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Erin Burnett Outfront
Hamas Releases Two American Hostages; CNN At Rafah Border Crossing, Aid Waiting To Get Into Gaza; Massive Protests Break Out In Egypt Where Protests Are Banned; U.S. Destroyer Faced Larger Barrage Than Previously Known. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired October 20, 2023 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, breaking news, Americans freed. A mother and daughter, just released by Hamas, after being held for 14 days. Family of the just freed hostages speaks out on OUTFRONT.
Plus, our exclusive dispatch from Gaza tonight. I'll speak to a father who won't leave his home in northern Gaza, even after those reported -- those repeated warnings from the Israeli government. Sounds of explosions around him, children asking, are we going to die?
And the United States on high alert tonight for more attacks in the region targeting the U.S. or Israel, as we are learning new details about the missiles and drones that a U.S. warship shot down. That all happened over nine hours.
The battle, far more intense than we knew. Let's go OUTFRONT.
And good evening. Welcome to a special edition of OUTFRONT. I'm Erin Burnett live from Tel Aviv.
And tonight, we begin with breaking news, freed. You're looking at a picture of American Judith Tai Raanan and her 17-year-old daughter, Natalie Raanan, shortly after they released by Hamas. The two, from Chicago, are in Israel after being cannot 14 days ago. The IDF says they are being held in Hamas's network of tunnels.
And according to the secretary of state, Antony Blinken, a team from the U.S. embassy is here to meet with them now. For their family, it's been an unimaginable two weeks of anguish, and grief, and hope, fear.
The Raanans were visiting relatives in the kibbutz of Nahal Oz, which is just a couple of miles from Gaza. It was attacked by Hamas, 12 people reportedly killed during that assault that we know of.
Earlier this week, I spoke to Natalie's brother Ben. And he told me the terrifying story of how his sister and stepmother were taken.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BEN RAANAN, AMERICAN SISTER AND STEPMOTHER JUST RELEASED BY HAMAS: She communicated with my father in Hebrew, that she was okay for the moment. She was locking herself in the guesthouse, I believe with my stepmother, Judith. They were hearing guns, they were hearing explosions, they were going to try and remain as quiet as possible.
From there, once the Israeli army was able to take back the city, there was broken glass on the inside of the guesthouse, and both Natalie and Judith were missing at that point.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: So at that time, Ben told me he was holding out hope, holding out to hope that he would again hug his sister. And that is something that he is going to be able to do. You just have to smile to hear about it. I mean, it is two people, of 203. But it is two people alive and free.
Natalie will turn 18 in four days. In just a moment, Ben will join me live again, as President Biden, who spoke with both of the women, Judith and Natalie, says he's overjoyed with the news. But, of course, we are learning tonight, there are still ten Americans unaccounted for. That is in addition to the 201 people being held by Hamas at this hour, according to the numbers the Israeli government has put out.
And tonight, we are learning more about them. According to the Israeli defense forces, over 20 of them are children under the age of 18. We're going to speak to the father of two of those, later. Between 10 and 20 of them are over 60. But the IDF believes that the majority of them are alive in Gaza.
One family this morning told me, we don't know if majority means just over half, or almost all. That's the most information the IDF has given out, is the word majority. But shortly after the Raanans' release, Hamas released a statement claiming they are working with mediators in Egypt, Qatar, and other, quote, friendly countries, in order to release more for national hostages.
And we don't know very much about their current conditions. We only know about the one supposed proof of life video. We don't know when that was filmed of Mia Schem. And we also now have the picture of Judith and Natalie. We do know that any hostages in Gaza right now are being held captive in a place facing humanitarian crisis.
We have a lot to get to tonight. Nic Robertson is live along the Israel-Gaza order. MJ Lee is at the White House. And Clarissa Ward is live in Cairo, Egypt tonight. Oren Liebermann is live at the Pentagon with breaking news on that battle, those missiles fired towards Israel.
I want to start with Nic Robinson because, Nic, I know there was a lot of activity where you are, when the two hostages were released. What exactly happened?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yeah, absolutely fascinating, Erin, because throughout the day, it had been really, exceptionally quiet, quieter than it's been for so many days.
No missiles, no rockets coming out of Gaza, no missiles going in, and not even any drones in the air. Really, really quiet. It gave the impression, just the impression, that something was happening in the background today that was different. We had no idea.
But just, just as that news was coming out that Natalie and her mother, Judith, were being released, Hamas, or another group inside Gaza launched a massive salvo of rockets headed towards central Israel. The Iron Dome intercepted them. Within an hour, they've done it again, fired multiple rockets towards the center of Israel. They were intercepted again.
And in that intervening hour, they fired five salvos into this area in Sderot. That is way more than they fired it an hour period that we've seen over the past week or so. So, a kind of a significant turn in action by Hamas, or one of the other groups, right at that moment of release. Was it a signal that they just wanted, they are ready to continue to fight. Or was it a sign that they've been able to use that time, when they weren't under fire and drone surveillance, to set up some rockets. It's not clear.
But that was such a dramatic change of events. Why did that moment of release. The Israelis return with some artillery strikes, some missile strikes. But again, now, back to that aura of sort of quieter that it has been -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Nic, thank you very much.
And I want to go to MJ Lee at the White House, because MJ, we were -- we were saying Biden has spoken now to both Judith and Natalie.
What more have you learned from your sources about how this happened from the American side, and what's next?
MJ LEE, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Erin, the White House says that President Biden has this message to convey to the two women when he spoke with them earlier, that the two women would have the full support of the U.S. government as they recover from what he said was this terrible ordeal. And there's no question that this is a moment of triumph for this president who had said that as president, there was no higher priority for him than securing the release of these American hostages.
But there's no question that the work is not over. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken saying tonight that there are at least 10 Americans unaccounted for. And that some of them are being held hostage. He couldn't say anything about the condition of those American hostages.
But Erin, it is very, very clear, the U.S. officials worked closely with their Israeli counterparts to get and gather any intelligence that they could about these American hostages. We know it was the Israelis that told U.S. officials that some Americans were believed to be alive.
We also know there were close coordination with Qatar. Both President Biden and Secretary Blinken saying, thank you, to their Qatari counterparts after the release of these two women. But, Erin, it's just worth underscoring, that given the sensitivities,
and given the ongoing efforts to try to secure the release of more hostages, U.S. officials right now are very loathe to share any detailed information about how exactly Judith and Natalie Raanan's released was able to be secured.
BURNETT: All right. MJ, thank you very much.
And, Natalie's brother, Judith's stepson, Ben Raanan, is OUTFRONT now. And he is speaking from the family tonight.
So, Ben, we talk days ago. And you know, you're talking about your sister, and how she wanted -- she loved art, and she -- you know, she wants to be a tattoo artist may be. And you were praying you have a chance to hug her again. And wow, what a night.
I mean, how did you find out your sister and stepmother were freed?
BEN RAANAN, AMERICAN SISTER AND STEPMOTHER JUST RELEASED BY HAMAS: I found out from the news. This all moved so quickly that I was getting texts from reporters I had met with saying this happened. And I believe it is because the government didn't want to call us before it had been confirmed.
And it was just a surreal thing. I was taking the first two hours of the day before I jumped on all of these things that I've been doing for Natalie, just for myself. I was playing video game, all of a sudden, I'm getting all of these texts that, you know, they are coming back.
BURNETT: Oh my gosh, that is incredible to find out that way. I think, Ben, it just makes everyone realize, they had no idea what happened, or as you said, it came together the last second. When you see the picture, just the one picture we have of Natalie and Judith, and, obviously, you know them better than anyone else, what do you see when you look at that?
RAANAN: To be honest, I'm super annoyed. Because how does my sister, after two weeks as a hostage, still look like a super model? It's exhausting.
And meanwhile I'm sitting here --
BURNETT: She does by the way, she does by the way.
RAANAN: She does, it's absurd.
You know, my father got a chance to talk with Natalie, and I know Judith's family got a chance to talk with Judith, at least from my father, Natalie is doing well, is composed. And as I said to you a couple days ago, we are ready to start this incredible journey of healing and trauma really for her.
And you know, she has a full support of friends, family, and you know, what I realize, is strangers who care about her and who want her to succeed at whatever she wants to do.
BURNETT: You know, do you have any idea, Ben, at this point? I mean, I -- I'm sure you don't technically know, but do you have any thought -- have thought yourself about why it is that Natalie and Judith were released first? Why them, not anyone else yet? I mean, do you have any sense as to how that's the case?
RAANAN: I don't know. You know, what I do know is, you know, when I told you accomplish days ago, that they are not politicians. They are not people with intense feelings about Gaza, Palestine, Israel. You know, they are Israelis. But they are lovers, and they are people lovers.
So I truly believe it is something to do with that. And it's important for me to also say that there are people hurting who are hostages that didn't get the same beautiful news that my family got today. And there are families all over, in Gaza and in Israel, that are experiencing a loss that I can't even imagine. And I just -- my family just went through this.
BURNETT: No, no, I know, I can only imagine there is a sense of guilt. I was talking to a father who's still missing his little girls, two and four, and I asked him how he felt about this news. You know, he said, I just miss my children so much.
But, of course, I'm so glad for you, right? I mean, right, but there is this, right, a deep sense of grief still for so many.
Do you know, Ben, when you'll -- when you'll be able to speak with her?
RAANAN: We have heard tentatively she might be coming back to Chicago sometime early next week. But that is all dependent obviously on what the hospital say, and making sure that their physical well-being, as their mental health well-being is at least okay for them to come here and start this next stage.
BURNETT: All right. I would imagine, you don't know yet know anything about, you know, how they spent their time, or anything. I guess we do understand it was underground. And that alone, that alone is, that is a deep trauma.
Ben, I am so happy for you. Despite all of this, and as I know you said, the journey that you are beginning, and you just spoke about it so eloquently the other night, saying if she comes home, it will be a journey, a long journey. But it's a journey that you're on. I think everyone watching has shared some joy with you. So, thanks so much.
RAANAN: Thank you, I want to say, if possible, I just want to thank the Biden administration for their wonderful work, as well as the Qatari government. I don't know what involvement they had, but it's clear there was something.
I just also want to thank everyone throughout the country who has been praying for our family.
BURNETT: Ben, thank you.
RAANAN: Thank you.
BURNETT: And Major Doron Spielman is with me now, Israel Defense Forces spokesperson.
And, Major, you just heard Ben, the incredible joy for him and for his family, right, to have Judith and Natalie back.
Are you aware at this point of any information that Judith and Natalie may have already shared with Israeli officials, or American officials, about their captivity, or anything that could be helpful to locating other hostages?
MAJOR DORON SPIELMAN, ISRAEL DEFENSE FORCES SPOKESPERSON: So, Erin, I don't get, I don't yet have that information. This is obviously an ongoing process. Hearing beds back on the other side is incredibly heartwarming. And it would be heartwarming for any Israeli. I think you also put your finger on the grief -- deep grief that we have for all these other families.
So, there are 201 hostages amidst also another 200 people that we don't even know if there are hostages are alive or dead.
And every day, there's been bad news coming. And this is a little ray of good news. But the specifics about their welfare and how they are doing right now, that will unfold in the coming days.
BURNETT: That will unfold in the coming days.
Can I -- can I ask you though why do you think Hamas did this now and why Hamas chose them and only them?
SPIELMAN: Look, I think that this clearly Hamas in their notice -- in their notice that they put out are trying to frame themselves as a human rights organization, which is the absurd of all absurd. I mean, just 14 days ago, this organization that says they're a champion of human rights slaughtered and massacred and dismembered babies and women and children and men. I mean, it's absurd.
But it's clear, anything Hamas does is going to be for the goodness of Hamas. It's not because they feel warm and, you know, affectionate toward the hostages. So clearly, this is a play.
If you ask me, this is an attempt for Hamas to try to gain more world favor, by playing that humanitarian corrode. And I, of course, hope that people are not going to have such a short memory and they are going to know this is one of the largest terror forces in the world. And I think it's very important not to forget that.
BURNETT: Okay, and to this point, they were very specific, that they were -- they said, engaged, I'm sorry, Major, engaged in ongoing conversations with other friendly countries about the release of other foreign nationals. Foreign nationals, right? Not Israelis. We know the vast majority of the hostages are Israeli. So, does that
release of these to American hostages mean anything for Israelis being held hostages? Is there any movement there?
SPIELMAN: Look, we are, from the very beginning, we have been working on two tracks. And that is still the way we are moving forward. One is the hostage track. We have the most responsible people in Israel, generals and entire staffs working towards that release. We are not differentiating between Israelis and foreign nationals. We want all 201 hostages to be released immediately.
At the same time, we're moving forward with our military objectives. Again, there were salvos at the onset tonight, multiple salvos in Israel. We've responded and we've also managed to seriously, seriously affect Hamas's hold in large parts of the Gaza Strip.
We are moving forward with those two approaches and that's how we're going to move forward in the near future.
BLITZER: So we have been anticipating a ground war for days now. Has the hostage negotiation changed anything here? And do you have special forces already on the ground in Gaza?
SPIELMAN: So, we did, today, and over the last week, with special forces, have reconnaissance missions in the area of defense, both on our side and on the Gazans that to recover evidence. Both of the hostages and all those hundreds of people, who we don't know their fate, and also to do reconnaissance about any future options we may have in Gaza. So, it has taken place.
As you've seen, and I've seen with my own eyes, our troops are laid on the southern border, on the northern border, very, very ready to go. And whatever commands the army's going to give, we're very clearly in the mode to move forward at this point.
BURNETT: Major, thank you very much, I appreciate your time tonight.
And you heard him very clearly, in that mode to move forward. And that is clear along what would become a front line on that Gaza border.
OUTFRONT now, our breaking news continues. The please for aid growing louder in Gaza, yet those trucks packed with supplies, guess, what they still haven't move anymore. They are still there. They still haven't gotten in and there's no word on wherever there ever will be.
Clarissa Ward is in Egypt tonight. She's made her way there, a grueling journey and we'll take you there live.
Plus, a new exclusive dispatch from inside Gaza. We're going to hear from the brave CNN journalists that you have heard documenting his life there right now. He'll tell you how he's living right now with more than 150 other people in the incredibly small space.
And, outrage boiling across the globe. Calls growing in one country for the government to shut down the American embassy.
We'll be back.
BURNETT: We are back with breaking news live from Tel Aviv. People in Gaza desperate for help tonight after two weeks without any humanitarian aid. More than 200 trucks filled with those crucial supplies are now currently lineup, waiting at the Rafah border crossing near Egypt.
President Biden tells reporters, it could be another 24 to 48 hours until the first 20 trucks are able to go in. They say they need 100 a day. And, you know, they said it was going to maybe tomorrow for several days in a row. So, we'll see.
Clarissa Ward is OUTFRONT. She is live from Cairo, tonight.
And, Clarissa, you went to the Rafah crossing today. So you saw that seen yourself. What can you tell us, on the delay and the trucks, and just how that setup is right now?
CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNTIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think there's a huge amount of frustration, Erin. There is so much aid and it is so close to where it needs to get to. But there are several key sticking points that appeared to be delaying that aid from getting into Gaza. Talking with the U.N. today, they said one of the major issues is that the Israelis want to have a verification process. They want to be able to make sure there is no weaponry or anything else in those trucks, that they would not like to get inside Gaza.
Of course, to come up with a mechanism, though, to allow for that is complex. When it involves Israelis coming here to Egypt, where does it take place, who would do it? It takes time to sit. Up in addition, the U.N. says they can't really accept this idea of one-time delivery of just 20 trucks of aid.
To give you some context, before this war broke out, there were about 455 trucks of aid that were going to Gaza every single day. We're now in the midst of, you know, relentless bombardment, two weeks with no aid, 20 trucks is a drop and the ocean.
And the fear that the U.N. have is that they just let 20 trucks go in, and of people on the other side note there's only 20 trucks going, in the trucks are going to be mobbed. That it could potentially be dangerous for some of those people who are distributing the aid. There's also been concerns about strikes on the Gazan side of the border, that some of the roads that were impassible.
Egyptian media today saying they think that has largely been dealt with. And the final kind of piece of the puzzle, that there has been some back and forth about, is fuel. Everyone seems to be on board with food, with water, with medicine.
Fuel is a little bit more of a controversial topic, and obviously it's essential for aid, in fuel for, to get into Gaza because that is what is powering the generators.
That is what's keeping the hospitals going. No electricity at the moment inside Gaza. So, a number of issues were there is back and forth, and hopes that will be resolved quickly. But concern that they might not, Erin.
BURNETT: Well, when you work there, in addition to all of this, you actually came across a massive protest. And obviously, just to say, protests are normally illegal in Egypt. In fact, they have been banned since Sisi took power, after the Arab spring. So they allowed them in this case. What did you see?
WARD: So, it's interesting, Erin, because we actually went to the Rafah crossing with the U.N. secretary general. And as you mentioned, protests are a total no go here, but today, of all days, President Sisi called on people to take to the streets.
And as we arrived at the Rafah crossing, there were a few hundred protesters and they were angry. They had a lot of things that they wanted to say. Some people were looking for family members who they had been unable to locate inside. Some people were angry about the Israeli bombardment, about the bloodshed, about the death of so many Palestinians.
A lot of people, as well, very angry with the West and particularly with Western media coverage. We had one woman as we got off the bus, she started shouting at us and I went up to her and, listen, I'm here to listen to what you have to say. Say it on camera.
This is a snippet of what she had to say. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who's to speak for these children? Who's to speak for Palestinian children? Who? Seriously, no, I'm asking you. Who is to speak to those -- who's to speak for those Palestinian children? If all Western say -- if all Western channels are talking for Israel, if the United Nations is standing for Israel, all these international institutions are starting for Israel, who is here for the Palestinians?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WARD: So you can see, Erin. I mean, this was a longer conversation that we had. But a lot of people feel that the narrative has really favored Israeli voices over Palestinian voices, particularly in the western media.
And I think, beyond, that a lot of people just feel helpless. They feel anguish and distress and despair about what's going on. They feel they have no real way to, kind of, make a difference or make an impact and help.
Of course, I did mention that one of the issues that we face as journalists, obviously, is that we're simply not able to get into Gaza at the moment. Not on the Israeli side and not on the Egyptian side, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Clarissa, thank you very much.
And Clarissa is now in Cairo.
As the United States is on higher alert tonight for more attacks in the Middle East, after barrages of drones as well as missiles targeted the U.S. and Israel targets, the Pentagon not ruling a possible military response on this. That is the very latest.
And we are learning a lot more of this hour, about a U.S. warship in the coast of Yemen. Remember last night this time, we told you it shot down four cruise missiles and 15 drones over a period of nine hours. Nine hours is what Oren Liebermann is now reporting this lasted for. The Pentagon saying these were headed towards Israel most likely.
Oren Liebermann is OUTFRONT with new reporting this hour.
I mean, Oren, you brought us this -- broke this news last night. And now, these new details, wow, nine hours. Much more intense than it sounded like, initially. It may have felt to people, missiles, they sort of fly over and it's done. Not the case at all.
What can you tell us?
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Erin, you're exactly right. This is a larger and more sustained barrage than was previously known. Over the course of nine hours, the USS Carney operating in the Red Sea intercepted four land attack cruise missiles, a serious weapon in of itself, as well as 15 drones. The Pentagon on Thursday said it was potentially possible that these were headed for Israel, but according to U.S. officials familiar with the matter, there is little doubt now because of the trajectory.
The Pentagon says they were fired by Iranian-backed Houthi forces in Yemen that U.S. officials saying because of the trajectory, north along the Red Sea there, along the Western coast of Saudi, the target quite clearly Israel, little room for doubt about where those drones and those missiles were headed.
And it's not the only worrying sign that we're seeing in the Middle East. Even as the Biden administration and other countries try to keep this conflict confined to Gaza. The risk of spreading, and you saw the protests with Clarissa's reporting, the risk of spreading seems very much to be growing. We've seen a number of rocket attacks and drone attacks on U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq and Syria.
The Pentagon not ruling out a possible military response, saying, if there is one, it will be at the place, time, and manner of the U.S.'s choosing. We have, in the past, seen the U.S. respond to barrages of attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria.
And, Erin, I'll note one last thing, the Pentagon hasn't given retribution on this yet but these are very similar to attacks we've seen from Iranian proxies in the region before.
BURNETT: Oren, thank you very much, from the Pentagon.
And I want to go now to the former Israeli ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren.
So, Ambassador, we find out about these missiles coming from that warship, was able to intercept. That this went on for nine hours. The initial thought was, you have, you know, four missiles, they intercept them, okay. Nine hours.
MICHAEL OREN, FORMER ISRAELI AMBASSADOR TO UNITED STATES: It's a serious engagement.
It's a serious engagement. It was my longtime assessment, must have been other people's assessment, if a war would break out and the Iran was the principal backer of Hamas, it owns and operates the Palestine Islamic Jihad in Gaza, and, of course, Hezbollah in the north, that Yemen under the control of the Houthi rebels were also backed in Yemen, they would get involved in the fray. They have long range missiles. They fired them at Saudi Arabia already.
So, the assumption was is they would fire at us. By the way, what, on hold on, Shiite militias in western Iraq, it's the part of Iraq that's closest to us, they also have rockets. Chapter two, just wait -- let's see what happens. But not surprising, what is remarkable was that this USS Carney was able to intercept them. And that's not easy, technologically, to intercept the rockets at that rate, and drones at the same time. So, you know, hats off.
BURNETT: Those are midflight.
OREN: Hats off to the U.S. Navy. Yeah.
BURNETT: OK. So what happens when rockets like that, if that ship weren't there, and may come here. When you talk about your Iron Dome, what does it do? Those are much more powerful rockets than the ones that are coming in from --
OREN: They're also flying at a higher -- they're also guided. So, what happens is, we have developed a system called the Iron Dome with U.S. backing, generous backing, 90 percent effective, which is great. The problem is, if they're firing 100 rockets at you, ten are going to get through. So, no system is foolproof.
We've also developed a system with the United States. It's called David Sling. It is one of the new systems that can track and intercept a guided missile. Now, think of how sophisticated this is because that rockets that Hamas is firing up and down and you could hit it here with Iron Dome. But you've got a rocket got with a joystick think about the intercepts, they got to find them.
That's what David Sling can do. It's a great system. There's one drawback. Each interceptor cost $1 million. BURNETT: Every interceptor?
OREN: Every interceptor.
OREN: So, it's pricey.
BURNETT: It changes the game in that sense.
While you are speaking and explaining this, we did get a new picture from the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem. This is Natalie and Judith Raanan on the phone. We'll put it up, we're a little bit delayed, but you can see them. They're on the phone. They're talking to President Biden.
OREN: That's very good. That's -- we are all heartened by it. But we want to see all of the hostages released. And we expect all the hostages to be released unconditionally.
BURNETT: And do you -- when you say expect, is that the way you think things should go? Or the way things are now directionally going? Has there been a change?
OREN: No. There's a change, but Hamas is going to go drip, drip, drip. Hamas is trying to earn their time and Hamas is trying to divide Israel from our allies, particularly the United States. And Secretary of State Blinken get a great press conference tonight where he said, this is not going to happen, we're not going to let Hamas manipulate us in this way.
BURNETT: So, this kind of idea, someone said, okay, they're going to put a couple of hostages out every couple of days.
BURNETT: And have you guys, so you don't go in.
OREN: Yes, precisely that. They're going to do it with foreign nationals first.
BURNETT: Is that going to work? Yeah.
OREN: They're going to do with Americans. They'll do it with the French.
BURNETT: Is this how this is going to go?
OREN: But it's not going to go, according to Secretary of State Blinken, it's not going to go for us. We can't do that. We can't let Hamas hold us hostage. Why? If how we get bogged down in negotiation, the hostages just released, we come back to the status quo ante of October 5th.
BURNETT: You've got a time issue. You've got forces there. You can't -- OREN: Definitely, I know. We have 360,000 troops mobilized. These are
the core of our workforce. These are young women and men in their 20s and their 30s. It's our high tech sectors. There's only a limited amount of time you can keep all these people from their homes, families.
BURNETT: Yeah, they're not going to work.
OREN: They're not going to work, or the families, the economy is frozen. But that aside, if we were somehow to reach an agreement with Hamas, and Hamas gets away scot-free with butchering, you know, maiming, raping, you know, 1,500 -- 1,400 of our people, Erin, who is going to love here? You have children, would you raise your children in a country like that?
I mean, really, it's existential for the state of Israel. It's not a matter of negotiation. It's something we have to end the threat, we just have to.
BURNETT: All right. Well, Ambassador, I appreciate your time and thank you for coming in. Of course, it's 2:30 in the morning here. I know you are awake. I know we heard about the war cabinet meeting.
OREN: Who can sleep?
BURNETT: Nobody is which raises to your point also.
BURNETT: Nobody can continue that forever. That's the way things have been. Something if it's going to happen.
OREN: Thank you.
BURNETT: Thank you.
And next, we're going to check in with CNN journalist Ibrahim Dahman who is trapped in Gaza with his young family, his young boys, his wife. He's been given OUTFRONT exclusive update and tonight he tells us his young children were finally able to bathe for the first time in a week.
Plus, we're going to take you to Lebanon as militants there now striking Israeli targets up to six times a day.
BURNETT: We are back tonight with a special edition of OUTFRONT. We are live in Tel Aviv. Tonight, 100 hospitals in northern Gaza saying this hour, the IDF has demanded it immediately evacuate in advance of a nighttime strike. The hospital says it currently has hundreds of patients and thousands more sheltering there, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent group. And as the situation continues to deteriorate inside Gaza, journalist
Ibrahim Dahman, you do not know him, has it gotten dispatches from gas at four at front have been in a parking part of our show every day, he fled northern Gaza with his wife and his two young boys and is now in southern Gaza in a house with more than 150 people.
Here is how Ibrahim describes it.
IBRAHIM DAHMAN, CNN JOURNALIST (translated): The living conditions we have in the house in which we live in, is approximately more than 150 people living in this house that has four floors.
One each floor, two apartments, all of them are full of people, all from one family who moved from the north and the middle of Gaza to Khan Younis.
W are trying to stick together and help each other in filling water, going down to the market, bringing food and buying bread.
When we go to the bakery, we find a long line which makes us take two people to each place so that they can wait for their turn in line.
BURNETT: As water becomes increasingly scarce in Gaza, Ibrahim says it was, quote, a special day because his children were finally able to take a shower.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAHMAN (translated): Today was a special day. My children were able to take a shower. It was the first time during this week that we were able to shower because of the difficulty of the water. It mean it was a such serenity that one can shower in these difficult circumstance, especially that w shower in cold water, during the day there wind and sun but at night the weather is cold and constantly changing so showering with cold water especially for children is not safe because it can make them sick.
But there is nothing else can do, we have to give them a shower.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: My next guest lives inside Gaza. Humanitarian worker used that little bit of electricity he saved on his phone to speak with me. He chose to do that because he wanted you to hear what he had to say. He said it was the best use of his phone, was down to 45 percent, to know what's happening inside Gaza right now, and despite the danger and destruction all around him and his young family, he says he will not leave northern Gaza because it is his home.
Here's what he told me. And joining me now, Mahmoud Shalabi. He is in Gaza. He is the senior
program manager for an organization that provides medical care for Palestinians there. He's lived in northern Gaza for more than 25 years. He's at his home with his family, including his three young children, it's home. He doesn't want to leave.
And, Mahmoud, thank you very much for taking this brief moment to speak with us at this pressure to speak to the world. I know you chose to stay with your young children, and your family, can you tell me what it's like where you are in northern Gaza right now?
MAHMOUD SHALABI, SENIOR PROGRAM MANAGER, MEDICAL AID FOR PALESTINIANS: Thank you so much for having me and for giving me a voice during this difficult time. So I live in the north of Gaza and it's one of the governorates that Israel have asked the Palestinians to leave in order to goo to the southern Gaza Strip for safer, between quotation, places.
However, as has been reported, and we've seen the local news, houses being demolished, you know, its residents in the southern Gaza strip. So basically there is no place that is safe. With regards to the humanitarian situation right now, it's really dire. As you can see, I am -- right now my wife is actually using her phone to light my face for this interview. And I'm using whatever charge is left in my phone, 45 percent, to conduct this interview with you.
We don't have electricity. We don't have fuel. We don't have water. You can't buy simple thing for the kids, for my three kids, you can't buy crisps for them, you can't buy sweets. There are no (INAUDIBLE) -- no fruits for the children.
And when it comes to bread, for example, I queued for two hours to get pieces of bread for my family, including my mom and my dad. And this is what's happening right now.
BURNETT: Mahmoud, what do you tell your children?
SHALABI: To be honest with you, I have lived through many of the previous escalations, but my children were younger. Now, my eldest is nine years old. His name is Zach and Zach is a smart kid.
Zach starts knowing what is the fear of bombardment and death. Zach asked me the other day, he was crying, dad, if I die will I quote in heaven or hell? I really couldn't answer. I choked a few seconds, and I said, we will all go to heaven, my son.
You know, the fact that children, when they hear bombardment sounds, they say, is this coming on us? Is this near us? And you have to always comfort your children, and say, no, it's not, just relax, nothing is going to happen, I'm here with you. You try to take them out of the misery that we are living in.
BURNETT: And, Mahmoud, I know you provide aid to others. That's what you do in your home and you have chosen to stay. You say you've got no water, the issues with power. How are you even dealing with the water? How are you even able to help others right now? SHALABI: Since the first day of this, since the 7th of October, we
have made an internal decision to release almost everything we have in our stock. That was $570,000 U.S. dollars. We have tried to use all available quantities of medicines and disposables in Gaza right. Now we have hygiene kits, mattresses, blankets, and we continue to do so.
But for medicines and for the drugs, unfortunately it can't be done now because there's nothing left in the local market.
That's one thing. The second thing, is an aid worker, I don't have safe corridors. I don't have safe passages to go to the warehouses. I don't have safe passages to go into the central drugstores, and, you know, to like have talks with people inside the hospitals and be able to like have direct contact with them.
So it's really difficult for us. We barely are working, but we are one of the few organizations still functioning inside the Gaza Strip right now.
BURNETT: Mahmoud, you are to a wonderful things for the humanity around you. I want to understand, I want to give you a chance because I know you've made the decision to use your power right now, because you want to talk to the world.
This is your home. You're staying because it's your home. Can you tell me, can you tell everyone watching, why it is important for you to stay in your home, and despite what the Israelis have said, why you have made this decision?
SHALABI: Thank you so much for this.
So, I am a Palestinian refugee. My parents were born before 1948 and they were actually expelled from our original hometown, which is called Ashdod, into the Gaza Strip. They were expelled.
They were under the impression that they would spend three days in the Gaza Strip and they would come back to take their belongings. Many, many of the people from my original town still have the keys to their homes in Ashdod, and this has been more than 75 years now. I have seen people leave their homes and never come back to it. This is where I belong. This is where my family belongs.
BURNETT: Mahmoud, thank you for being a voice for so many around you and for using that precious power to take the time to talk. I'm grateful that the world can hear you. Thank you very much and please, we are thinking of you.
SHALABI: Thank you so much.
BURNETT: And next, our breaking news coverage continues. A mother and a daughter, both Americans who are kidnapped by Hamas have just been released. The incredible good news tonight. There they are speaking to President Biden at the American embassy here in Israel.
I'll talk to Yoni Asher who has been waiting still for word about his wife and two very young daughters. Does he have a new hope tonight?
Plus, frustration turning to violence. Protests in the Middle East or spreading at now the chants are "death to America".
BURNETT: We are back with our breaking news tonight, these two American hostages released by Hamas just speaking on the phone with President Biden. Seventeen-year-old Natalie Raanan and her mother Judith are free tonight. I just spoke to Natalie's brother Ben, he says she could be back home in Chicago early next week.
It comes as the families of the other hostages are also trying to find out what this means for their loved ones.
You'll remember Yoni Asher. He's opened his home to us this week for a visit to talk about his wife and his two very young daughters, ages two and four. His wife called him on the day of the attack, from his mother in-law's house in Nir Oz, they have been staying there for the weekend.
She said there were terrorists entering the house. The phone gets abruptly cut off and Yoni then in a video online sees them been loaded into the back of a truck.
And when we visited Yoni this week, he showed us his daughter's play room and her favorite toys. It was -- one of them was a Melissa and Doug ice cream shop set. He showed us their little pink shoes and that was important for him for everyone to see the shoes, because they are girly girls, he said.
He tried to show us and opened us to that heart-wrenching void in his life right now.
Yoni is back with me now.
So, Yoni, when you first heard the news that Hamas has released the two hostages, how -- what was your feeling?
YONI ASHER, WIFE AND TWO DAUGHTERS HELD HOSTAGE: Hello, Erin. First of all, I felt that I really, really miss my wife and my two young baby girl's. That's the first feeling I had. And I was happy for this family, who got their relatives back to them.
BURNETT: The IDF this morning said that the majority of hostages are still alive, and I know -- we called you, obviously, Yoni, right away and you had not yet heard that news. Had Israeli officials told you anything, Yoni, in these past few days, as these announcements have come out about hostages released and the majority of hostages being alive? Have they been able to give you any details or any information about your wife and daughters?
ASHER: Well, right now, there is no specific information delivered to me. They are still talking to me and I specific -- my personal needs to them. And I ask them to try to maybe make the picture a little bit clearer for me about what happened during the kidnap.
Like I told you, we found out only two days ago that my mother-in-law is not alive anymore. And we know that it happened somewhere during the kidnapping, which started maybe in this video which you showed. And that is all we know. So we have a lot of questions around this event, our specific event. And we don't have a specific answer yet, but I would like to believe that things our getting done, maybe in some channels that we don't see.
BURNETT: It seems they are. I mean, I guess you need to allow yourself to have more hope now.
ASHER: Well, it's very confusing. Things are complicated. I'm going to be hopeful, but this is my family's life. So I need to be logical and think, why now, why today, why -- you know, as a father of family -- whoever family of the hostage think themselves those kind of thoughts. So, if you analyze it, but you don't really know. So it's all just speculation, because when you don't have the basis of that knowledge, it's only speculation.
And the security systems, and all the high-level personas, they are the ones that have this information. So it's up to them.
BURNETT: All right. Well, Yoni, we're thinking of you, Raz, Aviv, Doron, and hoping. Thank you so much for being with us.
ASHER: Yes. Thank you. Thank you, Erin. Thank you.
BURNETT: All right, and around the world tonight, we're seeing massive pro-Palestinian protests in many countries and the Middle East. Of course, Yemen, Jordan, Turkey, Egypt.
Egypt, of course, a stunning and important development, because protests have been banned there, outlawed, for over a decade. In Lebanon, on Israel's, border tension is reaching a boiling point.
Our Ben Wedeman has been there reporting and he is OUTFRONT tonight.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Death to America, death to Israel, shouts the master of ceremonies at the rally in the southern suburbs. To a crowd of a few hundred supporters of Hezbollah and its Shia ally, the Hamas movement -- who don't want to be passive bystanders to the bloodshed in Gaza.
We want the persistence to liberate Palestine, Randa Mohammed tells me.
Words and slogans like these are not new and as the death toll in Gaza soars, passions are reaching the boiling point.
Earlier this week, twice, protesters north of Beirut tried to reach the American embassy, stopped only by riot police firing tear gas and water cannons.
In Egypt, a rare, unauthorized demonstration demands Arab regimes act to stop Israel's war on Hamas and Gaza. In Jordan, a country where many traced their roots back to historic Palestine, they call on the government to shut the American and Israeli embassies.
But in Lebanon, it's not only protests on the border with Israel. It's just a notch below war.
In south Lebanon, every day, Hezbollah is striking Israeli targets, four, five, six times a day. Here in Beirut, they're holding rallies, talking about doing more, but so far, it's just talk.
Hezbollah's main backer, Iran, has threatened to open a new front. Notably silent is Hezbollah's leader Hassan Nasrallah who hasn't uttered a word since the war began.
I asked Hezbollah parliament member Ali Amar (ph) if his group is ready to go to war with Israel.
The answer to that will come later, he replies.
The daily Hezbollah attacks on the border are a hint of what that answer could be.
Ben Wedeman, CNN, Beirut.
BURNETT: And also tonight, another look at Mefalsim, that is the kibbutz where civilian fighters fended off Hamas terrorists miraculously, nobody died. But, now everyone who lived there is displaced. The town is riddled with bullet holes.
I went to see where they are staying, and how they're trying to maintain some sense of normalcy, very far away from home.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: So, this is -- this is going to be like the store. You would have --
MARTIN SCIURANO, COMMUNITY MANAGER, KIBBUTZ MEFALSIM: This as our committee store, as we have and the kibbutz. And from here we supply all that needs of our community, from clothes to toilets and --
BURNETT: The clothes are labeled by size. Children?
SCIURANO: Children's size.
BURNETT: Four, five, six, yeah.
SCIURANO: Children's six, and girls, women, men, everything. Everything.
BURNETT: A lot of toothbrushes. SCIURANO: We have 585 members of the community here.
BURNETT: Yeah, so you need them.
SCIURANO: We need everything.
BURNETT: And these are from donations?
SCIURANO: Everything is from donations.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Martin is a committee manager of Mefalsim. It's a kibbutz that, of course, was attacked by Hamas. As he said, 580 people from the kibbutz are saying in this hotel. Several hundred children, two cats, 16 dogs. He laid it all out, he said, this is their only home right now.
And he brings us here to what he calls the living room. It was full at the time. We were there, in the evening, people spending time together, on their phones, children. And there's the library. People picking up books, borrowing books, all of those books donated as well.
And they even have a kindergarten. They sit it had been the business center of the hotel. The tiny tables now are for displaced children, so they can have some sense of school. Schools here, most of them still not open since the attacks.
There is a dining room, now serving 580 people every single day. We're seeing them eat dinner. There's even a makeshift nail salon. And this was really interesting. Martin told me that that's because there are came donations for people to get a massage or something, so people could get some sort of a break from the trauma.
And the parents refused to leave their children, said, they wouldn't work out within 300 feet of them now because they're so afraid. Martin says he came up with a way to fill their days from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. So, there's literally a schedule posted, because they cannot go to work, they cannot go to school, they are not home. They literally are staying in this hotel and they can't do anything with normal life, anything.
Because while their voluntary security forces did fight Hamas militants off alone, and saved every single life in this kibbutz, a true miracle, the town is riddled with bullets. And now, in a middle of an active war zone. Their neighbor kibbutzim is mourning slaughter, death, horrible destruction.
They are alive, they are shattered but grateful. And just for a second, I want to show you the toothbrushes again, because we keep hearing about toothbrushes here. You may remember Amir Katz who is ready to get the call to invade along the Gaza border.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMIR KATZ, IDF RESERVIST: They are bringing -- they're cooking food for us. They're giving us everything we want. If I want like ten toothbrushes, if I want. It's unbelievable to see the unity that our nation has.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: After Amir said that, another IDF mentioned toothbrushes to me. And we have actually come to see toothbrushes as a mundane sign of human dignity. You can go without a shower for days, but a toothbrushing is different. Toothbrushes have come to symbolize strength and fortitude here in Israel. And it is worth remembering tonight, that, of course, in Gaza, where there's toilet water or no water for many, many lack even that basic dignity.
Thanks so much for watching.
"AC360" begins now.