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Seven World Central Kitchen Workers Killed in an Israeli Military Strike, WCK CEO Calls the Attack Unforgivable; Iran blames Israel for the airstrike that hit the Consulate in Syria; Trump Posts Bond Worth $175 Million to Reprieve His Properties in His Civil Fraud Lawsuit; Israeli PM Orders Temporary Shutdown of Al Jazeera in Israel; Hackers Steal Data of Inmates and their Relatives as an Avenge to Alexei Navalny's Death; Iowa Books Return Ticket to the Women's NCAA Final Four; Oppenheimer Finally Opens in Japanese Cinemas with Minor Cuts. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired April 02, 2024 - 03:00   ET




ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world and to everyone streaming us on CNN Max. I'm Rosemary Church.

Just ahead. A strike in Gaza kills multiple foreign aid workers with the World Central Kitchen. How the organization is responding to this devastating attack.

Plus, Iran is blaming Israel for the deadly airstrike that hit its consulate in Syria. We will tell you what Israel is and is not saying about the strike.

And a CNN exclusive, how hackers broke into the Russian prison computer network with the message: "Long Live Alexei Navalny".

UNKNOWN (voice-over): Live from Atlanta, this is "CNN Newsroom" with Rosemary Church.

CHURCH: Thanks for joining us. And we begin this hour in Gaza where the World Central Kitchen says at least seven of its workers have been killed in an Israeli military strike.

The organization says a convoy was hit leaving a warehouse where the team had unloaded more than 100 tons of humanitarian food aid.

World Central Kitchen CEO calls it unforgivable. Australia's Prime Minister identified one of the victims as Australian aid worker Zomi Frankcom. He said his government is seeking accountability.


ANTHONY ALBANESE, AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER: We certainly have already contacted the Israeli government directly. We are contacting the Israeli ambassador to ask for accountability here. The truth is that this is beyond -- beyond any reasonable circumstances. Someone going about providing aid and humanitarian assistance should lose their life.


CHURCH: World Central Kitchen founder Jose Andres posted on X saying he is heartbroken and grieving for their families and friends. He called those killed angels and called the Israeli government saying it, quote, "needs to stop this indiscriminate killing".

The White House is also reacting to the strike and is urging Israel to swiftly investigate what happened. The Israel Defense Forces says it is conducting a thorough review to understand the circumstances of this tragic incident.

CNN's Scott McLean is following developments. He joins us live from Istanbul. So Scott, what more are you learning about this tragedy?

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Rosemary, we've just gotten a new statement from World Central Kitchen in the last two hours where they detail what they believe took place here. And they say that there were seven of their employees who were killed in this Israeli attack.

And they say that there were three vehicles that they were traveling in. Two of them were armored vehicles. One was a soft skin vehicle. And as you said, they were leaving a warehouse where they had picked up, unloaded some aid that had just been brought in by ship. And we also have new video from Reuters, which shows the aftermath of this situation.

World Central Kitchen had made clear in their statement that these vehicles that they were traveling in were all very clearly branded with the World Central Kitchen logos.

And also they had coordinated this with the IDF.

And when you see the video, you can see one of the vehicles has a hole blown right in the top of it and right on that World Central Kitchen logo. So it's not like you could only tell that they were aid vehicles from the side. You could also tell if you were surveilling those vehicles from above as well. And so I think when you see this video and when you see this vehicle completely burned out on the inside, there are going to be some very serious questions here for the Israelis to answer.

The World Central Kitchen said that it is pausing its operation in the region. It will make decisions shortly on the future of its operations there. And I've just gotten some clarity from the organization that that also means that the ships that are currently in route from Cyprus to Gaza will not, at least at this stage, be offloading their cargo in Gaza, a place that is in desperate need of more food for people.

[03:04:53] And the CEO of World Central Kitchen was pretty blunt in their statement saying this, this is not only an attack against World Central Kitchen, this is an attack on humanitarian organizations showing up in the most dire of situations where food is being used as a weapon of war. This is unforgivable.

Rosemary, you mentioned that Jose Andres, the founder of World Central Kitchen, had tweeted about this saying that these victims are not nameless, not faceless. We have confirmation from one of the hospitals inside Gaza of the name of one of the victims, a Palestinian driver named Saif Issam Abu Taha.

We also know that one of the victims was that Australian that you mentioned, Zomi Frankcom, who was identified by the Australian Prime Minister. And she had done plenty of work around the world in Australia and abroad with World Central Kitchen. And she was actually on CNN last September talking about World Central Kitchen's work in Morocco in the aftermath of the earthquake. Here's part of that interview.


ZOMI FRANKCOM, WORLD CENTRAL KITCHEN VOLUNTEER WHO KILLED IN ISRAEL: At the moment, World Central Kitchen, we have eyes in the sky. So we've been doing aerial assessments and feeding at the same time. And we have also teams who are going into the high Atlas Mountains on high clearance four wheel drives. And so at the moment, we're still assessing what that need is. But we do know that it is great.


MCLEAN: And the Australian Prime Minister said that given the work that she had been doing to help strangers in all corners of the globe really said everything about the character of this young woman.

We are also hearing plenty of reaction from aid groups and activist groups condemning what has taken place here. We have also gotten a very firm condemnation from Hamas as well, who is accusing Israel of deliberately targeting innocent civilians and terrorizing in their telling aid groups into stopping their work in Gaza.

We also have some information from a CNN analyst, Barak Ravid, who, citing Israeli sources say -- says that there is this picture being painted of confusion and embarrassment over what has taken place here. But it is worth noting that this is not the first time that Israel has targeted aid groups. UNRWA, for instance, one of the biggest aid providers inside Gaza right now, says that it has lost 165 of its employees since the war began in October. Rosemary.

CHURCH: All right. Our thanks to Scott McLean bringing us that live report. I Appreciate it.

And as Scott mentioned, reaction is pouring in after the death of those seven aid workers in Gaza. Matthew Hollingworth, a country director for the World Food Programme, said on X that aid workers provide, quote, "truly life-saving food assistance while also bravely managing terrible risks each day. They should not have to".

And this from Jan Eglund, secretary general of the Norwegian Refugee Council, who said they were mourning with their colleagues at the World Central Kitchen. He went on to say, quote, "nowhere else are so many aid workers killed. There must be an immediate ceasefire. Enough now".

U.S. officials tell CNN the Biden administration has not seen any operational plans from Israel regarding a proposed military ground operation into the southern Gaza city of Rafah, where more than one million civilians are sheltering.

That news comes following a virtual meeting of senior U.S. and Israeli officials that's been described as productive. We're told top U.S. officials urged their Israeli counterparts to pursue a different course of action in Rafah that would target Hamas but limit civilian casualties.

We're also learning the Biden administration is close to approving the sale of as many as 50 American-made F-15 fighter jets to Israel. Sources say that deal is expected to be worth more than $18 billion and would amount to the largest U.S. foreign military sale to Israel since the October 7th attacks. The jets would still need to be built and would likely not be delivered to Israel for four to five years.

Iran is promising a decisive response to the deadly attack on its consulate in Damascus, Syria. An Iranian diplomat says Israeli F-35 warplanes targeted the building with six missiles causing major damage. An Israeli military spokesperson would not comment on the strike but said the building was not a consulate or embassy but a military building of Iran's Quds forces. The "New York Times" cites four unnamed Israeli officials who acknowledge that Israel carried out the attack.


CNN cannot independently verify that reporting. Iran says at least seven people were killed in the strike. They include two senior commanders of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Russia, Saudi Arabia and a number of Arab countries have condemned the attack.

Iran's foreign minister says U.S. support for Israel makes it answerable for the attack. More now from CNN's international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice-over): Smoke and tensions rising. Iran's consulate in Damascus reduced to smoldering rubble. Its ambassador claiming Israeli jets fired six missiles at it saying, we told you before, the Zionist entity knows very well that such crimes and any kind of crimes will not remain without response.

At least seven people killed. Two of them senior Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps IRGC commanders. One of them, according to Iranian state media, a very senior veteran of the elite military, Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Zaidi, a former commander of the IRGC land and air forces.

Israel rebuffed the allegations.

REAR ADM. DANIEL HAGARI, ISRAEL DEFENSE FORCES SPOKESPERSON: I'm not going to comment to that strike, but I want to tell you that in the last six months, Iran is making this region escalate. According to our intelligence, this is no consulate and this is no embassy. I repeat, this is no consulate and this is no embassy. This is a military building of Quds forces disguised as a civilian building in Damascus.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): Nevertheless, it marks an escalation in already supercharged tensions. The first such alleged Israeli strike on an Iranian diplomatic building in Syria and the highest-ranking Iranian Revolutionary Guard member killed since U.S. forces killed Quds Force Commander Qasem Soleimani, January 2020.

Back then, Iran responded by attacking U.S. forces in Iraq. Their options will be narrower now, prescribed by concern of significant escalation should they strike Israel, where tensions will likely be highest, is along Israel's northern border.

Iran's Lebanese proxy Hezbollah has been trading escalating rocket, drone, missile and artillery strikes since Hamas's brutal October 7th attack. The United States has been pressuring Israel and Lebanon not to trigger a full war as Israel's government warns time for diplomacy is running out and hawks press for action.

A supersized poster of Soleimani strung above the embassy gates and another in the rubble of the consulate, a reminder of the IRGC's lauded status. This attack, like Soleimani's, won't be forgiven, forgotten.

Nic Robertson, CNN, London.


CHURCH: Former U.S. President Donald Trump has posted a $175 million bond as he appeals his civil fraud judgment in New York. Trump and his sons, Don Jr. and Eric, were fined for fraudulently inflating the value of assets to obtain better loan rates.

The bond was originally $464 million, but a court lowered it last month.

Posting bond means that New York's Attorney General cannot try to seize Trump properties to cover the judgment, at least until the state appeals court hears the case. That is scheduled to happen in September.

The judge in Trump's hush money trial has expanded the gag order against the former president.

It will now prevent Trump from discussing the judge's family and the Manhattan District Attorney's family. Over the weekend, Trump attacked the judge's daughter in social media

posts. The judge says Trump's rhetoric could make those involved in the case afraid for their safety and the safety of their loved ones. Former federal prosecutor Jeffrey Toobin told CNN that this is part of Trump's legal defense and political campaign.


JEFFREY TOOBIN, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: This whole defense is a political defense, as much as it's a legal defense. That's why he goes to all the hearings. He doesn't have to go to the hearings. This idea that he's a martyr, that he is being the victim of a witch hunt, that is part of his campaign. And, you know, now being gagged is another way that he is saying, I am a victim here, not a perpetrator.


CHURCH: Among the witnesses expected to testify, former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, Stormy Daniels, former "National Enquirer" publisher David Pecker, former Trump aides Hope Hicks and Kellyanne Conway, and former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who told CNN she had an affair with Trump and was paid not to reveal it.


Trump's hush money trial starts on April 15th, but today he will be back on the campaign trail in the battleground state of Wisconsin. CNN's Kristen Holmes looks at how his legal troubles are playing out in the political arena.


KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN U.S. NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Donald Trump is set to return to the campaign trail Tuesday with visits to the critical battleground states of Michigan and Wisconsin. But his focus appears to be on his impending criminal trial in New York.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: This is all about election interference.

HOLMES (voice-over): Upping his combative rhetoric, Trump spent the Easter holiday attacking perceived enemies in a series of social media posts, writing, quote, "Happy Easter to all, including crooked and corrupt prosecutors and judges", and going after the judge overseeing his New York hush money case and his daughter by name as he seeks to discredit the case against him.

TRUMP: I have a Trump-hating judge with a Trump-hating wife and family.

HOLMES (voice-over): The remarks come as judges around the country are voicing concern over Trump's attacks on the men and women assigned to hear his cases.

REGGIE WALTON, U.S. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE: We do these jobs because we're committed to the rule of law, and we believe in the rule of law, and the rule of law can only function effectively when we have judges who are prepared to carry out their duties without the threat of potential physical harm.

LADORIS CORDELL, RETIRED CALIFORNIA SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE: I've presided over thousands of hearings and trials during my nearly 20 years as a trial judge and never did any defendants in my courtroom show such disrespect for the court system as was shown by Donald Trump.

HOLMES (voice-over): Trump also sharing a video that featured an image of President Joe Biden tied up in the back of a pickup truck. The former president saying in the Friday social media post that the video was filmed a day earlier on Long Island, where Trump attended the wake of an NYPD officer who was recently killed during a traffic stop.

TRUMP: We have to get back to law and order.

HOLMES (voice-over): The Biden campaign responding in a statement, quote, "Trump is regularly inciting political violence and it's time people take him seriously. Just ask the Capitol police officers who were attacked protecting our democracy on January 6".

Some Republicans taking issue with Trump's posts, but falling short of condemning the former president.

REP. DON BACON (R-NE): Want us to raise the bar of civility and how we treat the other side of the aisle for sure. Now, I don't think he was inciting violence, but it is representative of the political dialogue we have today.

REP. MIKE LAWLER (R-NY): At the end of the day, the former president, current president and on down all of us have a responsibility to check our language, to watch what we're saying and to focus on the issues at hand.

HOLMES (voice-over): The video marking another instance of Trump using violent and grim imagery in his campaign messaging.

TRUMP: If I don't get elected, it's going to be a bloodbath. They're poisoning the blood of our country. That's what they've done. The radical left thugs that live like vermin within the confines of our country.

HOLMES (voice-over): President Biden saying today he believes his candidacy offers a clear contrast with Trump's dark rhetoric.

JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: I just think people are so tired of the negativity that is propagated that they just they just want to get engaged. They want to change things. And I'm optimistic. I really am.

HOLMES: Donald Trump's trip to Michigan and Wisconsin will be the first time we see him back on the campaign trail in weeks. These are both critical battleground states. Donald Trump won them in 2016 and lost to Joe Biden in 2020. They are both considered essential to the pathway back to the White House.

Kristen Holmes, CNN, Green Bay, Wisconsin.


CHURCH: While President Biden and Donald Trump were making campaign stops, independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. sat down with CNN for a one on one interview about his campaign. He had lots to say, like claiming President Biden is a, quote, "much worse threat to democracy than Donald Trump. The man indicted for efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election".


ROBERT F. KENNEDY JR. (I), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The real things that we need to do to save our country, they can't do them. And if you vote for President Trump or President Biden, they both had their chance. You're going to get more of the same. If any, if somebody needs, if somebody actually wants change, wants to actually alter those issues, they're going to vote for me.

I can make the argument that President Biden is a much worse threat to democracy. And the reason for that is President Biden is the first candidate in history, the first president in history that has used the federal agencies to censor political speech, censor his opponent.


CHURCH: Kennedy is still fighting an uphill battle to get on ballots across the U.S. So far, he's only officially on Utah's ballot, but meets the threshold to submit for a handful of other states.

The owner of the ship that rammed a bridge in Baltimore is asking a court to limit its financial liability. The M.V. Dali hit the Francis Scott Key Bridge last week, causing it to collapse. As you can see, the ship is still stuck under debris from the bridge.


The ship's owner petitioned a court Monday to cap its financial liability for the damage at $42 million. The collapse killed six construction workers who were on the bridge. Four of the bodies have not yet been found. Meanwhile, U.S. President Joe Biden is planning to visit the scene on Friday.

Right now, crews are working to clear the wreckage of the bridge, a process that is difficult, delicate and risky. Brian Todd has details.


GOV. WES MOORE (D-MD): We're talking about a situation where a portion of the bridge beneath the water has been described by unified command as chaotic wreckage.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Cleanup crews cleared enough concrete and steel debris from the Patapsco River to form a temporary shallow channel with enough clearance for emergency vessels working on Baltimore's Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse cleanup. MOORE: Every time we move a piece of the structure, the situation

could become even more dangerous. We have to move fast, but we cannot be careless. We've already lost six Marylanders to this crisis. I refuse to lose any more.

TODD (voice-over): Despite the Coast Guard and Army Corps of Engineers starting to lift out thousands of tons of steel from the river.

REAR ADM. SHANNON GILREATH, U.S. COAST GUARD: These girders are essentially tangled together, intertwined, making it very difficult to figure out where you need to eventually cut so that we can make that into more manageable sizes to lift them from the waterway.

TODD (voice-over): The Port of Baltimore won't get back to business until the main channel is cleared for cargo ships.

SEN. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN (D-MD): Even as they try to clear this one passageway, they're at the same time doing all the engineering analysis to open the deeper channel.

TODD (voice-over): Maryland Senator Chris Van Hollen and Acting Secretary of Labor Julie Hsu met with port workers on Monday.

JULIE HSU, ACTING U.S. LABOR SECRETARY: There's tremendous economic displacement.

TODD (voice-over): She says the government should be supporting the thousands of workers who rely on the port, but --

HSU: We saw during the pandemic that our safety net for workers when they are put out of a job through no fault of their own is inadequate for everything that we need to do.

TODD (voice-over): Meanwhile, divers, crane drivers and technicians clearing debris have a long road ahead of them.

DR. OSCAR BARTON, DEAN, MORGAN STATE UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING: This is not something that could be done by the faint of heart.

TODD (voice-over): Dr. Oscar Barton heads the engineering school at Morgan State University. He says before anyone can even get close enough to physically move any wreckage above or below the water --

BARTON: They're going to do some surveying before they start to do any excavation.

TODD (voice-over): The first crane operation finished Monday morning and another is planned, pending weather.

MOORE: Specifically pending lightning. And they will be lifting an estimated 350 ton piece from the bridge.

TODD (voice-over): Larry DeSantis was driving back from work on the bridge that Tuesday morning.

LARRY DESANTIS, DROVE ACROSS BRIDGE MINUTES BEFORE COLLAPSE: I rode right by him. I saw all of them just a minute before they probably died.

TODD (voice-over): He was one of the last to cross the bridge just minutes before it collapsed, killing six people.

DESANTIS: It's hard to believe that something like that could happen that quick could have been on there.

TODD: The White House has announced that President Biden will travel to Baltimore on Friday to survey the damage and meet with local officials. Meanwhile, the bodies of four people who are still unaccounted for and believed to be deceased still have not been recovered.

Brian Todd, CNN, Baltimore.


CHURCH: A new ruling by Florida's Supreme Court will soon make it extremely difficult for women to get an abortion in the state. Justices voted Monday to uphold the state's ban on abortions after 15 weeks. That approval allows a six-week abortion ban approved by Florida lawmakers last year to take effect in 30 days. The change will have a devastating impact on abortion access in the southeastern U.S.


DR. CHERISE FELIX, PLANNED PARENTHOOD: For people that live in Florida, the closest state they're going to be able to get to is Virginia. For people that are in Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, they're looking at places like Illinois. They'll have to go to Illinois would be the closest access point. So Florida is an important state, not just for Floridians, but for the southeast region of our country with all those people that need help and that are coming here.


CHURCH: But Floridians will soon have their own say on the issue. In November, they will vote on a proposed amendment to the state's constitution that would protect a woman's right to an abortion in Florida. If approved, it would potentially undo both bans.

Spring in the northern hemisphere is bringing some unstable weather to parts of the U.S. The Storm Prediction Center reports more than 85 storms across the central part of the country late Monday.

Three tornadoes were reported in Texas, in addition to more than 50 reports of large hail. Residents in the Ohio River Valley should be on the alert for flooding. And cold air is bringing April snowfall across the Great Lakes today and into the interior northeast on Wednesday.


Strong winds in southern Poland caused trees to fall, killing five people. In the Tatra Mountains, wind speeds reached up to 155 kilometers an hour. Firefighters removed fallen trees that blocked roads and helped people out of their homes after their roofs were destroyed. The winds came after unusually warm weather in Poland.

Death and destruction at Gaza's largest hospital. Ahead, a look at what is left of the al-Shifa medical complex after Israeli forces ended their two-week siege there.

A new reporting links Russia to the strange Havana syndrome that's impacted several U.S. diplomats. Details on the investigation and the Kremlin's reaction when we return.


CHURCH: The United Nations says it's planning a mission to Gaza's largest hospital as soon as it's able to, following the withdrawal of Israeli forces. That word coming after the Israel Defense Forces ended its 14-day siege on al-Shifa hospital, uncovering the scale of devastation left behind.

Israel's defense minister is praising what he called determined and professional action inside the medical complex. But Gaza's civil defense said scenes of, quote, "atrocious crimes by Israeli forces cannot be overlooked". These satellite images show what the hospital complex looked like before the two-week raid and what it looks like now.

CNN's Nada Bashir has more details, but first a warning. Many of the images in her report are graphic.


NADA BASHIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As dawn breaks over Gaza's al-Shifa hospital, the full extent of this latest nightmare becomes clear.

Buildings scorched, some still ablaze, others riddled with bullet holes or completely destroyed.

Below, bodies lay crushed and decomposing. Under torchlight, limbs are found tangled amid earth and rubble.

This is the aftermath of the Israeli military's 14-day siege on what once was Gaza's largest hospital.

Please, God, enough, this woman screams. How much more can Gaza's civilians be forced to endure?

Medical crews tell CNN they arrived on Monday morning to find hundreds of bodies scattered around the complex. Others have been left wounded, starving and desperate for help.


We spent days without food or water until the military gave us a few food cans, but they were not enough to feed all the patients, Jana says. They would give each patient just a quarter of a water bottle each day. The bombardment and shooting was constant.

The scale of the destruction wrought by the Israeli military here seems impossible to quantify.

In the surrounding area, entire families were trapped in their homes for two weeks under near-constant bombardment.

Upon the Israeli military's withdrawal, Arafat al-Lulu was finally able to return home. Only to find that his wife and seven children had been killed.

The Israeli military has described the siege on al-Shifa as a precise operation targeting Hamas militants, some 200 of which they say were killed, though CNN is unable to verify this figure.

Weapons and intelligence documents are also said to have been found on the complex, which had been housing hundreds of civilians when the siege began. The IDF maintains that soldiers distinguish between militants and civilians, but such claims stand in stark contrast to the troubling testimonies and videos CNN has received from countless civilians and medical staff who were trapped in and around the hospital.

We can't estimate the number of medical staff who were targeted in what we can only call executions, this medical official says.

In earlier testimonies shared with CNN, civilians described being stripped, bound and blindfolded in the cold before facing interrogations by Israeli soldiers.

Reports of beatings are also widespread. For days, medical staff within the hospital told CNN they couldn't even move between buildings on the complex for fear of being targeted by Israeli snipers.

Every day a patient would die, nurse Moussa says. The occupation soldiers used us as human shields inside the hospital.

More than 300 bodies have so far been recovered, according to authorities in Gaza, but that figure will likely only rise.

Warnings that al-Shifa could soon be turned into a graveyard, now a gut-wrenching reality.

Nada Bashir, CNN, London.


ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: CNN has reached out to the IDF for comment.

And if you would like information on how to help with humanitarian relief efforts for Gaza and Israel, please go to You will find a list of vetted organizations providing assistance. That's at

And we'll be right back.




CHURCH: Let's bring you up to date on one of our top stories this hour.

Iran is vowing a decisive response after what it says was an Israeli missile attack on its consulate in Damascus, Syria. Two top Iranian military commanders are among the seven people killed. More now from CNN national security correspondent Natasha Bertrand.


NATASHA BERTRAND, CNN U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Iran says its consulate in Damascus, Syria, was attacked by Israel on Monday, leaving at least seven Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps officials dead, including two senior commander.

Now Iran's ambassador to Syria said the building was targeted with six missiles from Israeli F-35 warplanes, but the Israelis have neither confirmed nor denied responsibility for the strike, which has raised fears of an escalation in the region as Iran has vowed to respond decisively.

Now a spokesperson for the Israel Defense Forces, Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, told CNN that he would not comment on the attack other than to say that according to intelligence, the building that was hit was actually a military building being used by the IRGC rather than a civilian consulate.

CNN cannot independently verify either Iran or Israel's claims, but State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said the U.S. has been in touch with regional partners to determine what happened here, and he reiterated that the U.S. does not want to see the conflict between Israel and Hamas escalate beyond Gaza.

But it remains to be seen whether and how Iran will retaliate here. Iran-backed proxy militias, who were attacking U.S. forces in Syria and Iraq almost daily up until February, have not launched any new attacks in nearly two months.

But the concern now, of course, is that that could change now that Iran is vowing revenge.

Natasha Bertrand, CNN, Washington.


CHURCH: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he is temporarily shutting down news network Al Jazeera's operations in Israel. On Monday, Israel's parliament approved a law allowing the government to shut down foreign networks deemed a threat to national security.

Netanyahu posted on social media that terrorist network Al Jazeera will no longer broadcast from Israel. Israel has claimed the network played a role in the October 7th attacks. Al Jazeera says Netanyahu has provided no legitimate proof of that claim. It also says he is jeopardizing its reputation as well as the safety and rights of its employees.

Pressure is mounting on Netanyahu. Thousands of protesters took to the streets of Jerusalem again on Monday, calling for his resignation and demanding new elections.


They blame Netanyahu and his government for failing to secure the release of the remaining Israeli hostages being held in Gaza. It's the largest protest the country has seen since the start of the war. Dozens of demonstrators were also camped outside the Israeli parliament. They are planning to stay there until Wednesday when the spring recess begins.


UNKNOWN: They are not concerned about what happens in the country and with the people. They are concerned about maintaining their position in the government. They work for themselves, not for the people. That's simple as that.


CHURCH: Meantime, some Israelis say they are so upset by what they have seen and heard of IDF actions in Gaza that they would rather go to jail than to war. CNN's Melissa Bell spoke to one man on his final day of freedom.


MELISSA BELL, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In Israel, too, there are those who object to their government's handling of the war in Gaza.

Among them, Ben Arad, who as an 18-year-old, is due to enlist this week for his mandatory military service. Instead, he tells the crowd he's choosing to go to jail. We caught up with him in Tel Aviv on his very last day of freedom.

BEN ARAD, ISRAELI REFUSING TO GO TO WAR: I don't refuse because I'm afraid of being hurt or killed in military action. I have a very, very deep disgust of the things that I'm seeing happening.

BELL (voice-over): Things, he says, that Israeli media doesn't dwell on, but that he seeks out on international networks and online.

ARAD: I think something that really broke my heart was the flower massacre. So seeing people trample each other to get food, I mean, you just can't deny at that point that there is a famine going on and people are hungry.

[03:40:01] BELL (voice-over): So on Monday, Ben will hand himself in, becoming one of only a handful of so-called refuseniks to make their decisions public since the war began.

In a country where military service marks the start of every Israeli's grown-up life, aside from those exempt on religious grounds, the war has made avoiding it a political act. I've been called a traitor.

ARAD: I've been told that I need to be deported or I've been asked why I don't just move. I mean, but it's not such terrible stuff. I haven't gotten that yet. I'll get that when I go to jail.

BELL (voice-over): Yet Ben says he's determined to give up his freedom in order to remain free of a war that he simply doesn't believe in.

Melissa Bell, CNN, Tel Aviv.


CHURCH: A group of anti-Kremlin activists say they successfully committed a major breach of Russian security by hacking into computer networks tied to Russia's prison system. The activists told CNN they were avenging Alexei Navalny, the Russian opposition leader who died in an Arctic penal colony in February.

The hackers were able to steal a trove of data on hundreds of thousands of Russian inmates and their relatives. They also say they broke into the state-owned online system where family members buy food for inmates and temporarily slash the prices of goods. Sean Lyngaas has more details.


SEAN LYNGAAS, CNN CYBERSECURITY REPORTER: CNN is reporting exclusively on a big breach of the Russian prisoner system in which hackers claim to have stolen data on about 800,000 prisoners and their contacts to avenge the death of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

Hours after Navalny's death in an Arctic penal colony in February, the hackers plastered Navalny's photo and anti-Kremlin slogans on the website of a prison contractor, according to data and screenshots reviewed by CNN. The hackers say they're hoping the data can lead to a better understanding of Navalny's death, which Western leaders have condemned and held the Russian government responsible for.

Russia's war on Ukraine has been accompanied by a surge in politically motivated hacking, with both pro-Ukraine and pro-Russia hackers looking to make a statement.

I'm Sean Lyngaas, in Washington.


CHURCH: Shares of the Trump Media and Technology Group plummeted on Monday after the company disclosed losses of more than $58 million last year. That in turn caused Donald Trump's personal net worth to fall by more

than $1 billion. CNN's Matt Egan breaks it down for us.


MATT EGAN, CNN REPORTER: We knew that this stock would be volatile, but wow, this has already been quite the rollercoaster ride. Trump Media disclosing it lost $58 million in 2023 generated very little revenue, just over $4 million.

Some context, Twitter generated more than 100 times as much revenue in 2013, the year it went public.

This is why some experts say the multi-billion dollar valuation on Trump Media defies logic.

One professor told me that this stock is a bubble, another called it a mean stock. But Trump Media's losses are so severe that accountants warn the red ink raises quote, "substantial doubt about its ability to continue as a going concern". That's Wall Street code for, we might not be able to survive.

We should note, though, that that warning likely predated last week's blockbuster merger, a deal that allowed Trump Media to receive an influx of $300 million in cash.

Matthew Kennedy from Renaissance Capital told me that this cash infusion that should remove the going concern risk here. Still, though, Trump Media's troubles, they've continued in recent months. Monthly active U.S. users on IOS and Android, they plunged 51 percent year over year in February to 494,000. That's well shy of the 75 million users on X, the company formerly known as Twitter.

Even Threads has 10 times as many users as Truth Social.

Investors should fasten their seatbelts because the wild ride here, it's likely just getting started.


CHURCH: Half a million fast food workers in California received a pay bump on Monday. The state's minimum wage for restaurants like McDonald's, Subway and Starbucks has now jumped to $20 an hour. The law covers chains with more than 60 locations nationwide. A $16 minimum wage still applies for other industries.

Fast food workers are celebrating the raise, but smaller restaurants that pay less worry they won't be able to compete for the workers. The rate increase is the result of a years-long fight to establish better wages and working conditions in the fast food industry.

The Powerball jackpot is still up for grabs. After no one claimed the grand prize in Monday's drawing, the top prize now climbs to nearly $1.1 billion. That's the fourth largest in Powerball history.

[03:45:10] There have been 39 consecutive drawings with no jackpot winners. Even though no one claimed the grand prize in Monday's drawing, the lottery says six players won at least $1 million. That's not too bad.

Iowa and Caitlin Clark are in the women's basketball final four. They defeated last year's champion LSU 94-87. The game was a rematch of last year's championship game which LSU won, but Clark refused to lose this time. She had 41 points and 12 assists in the win.


CAITLIN CLARK, IOWA GUARD: It's amazing to be back in the final four. It's so hard to get there, especially with this region and how loaded this region was. But we told ourselves we're the one seed for a reason. We've earned this. We deserve to be in these moments. We're prepared for these moments.

LISA BLUDER, IOWA HEAD COACH: Her distant shots were amazing tonight. Her logo threes were incredible. How do you defend that? It's like it is nearly impossible.

KIM MULKEY, LSU HEAD COACH: She's just a generational player and she just makes everybody around her better. That's what the great ones do.


CHURCH: CNN's Brynn Gingras is in Albany, New York with more on Iowa's big win.


BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN U.S. NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Iowa and Caitlin Clark headed to the final four in Cleveland. It was an incredible game and everybody was comparing it to last year's national championship game between these two teams. And it felt exactly like that with the pacing, with the fact that there was just scoring on both ends and of course the rivalry. I mean, let me tell you, Angel Reese actually put a crown on the bench while Caitlin Clark was warming up.

And Caitlin Clark would hit a three, she would stare at Angel Reese in the face. It had all of those hallmarks, all of the drama. And in the end, of course, Iowa beat LSU, clinching their spot in the NCAA final four.

And I got to say, Caitlin Clark really brought it 41 points in this game. And when I tell you that this place erupted anytime that ball was in her hands and when she hit those threes, it really did. It was just incredible to watch. She made an NCAA all-time record for three pointers made in a career.

And let me tell you, she is a role model. If you could see all the young girls and boys who waited after this game to get her autograph, it was just incredible to see. It just shows you how much not only Caitlin Clark, not only Angel Reese, but other women basketball players have changed this sport for the better.

In Albany, I'm Brynn Gingras, CNN.


CHURCH: Iowa will face the University of Connecticut and its star Paige Beckers on Friday night. UConn made its way into the final four by knocking off number one seed Southern California 80-73 on Monday. The other women's final four teams are Texas and North Carolina State.

Still to come, "Oppenheimer" premieres in Japan months after the rest of the world was able to see it. We will show you how residents are reacting to the film. Back with that in just a moment.



CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone.

Japanese moviegoers can finally watch last year's summer blockbuster "Oppenheimer" after an eight-month wait. CNN's Hanako Montgomery has the story.


HANAKO MONTGOMERY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After months of delay, the father of the atomic bomb's life story finally took to the big screens in Japan, the very country where his invention wreaked terrifying devastation.

The film, highly praised globally, was met with favorable reaction from some Japanese viewers.

KUMIKO FUKUDA, TOKYO RESIDENT (through translator): I was interested in this movie because it shows the expressions and emotions hidden behind the eyes of both Americans and Japanese who saw the atomic bombs. It doesn't just show the tragic story, which I think is easier to depict.

MONTGOMERY (voice-over): But left others with a bitter aftertaste.

UNKNOWN (through translator): Of course, this is an amazing film which deserves to win the Academy Awards in the United States. But the film also depicts the atomic bomb in a way that seems to praise it. And as a person with roots in Hiroshima, I found it difficult to watch. I'm not sure this is a movie that Japanese people should make a special effort to watch.

MONTGOMERY (voice-over): Omitting images of the ghastly wreckage caused to Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the atomic bombs, lethal weapons that killed over 200,000 people, was a conscious decision from director Christopher Nolan.

MONTGOMERY: At a New York film screening, Nolan said that he didn't include those images because "Oppenheimer" himself didn't fully see how his invention incinerated whole neighborhoods and people. MONTGOMERY (voice-over): The film took eight months to release in

Japan amid controversy over an unofficial marketing campaign that critics said trivialized the 1945 nuclear attacks.

But the criticism hasn't deterred viewers entirely. During opening weekend in Japan, the movie grossed 2.5 million U.S. dollars.

Abroad, the highly lauded film won seven Oscars this year, including the coveted Best Picture and Best Actor awards. Christopher Nolan, who also took home Best Director, will receive a knighthood in Britain for his services to film.

But despite the film's global accolades, Japanese viewers tread lightly, wary of how the West remembers and depicts history from 78 years ago, a past far from forgotten in Japan.

Hanako Montgomery, CNN, Tokyo.


CHURCH: Coming up, why emergency officials in a famous corner of Canada are declaring a state of emergency ahead of next week's eclipse. We'll explain.


CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone.

Officials in Canada's Niagara region are declaring a state of emergency ahead of Monday's total solar eclipse. Thousands of visitors are expected to pour into Niagara Falls to catch the rare event. The region is on the path of totality, where for a few minutes, the moon will block out the sun entirely.

CNN's Paula Newton has the story.



PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Niagara Falls is known for its stunning views.

The number of people expected to visit the famous waterfalls may soon become a spectacle in itself.

It's a prime viewing site for the solar eclipse on April 8th, as it crosses North America, passing over Mexico, the United States and Canada.

JIM DIODATI, MAYOR OF NIAGARA FALLS, CANADA: Even though we get 14 million people every year, it's over the year. It's not all at one time. To get one million at one time would be by far the biggest crowd that we've ever had.

NEWTON (voice-over): Canada's Niagara region has declared a state of emergency so that emergency services can prepare for the influx of people. Hotels, stores and restaurants are gearing up for the visitors, which are estimated to outnumber the locals.

Ontario's Niagara region has a population of nearly half a million people, but some business owners say they're looking forward to some extra company.

GABRIEL GABRIE, PIZZERIA OWNER: We're expecting to have a full house for the first time in a long time. We're coming up for the winter season, so it's an exciting time.

NEWTON (voice-over): By the time the eclipse is fully visible over Niagara Falls at approximately 3:18 pm Eastern time, it will be nearing the end of its trek across the continent, which happens when it passes over the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador.

It will be the first total eclipse in Canada since 1979 and the last time the contiguous U.S. will see one until 2044.

So it's a sight many people say they don't want to miss.

JASON HARLOW, UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO: Having that collective feeling of oh the sun's gone and you know seeing something that that's so rare and so beautiful to see the stars come out in the day, yeah it's something that my kids will remember their whole lives.

NEWTON (voice-over): Paula Newton, CNN.


CHURCH: Join us next Monday for the total solar eclipse as it travels from Mexico across America and into Canada. Experience the eclipse from numerous locations along with plenty of science and excitement along the way. Our special coverage starts at 1pm Eastern.

And thank you so much for your company. I'm Rosemary Church. Have yourselves a wonderful day. "CNN Newsroom" continues with Eleni Giokos, next.