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Erin Burnett Outfront

Video Appears To Show Rocket Explode Moments Before Hospital Blast; Expert: Gaza's Underground Tunnels Large And "Sophisticated"; Putin And China's Xi Refuse To Condemn Hamas After Attack. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired October 18, 2023 - 19:00   ET



ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, breaking news. New video tonight showing a rocket fired from Gaza, exploding high above Gaza City. The video was taken just before the explosion was seen at the Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital. And it comes as the United States has new intelligence assessments on that blast.

Plus tonight, a chilling phone call. I'm going to talk to the parents of two children who were taken from the music festival here. The daughter called her father frantically screaming as they were under attack. And you'll hear her harrowing call.

And the underground nightmare for Israel. We have a special report of a sprawling underground tunnel system in Gaza. The IDF calls it the Gaza metro packed with explosives, some tunnels possibly 40 feet deep inside the ground.

Let's go OUTFRONT. And good evening. Welcome to a very special edition of OUTFRONT. I'm Erin Burnett live from Tel Aviv tonight.

And we begin with breaking news. And this is the new video. It appears to show a rocket fired from Gaza exploding high above Gaza City which, of course, is where the hospital that was hit is located killing hundreds of people sheltering inside, according to the Palestinians' latest numbers.

Now, in this video, you can see the rocket fired from an area in northern Gaza, suddenly it makes a sharp turn back towards where it was fired. A streak of fire can be seen as the rocket flies significantly faster back towards where it was fired. That's gravity. Suddenly the rocket explodes.

Now, in a second you're going to see that flash of light at the bottom of your screen as the camera pans down, a second flash of light and an explosion at the Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital complex was seen.

Now, it's not clear that these two things are related. But I just want to watch it again in slow motion so you can see where the rocket turns around because obviously that's crucial. It's fired from Gaza. It is the turnaround that becomes so crucial as to whether it was an Islamic Jihad fired rocket that struck that hospital. On the ground, this was the moment of the explosion outside that

hospital, a massive blast like what we saw in the video of the rocket exploding.

Now, the United States National Security Council has released a statement just a few moments ago that reads, and I quote: The United States government assesses that Israel was not responsible for an explosion that killed hundreds of civilians yesterday.

Now, images somewhere that we just saw on the video of the rocket exploding, turning around, whether United States says, what Israel has put out, the reality of it is this does little to nothing to change the minds of many people across the Middle East. Protesters in the streets today in the West Bank Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Egypt, Tunisian, and Lebanon.

In fact, tonight, this is what we saw in Lebanon, thousands gathering outside Israeli embassy.

And in Turkey, it was the U.S. consulate there says, in Adana, is now closed until further notice, and you know how many people were gathered in Adana, Turkey, reportedly, in front of the U.S. embassy? Eighty thousand people, 80,000 people to protest what is happening in Gaza.

And President Biden who is now on his way home after visiting Israel earlier today was asked aboard Air Force One for his message to those who do not believe U.S. intelligence and he said this.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I can understand why in this circumstance, they wouldn't believe. I can understand that. I'm not suggesting that Hamas literally did it either, (INAUDIBLE), and it's not the first time Hamas has launched something that malfunctioned


BURNETT: Now many of the dead and injured from that blast of the hospital were taken to other hospitals in Gaza City. And we actually managed to speak to a doctor which, you think about how'd as desperate they are to get reception, to have battery for their cellphone, but he's working at one of those hospitals in Gaza, he wanted to be heard. He's been treating patients.

I want to play what he told us in a very brief message. He had to hang up abruptly at the end.


DR. HUSSAM ABU SAFIAY, HEAD OF PEDIATRICS AT GAZA'S KAMAL ADWAN HOSPITAL: This is the situation at our hospital is now very, very bad. No water, no electricity, no medication, no medical supplies.

[19:05:00] I am sorry, I cannot speaking with you because we have weak internet in our hospital and we are in emergency, and all-time we're working under stress because of the situation is very, very, very bad.


BURNETT: It's even hard to hear his voice. The fact that he wanted the world to know, but you think what they're enduring and working under in the fear, the reality of it is, for the doctors their trying to save lives, this is an apocalypse. these unpopular for the 2 million people in Gaza, it is grim. They are dealing with daily strikes, like this one, from earlier today.

Just today, we hear the thuds here, that explosions there. There isn't communication towers have been destroyed. There's little fuel to run the backup generators at hospitals, right? They need fool fuel to re- power and that is running dangerously low.

Nic Robertson is OUTFRONT live along the Israel-Gaza border.

Nic, I know there has been shelling where you are of the past few hours and now, Israel says it's striking Hezbollah targets north in Lebanon as well tonight.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yeah, no details on precisely what those targets are north of Israel, inside southern Lebanon, where the IDF say they are targeting the Hezbollah targets. The CNN crew in the area did hear those sounds of incoming fire from Israel at around the time the IDF said they were firing, we know that Hezbollah said that they had targeted Israeli targets just over the border inside northern Israel.

That would've been earlier on Wednesday, but the details of what has been part targeted right now, I guess we'll have to wait to hear that when the IDF gives an update. What we are hearing right now in Gaza, a little uptick in the shelling.

We were hearing some from very heavy shelling close to the border, and right now, it sounds a bit different distant. Gaza City where that hospital is about seven and a half miles from here and hard to say precisely where the destinations are that we're hearing, but they could be hearing that kind of distance away, around Gaza City, and again the IDF telling civilians in that area they should leave and try to find a humanitarian rounding out of the toward the south.

BURNETT: All right. Nic, thank you very much. Right along that border where what foresight you have been since the war began. And now to that U.S. assessment which we had just received which blasted hospital in Gaza. The United States is saying Israel is not responsible, and they're not -- they're not going off of the IDF information, which, of course, we have had our fingertips on today. The U.S. has done its own analysis, they're pointing specifically to intelligence, as well as missile activity, missile activity as well as images of the incident and open source video such that we have all been showing you, likely to show you that new video tonight. One such video that Israel says shows that it wasn't responsible is

this one from an Al Jazeera news camera. It appears to show rocket fire from Gaza exploding above Gaza City, right, and that happened moments before you see the explosion of the al-Ahli Baptist Hospital. The IDF also releasing this audio of a conversation they say is between two jihad opportunities, discussing the firing of the rocket.

We haven't been able to independently verify this recording, but I want to play it for you.


HAMAS OPERATIVE #2: They are saying it belongs to Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

HAMAS OPERATIVE #1: It's from us?

HAMAS OPERATIVE #2: It looks like it.

HAMAS OPERATIVE #1: They shot it coming from the cemetery behind the Al-Ma'amadani Hospital, and it misfired and fell on them.


BURNETT: Natasha Bertrand joins me now.

And, Natasha, obviously, it's been 24 hours, but still, it takes time to put these things together and to put something out but you need to be 1,000 percent sure about in the case of something like this. What more are you learning about how the United States felt comfortable making such a clear claim?

NATASHA BERTRAND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, that's right, Erin. I mean, it does take time, but interestingly over the course of today, their statements appeared to only get stronger in saying that they did not believe that Israel was responsible for this attack.

And in the morning, we get a statement from the National Security Council saying that they were still collecting information but that based on overhead satellite imagery as well as analysis of available open source imagery and video, they had determined that Israel was likely not responsible for this. But later on in the day, we got a bit of a stronger statement from the National Security Council saying that the U.S. government now assesses that Israel was not responsible for the explosion, and it was based on available intelligence including missile activity and open source video and images.

Now, interestingly, in that statement, they also pointed to, apparently, intercepted conversations. It is unclear whether they are the same conversation that you just played there between Hamas operatives, according to the IDF, but they said that this intelligence indicates that some of these Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip were actually confused about this and we're discussing amongst themselves the possibility that this was actually an errant rocket that was launched by a militant offshoot called Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

And so, the U.S. seemingly now taking the position that Israel really did not do this, and all of this comes, we should know, Erin, as the U.S., we are told, has actually surged intelligence assets to the region in the wake of this Hamas terror attack in Israel because they need to keep an eye on potential activity by Hezbollah or Iran in the possibility that he ultimately join the conflict.

So the U.S. pretty confident here as we heard from President Biden, that they don't believe Israel was responsible.

BURNETT: All right. Natasha, thank you very much.

And I want to go now to the former director of national intelligence, and retired Air Force Lieutenant General James Clapper.

And I appreciate your time, Director.

So, let me ask you as a career spent on intelligence, when Natasha is reporting that the U.S. is surging intelligent assets to the region, what does that actually mean?

JAMES CLAPPER, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, to me, off the top, Erin, it means probably more airborne -- airborne reconnaissance capabilities. The RC-135 comes to mind, the 707-type of air traffic aircraft flown by the Air Force which is jam-packed with intercept equipment and link boost (ph) and technicians on the back.

So my guess, it's something of that order which could be surged very quickly.

BURNETT: So, the U.S. when it put out the statement, and, obviously, I would imagine they wouldn't do something like that unless they were extreme -- they were sure, 100 percent sure. They mentioned, though, in the intelligence that they had for saying that Israel was not responsible. They -- I'm sorry, they specifically mentioned missile intelligence, Director.

I know, you know, you were involved in MH-17 and how the U.S. was able to use missile analysis to determine that it was Russia responsible, right, with that BUK missile. So, when we hear missile intelligence being used to determine that Israel was not responsible, what does that mean?

CLAPPER: Well, I think it means to me that we are taking advantage of the laws of physics. When you have a missile launch, an explosion, there are -- heat and light are emitted. And that heat, those properties, the heat and light can be detected and measured from afar.

And you can glean a great deal of technical intelligence about the nature of the explosion, its duration, the magnitude of it, direction of fire. There are a lot of ancillary information that could be gleaned from capitalizing on the laws of physics and the fact that missiles and explosives give off heat and light.

When you marry that up, when you meld it with the other forms of intelligence, whether classified or open source, which is also very revelatory, you begin to put together the puzzle. And when the puzzle pieces fit, and it appears to me they do just as they did with the shoot-down of MH-17, I think that's what gave the U.S. confidence to assess that Israel was not responsible.

BURNETT: The Israeli defense forces chief of the general staff said about the war today. I quote him, this will not be short. Director, how long can Israel sustain this war, and can they succeed at what they've said they must do, which is to completely destroy Hamas?

CLAPPER: Well, it's obviously a great question and one that's very difficult to answer. Not knowing having any insight into exactly what the operational plan is for the Israelis, I'm sure they are going to conduct an incursion. It's potentially quite resource intensive. And by resource, I mean people, soldiers, because this will be a door-to- door room to room hallway to hallway tunnel to tunnel thing with a proposition very power intensive, very risky with snipers, IEDs, booby traps, et cetera.

So -- and there will be attrition. No question about it, that the IDF will incur if they achieve their objective or seek to achieve their objective of wiping out Hamas.


And that seems to be what they want to do.

So this could be quite -- quite resource intensive. That's not to mention requirements for ammunition and weapons and that sort of thing, which I know we will help provide them. So, hard to say how long this would take, again, not knowing exactly what the Israeli approach is.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Director Clapper, General Clapper. I appreciate your time.

And OUTFRONT now, Efraim Halevy. He's the former director of Mossad, Israel's intelligence service, also the former head of the Israeli National Security Council.

And I appreciate your time, director, and your expertise on that. So, on this hospital blast, Israel has put all the information out, the U.S. has supported it. It may not matter to many people. But do you have any questions in your mind about this at this point?

EFRAIM HALEVY, FORMER DIRECTOR OF MOSSAD, ISRAEL'S INTELLIGENCE SERVICE: I have no questions at all about it. I have been looking at it all day and seeing how this story has evolved, and there is such an accumulation of sources now, which make this claim of the house, not a claim, but an established fact.

And I think that, unfortunately, Hamas has taken this tragedy, which they have caused, and have turned it into a weapon, one of their weapons. But I think that we will have to continue the way we are at the moment and prepare now for the next stage of the campaign against the Hamas. BURNETT: The war that you are in.

Now, I'm curious, obviously, in your role as director running national intelligence and Mossad, the responsibility for the attack itself. But as Israel prepares for the next steps, which will be significant ground incursion of some sort, perhaps, or who knows what form it will take, do you feel that there's any fear inside Israeli intelligence that, because they missed this, that they might not know what they don't know now?

HALEVY: I think it's on-the-job training, so to speak. And I think that the bitter experience of the last days and the intelligence failure we had and not knowing that the Hamas was going to attack us. And don't forget all this happened because Hamas crossed the border and perpetrated crimes, which are indescribable in their ferocity.


HALEVY: And therefore I think that, at the moment, we are concentrating on the next step, and the next step will take one form or another. But there is an intention to destroy Hamas. And we will see hopefully that those who have decided to take this step, that they will be successful.

BURNETT: And do you believe, then, that Israel is ready, the government is ready, the intelligence services are ready for what could be a notable loss of life for Israeli defense forces? Never mind Israeli civilians as this continues.

HALEVY: It's true. Because in war, when you have an attacker and a defender, the defender has a certain measure of, shall we say, of power. And in terms of the -- when the clash begins, the offender usually suffers less losses than the attacker in many cases.

But this is not always the case. And every war is a war in itself. And I think Israel has a great history of trying to avoid fatalities and death amongst its soldiers, although we have suffered a lot of losses of the IDF in the last ten days. But I'm confident that, in the end, the IDF will have the upper hand.

BURNETT: All right. Efraim, thank you very much. I appreciate your time for joining me here in Tel Aviv in these early hours of the morning. Efraim, of course, the former head of Mossad.

And next, we are watching protests across the United States tonight in Chicago, thousands are right now taking to the street calling for a ceasefire as the humanitarian crisis in Gaza turns dire.

Plus, I'll speak to the parents of two kids. They were kidnapped by Hamas at the music festival that was attacked. And they were actually on the phone with their daughter when the militants attacked, and without them realizing the settings on their phone, it was recorded, and they want you to hear it.

And, he's suffering from cancer, but found the strength to fight back against Hamas. [19:20:02]

Third and fourth-degree burns, shot in the stomach, but lived to tell me the story.


BURNETT: And what did you see when you looked them in the eye?


BURNETT: No, nothing? No --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the eyes? Crazy.




BURNETT: We are back with our breaking news live in Tel Aviv tonight. Israel with this warning for Hamas, and not one bit of humanitarian aid, no food, no water, and no medicine will be sent to Gaza from Israel until Hamas releases the 199 hostages it's holding captive.

Israel, however, confirms it will not block aid or others from going in from Egypt. It has been 12 days since those hostages were abducted. Their families are desperate. They are desperate and broken. We have met so many of them, desperate and broken and waiting.

And tonight, I spoke with the parents of two of them, Maya and Itay. They are missing. They were both abducted by Hamas at the music festival where at least 260 other people were killed. Their father Ilan told me that right after he learned of the attack, his daughter called him. She called him frantic as she and her brother came face to face with Hamas terrorists.

And while his phone actually recorded it, it was the settings on the phone he showed me. And so he's got this call of his daughter, he thinks is dying.


We begin with Ilan playing a recording of that phone call.



ILAN REGEV: What's up?

MAYA REGEV: I've been shot, I've been shot, Dad, I've been shot.

ILAN REGEV: Where are you?

MAYA REGEV: I don't know. He is killing us, Dan, he's killing us.

ILAN REGEV: Where are you? Please send a location.

Hide. Find a place to hide.

MAYA REGEV: Dad, I love you. We are in the car, we can't leave.

ILAN REGEV: I'm coming your way. Send a location, send a location, send a location.


ILAN REGEV, DAUGHTER AND SON TAKEN HOSTAGE BY HAMAS: I thought she was dead. I thought both of them dead. Both of my child in the car. She says, they kill me, they kill me, I love you pop, I love you, daddy.

I thought I had to bury two child. I never hear this. When I hear this after this call, go to the car, and I had straight to the south, to get inside.

BURNETT: You started driving.

ILAN REGEV: Because she sent me the location before. (INAUDIBLE) to get inside. And send me back, I stayed there. I talked with another guy was there, and he said he is looking for his brother.

BURNETT: How long did you wait? You were thinking they're dead?

ILAN REGEV: I thought all the time they are dead, I am going to bury two child.

MIRIT REGEV, DAUGHTER AND SON TAKEN HOSTAGE BY HAMAS: So, a lot of message. I look my message from my children because they're not home. And they said to me, my message for Maya and --

BURNETT: You had four missed calls?

MIRIT REGEV: No missed calls, just messages -- just messages. She not call me, just messages.

And, mommy, (INAUDIBLE) but we are okay. Another message, mommy, we are waiting for the police, let us go. And two message also, mommy, I love you so much. If I don't in my phone, Itay phone. Call Itay. I won't miss call, (INAUDIBLE) I called and say, friend of Itay, you say to me, you don't -- you know what's happened? I said you don't know. Please open TV and I saw a lot of terrorists and children. (INAUDIBLE).

Just that I know this children in this party because they're not there. I don't know the area where they go.

BURNETT: Right. You just knew the party.

MIRIT REGEV: Right. But I don't know area. But if I did know, I let them go.

BURNETT: When did you find out that they were hostages?

ILAN REGEV: Back to the hospital and the second time because I've been there before.


So I had to check again because in -- I see that there is a lot of wounded all the time, more wounded. Omer is their friend.

BURNETT: Omer's, Itay's friend.


ILAN REGEV: Maya's friend, the same age as 21.

BURNETT: They were together.

ILAN REGEV: Yes, they were together. Then I call that terrorist, and then she sent me a video. And in this video, I see Omer on one side of the truck and Itay on the other side of the truck. (INAUDIBLE) I seen that the face is not --

BURNETT: Like a balaclava.

ILAN REGEV: There's a balaclava.


ILAN REGEV: I recognize him, and the first time I see him, I recognize him. His shirt, his face is beautiful boy.

BURNETT: He's a beautiful boy.

ILAN REGEV: So when I hear, I say to Itay, I say to myself, oh, thanks god, he's alive.

BURNETT: So he's with you. They took him.

ILAN REGEV: Thanks God is alive. And I said this to my child who was just now kidnapped to Gaza. And I say, God, I can't believe I say this, but this is absurd, absurd. That make me --

BURNETT: That you're glad --

ILAN REGEV: And it's killing me, it's killing me. I think he's alive. Now I don't know, but he's not dead from the shooting. That's, you know, release me.

BURNETT: And the army, did they tell you that they think Maya is with?

ILAN REGEV: They don't tell -- they don't tell us nothing.

MIRIT REGEV: We don't know what's with Maya because we don't have video of Maya. We know Itay take to Gaza.

BURNETT: Yes. MIRIT REGEV: And Monday evening, after 42 years long, (INAUDIBLE) and say to us, Maya and Itay came with them in Gaza. We are smiling.

BURNETT: You're grateful.

MIRIT REGEV: Grateful because in Monday evening, don't know if they were alive people.

BURNETT: Can you tell me more about them? They were teenagers and obviously very excited about the party. And they sound like wonderful teenagers. But tell me about them.

MIRIT REGEV: Very good friends.

BURNETT: They are very close. Clearly, they wanted to be together.

ILAN REGEV: They love the life, party, dancing, restaurants. My son like to surf. We go to surf together. Itay, and the guy, too, we go to surf together, like football.


MIRIT REGEV: Maya plans for the future. Maya wanted to academia. She wanted to study biology.

BURNETT: To study biology, wow.

MIRIT REGEV: She's a very good student.

BURNETT: Yes, indeed.



ILAN REGEV: And she can do this.


BURNETT: Well, thank you both so much for talking to me.


BURNETT: Ilan and Mirit wanted all of you to hear that phone call. Ilan said he had not listened to it since he actually had the conversation with his daughter, and Mirit had not heard it until that moment. You could see their faces, but they wanted to go through that because they want the world to hear their child. They want their world to pay attention and to care. And, that's why they went through that because they wanted you to see it.

A lot of these hostages, we understand, may be being held in tunnels, those tunnels underneath Gaza, an incredibly complex network. We have a special report on what those may look like what those tunnels are and why they are so significant in this moment for the hostages as well as for the next steps in this war for Israel. Plus, he was driving to the music festival, driving to the music

festival early in the morning when Hamas attacked. He made it to a shelter. But that is when hell broke loose.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They did with grenades, one, two, three, four grenades in the shelter.




BURNETT: We're back with our breaking news tonight live in Tel Aviv.

A major development this hour. Egypt's President El Sisi telling President Biden tonight that he will allow 20 trucks through the Rafah crossing.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He agreed that what he would do is open the gate to do two things. One, let up to 20 trucks through to begin with. Satterfield, my ambassador is down there -- not down there, in Cairo now. He's going to coordinate this. He has my authority to do what is needed to get it done.


BURNETT: The president saying he expects this to happen by Friday and vowing that he will get people out of Gaza. Of course, there has been no development on that front yet about people actually crossing. It comes as American pediatrician after 12 days that we've been telling her story is still desperately waiting for that day to come, one of the many Americans in Gaza right now.

Last night when we spoke to her husband Paul, he told us Barbara was rationing water. Now, a tiny, tiny ray of light here. We are now able to tell you that some food and water, additional supplies made its way to where Barbara is. She says given to her by Nigerian Mercy Corp. Just to give you a sense of how broad the effort is, Nigerian Mercy Corp.

As Israel is beginning to prepare a ground assault on Gaza, there are so many challenges for them and perhaps the biggest is the underground tunnel system that the IDF actually calls the Gaza metro. It's a considerable maze of tunnels. It obviously could easily conceal an ambush and be boobytrapped. Also they say hostages there could also be filled with explosives ready to cave in on anyone who attempts to go inside.

I'm going to go straight to Tom Foreman, because he has been looking at everything we understand and know about these tunnels at the magic wall.

To understand why these are central to everything right now, Tom, everything -- the hostages, the war, any kind of ground incursion. What can you tell us about the tunnels?

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, considering, Erin, how vast the tunnel network under Gaza is believed to be, there are relatively few details or pictures of it. But those who have been there or researched this area tell us that the so-called Gaza metro consists of many, many passageways, many of them likely dug by hand by people who would dig them out with rudimentary tools in many ways. Going to get big equipment in there and then it's reinforced with concrete so it cannot easily collapse.

How long are they? Well, really when you're considering that Gaza itself is only about 25 by 6 miles, very long. One estimate holds that the tunnels may wind around for more than 300 miles.

How deep? That is unknown. Estimates run from maybe 30 or 40 feet down to much farther. Although that would suggest some surprisingly sophisticated engineering considering how in these photos, many of these tunnels really appear to be quite cramped. So to take that down much deeper, Erin, that's a much bigger challenge.

BURNETT: Right. And obviously ventilation, although interesting, you know, one hostage expert Tom was telling us he heard ventilation in the back of that one hostage video that we've actually seen suggesting that there is ventilation and they are being held underground as the IDF has indicated.

So, how is Hamas using the tunnels, and obviously this then becomes of central importance to the Israeli military if you're going to be going in, in any way with tanks or human boots with tunnels underneath you.

FOREMAN: Yeah. There are many experts who suggest this really is a backbone of what Hamas does. What are the possible uses here? Well, among other things, it could be used for hiding places for command centers, weapons caches, rocket launching equipment and, yes, as you mentioned, Erin, possibly hostages.

They can also be used for key figures to move secretly from one part of Gaza to another, avoiding spying eyes, drone or satellite surveillance.

And, lastly, they offer a safe space, unreachable by many standard munitions. In some cases, it really could take a very hefty bunker buster type of bomb to be able to go in and smash through these reinforced areas under the ground like that and actually do any damage.

In any event, Erin, these tunnels, we heard them talked about from the beginning. They've been talked about all along. They really are a key to what Hamas has done.

BURNETT: Well, interesting you talk about those bunker buster bombs used for those tunnels in Afghanistan when you think about the actual scale of the challenge you might be facing here.

Tom, thank you so much.

FOREMAN: You're welcome.

BURNETT: OUTFRONT now, Harel Chorev, senior researcher at Tel Aviv University who has spent a lot of time learning about the tunnels used by Hamas and Gaza.

Harel, I really appreciate your time. So I know we heard some, frankly, shocking facts about the tunnel network. You know a lot about it. What else can you tell us about the tunnels?

HAREL CHOREV, SENIOR RESEARCHER, MOSHE DAYAN CENTER, TEL AVIV UNIVERSITY: Well, at least from what I gleaned over the years, over the past decade we know about this system, since Operation Protective Edge, which was a surprise for us. We didn't understand how vast the system is and how sophisticated it is. I can tell you it's a very large network of tunnels which, you know, have those centers or hubs, if you like, of command rooms, of war rooms.

They actually consist anything that someone needs for a long stay underground. Just, for example, showers, places where people can rest, storage areas, the firing shafts, explosive tunnels. Even explosive tunnels I think would be one of the things that will wait there, every old tactic by the way. Exits for guerilla attacks, exits for antitank squads, all sorts of things.

And, of course, for the systems themselves, we need to understand there is independent water system and sewage, and electricity, AC. That's a lot. So --


CHOREV: I guess that is what is waiting for us.

BURNETT: That's a lot when you consider Gaza itself. Gaza city has very little of that, not just now but in general, inconsistent electricity, inconsistent water, nonexistent in many cases, air- conditioning. You're saying that these tunnels have all that.

When you say it's a vast network, what is -- looking at Gaza is 25 miles how long. How big is this tunnel network, and the numbers, I believe, that you have of how much was spent on constructing these sophisticated tunnels is also stunning.

CHOREV: Yeah. It's stunning. Just to give you an idea, only the digging of one meter, namely, about -- one meter, would cost something like $300 just for one meter. And we're not talking about cables, electricity, all those systems that I mentioned, which adds on, of course, for a much larger number.

So I think we're talking about, but nobody really knows.

[19:45:05] We need to be modest on it. But we can assume that it's probably not the 500 kilometers that Hamas claims that they have, but probably several dozens of kilometers underground. And we can also estimate that they invested above a billion, above a billion dollars in it. So it's substantial in terms of investment, of course.

BURNETT: All right, Harel, thank you very much. I appreciate your time tonight.

CHOREV: Thank you, Erin.

BURNETT: And, next, our breaking news continues. He's fighting cancer, this young man. But he went to the music festival, had grenades thrown at him. He was shot. People around him died. And, yet, he survived and he will tell you his story.

Plus, two major superpowers meeting today, clearly, taking as side in a war between Israel and Hamas. We are live in Beijing tonight.


BURNETT: We are watching protests underway right now across the United States after the hospital blast in Gaza. Tonight, protesters taking to the streets in New York, in Chicago, in Minnesota, in Washington, D.C., where about 300 people were arrested for protesting inside the U.S. Capitol. Photos show some of the protesters had shirts that said, "Jews ceasefire now".

Amid all of the fury, there are unbelievable stories of survival and heroism. Raz Peri had grenades shot at him, shot in the stomach, ended up having to wrestle with terrorists. I met him at the Kaplan Medical Center, a hospital, where he is recovering right now with third and fourth degree burns. The hospital, the top floor has actually been evacuated. They don't even have it available now because of missile threats.

On the day of the attack, Raz was driving to the music festival. He saw rockets, heard them, and then he stopped and followed other people, four other people into a shelter. That is when he came face- to-face with Hamas fighters.



BURNETT: So, you hear words in Arabic, not Hebrew, you know?

PERI: Yes, yes.

BURNETT: So, they're going to come in.

PERI: I see them coming.

BURNETT: You see a gun slowly coming in.

PERI: Slowly, slowly, slowly.

BURNETT: You have -- none of you have a weapon?

PERI: I don't have nothing, just my hands and my legs.

BURENTT: What did you do?

PERI: And when I say this -- the girl screamed. When she see this, she scream. The terrorists listen to this is -- go to -- go in to the shelter.


PERI: Yes, I go down and I give a box to the boss, to the terrorist.

BURNETT: Who is going.

PERI: And he shoot not in the body, in the leg to men.


BURNETT: It throws off the shot. It throws off the shot.

PERI: Yes, yes. So because it go to the boss, he's go down.

So, I take the weapon and takes me out from the shelter, and I see in the right side. I tell you, I think 40, 50 terrorists on our side on a car with a weapon, a big weapon. And way -- and I see the car, they run away from the festival. They want to go there -- they shoot them.

BURNETT: So, the festival cars are coming by as people are fleeing. But these terrorists are waiting here.

PERI: Yes.

BURNETT: So, the festival, those people fleeing, maybe they think they got away.

PERI: Yes.

BURNETT: But these terrorists were waiting to shoot.

PERI: Waiting to shoot. And when I go out with the terrorists, scream to his friends, Jews, Jews, Jews, Jews.


PERI: Jews. All the terrorists look like this, take the gun -- tatatat -- shoot fast. I go back. I take the weapon and -- I let go the weapon. And when I go down, I see the terrorist shoot, one, two, three, and go down. He's dead, the terrorist. And they tell everybody the terrorist is coming, the terrorist is coming, go down, go down. They come to the shelter, and we look them and they look me, and what I see is --

BURNETT: You looked them in the eye. PERI: In the eye.

BURNETT: And what did you see when you looked them in the eye?

PERI: The command of Hamas. What I see?

BURNETT: No nothing?

PERI: In the eyes?

BURNETT: Mm-hmm.

PERI: Crazy. I don't look -- eyes don't look like this. It's crazy, the drugs is --

BURNETT: They looked like they were on drugs.

PERI: Yes, of course. Of course, they don't look like this crazy eyes, never, never. They come to the shelter and they say to me (SPEAKING ARABIC) they take the grenades, one, two, three, four grenades to the shelter. And when she scream, the terrorist listen again, we're alive.

They again go to the shelter. They see us. I was in my (INAUDIBLE) I can tell you, and terrorists, again (SPEAKING ARABIC) like a game, just like a game, take more grenades. And again, one, two, three, four.

BURNETT: Four more.

PERI: All the fire and the bodies not tend to try to (INAUDIBLE). It was hard, hard, very hard. There is fire. So, the bodies -- boom.

And when I say this, this is trauma. I can tell you, this is trauma. It looked something crazy, but I want to alive. They take the body that -- the dead body with my hands and I push it on us.

BURNETT: To cover you?

PERI: On us, on us, yes. I listen to the men was on the outside. He say (SPEAKING ARABIC) is, wait, wait, wait in Arabic. And he come to the shelter. He come back to the shelter. And we do like a dead -- we play dead. We play, like, dead. And he take the gun again, tatatat, on the body.


BURNETT: The body on top of you?

PERI: Yes, on us. And one shot, it comes to me here.

BURNETT: Right there, mm-hmm.

PERI: And I don't feel like a pain in this time, I just listen to the cars go away.

BURNETT: So, you leave to get help? PERI: Go to the town. And when I go to the town, I see all the girls,

the pants goes down.

BURNETT: Pants are down?

PERI: Yes. I see a knife in the body.

BURNETT: Stabbed in the chest.

PERI: We go to the road. And when we come to the road, we see all the persons when they go away from the festival, and many, many cars. Many, many cars, when the persons in the cars, their head goes down.

BURNETT: They're dead.

PERI: So, I go to the festival to listen to the music for my son. And what I go there, go to the war, and what I see with my eyes, I never can take this and go out.

BURNETT: Raz, thank you for sharing your story.

PERI: Thank you. Thank you. And I pray every day that all the world, they hear me and they take my words to their life and take them to other people, because I want a better world.


BURNETT: Incredible story of his bravery.

Half a world away from all of the fighting and protests in the Middle East, Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Chinese President Xi Jinping met today in Beijing, both refusing to condemn Hamas, clearly taking a side in this war.

Will Ripley is OUTFRONT.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Russian President Vladimir Putin, an accused war criminal in the West, a guest of honor in Beijing.

Chinese President Xi Jinping feasting with a fellow strongman, triumphantly toasting their vision of a new world order, a world prioritizing Palestinians over Western-backed Israel, pitting the Putin/Xi world against the U.S.-led free world.

Russia and China refusing to strongly condemn the Hamas attack. Putin placing blame on the U.S. for the conflict, not Hamas gunmen, who also took Russian lives.

Both Beijing and Moscow criticizing Israel's actions, condemning Tuesday's deadly hospital blast. The Palestinians say hundreds died.

Russia calling it an act of dehumanization, urging Israel to prove its innocence. China says Israel played a part in provoking Palestinian rage, decades

of diplomacy without a two-state solution.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Israel has the right to establish a state. Palestinian has the right to establish a state as well.

RIPLEY: China's heavily censored social media overflowing with pro- Palestinian posts, and plenty of anger aimed at Israel and the U.S.

One user writes: the only way to get peace in the Middle East is for the Jews to move to America and build a nation there.

President Xi welcomed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in June, part of Beijing's bid for a bigger role for Mideast diplomacy and a desire to reshape the U.S.-led world order.

Building on the historic deal it brokered this year, restoring ties between Iran and Saudi Arabia. China says it's sending a special envoy to the Middle East to help with the political settlement.

China and Russia now calling for a ceasefire in Gaza, positioning themselves as possible peacemakers, both ignoring the irony of Putin's own brutal war, spilling blood on the battlefields of Ukraine.

Far from the front lines, the leaders and representatives of some 140 nations are expected here in the Chinese capital. Leaders of key Western allies noticeably absent.

A perfectly timed distraction from Putin's problems at home, parading himself before friendly state media outlets, Putin is heaping praise on China's powerful leader and Russia's loyal patron, Xi Jinping.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): He makes long long-term plans for the future. It's what differentiates the true world leaders from what we call temps. Temps only show off on the world stage for about five minutes before becoming lost to world history.

RIPLEY: Putin and Xi, possibly leaders for life, predicting a global power shift, the decline of democracy, the rise of strongman rule.


RIPLEY (on camera): You can hear in Vladimir Putin's interview the disdain he has for democratically elected leaders. And President Biden has said that this battle, Erin, between democracy and autocracy will be the defining battle of this century.

BURNETT: All right. Will, thank you very much.

And thanks very much to all of you for joining us.

"AC360" starts now.