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U.S. Sanctions Violent Israeli Settlers in West Bank; U.S. Ukraine Bill Stalled in Congress as E.U. Approves More Aid; Macron Calls for Europe-wide policies to Support Farmers; Candidate Targeted by Deepfake has A.I. Warning for U.S.; Palestinian Red Crescent: Girl Trapped in Car Since Monday; Saving Wild Chimps in Sierra Leone. Aired 12-12:45a ET

Aired February 02, 2024 - 00:00   ET






NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: This is very clearly the Biden administration planting a red flag.


VAUSE: As West Bank violence surges, the U.S. puts Israel on notice, sanctioning four Jewish settlers for their attacks on Palestinians.


LLOYD AUSTIN, U.S. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: This is a dangerous moment in the Middle East.


VAUSE: A stark warning from the U.S. announcing plans for a multi-tier military operation on Iran-backed militants behind a deadly attack on U.S. forces based in Jordan.

And is there anything not making European farmers angry? The long list of complaints driving protests across the E.U.

ANNOUNCER: Live from Atlanta, this is CNN NEWSROOM with John Vause.

VAUSE: For weeks now, both in public and in private meetings with Israeli officials. The Biden administration has pushed for Israel to scale back its military offensive in Gaza with questionable results.

At the same time, President Biden has been under growing pressure at home over the high number of Palestinian civilians killed in Gaza, with protesters demanding a ceasefire. Up til now, the White House has turned to a surge in violence in the

West Bank, taking the unprecedented action of sanctioning four Israeli settlers behind attacks on Palestinians.

According to the U.S. State Department, one of the settlers sparked a riot which set cars and buildings on fire and left a Palestinian civilian dead.

Another was part of a mob which attacked Palestinian farmers and Israeli activists with stones, as well as clubs.


MATTHEW MILLER, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON: We have seen the level of extremist settler violence come down somewhat, not come down enough. We want to see more. But the interventions that we've made have, we believe, made a difference, but we want to see it continue to come down, which is why we have taken the actions today.


VAUSE: The sanctions were announced the same day President Biden campaigned for reelection in the state of Michigan, home to a large Arab American community.

In recent weeks, protests over U.S. support for Israel have disrupted Biden's campaign events with demands for a ceasefire in Gaza. Those protests gathered Thursday, as well, in Detroit holding Palestinian flags, chanting "Genocide Joe has got to go."

In Israel, the prime minister has dismissed the need for punitive U.S. sanctions, saying all four men were prosecuted in Israeli courts. Here's part of a statement from Benjamin Netanyahu: "Israel acts against all law breakers everywhere. So there is no room for exceptional measures in this regard. The absolute majority of the settlers are law-abiding citizens."

More details now from CNN's international diplomatic editor, reporting in from Tel Aviv, Nic Robertson.


ROBERTSON (voice-over): Well, there was a very fast response from Bezalel Smotrich, their finance minister, also settler leader, saying that this was antisemitic. He said that how can President Biden be doing this when some of those settlers are -- their families are spilling blood in Gaza at the moment and playing (ph) either hostages or fighting in the IDF.

So this is a real, not a threat against him, per se. The White House is not saying that they're going, that they planned to target anyone in the Israeli government.

But this is very clearly the Biden administration planting a red flag, creating a red line, saying that the escalation in settler violence in the West Bank risks raising tensions to such a level that -- that even bigger violence could overspill there.

And to give some context on the settler violence since October the 7th, the U.N. body, you know, that tracks the statistics noted a tripling in the amount of settler violence in the month of October. And to the middle of January from then, they said there's been 430 such attacks that have involved casualties. The Palestinians -- intimidation of Palestinians, damage to Palestinian property.

And this is what the White House is trying to do, is send a very clear message that they will not tolerate this. They say that these decisions that they're taking with this executive order and other decisions are decisions that are in keeping with what they want to achieve in their foreign policy. So at the moment, these four, who have all been convicted in Israeli calls for violence either against Palestinians or a human rights activists or left-wing activist within Israeli politics, have all been convicted.

Many here would consider the terms they've been given for those convictions were not strict enough, not tough enough. But this is a very, very strong political message for Prime Minister Netanyahu's government.


And the prime minister himself has said that, actually, the Israeli government does take to court and charge all those who commit violence within the West Bank.

But again, a political message to the prime minister of Israel from the Biden administration.

Nic Robertson, CNN, Tel Aviv, Israel.


VAUSE: U.S. officials say new intelligence indicates Iran's leaders may have been caught off-guard by the deadly attack on American service members in Jordan. And maybe nervous now about actions of Iranian proxy groups and allies in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen who are raising the risk of direct confrontation with the United States.

The U.S. has yet to respond to the deaths of those troops. But the Pentagon chief has confirmed a multi-tier response is coming. Lloyd Austin issued this warning about the rising tensions in the region.


AUSTIN: This is a dangerous moment in the Middle East. We will continue to work to avoid a wider conflict in the region. But we will take all necessary actions to defend the United States, our interests, and our people.


VAUSE: With us now is General Mark Hertling, CNN military analyst and former commanding general of the U.S. Europe, and 7th Army. Welcome back. It's good to see you, sir.

GEN. MARK HERTLING (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Good to see you again, John.

VAUSE: OK, so during a press briefing, the U.S. secretary of defense, Lloyd Austin, explained that deadly drone attack on American forces in Jordan over the weekend had essentially crossed a line. Here he is.


AUSTIN: This particular attack was egregious in that it -- you know, the attack was on the sleeping area of one of -- of our base. It's time to take away even more capability than we've taken in the past.


VAUSE: That sounds a pretty open-ended objective, so to achieve that, how widespread, over how many days or weeks, would you expect the response to take? And what's the definition of success here?

HERTLING: Yes, it's a good question, John, and I'm not sure. I thought that, whatever course of action was decided by -- by the leadership of the administration, that it would be more than just a simple strike.

That has happened in the past. It's happened with coalition forces. So I believe this next one, based on the broadcasting that Secretary Austin did, will probably last days, if not weeks. It will strike multiple targets. And as I understand it, they're going to go after Iranian interests and Iranian surrogates.

Now, that's what they've attacked in the past, but it tells me there, there's probably going to be more than just kinetic activity. We discussed that the other night when I was on with you, that it could be more than what you see struck by weapons systems.

And in fact, there could be a lot going on in both the diplomatic, the economic, and the information overall.

VAUSE: And there are indications that just the talk of a stepped-up U.S. response has had an impact on the militant groups behind the weekend drone strike, announcing Tuesday, a suspension of further attacks on U.S. forces in the region.

There's also intelligence, which U.S. officials say indicates Iranian leadership is nervous about some of the actions of its proxy groups in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen.

And in particular, Houthi fighters in Yemen, who are now firing indiscriminately on shipping, it seems, in the Red Sea, has sparked some complaints from one of Tehran's most important allies, and that's China.

So take all of this together. Does it play into what the U.S. military response will be? That military response, which could happen at any moment now. It has to. And that's what I was getting out when I talked about the diplomatic response. All of those considerations are part of what they call the primaries committee, when the primary officials of the administration meet, talk about the different aspects of this fight. What is an advantage for the United States and what do they have to be careful of in terms of alliances.

You saw the Iranians appear to pull back a little bit, based on some input from Iraq. And I think that was driven by diplomatic efforts between the United States and Iraq, saying that, hey, you've allowed these PMFs, these mobilization forces inside of your country, they're now out of control. You need to get them out of control.

And I think Iraq's government passed that message onto the Iranian government. You got to remember the Iraqi government is a Shia-led government. Their prime minister is a Shia.

So they're talking to their Iranian border countries about what they should do and what they need to avoid in terms of the continued fight against ISIS.

This thing is extremely complex, John, as you know.

VAUSE: Republican senator Lindsey Graham is talking extra super Delta (ph) tough when it comes to risking a war with Iran. Here he is.



SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): You want a war with us, bring it on. We'll blow you off the freaking map. I'm not worried about losing a war with Iran. They should be worried about losing a war --


VAUSE: A day earlier, the head of Iran's Revolutionary Guard said Iran is not in pursuit of war, but quote, "We are not afraid of war. We will not let any threat go unanswered."

So just as a reminder, you know, Iranian military assets were not on Iraqi soil 20 years ago. The reason why they are there now is because of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. So until then, you know, Iraq was a regional counterweight to Iran. You know, it is complicated.

So my point here. So wars have a lot of unintended, really bad consequences, which is why you want to avoid them in the first place. Right?

HERTLING: They do. And it's -- it's absolutely confounding to me that a U.S. legislator, Senator Graham, would say something with that much bluster and that much swagger, because he's not the one fighting the war and he's also not the one taking the responsibility for it. It is one person, and that's the president of the United States.

So when you have these individuals who have that kind of bluster in terms of foreign relations. Even though Senator Graham does have a lot of experience with other countries -- he did serve in uniform as an Air Force lawyer. But he's not the one on the frontline, and he's not the one having the make the kind of calls that a commander in chief has to make.

So I just find that -- that kind of comment to be disadvantageous to the United States and what we're trying to do to deter actions in -- in the Middle East and not go to war.

VAUSE: A very good point to end on, sir. General Hertling, as always. Thank you, sir. Appreciate your insights.

HERTLING: Thank you, John.

VAUSE: Dramatic video from Ukraine, allegedly showing the sinking of a Russian warship off the coast of Crimea. Ukrainian military intelligence says the guided missile ship took multiple hits overnight, Wednesday into Thursday, before going under.

Russia is not commenting, at least not yet. This is the latest in a series of Ukrainian strikes on the Russian Black Sea fleet, which Kyiv says hinders Moscow's ground operations.

Hours earlier, Ukraine says it launched a barrage of missiles on Crimea, but Moscow claims all were shot down. A Russian backed official in the region says about a dozen buildings were hit by falling debris.

The European Union is hoping the U.S. will follow suit after Brussels unlocked more than 50 billion -- 50 billion euros in aid for Ukraine.

On Thursday, E.U. leaders managed to bring Hungary on board. Prime Minister Viktor Orban had been stalling and road blocking the funding for weeks.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says the money will prop up his country's long-term economic stability, which he says is just as important as military assistance.

Next week, the U.S. Senate set to vote on a separate $60 billion package for Ukraine, which is currently stalled in the lower House of Congress.

Mr. Zelenskyy says the E.U. decision is a message for Washington, and others.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT: Europe today sent a signal across the Atlantic and the world, or all over, that the international rules-based world order will withstand all challenges. Europe sets the tone for global affairs with its unity.


VAUSE: Matthew Schmidt is an associate professor of national security at the University of New Haven, as well as a former professor of strategic and operational planning at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College.

Welcome back. Good to see you.


VAUSE: OK. So with more than, what, $60 billion in U.S. funding for Ukraine still stuck in Congress, this 50-billion-euro lifeline comes at a critical moment for Ukraine.

Here's the president of the European commissioner -- commission, rather, Ursula von der Leyen.


URSULA VON DER LEYEN, PRESIDENT, EUROPEAN COMMISSION: I think we have proven today by these 50 billion euros that we stand by Ukraine. And I I think it will be an encouragement for the United States also to do their fair share.


VAUSE: That could happen. Or Republicans in Congress might see this European aid as another reason why Ukraine doesn't need U.S. assistance either way.

The reality is Ukraine needs support from both the European Union and the United States in this war with Russia, right?

SCHMIDT: Yes, that's right. Honestly, I don't think that Republicans in Congress are going to care that the E.U. is giving Ukraine money. It's going to be an argument for why we shouldn't be giving them money.

And look, $50 billion is the -- roughly the city budget of Los Angeles. This will keep teachers paid and people fixing roads after missiles hit them. And wi-fi on for a year.

But make no mistake. Ukraine is going to have to go back for more money 12 months from now.

VAUSE: And there's still no decision on the Ukraine assistance fund, which the E.U. announced last month, and is meant "to streamline military aid to Ukraine. The fund would have an annual budget of approximately 5 billion euros, focused on joint procurement of weapons and training Ukrainian troops," as opposed to countries giving -- donating weapons and financial aid for military assistance and then claiming it back from the E.U.


Hungary's prime minister, Viktor Orban, objected to that, as well as the $50 billion wi-fi or euro lifeline. He's now fallen in line with both. Does that mean the military funding from the E.U. is now just a matter

of time, even though time is really a luxury Ukraine does not have right now.

SCHMIDT: It does. The question is, is how fast can they surge things into the battlefield?

What Ukraine needs right now are artillery tubes, because as those get, as you fire a lot through them, they heat up and they bend and warp, and they need artillery shells.

How fast you can get those two things to the front line is priority No. 1. The second thing for Ukraine is going to be mobilization, which the E.U. can't do anything about.

But the third thing down the line is going to be training at those higher unit levels. But we're not going to get there until the end of summer at this point.

VAUSE: An opinion piece for, written by Ukraine's commander in chief, makes this point: "We must contend with a reduction in military support from key allies, grappling with their own political tensions. Russia is still able to deploy its military industrial complex in pursuit of a war of attrition against us."

So what you're basically saying is that the next few months will be decisive in many ways, if -- especially if Kyiv is unable to hold the ground where it is right now.

SCHMIDT: Absolutely. Let me be clear. First of all, Ukraine will win this, because Ukraine is committed. They know why they're fighting. They know why they're dying.

But it's a matter of how they win and how long it takes to win. And right now this year, right? The question is, are they going to get pushed to the point, Ukraine, where they have to negotiate to allow Russia to hold onto territory, at least legally, right, at least to just freeze the conflict for the time being, because they don't have the guns and the bullets to fight it with.

That's what Zelenskyy is looking at. That's what Zaluzhnyi has been saying since November from his first essay, too.

VAUSE: And just getting back to Prime Minister Viktor Orban of Hungary, he's considered to be Putin's best and only friend within the E.U.

So with that in mind, here's Donald Tusk, prime minister of Poland, on Orban and his stonewalling of funding for Ukraine. Listen to this.


DONALD TUSK, POLISH PRIME MINISTER: There's no problem with so-called, you know, Ukraine fatigue, for sure. We have Orban fatigue now here in Brussels.


VAUSE: Orban fatigue. I mean, it's a good way of putting it, but has Orban now been brought to heel, in a manner of speaking?

SCHMIDT: Temporarily. I don't think that Viktor Orban will stay out of the limelight for long. He'll find another way, another hook to get back in there and use what power he has, which is the veto power.

He's going to get in there, and the only thing he can do is say no to things that everyone else wants to say yes to.

VAUSE: Matthew Schmidt, as always. Good to see you. Thanks for being with us.

SCHMIDT: Take care, John.

VAUSE: While E.U. leaders were discussing Ukraine, crowds of protesting farmers were demanding their attention, as well. Demonstrates rolled into Brussels in their tractors throwing eggs, blaring horns, holding signs with the slogan, "No farmers, no food."

Farmers have been protesting across several E.U. countries against agricultural rules, taxes, low wages, cheap competition, and imports. Following Thursday's summit, the French president, Emmanuel Macron, called for an E.U.-wide policy to support farmers and try and address their grievances.

More now from CNN's Melissa Bell with the very latest, reporting in from Paris.


MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: From Italy, to Greece, Portugal, and France, the anger of farmers has grown and spread, reaching now all the way to the heart of the E.U. Too restrictive, they say, in terms of regulations but with little to protect them from unfair competition, especially from duty-free Ukrainian meat.

Calls for action, forcing themselves onto the agenda of leaders gathered in Brussels to discuss aid to Ukraine.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We're asking the leaders to review their lawyers. They talk about being greener, but if that happens, there will be land which isn't worked anymore. And it's difficult enough as it is.

BELL (voice-over): Concerns echoed by farmers in France, who've reached the edge of Paris, where police have drawn a line.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We can't earn a living. We're subject to enormous constraints. And there are products coming in from outside Europe that compete with us without having to apply the same rules that we're obligated to in order to produce.

BELL: Scenes like these have been playing out across the European Union. And whilst the grievances are fairly distinctive from country to country. What unites the farmers across the E.U. is, in the end, frustration with Brussels, the red tape and bureaucracy, regulations that it imposes, and the fact, say the farmers, that it doesn't protect them sufficiently from competition from outside the E.U.

SEBASTIEN ABIS, FRENCH INSTITUTE FOR INTERNATIONAL AND STRATEGIC AFFAIRS: Why is it that we tell a European farmer that he cannot produce like this. But we allow food products to enter the European market, which costs less.


They have to produce food, and increasingly, they have to offer bioenergy. And bioeconomy. They have to keep in mind the environment, the landscape, and sometimes regulations and standards.

Not all measures are compatible or convergent.

BELL (voice-over): The anger has spread across the E.U., and beyond the disruption, now represents a political threat, with European elections just a few months away and leaders rushing to announce concessions.

GABRIEL ATTAL, FRENCH PRIME MINISTER (through translator): Our livestock farmers need specific support. That's why I'm announcing that we're allocating 150 million euros to them in tax and social support starting this year and continuing on a permanent basis.

BELL (voice-over): Yet so far, little has calmed the farmers, united across Europe in their anger at Brussels, which they say is killing their livelihoods.

Melissa Bell, CNN, Paris.


VAUSE: A search for survivors in Kenya after a truck carrying gas exploded into a huge fireball in Nairobi. Details after the break.

And also, Slovakia's election last year was marred by deepfake audio. In just a moment, just what is it? And should Americans expect the same in this year's presidential election?



VAUSE: In Kenya, a huge fireball engulfed several homes, businesses, and vehicles overnight. A truck loaded with gas exploded in the capital city of Nairobi.

Officials say at least two people were killed. More than 200 were injured.

Authorities are warning people to stay away from the area and avoid disrupting rescue operations at the scene. A new CNN poll conducted by SSRS last weekend shows former President

Donald Trump narrowly ahead of President Joe Biden. Forty-nine percent of registered voters in the survey backed Trump, as opposed to 45 percent for Biden.

That same group supported Nikki Haley over President Biden in a hypothetical matchup, 52 percent to 39 percent.

The results have a margin of error of plus or minus 3.8 percent.

Last year, just days before a pivotal election in Slovakia, fake and damaging audio of one candidate went viral. While it's not known if the deepfake actually affected the outcome of the race, some are using this episode as a warning to the U.S. Brace yourself for more A.I. election disruption. CNN's Donie O'Sullivan has details.


DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Do you think this -- does this sound like you?


O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): It sounds like him, but it isn't him. This is Michael Simecka. He is the leader of the main opposition party here in Slovakia.

And on the eve of this country's elections last year, he was the target of a deepfake.

SIMECKA: My party was advocating a strong pro-Western, pro-European course to help itself fend off the Russian aggression.

O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): Just two days before voting began in that high-stakes election, this audio tape began circulating online. It purported to be a recording of a conversation in which Simecka talks about stealing the election.


SIMECKA: So this didn't come out of the blue. It came against the backdrop of a narrative that the elections were to be illegitimate, to be rigged.

O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): His party, Progressive Slovakia, went on to lose the election by a few points.

O'SULLIVAN: Do you think this could have changed the results of the election?

SIMECKA; No way of knowing. We have stats that, on Facebook alone, you know, 100,000 views, but it probably had some effect.

O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): Slovakia is a country of some 5.5 million people, and it's bordered by Poland and Ukraine. O'SULLIVAN: So a lot of experts say Americans should be paying closer

attention to what is happening here in Eastern Europe, as it could be a sign of what is to come in the United States.

DANIEL MILO, FORMER DIRECTOR, CENTRE FOR COUNTERING HYBRID THREATS: My warning is brace yourself for upcoming barrage of deepfakes will be targeting presidential candidates in U.S.

O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): Daniel Milo ran a government agency in Slovakia that countered disinformation.

MILO: In my professional capacity, I do believe that this deepfake was part of a wider influence campaign by Russia to interfere into Slovak elections.

O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): On the same day the deepfake emerged, the Russian SVR, foreign intelligence agency, published a press release that pushed a similar conspiracy theory that the U.S. government and Simecka were working to rig Slovakia's elections.

The director of NATO's Stratcom said the deepfake and that Russian statement simultaneously correspond to each other and promote the same false narrative.

O'SULLIVAN: So you don't think the SVR's statement and the deepfake, the fact that they came out almost at the same time. You don't think that's a coincidence?

MILO: No, I don't think that's a coincidence, though. A much more likely explanation to me, at least, is that this is all part of a wider operation that was aimed to disrupt the outcome of the elections as such.

O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): One of the earliest posts of this deepfake came from a pro-Russian politician in Slovakia who also pushed election conspiracy theories on Russian TV.

O'SULLIVAN: Some of the first people to share it on social media here seemed to be pretty Russia-friendly politicians.

SIMECKA: They are. They are Russia-friendly politicians. It can't be definitively proven that this has some Russian origin. But of course, the loss for progressive Slovakia and a win for the other side would and does serve Russian interests. That's for sure.

O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): Kremlin officials did not reply to requests for comment.

O'SULLIVAN: But even today, months after the elections here in Slovakia, there are still versions of that deepfake circulating on social media, including on Facebook.

MILO: Facebook reaction was very inconsistent and incoherent. In some cases, they just put a label that this is -- you know, most likely this information. In other cases, they removed the audio recording but yet in other cases, they left the video untouched. O'SULLIVAN: What's your message to Facebook?

MILO: Well, guys, put your house in order.

O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): Asked about A.I. misinformation, Facebook's parent company told CNN, "We label it and down-rank it in feed so fewer people see it."

But CNN found multiple instances where the company did not label this deepfake, and their statement did not explain why.

Regardless, once a deepfake spreads, the damage can be done. Even some of Simecka's own supporters were confused.

SIMECKA: People who are educated follow politics. They understand what's at stake, but still were confused by the --



O'SULLIVAN: Wow. So people who are politically engaged, supporters of you.

SIMECKA: Absolutely. So I think this might be the year when we see, you know, a deepfake boom in election campaigns all across the world.

O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): Donie O'Sullivan, CNN, in Bratislava, Slovakia.


VAUSE: We'll take a short break here on CNN NEWSROOM. But when we come back, a 6-year-old Palestinian girl missing since Monday after she came under fire with relatives in her car. That's Israeli fire. At least, that's what's claimed by the Gaza authorities. Her mother now desperate for answers.



VAUSE: Israel's defense minister has made a rare trip to Southern Gaza Thursday, still an active war zone, to praise Israeli troops and their progress in this almost four month-long military offensive.

In Khan Yunis, Gaza's second biggest city, Yoav Gallant said Hamas has been left severely weakened, and the Israeli offensive will continue further on to the South, all the way to the city of Rafah.


YOAV GALLANT, ISRAELI DEFENSE MINISTER (voice-over): The operation in Khan Yunis area are progressing and yielding impressive results. We are achieving our mission in Khan Yunis. And we will reach Rafah and eliminate terror elements that threaten us. (END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: New urges from Northern Gaza. So the aftermath of Israel's offensive, entire neighborhoods have been leveled, not one building left untouched.

The Hamas-controlled health ministry in Gaza says more than 27,000 Palestinians have been killed since October 7, at least 100 in the last 24-hour period.

Hamas officials say more than 70,000 housing units across Gaza have been destroyed, almost 300,000 damaged. CNN cannot independently verify those figures.

Right now, IDF operations are ongoing in central Gaza, amid all the chaos and turmoil. And somewhere in the crossfire, a little girl, just 6 years old, has gone missing.

Her name is Hind, and on Monday, her family was fleeing Northern Gaza by car. That's when, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent, they came under Israeli fire. And Hind was the only survivor.

CNN's Jomana Karadsheh has more. But first a warning: details in her report are upsetting and disturbing.



GRAPHIC: Come take me. Will you come and take me?


GRAPHIC: Do you want me to come and take you?


GRAPHIC: I'm so scared, please come!

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A desperate call for help from 6-year-old Hind, terrified, trapped in a car. Everyone around her is dead. Hind was in the car with her uncle, his wife, and their four children, trying to flee fighting from this part of Northern Gaza.

The horror in that car captured in this call for help from her cousin recorded by the Palestine Red Crescent.


GRAPHIC: They are shooting at us. The tank is next to me.


GRAPHIC: Are you hiding?


GRAPHIC: Yes, in the car. The tank is next to us.


GRAPHIC: Are you int he car?



KARADSHEH (voice-over): Relatives on Monday morning received a call from the family, saying they'd come under Israeli military fire.

SAMIR HAMADA, HIND'S UNCLE (voice-over): Rahad (ph) called me. She said uncle, my dad, my mom, my sister and brother were killed. I'm bleeding. Help me. I'm dying.

I told her, tie yourself with anything. At 04 p.m., she died. The only one left was a little girl, Hind. She said, Please, I'm little. I'm injured. I peed myself.

KARADSHEH (voice-over): Hind stayed on the phone with the Red Crescent for hours.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): What time is it?

She said, "It's getting dark. I'm afraid of the dark."

KARADSHEH (voice-over): The area was too dangerous, hard to reach. They have to keep Hind on the phone as they scrambled to try and get a team to her.


GRAPHIC: Is there gunfire around you?


GRAPHIC: Yes, come and get me.


GRAPHIC: I want to, my dear, but I can't right now.

KARADSHEH (voice-over): As a team was finally dispatched, a psychologist was now on the phone with Hind.


GRAPHIC: We will wait on the phone with you.

KARADSHEH (voice-over): But days later, they're still waiting. The Red Crescent lost all contact with Hind and its to volunteers, who were dispatched to find her.


CNN gave the Israeli military details about the incident, including coordinates provided by the Palestine Red Crescent. The IDF says, quote, "We are unfamiliar with the incident described."

NEBAL FARSAKH, PALESTINE RED CRESCENT SOCIETY SPOKESPERSON: We are extremely worried. We need to know what happened that they managed to save Hind, or they arrested (ph), that they survive. We need answers.

KARADSHEH (voice-over): No one more desperate for answers than Hind's distraught mother.

WISSAM HAMADA, HIND'S MOTHER (through translator): If my daughter didn't die from the bullets, she's going to die from the cold, from the hunger. My daughter said, "Mama, I am hungry." She said, "Mama, I'm thirsty. I'm cold."

I call on the whole world to bring me back my daughter. I want anyone to call the army. We want our innocent little girl. Hind is too young to be going through this. She is too young.

KARADSHEH (voice-over): So many, so young gone in this war, but one family holds onto the hope that it's not too late to save their little Hind.

Jomana Karadsheh, CNN, London.



VAUSE: Climate activist Greta Thunberg was in a magistrate's court Thursday over public disorder charges. She was arrested in October, along with other protestors, blocking the entrance way to an oil and gas conference.

Thunberg addressed the charges by raising concerns about the need to protect the environment, as well as human rights.


GRETA THUNBERG, ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVIST: Even though we are the ones standing here, and climate, environmental and human rights activists all over the world are being prosecuted, sometimes convicted and given legal penalties for acting in line with science, we must remember who the real enemy is. What are we defending? Who are laws meant to protect?


VAUSE: Thunberg and her four co-defendants have pleaded not guilty. If convicted, they face a maximum fine of 2,500 pounds, more than 3,000 U.S. dollars.

Saving wild chimpanzees in Sierra Leone, Africa, is linked to saving Africa's forests, and that will be crucial. Both are crucial to battling climate change. And David McKenzie is in Sierra Leone and has this exclusive report.


DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's play time in the forest, but these orphaned primates aren't monkeying around.

MCKENZIE: This is Skippy's nibbling on my arm. You know what's happening here is they are in chimp school, basically learning how to be chimps.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): Skippy is much braver than the two boys. They try their best. But like their human cousins, they sometimes just need a cuddle.

Their carer wears a mask, so the chimps don't catch a human cold.


BALA AMARASEKARAN, FOUNDER, TACUGAMA CHIMPANZEE SANCTUARY: Once you get in here, you have several groups.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): We're in Sierra Leone with Bala Amarasekaran, the founder of Tacugama Chimp Sanctuary.

He rescued his first chimp more than 30 years ago.

AMARASEKARAN: I think he started to showing us the way in terms of it's not about just the chimp; it's about the species. So I started looking, rescued another chimp, another chimp.

Mac, you good boy. Mac, what's up?

MCKENZIE (voice-over): Now Tacugama has more than 100 rescued chimps, and they manage wild champ habitats across the country.

With just 5,500 Western chimpanzees left in Sierra Leone, each one is precious. Like six-month-old Siama (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So that was a bullet wound from when he was shot.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): They rescued him just weeks ago after a hunter killed his mother.

MCKENZIE: So he still has shotgun pellets inside him?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. He was really, really weak. As I said, he couldn't even control his head movements.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): Here on the edge of Freetown, humans are the biggest threat to chimps, but perhaps not how you may think.

MCKENZIE: In the last few years, have you lost a lot of forest?

AMARASEKARAN: A lot of it. If you came here, like, two years ago, not a single building or any of these makeshift shelters you are seeing. Nothing was there.

Yes. Very sad. That is all going right before our eyes. I've been fighting this thing for 30 years, not 30 days.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): And time is running out. Rampant, often illegal development is destroying the forests. Sierra Leone has lost 35 percent of its tree cover since 2000. That's about 7.5 thousand square miles, or the size of New Jersey.

That's bad for chimps. And it's terrible for us. Africa's forests are critical to fighting climate change.

AMARASEKARAN: There is no more about preserving forest or wildlife. It's about preserving humans. We are trying to leave a better place for our children.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): At Tacugama, they're doing everything they can to document and protect the extraordinary diversity of these forests and the wild chimps that roam here.


MCKENZIE (voice-over): They believe if they can save their home, it might just help save ours.

David McKenzie, CNN, western area forest, Sierra Leone.


VAUSE: I'm John Vause. Back at the top of the hour with more CNN NEWSROOM, but please stay with us. WORLD SPORT starts after a short break.