Return to Transcripts main page
Connect the World
Journalist Returns To Work After Family Killed; Maine Officials Give Update On Mass Shootings; "Significant Progress" On Hamas Hostage Talks; Palestinian American Historian On U.S. Support For Israel; North Korea Accused Of Supplying Weapons, Technology To Hamas; Interview With Doctor Medhat Abbas About The State Of Gaza's Hospitals. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired October 27, 2023 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ELENI GIOKOS, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: And I'm Eleni Giokos in Abu Dhabi. We're also watching the ongoing manhunt for a mass shooting suspect in the
U.S. state of Maine this hour and we're expecting an update from officials any minute now.
But, Becky, I'd like to come back to you for the latest on what you've been learning about this Qatar-led negotiations.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Yes. Diplomatic sources are telling us that even with what they are calling significant progress in
these hostage talks led by Qatar with Hamas, issues do still remain. But the word breakthrough is being used and talks are ongoing.
So what we know at this stage is this. There are still at least 220 Israeli and foreign nationals being held in Gaza according to the Israelis. The
negotiations centered around the release of civilians, as we understand it. If successful that could mean the release of as many as 50 people or more.
In an interview with the "Washington Post" on Thursday, one Hamas leader in Beirut is reported to have said that the group is demanding a five-day
cease-fire and the opening of the Rafah Border Crossing with Egypt for injured people in Gaza to seek medical help in Egypt, and for more aid,
fuel, medical supplies. We know that Gaza is so lacking in those to be allowed in.
Well, Qatar of course playing a pivotal role as interlocutor on these negotiations, given its open lines with Hamas. And one of the senior Qatar
negotiators in the past couple of days has said that the mediators need a period of calm and that the humanitarian situation in Gaza is very
critical, verging, and I quote him here, on a disaster.
Well, for its part the U.N. is speaking out over the amount of lifesaving aid that is currently getting into Gaza. The man who heads up the U.N.'s
relief services for Palestinians is calling the current level of supplies, quote, "nothing more than crumbs." We are also hearing from the Red Cross,
saying that a 10-person medical stop has just crossed into the besieged territory.
Well, there is one case of suffering among many that we can look out. The news network Al Jazeera says its journalist has returned to work after an
Israeli airstrike killed his family in Gaza. The IDF says it was targeting Hamas infrastructure and the area where the Gaza bureau chief's family was
This report from CNN's Salma Abdelaziz, and a warning parts of her report are graphic.
SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A journalist, some called the voice of Gaza, mourns over the body of his teenage son.
They're taking their revenge by killing our children, he cries.
Al Jazeera says its bureau chief in Gaza, Wael Al Dahdouh, lost his wife, 15-year-old son, 7-year-old daughter and baby grandson, all killed in an
Israeli airstrike, the network says. The reporter had moved his family south of Gaza City after an evacuation order by the IDF, believing it would
keep them safe.
This conflict is taking a severe toll on journalists, with at least 24 killed so far, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. Reporters
are also facing threats, arrests and censorship. No one and nowhere in this enclave is spared, Palestinians say. Death and funerals are constant.
Anguish and agony are on every corner. Every 10 minutes, a child is killed, Save the Children estimates.
Anywhere else in the world, it is sons who bury their father, this man says. Why is it different in Gaza? Why do we have to bury our children
before they're even grown?
Families desperate to keep their little ones safe are taking refuge anywhere they can find. Packed U.N. shelters are turning people away.
We can't live like this. We're 17 people living in a school classroom, this woman says. How long are we supposed to live like this? Tell us world, how
Eking out a living here is difficult and grim. Food, fuel, water, everything is running out.
I don't even know what the point is of being here, she says. We're still terrified and we have nothing, no help. We can bear it. We're grownups. But
how are these children supposed to handle this?
There is no childhood left here for the more than one million kids now trapped in this hellscape. And no way, Gazans say, to keep the youngest
Salma Abdelaziz, CNN, London.
ANDERSON: Well, the violence can be expected to intensify if Israel goes ahead with its promised ground incursion despite a scramble at the United
Nations to pass a resolution, nonbinding it has to be said, calling for a break in the fighting for an immediate cease-fire.
Right now, I want to show this footage coming into us from Israel. Officials say earlier on Friday a building in Tel Aviv was hit by rocket
fire, injuring three people. They say one of the victims suffered head wounds. Meanwhile, the IDF says the focus is on continuing its aerial
More on this as we get it. I just want to take you to Maine in the states now. We're going to get an update on the mass shooting there in the past 48
hours. Let's listen in.
CHIEF DAVID ST. PIERRE, LEWISTON, MAINE POLICE: Thank you, Mike, and good morning, members of the media and the public who are watching closely as
law enforcement continues to work diligently on this rapidly evolving investigation.
The safety of our community remains paramount. I want to assure all that a tremendous amount of law enforcement, manpower, time and effort is being
utilized around the clock, literally around the clock, in every effort to apprehend the suspect as well as to safeguard this community.
As the chief of the Lewiston, Maine Police Department, I am extremely thankful for the community's outpouring of support being offered during
this tense and trying time. I extend my deepest appreciation for all of our law enforcement partners who have responded from literally, literally
around this nation.
Again, I will ask the community to be as patient as possible with this process, realizing that there are many, many moving parts and coordination
of efforts involved between multiple agencies. We will attempt to provide as much information possible as this investigation proceeds forward.
We would also like to acknowledge and thank the many businesses, restaurant owners, individuals who have provided meals and other essential items to
support an investigation of this magnitude.
Following this press conference, details will be shared regarding counseling locations, where somebody can make a donation if necessary or
asked, and the hosting of several different vigils. I'm sorry.
On behalf of hundreds of law enforcement officers who have descended upon our great city over the last three days, we want to extend our heartfelt
support as well as our sympathies to the victims and families involved in this senseless tragedy.
Thank you, and I'll turn it back over to Mike.
MIKE SAUSCHUCK, COMMISSIONER, MAINE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY: Thank you, Chief, I appreciate that.
So, I guess for starters, I want to make sure that we always take a moment to acknowledge the victims, their families, and how this is negatively
impacting the state of Maine, the city of Lewiston, and really our entire country.
We know when these things occur around our country, we are all so incredibly focused on what happened, and then we try to get to the why. And
there are certainly times when we can't quite figure out the why because every one of these situations is so tragic, so outside of the norm, that it
makes it difficult for community members of all types and all locations, East Coast, West Coast, it doesn't matter, to fathom how these kind of
things can occur in the greatest country in the world.
So we're going to continue to work towards that. And as a piece of this, I wanted to come in and really speak to the partnership that we are committed
to have with you. And as we start to really flow into an operational period, we have more of a pattern to see what we're doing day in and day
out. I'm going to commit to you to have a morning briefing every day at 10:00 right here in this location.
As you can imagine, some of those briefings may be longer than others, but I want you to know that you're going to see us in the morning. So we're
going to go over what happened overnight, and we're going to kind of talk about what the plan of the day is. And I'll speak to that plan of the day
here in just a second.
I would also say that we will certainly be considering afternoon briefings as well. If something new came up or something that we believe would be
helpful for you to know and the communities to know, then we'll get back to you. Either way, you will receive a communication from our PIO, Shannon
Moss, either saying we're going to have a briefing or not, so that you kind of have some idea what your day and your afternoon is going to look like as
So I would also say that these daily briefings, as you can imagine, will be more operational in nature, that our families, our communities, our loved
ones are always going to be in the forefront of our mind and certainly in our hearts.
But we do want to talk to you about this is what we're going to do, this is what we did, because I know that's incredibly important to you. And then
you're going to share that appropriately with your viewers, with your readers. And that's going to help everybody start that healing process as
well. I know that information is power. You also know that there are going to be times that I won't be able to give you all the information that you
need, or certainly that you want.
And that won't be done because we're just not going to tell them. That's going to be done because from an operational standpoint or a tactical
standpoint, there are safety concerns that I have for our first responders and that we all have for our community members. So please keep that in
mind. And I will go back to like a Q&A kind of a period. We want to allow that opportunity. And we're going to try to do the best we can.
But if in my mind the math starts leading to, well, I'm going to get asked 10 questions and I can't answer nine of them, then maybe that's
counterproductive to a certain extent. So we're going to try to front load as much information as we can, again, with these particular sessions. So
that is kind of the plan moving forward. And to speak to today's briefing in particular, I would tell you that the overnight hours, and we are on
24/7, and we will be until the suspect in this case, again, is brought to justice.
So overnight, our officers, our investigators, that's -- I'm going to say our, I'm talking about local, county, state, federal, all of our partners -
- have been continuing to work 530-plus tips and leads that have come in from the general public, from a number of communities, a number of
different relationships. And as you can imagine, those vary greatly, depending on that individual's knowledge of what happens and what they want
us to do about that. So we're continuing to check those things off the list as we go.
We're also continuing to do searches at the two primary venues here, the one being Shemengees Bar and Grill, and the second being the Spare Time
Bowling Alley. I will tell you that it's going to be easy to think, well, how come, what's taking them so long to work these scenes, right, and
because everything we watch gets solved in an hour, and it's all taken care of. But in order for us to do our jobs, to be professional about what we
do, to be respectful of the victims and the families that we're working with, in the process within which we work, we have to take our time.
We're going to be processing every square inch of these facilities, not only do you have the victims in question, but every one of those rounds
that got fired need to be investigated. Every one of those cartridges that lays on the ground needs to be collected. The vehicles that are in those
parking lots, everything that we do around this, we need to be careful. We need to be professional, and that's what we're committed to do.
So I would expect that we're still days away from completing those particular investigations, those particular crime scenes. So you'll
continue to see us at those locations without question. And because of that, there are also affidavits, and affidavits are essentially the first
step in a search warrant or an arrest warrant or whatever that looks like. So we're continuing to draft affidavits ultimately for search warrants
around any kind of digital media that we're hoping to attain or investigate.
That could be phones, that could be computers, that could be video from any location. So our officers, our investigators continue to work on that
material. And so that's a lot of that stuff overnight, as well as using that 3:00, that 4:00 in the morning, using that time frame to kind of plan
out what the next day is going to look like. So we've tried to get some people rotated through for operational periods. We're going to get them
Now let's plan what the next day is going to look like. We have a morning briefing, which kind of kicks off and says, this is what's going to happen.
We need a team to go do this. We need a team to go do that. And this is who our team leads are. This is the process. And then we let those folks loose
to go do the good work. And we're going to try to share some of that information with you.
So as we discuss that, we have some maps and some additional information up here with us right now. I will talk about a couple of these locations here
to the best of my ability. Obviously, there's a lot of us here, and this isn't ideal as far as these maps go. But if you look at this boat launch
overview as an example, this dot here is that Lisbon boat launch area that we've discussed. That's where the suspect's vehicle was located ultimately,
that white Subaru station wagon.
And I will also say that we'll have these three primary maps, but this Q.R. code here, and whether you can get it from your seats or come up after the
fact, we'll give the digital version of those so you have those readily available.
You certainly understand how all of that works. So we talk about that boat launch area and that particular location is 501 Lisbon Street, Pejepscot
Landing. Pejepscot Landing is at this location. I believe we have some of our friends from the media that are out in that area now. And what will
happen in this general location today is that we will be putting divers in the water along that Androscoggin River, which you see here. And that's
going to look like a couple of different things.
So the very first thing that you're going to see out there is you're going to see some air resources that will fly over this particular area and
they're looking to see what can we clear from the area. Do I have to put divers in that particular area or can I tell from the top, based on the
current and how muddy the water is and all those other things? Can I see to the very bottom here? And so that's going to start this entire process.
Then there's going to be some screening and some divers that are actually in the water that may start on this side by the boat launch and will
continue on this side. I would envision at some point that we'll be moving over to these particular locations here for ground searches as well. So
that's going to look like a bunch of different things. So they could be dragging a diver behind them literally while that diver is checking for
evidence, checking for potential bodies.
And I would also say that while this is going to look like a major focus today with a lot of people, we have a lot of other irons in the fire. So
I'm not here saying that the suspect -- we know the suspect is in the water, and this is what we're doing. What I'm telling you is you're going
to see a lot of activity here, and I'm going to tell you that in advance. We've got nothing to hide in that regard at all.
So then you're going to have some sonar as well that's going to be utilized here, and that can look like a couple of different things, a remote
operating vehicle, an ROV, divers could use that, and that will look like a pod under the water, and that is looking for sonar, so picking up shadows,
if you will, what does that look like. It could be a log, it could be anything under there. And our divers, that dive team, and that -- when I
say again our divers, that's going to be teams from all over the place.
Maine Warden Service is heavily involved in this. We work with them all the time. The Maine State Police Dive Team will be in the water and will be
leading this initiative. So that's what we'll see here with a couple of different kinds of sonar. And then along the shoreline, you're going to see
a line search, if you will. That means, literally, officers online as they're working that shoreline. And of course they're looking for evidence.
They're looking for anything that may help them down the road.
Now, I say you'll see this because for us we want to make sure that we're working with you. So there is a church parking lot across the road here.
And there's also some parking available on this side of the road. Mark Latti, who is the PIO from the Maine Ward Service, and some officers will
be in this area to assist. So if you decide that you want to go to that location to pick up video and see what they're up to, then I think there's
some parking opportunities here.
This 196 can be busy. This area here happens to be pretty low speed, at least that's what the speed limit is. So we're going to be around there to
try to keep that as safe as possible. What we want you to be mindful that we may ask you not to stand on a railroad trestle or you know, we want you
to get your coverage. We want to be partners with you. However, you're not going to be able to have full access to that site.
I think that's common sense. And we want to make sure that you can do your jobs and we can help you facilitate that. So you're going to see a bunch of
people in that area, that 531 Lisbon Road.
A couple of these other locations, if we start here, this is the bowling alley scene. This red dot is actually where that is. You all understand
that. We will have some additional officers there checking this wood line and continuing to do those sweeps, those searches. There was a lot of shots
fired in these locations. We want to make sure we have all the evidence humanly possible.
And then this is far from ideal, considering it's directly behind the podium. But this is --
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE)?
SAUSCHUCK: Can we do that? We're jammed in here with the wall. Yes, we may lean towards that Q.R. code. If you can't see that, I apologize. We'll have
to take a look at this particular option in the future if this works for us. But the bar and grill here, there is a red dot, and you can see some
wood line around that. Each one of these locations is going to have lots of police officers there, as you imagine. A piece of all of these things will
have a QRF or a quick reaction force.
So we're going to maintain security here because clearly, as you realize, the suspect in this case is not in custody. That continues to be our focus.
And I think if you look at these two things, we have an investigative bucket with a great deal of resources that are investigating the crime,
what occurred. And there's clearly an apprehension team here with a lot of folks that are involved in that. And, of course, they're going to
intermingle, that's a given.
But I think in this scenario, I want you to keep those two things in mind because even though we're going to be active with this search and the
investigative side, always in our mind, we're going to be looking for the suspect and making sure that the people that are involved in these various
searches to include yourselves are safe. So that is clearly another focus that we have in mind.
I would also like to talk about -- if we talk about procedures, you talk about practices, there was a lot of activity last night from members of the
media in Bowdoin. And what I would tell you is that I'm showing you these three locations, there's a bunch of others that we're going to be working
on. And that's not -- so we don't have 50 maps up here. We're just going to be working on other locations.
And that's not meant to be secretive. That's just to tell you that we're going to be all over the place. That's not saying that we know that the
individual is in this house or we know the individual is in that house or there in that swath of land, this acreage. That's not what we're doing. But
we do look at all these situations as if the individual could be in there. And if that's the case, you'll see tactical teams at some point.
A lot of folks are just dressed in a more casual manner or a BDU, a battle dress uniform, just because they're going to be out in the woods and
they're going to be out crawling around. So that doesn't mean just because we're making announcements over a P.A. system that the individual is in
there and we have an arm standoff and there are police swarming. There's just a lot of resources that it takes to work these scenes, right?
I mean, I think that part of it, again, is common sense. And we want to be as forthright as we can around that as well. We won't be able to say every
time we're hitting a location, hey, we're going to be at this spot and -- because that's just not practical and it's not safe for a lot of folks. So
if you hear announcements in P.A. systems, as an example, a piece of that is us just giving notification that, yes, in fact, we are the police.
We are going to be knocking on this door, we would like you to come out if you're in there. Some of that is case law-oriented. Some of that is best
practice. And some of that is just standard operating procedures from our end. So keep that in mind. If you have a question, you can certainly reach
out to Shannon Moss, many of you have. And if we can answer it, we will. And it may not be immediate, but we're going to do the best we can to do
that. And I think we'll be better at that, again, as we kind of get into this flow.
Now, we know what we're working with, it's starting to settle in as much as a tragedy like this can. And, again, we want to be good partners with you
across the board. So let me just take a look, make sure I've covered everything that I wanted to cover. I would also say that this is a big deal
here, this particular link. And Shannon will be sending that out through her media list. So this is a digital tip line.
And what a digital tip line would mean is anybody, yourselves included for whatever reason, if you've got a photo, if you've got a video of what
happened or, you know, something that you think is evidentiary in nature, you think that it would be valuable for us to have, you can upload that
information through that link. And that link stems from best practice in other communities where tragedies like this have occurred, that a lot of
people have a lot of information.
Where does it go? Maybe this is the key. I don't think they know that, or they probably do know that, 75 other people sent it to them, sent us to us
anyway. And we want to see that information. So that's pictures, that's video, that's any of that kind of material to that particular link. And,
again, the Q.R. code is something that we already talked about from a mapping perspective.
I would say that our ongoing victim services efforts, that is something that we're working with victims' families, the community as a whole. And we
are working with families that have currently been notified. We're continuing to identify victims in this case. And as those occur, additional
resources will be available to the general community.
I would say, again, as a little bit of a reminder, some searches you may see, well, why does that search have an armored vehicle involved, and then
they're walking along the river, you know, shoulder to shoulder. Some of those are going to be tactical ground searches versus just the kind of
standard line search or grid search.
The Maine Warden Service do this stuff all the time. They're incredible searching for people and incredibly valuable for us as it kind of expands
out to evidence in many of these circumstances. We do clearly continue to have air assets, whether that's helicopters or planes. Just because they're
involved, again, as we mentioned here, right, that's going to be an overview, they're just flying over that site.
It may be hovered someplace else. Is that because we found the suspect? That's not a guarantee that that's the case at all. I would also tell you
probably new information. Initially, that first night we had 70-ish or so witnesses. The FBI has been incredibly helpful with -- as things that may
sound as simple as we've got to transcribe 70-plus witness statements. They're bringing a lot of resources to play. And so we're continuing to do
a lot of that work behind the scenes as well.
I think that the shelter-in-place order, right, that's currently in place for Lewiston, Auburn, Lisbon and Bowdoin. When you hear the names of those
communities, obviously you know that a lot of our focus, a lot of what occurred, occurred in those communities, whether it's Bowdoin because
that's where the suspect's house was, Lisbon where the car was located, or Lewiston, Auburn, some conversation earlier about Auburn locations and
Lewiston where the focus of those first two tragic active shooter situations occurred.
That's an ongoing conversation that we'll have every minute of every day. Does it make sense that those orders are still in place? And can we relax
those, change those? They have not been changed in any way at this point. But we realize that we want to keep our community safe. So that's our --
again, in the forefront of our minds, but we know that a shelter-in-place order in general, similar to orders around COVID, can have some negative
impacts on families and go to school and businesses and all those other things.
So we have that in our mind. There is that pluses and minuses chart. It's just kind of active as we kind of work through this thing. So know that we
are actively thinking about that. And truth be told, working with, specifically right here in Lewiston, working with our officials, working
with Chief St. Pierre, working with the mayor and others, having conversations about what does that mean, and what is that going to look
like this afternoon, tomorrow, in moving forward. So I think that's enough sharing from my end. That's a lot of information to overload you with
there. I would want to come back, however, to say that there's a lot of stuff going on here. But what matters to us, again, is the safety of our
communities, the safety of our residents.
We care about each and every one of them, as you do. And we're going to continue to fight on their behalf to bring this individual to justice
because we know that that has an impact on starting that healing process. It's not a slam dunk, it's not when we got them, now everybody is better.
This is going to take a while, right? It's going to take a while for communities to work through. It's going to take forever for families to
work through. You lose somebody that you love. That's a big, big deal.
So, I don't want to get lost in the minutia of this is what we're doing and this is a map and that's a Q.R. code. It always comes back to this other
stuff for us. So, again, we're going to try the Q&A deal and see where we go. Go ahead, right here.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: There were reports that you all found a note in his home. Do you know the (INAUDIBLE)?
SAUSCHUCK: Yes. So we've heard the same thing and there was a note at one of these residences. I'm not permitted to really talk about what that
included. And I think that's probably, again, a commonsense answer because that does involve, is there a mindset here, is there a motive, what did
that entail. So we'll definitely continue to work on that, and when we can release it, we certainly will.
Right here, sir.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: So in reference specifically to what's behind you and what's going on at the river, is there any information that you have
that's leading you in the direction that he may have killed himself and his body is in there or is it just one of the possibilities?
SAUSCHUCK: Well, I think the one of the possibilities is key, right, because, clearly, we don't have him located at this point. We don't have
him in custody. So all of those options are on the table. We certainly don't want to wait too long because the river is a big piece of this. The
car was located there. Evidence is located in the vehicle or right there along the shores of the Androscoggin River.
So that's stuff that we want to make sure that we're checking and we're using the resources that we have available. We're using the expertise that
we have available, the dive team and all our partners, to make sure we're checking that. At the same time, right, we're checking all these other
things. We're working through the crime lab on this other information. So all of those things are occurring at the same time.
I would also state and I want to make sure that I say this because they've been very, very helpful.
The Brookfield Power Company owns two dams, operates two dams, in this area. And they've been very cooperative. You know, they live it every day.
So as an example, one of the things that we're doing, the river currently runs at like 8500 cubic square feet per second. And when they tighten the
dam tools down, they actually lower that down to like 5500 cubic feet. Right? Does that mean anything to you?
What it means to us is that that current, if we can slow that current down, we can lower the amount of water in the river, it's certainly easier for us
to work. It's easier for our drivers to see in clearwater than muddier water. It's a foot lower than it was before, it's easier for us to work.
And there's different searches obviously, but unfortunately people lose their lives and bodies of water on a regular basis. So this is something
that we're trying to dial in.
But, yes, sir, right here. Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Do you --
GIOKOS: All right. There we have authorities from Maine updating us on the ongoing manhunt for Robert Card, who's been on the run for 36 hours now. I
want to give you a sense of some of the top lines there. He says it's a tense and trying time. They have deployed assets by ground, water and air
as well. They are looking at deploying divers in the Lisbon area where his car was found, to use sonar technology to try and ascertain whether there
are potential bodies or any other evidence than can be collated.
They are working with 530 tips and leads right now. And authorities are telling us that this is a big logistical challenge. They are working on
affidavits as well as witnesses as well as warrants to try and get as much information from computers and phones within the areas and communities that
have been affected. They are currently still identifying victims. That is still in process as well, which is really important.
The shelter in place order for the affected communities will remain in place. And of course, a very big commitment to try and be as transparent as
possible in order to help the community understand how far they are this. They are saying this is going to take some time. There's a lot of forensic
work that is happening, not only at the bowling alley, but also at the bar where the shooting took place.
That is the update from Maine after we've just heard from authorities that the manhunt is still on the go.
All right. I'm Eleni Giokos in Abu Dhabi. We are going to a short break. We'll be right back. Stay with us.
ANDERSON: Welcome back. You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson live from Doha in Qatar for you. Eleni Giokos is in Abu Dhabi.
Well, diplomatic sources are telling me that even with what they are calling significant progress in the hostage talks led by Qatar with Hamas,
issues still remain. But the word breakthrough is being used. And I am told talks are ongoing. Now this follows the high-profile release of two
hostages earlier this week.
So what do we know at this point? Well, there are still at least 220 Israeli and foreign nationals being held in Gaza according to the Israelis.
At least 220. The negotiations are centered around the release of civilians as we understand it. If successful, that could mean the release of as many
as 50 or more.
In an interview with the "Washington Post" on Thursday, one Hamas leader in Beirut is reported to have said that the group is demanding a five-day
cease-fire in these negotiations and the opening of the Rafah Border Crossing for injured people in Gaza to seek medical help in Egypt, and for
more aid, fuel, medical supplies, for example, to come in. That is certainly what is being reported to be the position of Hamas.
Qatar, where I am of course, playing a pivotal role is interlocutor in these negotiations and the negotiations for the release of the four
prisoners, the four hostages that we have already seen last Friday. Remember, an American mother with her 17-year-old daughter, and earlier
this week on Tuesday, the release of two elderly Israeli ladies. So the Qataris at the center of these negotiations.
The senior negotiator on the Qatari side has said that the mediators in all of this need a period of calm and that the situation in Gaza is, as
described by Mohammed al Khulaifi, very critical, verging on a disaster.
Let's bring in Nic Robertson, who is down in Sderot, and get a sense from Nic as to exactly what he believes is going on.
We had the Israeli defense minister on Thursday insisting, Nic, that his forces are preparing for the, quote, "next stages." He also said his forces
would do, quote, "everything needed" to bring back those hostages being held by Hamas. We also, just a caveat here for our viewers, it does seem
clear that Hamas doesn't hold all of these hostages, all of these 220 odd hostages at this point. Be that as it may, we know the families of those
being held are demanding that Israeli forces take or the Israeli government takes action to get these hostages released.
This is a very difficult situation, isn't it, for the military at this point? What is your sense of what is going on as we hear more about a
breakthrough in these negotiations, about the potential that the demands from Hamas are for a, for example, five-day cease-fire? What are you
hearing on the ground about what may happen next?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, Becky, the guns are doing the talking here at the moment. I don't know if you've been able
to hear over the last minute or so, but there have been some huge detonations here. And that's typical of what we've been hearing over the
last four or five hours here. Some very heavy shelling it sounds like, artillery shelling going into Gaza directly behind us.
We can hear the impacts there. They are huge. They are echoing around off the buildings here. So while there is a call for a pause of some
description, Hamas as you're saying are asking for five days. The Qatari interlocutors indicating a sort of a pause in the shelling and the missile
fired by Israel to indicate goodwill. That goodwill, if you will, doesn't seem to be happening right now. You can probably hear the outgoing
artillery. You may hear the impacts in Gaza behind us shortly.
Now I say the guns are doing the talking, but of course the military part of this cannot be separated out from the diplomatic part. While there are
talks going on, and positions are being expressed, one of the pressure points on Hamas as far as Israel is concerned are these continued strikes
and as well the continued incursions.
An incursion last night by tanks and heavy armor, they withdrew at the end of the night. The previous night before that, tanks and heavy armor going
in again. The IDF indicating that that's going to be the state of play in the coming days. That there will be continuing minor small targeted
incursions paving the way for some bigger action to come.
So I don't think it's out with the bounds that these means that the talks over hostages are not going to succeed, it's just everyone is still
applying military pressure. And Hamas the same, showing pictures there before of a Hamas rocket strike in Tel Aviv. We were able to hear the
intercepts earlier today when the outgoing missiles were flying out from Gaza behind us headed towards the center of Israel. The Iron Dome was
intercepting them. So Hamas equally not taking a pause in its military operations.
So right now, Becky, I go back to that, the guns are doing the talking.
ANDERSON: Nic, thank you.
And talking going on at length, just to fill you in, viewers, in New York where the U.N. General Assembly is hearing speeches and statements from
more than 100 countries responding to Jordan's tabling of a resolution. It's what known as a nonbinding resolution. But it's symbolic. Jordan
calling for an immediate cease-fire and an escalation in the humanitarian aid and help getting into Gaza.
That's going on in New York. We'll get a vote on that at some point later today. This is two days' worth of talking there in New York.
Well, overnight, U.S. fighter jets carried out air strikes on two facilities in eastern Syria, linked to Iranian-backed militia, according to
a U.S. senior military official. The precision guided munitions and targets used for storing weapons and ammunition in an area known as Abu Kamal. It
comes after a series of drone and rocket attacks against U.S. forces in the region. The facilities were reportedly used by Iran's Revolutionary Guard
and allied militia.
U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin says the operation was, quote, "not related" to the conflict in Gaza.
Well, my next guest, Rashid Khalidi, is a Palestinian American historian and the author of "The Hundred Years' War on Palestine." He recently wrote
an opinion piece in "The New York Times" urging the United States to think twice about Israel's plans for Gaza, saying it is past time for the United
States to cease meekly acquiescing to Israel's use of violence and more violence, as it's reflective response to Palestinians who have lived for 56
years under a stifling military occupation.
Rashid Khalidi joins us now from New York.
And as we begin this conversation, let's make it absolutely clear, it is not clear what the Israelis have planned for Gaza in the event that they
actually do complete or start this massive incursion that they have been promising, root out Hamas and leave Gaza in a state of utter destruction.
But perhaps we can talk about that as we move through this interview.
You said in your piece that if Washington encourages Israel down the path of a ground incursion, it could trigger a wider regional conflict. You're
not the first to say that and we are at the moment seeing some delay in that incursion. Do you believe that is likely an effort to get the hostages
released, and or, do you believe this is tacit acknowledgment by the U.S. on the point of risk of escalation?
RASHID KHALIDI, AUTHOR, "THE HUNDRED YEARS' WAR ON PALESTINE": Well, I certainly hope that the United States and every responsible international
power will do everything possible to prevent an escalation. We could have a regional war. We could have, heaven forbid, something even broader. If, for
any reason, not only Hezbollah, but also Iran, are drawn into this. We have the potential for Israel using nuclear weapons. We have the potential of
the United States being drawn directly into this conflict.
So there are unlimited apocalyptic scenarios. I hope and pray that none of them will come about, and I think that an Israeli ground incursion would be
one of those things that might trigger such scenarios, which I'm sure is why the Biden administration is presumably trying to tell the Israelis to
think very carefully about that. The other reason they might be telling them that is they have absolutely no idea what they are going to do after a
Who is going to run Gaza? What is going to be done with 2.3 million people who are left destitute by the savage bombardment that's killed 7,300 people
ANDERSON: If it were the Palestinian Authority asked to get involved, I interviewed the prime minister the other day, he said we will not ride into
Gaza on the back of an Israeli tank.
Let's just, before we get to what might happen next, the death toll out of Gaza is hard to wrap your head around. You see the videos of flattened
buildings, overwhelmed hospitals, rows of body bags. The U.S. president, though, casting doubt on the figures, the statistics. I hate to use that
term because we are talking about human beings here, of course. Provided by the Hamas-controlled Palestinian Health Authority.
What do you make of this comment coming up? Stand by.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have no notion that the Palestinians are telling the truth about how many people were killed. I'm
sure innocents have been killed. And it's the price of waging a war. I have no confidence in the number that the Palestinians are using.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: What do you make of that?
KHALIDI: I thought that that is absolutely despicable. Human Rights Watch and other authorities, including the U.N., and the United States State
Department have said that they take the numbers issued by the Ministry of Health in Gaza as generally accurate. The ministry issued the list
yesterday of name, age, I.D. murder of 7,000 people who have been killed up to the day before yesterday.
I think that if the president had a shred of decency, he would get on television and apologize for his remarks. It is of course in keeping with
the line of this administration which is more Israeli than Israelis. It sometimes seems like the president is reading from an Israeli teleprompter
in his remarks. And I find that remark in particular despicable.
ANDERSON: We've been, we've seen very charged rallies both in support of Israel and in support of Palestinians. Particularly on college campuses
across the U.S., including Columbia where you teach. How charged is this student environment right now? And how concerned are you about the rhetoric
that we're seeing?
KHALIDI: Well, I think the rhetoric has been taken, in some cases, out of context. And I think we have to understand we're talking about young people
who are still learning and who in some cases are not fully mature politically, or otherwise. And I think that you have to cut them some
slack. And I think that if you accept the freedom of speech and academic freedom of values that we cherish, then people -- even people crossing the
line have to be, there has to be some slack cut for them.
But the point I would stress is that, in particular, students and others who are supporting Palestinian rights may not necessarily be supporting
Hamas per se. I mean, certainly I hope and assume supporting the killing of innocent civilians. However, they are operating in an entirely hostile
environment as is typified by the president's remarks from the beginning of this conflict until the end.
In fact, he didn't have the decency to talk in any detail about the thousands of Palestinian casualties, civilian casualties. 3,000 children
have been killed. And I would expect the president, even as he talks about the poor, innocent Israelis who have been killed, to talk about the poor,
much larger numbers of poor innocence Palestinians who have been killed. We are operating in that environment.
And the media and the United States, institutions like universities, have taken a very one-sided position. And government officials at the local and
state level have done the same. So I think you have to understand the situation of almost feeling besieged that many students feel. On the other,
hand it should be said that support for Palestinian rights is very strong on most American campuses. And I think it betokens the fact that most young
people feel very sympathetic to the Palestinian people and to the struggle for their rights.
ANDERSON: Right. It's good to have you. We'll have you back, I'd love to continue the conversation with you. It's been interesting to see just how
low President Biden is polling with 18 to 35-year-olds. They have a great deal of trust in the way that he is dealing with this conflict. I think the
number was below 10 percent. I mean, it'd be really useful to come back and have a further discussion with you about where we stand. It's good to have
KHALIDI: Thank you.
ANDERSON: Now I've got to take a very short break. Back after this.
GIOKOS: All right. Welcome back. I'm Eleni Giokos in Abu Dhabi. We have Becky Anderson standing by in Doha as well.
Well, Israeli officials say they have evidence Hamas used weapons supplied by North Korea on the October 7th attacks. They say North Korea also gave
Hamas technology used to dig tunnels.
CNN's Paula Hancocks reports for us.
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This rocket-propelled grenade is likely from North Korea, used by Hamas during its October 7th
attack in Israel, seen here in the hands of a militant in the back of a pickup truck during the attack. Arms experts point at first to the
distinctive red stripe on the F-7 RPG.
N.R. JENZEN-JONES, DIRECTOR, ARMAMENT RESEARCH SERVICES: What you really need to look for is the tip of the ammunition. There's the absence of the
traditional point-initiating fuse there, and instead you can see that there's a cast piece of metal.
HANCOCKS: It's not surprising to see North Korean weapons in Hamas hands according to experts, but Pyongyang has dismissed the claim as a, quote,
"groundless and false rumor orchestrated by the United States."
Pyongyang is known for being transactional and has long been willing to sell weapons to anyone who would pay. Its arms proliferation in the Middle
East is well documented.
JENZEN-JONES: North Koreas has voiced support for the Palestinian independence for decades. They've supplied arms both directly but more
commonly through Iran over the course of several decades.
HANCOCKS (on-camera): A senior official with the Joint Chiefs of Staff here in Seoul says that they have evidence of North Korea exporting RPGs and
potentially other weapons to Hamas, either directly or indirectly, adding that they believe --
GIOKOS: Right, I want to return to Gaza now. We've got Dr. Medhat Abbas who is this director-general of the Gaza Health Ministry. He joins us now down
the line from Gaza, and we've been battling, Doctor, to get in touch with you. We know communications are intermittent right now.
I want to start off with what the IDF has said. They say that Hamas is waging war from hospitals in a systemic matter. I want you to give me a
sense of what your responses to this because many are reading into that hospitals are not safe territories.
DR. MEDHAT ABBAS, DIRECTOR GENERAL, GAZA HEALTH MINISTRY: Well, the situation in hospitals is miserable. People were forced to leave their
house under bombardment, and there are just people who thought that hospitals can be a safe have, so Al-Shifa Hospital is the biggest hospital
in Gaza Strip. More than 50,000 civilians are just staying within the premises of the hospital.
And other hospital, Al-Quds Hospital, 12,000 in Gaza City. So what we have in the hospital, we have no electricity. We have standby generators relying
on diesel. We have no enough diesel in these hospitals now, so we are switching them off one by one. The problem is that we have 1,000 kidney
failure patients and we have 130 neonates or the so-called premature. Without having electricity, we will lose those patients at once.
The other thing is that, the mass casualties arriving to the hospital, they are relying on the ground in the emergency rooms.
And many of the patients will have their operations done on the ground, without even anesthesia. There is no safe rooms in Gaza Strip. There is no
safe place in Gaza Strip. So the people just don't know where to go. They are staying in schools. Some 1.4 (INAUDIBLE) are now displaced --
GIOKOS: So Doctor --
GIOKOS: Yes, I'm sorry because we don't have much time, but I do want to ask you this vital question because you've laid out just how dire the
situation is and your lack of resources. But now there could a new threat. Are you worried that you could be a target? Because the IDF is saying Hamas
is hiding in hospitals.
ABBAS: I don't know about Hamas. I'm a doctor, I'm speaking about the hospitals.
GIOKOS: I understand, but I'm saying, are you worried that you could be targeted? That you're not safe?
ABBAS: No one -- I think hospitals are used to treat patients only. They are not used to hide anybody in Palestine. I assure you. I mean, just come,
just let your correspondents or any journalist go and see. I mean, they're full of doctors. My colleagues are working in this hospital. And mass
casualties, children are there. It's so (INAUDIBLE). I mean, they are not hidden.
GIOKOS: So -- I know, Doctor. And we've been covering these stories, and we thank you so much because we couldn't get a hold of you early enough, we've
run out of time. Thank you so much. And thank you for the work that you're doing on the ground, Dr. Medhat Abbas for us.
Well, that's it for CONNECT THE WORLD. You can stay with CNN. "STATE OF THE RACE" with Kasie Hunt is up next.