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Connect the World

Witnesses Indicate some Died in Chaotic Aftermath of Shooting by IDF; Gaza Health Ministry: Death Toll from War Passes 30,000; CNN Producer: Most of the Deaths from Trampling as People Ran from Israeli Fire; A Large Crowd was Waiting for Food Air to be Distributed; Gaza Health Ministry: 100 Plus Killed while Waiting for Food; Russian President Threatens Risk of Nuclear War if Western Nations Send Troops to Ukraine. Aired 9-10a ET

Aired February 29, 2024 - 09:00   ET




BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST, CONNECT THE WORLD: Welcome to "Connect the World". I'm Becky Anderson. Breaking news this hour, we are following on a

horrific mass casualty event in Gaza. The Health Ministry there says more than 100 people have been killed while they were waiting for foods.

The IDF releasing video from Gaza City, showing what should have been a delivery of badly needed humanitarian aid. Large numbers of people gathered

around the aid trucks and Israeli troops opened fire. Israel says its forces were coming under threat from the crowd.

Or video taken before the trucks moved in shows a lot of people waiting in anticipation, so many desperately hungry with aid deliveries, as you will

be well aware slowed to a trickle particularly in the north of the Gaza Strip. U.N. experts have repeatedly warned that the Enclave is on the brink

of a famine.

Paula Hancocks joins me here in the studio, and this is just breaking. We are just getting the details from the ground and it's not easy. What do we

understand to have happened?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, at this point, Becky, we have two slightly differing narratives about what happened one from the side of

eyewitnesses, also the Palestinian Red Crescent. And so what they've told us happened is that when there were hundreds of people crowded around these

aid trucks desperately trying to get some food for their families.

What happened, they believe is that Israeli troops and tanks opened fire, there was then panic where these aid trucks tried to escape the area. And

they say that many more were killed and injured as well, because of these trucks trying to get out of this particular area.

Now, we have reached out to the IDF, the Israeli military saying that they had a number of people approaching their troops. They say the troops felt

under threat, which is why they did use live fire. Now we've just had, as well, a response from an Israeli government spokesperson saying that it is

obviously a tragedy.

But saying that they believe that many of these injuries were from when the trucks actually left the area not mentioning the live fire itself, but also

pointing out it's that we're not sure of the specifics quite yet. So the details are difficult to ascertain exactly. Although we do have

eyewitnesses and people on the grounds that do say to us that many lost their lives because of the Israeli gunfire that happened.

ANDERSON: Do we know which trucks these were which agencies were bringing this food? And I mean, what we let me tell you, what we do know is that

this is a part of Gaza, which has had little to practically no aid at times over the last 130 odd days. I mean, this is a huge catastrophe.

We're talking about many people being on the brink of famine. Where did these trucks come from? What was in these trucks? Do we know?

HANCOCKS: We understand that the trucks themselves came from potentially the Kerem Shalom crossing, so the southern part of Gaza so they were able

to get through Gaza with this convoy, they were in a convoy they were being escorted by the Israeli military.

We don't know specifically, which NGO, whether it was U.N. agencies bringing this food aid, but we do know that it was desperately needed in

this particular area. It's the east of Gaza City we're talking about Al- Rashid Street, an area which has not been accessed by many of these NGOs.

We've heard from many of the U.N. agencies that even when they have pre- ordained pre agreed routes to the northern part to give food, aid, fuel, water, that they weren't able to carry that out in the end because the

Israeli military had stopped them So the very fact that this was able to get through was significant.

The pictures you see of many people rushing these trucks you see the sheer number of people as well. We understand for my witnesses on the ground they

were hundreds they're desperate to try and get anything that they could. This is an area that has not had much aid.


We know Rafah in the south is desperate for aid and that is right next to the crossing. So this area as you can imagine has not had aid they're

bringing aid from the air now that shows how desperate the situation is the fact that they're doing air drops because they can't get there.

ANDERSON: And let's just remind our viewers if they are just joining us what we are looking at here, these are aerial shots provided by the IDF,

Israeli military shots of as you can see hundreds of people around what are we understand them to be aid trucks, we've got another image here, which I

think is important.

These are images of the trucks coming in. And you can see that there are a significant number of people around. In this area, as you rightly point

out, there has been very, very little aid at times no aid for days on end. And as we understand it, I witnesses on the ground, alleging that they

weren't targeted by the Israeli military.

The Israeli military, suggesting that these aid trucks plowed over people, in an attempt to get away from these crowds, and as you rightly point out,

we have had the Israeli authorities respond to this calling this a tragedy, and suggesting that they are yet to understand the absolute specifics of

what is going on, on the ground. Let's just remind people once again, where this is, Paula?

HANCOCKS: So this is Gaza City. This is just on the eastern part of Gaza City at Al-Rashid Street, it's called. And this is an area as we've said,

that is not seen anywhere near the amount of aid that they need. It's also an area that the Israeli military has been operating in for some time.

It was one of the first areas as the military progressed south to be bombarded. And so even the shelter, the places where many of these people

would be living, would be considered uninhabitable in many parts of the world. So it is the food that they needed is water, they needed as shelter.

We don't know exactly what these trucks were carrying at this point. But we do know that any kind of aid would have been desperately needed by these

people in this particular area. But you can tell by the way they swarm around these trucks.

ANDERSON: Yeah, absolutely. And just to be quite clear, the two black and white images that we've been showing you viewers are from the IDF. These

pictures that are on the screen now are user generated. These are images that we've brought into CNN and verified from the ground.

These are from social and this is before the actual event. And I just want our viewers also to get the very latest from Hamas. A senior member warning

that these guys are killings as he is describing them could lead to a failure of talks, worrying that the killing of people collecting aid from

trucks in Gaza.

And I quote here could lead to the failure of ongoing talks aimed at the release of hostages and a ceasefire quote, negotiations are not an open

process. He said in a statement published by the Hamas on telegram we will not allow for the pathway of the negotiations to become a cover for the

enemy's continued crimes against our people in the Gaza Strip, one Hamas senior military commander responding on social media to the breaking news

that we are just describing.

It's good to have you thank you very much. We'll let you go and you can network your sources and see whether we can get more detail on what is

actually going on, on the ground. We now know, though that at least more than 100 of dead we're looking at figures of possibly as high as 750 people


We want to bring in Jomana Karadsheh. Thank you, Paula, joining me now from London. What more do you have at this point, Jomana?

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, you know, this is coming on a day when we have reached this grim milestone with the Palestinian

Ministry of Health announcing that the death toll has surpassed 30,000 people who have been killed so far in this war, and yet another tragic

incident yet another shocking incident that has happened where you have civilians, you have people who have been killed.

But at the same time, there's no clarity on how this all unfolded on what happened, what led to all these deaths and injuries, all these casualties

that we are now reporting and the issue with that, Becky, has been with the same that -- it's exactly what we have been saying for months.

It is the fact that we are not on the ground, but we are not able to report firsthand on what is happening, what is unfolding in Gaza right now. And

what you end up having as a situation as you and Paula were discussing is when the IDF is presenting its own version of events and when you have

journalists from Gaza.


Palestinian journalists who are on the ground reporting, different version of events of what actually happened on the ground, months into this war,

Becky, you are seeing this dust war continuing to rise. You are hearing from people in Gaza saying that if they're not going to get killed by the

bombs, and by the airstrikes.

It is starvation that is going to kill them. It is a very dire humanitarian situation where you hear from international aid groups saying that they

have run out of words to describe the situation on the ground, and they continue to call for a ceasefire, they continue to allow for the access of

humanitarian aid.

They have been very concerned about a situation like we have seen today, you have aid organizations that have stopped sending their aid trucks into

northern Gaza, because they have been worried about the situation there because of losing because people who are starving who are trying to feed

their families, their children have in the past looted these trucks as they have come in.

So we are still going to have to wait and see to get further details about what happened today. But yet again, you are looking at a catastrophic

situation that is continuing to unfold on the ground with no end in sight for civilians in Gaza who have nowhere out of the Enclave, they are trapped

in there.

And they would tell you, they have nowhere safe to turn. They have nowhere left to go. And another reminder, Becky, we are talking about place where

as we have reported time and time again, the majority of the population there children.

ANDERSON: About 1 in every 20 children, women and men in Gaza are now dead or wounded. About 1 in every 20 kids, women and men in Gaza are now dead or

wounded. This is carnage, not my words, the words of Volker Turk, at the U.N. in Geneva yesterday, talking about the human rights situation in the

occupied Palestinian territory.

Sadly, those commenting now on what is going on in Gaza are simply it seems running out of superlatives. I want that to be part of our narrative today.

This is carnage says Volker Turk, given what we are just witnessing now, just yesterday, you brought us a week's long CNN investigation that

revealed in unprecedented detail, how Israeli forces used indiscriminate fire that killed half of one family sheltering.

I just want our viewers who may not have seen that to get part of that reporting and for those who have, I'm sure, you know, they won't mind me

running this again. Let's just, have a look at some of this footage.


KARADSHEH: Roba's mother Sumaya, helplessly watched as her son, Hamdi died in front of her eyes, but nothing could have prepared her for what would

come next.

SUMAYA ABU JIBBA, SURVIVOR OF ISRAELI ATTACK ON JANUARY 4: As we were calling for help, another bomb hit, we were all knocked unconscious. When I

woke up, I found my children and relatives killed, but Roba was hanging between life and death.

KARADSHEH (voice-over): What knocked them unconscious was likely a massive 2000 pound bomb according to three ballistic experts who analyzed images of

the crater. The blast shockwave is so powerful that it can rupture the lungs, leaving victims to drown in their own blood.

Two forensic experts who examine our video tell us this shockwave is what they believe killed the Abu Jibbas.


ANDERSON: That's part of what been a week long investigation and what sort of response have you received to that, Jomana?

KARADSHEH: Well, Becky, first of all, just to put it all into context, this was an incident that took place on January the fourth, what the Israeli

military says was that their troops had come under fire from that location where this incident happened, where we documented the killing of at least

eight civilians in a warehouse.

They are what the IDF says is that they responded to the source of fire with a precise strike and they couldn't confirm if the bodies, the

civilians who we ask them about were killed if they were linked to that strike that they carried out. But what we did, Becky is you know,

throughout our investigation, we as you mentioned, it took us weeks to try and gather witness testimony, survivor testimony, satellite imagery

speaking to ballistic and forensic experts.


And it really raised very serious questions about the Israeli military's actions that day. And So far we've had reaction from the United Nations,

the spokesperson for the Secretary General, responding to a question from our colleague, Richard Roth, take a listen.


STEPHANE DUJARRIC, SPOKESPERSON FOR THE U.N. SECRETARY-GENERAL: Civilians cannot be a target, civilians need to be protected. And we call for a full

investigation into what was reported. We from ourselves have no information as to what happened in these events, but they need to be investigated. And

I think as we've also said, there needs to be more reporters let into the area.


KARADSHEH: And that's the point there, Becky, as you heard, reporters need to be allowed into Gaza. Of course, journalists have not been allowed

access without IDF escort into Gaza. And this is why it took us more than six weeks to investigate one incident and this is one incident out of


This is the story of one family out of thousands and thousands, who have been going through this unimaginable pain trauma currently grieving and not

knowing what's going to happen to them next, and we are talking about tens of thousands, who have been killed tens of thousands, who have been

suffering as a result of a war with no end in sight right now.

ANDERSON: Civilians, says the Spokesperson for the Secretary General cannot be targeted, civilians need to be protected. Those words can sound very

hollow today, in February 2024 -- thank you. I want to bring in our Chief International Anchor Christiane Amanpour.

Christiane, what do you make of what we are seeing? Again, we are not on the ground, we've been talking about the fact that therefore it is very

difficult to know what's going on. We are hearing both from those on the ground and from Israeli authorities. What are you piecing together here?

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Well, the pieces seem to be actually dovetailing by and large what Israel has said is that there

was a convoy of some 30 trucks that they did open fire on them when they perceive themselves to be at threat. That's their view of it.

And they opened fire also, they say at the legs of people, which then apparently obviously cause people to fall, it causes panic. It causes

people to try to run away, it causes the trucks to try to back out. This is what they're all saying including a CNN reporter on the ground, who was

just quoted by our colleague in Israel just now who was at the scene when it happened.

This, you know, is absolutely classic occurrence as awful and ghoulish as it is when you have actually starved an Enclave of 2.3 million people for

the last four to five months. And remember, October 9, 2023, Yoav Gallant, the Defense Minister of Israel said that there will be a complete siege of

all basic humanitarian necessities into Gaza while this counter offensive was on.

We know that according to the Head of the Norwegian Refugee Council, Jan Egeland, according to the Head of UNRWA Philippe Lazzarini, both of whom

told me this week on our program, that the amount of aid into Gaza has halved, hasn't doubled. It's halved over the last month.

That means that hundreds of thousands of people they say, are at risk of starvation, and there is a looming famine in Northern Gaza. So when the

first 30 or so trucks get to Northern Gaza, what does anybody expect? Of course, people are going to rush to it.

I specifically asked Jan Egeland and he explained and he described what happened when he brought trucks in earlier this week. He was inside Rafah,

he explained the situation very, very clearly that they brought trucks in, it was a rare allowing to bring them in from Rafah.

And that people yes, once they got into the Gaza Strip did start to run after them. Why? Because they want to feed their families, feed their

grandmothers, their children, their nephews, their nieces, their sisters who are hungry, and so this is entirely dependent on Israeli security, they

are 100 percent the only force in charge of security inside Gaza.

So therefore, the security operation has to be maintained and because they bombed so many of the police stations, so many of the infrastructures.

There is very little security, Becky.

ANDERSON: I know you spoke to Jan Egeland earlier on this week, and, you know, one of the first to really recount as an eyewitness what he's seeing

on the ground. Let's just have a listen to some of what he told you Christiane.



JAN EGELAND, NORWEGIAN REFUGEE COUNCIL SECRETARY GENERAL: I mean, it's beyond belief that people who are mourning of course the worst massacre in

the history of Israel on the 7th of October would believe that taking away food from children and women completely innocent had nothing to do with a

7th of October could can in any way help the poor hostages here.

The Hamas militants have food and they are in tunnels. They had nothing to do with the people that we ate. The chaos yes, around the aid line is

becoming worse and worse, because there's so little aid coming in today.

I'm pretty shaken actually, from what I saw, the minute we crossed the border from, you know, orderly and sparsely populated Sinai, you see the

aid trucks going full speed down the road, being chased by gangs of youth who jumped the trump, the trucks and before eyes, loot mattresses and

blankets, food, et cetera to the desperate people outside who want to get some aid.


AMANPOUR: So you see what he's saying, yes, these trucks are besieged by people who are desperate, he said clearly to me that it is absolutely up to

Israel, Egypt and the United States to make this an orderly procedure, and to up the amount of aid that's going in there so that this human

catastrophe of starvation and thirst does not promote more of these terrible accidents from these needy people.

I'll just give you one more anecdote. The Head of UNRWA told me on this program this week, that in the north, they are even running out of animal

fodder, and I said, excuse me animal fodder, he said, animal fodder because that's what people are being reduced to eating. And they're even running

out of animal fodder, Becky.

ANDERSON: I'm speechless. Christiane, it's important that we are reporting this on a day when we see more than 100 killed, possibly as many as 750 or

more injured in what has been a deadly event in Northern Gaza. Christiane thank you. I'm going to take a very short break, back after this.


ANDERSON: We're returning to our top story. The Health Ministry in Gaza reporting that 100 or more civilians have died in what has been a chaotic

incident in Gaza City.


People had rushed towards the aid trucks as they arrived in the area in the hopes of getting food, you will be well aware that aid trucks arriving in

this area with any humanitarian aid is a very rare occurrence. Israel says these crowds approached these vehicles, they pose a threat to Israel's

troops, they say so they open fire.

Let's bring in CNN's Alex Marquardt. Let's start with whether or not we have had any response from the U.S. administration, to what we are

reporting here. It's only been a couple of hours since this has been coming into CNN. We've got these images now. What are you hearing, Alex?

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Becky. It's been just under two hours. I think since we first started reporting

this, and it's 9:30 in the morning here in Washington, we have not yet heard from the White House or the State Department about this incident, we

have reached out to both for their reaction.

I imagine they're putting together statements now that will come out in the coming hours. But I imagine what we're going to hear, Becky, is something

along the lines of what we have heard before that the U.S. believes that the civilian death toll has been far too high in Gaza, and that more

humanitarian aid needs to get into Gaza, whether there's any kind of condemnation of the actions of the Israeli military that certainly remains

to be seen.

And it will be a big question. But Becky, they're certainly going to emphasize the need for a pause in the fighting for this humanitarian pause

for the ceasefire, the truce, whatever you want to call it, that the U.S. has been pushing alongside Egypt and Qatar, mediating with Israel and


That deal that the U.S. so desperately wants to put in place, of course, is not just about getting Israeli hostages released, or getting to a pause in

the fighting, which of course, more than 2 million Palestinians in Gaza, would love to see. It's also about getting humanitarian aid to those Gazans

who so desperately needed.

Currently, as our colleagues have been laying out, all of that humanitarian aid is coming in through two crossings in the southern part of the Gaza

Strip, Rafah and Kerem Shalom, it is not just a question of the quantity of aid that is going in which by the way, the U.S. says is far too low. It's

also that aid getting to where it needs to be.

And the U.S. has been critical of Israel for not allowing that aid to get to where it needs to go for de conflicting, as they say, with those aid

agencies, with those truck drivers. It is impossible for those truck drivers to get that aid north where this incident took place today when so

much of the infrastructure, the roads have been damaged when there is still ongoing fighting and bombing that those truck drivers have to contend with.

So I imagine you will see some kind of forceful statements from the Biden administration today. But it really will emphasize the need for this

ceasefire that they have been negotiating. That has been showing some signs of progress but now maybe in jeopardy. We have heard a senior Hamas

official earlier today, saying that this does threaten those ceasefire talks.

At the same time, I could see it actually speeding them up because of the added emphasis this horrible incident, really highlighting the need to get

to this pause in the fighting, Becky.

ANDERSON: You're right. Hamas senior member warning earlier that Gaza -- these killings in Gaza, as he describes them could lead to a failure of

these talks. I quote him here negotiations are not an open process. He said in a statement published on Telegram, and I quote, again, we will not allow

for the pathway of the negotiations to become a cover for the enemy's continued crimes against our people in the Gaza Strip.

A senior Hamas official responding very specifically to this awful, awful, deadly incident that has taken place around aid trucks in the north of the

Gaza Strip. Thank you, Alex. I'm joined now by Bushra Khalidi. She's Oxfam Policy Lead for Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel, joining me now

from Ramallah.

You will have seen the same images that we are running here on CNN, images from the IDF are showing the aid convoys being surrounded by crowds, images

that we have from the ground just before that period of time, suggesting that things were very quiet and that hundreds of people were waiting for

the delivery much needed delivery of aid on the ground that is so rare in this part of Gaza. Your response to what we're seeing and hearing at this



BUSHRA KHALIDI, OXFAM POLICY LEAD FOR OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORY AND ISRAEL: I mean it's absolutely appalling. These acts of violence against

civilians that is desperate. And it's clear from the aerial footage that these civilians are desperate. You know, we don't need more footage than

this to show the level of desperation that we're finding in the north, especially after yesterday Kamal Adwan Hospital, which was near the

incident that happened yesterday, said that fuel shortages are ending.

And you know, operations about to end in Kamal Adwan, which is only partially operational, and other patients will die. So of course, appalled

the deliberate targeting of civilians violates international law and our shared humanity really. And you know, rather than circumventing

international responsibilities under the guise of humanitarian aid, you know, there needs to be a concerted effort to end the state of impunity,

this event is not isolated.

And it's not the first time and it's indicative of a pattern, you know, similar justification of sensing danger have been used in the past by

Israeli authorities in the West Bank, when there's unarmed civilians being killed, especially in the case of --- for example, where the officer was

acquitted. And he says danger from an autistic disabled child who was going to his school and was unarmed.

And sensing danger was why the officer had shot him. So you know this attack only exacerbate an already critical humanitarian crisis and blockade

that Israel's imposed on the entire strip. And, you know, reports from journalists on the ground, including firsthand accounts are indicating that

victims were targeted directly in the head and the chest. And there are also reports that this really -- does the grading of the bodies of victims.

Now, nothing is verified yet. And investigation, I'm sure will be, you know, held and ongoing. But you know, this is -- it's, again, it's not a

tragic event. The unfolding tragedy in Gaza is just a reminder on the need to address the root causes, you know, of this conflict and this impunity.

And you know attacks on health and the reduction of aid, because of Israeli restrictions are unacceptable. And violate international law, especially

when we have an ICJ order that is very clear, where it asks Israel and Member States to uphold their duties and responsibilities to ensure that

there's unfettered access to humanitarian workers and humanitarian aid in Gaza and this is not happening.

ANDERSON: We have spoken to a local journalist in Gaza who was out the scene Kader Al Zanun (ph) who was at the scene and witnessed what happened.

There were large crowds waiting for food to be distributed from the aid trucks, chaos and confusion is really live fire. According to this one

local journalist on the ground at the scene witnessing what happened. And people fled.

Most of the people that were killed were rammed by the aid trucks during what was chaos. And while they were trying to escape the Israeli gunfire,

reporting from one of the local journalists that CNN is in touch with of course, you know, as an international organization, we do not have access

on the ground.

And that is something that we continue to press for both pressing Israeli and Egyptian authorities. It is almost impossible to report on incidents

like this, deadly incidents like this unless you are on the ground. Many will say that that is intentional and part of -- on the part of the

authorities. Bushra, it's good to have you, thank you very much indeed. Your analysis your insight is so important. Thank you, we're going to take

a very short break, more on this after this.



ANDERSON: I am Becky Anderson in Abu Dhabi, you're watching "Connect the World" this is breaking news. And news coming -- continuing to come through

of a terrifying Israeli attack in Gaza that has led to mass casualties. The health ministry there says more than 100 people were killed while they were

waiting for food aid to be distributed.

Israel admits its troops open fire, but says that they were under threat from a crowd surrounding the aid trucks. While the IDF releasing this video

taken from the air. A local journalist says most of the casualties came during the chaos after the shooting. And that was from a local journalist

speaking to CNN, who is on the ground and witnessed what was going on.

A senior Hamas figure has warned that the killings could cause what are these ongoing ceasefire and hostage negotiations to break down. Izzat Al-

Risheq saying and I quote; negotiations are not an open process. We will not allow for the pathway of the negotiations to become a cover for the

enemy's continued crimes against our people in the Gaza Strip.

Well the latest terrific losses and this event in the past couple of hours pushing or certainly we are getting news of what has gone on, on the ground

there in Northern Gaza, just in the past couple of hours. But this against the backdrop of an overall death toll in Gaza, which is now more than

30,000 since the war started.

Jeremy Diamond is in Israel. He is reporting from Tel Aviv. And we're getting to him now live. Jeremy, what has been Israel's response to this

breaking news that we are reporting?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, I just got off the briefing call with an Israeli military spokesman who is offering a

contradictory timeline, to what multiple eyewitnesses on the ground, including a local journalist Kader Al Zanun, who I spoke with today have

told us about what transpired. The Israeli military is claiming that these were effectively two separate incidents they say.

They say that after the trucks crossed into Northern Gaza, that there was a stampede that happened, that trucks ran over people and that it was after

that took place that the Israeli military opened fire on a group of Palestinians who had approached their checkpoints. That contradicts what

we're hearing from people on the ground, including that local journalists I mentioned.

What we understand from people who were actually there on the ground is that soon after those trucks crossed into that neighborhood of Western Gaza

City, the Israeli military, sorry, I was just getting some feedback there. The thousands of people swarmed those vehicles, those aid trucks that were

crossing into Northern Gaza.

And it was minutes after that happens that the Israeli military opened fire. And it was that gunfire that eye witnesses on the ground including

our local journalists that we've been working with say that it was at -- that it was that gunfire that causes those aid truck drivers to drive away

in a panic that caused this stampede.


Now, according to Kader Al Zanun that local journalists, about 20 people were shot in that initial barrage of gunfire and the majority of the people

who were killed of the 104 people were killed as a result of the ensuing chaos, including the trucks, apparently driving away furiously and running

over multiple individuals. Altogether 104 people were killed. 760 people were injured, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.

And it's important to note, of course, that none of this would be happening, if not for the desperate humanitarian situation on the ground in

Northern Gaza. So few aid trucks have been able to get into Northern Gaza over the last month, in fact, aid into Gaza has dropped by half from

January to February.

We know that in Northern Gaza, about half a million people are now on the brink of famine. They are eating grass, they are eating animal feed. They

have been eating soups made with dirty water that is collected there. So it is an absolutely desperate situation caused in part by the Israeli military

not allowing sufficient aid trucks into Northern Gaza.

Aid groups suspending their trucks driving into Northern Gaza because of a lack of security, because they have been unable to coordinate safely with

the Israeli military, and also now because people are swarming these trucks because they are so, so desperate for any aid that they can get.

I mean, we are talking about bags of flour that people are trying to get, because they haven't tasted bread in weeks, if not months now. So an

absolutely desperate situation on the ground and coming as you mentioned, as we've also hit that grim marker of 30,000 people now killed in Gaza

since the beginning of this war, the majority of those women and children, Becky.

ANDERSON: Just getting response from the Biden Administration, Jeremy, just while you've been speaking. So let me just read this. And I'll get your

thoughts on this, quote, this is a serious incident. We are looking into the reports. We mourn the loss of innocent life and recognize the dire

humanitarian situation in Gaza, where innocent Palestinians are just trying to feed their families.

This underscores the importance of expanding and sustaining the flow of humanitarian assistance into Gaza, including through a potential temporary

ceasefire. We continue to work day and night to achieve that outcome.

Well, that for sure is something that we know the Biden Administration has been at the absolute heart of these mediated efforts to try and secure what

will be a temporary ceasefire for the release of hostages and Palestinian prisoners, which will also allow for, of course, more humanitarian aid into


Now, whether enough of that gets to the north of the Gaza Strip, which is clearly where people are so in such desperate need, remains a moot point.

What also remains a moot point at this point, Jeremy, is whether or not this latest incident could derail any chance of progress in those mediated

talks, those negotiations, which we are told, at least in principle, are moving in the right direction, your thoughts?

DIAMOND: Yeah, I think that is certainly a concern. I mean, you know, incidents like this can indeed derail negotiations. But they also

underscore the need for those negotiations to be successful, the need for a temporary ceasefire in Gaza, the need for more humanitarian aid to be able

to make it in. I mean, we've been watching over the course of the last few days, Becky, as multiple countries have mostly led by Jordan have been air

dropping aid into Gaza.

And a part of that is just because of the challenges of distributing that aid via trucks on the ground, which is the most effective way to actually

do it. These air drops are but drops in the bucket of the humanitarian need in Gaza. And it was only in the last 24 hours that some of those air drops

actually landed in Northern Gaza. They've mostly been landing in Southern and in Central Gaza. But northern Gaza is where the need is most acute.

And it seems that you know, without being able to do those air drops at scale, the only way to safely get more humanitarian aid trucks into

Northern Gaza would be a temporary ceasefire. And so, today's incident really just underscoring that.


ANDERSON: Jeremy is on the ground in Tel Aviv in Israel. Jeremy, it's good to have you. Thank you very much indeed. We are going to take a very quick

break. We'll be back after this.


ANDERSON: The waiting game in Donald Trump's 2020 election subversion case has just got longer, maybe a lot longer. On Wednesday evening, the U.S.

Supreme Court agreed to hear Trump's claim of absolute immunity from prosecution after an Appeals Court unanimously ruled against the former

president. That is a big win for Trump's legal team, at least in the short term as it seeks to push all his criminal trials back past the November

presidential election.

Katelyn Polantz is connecting us from Washington. I think it's really important to just underscore the significance of what we are seeing here

and its consequence at this point. Ultimately, you know this is all about for many of our viewers watching, whether or not Donald Trump will stand,

will be able to stand in these presidential election and whether indeed, he can ultimately, if he wins, take a term as President.

KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Exactly, Becky, what's going on here is twofold at the Supreme Court. There is this

question that the Supreme Court is already looking at, which is whether states can remove Donald Trump from the ballot in their primary elections.

Three states as of last night have said Donald Trump is ineligible to be voted for in those states in the primaries, because of his role as an

insurrectionist in 2020, after that election on January 6; those states now are Illinois, Colorado and Maine.

And so, the Supreme Court is looking at whether those states have the power to do that, we're waiting for a decision there. That is one thing the

Supreme Court is looking at that is the long arm of what the fallout has been from the 2020 election and Trump's behavior after that while he was

still President. And then his role or support of his own supporters who had that riot at the U.S. Capitol building.

Separately the Supreme Court now is going to be looking at his criminal case in Washington DC's federal court and whether Trump can be tried for

the charges there, whether he has some level of immunity, because he was serving as president after that election and doing some things potentially

within his official duties of the presidency, while the Supreme Court has that case, it cannot go to trial.

Donald Trump's strategy in court always has been delay, delay, delay and we are seeing more of a delay now in that federal 2020 election obstruction

case in Washington DC, because the Supreme Court is going to be looking at it.


They could rule any time before the end of their term, which will be late June. We'll have to see exactly how quickly that ruling would come. And if

they decide Trump can be charged with this crime and can stand trial before a jury before the election, we'll watch to see if the trial judge wants

Trump to be tried before November. He certainly doesn't want that to happen. But it's all going to be up to the courts. Becky?

ANDERSON: You have laid it out very adroitly. Thank you. Well, U.S. President Joe Biden and Dormer President Donald Trump are both visiting the

U.S. Mexico border today. They will tour different parts of the border with Mr. Biden in Brownsville, Texas and Trump in Eagle Pass, which was the

scene of a confrontation over immigration between the Biden Administration and Texas Governor Greg Abbott.

Both are trying to project strength on immigration as it shapes up to be a major issue in what is this presidential campaign. All right folks, we are

taking a very short break, back after this.


ANDERSON: Well, Russian President Vladimir Putin, he's warning Western nations that they risk triggering a nuclear war if they send troops to

Ukraine. And he says Moscow has the weapons to strike Western targets. Now Putin threats came during his annual State of the Nation address earlier

today. CNN's Matthew Chance has more from Moscow for you.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CHIEF GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, this was a wide ranging to our state of the nation speech in which the Russian

President slammed the West for provoking conflict in Ukraine, the Middle East and other regions. Vladimir Putin, who of course stands for re-

election in Russia later this month, accused the west of wanting to see a dying Russia and saying that was a miscalculation.

He also warned against any deployment of Western troops in Ukraine, something that's been floated by the French leadership saying ominously

that Russia has weapons that can hit their territory too, take a listen.



VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT: They start talking about the possibilities in NATO military contingency Ukraine. But we remember the

fate of those who want to send their contingents to territory of our country. But now the consequences for possible interventionists will be

much more tragic.


CHANCE: Well, the Putin address comes just over two years since the Kremlin's so-called special military operation in Ukraine, something Putin

referred to in his speech unusually, but accurately as a war. He spoke in glowing terms about the Russian military claiming that the majority of

Russians support the full scale invasion of Ukraine.

There was no indication though, about when the conflict which is estimate to inflicted hundreds of thousands of casualties on both sides may come to

an end. Of course, there were digs at the United States as well with Putin accusing politicians in the U.S. of appealing to the prejudices against

Russia of ordinary Americans, and of being insincere about wanting real talks on strategic stability with Moscow, take a listen again.


PUTIN: On the eve of the U.S. presidential elections, they just want to show their citizens and everyone else, that they still ruled the world.

They say that on those issues where it's beneficial for America to negotiate, they will have a conversation with the Russians, and where it is

not beneficial for them. There is nothing to discuss, as they themselves say business as usual, and they will strive to the fetus.


CHANCE: Well, as I say, it was a wide ranging speech. One thing that was conspicuous by its absence, though, was any reference to the late Russian

opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who died in unexplained circumstances in a notorious Arctic penal colony earlier this month.

The Kremlin has of course denied any responsibility for his death, but the funeral is due to take place on Friday. It could see large numbers of his

supporters turn out to pay their last respects. Matthew Chance, CNN Moscow.

ANDERSON: I'm Becky Anderson in Abu Dhabi. This is "Connect the World" back after this short break. And just a reminder, we are following breaking news

out of Gaza. More than 100 people killed, while they were waiting for food aid to be distributed. The very latest on that is after this.