Return to Transcripts main page
Isa Soares Tonight
IDF: Ground Troops Launch Raids Along Gaza Contact Line; Sources Say The U.S. Wants Israel To Delay A Full-On Invasion To Allow For The Release Of More Hostages And Aid Into Gaza; U.N. Official: U.N. Fuel Supply In Gaza Will Run Out In Days; Palestinian Health Ministry In Gaza: 2,000+ Children Among More Than 5,000 People Killed Amid Israeli Strikes; Aid Trickles Into Gaza As Israeli Airstrikes Ramp Up; Race For President Heading To Runoff; Sources: Two Israeli Released By Hamas. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired October 23, 2023 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ISA SOARES, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello, and welcome to our continuing coverage of the Israel-Hamas war, I'm Isa Soares. And tonight, the
humanitarian crisis in Gaza grows worse by the hour. This, amid news Israel's military conducted raids underground overnight. The IDF say
they're looking for intelligence on more than 200 captives taken by Hamas and getting ready for the next phase of the war.
Sources say the U.S. wants Israel to delay a full-on invasion to allow for the release of more hostages and aid into Gaza. But a senior Israeli
official denies that report. Well, aid has begun entering the enclave from Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, but the convoys are really a trickle of what Gaza
usually receives. CNN calculates there are more than 7,200 trucks short of normal deliveries. Water, food, and medical items are indeed in short
And the U.N. says its fuel will run out in days. And that fuel is important, why? Well, it's critical, of course, to keep generators online
and hospitals working as Israel ramps up airstrikes. Well, in Gaza, some residents who didn't evacuate tell CNN, there is no safe place there,
something that I have been hearing now for days, too.
A senior Israeli official tells us there will be no ceasefire in Gaza, and some Palestinians fear a new massive displacement, similar to what happened
after the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. Our Nada Bashir joins us now from Amman, Jordan, for more on this.
And Nada, let's start in the humanitarian front first, 20 trucks crossing Rafah into Gaza so far on Monday, I mean, that really is a drop in the
bucket, and we heard that so from U.N. Talk to the escalating humanitarian needs inside Gaza.
NADA BASHIR, CNN REPORTER: Well, you're absolutely right, Isa. Those humanitarian needs are growing by the hour. The situation is getting worse
and worse. And we've heard from U.N. officials saying that what we're seeing unfolding inside the Gaza Strip is a humanitarian catastrophe. We've
been speaking to families on the ground in Gaza.
They say they are rationing food, they don't have electricity, they don't have formula or milk for their babies, and of course, as you mentioned
there, there are so many people in areas that are facing relentless aerial bombardment in northern Gaza, who are unable to evacuate as per the IDF's
warning, including hospitals that we know, according to Doctors without Borders and other groups on the ground, that at least 12 hospitals inside
the Gaza Strip are now inactive.
And of course, as we know, many of these hospitals are completely overrun with those injured by Israel's continued bombardment of the Gaza Strip.
Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced, and we've been hearing from U.N. teams on the ground, they say that they have provided shelter for
many of them in U.N. schools, in hospitals, in evacuation centers.
But these areas, these centers, are not only at capacity, but they are more than two times at capacity. Now, and of course, as we know, Gaza is under a
blockade, it has been since 2007, and while we are beginning to see aid slowly, very slowly getting in, there simply is not enough, and what we're
expecting to see is this humanitarian situation getting worse by the hour.
And of course, as you mentioned, those airstrikes are intensifying. That death toll is rising each and every day. And the concern is, as Israel
continues to ramp up its airstrikes, this is only going to get much worse.
SOARES: And that is indeed the fear, and the calls are growing, of course, for more aid to go in, when, you know, prior to this conflict, 450 trucks
were making it into Gaza every day, just to put it into perspective for our viewers.
But of course, our viewers will see that you're in Amman in Jordan, where we have seen, Nada, large crowds protesting several days, and doing so not
only because of the dire humanitarian catastrophe that we've just spoken of, but also because of fears over displacement.
Just explain to our viewers around the world, why this is being the overriding message in the region, and why this is a red line for leaders
such as King Abdullah of Jordan?
BASHIR: This is a huge concern for people here in Jordan, for people in Egypt, for people across the region.
There is a real fear that history could be repeating --
SOARES: Yes --
BASHIR: Itself as we saw with the Arab-Israeli wars of 1948, of 1967, millions of Palestinians were displaced, and that is the fear. This country
here is home to more than 2 million Palestinian refugees. And when we speak to people on the ground, when we speak to Palestinian refugees here, who
still have family in Gaza, they say they want their families to stay there, because they fear that they will never be able to return, and that they
will lose their homes forever. Take a look.
BASHIR (voice-over): Through the narrow streets of Amman's Jabal el-Hussein Refugee Camp, the mood is clear.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Blaspheme, no America! No America!
BASHIR: Established more than 70 years ago, this community is now home to more than 30,000 Palestinian refugees. Just a fraction of the more than
700,000 who were expelled or forced to flee their homes following the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. Families in this camp know the pain of exile all too
well. Denied by Israel their right to return to their homeland, it is a life sentence to separation from family, from friends, from home.
And for those with loved ones still in Gaza, they say it is a sentence to the cruelest form of anguish.
ABD MUNIM SADDO DABABCH, PALESTINIAN REFUGEE IN JORDAN (through translator): Are we not humans to you because we are Palestinian? At any
given moment, I could get a phone call telling me that my sister and her children had been killed. You know, my mother was killed during the Gaza
war in 2009. I hadn't seen her for 12 years.
BASHIR: Ali Al-Ottleh says that he has more than 70 relatives in Gaza that have already been killed in this latest round of Israeli airstrikes.
ALI AL-OTTLEH, PALESTINIAN REFUGEE IN JORDAN (through translator): Our home is Palestine. We will never forget about Palestine. Imagine being forced
out of your home for 75 years. We have already spent 75 years as refugees. How could you expect the Palestinians to leave their homes and move to
Egypt or elsewhere.
BASHIR: Now the prospect of thousands more Palestinians being forcibly displaced to neighboring countries or even further afield has been
condemned by leaders across the Arab world, and has been characterized by both the king of Jordan and other officials as both a war crime and a red
line for the country.
MUSTAFA AL-HAMAMEH, JORDANIAN SENATOR: The Israelis were always adamant about no return of refugees, and that's why the Palestinians cling to what
they call law of return or the right of return back. So any eviction, any new mass of Palestinian refugees, for us, is a repeat of 1948.
BASHIR: That fear of history repeating itself of another Nakba or catastrophe as Palestinians describe it, is felt across the region. Many of
Haniah Al-Sadawi's relatives are trapped in Gaza. Now, Haniah spends every morning calling loved ones, hoping they're still alive.
HANIAH AL-SADAWI, PALESTINIAN LIVING IN JORDAN: I don't even know whether my family is going to be able to go back to their homes if they're going to
have homes to go back to. And of course, though, the biggest fear is that they're going to be evacuated and turned into refugees. They don't want to
move. They would rather die in Gaza than move.
BASHIR: The connection felt by Palestinians to their homeland is hard to overstate. At this church vigil in Amman, a poignant moment of remembrance.
Oh Jerusalem, they sing, and 1960s melody beloved across the region, dedicated to the holy city and to the Palestinian struggle. A cause which
has drawn people of all faiths, of all walks of life together with a message of enduring solidarity.
BASHIR: And look, Isa, King Abdullah of Jordan spoke at the Cairo Peace Summit over the weekend, he described the prospects of a force -- expulsion
of Palestinians, of a mass displacement of Palestinians from Gaza, as not only a war crime, but a red line for Jordan. That has been echoed by many
Arab leaders, and that is certainly the message we've been hearing on the streets.
Each and every night as protesters take to the streets here in Amman, as protesters take to the streets across the region and across the globe,
protesting in solidarity with the Palestinian people, calling for an end to Israel's ongoing bombardment of the Gaza Strip.
SOARES: Important reporting there from our Nada Bashir in Jordan. Thanks very much, Nada. Well, Israel says that it hit more than 300 terror targets
in Gaza overnight Sunday. It is a significant escalation coming as Israeli troops on the ground carried out raids along what Israel's military is
calling the contact line with Gaza. The IDF says it was also searching for hostages being held by Hamas in Gaza, in preparation for the war's next
phase. But when this next phase will come is still unclear as CNN's Nic Robertson reports.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice-over): Bristling with battle-ready troops, farmers fields north of Gaza churn with a
controlled fury of a nation readying for an incursion to strike Hamas, yet, they are waiting with no explanation, why?
(on camera): It feels like the early rush for battle readiness has passed. The troops are deployed, standing by. The question is, how long can they be
kept out here?
(voice-over): According to former IDF General, Israel Ziv, as long as it's needed. There are military gains.
ISRAEL ZIV, FORMER IDF GENERAL: We are now improving our intelligence and our capacity of targets.
ROBERTSON: But the political calculation here is more complicated.
RON BEN YISHAI, MILITARY ANALYST: I think both in Washington and in Jerusalem, they understand that the legitimation(ph) -- legitimization
window is closing quickly.
ROBERTSON: Civilian losses in Gaza are growing, more than a third of them, children, according to Palestinian health officials. Lengthy negotiations
have led to two American hostages released as a tiny amount of humanitarian aid has crossed into Gaza that Israel fears ends up in Hamas' hands. Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's calculus of when to send in ground troops has never been so fraught under pressure from the White House for more hostage
YISHAI: Netanyahu is in a real problem. He cannot say no to Biden, but he cannot say yes to the -- to the humanitarian aid that drifts into northern
ROBERTSON: But he is also under pressure at home, too, military and others hawkish for a decisive blow against Hamas.
ZIV: We are finishing preparing, you know, the ground force, because we've changed plans, we are going to for heavy maneuvering.
ROBERTSON: Netanyahu's dilemma compounded by his dependence on American weapons.
YISHAI: The pressure is -- from Washington is real. It's real and strong, and the prime minister says many times to his ministers, listen, we are
getting from the United States more than you know.
ROBERTSON: Where less than a week ago, these fields were teeming with tanks, troops making last-minute repairs. Today, there are just tracks in
(on camera): Did the soldiers jack it here, bread and a bag on the table. The question is, where have all the tanks gone, forward for an incursion or
back to base for a pause?
(voice-over): Close to the frontline in Gaza these days, more questions than answers. An incursion still highly probable, but when? Nic Robertson,
CNN, Sderot, Israel.
SOARES: Well, the U.S. is racing to secure the release of more hostages ahead of Israel's expected ground invasion into Gaza. Speaking in the last
hour, U.S. National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said that getting Americans back home remains the White House's top priority. Have a
listen to what he said?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KIRBY, COORDINATOR FOR STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS, NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL, WHITE HOUSE: We have no higher priority than the safety of
Americans that are being held around the world, and we're going to continue around the clock to see if we can get them home with their families where
It is literally an hour by hour effort here at the White House and at the State Department to find out where these folks are, and to try to make this
-- the effort to get them out and get them back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: I want to bring in CNN's Jeremy Diamond on the ground in Ashkelon, Israel, and Oren Liebermann at -- is at the Pentagon. Oren, let me start
with you. Sources telling CNN in the last few hours that the U.S. is pushing Israel to delay its ground invasion of Gaza.
Just talk to the move here, why this is tactical, whether this tactical, I'm guessing this is to allow more time for hostages here and aid?
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: You're exactly right, Isa. The focus here, as you just heard from John Kirby there at the National
Security Council is on the freeing of hostages, and we just heard that the IDF has notified the Americans that they believe there are more American
hostages alive, held within Gaza.
That is the priority for the U.S., it is the priority for the Biden administration to do and see if there's a possibility of securing the
release of those American hostages, and frankly, other hostages, though two were released on Friday, they are more than 200 other hostages held in
So that is where the administration is focusing its efforts, using the country of Qatar as a way of -- as essentially an intermediary with Hamas,
to try to see if there's a possibility here, an opening to secure the release of more hostages. But Israel's calculation is different.
It's not just about hostages, it is about trying to deal a blow to Hamas, and those don't necessarily line up in such a way that both are possible,
and that's the difficulty here. According to the official, CNN spoke with, it is the U.S. pressuring Israel to delay its ground incursion, we have
been expecting it for a week and a half now, and still haven't seen it move forward here.
To give more time, not only for as you pointed out the hostages to be rescued and see if there's something that can -- some agreement or some
possibility to bring them out, but also the possibility of sending in more humanitarian aid to Gaza. Right now, it's about 20 trucks we've seen go in
a couple of days, that's a tiny drip of what's needed for the Gaza Strip. Isa?
SOARES: Yes, and in the meantime, Jeremy, I was hearing our colleague Nic Robertson say that, you know, last night, he heard some of the most
ferocious shelling since the conflict began. I mean, what does this increased shelling suggest? How do you interpret it?
JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, it certainly suggests that they are preparing the terrain effectively for ground troops to move
in. In fact, the IDF made that much clear yesterday when they said that they plan to intensify these strikes, and they said that the goal of doing
so was to try and minimize the risk to Israeli ground troops who are expected to move into Gaza.
When they move in remains the only question at this point. Even just tonight, we are hearing from the Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, who is
making clear that Israel intends to carry out a multilateral operation from the air, ground and the sea. And he is telling troops in Ashdod this
evening, that the operation, quote, "will come soon", and telling them to continue to prepare for that.
I think what's clear is that it appears that Israel is willing to perhaps delay this ground invasion for a few days to allow some more time for these
hostage negotiations that Oren was just mentioning. But that they are certainly not going to do so indefinitely. Whether you listen to Israel's
political leadership or its military leadership, all of them are being very clear that a ground operation is coming.
They are not saying maybe, they are not saying perhaps, they are saying in very definitive terms that it will come. And as we were driving along the
border with Gaza today, what we saw is those -- the preparations for that ground operation. The troops appear to be ready to move in at a moment's
In just one area along the Gaza Strip, about a square mile, we saw hundreds of tanks, armored personnel carriers, and D9 bulldozers, which are used to
clear IEDs and obstacles ahead of ground forces. Now, these forces appear to have moved somewhat in the last couple of days since we last saw them,
but they are still in those same staging grounds just a few kilometers away from the border with Gaza. All they appear to be waiting for at this point
is the order to go ahead.
SOARES: Thank you very much, Jeremy Diamond for us there, and Oren Liebermann at the Pentagon. Thank you. And still to come tonight, calls for
humanitarian pause. Members of the EU are pushing for the move to allow aid to enter Gaza. We'll speak with the Latvian Foreign Minister. That's next.
SOARES: Welcome back everyone. The European Union appears to be moving closer to endorsing a humanitarian pause in Gaza to allow desperately-
needed aid to reach Palestinian civilians. Foreign Ministers met in Luxembourg earlier, as you can see there, but there were divisions over
what exactly the next step should be.
Some countries including Slovenia and Norway pushed for a humanitarian ceasefire. Others like Germany stressed the need for something concrete to
come out of the crisis. Have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANNALENA BAERBOCK, FOREIGN MINISTER, GERMANY (through translator): We need a path for tomorrow. This means thinking about it now, how security in Gaza
and peace in the region can be secured together with international actors. For the European Union and for Germany, it is clear that Israelis and
Palestinians can only live in peace and security in the long term, free of terrorism, and free from human tragedy with a two-state solution.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: Well, Latvia's Foreign Minister Krisjanis Karins also endorsed a bloc pushing for the resumption of peace talks, saying it needs to work
harder towards the two-state solution. I want to bring in now, from Luxembourg, Minister, thank you very much for taking the time to speak to
us this evening. I'll talk about the long term plans in just a moment.
Let's talk really about the short term and what we have been seeing, the escalating humanitarian crisis happening right now. The EU's top diplomat
has been calling for a pause in Israel's bombing of Gaza, clearly to allow more humanitarian in, and for hostages to get out. The U.N. chief has
called for a ceasefire. Where do you stand on this?
KRISJANIS KARINS, FOREIGN MINISTER, LATVIA: Well, I think all of us stand on the side that if a ceasefire actually could work, that would be a good
thing in order to get humanitarian aid in. But remember, a ceasefire, it takes two, it takes two to tango. So, on the one hand, we have the state of
Israel, a democratic country whose leadership is responsible to its people, and the other side, you have Hamas, a terrorist organization.
So I don't think it will be enough if only the Israeli stop, you need Hamas to stop as well. And this is the entire difficulty in the situation. We
have a terrorist organization which is embedded in the civilian society, and you know, within the Palestinians, hiding behind them, not being a
On the other side, you have the state of Israel. It's actually, completely opposite from Russia's war in Ukraine. You have two opposing armies, and
very clearly, the Russians are shooting over the Ukrainian army at civilian targets. In Gaza, it's different. Every time the Israelis try to target a
military objective, there can very well be civilians because Hamas is using them to shield themselves from potential fire.
So it's very difficult. If a ceasefire could be attained, that would be adhered to by both sides, that would certainly help the humanitarian
situation. But I don't think it would be enough if only one side -- and in terms of what we in the European Union are thinking of and what we need to
push for is the ultimate two-state solution.
Because we don't only need a short term, we need a long term-lasting solution, which will work for peace, for both sides. And that is only
possible for two states, a state for Israel and a state for Palestinians.
SOARES: Well, let's talk about that, Minister. I mean, you talked about it takes two to tango, we've tried a two-state solution for over two decades,
haven't gotten very far. And now we've got Israel with the -- a very far- right leaning government. When it comes to two to tango, do you believe it's possible to have a two-state solution that all sides will be on board
KARINS: Well, look, I'm a politician, a foreign minister. We work in the world of impossibilities and make them possibilities. There simply is no
other choice either for the state of Israel or for the Palestinians. For Palestinian youth to see a fruitful purpose in life, working towards
building a state, instead of trying to undermine the Israeli state, certainly seems like a good idea both for the Palestinians and for the
Israelis as well.
I don't want to comment on the current Israeli government -- the Israeli electorate that decides the government, but I also think any Israeli
government including this one must see that this is the only way forward, and because of this very heightened war, I think not often, it is a
terrible tragedy which finally brings us to at least, shall we say, the negotiating table to find a real solution.
This just may be it. It's hard to imagine what worse does one need, because we saw the terrible attack by Hamas on the state of Israel against innocent
civilians, killing people, hostages, et cetera. And now we're seeing that the effect of Israel retaliating against Gaza -- against Hamas in Gaza,
invariably, unfortunately, comes with civilian suffering, which is --
SOARES: Yes --
KARINS: Of course, unacceptable and wrong.
SOARES: So, maybe, human -- on what we're seeing on the ground right now, humanitarian pause to allow more aid in, hostages out, would be the best
solution right now. But how much leverage, Minister, does the EU have with Israel or have in the region? What is it doing behind the scenes, right
KARINS: Well, behind the scenes, everyone is speaking. This is what politicians and diplomats do. The question is, who has very much leverage
at all? The U.S. has a lot --
SOARES: Yes --
KARINS: Of leverage, but we see that no country right now is able to singularly control the entire situation. We have external players, we have
Hezbollah in Lebanon, we have Iran, we have lots of potential, shall we say, broader difficulties. So I think everyone from all sides is working on
a solution from the European side -- yes, there is talk of a true ceasefire in order for humanitarian aid to come in.
But I want to stress that ceasefire would make sense only if -- not only Israel, but also Hamas would stop sending the rockets, and that is
SOARES: Yes --
KARINS: Unfortunately not happening.
SOARES: And there has been -- I think, it's fair to say, correct me if I'm wrong here. There's some criticism of the EU's initial response to this
conflict. I'm seeing reports on -- in the media that about 800 commission staff, EU Commission staff, have written a letter to the EU Commission
President von der Leyen, criticizing her bias. One source telling CNN, it was our moral duty to be honest. Do you agree with this criticism? Is it
KARINS: Well, remember, the EU is a club of 27 fiercely independent nation states. We try to work together, we have the European Commission as a sort
of executive, but not exactly. But actually, the various opinions that have come out especially in the early days are really all part of the same
story. So, they are not contradictory.
Full support for the state of Israel under terrorist attack is full and complete. At the same time, the humanitarian situation is very real and
very dire, and they are not in contradiction. One can support Israel, and be concerned about the humanitarian situation in Gaza --
SOARES: I hear you, but that wasn't the message --
KARINS: Not the same --
SOARES: I hear you, minister, but that wasn't the message from von der Leyen in the initial -- in the initial stages of this conflict.
KARINS: Her initial reaction was one stating full support for the state of Israel. One can criticize her, I suppose, in saying well, why didn't she
stress all sides of the -- of the picture? And I suppose that criticism can be -- can be leveled against her. But if you listen also to her subsequent
remarks, she certainly has come on board and stated the obvious.
It was just the initial reaction where -- you know, that's what the criticism is. But you know, she has the rather full plate as the head of
the commission, and I actually think it was quite meaningful of her to be in the area to see things firsthand, and also to express her support for
the state of Israel, because remember, Israel is reacting to an attack by - -
SOARES: Indeed, yes --
KARINS: Hamas. Israel did not start with the attack.
SOARES: And of course, I wasn't criticizing her comments vis-a-vis Israel, I was just making the point that we didn't hear anything else other than
that. So it's important that you framed it that way. Minister, I appreciate you taking the time to speak to us, thank you very much, sir.
KARINS: Thank you.
SOARES: We're taking a short break with much more on the war between Israel and Hamas. Do stay right here.
SOARES: Welcome back, everyone. Israel says its airstrikes are targeting Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza. This, after militants killed more than
1,400 people in Israel and kidnapped more than 200 others. But Gaza is one of the most densely populated areas on the planet. And children make up
around half of its population.
CNN's Salma Abdelaziz has more now on the Palestinian civilians killed in this war. And a warning, her report contains graphic content. You're about
to see some incredibly distressing moments as parents see the bloody as well as lifeless bodies of their children. Here is her report.
SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): The piercing screams of yet another mother who has lost her child. The whales of
countless moms and dads haunt Gaza now. Almost 2,000 children have been killed here in two weeks, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.
Families terrified they may be struck down next are writing the names of their children on their legs in the hope they can identify them in the
And more are dying by the day, as Israel intensifies its airstrikes on what it says are Hamas targets in Gaza. We're over two million people, half of
them kids, are trapped in this hole. The Israeli military yet again called on all residents to flee south. An order the U.N. has previously called
inhumane and a potential breach of international law.
But even those who can somehow make the journey under bombardment and under siege find no refuge. This is Khan Yunis in the south of the Strip. Death
follows families here too. And no one can leave. A complete siege has sealed borders. Food, water, medical supplies are running out. Survival is
made more difficult by the hour.
They said to come here because it is safe, this man says. But last night the airstrikes were the most difficult we've seen so far.
MOTAZ AZAIZA, PALESTINIAN JOURNALIST: Heading to the place that gets strikes.
ABDELAZIZ (voiceover): On his social media, Palestinian journalist Motaz is documenting the toll on children. His feed is full of images of innocent
faces. Tiny victims terrified and wounded by violence. No one here can tell them when it will end.
AZAIZA: Can anyone just tell me what they did to deserve this, to be murder this way? I mean, please. Is there any reason that these children, two
years, three years, they're murdered in this way.
ABDELAZIZ (voiceover): There are calls to delay an eminent ground invasion on the enclave from the U.S. and rights groups. But Israel is undeterred,
pounding the battered strip with hundreds more airstrikes. A place of suffering somehow now bracing for even more.
Salma Abdelaziz, CNN London.
SOARES: Well, to talk about the humanitarian situation in the region, we're joined by Shaina Low of the Norwegian Refugee Council. She joins us from
Jerusalem. Shaina, I really appreciate you taking the time to us -- speak to us. We have seen two convoys of aid trucks crossing into Gaza from Egypt
this weekend. But as we've heard, this is just really a drop in the ocean for the needs of more than two million people. Just talk to what you are
hearing from your contacts on the ground.
SHAINA LOW, COMMUNICATIONS ADVISER, NORWEGIAN REFUGEE COUNCIL: So, what we're hearing from our colleagues in Gaza is that the situation is getting
more and more desperate each and every day. And despite the fact that we are glad to see that some aid is getting in, it's nowhere near enough to
provide for the needs of the 2.3 million Palestinians living in Gaza.
We're hearing about bread lines that last for hours. Yesterday, my colleagues spent five hours waiting in line to get about a little more than
a dollar's worth of bread, about a dollar and a quarter's worth of bread. We're hearing about other colleagues who are still up in Gaza City where
it's taking them a full day just to find bread and water for their families. People are suffering. People are drinking brackish water, saline
water, contaminated water, because they're just desperate and resources are quickly dwindling. And as the needs become more, the supplies become less.
SOARES: And Shaina, what is your understanding of why more trucks are not going in? I mean, I remember, I think it was on Friday, I had read that we
had -- there was something like 200 and something trucks waiting on the Egyptian side. Why isn't there a constant flow of aid going in?
LOW: You know, I really can't tell you what the delay is. At this point, it's just -- it's -- with hundreds of trucks waiting to go in, supplies
ready and available, there's no excuse at this point for supplies not being able to get into Gaza. The important thing to note, though, is that it's
not just about getting the supplies into Gaza, but it's about having the means and the ability to actually be able to distribute that aid to those
who are in need.
And as of now, it's just simply unsafe even in Rafah, even in Khan Yunis in the south of Gaza, there are still constant aerial bombardments,
airstrikes. One of our colleagues, he lost his own nephew last night in an airstrike on Rafah. And so, we need, in order for that aid to even make a
difference to people, is we need to ensure that humanitarian organizations like the Norwegian Refugee Council, like our partners on the ground, like
U.N. agencies, have the ability to go and deliver aid without fear for their own safety.
We need, at the very least, a ceasefire or humanitarian pause in order to really go out and reach communities in need and also allow for those people
who are in need and seeking assistance to be able to access distribution points without fear and for their lives.
SOARES: I mean, yes, I hear you. But you know, we've heard today Israel saying it's widening -- Israel basically widening its offensive against
Hamas, really intensifying those attacks. It doesn't look like you're going to get any sort of humanitarian pause, a humanitarian corridor. This must
be so heartbreaking, like you said, how your teams on the ground able to distribute this much-needed aid to the millions of people who need it.
LOW: Our teams on the ground have basically been in hibernation mode since these -- since October 7th. It simply is not safe to send out our
colleagues to go and reach people when they need to be focusing on making sure that they and their families are safe and secure, at least to the best
of their abilities. We have been able to provide a little bit of aid to the most vulnerable families in Gaza through cash assistance, which we've been
able to provide remotely. But the window for cash assistance is quickly narrowing as stocks and shelves and stores become less and less. And so,
once there's nothing in the markets, cash really doesn't mean anything.
SOARES: Absolutely. And we talked about the aid and the aid trucks, but fuel wasn't part of any of this aid of these deliveries. Explain just how
critical this is. This something I've been hearing from NGOs. Why this is important?
LOW: Fuel is essential for everything in Gaza. First and foremost, the hospitals that are providing life-saving care, not just to those who have
been injured or in airstrikes or as part of the hostilities, but also those who have chronic conditions like kidney failure, who require dialysis
regularly. Those people are reliant on fuel because there is no electricity right now. The power plant has stopped running, so everything in Gaza is
reliant on fuel-operated generators.
That's not just the hospitals, it's also the bakeries that need fuel to run their ovens. It's water pumps. The generators are required for water pumps.
So, even if there is water that's accessible that's in Gaza, it's inaccessible without fuel in those -- in those -- fuel in those generators
to allow those pumps to access the water and provide it for Palestinians in need.
SOARES: Shaina, I really appreciate you taking the time to speak to us. And I hope your teams on the ground stay safe. Thank you very much, Shaina.
LOW: Thank you.
SOARES: And still to come tonight, we'll bring you up to date with all the international headlines, including Argentina's race for a new president.
That's after this short break.
SOARES: The U.S. House of Representatives has been without a speaker for nearly three weeks now. Nine Republicans are currently running to fill the
role. In a few hours, they will make their case during a candidate forum. A vote on a new Speaker is expected to take place tomorrow but all-nine face
an uphill climb to get to 217 votes needed.
Without a House Speaker, Congress, well, can't get anything done. That includes passing the $60 billion dollar U.S. aid package to Ukraine
proposed by the White House last week. Meantime, on the ground, the U.N. says it has evidence of new war crimes committed by Russian forces in
Ukraine. Just released report says Russian soldiers tortured, raped, and deported Ukrainian children. The report also states that Russian forces
have continued indiscriminate attacks on civilians. The U.N. says officials in Russia have not responded to the report.
While the race to the Argentina's next president is heading to a runoff, Argentina's economic minister won the most votes in Sunday's election. More
than 25 million Argentinians cast their ballots. That's about a 75 percent voter turnout.
Joining us now to break down the vote is journalist Stefano Pozzebon. And Stefano, I think many people were kind of surprised that Massa has done so
well. Explain how he's been able to defy expectations of what happens next.
STEFANO POZZEBON, JOURNALIST: Yes, it's almost, Isa, as if we were speaking of the victory of the old guard because of compared to many other similar
stories here in Argentina, at least in the first round of the presidential ballot, the upstart populist, the man who was going to turn the country's
politics upside down did not win. That didn't happen.
And instead, most of Argentinian voters, or at least the majority that took the went to the polls yesterday, they preferred the tried and trust
experience of the current economic minister despite the fact that Argentina is handling the worst economic crisis of its recent history, at least for
sure of the last 20 years. And that Sergio Massa who won the presidential contest, the first round of presidential contest just yesterday, is also
overseeing one of the highest inflation rates in the world. And that is in itself a very remarkable achievement that the man that is -- that is in
charge of the economy in such a distraught time can still pull off an electoral victory.
But I think here we can talk about the scare effect of Javier Milei, the upstart, far-right, self-described anarcho-libertarian economies who was
proposing to dollarize Argentina's economy. And most of the voters were not ready, maybe, for such radical plans, or that he wasn't able to convince
all of them, at least for the first round. And that's also one of the reasons why Massa yesterday in his first speech as the front-runner in his
new electoral contest said, trying to appeal to moderate and centrist voters. Here's what he said about his plans if he gets elected president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SERGIO MASSA, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, ARGENTINA (through translator): I want a national unity government. I am going to call upon the very best,
regardless of their political stance. We need to open a new chapter around policies for the entire state, not just a few.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
POZZEBON: So, from one side, Isa, you have MilEI, thise upstart politician, who was proposing to completely revolutionize the way the Argentinian
economy has been run in the last, frankly, 200 years since the country's independence. He was proposing to dollarize and completely get rid of the
national bank in the country. And from the other side is Massa, who, although he's overseen a moment of crisis, is not proposing to completely
throw the script out of the window. And he's proposing gradual reforms and a change in continuity of some of the analysts and his advisors have that
I've interviewed in the last few weeks have told me.
And at least yesterday the tried and trusted won. We need to see if that will be still the case when the second round happens, the second round
happens in November. And you can see maybe very different scenarios depending on where the voters of the third group, the consensual
conservatives will go, whether with Massa or Milei.
SOARES: Yes, where they'll throw their vote, who they'll -- who they'll back. Stefano, I appreciate it. Thank you very much for that breakdown.
We're going to take a short break. We're back after this.
ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Judith and Natalie Raanan were released by Hamas on Friday. We understand they are Israeli citizens,
but they could also be dual nationals. It is unclear what the identities of these two prisoners are. Hamas had indicated over the weekend that they
were willing to release two prisoners and follow the same format that they had on Friday, which is essentially handing hostages over to the Red Cross,
which is -- which operates independently in Gaza. And then they would then be handed over to the Israelis.
So, we understand from one source that these two Israelis are now with the Red Cross. They have not yet been handed over to the Israelis. And of
course, this comes as part of this ongoing effort that is led primarily by Qatar, as well as Egypt, to engage with Hamas to get these prisoners out of
Hamas detention. The IDF earlier today put a much more finer point, a more specific number on the number of hostages in their custody, 222 of all
kinds of nationalities.
We did hear from the White House earlier today saying that there's still some 10 Americans unaccounted for in the wake of the Hamas attacks and
around a handful, according to the White House's John Kirby, are believed to be Hamas hostages. Brianna.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: And Kaitlan, so, it sounds like there are some details we don't know if they are dual nationals necessarily. And
obviously, we are awaiting details about their identities.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN HOST: Right. That is something that we're still trying to confirm. We do have two names. Of course, we are still running those
down. This is extremely sensitive information for obvious reasons. And so, we want to be very careful with this and double-check all of this before
this information is released. And that is a good question of whether or not they are dual citizens.
Obviously, we had the two who were released last week, Natalie Raanan and her mother Judith. They are expected to be back on their way to the U.S.
really any moment now. They were believing -- her father said that they were going to be back in the United States as soon as tomorrow. And so,
what we're still trying to weigh in glean information from, we should note this is a really fluid situation because what I was hearing from one source
is that these two hostages who are being released are not yet actually in the custody of the Israeli government.
What we saw happen last week was these two hostages were brought to the border with Gaza and then they were brought by IDF soldiers to a base in
central Israel. And that's where they met up with their family members. And so, that's the question here of how these hostages who have been released
are being transported. We don't know yet what condition they're in health- wise, how are they doing medically.
Last week Hamas was claiming they released Judith Raanan in part for humanitarian reasons, which I should note there was a lot of skepticism on
that based on what Hamas has done over the last two weeks. But that is a question here of who these two hostages are, and of course, why these two
hostages. But I can tell you, I was just in Tel Aviv. We were surrounded by a lot of these families who have had their relatives abducted by Hamas. And
this is huge and welcome news for them regardless of how it came about.
We do know part of this was because of some mediating done by the Qataris and the Egyptians, something that we know had been a process here, Brianna,
as it had been playing out, these quiet talks. And also, this comes as the White House today was facing those questions about whether or not they had
urged Israel to delay its ground invasion of Gaza in order to get more hostages out beforehand.
So, there's a lot of moving parts at play here right now, but obviously very good news for the families of these two hostages.
KEILAR: And Alex, this is -- it's so interesting, as Kaitlan mentions, this sort of quiet negotiation between the Qataris, and in this case, Egyptians
negotiating with Hamas. Quiet for sure. We're not finding out about it until hostages are being released. But I can't really even imagine how sort
of feverish the pace of this is behind the scenes with all of the parties involved.
MARQUARDT: It certainly is intense. We heard Secretary Blinken over the weekend saying that they are working on this essentially every minute of
the day. Of course, the United States does not talk directly to Hamas, which they consider a terrorist organization. So, they essentially deputize
the Qataris and the Egyptians who do have solid ties, lines of communication into Hamas to carry out these negotiations.
I think what's interesting here, Brianna, is this is yet another two hostages coming in the wake of two other hostages. This does not
necessarily play to Israel's advantage here. Israel, of course, wants all of the hostages out. Every country does. But at the same time, as Hamas
indicates that they are willing to release hostages, the pressure on Israel has grown to delay their ground incursion of Gaza.
Hamas has now shown that they are willing to release hostages. They are willing to engage. And so, we now have reported that the United States has
pressed Israel to slow their incursion into Gaza, to give it more time because we have seen this progress on both the hostage release front, as
well as the aid going into Gaza. This is the second day in a row today that we have seen aid flowing into Gaza.
Now, the U.S. has been very, very careful to not give the sense that they are telling Israel what to do. They are dictating terms. Israel is
certainly bristling at the notion that anybody might tell them how to carry out their war against Hamas. But certainly, the Israelis and the U.S. are
speaking very close -- are talking about all kinds of things all the time, particularly these hostages. And so, what we have understood is that there
has been some pressure from the U.S. and others to allow for more time to get more hostages out, Brianna.
KEILAR: All right, Alex and Kaitlan, if you could stand by for me. You've been with us on your reporting here. The two more hostages have been
released by Hamas. This is according to multiple sources who have told CNN this. We do not know their identities. We are told that -- by one Israeli
official that they are not yet in Israel. It's a very sensitive situation. We're going to get in a quick break and we'll get you more on this breaking
news here in just a moment.