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Connect the World

Israel Vows to Eliminate Hamas in Rafah; CIA Director Bill Burns Meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Hostage/Cease-Fire Negotiations; U.S. Pauses Bomb Shipments to Israel; U.S. House Hearing on Anti-Semitism in Schools; GWU Protester "Angry" over Police Breakup of "Peaceful Protesters"; UNRWA Declares 50,000 Left Rafah in 48 Hours; U.S. Lawmakers Demand Answers on Kabul Airport Attack; Call to Earth: Protecting Coral Reefs; Passenger Drone Test in UAE. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired May 08, 2024 - 10:00   ET




ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Abu Dhabi, this is CONNECT THE WORLD with Becky Anderson.

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST (voice-over): Welcome to the second hour of the show.

I am Becky Anderson in Abu Dhabi where the time is 6:00 in the evening.

Roughly 50,000 people have left Rafah in the last 48 hours after Israel forced civilians there to evacuate.

This as international officials condemn Israel's operation and as airstrikes continue to target and kill Palestinians.

And for the first time since this conflict began, the United States has paused a shipment of bombs to Israel and it concerns over their potential

use in a ground operation in Rafah, a sign that Washington is growing increasingly frustrated with its ally's actions.

And a group of U.S. lawmakers demanding answers from the Defense Secretary about the military's chaotic exit from Afghanistan, specifically about an

incident that took place outside Kabul airport that CNN reporting helped uncover.


ANDERSON: Welcome to what is, as I say, the second hour of this show.

Israel says its military operations in Rafah are set to continue until Hamas is eliminated in Gaza or the first hostage returns. Medical officials

on the ground say in the past 24 hours alone, Israeli airstrikes in Rafah have killed at least 35 people, including a four month old baby.

About 50,000 people have fled Gaza's border city in the past 48 hours, according to the U.N. A short time ago, the director of the CIA, Bill

Burns, met with Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel to discuss the state of hostage ceasefire negotiations, which are currently ongoing in Cairo.

Jeremy Diamond has been across all of this on the ground for months right now. He is live for you in Jerusalem.

Let's start with those hostage talks and Bill Burns in Israel, shuttling, of course, between Doha, Cairo and, as we now know, Israel and his

conversation with the Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

What do we know at this point?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, the Israeli prime minister met today with the CIA director to discuss the state of those hostage


I haven't gotten a big sense yet of exactly what was discussed. But obviously this comes just two days after Hamas agreed to the latest

framework proposal that they reworked effectively with the Egyptians and the Qataris.

And now the effort is to try and bridge the gap between that Hamas offer and where the Israelis have been for the last two weeks, which is signing

on effectively to a previous Egyptian framework.

But there are several key gaps in these frameworks, one of which being, of course, Hamas' demand that Israel agree to a permanent cease-fire as part

of a second phase of this agreement.

And then there are some other issues as well, including the fact that Hamas has said it would fill out the number of 33 hostages released with the

bodies of dead hostages if indeed they are unable to find enough living hostages that meet that first humanitarian category of release.

I also understand that an Israeli delegation is still in Cairo, continuing further negotiations to try and bridge those gaps. So clearly there are

efforts on multiple fronts at multiple different levels, both at the working level in Cairo and also here in Israel at the higher level, with

the CIA director meeting with the Israeli prime minister.

ANDERSON: Over the past 36 hours, we've seen an uptick in what is Israel's operation in and over Rafah.


This is, as these hostage talks continue and, as we understand it, for as long as this conflict has been going on, the Israeli prime minister has

said that the Hamas infrastructure must be completely destroyed and all hostages must be returned home.

Rafah is the last bastion, as Israel believes, of Hamas and its battalions, if you want to call it as such.

Does that continue against the backdrop of these hostage talks, as we understand it?

Some reporting now that Israel wants to see at least evidence of the release of the first of those hostages, who are still being held.

Might the emergence of that first hostage, whenever that is, stop this Rafah offensive at this point?

Is that is that what we understand?

DIAMOND: It's really hard to tell at this point, Becky, because, on the one hand, the Israeli prime minister has said he believes that this Rafah

ground operation will help to put more pressure on Hamas at the negotiating table.

But at the same time, that offensive at some point will run in conflict with the possibility of a cease-fire, with the possibility of a hostage


And so the question is, how much longer does this operation continue?

Until perhaps a deal that Israel can agree to actually comes to light and that puts the operation on pause. The Israeli officials that I've been

talking to over the course of the last couple of weeks have said, look, the Rafah operation, first of all, had been delayed for weeks as Israel engaged

in further negotiations to see if a deal could be reached.

It finally launched the first phase of this ground operation on Monday, at a time when it seemed the talks were at a standstill, before Hamas' latest

offer came through. But now Israeli officials have said that, look if there is a good deal on the table, one that Israel can agree to, then that would

put a stop to this offensive in Rafah.

It's also not clear at this stage how far away we are from an all-out ground offensive because what we are seeing on the ground is certainly

having an impact, an enormous impact on the humanitarian situation in Rafah.

One of Gaza's largest hospitals, Yousef Al Najjar Hospital in Rafah, has had to shut down as a result of this operation. But it is still a quite

limited operation on the ground. Two areas in eastern Rafah to the area around the Rafah border crossing where the Israeli military says they are

conducting what they call counterterrorism operations.

So it's not clear at what point that mission expands and at what point it becomes this all-out ground offensive that Israel has threatened for

months. And perhaps, the hope being perhaps, the negotiators can bridge the gap between Israel and Hamas, get to a deal before that offensive actually

comes to fruition.

ANDERSON: As you speak, Jeremy, we are looking at live pictures over Rafah, there to the south, the very southern tip of Gaza, and the black

smoke emerging on the horizon.

They're suggesting, as you have rightly pointed out, that this offensive continues as we speak.

The U.S. -- thank you, Jeremy -- pausing a shipment of bombs to Israel over concerns about their potential use in what is this Rafah operation. That's

according to a U.S. official, who says the shipment includes hundreds of what are known as 2000-pound bombs.

Those are bombs with the power to kill or wound people more than 1,000 feet away from where they are dropped. That's around 300 meters.

A CNN investigation recently found that, in the first months of this conflict alone, the IDF dropped hundreds of those bombs. Nima Elbagir has

more from that investigation to give you a sense of what those bombs actually do and what their impact is.


NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): This is a crater caused by a 2000-pound bomb, the potential kill zone from that crater can spread up to 365 meters.

The IDF told CNN, "In stark contrast to Hamas is intentional attacks on Israeli men, women and children, the IDF follows international law and

takes feasible precautions to mitigate civilian harm."

But is that true?

This is just north of the Shati refugee camp along the main coastal road. When you go in closer, you can see, in just this small neighborhood, at

least nine craters consistent with 2000-pound bombs, which means the potential kill zone could encompass this entire area.

CNN as in thetics (ph) analysis of the devastation of Gaza shows extensive bombardment. In an area this densely populated and using these bombs, it's

inherently indiscriminate.



ANDERSON: CNN's reporting from December 22, 2023.

Well, the Biden administration scrambling, meantime, to complete a report on whether or not Israel has broken international law during the war in


That report is due before Congress this week. And it follows an independent task force report that raised specific examples of violations, including

the attack on a Jabalya refugee camp on October 9th, which killed 39 people and for which the U.N. said no specific military objective.

You can see the aftermath of that here.

The report could increase pressure on Biden to put conditions on U.S. military aid to Israel, something Israel is warned against as it pushes

forward in its operation against Hamas.

Quite a lot to break down here, not least when that report might emerge. Kylie Atwood is at the State Department with more on what we can expect.

Kylie, I guess this begs a very simple question. That report has been expected. No evidence of it to date.

What do we know at this point ?

KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yes, the report is due to Congress technically today. We have been told by congressional sources

that the administration has told them that it's going to be slightly delayed.

The expectation here is that they are actually working to conclude this as rapidly as they can. So we probably will see this in the coming days here.

But as you said, this is a really key report. It's going to make a determination from the United States, from the secretary of state, as to

whether Israel is using U.S. weapons in accordance with international humanitarian law.

And so the way that it works is that Israel has to provide assurances to the United States that they are following international humanitarian law.

And then the secretary of state has to make a determination as to if those assurances are credible and reliable.

Significantly, we have reported that there isn't a unanimous decision within the State Department as to whether those assurances are credible and

reliable. And it's also important to note that this report isn't just going to be looking at that question.

It's also going to be examining whether Israel has impeded the delivery of humanitarian aid, of course, into Gaza. And U.S. officials have

consistently said that Israel is making strides on that front.

However, they've also consistently said that Israel can do more. So where the determination on that front stands will be key for us to watch.

And we have heard from lawmakers on the Hill and President Biden's own party, Senator Van Hollen specifically saying that the State Department

officials can't just take the assurances from Israel on face value.

That they have to actually probe them, that they have to have evidence, that they have to have explanations for why Israel carried out some of the

airstrikes, some of the attacks that they did in that post October 7 period.

But as you said, there have been some other organizations who have examined this, that have said that those strikes were actually not in accordance

with international humanitarian law.

So it's a really key report. And while it doesn't require the Biden administration to change policy, it could very well put immense pressure on

the administration to further curb those deliveries of U.S. weapons to Israel, that we have seen for the first time.

We're learning, today, that the Biden administration has recently paused some of those heavy bombs that were supposed to go to Israel.

ANDERSON: Yes, we do now know and we know today that the U.S. has paused the shipment of 2000 pound bombs. We've just run some reporting. CNN

reporting, from back in December of 2023, showing the sort of impact of that sort of artillery war munitions.

From your sourcing and your conversations at State and on the Hill, how would you describe the U.S.-Israeli relationship at this point and the

clear ratcheting up of pressure that we are seeing on Israel from Washington at this point?

ATWOOD: Well, it's an incredibly tense moment in the relationship, Becky, I don't think anyone would dispute that.

And this was a report that initially leaked out from Israeli officials, speaking with Axios. And then finally a U.S. official was able to confirm

that there was this pause that was put on these 2000 pound bombs as you were saying. So it's very clear that the administration didn't want to get

out ahead of this.


But it is a really significant decision that they have made and it demonstrates the frustration behind the scenes that the Biden

administration has had with prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

That they feel the need at this moment in time to halt sending over those bombs due to concerns of the impact that those bombs could have if they are

used in highly densely populated areas. We know that Rafah is one of those areas.

And it happens of course, as Israel is going ahead with this limited at this time incursion into eastern Rafah. So there's really clear tension

between the two sides at this moment in time.

But you also have President Biden giving a speech yesterday, being very clear that the U.S. continues to support Israel. So on the public facing

front, they aren't as clear about these tensions that are very clear behind closed doors.

ANDERSON: It's good to have you, Kylie. Thank you.

Kylie Atwood is at the State Department.

Well, Israel's incursion into Rafah comes, of course, on top of the colossal damage that has been done to the tiny territory of Gaza. Take a

look at this satellite analysis.


ANDERSON (voice-over): The damage done since October is marked in red and there are now fears of an all-out humanitarian catastrophe, as Paula

Hancocks now explains.


PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The Rafah crossing is a vital land crossing between Egypt and Gaza. It's where much of the humanitarian aid

trucks have been driving through, bringing in lifesaving assistance for months.

It's also where a small number of wounded and foreigners have been allowed out of Gaza. And it's where many of the freed hostages crossed into freedom

early on.

This crossing is now under Israeli control. Troops planted an Israeli flag, you can see there, and filmed it. This footage was given to us by the IDF.

Now outside this once Palestinian controlled border station, footage shows Israeli tanks destroying signs which say "Gaza" and also, "I love Gaza."

Several tanks also seen in this IDF handout footage. In this area, we see no signs of any other presence apart from the Israeli military here. Now

close by, the part of eastern Rafah, where Israel's military has issued evacuation orders.

Some 100,000 told to leave immediately on Monday to the area of Al Mawasi. Now that's about five miles or eight kilometers away. But of course, most

have no transport and fuel is scarce.

It is an area the United Nations on the ground has called inhumane and has warned it is not suitable for habitation. Well over 1 million people are

currently living or sheltering in Rafah. Some estimates are closer to 1.4 million. Most have been displaced once or more times by the Israeli

military over the past seven months.

Rafah itself is just 25 square miles. That is 64 square kilometers. It is a small area crammed with misery and fear. But it is also an area, the IDF

says, houses the last stronghold of Hamas that needs to be destroyed.


ANDERSON: That's Paula Hancocks reporting and she mentioned Egypt sits across the border from the Rafah crossing, of course, meaning any Israeli

offensive in the area could have major spillover consequences.

I spoke to Egypt's foreign minister last month about that and its position. Have a listen.


SAMEH SHOUKRY, EGYPTIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: Our position has been very clear and I think it is consistent with the position that has been advocated by

the international community, by the United States, by our partners in Western Europe.

Generally, I think there's a general international community consensus that a military activity in Rafah should not occur because of the potential

consequences on the civilian population, which has amassed there, almost 1.3 million civilians who are taking shelter in Rafah in very difficult


And I believe that that position should be respected by the Israeli government and should be adhered to.


ANDERSON: Sameh Shoukry talking to me a couple of weeks ago.

Well, still to come, Congress puts the spotlight on anti-Semitism in elementary and high schools in the United States, with three district

leaders in the hot seat. A live report from Capitol Hill is just ahead.





ANDERSON: You're watching CNN. And just in, an appeals court in Georgia says it will consider Donald Trump's efforts to disqualify DA Fani Willis

from prosecuting the election subversion case. In March, of course, a judge presiding over the case ruled Willis could continue her work on the case.

Sara Murray is with us.

Where does this take us, Sara?

SARA MURRAY, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's obviously a blow for Fulton County district attorney, Fani Willis. She and her team

really wanted to put this issue behind them, move past it, after what was a really big distraction from the case for many, many months.

And now the court of appeals is saying we are going to hear this argument. So look, that's a victory for Trump's team. Trump's attorney in Georgia

said he's looking forward to making the case for why Fani Willis should be removed from the case and why the entire case should be dismissed.

As you pointed out, a lower court judge did not remove Fani Willis from the case but it did say that either she or the fellow prosecutor she had a

romantic relationship with, Nathan Wade, had to go. So Nathan Wade resigned from the team.

But Trump's team and his fellow codefendants didn't just bring up the issue of this romantic relationship she had with her fellow prosecutor. They also

brought up concerns about statements Fani Willis has made publicly about the case.

Again, she's continued to speak publicly as she's running for reelection this year in Georgia, so we may see more of those statements come up as

part of this appeal.

But again, this just sort of ensures that this question about whether Fani Willis can continue to preside over the case is still going to be out

there, is still going to be part of the conversation when the prosecutors, of course, hope to turn the conversation back to the actual election

interference case at hand.

To get that case back on track and to get it moving. There are still no trial dates set for Donald Trump or his codefendants in that case.

ANDERSON: Thank you, Sara.

Getting underway on Capitol Hill as we speak, let's get you some live pictures. Here's some U.S. Republican lawmakers are expected to grill

leaders from school districts in three "liberal," in inverted commas, cities about alleged incidents of anti-Semitism in their schools.

It's the first congressional hearing of its kind to focus on elementary, middle and high school. CNN's Annie Grayer has the very latest for you,

live from Capitol Hill -- Annie.

ANNIE GRAYER, CNN CAPITOL HILL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Becky, this hearings we're expecting to get underway at 10:15 this morning and Republicans have

called in local school administrators from New York, California and Maryland, as well as Democrats bringing in a representative from the ACLU.

And this is part of a broader series that the Education and Labor Committee has been doing. They've been bringing in a number of college and university

presidents that have gotten pretty heated and intense in the last couple of months. But this is the first of its kind.


Focusing on K through 12 education and it's part of a broader effort from House Republicans, who are really trying to crack down on the protests that

we're seeing in college campuses and the encampment that we're seeing.

And they're really trying to unify around this issue of anti-Semitism. But it's also kind of just their attempts to find an issue to unify on in

general. They have been divided since taking over the majority for months.

And this would also give them an opportunity to try and further divide Democrats, who have various opinions on the issue. So Republicans have kind

of a very specific focus here.

Speaker Mike Johnson has tasked a number of committees to look into this. The House Oversight Committee was supposed to have its own hearing today,

focusing on the encampment at GW. But that was actually canceled at the last minute after that encampment started to be cleared this morning by

D.C, police

House Oversight chair put out a statement, saying that the hearing was no longer needed. So you can just see here, Becky, how much of an issue this

Republicans are making of these protests and encampments.

And with this hearing today, really trying to bring the issue to lower education.

ANDERSON: Interesting. Thank you.

Well, we are staying in Washington because police overnight arrested dozens of people as they cleared a pro-Palestinian protest encampment at George

Washington University. That encampment was set up about two weeks ago.

It's called for an end to the war in Gaza. It has drawn criticism from the university's president, who said it created safety concerns. She and the

D.C. mayor were set to testify before Congress today about the response to the encampment.

As we've been reporting, that hearing has since being canceled, CNN's Gabe Cohen is live on the George Washington University campus.

You've been speaking to those who are involved in the encampment there.

What have they been telling you, Gabe?

GABE COHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There's a lot of frustration this morning, as you can imagine, because so many of the people who have been involved in

the protests here at GW and on other campuses across the country have felt like these have been peaceful protests that are about dialogue and these

demands about divestment.

And yet it was a dramatic scene early this morning, as police came in and arrested 33 people in and around that camp on GW's campus, which is very

quickly being dismantled behind me.

A lot of police officers in the area here. We know that protesters were arrested for trespassing, as well as assault on police officers, because of

a clash that happened between some of the demonstrators and officers, right here near this intersection, police using pepper spray during that clash.

We don't know exactly a lot of the details on that. But look, it's an interesting case, Becky, what's happened here in D.C., because it was a

unique situation that, for over the past couple of weeks, GW, the university, had repeatedly asked the city to come in and clear this


But police had again and again declined that request, essentially because they didn't want the optics of coming in and arresting protesters for what

they believed was a peaceful and fairly contained protest.

But we heard the chief of police here in D.C. say this morning that, over the past few days, things really changed, that a campus police officers --

officer, they say, was assaulted in recent days. An item was snatched out of her hands.

And they also said that multiple of those demonstrators were found inside one of the campus buildings here, essentially probing, scouting, looking

for a space that they might take over and occupy, like what we saw at Columbia.

And so the police chief felt that something had to change. And so, as of Monday, they were already putting plans in place to come in early this

morning, close to 48 hours in advance, and clear these protesters out. But a lot of frustration among the people who were in this camp. Take a listen.

Here's what one told me, Becky, just a little while ago.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm angry, like we've been here peacefully protesting. This was our camp. We became a community. Like we were here speaking up for

something noble. And it they took it all away because the mayor is about to meet Capitol Hill today.

And they were going to ask her about that.


COHEN: And at the end there, you heard him reference that House Oversight Committee hearing that was supposed to happen today, with D.C.'s mayor and

police chief taking questions from Republican leaders. That meeting has been -- that hearing has been canceled as this camp has been cleared,


A lot of questions again on the timing there. But I can also tell you a source with knowledge of the conversations between police and the

university tells me that George Washington University was not notified about this camp and the plan to clear it until early this morning, around

1:30 am.


Despite the fact that you're hearing the police department say plans were in the works dating back to Monday.

So a lot of questions about that timeline and answers that the police will have to give us here in the coming hours and days.

ANDERSON: Just outside the George Washington University site there, Gabe, thank you.


ANDERSON (voice-over): And just an image for you, which I think is useful to get a sense of where the protest encampment was directed, as it were,

not just in its sort of vocal narrative but in its imagery as well. And just have a look at this.

This is a projection from the encampment, flames on the American flag, with a text that reads, "Gaza lights the spark that will set the empire ablaze."


ANDERSON: Well, ahead on CONNECT THE WORLD, the orphans of Gaza; we talk to one girl, putting a brave face on her life in the wake of unbearable





ANDERSON: CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Becky Anderson. Time here in the UAE where we are broadcasting from is half past 6 in the evening or just after.

Well, the head of the World Health Organization says hospitals in the south of Gaza have only three days of fuel left to operate with. This comes amid

reports of another six people killed in Rafah in Khan Yunis overnight. Nearly 3 dozen bodies were brought to the last functioning hospital in

Rafah, including a four month old baby.

Well, meantime, the U.N.'s agency for Palestinian refugees says roughly 50,000 people have left Rafah since Israel's evacuation order on Monday. An

official says the Israeli designated humanitarian area they'd been told to go to does not have functioning water or sewage or even roads leading to



Well, this war is taking an unbearable toll on Gaza's children. The U.N. says more than 13,000 of them have been killed in the past seven months.

Thousands more have been injured. And nearly 20,000 are now orphans. Jomana Karadsheh talked to one girl who is putting up a brave front as she

struggles to move forward without her parents.


JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Darin giggles and shrieks at the same time. The pain from bending her knees is

just too much.

"You promised you won't make me cry today," she tells the nurse. Months of these physical therapy sessions after multiple surgeries has gotten her

back up on her feet, starting to walk again as she turned 11.

Last time we saw Darin, she was lying, injured, unconscious in a hospital but in Gaza last October she and her brother, Kenan (ph), had just survived

in Israeli airstrike. Kenan (ph) was quiet and confused, barely able to open his eyes. Their great aunt was by their bedside, trying to shield them

from the most crushing of news.

DARIN ALBAYYA, GAZA ORPHAN (from captions): For the first time now, I feel that I am an orphan. In the morning when I go to school, Mom and Dad are

not there to give them a kiss before I leave.

KARADSHEH (voice-over): Darin and Kenan (ph) now know they were the only ones who survived that air strike. Their mom, dad and 8-year-old brother,

Walid (ph), are gone. Their grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins, 70 loved ones, all perished that October day.

The children made it out to Platza (ph) for medical treatment. They have new friends. They go to school. They play and laugh. But beneath this

veneer of normalcy is the pain they share with nearly 20,000 Palestinian children, which the U.N. estimates have lost their parents in this war. F

Five-year-old Kenan (ph) seems oblivious to it all. But sometimes his aunt says he pretends he's on the phone to his parents.

"They laugh, they smile but they also cry," Ustra (ph) tells us. "Sometimes I can't be strong anymore. I hug Darin and we cry. Then I pull myself

together and tell her we have to be strong and get through this."

Ustra (ph), separated from her own family in Gaza, has not left their sight since October. She's become their everything. They now call her Tata (ph)

or Grandma.

Not a day goes by for Darin without thinking of her parents and all those she's lost. She interrupts her interview several times to look through

their photos. It's what she does when she misses them.

ALBAYYA (from captions): I miss Mom's cooking. I miss Mom, my Dad and my brother. Dad made me my own princess themed room. Mum used to spoil me.

When I was little and war would come, it would last a few days. But this war is unlike any other war. God chose to take the people we love, the good


KARADSHEH (voice-over): On a call to her injured uncle in Gaza, Darin breaks down begging anyone to get him and his family out. She has to

protect them, she says.

It's that all-consuming fear of losing those she has left.

ALBAYYA (from captions): I wish I could go back to Gaza but what will be left in Gaza?

Destruction, people are all in tents. Gaza is no longer Gaza. It is now a city of ghosts.

KARADSHEH (voice-over): For now, she's finding her own way of dealing with grief.

ALBAYYA (from captions): I am not sad that my family was killed, because they are happy in heaven. They are not dead; they are alive. We don't see

them but they see us.

KARADSHEH (voice-over): Jomana Karadsheh, CNN, Doha.


ANDERSON: After a CNN exclusive investigation, a group of U.S. House Republicans are urging the U.S. Defense Secretary to explain some

discrepancies in the investigation into the United States' chaotic exit from Afghanistan.

They are specifically asking about Pentagon reports since the ISIS suicide blast outside the Kabul airport back in 2021. Now you may remember the

Abbey Gate attack that killed 13 U.S. service members and 170 Afghans.

And they are asking why the Pentagon's report contradicts CNN video that reveals there was much more gunfire than the Pentagon ever admitted.


Well, the parents of seven U.S. Marines who died in the incident have accused the Pentagon of misleading them. CNN's Nick Paton Walsh has been

covering this closely. Here is some of his earlier reporting.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Two Pentagon investigations have insisted everyone was killed by the bomb and

dismissed dozens of Afghans' accounts to CNN two years ago that Afghan civilians were shot in the chaotic aftermath.

GEN. KENNETH F. MCKENZIE, FORMER COMMANDER, U.S. CENTRAL COMMAND: No definitive proof that anyone was ever hit or killed by gunfire.

WALSH (voice-over): But this new video, which begins outside the airport's Abbey Gate entrance, reveals much more shooting after the blast than the

Pentagon said.

Combined with new accounts to CNN of Marines opening fire and gunshot injuries in Afghan civilians, it challenges the rigor and reliability of

the two Pentagon investigations that declared no Afghan civilians were shot dead in the chaotic aftermath.

DR. SAYED AHMADI, FORMER KABUL HOSPITAL DIRECTOR: One 170 peoples were killed totally. But the register, what we had, maybe 145.

WALSH: And by your estimation, about half?

AHMADI: More than half were killed by gunshot.


ANDERSON: Nick Paton Walsh has been covering this since the beginning, joins us now live.

So what should we expect going forward, Nick?

Is it clear?

WALSH: It isn't really because I think it's fair to say for some time the Pentagon stuck very close to the narrative that emerged from both of their


But this is really the first time that we've seen a significant number of Congress. I should point out five of these eight with a combat experience

themselves in Afghanistan as U.S. military veterans, pressing key questions against the Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

They asked for an explanation as to the key discrepancy that our video from our reporting shows against the two investigations the Pentagon had. Just a

reminder, look cast back to August 2021.

This ISIS suicide bomber explodes, kills phenomenally awful number of individuals, 170 Afghans, 13 U.S. service numbers, so many more potentially

the most suicide bonds indeed have killed in previous events like that.

And Afghans survivors talk to us in the aftermath and our first investigation about how they'd witnessed shooting or indeed been shot

themselves. Later, Marines speak to U.S. military investigators, some about firing themselves from about seeing gunfire or feeling they were being hit

by gunfire.

But the Pentagon says, no, there were three episodes of nearly simultaneous gunfire that hit nobody. And the only people that opened fire were indeed

U.S. or U.K. troops.

Now the video that we found shows the video of gunfire itself went on for about four minutes. There were 11, not three episodes of it. And so it

raises the question of exactly how reliable is that Pentagon narrative.

And now we have congressmen saying, well, we need to have explained to us why the Pentagon investigators told us something that is so different to

that new video in the briefings that we had about their recent investigation.

I did that, too, Becky. Families of the 13 Gold Star families -- that's the surviving family members of the dead U.S. service men -- seven of those

have released a statement to CNN, in which they feel they were misled by the Pentagon in a recent briefing and say they want the truth as well.

So real, vocal, loud pressure here against the Pentagon to address these discrepancies in its narrative. And indeed, the congress men also asked too

why no Afghans were interviewed in either of the two Pentagon investigations over the last two years.

They haven't spoken to that, Doctor you heard there who said over 70 people in his hospital appeared to be dead from gunshot wounds. Let me tell you

what the Pentagon did say.

They said, "We honor the service and sacrifice of our 13 service members killed at Abbey Gate and remain fully committed to ensuring our Gold Star

families have the support and information they need.

"This will always be a sacred obligation for the Department of Defense."

Another spokesman has said we are interested potentially in new video that leads us to get new information. But they still stick by their central


ANDERSON: Good to have you, Nick. Thank you very much, indeed.

Nick Paton Walsh on the story for you.

Coming up, how scientists in southern Florida plan to help counteract the disappearing coral reefs. That's coming up.





ANDERSON: Well, you probably know that coral reefs are one of the most important ecosystems on the planet. We have though lost half of them

worldwide since the 1950s. So on today's Call to Earth, we meet a team of scientists developing a hybrid system they believe could provide a solution

to the disappearing reef. Have a look at this.



BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Miami Beach is known for its Art Deco flare and turquoise waters. But just off the coast

of this colorful city lies an underwater world in decline.

DR. DIEGO LIRMAN, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI (voice-over): Coral reefs protect our shorelines against the impacts of storms and waves.

They're the speed bumps of the ocean.

But coral reefs are declining and suffering around the world. Florida is not the exception.

WEIR (voice-over): The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has recently confirmed a fourth global mass bleaching event, the second in the

last 10 years.

LIRMAN (voice-over): The number one threat to corals on a global basis is climate change. Increases in temperature, changes in ocean chemistry,

changes in storm patterns.

WEIR (voice-over): Diego Lirman leads a team that's testing an innovative approach to coral reef restoration.

LIRMAN (voice-over): I run the rescue reef lab at the University of Miami. We're working with scientists across fields to design and implement hybrid

reefs that will protect the shoreline but will also function as a natural coral reef, providing all of those ecosystem services that we expect from

healthy coral reefs.

WEIR (voice-over): For more than 15 years, Lirman's lab has been growing and testing coral colonies in these nurseries to maximize survival out at


LIRMAN (voice-over): Right now, in our tanks, we have about 2,000 corals here. We're also trying to understand why some corals survive while others

in the same environment die. And then we're using that information to propagate those corals and to create climate-resistant corals.

WEIR (voice-over): And this unique store simulation tank has played a fundamental role in developing their ecoreef experiments.

LIRMAN (voice-over): This facility is able to replicate conditions that you commonly see during a hurricane category 5 in terms of wave conditions.

Our aim is to design artificial structures that will mitigate wave impacts so that, when the waves hit the shoreline, they are shorter and have less


WEIR (voice-over): The artificial reefs are parts cement, part coral. Lirman says the cement base alone is capable of reducing wave action by 60

percent to 70 percent.

LIRMAN (voice-over): When you cover these structures with corals, then you get an added benefit of about 15 percent to 20 percent. So combined, these

two approaches will reduce wave energy and wave height by about 80 percent to 90 percent, which is what we want to protect our shorelines.


WEIR (voice-over): Today, Lirman and his team are heading out to check on the artificial reefs they deployed about a year ago.

LIRMAN (voice-over): We haven't been to the site in a while.

So here's the sea, how the corals look, how the structure look (ph).

EMILY ESPLANDIU, RESEARCH ASSOCIATE, UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI: So when they first were installed, they were just completely bare.

And we've seen a whole fish community form there. We've seen turtles and sharks and rays. And we've also seen the corals grow and flourish there,

which has been really awesome.

LIRMAN (voice-over): So we've been studying those two small structures for about a year, learning, getting information about what works, what doesn't

work. So over the next couple of years, we are going to be expanding the scale of the artificial reef significantly.

WEIR (voice-over): Lirman hopes these hybrid reefs can serve as an example for other seaboard cities around the world.

LIRMAN (voice-over): The ecosystems that we love are just a fraction of what they were 30, 40, 50 years ago. So we need to protect our shorelines

and nature-based solutions and hybrid reefs are one effective, cost- efficient way of doing that.


ANDERSON: Well let us know what you are doing to answer the call with the #CalltoEarth. I'll be back with more news in just a moment.




ANDERSON: Well, last month broke yet another global heat record, the warmest April ever, according to the E.U.'s climate monitoring service.

That is now 11 straight months of record heat. And so it already looks like the yearly heat record will be broken in 2024 for the second straight year.


ANDERSON: Well, tonight's "Parting Shots."


What could be a game changer in aerial mobility right here in the UAE. Regional tech conglomerate Multi Level Group tested out of a passenger-

carrying drone for the first time in the Middle East.

The trial took place at the inaugural Abu Dhabi Mobility Week in Ain city. MLG board member Mohammed Al Dhaheri was on that demo flight. And just have

a look at this.



ANDERSON (voice-over): And off he goes. After the fly down (ph), Dhaheri said that flight represents a significant leap forward for our nation.

Quite the sight.

Well, that's it for CONNECT THE WORLD. Stay with CNN. "NEWSROOM" is up next.