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Connect the World

World Central Kitchen: 7 Aid Workers Killed in Israeli Strike; Ukraine War in Gaza High on the Agenda for U.S. Secretary of State; Florida Supreme Court Clears Way for Six-Week Abortion Ban; Trump Returning to Campaign Trial after Gag Order Expanded; Caitlin Clark and Iowa Return to Women's Final Four. Aired 9-9:45a ET

Aired April 02, 2024 - 09:00   ET




ELENI GIOKOS, CNN HOST, CONNECT THE WORLD: It is 5 pm here in Abu Dhabi. I'm Eleni Giokos. I'm in for Becky Anderson. This is "Connect the World".

Also happening this hour, Israel says it unintentionally struck innocent people in Gaza and is investigating at the highest levels after one of its

airstrikes killed at least seven aid workers Monday.

Iran's leader is vowing to respond the day after a deadly attack on Iran's consulates in Syria. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is meeting with

top officials in Paris with Gaza and Ukraine higher the agenda. And investigations are underway in Finland following a deadly school shooting

on Tuesday when 12 year old child died.

Well I want to check in to see how the stock markets in New York is faring at this point, of course, DOW futures pointing to a negative start to the

day around eight tenths of a percent lower. We've got oil prices at a five month high. A big worry about how that's going to feed into inflation.

Of course, we saw the start of the second quarter and it's off to a very rocky road ahead. We'll check in to see how the markets open in about half

an hour. In the meantime, the World Central Kitchen is pausing its Gaza operations after seven of its workers were killed in an airstrike leaving

even fewer options for Palestinians on the brink of famine.

They had just finished unloading 100 tons of food at a warehouse in central Gaza when the group says the cars were hit by an Israeli strike. Here's

what the Israeli Prime Minister had to say.


BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: Unfortunately, in the last day, there was a tragic incident where our forces unintentionally struck

innocent people in the Gaza Strip. It happens in war, and we're thoroughly investigating it and we are in contact with the government and we'll do

everything to prevent such occurrences in the future.


GIOKOS: Well World Central Kitchen has been feeding starving residents of Gaza since the start of the Israel-Hamas war. CNN's Melissa Bell is in

Jerusalem, Melissa with devastating news for World Central Kitchen aid workers. What more do we know about the strike and importantly, also the

messaging from Israel right now?

What we've heard is that they were in touch with the IDF. They knew the route. But clearly something went wrong. And right now we just don't know


MELISSA BELL, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. In fact, we've just been hearing from the IDF, Eleni, saying that its top

general is personally going to review the information as it comes in. That's part of what's been described to us as the high level probe that is

being launched to try and figure out what went on, as you say, according to World Central Kitchen, this was a convoy in a de conflicted part of Gaza.

It had been delivering 100 tons of aid to a warehouse. The convoy was then leaving when it was hit. And when you look at those pictures of the

aftermath of the strike, you can see on the armored car, the World Central Kitchen logo clearly exposed. So that will now be the subject of an

investigation by the IDF.

But of course, the fact that the World Central Kitchen that has paid as you say such a crucial role in getting aid to the hungry in Gaza. Let us bear

in mind that it is 2.2 million people according to the U.N., that are at danger of hunger and half of the population of Gaza that is now facing


So this was critically needed aid coming to people who desperately needed it. The World Central Kitchen has played a crucial role because even as the

land crossings have remained very difficult for so much of the aid that agencies are trying to get in. They had been delivering it by sea.

So ships coming in from Cyprus delivering the aid to a jetty that has been made off the edge of Northern Gaza. And what we understand, Eleni is that

aid that had just been delivered to the warehouse was indeed that had just been delivered to Gaza by maritime route. So the fact that World Central

Kitchen is pausing its operations, really a devastating blows to the overall humanitarian picture in the Gaza Strip.


GIOKOS: Yeah, I mean, it's really devastating to see the images in the aftermath of the strike. Melissa, I also want to understand in terms of

where to from here the IDF says they're going to be embarking on investigation at the highest level, you've got the U.S. voicing their

concern, the Australian Prime Minister also saying that there needs to be accountability.

I guess everyone here needs to find out exactly what happened. In these sorts of matters, how quickly will we hear from the IDF in terms of

understanding why the strike happened on something that was clearly marked as aid workers?

BELL: I suspect that the answers are going to have to come pretty quickly, Eleni because as you suggest, it was the diverse background of these

workers. There was an American-Canadian citizen, a British citizen, a Polish citizen and Australian citizen, a Palestinian as well. And you've

heard outrage expressed from all of their home countries, including the White House, which has spoken of its sorrow and concern about what might

have gone on.

So the these countries are asking version questions, as are the U.N. agencies that have so desperately been trying to get aid in and raise alarm

bells about what's going on inside the Gaza Strip. We've been hearing, Eleni, from the head of the U.N.'s agency that deals with relief in the

occupied territories pointing out that this is far from an isolated incident.

It is 196 aid workers he says that have been killed so far since the war began across the occupied territories. And that is a reminder of how very

dangerous this work is, at a time when it is increasingly desperately needed. Of course, we've been hearing repeatedly from the IDF from the

Israeli side, Eleni of their attempts to increase the amount of aid getting into work with the aid agencies as they tried to bring relief.

But in terms of what's happening on the ground, we continue to hear from the U.N. agencies desperate pleas for more to get in. And in this

particular case, what appears to be a failure on the IDF side to work with these humanitarian aid workers. So I believe that we will have to be

getting answers fairly quickly from them given the amount of outrage that's been expressed.

We've been hearing from also the head of the U.N.'s relief agency across the world speaking of these workers as heroes who were bringing aid to

starving people. And I think the pressure on Israel is now ratcheted up another notch to try and give answers but also to try and get more aid in

safely, Eleni.

GIOKOS: All right, Melissa Bell, thank you so much for that update. Well, while the U.S. tries to seek a resolution to Israel's war in Gaza, sources

tell CNN, the Biden Administration is close to approving a major fighter jet sale to Israel. The deal reportedly includes up to 50 F-15 jets and is

expected to be worth more than $18 billion.

It will be the largest military sale to Israel since the country went to war with Hamas after the October 7th attacks. CNN's Jennifer Hansler

joining us now with more from Washington, Jennifer, this announcement will only be delivered in fact in around four years, so we're talking about

longer term sale here. But I want to also talk about the significance of this sale, but also the immediate weapons that are available to Israel

having a direct impact on this war.

JENNIFER HANSLER, CNN STATE DEPARTMENT PRODUCER: Well, Eleni, it is significant, even if these aren't going to get to Israel for many years

because it shows just how much the Biden administration is standing by Israel militarily, even as it is raising concerns about its conduct in the

war in Gaza about the humanitarian toll there.

Now we know that they are poised to green light this sale because they have already taken step one of these arms transfer sales, which is letting the

top Democrats and Republicans on both the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee know that they want to move


We know that the Republicans on each of those committees have given their go ahead to this sale, but the Democrats could still put a hold in place.

If they do not do that, it will go to all of Congress, which could then vote to put a hold on this sale. But that rarely happens.

Nonetheless, we do expect to be this to be a topic of fierce debate on the Hill given that more and more Democratic lawmakers are calling on the

administration to enact restrictions and to put conditions on that military aid to Israel. And all this of course set against the backdrop of this

fierce political flight that Biden is looking at in November as more and more people here in the U.S. are voicing outcry about the fact that they

are moving forward with these massive sales.

As you said not just the sales that are in the long term but also these ones that are going to Israel right now that could be used in Gaza that

could be used if Israel as its defense.


Top defense officials have warned goes into Lebanon further to go after Hezbollah. So we are seeing both the words from the Biden administrations

that are things they don't want to regional conflict. They want civilians to be protected and then the actions providing this weaponry that is being

used to cause a lot of the civilian harm, Eleni.

GIOKOS: Jennifer Hansler, thank you so much for that update. Iran now is vowing to respond after Israeli airstrikes destroyed the Iranian consulate

in Damascus on Monday. At least 13 people were killed in the attack, including seven members of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

A U.S. official says the U.S. had no involvement or advanced knowledge of the attack. Iran's ambassador to Damascus said this is likely the first

time Israel directly targeted an Iranian diplomatic building. We've got Fred Pleitgen joining us now he's been inside the Iranian embassy in


And he joins us for more insight. Fred, I've got a few questions for you. So just bear with me. I want to start off with the Vienna Conventions which

are supposed to protect diplomatic compounds if those are struck essentially, you're striking that said country's actual, you know

territory, you've been inside this embassy. I want you to talk to me about how serious this attack is?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think it's extremely serious because it's not only an attack on that, what appears to

be an annex building of the Iranian embassy there in Damascus, but this is also really right in the center of Damascus, that embassy is right at the

major highway that leads into the center of Damascus called the Mezzeh highway.

And you're right I have been in that building before. It's a very large embassy that the Iranians have they're very large compound. And if we go

back and look at the footage that we were showing before, you can see that the actual embassy building seems to be almost untouched seems to still be


But the building next to that seems to be completely annihilated. And that certainly appears to indicate that the Israelis or whoever was behind all

that the Israelis, of course, have not yet claimed responsibility for that attack that they conducted a pretty precise strike using a lot of munitions

and doing that right in the center of Damascus is certainly pretty bold.

Now you're absolutely right. The Iranians have come out and said that this contradicts pretty much every diplomatic convention that is out there. But

the Israelis have come out and said, first of all, they're not acknowledging that they were behind this. They also ever say that they

consider that building as not being a diplomatic compound.

They say that they believe that this was a base, essentially, for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the IRGC, of course, the elite Iranian

military unit, and that therefore, it was a building that could have been attacked.

Of course, officially, this is very much part of the Iranian embassy compound inside Damascus. It's a very large embassy again, but certainly

one that officially is part of an embassy compound and therefore -- territory of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Eleni.

GIOKOS: So Fred, I also want to talk about the seniority of the IRGC officials that were killed. Give me a sense of the importance of General

Zahedi as well as General Rahimi.

PLEITGEN: Well, both of them are extremely important, especially to the IRGC operations in the Levant, in that area in that part of the Middle

East. And I think one of the things that we need to understand is that Syria for the IRGC for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, for the past,

really, I'd say about 10 years has been an extremely important venue.

They obviously fought very hard there against the opposition, against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. They also mustered a lot of forces out

there a lot of militias back then, under General Qasem Soleimani. So the Iranians do tend to send very senior military officials, especially the

Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to Syria to run their operations there.

They're very important for them also, as they support Hezbollah, but also, of course, to try and pressure the Israelis as well. In fact, one of the

things that the Israelis came out and said is that they said, look, the Iranians attacked an Israeli military base in the town of a lot near the

Red Sea, on the very day that the Israeli or whoever conducted this military strike on the embassy compound.

So these are very senior figures in the IRGC so, certainly a big blow. But one thing that has become clear also from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard

Corps is that they do tend to be able to replenish their ranks very quickly, Eleni.

GIOKOS: All right, Fred Pleitgen thank you so much for that analysis. All right, and these developments in the Middle East as well as the war in

Ukraine will be high on the U.S. Secretary of State's agenda today, who's in Paris for talks with the French President. Antony Blinken has this

morning -- factory providing weapons to Ukraine and will later meet with Emmanuel Macron.

I want to go now to International Diplomatic Editor Nic Robertson in London for a bit of insight of what we're expecting today. Ukraine is a hot button

issue but frankly, there's a lot on the agenda, Nic.


There is a lot, look there are always these handshakes so you know meeting with the Defense Minister then the Foreign Minister and later on tonight

with Emmanuel Macron. But I think you know the language around it is one of unity of purpose to defeat Russia's war of aggression in Ukraine support

Ukrainian people, all of that unity, unity, unity.

But I think as well as the handshake, there's a nudge here too. The French over the weekend announced that they were going to be sending hundreds of

used armored vehicles to support Ukraine in the world, very valuable along the frontlines to keep troops safe.

They're going to supply more surface to air missiles very valuable, because that's what Ukraine depends on to keep its cities safe to keep, you know,

to keep the large elements of the civilian population safe from the drones, from the missiles that Russia fires in there. But there's a sense that the

French could be doing more and that perhaps, is felled by Europe by some of the European partners.

The Germans, for example, the Czechs now over the weekend, the French talked about the potential for upping the armaments production. And you saw

the Secretary Blinken there with the Defense Minister add an armaments factory, talking about artillery shells, hugely valuable what Ukraine is

desperately short of outgunned out ammunition by Russia.

But it's Germany and the Czech Republic that are really ramping up Europe's up kick, if you will, in ammunition and artillery shell production,

France's contribution doesn't kind of come close to those numbers that Germany and Czech Republic are talking about. So I think there's a sense of

a nudge here from the U.S. as well, where they talk about this joint support.

And they also talk about France as being a leading European partner as being one that sets the trend, one that should be at the front, if you

will, congratulating them for doing everything they're doing. But I think the subtext, is also do more of course that comes at a time when the United

States is not coming up with its major funding for Ukraine for the war.

GIOKOS: All right, Nic Robertson great to have you on. Thank you so much. Moving now to a school shooting today in Finland leaving one 12 year old

student dead and two others seriously injured. It happened at a primary school near the capital Helsinki. The suspect initially fled but Finnish

police say he's now in custody.

The suspect is a fellow student, also just 12 years old. CNN's Seb Shukla has the latest developments, Seb, great to have you on the story for us.

What more do we know?

SEBASTIAN SHUKLA, CNN FIELD PRODUCER: Well, Eleni, it was a scene that turned into a nightmare, right after the long Easter weekend, children

returning back to school just north of the Finnish capital Helsinki at a school in the town of Vantaa, which is just north of the capital.

And to an attacker has injured and killed one of his other students, all of whom are 12 years old, seemingly from the same grade at school. As you say

police have now taken him into custody, but an interesting term because of his age, it means that he cannot be handed over to police, he will have to

be processed through social services.

We don't yet know exactly what the reason for this attack was and paraphrasing the Finnish Prime Minister, he said that, you know, he's

deeply shocked by what has happened at the school. The authorities are yet to determine the story behind this event. But he also acknowledged that one

attack is one attack to many.

But Finland, you know, unlike other countries in the world, you know, particularly the United States where we see attacks in schools like this

happening on a more regular basis. It is very rare in Finland. In the last attack that we saw this form happened in 2008, when 9 people including the

attacker were killed including the attacker himself.

So it's incredibly rare in Finland but details at the moment, Eleni are still very, very thin on the ground and I'm sure that Finnish authorities

will be looking to try to establish exactly what happened here.

GIOKOS: All right, Seb Shukla for us. Thank you so much. And still to come thousands of women will be impacted by a new ruling from the Florida

Supreme Court. Their access to abortion is about to be drastically reduced. We will be live in South Florida.



GIOKOS: Florida is about to become one of the most restrictive states when it comes to abortions in a year when a nationally reproductive right is on

the ballot in the nation's third most populated states. The Florida Supreme Court has upheld a 15 week ban on abortion and ruling that will allow a six

week ban passed last year to take effect within 30 days.

Most women do not even know they are pregnant at six weeks. Virginia would become the closest state where abortion remains legal. CNN's Carlos Suarez

is now joining us for Medley, Florida, Carlos, very good morning to you.

Really fascinating topic here, this abortion issue has become a voting issue, as we had two elections this year. And Floridians will be able to

specifically vote for their preference on these rights in a swing state. So take us through this.

CARLOS SUAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, that's right. So well, a top Republicans in Florida, including the State Speaker of the House, they

touted the Florida State Supreme Court's ruling that allows for this six week ban to take effect in about 30 days. And they said that there is going

to be an effort to try to defeat this abortion a ballot amendment that will go before the voters in November.

Now the court yesterday really did away with years and years of precedent in that ruling that they determined that the right to privacy in the state

constitution does not protect the right to an abortion. And so that decision cleared the way for Florida's 15 week ban to go forward as well as

a stricter six week ban and that was passed by the state legislature last year.

And so that allows for that six week ban to take effect in about 30 days. As you noted, Florida now joins this long list of states across the south

of the United States, where there are some restrictions in place, if not an outright ban on abortions. Now Planned Parenthood of Florida said that the

impact really is going to go beyond women living in the state of Florida.

They know that in recent years, they have seen more and more women coming to Florida from some of these other states with some of these more severe

restrictions, all in an effort to access abortion services. Now many of these abortion providers really were anticipating yesterday's ruling and

they said that efforts will soon get underway to try to get women to some of these other states in the U.S. that do not have some of these


Now the Florida Supreme Court also ruled yesterday that voters, they're going to be the ones to decide whether they want to expand access to

abortion. The justices approved the wording of a state constitutional amendment that would protect the right to an abortion in Florida.

This ballot amendment would prohibit the restriction of an abortion before viability so we're talking about the 24 to 28 weeks of pregnancy. It is

important to note here that 60 percent of voters would have to approve it in November in order for that amendment to pass. We can expect this issue

to come up throughout the presidential election cycle.

Although considering that Florida really has a lien on the Republican side of things. Democrats believe that they can use this issue to perhaps put

the state of Florida in play, Eleni.


GIOKOS: Well, I'm glad you mentioned that. I mean, Biden campaign says Florida could be winnable, we've established it is a swing state. So could

we see the same thing play out in other states as well?

SUAREZ: It's possible. I mean, there's also another ballot amendment that's going to go before voters which would legalize the recreational use of

marijuana. And so some Democrats in the state of Florida believe that that issue along with abortion might turn out some of their supporters, because

they might feel strongly with either of those two issues.

However, a Florida again, traditionally really has voted for Republicans. And if history is in a prologue here, it is possible that Florida could

conceivably pass any one of these two ballot amendment questions and still vote for a Republican at the top of the ticket. I think a really important

part of the story is the supermajority that is needed for this ballot amendment to pass.

We're talking about 60 percent of voters needing to sign off on this in order for the state's constitutional right to privacy includes the right to

an abortion.

GIOKOS: Yeah, that's a big margin. Carlos Suarez, thank you so much. I want to get you up to speed on some of the stories that are on our radar right

now. Ukraine is claiming to have hit one of Russia's biggest oil refineries some 700 miles east of the border, a long range drone hit the refinery in

the Russian region of Tatarstan causing a fire injuring 12 people according to Russian media.

Now, it appears to be the furthest East Ukrainians attacked since the war started. Sources tell us that the suspect to ram the gate of an FBI office

in Georgia Monday is a Navy veteran from South Carolina. This is what it looked like after he tried to follow into the vehicle inside but still

don't know why.

Now he could face state and federal charges. The owner of the ship that caused the key bridge in Baltimore to collapse is asking a court to limit

its financial liability. The collapse killed six construction workers who were on the bridge. The ship's owner petitioned to court Monday to cap its

financial liability for the damage at $42 million.

And coming up next, taking on what his campaign calls Biden's border bloodbath. We're live in Michigan where Donald Trump is said to speak to

voters. We'll be back right after this.



GIOKOS: There we go. That is the site of trade on Wall Street was always an exciting moment when they ring the bell. The CEOs of two General Electric

brands, GE Aerospace and GE Vernova have today's honor of ringing the bell. Investors are of course watching closely to see if that DOW can hit the

magic number of 40,000.

We're quite far away from that. As you can see, we've started there on a negative footing down around nine tenths of a percent sitting at 39225

getting further away from that 40k mark. And of course, everyone is focused on that oil price. Welcome back to the show. I'm Eleni Giokos. You're

watching "Connect the World".

And I mentioned oil receding at five month highs. This of course, is a particular concern following the news of Monday's strike on that oil

refinery in Russia and also the Iranian consulate in Damascus. As we reported earlier, this is where prices stand in real time for Brent crude

and WTI crude has a five month high on Monday fueled by expectations of growing demand in China and the U.S. as well as supply cuts by OPEC Plus


As well as, you can see Brent crude up 1.5 percent, WTI crude 1.7 percent higher as well. It's clearly a lot of concern coming through and that is

why we're seeing a rise in oil prices, concerns that we might see supply being pulled back. Right also watching the markets right now, is Donald

Trump who is back on the campaign trail today, despite ongoing financial and legal challenges.

His net worth plunging by a billion dollars overnight after shares of his media company tanked on Monday. It happened on the same day Trump posted a

$175 million bond as he appeals the judgment against him in the New York civil fraud case. None of that appearing to slow him down though, as he

gears up to address voters in Michigan and Wisconsin today.

Alayna Treene is on the Trump campaign trail for us. She joins us from Grand Rapids in Michigan. Trump returning to the trail for the first time,

essentially in weeks. What more can you tell us? I mean, he is I guess worth a billion dollars less but take us through which is being on the


ALAYNA TREENE, CNN REPORTER: Right. Well, as you mentioned, Donald Trump has not been on the campaign trail much in the past two weeks since his

Super Tuesday, when he's only held two political campaign events. And that's at the same time that President Joe Biden has actually been ramping

up his own campaigning with his own stops in Michigan and Wisconsin recently.

But like Michigan and Wisconsin are two very critical battleground states, both for Trump but also for Biden. Donald Trump won the states in 2016, but

lost them to Biden in 2020. And Republicans have really struggled in the year since to replicate Donald Trump's performance back in 2016.

So that's a part of why you're seeing this big push. And when I talked to the Trump campaign, his advisors told me that they do think these states

are winnable in November. They say that they've been looking at internal polling and data that shows Trump and Biden neck and neck in the States.

Of course, it's still very early. But again, while you're seeing him come out to these critical battlegrounds today and holding these two big

important events now, as for what Donald Trump is expected to talk about his team tells me that they're really going to be focusing on two major

three themes that helped propel him to success in 2016.

And that's immigration and crime. Now, this first event that will be happening here in Michigan is focused on quote, Biden's border bloodbath.

That's them, referencing a very controversial term that Trump used recently when describing the auto industry and the country. Under Biden, we saw a

lot of backlash to that rhetoric when he said that from Democrats and Republicans alike.

And I think you can continue, you'll expect excuse me to hear Donald Trump use some of that inflammatory rhetoric in his speeches today. Now, another

key thing that we're tracking is whether or not the family of Ruby Garcia will be attending this event in Michigan, we know that Donald Trump had

invited her family.

She's someone who was recently killed by an undocumented immigrant here in Michigan police say that it was a domestic dispute, but Donald Trump, as we

know, likes to point to alleged violent crimes committed by undocumented immigrants in the country to further his point that Biden is not handling

the border correctly.


And I just want to point out as well in Wisconsin, that is a state I should say that Donald Trump's team says is a must win state. He's going to be

focusing on a lot of the same themes, but also electric vehicles really leaning in to what people in the state care about. And so, essentially

Eleni, we are seeing Donald Trump kick off his general election campaign in earnest here on Tuesday.

GIOKOS: Yeah, Alayna Treene, great to have you on the show. Thank you. Now it's one of the best known news networks in the world and now Israeli Prime

Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is vowing to stop it operating in the country. Al Jazeera is facing a ban in Israel after parliament approved a new law

Monday, allowing the government to ban foreign networks which are deemed to be a threat to national security.

Israel claims that Al Jazeera is a trumpet for Hamas. The network strongly disputes this claim. According to Al Jazeera, several of its reporters and

their families have been killed by Israeli airstrikes in recent months. Meantime, Rights groups are concerned that the new law could also be

applied to other news outlets impacting international coverage of the war in Gaza.

We've got CNN's Scott McLean in Istanbul covering the story for us. Scott, Al Jazeera is under target right now under this law, but also, as we've

said, foreign networks as well. What does this law entail overall? And what does it mean down the line for reporting out of Israel?

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, there's a lot of concern that this is a slippery slope. First off this law, which the Prime Minister says that

he will not hesitate to enact against Al Jazeera, gives the Prime Minister or the Communications Minister the power to shut down foreign media offices

to block their websites, to block their signal to cease press cards and to seize equipment, some pretty sweeping powers here are all in the name of

national security.

And the Israelis have justified this at least in part by pointing to Western sanctions or bans in some cases against the Iranian outlet Press TV

and Russia today, obviously, owned by Moscow. And in this case, Israel is also making some very serious allegations, which frankly, maybe aren't even

worth repeating, because they have come with no evidence at all that Al Jazeera involvement in the October 7 attacks.

Obviously, the Prime Minister has also long complained about anti-Israel bias that in Al Jazeera is reporting but the reality as you've rightly

pointed out, Eleni is that Al Jazeera is a very well respected network. It does and has continued throughout the course of this war to do some very --

on the ground reporting.

Just a few days ago broke news about Israeli troops shooting and killing Palestinians and then bulldozing their bodies in Gaza. That's just one

example of the many examples of exceptional journalism that Al Jazeera has done, and its people have also been in -- way. The Gaza bureau chief, for

instance, lost his whole family in an Israeli airstrike back in October.

Al Jazeera has called these inflammatory slanders that put its employees at risk. It's also worth noting the timing here because Al Jazeera is part

owned by Qatar and obviously Qatar is a big part of the negotiations between the Israelis and Hamas to try to reach a ceasefire.

GIOKOS: All right, thank you for that update. Scott, stick with me because we've got some tragic news just into CNN was just coming out. Out of Turkey

where a fire has killed at least 27 people. That is according to state media, they say the fire happened in an underground entertainment sites in

central Istanbul.

Scott, you're still with me. What more do we know about this fire as we've just heard, 27 people have been killed.

MCLEAN: Yeah, that's a pretty sobering number, Eleni. Frankly, we have very little information beyond that. This is according to TRT setting the number

27 people killed. I can tell you that this is in the Besiktas neighborhood of Istanbul. It is on the European side. It is also a very central

location, as well.

There will be a lot of foot traffic over there. It's a desirable place for people to be. Apparently on this particular site located underground, there

was renovation work being done there when the fire started. So you can imagine perhaps people were trapped and couldn't get out. But again, we

don't have a whole lot of information at this point. And so we are keeping our ears to the ground to try to get more on this as soon as we can.

GIOKOS: Yeah, well, thank you so much as Scott, staying on top of the story and others for us today much appreciated, Scott McLean in Istanbul for us.

We'll be right back after the short break with more news, stay with CNN.



GIOKOS: All right, we're following some big news and women's sports college basketball star Caitlin Clark put on quite a show Monday to lead her Iowa

Hawkeyes into the NCAA Final Four. She had 41 points and 12 assists in the win against LSU. Amanda Davies will have all the sport action right after

the short break. I'll be back at the top of the hour.