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Calls for Gaza Cease-Fire; Hamas Holding 240 Hostages in Gaza; U.S. Secretaries of State and Defense Press Congress for More Aid for Ukraine and Israel; Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza Growing, Death Toll Rises to 8,260; Migrant Caravan Heads to U.S.-Mexico Border; Lionel Messi and Aitana Bonmati win Men's and Women's Ballon d'Or Awards. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired October 31, 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 ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): All right, so you've just been watching our colleague, John Berman, there, wrapping up
the U.S. secretary of state Antony Blinken, calling on lawmakers on Capitol Hill to approve a new aid package for Ukraine as well as Israel.
The speech interrupted by a handful of protesters and his speech was interrupted several times as the protesters were shouting "Cease-fire now."
Many showed their bloody palms as well with red paint.
I'm Eleni Giokos in Abu Dhabi, it's great to have you with us. And welcome to our continuing coverage of Israel's war on Hamas. We have a lot to get
We have a guest standing by who says a cease-fire is the only option to prevent further civilian casualties in Gaza. Jan Egeland is the secretary
general of the Norwegian Refugee Council.
And in a post on X, he says, "We have called for a cease-fire for and in Gaza every day for two weeks. Too many children have died. More die, are
maimed or traumatized by the hour.
"The indiscriminate warfare and the siege have paralyzed relief for civilians in desperate need."
Jan Egeland joins me now.
So great to have you with. Us we just heard a little bit from the testimony from the U.S. secretary of state and the U.S. Defense Secretary, tabling
why we need to be seeing more aid from the United States for Ukraine as well as Israel.
And specifically said that water, food and medicine must flow in. Humanitarian pauses must be considered.
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu categorically said that he's not considering a cease-fire or a humanitarian pause.
How are you reading into what we've been seeing from the U.S. and the Israelis as well?
JAN EGELAND, SECRETARY GENERAL, NORWEGIAN REFUGEE COUNCIL: What I'm begin to this (ph) and sealing a ground (ph) is complete paralysis. It's so --
I'm not -- I'm a humanitarian worker. I'm not going to comment on the military components of the packages.
I can confirm that the aid that they now ask from (INAUDIBLE) is much needed for the Palestinians and also in Ukraine.
Surprise stasis made (ph) that the United States of America has not been able to deliver neither humanitarian pauses nor a humanitarian cease-fire
nor sustained humanitarian access nor the protect of civilians in a military campaign that has killed thousands of children and destroyed tens
of thousands of civilian housings and units.
We've heard for weeks that this would happen. It hasn't.
GIOKOS: Jan, we have a bit of trouble with your audio. We are going to go to a very short break. We are going to try to rectify your audio so we can
hear you better. Please stand by. We will get back to you in just a moment.
We will be back right after this short break. Stay with CNN.
GIOKOS: All right, welcome back.
Israel is reporting the, quote, "elimination" of a high-level Hamas target, one of the Hamas commanders who directed the massacres on Israeli soil on
October 7th, was killed by Israeli jets on Monday.
That is according to a statement from the Israel Defense Forces and a security agency a short time ago. The Israeli government, intent on
destroying Hamas, the IDF says, it hit around 300 Hamas targets overnight while pressing on with an expanded ground campaign.
There also reports of civilian areas being struck, including Gaza's leading cancer hospital. Meanwhile, Israel now believes Hamas militants are holding
240 hostages in Gaza. That update is coming after the Israeli military's first hostage rescue since that massive Hamas attack on October 7th.
Continuing now on Capitol Hill, we showed you a few of those images, the U.S. secretary of state and the U.S. Defense Secretary are calling on
lawmakers to approve a new aid package for Ukraine as well as Israel.
As we told you, they are appearing at a U.S. Senate committee meeting on national security funding. The proposed package is worth more than $100
billion, with a growing number of Republicans skeptical about further spending for Ukraine. The package's approval is in jeopardy. We have
Natasha Bertrand in Washington with more.
We saw a bit of that testimony specifically from Antony Blinken. We can see Lord Alsen (ph) also testifying at the moment. And the important news that
came out, yes, there is a big aid package for both Ukraine and Israel but also other lines is, you've got to get humanitarian aid into Gaza and
focusing in on that as well.
And funding critical for bolstering deterrence and, of course, ensuring that the U.S. maintains its position in terms of leading the deterrence
Could you give me a sense of some of the outcomes that we are hearing at the moment?
NATASHA BERTRAND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Eleni, there have been a lot of protesters that have interrupted the hearing so far. But we have
managed to get through some of Blinken and Austin's opening statements.
The case that they've made is that Israel and Ukraine, the funding that is necessary for both at this moment, it is directly linked, because, what we
are seeing in Ukraine, of course, is Russia has been increasingly turning to Iran for military help.
In exchange, the Iranians have been getting increasingly advanced military technology from the Russians. Therefore, the Iranians are then able to
conduct increasingly sophisticated attacks via their proxy groups on American interests in the region, as well as on the Israelis.
So making the case here that this is all connected and that you can't fund one without the other. That is something that President Biden has
emphasized as well.
Now as you mentioned, Secretary Austin, he did say in his opening remarks that Israel needs to do everything that it can to protect civilians. He
really emphasized that. Of course he condemned the Hamas terror attack on Israel.
BERTRAND: But he said that the U.S. wants to see Israel doing everything it can to protect civilian lives in the Gaza Strip.
Now it remains to be seen just what happens here in terms of the funding and the supplemental request, because there is so much opposition in the
House of Representatives right now to linking Israel and Ukraine funding.
The House GOP, they introduced a bill last night that only provided supplemental funding for Israel, about $14 billion.
That, according to the administration, according to many senators, is a nonstarter not only because it does not include any funding for Ukraine at
the moment when the Pentagon is running really low on funds for the war in Ukraine but it also rescinds $14 billion from IRS funding.
So that is something that the administration says is not going to happen. The Senate says that that is essentially dead on arrival when it gets to
that chamber. So we will have to see how this all plays out.
But it is a really key moment, this congressional testimony here, because it is the first kind of public test of the support or lack thereof that the
administration's over $100 billion supplemental request has in the Congress -- Eleni.
Important points of public test in terms of support there, that testimony on the go. We will stay on top of that story. Natasha Bertrand, great to
have you on. Thank you.
Now as the war rages, on the humanitarian crisis is worsening by the day in Gaza. CNN's Salma Abdelaziz has been tracking the deteriorating conditions.
She joins us now live.
Salma, good to have you with us. You've been monitoring the devastating impacts of civilians caught in the middle of this. Give me a sense of the
SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Since that war was launched, of course, after those brutal attacks on October 7th that left 1,400 people
dead in Israel, that conflict has resulted in some 1 million Gazans, that is half the population of the Strip, to be displaced.
Essentially people who are on the move, seeking shelter, trying to find refuge. I know over and over again, you've heard that refrain, Eleni. There
is no safe place. We wanted to dive into that by taking you into one neighborhood for one hour, as people try to shelter in a hospital. I warn,
you the images in this report are graphic. Take a look.
ABDELAZIZ (voice-over): Where do you go when the bombs won't stop?
Where do you shelter your family when the shelters are full?
For many Gazans, the answer is a hospital. The head doctor shows us around.
"All that separates these families and the ICU is this door," he explains.
"These are not proper, sterile conditions."
Some 12,000 displaced people are camped out in this hospital in northern Gaza and every single person you see here has been told by Israel's army to
leave and move south. An evacuation order, the U.N. previously called, inhumane.
"This is not a place for children to play; this is a disaster," the doctor says.
"Look, these are sick people.
"How can a man on a walker be evacuated?"
Hospitals are protected under international law. But Israel claims Hamas uses medical facilities as command centers. Aid groups and Palestinian
officials deny these allegations. Either way, this is still not a safe place.
Step outside the doors and this is what you face, nonstop Israeli artillery and airstrikes. Everyone here fears the explosions will only get closer.
But there is nowhere else to run.
Across the street, desperate people steal basic supplies. The war in a suffocating siege is causing civil order to break down, the U.N. says.
"Families cannot be expected to flee into this chaos," this father says.
"This is a war against our children.
"See how scared he is from the bombs?
"Now we are alive but, tomorrow, we could be dead. Please, save us," he pleads.
Less than a quarter mile away from the hospital, this is the aftermath of one of those strikes. Residents pull people out of the rubble of their
homes. They can depend only on each other. Comms are down. No one can call an ambulance.
"Just try and carry him out on your shoulder," someone shouts.
"Are my mom and dad alive?" the wounded man asks.
The sound of war never ceases. You could die trying to help the living. This is one neighborhood during one hour in Gaza, a tiny glimpse into the
horror. The humanity and dignity of more than 2 million people that live here casualty of a war so many people did not choose.
ABDELAZIZ: There are two things at play here that are really terrifying those families that are trying to stay safe in that hospital.
ABDELAZIZ: First, of, course that evacuation order that we mentioned, that continues to be repeated by Israeli officials for everyone to go south.
If you watched that piece, you can understand that that is nearly an impossible task under bombardment and under siege. That's why you hear
those repeated calls for a cessation of hostilities, for a pause in the fighting to allow people to move.
Even if they could get south, where do they stay?
What does that look like?
And then the second thing that is concerning to those families and to Palestinian officials is these allegations, these claims made by Israel's
military against hospitals. The fear is that they are laying the groundwork through these allegations for hospitals potentially to also be in the
That, health officials and Palestinians tell us, would be an absolute massacre, considering the number of people sheltering in hospitals across
the Gaza Strip -- Eleni.
GIOKOS: Salma, really difficult to see that piece. Thank you very much for bringing us that insight.
All right. So a German Israeli woman who was kidnapped from a musical festival by Hamas and later found dead has been described as "beautiful,
lively, person." Israeli officials say Shani Louk was tortured and paraded around Gaza. We must warn you, what you are about to see is disturbing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GIOKOS (voice-over): Shani's mother gave CNN permission to air this video, to show the world the brutality of Hamas. And we are blurring the image of
her body. The 23 year old appears to be unconscious in the back of a truck, being driven by Hamas terrorists. Her mother, Ricarda, spoke to CNN's
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICARDA LOUK, SHANI'S MOTHER (through translator): After three weeks that you -- you have no idea where your daughter is, what they're doing to her,
what is happening, what is -- you don't know if she's alive or not or injured, nothing.
There's just like you're in a vacuum for three weeks, just hoping to get some signs or life signs. And then suddenly you get the worst news. But in
one hand it's really, OK, now it's final. Now we can stop look for her, which is some finality to go on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GIOKOS: An American teen who was kidnapped by Hamas is apparently back in the U.S. The consul general of Israel to the Midwest said Monday night, 17-
year-old Natalie Raanan was -- is now in her home in Chicago.
Hamas took her and her mother hostage while they were visiting relatives in a southern Israeli farming community back on October 7th. The group
released the two hostages two weeks later. We have not yet heard details about the whereabouts of Natalie's mother, Judith Raanan.
We will have more news after this short break. Stay with CNN.
GIOKOS: Welcome back to our extended coverage of the Israel-Hamas war. I'm Eleni Giokos in Abu Dhabi. We've got more on our top story.
Israel says the Hamas commander, who was part of the directing of the October 7th massacre, has been killed. IDF jets struck Nisam Abu Ajina, the
commander of the Beit Lahiya battalion of Hamas northern brigade.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GIOKOS (voice-over): That is according to joint Israeli intelligence. At the same time, Israeli troops say they are pushing deeper into the enclave.
You're looking at IDF video, showing Israeli tanks and soldiers on the ground. It was released a short time ago as the IDF announced an update on
the number of hostages believed to be held by Hamas.
That has now risen to 240 captives. Earlier today, CNN teams saw numerous large explosions in northern Gaza, with Israel saying it had struck
hundreds of Hamas targets, including military compounds inside underground tunnels.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GIOKOS: I want to bring Jan Egeland back. He is the secretary general of the Norwegian Refugee Council.
As we mentioned earlier, in a post on X, he says, "We have called for a cease-fire every single day for two weeks."
Jan, thank you so very much for staying with us and being so patient until we sorted out your audio. I want to go back to my initial question in terms
of Benjamin Netanyahu saying, look, there is no chance of a cease-fire or a humanitarian pause.
We've just heard from the U.S. secretary of state that there must be some kind of pause in order to get humanitarian aid in.
How important is it right now to get Israel to agree to a pause or humanitarian cease-fire or some kind of cease-fire that clearly was voted
on at the U.N. Security Council yesterday but not legally binding?
EGELAND: It's a question of life or death for tens of thousands of children. There is no other way to look at it. Gaza is like no other place.
It is sealed off inside. There are 2.3 million civilians, 1 million children. They are completely innocent of what has happened and now they
are dying in the thousands.
So the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, European Union has promised us humanitarian pauses, humanitarian corridors, humanitarian
access and that there should be a sheathing (ph) protection of the civilians now for three weeks.
We have seen none of it, really. The few trucks that has crossed the border is nothing compared to these exploding needs in Gaza.
GIOKOS: Look, and frankly, we've just seen the devastation. We've been covering some of these stories of what people are experiencing on the
ground. You have colleagues in Gaza. We have seen blackouts over the weekend where communication made things very difficult.
What are your team members telling you, what are they describing?
EGELAND: What they're describing is a fear beyond belief. These are mothers and fathers. These are families that are fleeing for their lives.
Some of them fled south on the order of the Israelis. But flee south and you get would relief and you would get protection.
There is none of that in the south. Some of them have turned back to Gaza City and saying, we want to be in our apartment, in some dignity, until
they attack us.
It cannot continue like this. The United States is supporting Israel with the arms for this. It must be capable of having a humanitarian pause or a
humanitarian cease-fire, a truce, call it whatever you want. But this relentless bombing of civilians must end.
GIOKOS: You know, Benjamin Netanyahu pushed back on criticism of civilian casualties. He says not a single civilian has to die, talking about Hamas
preventing people from leaving, keeping them in areas on conflict and Hamas using people as human shields.
GIOKOS: Is there, right now, to your understanding, a no strike zone that is safe in Gaza, because people went from the north to the south. But yet,
we are still seeing strikes in the south.
Is there any area that you are aware of that is a no strike zone?
EGELAND: I think no. There is no safe zones, areas at all. There are some areas that could be safer than others. But again, one of my colleagues, a
female colleague, wonderful aid worker, she fled with her family south to Rafah, where she was told to go by the Israelis.
Her only child was killed in an Israeli bombardment. And the little aid that is trickling in is nothing compared to the needs.
So again, how come that the United States and all of these Western powers that are allies of Israel are incapable, really, of making this a warfare
that is shielding (ph) the civilian population?
And they are not even able to give us humanitarian corridors, humanitarian access and a humanitarian pause so that we can help the children that are
GIOKOS: So what is your understanding in terms of more aid trucks going in?
We know that it's imminent that about 20 or so aid trucks could be heading into Gaza through the Rafah border crossing. We are waiting to hear from
What is your understanding, in terms of the holdup at the border crossing?
EGELAND: As far as I understand, they have, again, been incapable of putting in an international monitoring mechanism, led by the United States,
the European Union, this is not rocket science. We have had monitors there for a very long time.
We proposed to the U.S. and to European Union more than two weeks ago that they create the monitoring mechanism, they have the trust of Israel. Now it
is Israeli inspectors. And they are not letting through trucks.
Twenty trucks a day is nothing. There was 500 trucks before this. Now the needs have exploded. We would need 1,000 trucks a day to really meet the
needs of these people.
GIOKOS: The IDF has been alleging that hospitals are being used as command centers for Hamas. And frankly, the IDF have been calling for many
hospitals to evacuate since the start of this, since the attack on October 7th.
What is your understanding in terms of what is going on at the hospitals and this new threat?
EGELAND: What I know nothing of is where Hamas fighters are hiding and where they are and whether or not they are blending into the civilian
If and when they are, it is a war crime. But one war crime does not justify the other one. And a hospital is a hospital when it has patients and
doctors and nurses and people saving lives. And it is a war crime to attack it, even if that is polluted by some military forces.
So this must end, this saying that the hospitals should bring people, who cannot be brought anywhere without dying, has to end. So again, let's have
a humanitarian cease-fire or a truce or a pause so that people can come to their senses here and not more of tens of thousands of civilians have to
flee for their lives.
GIOKOS: Yes Jan Egeland, great to have you on. Thank you so very much for sharing those insights with us. Much appreciative for your time.
We are going to a very short break, we will be back after this.
GIOKOS (voice-over): Let's get you up to speed on some other stories that are on our radar right now.
Authorities in Japan are handling a hostage situation at a post office outside of Tokyo. A suspected shooter is holed up after a doctor and
patient were hurt earlier in the day at a hospital. Police are communicating with the suspect. They say both customers and staff are still
inside the post office.
A large caravan of migrants is traveling from southern Mexico toward the U.S.-Mexico border. The group departed Monday from the Tapachula, according
to the 4-0 TV (ph). The caravan of about 5,000 people including migrants from South and Central America, the Caribbean as well as Asia.
GIOKOS: Right. In sports, now the eighth time is truly the charm for one of the world's most celebrated football stars. The famous Ballon d'Or has
been handed out in Paris. Andy Scholes joins me now.
Andy, going in for a superstar and a well deserved trophy on the women's side as well. Take us through. It
ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORT CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Eleni, there is nothing bigger than leading your country to a World Cup title. And both Ballon d'Or
winners did just that in the past year.
Lionel Messi winning for the eighth time on the men's side and Aitana Bonmati winning on the women side from Spain. So fitting that the stars
from the teams that ended up winning the World Cup ended up bringing home that hardware. We will hear from both of them coming up here on "WORLD
GIOKOS: Looking forward to it. I've missed, you Andy, great to have you back.
OK. We are going to a short, break more sports after this.