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CNN International: IDF: Body Of Second Hostage Found Near Al- Shifa Hospital; Israel Releases Video Of Tunnel Shaft On Grounds Of Al-Shifa; Israel Drops Leaflets On Parts Of Southern Gaza. Aired 8- 8:30a ET
Aired November 17, 2023 - 08:00 ET
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MAX FOSTER, HOST, "CNN NEWSROOM": Hello. Welcome to CNN Newsroom. I'm Max Foster in London. Just ahead, a tunnel shaft and the body of a second hostage, just some of what Israel says they found that Gaza's largest hospital. The APEC summit wraps up in San Francisco. But, what's been achieved? President Biden is promising stronger economic ties with Asian partners. And from mass graves to slavery, survivors describe the horrors of Sudan's brutal war.
Gaza's largest hospital, packed with patients and displaced people, is once again under focus as the Israel-Hamas war is poised to enter its seventh week. Israel says troops recovered the body of a second hostage kidnapped during the Hamas rampage on October 7th. The 19- year-old pictured on the right was a corporal in the IDF. Earlier, the body of a 65-year-old Israeli grandmother was also recovered in the hospital. The Israeli Prime Minister says it's possible other hostages were held 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)
FOSTER: Well, this comes as Israel says it found a tunnel shaft on the grounds of the hospital enclave. Israel released these images showing a deep hole in the ground surrounded by concrete and rubble. Hamas calls these claims ridiculous. And there are signs that a ground offensive in southern Gaza could come soon. Leaflets were dropped in communities in eastern Khan Younis, the south's largest city asking people to head towards known shelters. Meanwhile, the Director Al- Shifa says his hospital is a scene of desperation and suffering. Nada Bashir joins us with the latest from Jerusalem. The IDF really under pressure now to deliver evidence. And tell us a bit more about the state of the hospital and what people are enjoying there.
NADA BASHIR, CNN REPORTER: Well, Max, it certainly is a desperate situation at the Al-Shifa Hospital, as you mentioned that we have heard from the hospital's director describing the situation that they are facing, as we know hundreds of patients are still in the hospital, hundreds of medical staff. And that's in addition to thousands of civilians who are taking shelter in and around the Al-Shifa complex. Now, as we know long before this raid began, Al-Shifa had run out of electricity and power, had run out of oxygen supplies in its neonatal unit. Now, we are hearing that patients are literally starving because of the shortage in food and clean water supplies at the Al-Shifa complex.
And of course we have to underscore that this is really being reflected across a number of hospitals, particularly in northern Gaza, as a result of the ongoing bombardment and the ongoing siege. Now, as we know, the IDF says it has carried out this raid -- or is carrying out this raid on the Al-Shifa hospital, focus on what it believes to be a Hamas command and control center beneath the hospital complex. We saw yesterday another batch of evidence according to the IDF provided including as you mentioned evidence according to the IDF of tunneling infrastructure and operational tunnel shaft. That is how they have characterized that evidence.
Hamas, as you mentioned, categorically denying this. They have described this as baseless lies and have accused the Israeli Military or fabricating evidence, and of course CNN is not on the ground and hasn't been granted independent access, and therefore cannot verify either side's claims. And that is a message that is being sent out by UN officials as well. We've heard from the UN's Humanitarian Chief Volker Turk urging the Israeli Ministry to allow independent teams from the UN's Humanitarian Office to access the Al-Shifa hospital, to assess the situation at the hospital, and of course to assess the evidence that the Israeli Military has thus far put forward with regards to their claims of a Hamas command and control center beneath the hospital.
Now, the situation is deteriorating by the hour. Doctors there say they are having to carry out desperate procedures in order to stem the deterioration of the situation, including carrying out amputations to prevent the spread of infectious diseases within the hospital. We're hearing of doctors carrying out procedures without anesthetic. And of course, while we are very much focused on Al-Shifa, it is important to remember that there is a deteriorating situation facing all hospitals in Gaza. We've heard those repeated calls now for civilians to evacuate northern Gaza to southern Gaza.
But, as we know, airstrikes have continued across southern Gaza. We've seen just in the last day or so airstrikes taking place in Khan Younis, the largest city in Gaza, and hospitals there are deeply overrun, and now of course there is mounting concern that we could begin to see at some point a possible ground incursion by the Israeli Military into southern Gaza where more than a million Palestinians have now fled to or displaced in southern Gaza.
[08:05:00] We saw those leaflets reports, leaflets being dropped on the eastern neighborhoods of Khan Younis, particularly around areas near the perimeter fence separating the Gaza Strip from Israel, warning civilians there to move to known shelters. But, of course, when you think about some 1.5 million people, according to the UN, being displaced within the Gaza Strip, a vast majority of them now in southern Gaza, living in temporary shelters, living in tents, and of course, potent trend. But, it is getting cold now. It is raining quite regularly now in Gaza.
The question is, where do these people turn? Where do they go for safety if there are still airstrikes going on in southern Gaza? And if we do indeed begin to see Israel's ground incursion pushing further south. We've heard those warnings. We've heard the condemnation from international humanitarian organizations, warning about the mounting civilian deaths that will be deteriorating humanitarian situation.
As we saw, the UN Security Council passing a resolution, calling for humanitarian pauses to allow for essential vital humanitarian aid to get into the Gaza Strip. Israel rejecting that resolution, saying that this is disconnected from reality. They've described and characterized this to Israel's Ambassador to the UN as meaningless. And there are fears that we will not see long enough pauses to allow for vital humanitarian aid to get in particularly if their ground incursion does indeed spread further south Max.
FOSTER: Nada. Thank you. Well, with communications cut off, it's hard to get updates on the fate of dozens of premature babies. We've been talking about Al-Shifa hospital. Images of those babies shivering and crying without heat from incubators broadcast all over the world earlier this week. At the last report, doctors at Al-Shifa said there were 36 babies who desperately needed to be evacuated. Eleni Giokos has been tracking this story for us from Egypt. I mean, what plans are in place? We've been hearing that no one could get out of the hospital.
ELENI GIOKOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. I mean, that's the whole point is to try and get them out of the hospital and into Egypt. Look, we just don't know the status right now, Max. We don't know whether they're still in Al-Shifa. We just heard from Nada's report there is that raid in Al-Shifa. We know that buildings and roads are destroyed around the hospital. The question becomes, can they get safely to the Egyptian border at Rafah? And that is what the Egyptians are efforting right now. They have been expecting 36 babies since Sunday, and every single day, I've been speaking to them. They have high hopes and on high alerts to try and get them in. But, there is no word right now.
We can't get hold of the Palestinian Red Crescent. We can't get hold of doctors inside Al-Shifa to find out if these babies have oxygen, if they are in incubators. We've seen those images. They are so vulnerable, and they are in grave danger. We heard the initial number of 36 babies. The Health Ministry here tells me that that number might change. They fear that of course some of them might die because every single minute counts here, Max. It's all about oxygen. It's all about electricity. And I caught up with the Health Minister, and he told me just how he is feeling about this and the sense of urgency from the Egyptian side.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. KHALED ABDEL GHAFFAR, EGYPTIAN MINISTER OF HEALTH AND POPULATION: How you know that there is neonates that needs ventilators, and they are out of electricity, and they are out of gas, and they are out of medication. And they told me that they're trying to put three neonates in one incubator. Can you believe that? And they sent me photos for them, because they don't have anything else to do. So, they put the kids, three of them, in one incubator because they don't have that much source of energy to support. And even though they stopped losing those newborns and they want to get them out, how do you call that? How do you name that?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GIOKOS: There is incredible frustration. I mean, the Egyptian officials that I've been talking to say they go to bed every night with a heavy heart, every day when they are waiting for the babies to come through the border. The reality here, Max, is that these help the souls are stuck in a warzone and no making of their own. And that's just makes -- this is what makes this whole story very tragic is the fact that we can't get any communication about how they will leave and the fate of their lives and whether they can get through to safety.
The Egyptians say they're ready and waiting. The question now becomes just what kind of conditions will allow for them to get through, especially with the reality of possibly not enough fuel for ambulances to get down to the border. And you heard that story, you know, three babies in one incubator, which is an impossibility, which just raises concerns about how this is going to play out in the next few days.
FOSTER: Okay. Eleni in Cairo, thank you for that update.
Families of hostages taken by Hamas are continuing to make their voices heard as they journey from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. They're taking part in a five-day march, demanding Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu do more to secure the release of their loved ones.
The families are expected to reach Jerusalem on Saturday where they plan to protest outside the Prime Minister's office. They're calling on the Israeli government to meet with them regarding hostage negotiations.
The APEC summit in San Francisco will wrap up later on Friday. In the coming hours, the leaders will gather for retreat during which U.S. President Joe Biden will formally hand over the APEC chairmanship to the President of Peru. Japan's Prime Minister stressed the need for peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits during his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday. Joe Biden also spoke about Taiwan with Mr. Xi during their meeting on the sidelines of the summit on Wednesday. The two agreed on curbing fentanyl -- coming into the U.S., resuming Military communications as well. CNN's MJ Lee joins us with details on the summit. Some smiling faces there. But, what's actually been achieved, MJ?
MJ LEE, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. Today does mark the last day of APEC and for President Biden. In terms of what is coming up on his agenda, he is going to be holding a bilateral meeting with the President of Mexico before heading off to an APEC meeting where he will formally hand off the baton to the President of Peru. Peru is going to be the host nation of the next year's APEC summit.
I think it's worth spending just a minute talking about this upcoming meeting between the Presidents of the U.S. and Mexico. This is going to be important, not only because of course there are so many shared issues and areas of concern between those two countries, including of course the situation at the U.S. southern Mexico border, this is a politically fraught issue for President Biden back in Washington. They're also expected to discuss the issue of fentanyl trafficking. And that is really noteworthy, because that was one of the issues that came up when President Biden met with President Xi two days ago here. And one of the rare announcements that actually came out of that summit that the two countries would work together to curtail and crack down on substances that are used to make fentanyl.
So, the fact that President Biden is having this bilateral meeting with AMLO, and that this issue is expected to come up is notable, and AMLO did discuss this himself with President Xi as well yesterday. So, this should be an interesting bilateral meeting that the President sort of ends the APEC summit with.
I should also quickly note, just in terms of what the President has been up to in terms of his domestic agenda too. The President has signed a bill to fund the government. This was flown in, we are told, to California so he could sign it. This wasn't nearly at all everything that the White House wanted, because it only really partially funds the government until later in January. The rest of the government is funded through only the beginning of February. But, just a reminder that even in a week wherein (ph) foreign policy has been extremely heavily on President Biden's mind. Of course, this on the other hand, has been another important domestic issue for the President. It did finally get resolved.
But, it was up for question even until a few days ago whether the government would end up being funded, and they would be able to avert a government shutdown back in Washington.
FOSTER: MJ Lee, thank you. Coming up, the horror of Sudan's civil war, refugees speak to CNN about slavery, rape, and ethnic cleansing. Stay with us.
FOSTER: A civil war between Sudan's Military and the paramilitary group is creating, according to the United Nations, a catastrophic humanitarian crisis. The UN says around 9,000 people have been killed with reports of sexual violence and torture coming out of the region. 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 who detailed horrific cruelty. A warning, the images on the subject in this report are graphic and disturbing.
NIMA ELBAGIR, CHH CHIEF INTERNATIONAL INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A scene all too familiar in West Africa. Social media footage widely circulated last week showing RSF soldiers and supporting militia rounding up men, harassing, threatening. 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're about to show you is very disturbing. These are the most recent images emerging from Darfur. What you are looking at 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 now. 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.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (TRANSLATED): From within our family, we lost more than 40 men.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (TRANSLATED): They said to my father, we're going to rape your daughter in front of you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (TRANSLATED): 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.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (TRANSLATED): There were RSF soldiers outside, and they beat me until they forced me into the building. Inside, I saw nine or 10 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 is only 16, was kidnapped by the RSF with his brother and forced to work at a farm.
MAHDI, KIDNAPPED BY RSF (TRANSLATED): We were 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?
MAHDI (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 will 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.
MAHDI (TRANSLATED): They said this is a (N-word). They hit me and said (N-word).
ELBAGIR (TRANSLATED): They called you (N-word)?
MAHDI (TRANSLATED): Yes. They beat me and said where did you get this (N-word)? They kept hitting me.
ELBAGIR (voice-over): Mahdi 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 Masalit. It's Masalit 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 Africa to Arab. Nima Elbagir, CNN, London.
FOSTER: You can watch them as full report on the whole story "Going Home: The War in Sudan". It airs on Sunday night at 9 Eastern Time in the U.S. That's 2 in the morning in London. A lot more news in a moment.
FOSTER: Well, all this week, we've been exploring Japan off the beaten path as part of our new travel series, Next Big Trip. And today, we are rounding out the week with a world renowned chef who makes a Japanese lasagna dish. You have to see to believe. We'll repeat it. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): We've traveled north, up Japan's main Honshu island to Toyama with 500 species of fish, some of the richest fishing grounds in Japan.
RIPLEY: It's bright and early here in Toyama, and I'm about to meet an internationally renowned chef who is going to show us from the source how he prepares some of the world's freshest seafood.
It's red snow crab season, where chefs and restaurant tourists from around the region come to me. Chef Ito is really here to sample a particular local delicacy, what he calls the Jewel of Toyama, white shrimp fresh off the boat.
RIPLEY: Okay. You're going to eat it. Very fresh sushi, about as fast as you can get, I guess.
YUDAL ITO, CHEF (TRANSLATED): I think it's great to be able to see how the ingredients are grown and how they're delivered to us.
RIPLEY (voice-over): To my delight, Chef Ito invited us to taste some of those dishes, experience his fine dining take on today's catch in a rural area known as Tonami Plain in Western Toyama. His posh restaurant 'Il Clima' in a 200-year-old Japanese farmhouse. It's modern Italian fare on the menu here, but ingredients are local, and the menu changes every season.
First up, lasagna.
RIPLEY: Thank you. This is certainly different than any lasagna I've ever seen before. Let's taste it.
RIPLEY (voice-over): Ito was born in Osaka, trained in Europe. I want to know why he has chosen to cook in a small real con (ph) in Western Toyama.
ITO (TRANSLATED): Now to the pasta dish (inaudible). We use homemade noodles, and the sauce is made with white shrimp. It's the shrimp that we bid for earlier today.
RIPLEY: Is that why you chose to come here with all of your international experience you wanted to come and you wanted to create this special restaurant right here?
ITO (TRANSLATED): The proximity to the ocean is a unique feature of this area. The ocean in the mountains are close by, and the fishing port is close by. So, good ingredients are gathered here. Also, there are a lot of farmers around here. And I'd say they're kind and open. They're really helpful to me, giving me all sorts of opinions and teaching me how to use them. It's really a fun place to be.
RIPLEY (voice-over): Will Ripley, CNN, Toyama Prefecture, Japan.
FOSTER: SpaceX is postponing the launch of the world's most powerful rocket until Saturday, CEO Elon Musk posted on social media that a piece of the starship's flight control hardware needed to be replaced. It will be the second attempt to send the mega rocket into orbit. The first attempt in April, the rocket exploded four minutes after lifting off from Texas. It's hoped the rocket will eventually put humans on Mars for the very first time.
Thanks for joining me here on Earth on CNN Newsroom. I'm Max Foster in London. World Sport is next.