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Gaza Health Ministry: 436 Killed In Overnight Strikes; More Aid Trucks Enter Rafah Crossing; Still No Sign Of Timeline For Israel Ground Offensive. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired October 23, 2023 - 10:00   ET




ELENI GIOKOS, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello and welcome. I'm Eleni Giokos in Abu Dhabi. Welcome to our breaking coverage of the Israel-Hamas war. Now

Israel is making good on his word to step up strikes on Gaza.

That's apparently one of 320 strikes Israel carried out overnight, with the idea of saying it was targeting tunnels and command centers of Hamas and

Islamic Jihad. The Hamas-controlled health ministry in Gaza says more than 400 people were killed overnight Sunday into Monday. Driving the death toll

since October 7th past 5000. Residents of Khan Yunis calling the hardest night so far. Now Israel also says it conducted raids along what it calls

the contact line with Gaza. It says it has killed or captured 1000 Hamas terrorists in its operations outside of Gaza.

A Palestinian NGO says Israel detained dozens of people in the West Bank overnight, and Israel says it -- again struck targets inside Lebanon. This

as a third aid convoy was prepared to enter Gaza. Agency said Sunday the territory desperately needs fuel. So, Israel is ramping up its attacks from

the air, but there is still no clear sign of when a ground offensive could begin.

CNN's getting sent in as Nic Robertson looks at that delay.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voiceover): Bristling with battle ready troops. Farmer's fields north of Gaza churn with a

controlled fury of a nation readying for an incursion to strike Hamas. Yet they are waiting with no explanation why.

ROBERTSON (on camera): It feels like that early rush for battle readiness has passed. The troops are deployed standing by. The question is how long

can they be kept out here?

ROBERTSON (voiceover): According to former IDF general Israel Ziv as long as is needed, there are military gains.

ISRAEL ZIV, FORMER IDF GENERAL: We are now improving our intelligence in our capacity of targets.

ROBERTSON (voiceover): But the political calculation here is more complicated.

RON BEN YISHAI, MILITARY ANALYST: I think both in Washington and in Jerusalem, they understand that the legitimation -- legitimization window

is closing quickly.

ROBERTSON (voiceover): Civilian losses in Gaza are growing. More than a third of them children. According to Palestinian health officials. Lengthy

negotiations have led to two American hostages released as a tiny amount of humanitarian aid has crossed into Gaza that Israel fears ends up on Hamas'

masses hands. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is calculus of when to send in ground troops has never been so fraught under pressure from the White

House for more hostage releases.

YISHAI: Netanyahu is in real problem. He has it he cannot say no to Biden, but he cannot say yes to the -- to the humanitarian aid that drift into

northern Gaza.

ROBERTSON (voiceover): But he is also under pressure at home too. Military and others hawkish for a decisive blow against Hamas.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are finishing preparing, you know the ground force because we've changed plans. We are going to pay for heavy maneuvering.

ROBERTSON (voiceover): Netanyahu's dilemma compounded by his dependence on American weapons.

YISHAI: The pressure is from Washington is real. Is real and strong and the Prime Minister says many times to his ministers. Listen, we are getting

from the United States more than you know.


ROBERTSON (voiceover): Where less than a week ago these fields were teeming with tanks, troops making last-minute repairs. Today, there are just tracks

in the sand.

ROBERTSON (on camera): There's a soldier's jacket here, bread and a bag. On the table, the question is, where have all the tanks gone? Forward for an

incursion, or back to base for a pause?

ROBERTSON (voiceover): Close to the frontline in Gaza these days, more questions than answers and incursions still highly probable. But when?

Nic Robertson, CNN, Sderot, Israel.


GIOKOS: Well, as we've been reporting, more aid should be making its way to people in Gaza with a third convoy entering the Rafah crossing earlier. A

ground incursion looking imminent, and Israel has again called for civilians to leave the northern parts of Gaza. Israeli forces say they

launched raids along the contact line with Gaza to kill what the IDF is calling terrorist squads. The humanitarian situation in Gaza appears now

increasingly dire.

The Palestinian health ministry says 12 hospitals and more than 30 medical centers are now out of service. Doctors Without Borders saying surgeons are

now operating without morphine or painkillers due to shortages, as the U.N. urgently calls for fuel to be brought into the strip, saying it is as

important as food and water.

Nada Bashir has the reaction from the Jordanian capital, Amman.

NADA BASHIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL REPORTER: Well, look, Eleni, as we know, there is a huge Palestinian population here in Jordan, including

Palestinian refugees. And we have seen over the last week, in fact, over the last two weeks, protests taking place on an almost nightly basis. We

saw an enormous march taking place on Friday in solidarity with the Palestinian people and against Israel's continued aerial bombardment of the

Gaza Strip.

And there is mounting concern over the unfolding humanitarian catastrophe that we are seeing in Gaza right now. And we've been speaking to many

people here, including Palestinian refugees here in Jordan who still have family, have loved ones inside Gaza. They are watching what is happening,

they are watching the airstrikes. Everyone is glued to the news here in Jordan and of course around the Middle East. Watching what is happening and

for many of them, unable to speak to their loved ones who they haven't been able to see for years because they haven't been allowed to return home.

Take a look.


BASHIR (voiceover): Through the narrow streets of Amman's Jabal el-Hussein Refugee Camp, the mood is clear.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No America, no America.

BASHIR (voiceover): Established more than 70 years ago, this community is now home to more than 30,000 Palestinian refugees. Just a fraction of the

more than 700,000 who were expelled or forced to flee their homes following the 1948 Arab-Israeli war.

Families in this camp know the pain of exile all too well. Denied by Israel their right to return to their homeland. It is a life sentence to

separation from family, from friends from home. And for those with loved ones still in Gaza, they say it is a sentence to the cruelest form of


ABD MUNIM SADDO DABABCH, PALESTININAN REFUGEE IN JORDAN (through translator): Are we not human to you because we are Palestinian? At any

given moment, I could get a phone call telling me that my sister and her children had been killed. You know, my mother was killed during the Gaza

war in 2009. I hadn't seen her for 12 years.

BASHIR (voiceover): Ali Ameen Al-Ottleh says that he has more than 70 relatives in Gaza that have already been killed in this latest round of

Israeli airstrikes.

ALI AMEEN AL-OTTLEH, PALESTINIAN REFUGEE IN JORDAN (through translator): Our home is Palestine. We will never forget about Palestine. Imagine being

forced out of your home for 75 years. We have already spent 75 years as refugees. How could you expect the Palestinians to leave their homes and

move to Egypt or elsewhere?

BASHIR (voiceover): Now the prospect of thousands more Palestinians being forcibly displaced to neighboring countries or even further afield has been

condemned by leaders across the Arab world, and has been characterized by both the King of Jordan and other officials as both a war crime and a red

line for the country.

MUSTAFA AL-HAMAMEH, JORDANIAN SENATOR: The Israelis were always adamant about no return of refugees and that's why the Palestinians cling to what

they call Law of Return or the right of return back. So, any eviction, any new mass of Palestinian refugees for us the your repeat of 1948.

BASHIR (voiceover): That fear of history repeating itself of another Nakba or catastrophe, as Palestinians describe it is felt across the region. Many

of Haniah Al-Sadawi's relatives are trapped in Gaza. Now, Hani spends every morning calling loved ones hoping they are still alive.


HANIAH AL-SADAWI, PALESTINIAN LIVING IN JORDAN: I don't even know whether my family is going to be able to go back to their homes if they're going to

have homes to go back to. And of course, the biggest fear is that they're going to be evacuated and turned into refugees. They don't want to move.

They would rather die in Gaza than move.

BASHIR (voiceover): The connection felt by Palestinians to their homeland is hard to overstate. At this church vigil in Amman, a poignant moment of

remembrance. Oh, Jerusalem, they sing. A 1960s melody, beloved across the region, dedicated to the holy city and to the Palestinian struggle. A cause

which has drawn people of all faiths of all walks of life, together with a message of enduring solidarity.


BASHIR: And look, Eleni as we know, hundreds of thousands of people inside Gaza have already been displaced. Some are trying to find shelter with

relatives, others are living in U.N. evacuation centers in U.N. But all of these centers say they are at capacity. And of course, as we know, many

people in northern Gaza simply cannot evacuate. We've been hearing those repeated warnings from medics on the ground in northern Gaza who have said

they can't evacuate their hospitals.

They can't evacuate their patients, they have children, babies on incubators, the elderly, who are dependent on that health care being

provided in those hospitals. And yet, we are hearing those repeated warnings from the IDF telling them to leave, telling them that those

airstrikes are going to intensify. We've heard the warnings from the United Nations that this is an unfolding humanitarian catastrophe.

The aid that is getting in right now simply isn't enough. There needs to be fuel to get in. There needs to be more water, more medical care, more food

as well, for those in need. That is the concern at this current point in time. But of course, as he saw that there is also deep-seated fear that we

could be seeing an unfolding crisis when it comes to the evacuation of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Suggestions of Palestinians being evacuated

to Egypt, to Jordan, and even further afield.

And there is a huge amount of concern here in the Middle East. We've heard that from officials and we've heard that from people on the streets

protesting. And the sentiment that we are hearing here and I learned from people in the street is not that they are not willing to take in further

refugees. Of course, we know that more than two million Palestinian refugees currently live in Jordan but rather, they are considered this

could mark a repeat of history.

This could mark the end of Gaza as we know it. But of course, in a much more negative light. They fear that this could be counterproductive to any

ambitions for future for a viable Palestinian state. Eleni?

GIOKOS: Yes. Really important context there in terms of what it'll mean for the long term, Nada, and the fates of Palestinians in Gaza. Nada Bashir,

thank you so much for that report. I want to turn now to CNN's Jeremy Diamond who's also in southern Israel to give us a sense of what is

happening on the ground there. Jeremy, good to see you. Look, Israeli forces have been launching raids along the contact line with Gaza. And

while ground incursion is anticipated, there is major pushback in terms of allowing time for aid to get in. The question of hostages.

And also, I guess the question of the readiness from the U.S. side, especially as regional players have warned of escalation.

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. That -- those are all very much the factors here on the ground. And look, when we travel along the Gaza Strip,

what we can see is an Israeli military force that is certainly ready and primed to go into Gaza. Hundreds of tanks line the roads and are positioned

on hilltops and in fields along the Gaza Strip clearly ready to go in. But what they are doing in the meantime, is really milling about as the ground

invasion appears to be delayed, in part, at least by U.S. for that invasion to be delayed.

Privately telling Israeli officials that they would like to have more time to try and secure the release of hostages and efforts that are being

negotiated and mediated by the Qatari Government. How long the Israeli military is willing to wait remains an open question, but I think it's very

clear that Israeli military officials in particular as well as Israeli government officials will not have the patience for weeks long delays to

this invasion.

In the meantime, what we are seeing is exactly what the IDF said that they were going to do yesterday, which is to begin intensifying the strikes on

Northern Gaza. Last night, 320 targets were hit overnight by Israeli military strikes, targeting tunnels containing fighters as well as

operational command centers according to the IDF. They also struck mortar and missile positions of Hamas fighters. And we are also seeing the death

toll that is resulting from those strikes. At least 436 people were killed just overnight last night.


That includes both civilians as well as Hamas combatants. But what we do know is that more -- is that at least 182 of those people were children.

And we know that this death toll now has risen to over 5000 people killed in Gaza in just the last two weeks. More than a third of whom are believed

to be children according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health. Some aid trucks are beginning to make their way into the Gaza Strip.

But clearly between the high death toll in Gaza and starvation among some lack of access to water, the humanitarian situation inside the Gaza Strip

remains dire. Eleni?

GIOKOS: It absolutely does remain dire. And we've been hearing the stories and also, the difficulties of so many people saying that it's just

impossible, specifically hospitals saying they cannot evacuate despite the warnings. But look, here's the reality. You've been witnessing the military

prepare for a ground incursion. The U.S. has also deployed big assets to the region because there's a big fear of what it could mean regionally.

So, what have you witnessed, and you've seen? I mean, this -- we're seeing a delay, but the sense is that this ground incursion could be imminent.

DIAMOND: Certainly. And one thing is clear is that even if there is a delay, a delay does not mean a cancellation. It's very clear that Israeli

officials if you listen to them over the last few days, they have made clear to their troops that you will see the inside of Gaza that we will

enter Gaza. These are the kinds of phrases that are being used by Israel's military and political leadership at the moment. So, regardless of how long

this delay lasts, it will not be indefinite.

And at some point, we will see a significant force of Israeli infantry troops as well as tank and armored divisions going into the Gaza Strip to

carry out the task that Israel's political leadership has set out, which is to destroy Hamas and destroy its operatives inside the Gaza Strip. We know

that that will be a very, very tall order in part because of how densely packed the Gaza Strip is. And the fact that this is urban combat and

guerrilla warfare with Hamas having dug, you know, tons of tunnels underneath the Gaza Strip.

In talking to his really commanders in the last several days, they are clear eyed that Hamas has certainly prepared for them to go in with the

ground force. They have dug in more tunnels, they have reinforced their positions, they have set booby traps throughout Gaza. But what these

commanders also say is that -- they say that they are ready for Hamas as well.

GIOKOS: All right. Jeremy Diamond, thank you so very much.

All right. Still to come. Sources say Washington is pushing Israel to wait before sending troops into Gaza. And we're live from the Pentagon with this

developing story.

Plus, China has a special envoy during the Middle East that Beijing may have more on its mind than peace between Israel and Hamas. Stay with CNN.



GIOKOS: Welcome back. Now as you've heard, Israel is widening its offensive against Hamas and its regional enemies. Intensifying their bombardment of

besieged Gaza Strip striking Hezbollah cells in Lebanon and targeting the occupied West Bank. Hundreds of people were killed in Gaza Monday morning

in airstrikes. According to the Hamas controlled health ministry. It says most of those are women and children.

Despite the arrival of two aid convoys from Egypt relief agencies warned the need of two million people across the enclave of vast. Salma Abdelaziz

reports on the growing crisis facing those under siege, particularly children. And we should warn you, Salma's report contains distressing



SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): The piercing screams of yet another mother who has lost her child. The wails of countless moms and dads

on Gaza now. Almost 2000 children have been killed here in two weeks, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.

Families terrified they may be struck down next are writing the names of their children on their legs in the hope they can identify them in the

chaos. And more are dying by the day as Israel intensifies its airstrikes on what it says are Hamas targets in Gaza where over two million people,

half of them kids are trapped in this hole.

The Israeli military yet again called on all residents to flee south, an order the U.N. has previously called inhumane and a potential breach of

international law. But even those who can somehow make the journey under bombardment and under siege, find no refuge.

This is Khan Yunis in the south of the strip. Death follows families here too. And no one can leave. A complete siege has sealed borders, food,

water. Medical supplies are running out. Survival is made more difficult by the hour.

They said to come here because it is safe, this man says. But last night the airstrikes were the most difficult we've seen so far.

MOTAZ AZAIZA, PALESTINIAN JOURNALIST: Heading to the place they get strike.

ABDELAZIZ (voiceover): On his social media, Palestinian journalist Motaz is documenting the toll on children. His feed is full of images of innocent


Tiny victims terrified and wounded by violence. No one here can tell them when it will end.

AZAIZA: Can anyone just tell me what they did to deserve? To be murdered this way? I mean, please, is there's no reason why these children, two

years, three years, they're murdered in this way.

ABDELAZIZ (voiceover): There are calls to delay in emanate ground invasion on the enclave from the U.S. and rights groups. But Israel is undeterred

hounding the battered strip with hundreds more airstrikes. A place of suffering, somehow now bracing for even more.

Salma Abdelaziz, CNN, London.


GIOKOS: Israel will allow humanitarian aid to continue to be brought into Gaza according to the U.S. Now, the White House said that was agreed in a

call between President Biden and Prime Minister Netanyahu on Sunday. The first trucks carrying critical supplies reached Gaza over the weekend. U.S.

Sources tell CNN, the Biden administration is also pressing Israel to delay its seemingly imminent ground incursion. Although an Israeli official

denied any such request had been made.

The sources said the U.S. is hoping for more time to negotiate the release of hostages and to allow more aid to be shipped into Gaza.

For more on this, we've got Natasha Bertrand at the Pentagon for us. Look, sources are telling us one thing. We're hearing something very different

from the Israelis right now. But the point is delay in this ground incursion does offer more time. Specifically because we've seen so much

international pressure in terms of getting more aid into Gaza and then the question around the hostages as well.

NATASHA BERTRAND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER: That's exactly right, Eleni. So, the White House has said repeatedly that they want to see, of

course, more hostages released and they believe at this point that there could be some additional forward momentum in getting these prisoners out of

the Gaza Strip now that -- it appears that Hamas, of course, has -- is willing to release at least some prisoners or at least some hostages.

On Friday, we saw them release to Americans who had been held kept have for the last two weeks.


And so, the White House really wants to see this process play out and see where it can go from here. Qatar has been a really key intermediary

communicating with Hamas trying to engage with them to get them to release some of these hostages. And then of course, the other aspect of this is the

humanitarian aid. The U.S. wants to see and has been pressuring the Israelis to allow humanitarian aid, like medical supplies and food to flow

into Gaza, so that the civilians of Gaza can have access to that much needed help.

And so all of this would be complicated, of course, if there is an Israeli ground incursion of the Gaza Strip. That having boots on the ground, having

Israeli boots on the ground, having a large scale kind of military operation in Gaza could deter Hamas from being willing to release more

hostages and it could also put the hostages and of course, additional civilians in danger and make that aid that is flowing now very slowly into

Gaza more difficult to reach civilians.

And so, while the Israelis are denying that the White House has put this kind of pressure on them to delay the invasion. There is growing

international pressure on Israel to abide by international humanitarian law and take into account, of course, the civilians that could be put at

serious risk if an invasion does occur. And so, all of this may be contributing to the fact that we have not yet seen Israel launched this

kind of large scale military operation, Eleni.

GIOKOS: Natasha Bertrand, great to see you. Thank you. Well, China sees itself as a middleman in promoting peace between Israel and Hamas. But

peace itself is just one reason Beijing may be looking to solve the Middle East crisis. Our Kristie Lu Stout has more.

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: China's envoy for Middle East affairs is in the region to push for peace. Zhai Jun says China is willing to do

"whatever is conducive to promote dialogue to reach a ceasefire and restore peace." He has at the risk of a large-scale ground conflict in Gaza is

"significantly rising."

China wants to present itself as a neutral mediator. It has very little experience of mediating such a long running conflict. In the nation, it has

deep economic interest in the Middle East, especially access to oil. About half of China's oil imports come from Arab states which also account for

more than 20 votes at the U.N. Now, over the weekend, Zhai was in Egypt. He made remarks at the Cairo summit for peace. He called on the international

community to be objective on the Palestinian issue and to take concrete measures.

Zhai is also visiting the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and other countries in the region. He says that China has provided and will continue to provide

humanitarian aid to Palestinians through U.N. and bilateral channels without specifying what aid has been provided. And China wants to promote a

two-state solution. According to a foreign ministry read out of the summit, "to end the cycle of the conflict between Palestine and Israel, it is

essential to implement the two-state solution.

Establish an independent state of Palestine and realize peaceful coexistence between Palestine and Israel. Now, this is what we heard last

week on Thursday from Chinese leader Xi Jinping and his first public comments on the war since it broke out. Xi called a two-state solution the

"fundamental way out."

And what we have not heard from China. We haven't heard any condemnation of Hamas. China has not condemned Hamas for its brutal terror attack on Israel

on October the 7th that was prompted both anger and disappointment from Israel, as well as criticism from the U.S.

Kristie Lu stout, CNN, Hong Kong.


GIOKOS: Just ahead. No painkillers for operations, no fuel for generators. We'll take you inside a Gaza hospital. That's next.



GIOKOS: Welcome back. I'm Eleni Giokos in Abu Dhabi. Now, more on the war between Israel and Hamas. Another convoy of trucks carrying lifesaving food

and water has entered Gaza from Egypt. That's the third since Saturday. But relief agencies say that compared to what's actually needed, it's just a

trickle. The European Union's top diplomat is calling for more supplies to be delivered and faster. At the same time, though, Israel is ramping up

airstrikes targeting Hamas and some raids on the ground near the border.

One neighborhood in Gaza looked like this after an air attack earlier today. We're hearing from sources that the U.S. is urging Israel to delay

its grant offensive in the hope of getting more aid in and more hostages out. Israel has just updated the number of people being held by Hamas to

222. We are live in Egypt where CNN's Clarissa Ward is standing by in Cairo. Good to see you, Clarissa. And you've done some analysis on some


And you looked at what kind of aid goes into Gaza during normal times. And it's hard to even call it normal times because Gaza is always short of

vital resources. 455 per day and since October 7th, we've seen that being whittled down completely. You can take us through the numbers, but it's

showing the events shortfall of what's actually needed in Gaza.

CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Eleni. If you look at up until this morning, 34 trucks of aid had gone into Gaza.

We're seeing now that it appears there's another convoy of trucks, although it doesn't appear to be particularly large and it doesn't seem that it

includes vitally needed fuel. But just to give context, before October 7th on an average day, according to the U.N. 455 trucks would go into the Gaza

Strip every single day with desperately needed aid.

Gaza has been under a blockade for 17 years. Now. If you add that up during a 16-day period, that roughly adds up to more than 7000 trucks of aid. More

than 7000 trucks of aid that have not made it into Gaza during the last 16 days. And all of this happening against the backdrop of the astonishing

bombardment, if not the most relentless punishing bombardment that has ever been seen inside Gaza. We spoke to the main surgeon in one hospital, the

largest hospital, Al-Shifa Hospital.

He said now they have just two days left of fuel before a situation that is already dire will become a catastrophe. Take a look.


WARD (voiceover): You are injuring the Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza City. This is just one minute on one day. But doctors tell us it could be any minute

of the last 16 days. It is a scene from how many of the patients are young children. The reception area now a triage center and everywhere you turn

another casualty. Every one of these people has been ordered by Israel's military to evacuate the hospital including the staff already outnumbered

and overwhelmed.


And as the punishing bombardment continues, the wounded keep flooding in. Doctors say there's nowhere else for them to go in. No safe way to

transport them out.

DR. MARWAN ABUSADA, CHIEF OF SURGERY, AL-SHIFA HOSPITAL: We had them as the mass casualties once or twice a day, but now we have every half an hour.

Causality is so -- it is overloaded. Our emergency department and our L.T. departments and our IBD department are overloaded with patients.

WARD (voiceover): Dr. Marwan Abusada warns that the situation is about to get dramatically worse. Hospital, he says, is just two days away from

running out of fuel needed to power the generators that are keeping the hospital and its patients alive.

WARD (on camera): If you do run out of fuel in two days, what will you do? I mean, what can you do?

ABUSADA: I think the international community will be part of the process of killing of our people. If they don't act on Israel to allow to get this if

you will enter Gaza, what to do for the people who are in the ICU on mechanical ventilator? What about the neonatal (INAUDIBLE) there are small

babies, we have more than 130 in our neonatal ICU units. What to do with them? They will -- OK. We -- it is -- I think we are allowing them to die

in this. This is the issue. We don't have a fuel to run our generators in the hospital.

WARD (voiceover): Just a trickle of aid has been allowed to cross into Gaza, and none of its fuel. Blocked by Israel. It says over concerns it

will be taken by Hamas. Hundreds of trucks are waiting along the Egyptian side of the border. Diplomatic efforts to establish a continuous

humanitarian corridor have failed and there is no more time for debate.


WARD: Now, when you talk to Dr. Abusada, Eleni, he makes another important point, which is the trickle of aid that has come in has not been able to

reach the northern part of the Gaza Strip. This is the part that Israel has ordered to evacuate. Al Shifa is the largest hospital, hundreds of

patients, thousands 1000s of displaced people sheltering there. But so far, they have not been able to get any of that medicine, that food, that water

that is so desperately needed.

And it's not clear yet at this stage, whether there will be some kind of mechanism put in place, when hopefully that humanitarian corridor is

established, and you do start to see a more sort of generous flow of trucks going in. The U.N. says they would need at least 100 a day in order to

properly meet the needs of all those people. It's still not clear, though, whether it will be able to get up to the north to Al Shifa Hospital, Eleni.

GIOKOS: Yes. And that was actually going to be my next question in terms of what happens to people stuck in the north. While you and I are having this

conversation, we know that a potential ground incursion is imminent, even though the United States is, you know, sources tell us saying that they

should delay at this point in time. If we do see a ground incursion, what does that mean for aid coming in? Because already, it was tough just to get

these trucks in, as you've pointed out, barely enough to reach.

You know, one percent of the population for one day's water needs in the south of Gaza. So, so much more is needed.

WARD: So much more is needed. And one of the real concerns on the Egyptian side has been creating a mechanism or allowing more aid to go in, in a way

which is still safe. There was an incident last night where there's -- were some Israeli strikes near that border area, reports from Egypt's news

agency that several soldiers were injured by fragmentation from some of that bombardment. And so, you have this situation where the more

bombardment there is, the more reluctance there is on the behalf of the Egyptians to open that border for longer periods of time.

And that would obviously be necessary in order to get more trucks of aid. If you couple that with a ground offensive or ground invasion. And I should

say, we really don't know what that would look like, how many troops that would entail or what kind of scenarios, there's a sort of plethora of

scenarios that could unfold as a result of that. none of them obviously good in terms of trying to get more humanitarian assistance to those who

need it on the ground.

None of those also good in terms of trying to get dual nationals and hostages out safely. And I think that's why you're seeing a concerted

effort on behalf of the international community and the U.S. to try to get Israel to delay this at the very least in order to try to deal with this

humanitarian catastrophe before it's too late, Eleni.


GIOKOS: Clarissa Ward, thank you so much. Now I want to bring in CNN Analyst Lieutenant General Mark Hertling to discuss military strategy. And

Lieutenant, great to have you on. Look, we've heard some of the concerns there from Clarissa Ward. We know that the situation of getting aid into

Gaza is already complex and difficult. The U.S. sources tell us that is requesting a delay into a ground incursion, the multitude of factors here.

It could be the aid issue, trying to negotiate to release more hostages, and then importantly, the readiness of the United States in terms of

potential regional escalation. How are you reading into the current events?

MARK HERTLING, CNN ANALYST: Well, all of those things are true, Eleni. And thanks for asking me to join you during this horrific event. What you're

seeing is, unfortunately, what happens when a terrorist group is living among the people? They will use them to their advantage to get political

strategies, blessed and deal with the other -- with the enemy, as it were, in this case, Israel. But what you're talking about is the potential for

Hamas to use what they call their victim strategy.

And it is becoming widespread. So, everything that occurs that's bad for the people they live amongst, the Palestinians is blamed on Israel. We have

to continue to go back to the point that Israel has lost over 1000 citizens in a horrific terror attack on their country. And they are trying to find

ways to deal with that. The United States at the same time has different national security understandings. They want to ensure that there isn't a

rise in a regional conflict, although there are indicators that some of that is already happening.

They want to advise their allies, Israel, as the best way to do it to not fall into some of the traps that Hamas is painting basically. And when you

talk about the hostages, the release of two hostages out of now, we know 222 is a trickle and it could be a trick to provide more hope, along with

the potential for more humanitarian aid. So, this is truthfully a military commanders and a government's nightmare on how to deal with this because

what you want to do as the Israeli force is defeat the enemy that continues to attack your country. But at the same time, you're having international

pressure against you.

GIOKOS: Yes. Because 5000 people have already lost their lives, most of which are children. Just today, 400 people have lost their lives. It's

impossible to truly evacuate Gaza. We know the parameters here. We know how difficult that is. And now we're talking about a potential ground incursion

with the IDF have thrown pamphlets and they warning that everyone who chose to not evacuate from the north of the strip to the south of Wadi Gaza might

be considered as a partner for the terrorist organization.

Doctors have basically said, it's almost impossible to leave some of these hospitals. We've heard some of the reporting from Clarissa Ward,

militarily, what does this tell us about how the ground incursion will be carried out when we know clearly civilians are still there?

HERTLING: Well, what I'd suggest there's there are a lot of military analysts and pundits saying that the Israeli forces are going to limit

their operations to the north. I don't want to predict anything, but I personally don't believe that is the case. There are tunnel complexes is in

the north, the center in the south, the hostages could be in any of those. There basically, under all three of the major cities -- the three major

cities in Gaza which extends the entire population.

And the fact that Israel has stated as their operational and strategic objectives to eliminate Hamas tells me that they are going to strike

anywhere they get intelligence where Hamas is. If you're a Hamas fighter, you know, what is being said. So, you're going to try and go to the same

place that Israel is telling the people to go to. So there will be Hamas fighters, Hamas terrorists in the southern sector of Gaza. So, you know, I

won't predict what is going to happen.

But I've study what has happened in past operations in Gaza. And it doesn't look like anyone's going to limit operations to one area of that particular

strip. They're going to take -- the Israelis are going to take the fight to where they believe intelligence shows them Hamas is. And unfortunately,

Hamas has been shown to use Palestinians as human shields. They will use hostages as human shields and they will use that but also to generate again

the victim doctrine of, hey, you're killing Palestinians when in fact it's Hamas' fault that the Palestinians have not been allowed to leave there.


GIOKOS: Yes. And that's an important point. The question is where will Hamas go? And as you say, that they're probably evacuating to the south as

well. So, there's no way it's safe in Gaza right now, then there's a question of the hostages as well. We really appreciate your time. It is --

it is a lot to get through. Mark Hertling, much appreciated.

Well, a slew of Republicans that are vying to be the next Speaker of the House after Jim Jordan's quest for the gavel ended Friday. We'll see who's

up next. That's coming up. Stay with CNN.


GIOKOS: Welcome back. Now, U.S. House Republicans scramble once more to try and fill the crucial role of speaker. It has been nearly three weeks now

since hardliners asked that Kevin McCarthy and after a bird from one of those very same hardliners Jim Jordan failed last week. It's anyone's guess

which of the many candidates might ultimately come through. What we do know is that the House will remain frozen until someone does.

Eva McKend joins us now on Capitol Hill. It is quite a time to be talking about this. Look, now that Jim Jordan is out. A number of Republicans

running for speaker. Do any of them have a national profile that could be, you know, in the lead for this job?

EVA MCKEND, CNN U.S. NATIONAL POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: So, at this point, who is best positioned to win will really come into focus after the closed-

door candidate forum they hold this evening, Congressman Tom Emmer. He's the establishment pick. I guess you could argue that he has a national

profile. Ousted speaker Kevin McCarthy has thrown his support behind Emmer. Emmer currently serves as the GOP whip.

That gig requires aligning party members around a shared legislative agenda. Take a listen to why McCarthy thinks Emmer is the right choice.


KEVIN MCCARTHY, FORMER SPEAKER, U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: This is not a moment in time to play around with learning on the job. We need someone

who understands how to do this job. I believe Tom Emmer, our whip, he's been in the room with all of our successes. He sets himself head and

shoulders above all those others who want to run. We need to get him elected this week and move on and bring this -- not just party together,

but focus on what this country needs most.


MCKEND: But Emmer has a Trump problem. Emmer unlike many of his Republican colleagues, he voted to certify the 2020 election. He doesn't bandy about

these conspiracy theories, about the 2020 election. And that evidently, is a liability with some of the far-right members of the conference. Other

candidates include Congressman Kevin Hearne of Oklahoma. He chairs a powerful conservative group.

You've got Mike Johnson of Louisiana. He's the vice chair of the Conference. In total there are nine candidates.


GIOKOS: And voting is I guess supposed to occur later this evening. Good to see you. Eva. We'll be watching closely. Much appreciated for your time.

Well, let's get you up to speed on some other stories that are on our radar right now. Iran has given prison sentences of up to 13 years to two female

journalists who reported on the death of Mahsa Amini. She died last year in the custody of the so-called Morality Police. Amini was arrested for

allegedly not wearing a headscarf properly.

The Philippines has some in Beijing's ambassador and filed a diplomatic protest against China after two collisions between ships in the disputed

South China Sea. Philippines' authorities accused China of carrying out dangerous blocking maneuvers. China says the Philippines was guilty of

violating maritime law.

Argentina's presidential race is headed to a runoff following Sunday's first round of voting. Economy Minister Sergio Massa faces far-right

economist Javier Milei next month. Third place candidate Patricia Bullrich has conceded defeat.

And still to come. After watching the 9/11 terrorist attacks as a child, an American medic is saying Never again. CNN's Camila Bernal tracks one

volunteer's journey to Israel. That's up next.


GIOKOS: Well, returning to our top story. Not everyone is leaving Northern Israel despite the government's new evacuation plans. That's for one simple

reason because it is home. One woman explains why she and her family are staying put despite the danger of conflict spilling over from skirmishes

with Hezbollah.


AYA SHOKAT, RESIDENT OF NORTHERN ISRAEL: I don't evict since my family's here. And she's refusing to evict.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why? She's not afraid?

SHOKAT: She's afraid, yes. But she loved most the home. And she rather stays here than evict. She fight all her life through this -- on this

house. She built this in her 10 fingers by herself and she don't want to leave the house.


GIOKOS: Volunteers from across the world are answering the call to help Israeli victims following the Hamas attacks. CNN's Camila Bernal shares the

journey of a 27-year-old American medic flying to Israel. Take a look.


CAMILA BERNAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): This is the beginning of an uncertain and potentially dangerous journey. And a way of


KINARET LEVIN, MEDIC TRAVELING TO ISRAEL: Reminded me how I felt on 9/11 when I was a child. And that hopelessness and not understanding what was

going on. And I was like never again. And this is really never again.

BERNAL (voiceover): 27-year-old Kinaret Levin is leaving everything behind. Her calling, volunteering her time as a medic in Israel.

LEVIN: I've made my peace with whatever happens. I've already made it because as an American, this is my sense of justice against terrorism,

against the value of -- my American values. As a Jewish person, my heart is bleeding. And as an Israeli, I'm ready to give my all.

BERNAL (voiceover): Los Angeles was her last stop before her flight to Israel.

LEVIN: Are you ready to see that? I don't think anyone truly is ready or truly as prepared but some conscious decision that I've made I will stick

through it.


BERNAL (voiceover): The organization Bulletproof Israel helped place Levin at a hospital in Israel. They're working to help Americans who want to

travel to Israel, while also sending large quantities of supplies.

LION SHIRDAN, CHAIRMAN AND CEO, BULLETPROOF ISRAEL: None of us are taking a salary. We're just doing everything we can to help our friends in Israel.

To help our friends that have been victimized.

BERNAL (voiceover): And they've been told the hospitals are in need.

SHIRDAN: I was saying a lot of medical supplies that are necessary right now.

BERNAL (voiceover): Levin hopes her time will make a difference.

LEVIN: This is doing my part and this is my values and who I am as a person and who I am as a nurse, and a medical professional.

BERNAL (voiceover): She says as long as she's alive, she will be helping.

LEVIN: There is no regret. Regret is not the feeling. There is fear.

BERNAL (voiceover): Camila Bernal, CNN, Los Angeles.


GIOKOS: Well, stay with CNN for continuing coverage of the Israel-Hamas war. I'm Eleni Giokos in Abu Dhabi. And "STATE OF THE RACE" with Kasie Hunt

is up next.