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Israel claims evidence of a Tunnel Shaft inside Al Shifa Hospital; APEC Summit Wraps Up as the Biden-Xi Meeting became a Defining Moment for the Summit; British Foreign Secretary Meets Ukrainian President in His First Working Visit of His Tenure; Two of the Survivors of Israel's Kibbutz Attack Shared Their Experience to CNN; Hunter Biden Faces Another Charges; Sean Combs Accused of Rape and Abuse in a Lawsuit Against her Girlfriend. Aired 3-4a ET
Aired November 17, 2023 - 03:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to all of you watching us around the world. I'm Kim Brunhuber.
Ahead on "CNN Newsroom," Israel offers evidence it says proves Hamas militants had a tunnel under Gaza's largest hospital. We'll show you the humanitarian crisis that's emerging inside the complex.
The APEC Summit wraps up today in San Francisco as U.S. President Joe Biden promises strong economic ties with other leaders.
And from mass graves to slavery, survivors describe some of the worst atrocities of Sudan's brutal war.
UNKNOWN (voice-over): Live from CNN Center, this is "CNN Newsroom" with Kim Brunhuber.
BRUNHUBER: Israel has released images that says -- shows a tunnel shaft used by Hamas. It's on the grounds of Gaza's largest hospital, which has been under siege for days. Now CNN can't immediately confirm the claims made in the video. Israel Defense Forces have faced mounting pressure to justify their raid on the hospital, which Israel says concealed the terror headquarters and tunnel network used by Hamas.
But the IDF insists more evidence is coming and that it's carrying out a full -- careful operation that could take weeks. The army also released images of these weapons, it says, were found at the hospital complex. Hamas has repeatedly denied using Al Shifa as a command-and- control center, calling the claims from Israel and the U.S. fabricated narratives.
Meanwhile, the Israeli army says troops recovered the body of 65-year- old Israeli grandmother near the hospital. She had been kidnapped during the Hamas rampage last month. No details were released on how she died. Prime Minister told CBS it's possible other hostages were also killed at Al Shifa.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: We had strong indications that they were held in the Shifa Hospital, which is one of the reasons we entered the hospital. If they were, they were taken out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRUNHUBER: And not long ago, the Israeli military said the body of another hostage was found at a structure near the hospital and has now been brought home. Noah Marciano was a 19-year-old corporal in the IDF. Hamas released a video a few days ago claiming she'd been killed in an Israeli airstrike.
Meanwhile, a grim picture is emerging of the humanitarian crisis inside the hospital and throughout Gaza. Now, a warning, our next story contains graphic images that are disturbing. CNN's Nada Bashir has this report.
NADA BASHIR, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): It's a scene that should be filled with innocence. But these drawings, sketches of houses, paint a picture of all these children have lost.
Home for the displaced, now makeshift shelters in central Gaza.
Lives in limbo with nowhere to go. In the south as more children are buried, another warning.
Leaflets dropped by the Israeli military on Thursday telling civilians in southern Gaza to move and find shelter. A foreboding signal that Israel's ground incursion could soon extend its punishing reach.
ATYA ABU JACAL, DISPLACED IN KHAN YOUNIS (through translator): Now they are asking us to leave. Where do we go? We want to understand where exactly we should go.
BASHIR (voice-over): But U.N. rights experts on Thursday warned that grave violations committed by Israel point, in their words, to a genocide in the making.
As darkness encompasses doctors in the South, already grappling with the impact of Israel's intensifying bombing campaign, there are growing fears over what could come next. Desperate scenes from the north of Gaza, almost entirely destroyed by Israel's unrelenting airstrikes, show just how dire the situation can quickly become.
DR. NAHED ABU TAAEMA, DIRECTOR OF NASSER HOSPITAL (through translator): We have lost contact with our colleagues, patients and everyone inside the Al Shifa medical complex.
BASHIR (voice-over): Israeli forces say they are still active in and around the Al Shifa hospital, Gaza's largest, claiming to have found an operational tunnel shaft at the hospital complex. With no access to the complex, CNN is unable to verify either side's claims.
Israel says its military operation at Al Shifa will take time, raising fears over the safety and security of more than a thousand patients and medical staff now trapped inside.
DR. RICHARD BRENNAN, REGIONAL EMERGENCY DIRECTOR OF WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: We are looking at options for medical evacuation but there are a lot of security concerns, there are a lot of logistics constraints, our options are rather limited.
BASHIR (voice-over): Allegations of people at Al Shifa being interrogated and even stripped are beginning to emerge. While doctors are detailing the harrowing decisions they are being forced to make, including amputating limbs to stop the spread of infection. But with the communications blackout cutting northern Gaza off from much of the outside world, CNN has no ability to verify these accounts and has reached out to the IDF for comment. No videos have emerged from staff at Al Shifa hospital since the raid began in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
These are some of the last pictures to have been shared with the world. Primitive babies in intensive care. There is no way to tell if all are still alive. Their cries, some of the last sounds heard before the voices of those inside Al Shifa were silenced.
Nada Bashir, CNN in Jerusalem.
BRUNHUBER: And CNN's Scott McLean is covering all of this live from Istanbul. So Scott, the U.N. is calling for access to investigate what's happening in Al Shifa. What more are you learning with?
SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Volker Turk, the U.N. human rights chief says he has asked for access from both sides. That requires, though, the U.N. to get some guarantees, and he says he is still waiting for those guarantees. He also says that nothing will happen quickly when it comes to an investigation because he's not going to put his people on the ground to investigate while the bombs are still falling.
He has said that his staff are doing what they can to document what they can at this stage of the game, but obviously getting on the ground at some stage will be required if in fact they can get access.
And he says that there is this need for an investigation because there are competing narratives. Narratives not only about why Israel, or how Israel is justifying its decision to go inside of Al Shifa hospital, but also even on the basic humanitarian situation. Case in point, the hospital director did an interview with Al Jazeera Arabic by phone and he says that there are still 5,000 people taking shelter in the hospital. There are hundreds of people who are wounded. There are dozens of premature babies, dialysis patients. The list goes on and he says that children are starving because of the lack of access to water to make milk or baby formula. It sounds like he meant.
And the IDF though paints a very different picture. They say that they are supplying water, they are supplying food to people and they are also securing corridors so that people can actually leave.
And when it comes to the military situation, you've had the Israelis on Wednesday releasing a video showing what they say is evidence that there are weapons stored inside of the hospital. Another video came out yesterday, they say that shows a tunnel shaft underneath, that leads underneath of the hospital as well. Hamas, though, has said that this is a ridiculous scenario that Israel is using to justify its war. It has plainly denied that there is any kind of command-and-control center underneath the hospital. The Israelis say that there is a sophisticated multi-level tunnel system underneath of the hospital, but they have yet to prove those allegations.
And Hamas says that look, international organizations should come and investigate. And that is precisely what the U.N. Human Rights Chief, Volker Turk, is calling for as well. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VOLKER TURK, UNITED NATIONS HUMAN RIGHTS CHIEF: We cannot rely on one or the other party when it comes to this. This is precisely where you need an independent international investigation because we have different narratives and as I said, international humanitarian law is clear. You cannot use civilian, especially hospitals for any military purposes, but you can also not attack a hospital in the absence of clear evidence that, you know, there are issues.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCLEAN: Now to find that clear evidence, the Israelis say that, well first they say that what they found already justifies their decision to go in, but they also say to fully prove their allegations it could take days, even weeks for them to fully investigate the hospital and fully find what they say is this sophisticated tunnel system underneath the hospital.
Now Volker Turk also told our colleague Becky Anderson, Kim, that very plainly the terror carried out by Hamas on October 7th is a war crime. But he also says that Israel's reaction to it and what he describes as collective punishment and cutting off electricity and food and supplies and water to Gaza is also, in his view, a crime. Kim?
BRUNHUBER: Beyond that, I mean, we saw at the APEC Summit, India's prime minister condemning the killing of civilians he's far from alone of course with every passing day in growing Palestinian deaths, Israel's international support faces more challenges you've been monitoring this angle. What more are you seeing?
MCLEAN: Yeah, and I think that the Western view on this or the Western position that's being taken on this is coming under more and more scrutiny and more and more pressure every single day as they resist calls for an all-out ceasefire. At least many Western countries have resisted, including obviously the United States.
And even American officials said some two weeks ago to Israeli officials privately that, look, there is a limited time that Israel has to carry out this operation in Gaza and get what they need to do -- done before the international outrage over this reaches a tipping point. You are already seeing countries in the Middle East strongly condemning this. One of the most outspoken has been the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who has cut off any communication with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
He referred to Israel as a terrorist state and you've seen other countries follow suit. And regardless of what Israel actually does find at the Al Shifa hospital complex and whatever they claim to find, the Jordanians have described it quite well in saying that, look, you're going to be hard pressed to find anyone in this part of the world who is keen to believe the Israeli narrative. Kim.
BRUNHUBER: Interesting. All right. Thanks so much, Scott McLean in Istanbul. I appreciate it.
The APEC summit in San Francisco will hold its final sessions today. The defining moment of the summit so far was Wednesday's lengthy talks between U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping aimed at easing tensions between the two superpowers. Today's agenda includes a meeting between Biden and Mexico's president, followed by a leader's retreat. During the retreat, the president will formally hand over the APEC chair to the president of Peru.
CNN's Paula Hancocks is covering all of this for us from Seoul. So we talked about that highlights being the meeting between Xi and President Biden. Take us through more of the highlights and what we can expect later today as the event wraps up.
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kim, there were 21 countries, 21 economies represented within this APEC summit. But of course, all were looking to see what happened when it came to the U.S.-China meeting and of course, what sort of impact it could have on their own countries and economies. So the fact that happened early in the summit and the fact that even though the bar was set very low, both sides did say that they were constructive talks and they were frank talks, that really led the APEC summit to then move on from the shadow of the U.S.-China meeting.
But of course both U.S. and China have been competing for influence in the Indo-Pacific area and on Thursday as the host of the summit, President Joe Biden was able to pitch his country as being really the best option for both economic and also political achievements in that region.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: Encounter the United States. We're delivering on our promises, and we're doubling down on our progress. And we'll soon be your strong and steady partner as we continue working together to realize the Asian Pacific region that is free and open, prosperous and secure, resilient and connected. (END VIDEO CLIP)
HANCOCKS: Now, the Chinese leader Xi Jinping was also undergoing many meetings. There was an economic flavor to what he was doing. For example, he met with some of the main chief executives of American companies.
Well, he was there, the chief executive of Apple, for example, of Tesla, of Blackstone. And he gave a keynote address where he really pitched China as open for business. He was encouraging companies that were already in China in an economic sense to increase their foreign investment and those that weren't there to start investing there.
There of course have been some concerns by foreign companies in the past and in the recent past but Xi Jinping really tried to calm those fears. In fact at one point he did have a standing ovation from that particular audience.
But certainly this comes from a backdrop of Xi Jinping traveling to the APEC summit when he has a struggling economy. China has a crisis in its housing market. Also, its unemployment is at a record high. So there is definitely a reason for him to be focusing on the economy itself.
Now Xi Jinping also on Thursday met with Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. We've had details from the Japanese side as to how that went, pointing out that the Prime Minister expressed serious concerns about increasing military activity near Japan, also asking China to stop the ban on certain food products from Japan, that following the release of water from the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant.
And also, from the Japanese side, we understand that the Prime Minister re-emphasized the importance of the Taiwan Strait's peace and stability, saying this is an issue that's shared across the region. It's also an issue, Taiwan. that was brought up between the leaders of U.S. and China and is really one of the biggest bones of contention when it comes to relations between those two countries. Kim.
BRUNHUBER: All right, Paula Hancocks in Seoul. Thanks so much.
So as Paula just explained, APEC and other world leaders are watching closely for any signs of a thaw between Washington and Beijing. We get more from CNN's Will Ripley.
WILL RIPLEY, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In San Francisco, a carefully choreographed reset of the rocky U.S.-China relationship. U.S. President Joe Biden, Chinese President Xi Jinping, a meeting months in the making, four hours of talks, meticulously planned photo ops, all seemingly going according to plan until President Biden seemed to go off script.
MJ LEE, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER (on-camera): Mr. President, after today, did you still refer to President Xi as a dictator? This is a term that you used earlier.
BIDEN: Well, look, he is. I mean, he's a dictator in the sense that he is a guy who runs a country that is a communist country that is based on what the form of government that is totally different than ours.
RIPLEY (voice-over): Biden's off-the-cuff answer to a question from White House correspondent MJ Lee drawing a cringe-worthy reaction from U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and a swift, sharp response from China's foreign ministry.
MAO NING, CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESPERSON (through translator): This is extremely erroneous. It is an irresponsible political maneuver, which China firmly opposes.
RIPLEY (voice-over): Beijing had a similar reply back in June when Biden called his Chinese counterpart a dictator at a California fundraiser.
On the streets of Beijing this man seems to agree with Biden's description.
UNKNOWN (through translator): One party system to be honest and open that is a dictatorship.
RIPLEY (voice-over): Something he says keeps China stable putting a positive spin on Biden's definition of the word. Beijing's communist rulers have long argued stability makes their system superior to Western democracies. They never, ever use the word dictator. Neither does Chinese state media, ignoring Biden's controversial comment even as it made headlines around the world, instead focusing on President Xi's personal diplomacy with the U.S. president, like the moment they compared armored limousines.
On China's heavily-censored social media, not a single mention of the outrage over Biden using the D word for the second time in six months. The Chinese government takes that word very personally, blasting Germany's foreign minister for similar comments in September.
ANNALENA BAERBOCK, GERMAN FOREIGN MINISTER: What sign would that be for others? Dictators in the world like Xi.
RIPLEY (voice-over): He wouldn't be the first to fend off that label. Listen to this exchange on "60 Minutes" between Mike Wallace and Xi's predecessor, Zhang Zemin.
MIKE WALLACE, THEN "60 MINUTES" HOST: You are the last major communist dictatorship in the world.
ZHANG ZEMIN, THEN CHINESE PRESIDENT: You mean I'm dictatorship? Am I wrong? Of course. This is big mistake.
RIPLEY (voice-over): As for President Xi, the communist leader who eliminated term limits, and some say his rivals, paving the way for a lifetime in power, we don't know how he feels about Biden's remark. Unlike the U.S. president, Xi never has to answer unscripted questions. RIPLEY: We know that China's Communist Party is obsessed with
controlling the message and that is why every time that CNN reports this story, they've been going to color bars, cutting off CNN signal inside China. This is a video from one of my live reports earlier today. This is unsurprising considering how diplomats meticulously pored over every detail of this summit, not just the items on the agenda, but the small details like where Xi Jinping was sitting, what the flowers would look like, what the food would be for lunch, even the venue, a historic estate, as opposed to a drab meeting room.
It seems that optics are everything, and that is why we need to watch very closely whether President Xi follows through on one more promise that he made to resume Panda diplomacy with the United States, new Panda loans after a 20-year pause. Is that going to happen? What will that tell us about the U.S.-China relationship? Perhaps quite a lot.
Will Ripley, CNN, Taipei.
BRUNHUBER: Ukraine gets a much-needed political boost as its war with Russia is pushed from the headlines and Kyiv has Britain's new foreign secretary to thank for that. We'll explain.
Plus Sudan's harsh words to the U.N. The criticism against the organization's political mission in Sudan as the country's civil war grinds on and the human toll grows. Stay with us.
BRUNHUBER: Ukraine has released dramatic video of its ongoing offensive to retake the eastern city of Bakhmut.
Ukraine says this footage shows its shoulders overrunning Russian trenches near the city. Now it's not clear when the attack happened. Russia captured Bakhmut back in May, but Ukraine has been slowly regaining ground around the city since then.
In the south, at least six people were reportedly killed in the latest round of Russian shelling in Kherson. Ukraine says ten others were wounded in the city on Thursday. Officials say Russian artillery hit residential areas, causing damage to homes and businesses.
As the world's attention has turned to the Mideast, Ukraine has finally got a political shot in the arm. And it came in the form of a visit by Britain's new Foreign Secretary who went there during his first week on the job. CNN's Anna Coren reports from Kyiv.
ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: David Cameron has made a surprise visit to Ukraine in his first trip as Britain's new Foreign Secretary. In his meeting with President Zelenskyy here in Kyiv, he said he wanted this to be his first official working trip.
He also visited the port city of Odessa, which comes under regular Russian airstrikes. This of course is where Ukraine exports grain via the Black Sea.
Britain has been a stalwart of support for Ukraine ever since Russia invaded in February of last year and David Cameron's visit only reaffirms the U.K.'s commitment.
Well it comes at a very difficult point in this war that has now been going on for 21 months as of next week. The West's attention has turned to the Middle East. It is distracted and interest and support is waning. There is genuine fatigue.
The counteroffensive, which has been going on now for four months, has not yielded the results or breakthroughs that everyone was hoping for. On top of that, you have the mass casualties on the eastern and southern front. So the timing of David Cameron's visit couldn't be more important. Let's now have a listen to the exchange between President Zelenskyy and David Cameron.
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT: Thank you for coming. It's very important. Now, you know, the world is not focused on the situation on our battlefield and in Ukraine. And that's dividing for focuses really doesn't help. And we are thankful that the U.K. always supported Ukraine.
DAVID CAMERON, BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY: Thank you. I want this to be my personal next. I believe in the strength and determination of the Ukrainian people. And what I want to say by being here is that we will continue to give you the moral support, the diplomatic support, the economic support, but above all the military support that you need. Not just this year and next year, but however long it takes.
COREN: And this is shaping up to be a long war that will require long- term commitment from the West. Ukraine needs weapons, it needs ammunition, it needs arms production on an industrial scale to defeat Russia.
Recently we heard from the Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, General Zalushny, and he gave a blunt assessment of the war. He said Ukraine needs technologically advanced weapons, technological superiority to defeat Russia, which currently it does not have in this war of attrition.
Anna Coren, CNN, Kyiv.
BRUNHUBER: Sudan asked the U.N. on Thursday to quote "immediately terminate." The body's political mission to the country, calling its performance disappointing. Sudan's acting foreign minister made the request in a letter to the Security Council. Khartoum assured the U.N. it is still committed to engaging constructively with the organization. The mission was established to assist Sudan's transitional government from military rule to civilian democracy, but months of fighting between Sudan's military and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces has led to thousands of people killed and displaced more than six million people.
The U.N.'s refugee agency says it's gravely concerned about the escalating violence in Sudan's Darfur region. In recent weeks, armed groups aligned with the paramilitary RSF have reportedly killed more than 700 people in western Sudan. The U.N. says reports of sexual violence, torture and targeting of ethnic groups are deeply alarming. Hundreds of thousands of people have fled to neighboring Chad since the beginning of the war.
CNN's Nima Elbagir and her team traveled to Chad and spoke with refugees, cruelty, some describing systemic rape and being sold like cattle. So we just want to warn you the images and the subject of this report are graphic and disturbing.
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A scene all too familiar in West Darfur. Social media footage widely circulated last week showing RSF soldiers and supporting militia rounding up men.
Harassing them, threatening them.
CNN has been able to geolocate these videos, placing them in Ardamata, an outlying district of El Geneina, the capital of West Darfur where some of the worst atrocities during the recent war have taken place.
Over the last year during the war in Sudan, the RSF have targeted members of African tribal groups, including the Masalit, who claim Darfur as their ancestral land. Many of the RSF belong to tribes which, unlike the Masalit, claim Arab ancestry. What we are about to show you is very disturbing.
These are the most recent images emerging from Darfur. What you are looking at is a mass grave, filled with over a dozen bodies. Some are alive, others clearly dead. One man can be seen throwing earth on top of another, even though he is still alive. A man off-camera can be heard shouting as someone appears from beneath a pile of dirt.
He quickly buries his head back into the earth. We don't know the fate of these men. It's also unclear whether the men seen in the ditch are the same men as those in the video running from RSF soldiers and militia loyal to the RSF. But it does illustrate the newest, most horrific pattern of violence in the region.
Communication in Darfur has been deliberately choked by the RSF. It's been excruciatingly hard to understand exactly what's happening there. A few months ago, we traveled to a refugee camp in Adre, Chad, where survivors and eyewitnesses of these brutal attacks were able to cross the border.
One by one, brave survivors came forward wanting to share, to document what has happened to them, describing the horrors from the city of El Geneina, stories of rape and enslavement.
UNKNOWN (through translator): From within our family, we lost more than 40 men.
UNKNOWN (through translator): They said to my father, we're going to rape your daughter in front of you.
UNKNOWN (through translator): The RSF said, leave these ones. We will find better ones to sell. These ones, let's rape them.
ELBAGIR (voice-over): Textbook, ethnic cleansing. These are the hallmarks of genocide. CNN interviewed over a dozen survivors and eyewitnesses in El Geneina where civilians were targeted and where women were being sold from slave houses.
UNKNOWN (through translator): There were RSF soldiers outside and they beat me until they forced me into the building. Inside I saw nine or ten girls, some without clothes. They told us they will sell us very cheaply. They said, we kill all the men, we will not leave any black skin here. You have to leave, get out. They said they will be the only ones to sleep with us because if we have our own children, our sons will one day take revenge.
ELBAGIR (voice-over): She managed to escape but was recaptured and brought to a different location where she was repeatedly raped. But it's not just women being affected. Mahdi, who's only 16, was kidnapped by the RSF with his brother and forced to work at a farm.
MAHADI, KIDNAPPED BY RSF (translated): We were all eight people. We were all tied up. They would come and say I want the strong boys. Someone came over and started to feel my arms. I was tied up and blindfolded.
ELBAGIR (translated): You can't see them but you can feel them?
MAHADI (translated): I couldn't see a thing. I could just feel him hitting me here. Then I heard them say "I'll buy him off you, I'll give you money."
ELBAGIR (voice-over): The word slave in Arabic is a racial slur, equivalent to the N-word, so we're bleeping it out in his testimony.
MAHADI (translated): They say this is a (expletive). They hit me and said (expletive).
ELBAGIR (translated): They called you (expletive)?
MAHADI (translated): Yes. They beat me and said "where did you get this (expletive)?" They kept hitting me.
ELBAGIR (voice-over): Mahadi doesn't know how much they bought him for, but he was eventually taken to another location where he was forced to work. He says his brother taken at the same time was killed by the RSF. Survivor after survivor told CNN how the RSF spoke of wiping out the
African descendant Mesalit. Its Mesalit ancestral land in Darfur that the RSF are currently occupying. Part of a fertile landmass that the commander of the RSF has been strategically looking to secure for the last 20 years, changing the demographics from African to Arab.
Nima Elbagir, CNN, London.
KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN ANCHOR: And you can watch Nima's full report on "The Whole Story: Going Home, the War in Sudan," premieres on Sunday night at nine Eastern, in the United States.
Strikes and raids, worsening shortages and strong warnings about the humanitarian catastrophe spreading through Gaza. We'll have the details.
Plus six weeks after the Hamas attack on Israel, 12 year old survivor talks to CNN about what he experienced that terrifying day and what he hopes for the future. That's ahead.
BRUNHUBER: And welcome back to all you watching us around the world. I'm Kim Brunhuber. This is "CNN Newsroom."
The U.N. Human Rights Chief is calling on Israel to grant his team access to the besieged Al Shifa hospital in Gaza. He says they need to investigate competing claims about what's happening there. After the Israeli army said it found this tunnel at the complex that had been used by Hamas, as well as some weapons.
The militant group denies all of the allegations, and CNN can't confirm either side's claims. The director of the hospital says the facility is describing desperate conditions inside, affecting dozens of premature babies and kidney patients as well as thousands of people sheltering there. And the World Food Program warns Gaza is facing the immediate possibility of starvation as fuel shortages cripple food production and distribution.
The families of the Israelis being held hostage in Gaza are calling on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to do more to secure their release. A group with the hostages and Missing Persons Families Forum has been marching from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem demanding answers. They want top Israeli officials to meet with them and speak about the government's efforts to bring their loved ones home.
All right, I want to bring in Shelly Shem Tov, who's participating in the march. And her son, Omar, was abducted by Hamas. Thank you so much for speaking with us here. So just first describe where you are exactly. Describe the scene. Who's marching with you and why are they joining in?
SHELLY SHEM TOV, SON OMER ABDUCTED BY HAMAS: OK, so we are in the road, the highway road to Jerusalem. We started three days ago in Tel Aviv, and we are on the way to Jerusalem to demand from the government to bring our families back home safely, alive. This is the situation.
We are 42 days from October 7th. We don't know what about our families. I don't know nothing about my son is that if he's okay. I know that he kidnapped by the Hamas and from that day I don't know anything about him.
BRUNHUBER: Yeah, I mean it must just be devastating for yourself for families like yours. So long just not knowing what's happening. I mean, how are you and other families like yours holding up through this?
SHEM TOV: Yes, there are 240 kidnapped. They are in Gaza from a nine- month baby that now she's 10 months. And try to imagine what is a baby that is in the murder's hands. And it's a nightmare. It's a nightmare. 40 days, 42 days of nightmare that we don't know nothing.
The Red Cross didn't meet our families. This is the basic thing that a human -- humanitarian things to do and we did not yet get anything or medicine for the -- for them. So it's crazy.
BRUNHUBER: You describe this nightmare for you. I mean from what we're hearing from families what seems to be making this nightmare worse is just the lack of communication from the Israeli government. It seems to be adding to the uncertainty. Is that how you feel? Has the government not spoken to you about your son at all through this?
SHEM TOV: The government only said to us that Omer is kidnapped by the Hamas. From them, nothing. And also all the other families. We want to -- to demand from our government to bring all the families back home alive. Till October 7th, there was a lot of people that became a family of us, and they are not in life. They were murdered and it's hard. You must understand that it's very hard for us. And I want to say also for all over the world, please help us.
Please, all the governments all over the world, you must understand there are citizens there. It's not a war between countries. They took citizens from their homes, their house. And we need the support of the people in the world.
BRUNHUBER: I want to ask you -- I mean we're getting more reporting around a possible deal for a certain number of hostages. What are you hearing and how do you feel about that type of deal in which some but not all of the hostages may soon come home?
SHEM TOV: We demand from our government to bring all of them back home. It's like you cannot ask a mother to understand that her son will stay there and another will come back. It's inhuman to a mother to say, okay, my son will stay there and other will come back home. So we want everybody, everybody to come back home. BRUNHUBER: And finally, I mean, your 21-year old son Omer. If you could pass on a message to him right now what would you say?
SHEM TOV: Sorry I didn't hear your question.
BRUNHUBER: I was just saying if your son is 21 he's being held hostage right now if you could speak to him right now if you could pass a message on to him what would you say to him?
SHEM TOV: So I say to him be strong, mommy loves you and we are doing everything to bring you back home. safe and I hope to see you soon. I love you. I love you. Be strong.
BRUNHUBER: Yeah, you be strong as well. We can only imagine the horrors that parents like you are going through right now. I wish you all the best. I wish she does come home. Shelly Shem Tov, thank you so much for speaking with us. I Really appreciate it.
SHEM TOV: Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you. Bye.
BRUNHUBER: And as we just heard there, scores of Israeli families are still struggling to recover from the horrifying terror attacks by Hamas last month. CNN's Nic Robertson talks to two survivors about their experience and how they're doing now. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice-over): Uri and his father, Yonathan, are survivors of Hamas' brutal October 7th attacks. They've taken refuge in Israel's seaside resort, Ilaat. Uri is 12
years old. He wanted to tell his story. He is the first child we have spoken with since Hamas' horrific, brutal attacks.
(on-camera): How many people close to you are missing still?
YONATHAN, KIBBUTZ ATTACK SURVIVOR: We said around 20. Kibbutz Neroz suffered a really hard blow. A quarter of the Kibbutz is either killed or missing.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): Their home was here in Neroz. Pre-October 7th population, close to 400 people.
YONATHAN: We heard like a war outside our window. A war. They were shooting at houses, our pigeon houses, grenades on civilians. Nothing. We didn't say anything. We kept quiet.
ROBERTSON (on-camera): They were incredibly lucky to survive Hamas's brutal attack. The family was saved by this lock on their bomb shelter door. But one of Uri's brothers, Yoav, was at a sleepover in another house on the Kibbutz.
Were you worried for your brother?
(voice-over): Uri nods.
YONATHAN: Very much. He was crying in the safe room because of that. ROBERTSON (voice-over): Hours later it would be Uri watching his
YONATHAN: It was around, I guess, five at the afternoon. That was the first time we saw Yoav again and I broke down.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): They'd all been rescued by soldiers brought to the big Kibbutz safe room reunited after seemingly endless hours of grueling separation.
YONATHAN: I collapsed. I broke down that moment. Uri said it was the first time he saw me cry that time.
ROBERTSON (on-camera): It's a big thing to see your father cry. How is your father doing now?
YONATHAN: He said that he thinks I'm OK. He doesn't seem any worries on me. It's a good disguise, I guess.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): When Palestinian Islamic Jihad released a hostage video of one of Uri's friends, they didn't show it to Uri to spare him the pain.
YONATHAN: We don't want him to see also. It's more propaganda than anything else.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): But they can't insulate him completely. Uri's best friend, Etan, is one of several close friends held hostage.
URI, KIBBUTZ ATTACK SURVIVOR: He's a very good friend. Yeah. And we're playing soccer in the kibbutz.
ROBERTSON (on-camera): What will you do when you see him again?
YONATHAN: He'll run to hug him. He hopes they'll come back soon.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): Hamas's damaging impact far from over.
Nic Robertson, CNN, Eilat. Israel.
BRUNHUBER: All right, just ahead, we're getting new information on the special counsel probe into whether Joe Biden mishandled classified documents. That's coming up. Stay with us.
BRUNHUBER: A year-long investigation into the mishandling of classified documents that President Biden's Delaware home and elsewhere isn't expected to result in any criminal charges. Two sources close to the investigation tell CNN that Special Counsel Robert Herr is compiling a lengthy report that's critical of Biden and his staff but doesn't charge anyone with a crime. Justice Department officials hope to have the final report by the end of the year, although that isn't a firm deadline. CNN has previously reported that charges in the case didn't appear likely.
And CNN has learned new charges may be filed against President Biden's son Hunter related to alleged tax crimes. Two sources tell CNN the special counsel is using a California grand jury to subpoena documents and possible testimony from several witnesses. CNN's Paula Reid has more on the story.
PAULA REID, CNN CHIEF LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Special counsel prosecutors are now using a Los Angeles-based grand jury to gather evidence related to Hunter Biden signaling that additional criminal charges could be coming for the president's son.
Now the probe appears to be focused on Hunter Biden's alleged failure to pay taxes over several years. That was all supposed to be resolved by a plea deal but that deal fell apart. Now CNN has learned that multiple witnesses have been subpoenaed for testimony and documents. And one of those witnesses is his uncle, James Biden, who is also his former business partner.
Now, the special counsel has already brought gun charges against Hunter Biden in Delaware. And Delaware is where most of the investigation into Hunter Biden has been conducted over the past several years. But these alleged tax crimes occurred in California. That is also where Hunter Biden lives.
So the fact that they're now using a grand jury out in California signals that additional charges could possibly be filed. Now representatives for the Justice Department, the White House, Hunter Biden and James Biden all declined to comment.
Paula Reid, CNN, Washington.
BRUNHUBER: Embattled New York Congressman George Santos announced on Thursday that he won't seek reelection after the House Ethics Committee released a scathing report on his behavior as a lawmaker. The 56-page investigation says it found numerous instances of Santos spending large sums of money on hotels, meals, and luxury items.
The report also found evidence that Santos broke federal laws, stole from his campaign, and engaged in constant lies to voters and donors. The findings are being referred to the U.S. Justice Department, which has its own investigation. House Speaker Mike Johnson's office released a statement calling the ethics report, quote, "very troubling, but stopped short of calling for Santos to resign as other Republicans have."
Alright, just ahead, a federal lawsuit filed against entertainer Sean Diddy Combs details on allegations of sexual assault and abuse after the break.
BRUNHUBER: Have a look at this: scary scenes from downtown Mexico City authorities there say a massive fire is 90 percent under control as of Thursday evening the flames could be seen from several miles away local media reports the fire started in a warehouse near the city's historic center.
Demonstrators are taking a stand over climate change in Australia and they're turning to schools across the country to get their message across. Thousands skipped class in Perth in Western Australia, among other cities today, to take part in the nationwide School Strike for Climate campaign. They're demanding that Prime Minister Anthony Albanese move away from Australia's reliance on fossil fuels.
Officials say the risk of a volcanic eruption in southern Iceland remains high. Roads have buckled as earthquakes continue to rock the region. There were significant power outages too. Police on Thursday allowed some residents who were previously evacuated from the area to return to gather some of their belongings.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EINAR DAGBJARTSSON, GRINDAVIK, ICELAND RESIDENT: It's like sitting in a very boring movie, but you're stuck there, you can't get out of it. It's unreal. It's hard to digest.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRUNHUBER: Earlier this week, about 800 earthquakes were detected in less than 12 hours.
The man charged with attacking Paul Pelosi, the husband of former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, was found guilty in a federal court on Thursday. A jury convicted David DePape of assault and attempted kidnapping of a federal official. Prosecutors say DePape broke into the Pelosi home last year with a plan to kidnap Nancy Pelosi and hold her hostage, but she wasn't at home.
Paul Pelosi testified that DePape violently struck him in the head with a hammer after they struggled. DePape could face up to 30 years in federal prison. His State Trial is expected to start later this month. Nancy Pelosi's office released a statement after the verdict saying the former speaker is quote, grateful for the outpouring of prayers.
A former girlfriend of producer and musician Sean Diddy Combs is accusing him of rape and abuse over several years. The R&B singer known as Cassie, whose real name is Cassandra Ventura, filed a lawsuit in federal court Thursday. Combs' attorney denies the allegations. CNN's Jean Casarez is in New York with the details.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is a civil complaint filed in
the Southern District of New York. It is filed under the Adult Survivors Act. And this is an act that allows survivors of sexual assault to file a civil claim for monetary damages, no matter when the sexual assault occurred, that window allows them to have justice, justice in the form of monetary damages.
And Cassandra Ventura, who was the girlfriend of Sean Diddy Combs, she also, according to the complaint, was an employee of his for the duration of those years. She is alleging that she was caught up in a cycle of violence, that there was abuse, it was vicious, and it was controlling.
She alleges that Sean Combs raped her. She alleges that he would beat her until her face and other parts of her body were just bloody. And then according to the complaint, she would be hidden in a hotel room, an apartment, or other location until conceivably those wounds would heal.
Now, Cassandra Ventura alleges that she met Sean Combs when she was 19 years old, he was 37 years old, and because of that age difference and because of his power in the entertainment industry that allowed for all of this to happen.
In a statement, she says, quote, "After years in silence and darkness, I am finally ready to tell my story and to speak up on behalf of myself and for the benefit of other women who face violence and abuse in their relationships."
There are, though, always two sides to every story. And in this case, in this now lawsuit, we do have a statement from Ben Broffman. He is the attorney representing Sean Combs. And he says, quote, "For the past six months, Mr. Combs has been subjected to Ms. Ventura's persistent demand of $30 million under the threat of writing a damaging book about their relationship, which was unequivocally rejected as a blatant blackmail. Despite withdrawing her initial threat, Ms. Ventura has now resorted to filing a lawsuit, riddled with baseless and outrageous lies aiming to tarnish Mr. Combs' reputation and seeking a pay day."
The next step in all this, the defense, Mr. Combs, will be filing an answer to the very serious allegations in this complaint. And then it will be on to discovery and we will see what evidence there is. In this case, it is, at this point, we'll be proceeding to trial.
Jean Casarez, CNN, New York.
BRUNHUBER: I'm Kim Brunhuber. "CNN Newsroom" with Max Foster is next.