hospital".
CNN cannot independently verify these accounts. Hamas dismissed an earlier IDF claim they'd found weapons at the site as propaganda. On a tour with troops, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared
emboldened by taking the hospital.
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): They told us that we would not enter Shifa. We have entered. And in this spirit, we say a simple thing. There is no place in Gaza that we will not reach.
ROBERTSON: Absent proof of Hamas's bunkers in al-Shifa, Netanyahu may find that reach curtailed, as international outrage at the IDF offensive mounts.
Nic Robertson, CNN -- Sderot, Israel.
VAUSE: Joining us now is Lieutenant Colonel Amnon Shefler, spokesperson for the Israel Defense Forces. Colonel, thank you for being with us.
After this targeted operation at Shifa Hospital which continued by my count at least for at least 12 hours, the IDF released photographs and videos and essentially, from my count, 11 guns, three military vests, one had a Hamas logo on it, a number of grenades, two Qurans, there was a string of prayer beads, as well.
All of this was found inside the hospital. We cannot verify that, but we also hear from a senior military official who said, quote, "We saw concrete evidence that Hamas terrorists used Shifa Hospital as a terror headquarters."
Without splitting hairs here, seeing evidence is not the same as having evidence. So do you have that evidence in hand and if so, how much longer will it be before that is made public and how much can you say about that evidence at this point?
LT. COL. AMNON SHEFLER, SPOKESPERSON, ISRAEL DEFENSE FORCES: Thank you for having me.
Everything that we do, including the operation in the Shifa hospital, is to further achieve two main goals that we have put forward.
One is to dismantle Hamas. And second is to bring back the 239 hostages that are still held, for the 41st day now in Gaza.
Now, specifically about the operation and as you were asking about what we will be bringing back. The material is still there. We saw it, we exposed it to the world. We took in reporters last night, again, to see it.
We are continuously working in the hospital to expose more of how and what Hamas is doing in the hospital in order to make sure that it cannot continue using it to carry out its terror activity.
VAUSE: The question of whether or not Shifa she hospital was the beating heart of Hamas' terror infrastructure in northern Gaza, as some Israeli officials have said, seems to be (INAUDIBLE) very hard credibility.
VAUSE: The crucial element here, I guess, is now on Israel to prove what has been said for the past few weeks. That is why I'm pushing you on this issue of when will that information, when will that evidence be made public?
SHEFLER: First and foremost, it already has been. We have seen AK-47s, we have seen grenades, we have seen vests, we have material of how to attack, tanks and other military installations. And that has already been exposed inside the hospital. What are those doing inside the hospital?
Second, we are continuously working on exposing more of what Hamas is doing and how it is using that area. I must also add to that, we have been calling for weeks for the citizens of Gaza to move to the southern part that is safer, south of the Wadi of Gaza.
Hamas has also heard this and they knew that we were coming also to the hospital. And had an advantage that we give up for reasons to be the most accurate and safe with the people and the patients that are in the hospital.
And they could have used that to clear up. Like we found, for example, a uniform that were left on the ground when they fled that area, probably wearing civilian clothes.
But still, we are looking and whatever we will find, we will share. And already, we have found very clear evidence of military use of that installation.
VAUSE: And again, without harping on the issue, military use of a hospital is not the same as a command-and-control center buried deep below the hospital as the beating heart of the terrorist infrastructure of Hamas.
So again, what people I think would like to see if it's possible, would be, you know, the video, the guided tour of independent journalists of those tunnels, of those bunkers, where Hamas has been operating from.
Because with all due respect, what has been seen so far doesn't add up to the tunnels and the bunkers and the command centers which have been described to us and the world by Israeli officials as the Hamas command-and-control center.
SHEFLER: Hundreds of miles of terror underground infrastructure is all around the Gaza Strip. We have already found 300 shafts that go into those tunnels, most of them booby trapped, including in the vicinity of that hospital.
Now some of these have been also closed by Hamas, and others will be revealed when we find them. So, this terror network is something that is very expansive all over the area. And once we find it, we will share it, but already, as I said, we have
cleared out that that is an installation that has been used and not only we say it. Also our American counterparts has said it. The president has said it also yesterday.
VAUSE: The senior adviser to the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Mark Regev, he did promise there would be further evidence to be made public to back up those claims.
And again, is there a timeframe on how long we can expect before that information is made public? And I guess, the question here is, are there concerns that the longer that evidence takes to be made public, the more harm it does to your credibility?
SHEFLER: I think we have already shown very clearly how this installation, the Rantisi Hospital, the al-Quds hospital, has been used by Hamas both to carry out its strikes, to hide its people, to have arms inside. And as we have seen probably in the Rantisi Hospital with hostages. So that has already been made very clear.
I think what is also added to that is how Hamas deliberately uses these civilian installations -- be it schools, be it mosques and also hospitals -- to carry out its terrorist activity while hiding behind the most vulnerable and the sick to carry out a terrorist attack.
And that is why we are there, to stop them from doing that and not being able to attack us ever in the future, which we also believe will bring a better future for the Palestinians living in the Gaza.
VAUSE: Colonel, thank you for your time. Lieutenant Colonel Amnon Shefler there in Tel Aviv with the very latest on that operation. We appreciate your time, sir.
SHEFLER: Thank you.
VAUSE: Well, from prison to the front lines in Russia's war against Ukraine. When we come back, a look at the hard-core criminals receiving (INAUDIBLE) gun to go fight Putin's war of choice.
VAUSE: Confirmation from Russian officials that Ukrainian forces are now holding a crucial piece of real estate on the eastern side of the Dnipro River. A Moscow-installed governor says a small number of Ukrainian troops are operating northeast of Kherson but are taking heavy fire.
On Tuesday, Ukraine announced weeks of cross river raids have resulted in a sustained presence on the east bank, a significant breakthrough.
To the northeast though Ukrainian rescue teams continue their search for two people who may be trapped in the rubble of this building in the town of Salidova (ph). Officials say at least two others were killed in a Russian strike, Wednesday. Three more people were injured. A convicted mastermind of a high-profile murder of a Russian
journalist is no longer in prison. Anna Politkovskaya was a prominent Kremlin critic who was gunned down near her home in Moscow in 2006.
CNN's Fred Pleitgen reports the man convicted of orchestrating the killing has been pardoned in exchange for fighting in Ukraine.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: As Russia loses large amounts of soldiers on the frontlines in Ukraine, the Kremlin continues filling the ranks with convicts, pardoning and releasing even the most dangerous ones if they survived their tour of combat.
Sergei Khadzhikurbanov was sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2014 for organizing the high-profile killing of prominent journalist and Kremlin critic, Anna Politkovskaya. She was gunned down in her apartment block in 2006.
Now, Khadzikurbanov has been pardoned after fighting in Ukraine, his lawyer says. Politkovskaya's family and the paper she worked for, Novaya Gazeta, irate.
"It is a monstrous fact of injustice and arbitrariness and insult to the memory of a person killed for their beliefs and for carrying out their professional duties," they wrote in a statement.
There are others, Vladislav Khanuse (ph) was sentenced to 17 years in jail for brutally murdering his girlfriend and ordered to pay compensation to the victim's family, Russian media reports. He was also pardoned after fighting in Ukraine, and doesn't even have to pay the compensation.
The Kremlin defending the decision.
"There is a certain practice being implemented," Putin's spokesman says. "To my knowledge, there are no exceptions to this practice, more precisely, there are exceptions, but they do not relate to the topic of the resonance of this or that case.
The Wagner private military company first started using convicts on the battlefields in Ukraine last year. Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin, traveling to a Russian jail to recruit inmates.
"I spent more ammunition than was ever spent in Stalingrad," he said at the time. "First sin is deserted, no one leave the front, no one surrenders."
Even after Prigozhin was killed in a plane crash in August, Russia continues large scale recruitment of prison inmates.
Russian leader Vladimir Putin even included some in a moment of silence for fallen soldiers.
VLADIMR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): We are all people, everyone can make some mistakes. They once made them, but they gave their lives for their motherland and atoned for their guilt in full.
PLEITGEN: And that amnesty also extends to killers in Russia who can prevent doing time by killing even more in Ukraine.
Fred Pleitgen, CNN -- Berlin.
VAUSE: In northern India, a massive drilling rig has been airlifted to rescue crews trying to reach dozens of highway construction workers trapped inside a partially collapsed tunnels since Sunday.
Up to 40 men are believed trapped with only small amounts of food and medicine reaching them through a six-inch pipe. The tunnel was part of a massive government highway project in the mountainous regions of India bordering China.
In Gaza, the clock is ticking down for 36 premature babies. Without fuel for generators to power their incubators, it is mostly a question of when, not if, they will die.
In a moment, exclusive details on how Egypt is trying to save their lives.
VAUSE: The United Nations Security Council is calling for urgent and extended humanitarian pauses and corridors in Gaza. 12 states voted in favor of the resolution, which also demands the immediate release of all hostages being held in Gaza by Hamas, especially children.
The Palestinian permanent observer to the U.N. praised the result.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RIYAD MANSOUR, PALESTINIAN PERMANENT OBSERVER TO THE U.N.: The bombings and incursions must stop, now. Humanitarian aid must come in now. Thousands of lives, millions of lives, hang in the balance.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: The United States, the U.K. and Russia -- all permanent members of the Security Council, abstained. Here is the U.S. ambassador explaining why.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LINDA THOMAS-GREENFIELD, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: Ultimately, the United States could not vote yes on a text that did not condemn Hamas or reaffirm the right of all member states to protect their citizens from terrorist attacks.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Human Rights Watch praised the resolution, saying it is a rare and powerful message to Israel, Hamas, and other armed groups to follow international humanitarian law.
Well, Israel's precise and targeted operation on al-Shifa Hospital continues at this hour. Hundreds of patients remain inside the hospital, according to officials in Gaza. Among them, the most vulnerable at all, babies in the neonatal unit.
CNN's Eleni Giokos has this exclusive report on efforts currently underway by officials in Egypt to evacuate 36 premature babies.
ELENI GIOKOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In a command center in Cairo, Egyptian authorities working against the clock.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The neo-natal situation is still the same. I was not told anything new. What I was told today that all the cases come at once.
GIOKOS: Egypt's health minister on-call to receive some of the most vulnerable patients. He is expecting over 30 neonatal babies to enter Egypt. New to the world, but caught in the cross fire, as the IDF begins its raid inside al-Shifa Hospital.
DR. KHALED ABDEL GAFFAR, EGSYPTIAN HEALTH MINISTER: Time is important, and every single minute that we are not getting them to end the incidents or the chances of losing their life is very high.
GIOKOS: Since November 1st, injured Palestinians have crossed through the Rafah border into Egypt, the only lifeline to leave Gaza.
DR. GAFFAR: We dedicated 37 hospitals with more than 11,000 beds for that purpose and more than 1,700 ICU units. Together with the incubators for kids and for other facilities for renal dialysis and so on and so forth.
GIOKOS: Would you say that the number of injured Palestinians that are in Egypt right now are in the hundreds?
DR. GAFFAR: Unfortunately more than 200.
GIOKOS: In an exclusive, Minister Gaffar takes us to visit patients.
DR. GAFFAR: This is the champ, this is --
GIOKOS: Here at the Nasser Medical Institute in Cairo, finally safe, but haunted by what brought them here. Guilt, heartbreak, utter despair.
Mohammed Wadia (ph) blames himself for his children's injuries. He says he listened to the IDF's warning and moved south from the north. Only to be part of an airstrike in Khan Younis on October 16th.
He went to buy food, and when he got back, everything was gone, he tells me. His son, Abdul Rahman, just nine years old and fighting through seven war injuries. His 14-year-old sister beside him. Both had shrapnel in their tiny bodies and broken bones.
DR. AHMMAD ABDELLATIF, NASSER MEDICAL INSTITUTE, CAIRO: For me, I'm an orthopedic consultant, orthopedic surgery consultant. The other team is plastic.
GIOKOS: They say no physical wounds can compare to the mental scars.
DR. ABDELLATIF: Can you imagine child, you have a child. He's just scared. He shouldn't be scared from a cat, a dog, the dark. So when you find that he is scared from losing his family, it is truly shocking.
GIOKOS: Did you get a warning? Did someone phone you?
He tells me, "No, no warning". On his knowledge of Hamas and it's building, he says, no.
We meet the next family, and they recalled this strike. 2:00 p.m. 31st of October, Jabalya Camp. Alhad Madiad (ph) was praying when her husband, Ramy Mahmoud, went out to get food. When he returned, his house gone. He found Alhad by seeing one finger sticking out from the rubble. She survived, but two of her children did not.
Her 15-year-old daughter called a friend before she died, predicting something would happen to her.
Ramy shows me a video of his son. He got a haircut three days before the strike. They tell me, he wanted to look good if he died.
For all survivors we met, one wish finds them all -- to return home to Gaza.
Eleni Giokos, CNN -- Cairo.
VAUSE: Thanks for staying with us for the past couple of hours. I'm John Vause.
Please stay with us if you can for CNN NEWSROOM with Rosemary Church, my friend and colleague. She'll be here after a very short break.
See you right back here tomorrow.