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Isa Soares Tonight
Israel: Female Israeli Soldier Kidnapped By Hamas Released; Israel's Ground Operation Moves Deeper Into Gaza; Netanyahu: Israel Will Not Surrender To Terrorism; Hundreds Join Antisemitic Riot At Russian Airport; Cornell Investigating Threats Against Jewish Students; Hamas Releases New Hostage Video Showing Three Women. 2-3p ET
Aired October 30, 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 the show, everyone, I'm Isa Soares. We start this hour with breaking news. Israel
says a female Israeli soldier kidnapped by Hamas on October the 7th, is being reunited with her family. The army says she was released as part of a
ground operations in Gaza and appears to be healthy.
And just a short time ago, Hamas released a new hostage video, which we are not going to air right now. And in that video, it shows three women
confirmed by the IDF to be hostages. One of them addresses Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying you promised to release us all. CNN is
unable to verify whether the statement was made under duress or anything about the women's well-being.
All this, of course, comes as Israel expands its ground operations, moving deeper into Gaza. Israel's military says it killed four senior Hamas
operatives and dozens of Hamas fighters. And the humanitarian crisis in Gaza growing more dire by the hour. A U.N. official says the fabric of
society is starting to break down in Gaza.
Well, just minutes ago, in the last ten minutes or so, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a stark message. This is a time for
war, he said. Have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, PRIME MINISTER, ISRAEL: I want to make clear Israel's position regarding a ceasefire. Just as the United States would not agree
to a ceasefire after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, or after the terrorist attack of 9/11, Israel will not agree to a cessation of hostilities with
Hamas after the horrific attacks of October 7th.
Calls for a ceasefire are calls for Israel to surrender to Hamas. To surrender to terrorism. To surrender to barbarism. That will not happen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: And we'll have much more of course, on that Israeli soldier who is being -- who was kidnapped by Hamas on October the 7th, now being reunited
with her family a bit later in the show. Meantime -- in the meantime though, I want to show you a closer look at the truly deteriorating
situation in Gaza. CNN's Salma Abdelaziz reports on the civilians caught in the cross fire, and a warning for you, some of the videos in her report are
SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENTT (voice-over): This is what the so- called second stage of war looks like. Panic and suffocation inside northern Gaza's Al-Quds Hospital. Terrified families and patients with
nowhere to run. Airstrikes nearby after the IDF told people here to flee south.
NEBAL FARSAKH, SPOKESPERSON, PALESTINE RED CRESCENT: We have over 400 patients who are inside the hospital, many of them are in the intensive
care units, evacuating them, means killing them.
ABDELAZIZ: The evacuation order called impossible by the World Health Organization in the U.N., both stressed hospitals and civilians must be
protected, including some 12,000 displaced people sheltering inside Al-Quds Hospital. "Tell us we are safe and we will leave the hospital", he says.
"There is no safe place, not in the south, not in the whole of Gaza."
Near constant airstrikes now pound the enclave, while Israeli troops expand their ground operations. The IDF insists it is eradicating Hamas. But on
the ground in this densely-populated territory, utter devastation is the consequence. There are 2 million people, half of them children, trapped
here under bombardment and under siege.
"This is revenge, a cowardly racist campaign", he said. "We in this area, we are one family, we are kind people. Instead of waking up to the sound of
the call to prayer, we woke up to an airstrike."
Being () inside Gaza sparking mass demonstrations from New York City to London to Rome, and calls for a ceasefire are growing louder. U.N. members
overwhelmingly voted for an immediate and sustained truce last week. But even as Palestinian families bury their youngest, more than 3,000 children
killed in three weeks. Save The Children said, citing Gaza's Hamas- controlled health authorities amplifying the global outcry. Prime Minister Netanyahu vows, this is only the beginning. Salma Abdelaziz, CNN, London.
SOARES: Well, I'd like to bring in Dr. Rick Brennan, Regional Emergency Director for the World Health Organization's Eastern Mediterranean region,
and he joins me live from Cairo in Egypt. Doctor, thank you very much for taking the time to speak to us this evening. I want to pick up where my
colleague, Salma Abdelaziz just left that report as you heard, just the absolutely terrifying conditions as well as the anguish that is being felt
inside Gaza's Al-Quds Hospital.
She said in that report, 400 patients, 12,000 sheltering inside. I know you don't have teams on the ground, but give us a sense of what you're hearing
from your contacts?
RICHARD BRENNAN, REGIONAL EMERGENCY DIRECTOR, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION'S EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN: Well, the situation is absolutely catastrophic. And
it's heartbreaking to hear your reporter say that things are only going to get worse. The situation is as dire a situation as I've ever dealt with,
about 30 years working in humanitarian assistance.
So, you know, you heard the figures, over 8,000 dead, over 20,000 injured, now only two-thirds of hospitals functioning, 71 percent of clinics not
functioning. And almost 1.5 million people forced from their homes, that's a toxic mix. The hospitals are completely -- they're short of supplies,
medicines and equipment, short of fuel to run generators. It's as dire a situation as I've ever faced.
SOARES: And we heard -- and I remember this conversation in the first two weeks of this war, you know, doctors telling us they wouldn't be able to
move patients because that in itself, doctor, would be a death sentence. The other concern is, where would they go right now?
BRENNAN: Well, that's exactly it. So, there are evacuation orders for a number of hospitals, most recently, Al-Quds, you hear that the doctors and
nurses are saying, we just can't do it. I'm an emergency physician. I've evacuated many patients over the years. And you need certain conditions to
safely move a critically ill patient.
You need trained staff, you need the right equipment and supplies, you need reliable transport, and you need a receiving hospital that can receive the
patients. Now, none of those conditions are fully met in Gaza right now. And you've got the added complexity, of course, of the ongoing bombardment,
the huge logistics constraints, it's just not possible to do the evacuations at the hospitals under those orders right now.
SOARES: And what is clear, as you -- as you know -- as you put that into perspective for our viewers, you know, the fighting has been intensifying
in Gaza. Clearly, the IDF is also increasing its tempo in the north, and we've heard -- and I'm not sure whether you heard Prime Minister Netanyahu
speaking in the last 20 minutes, doctor, where he said, this is the time for war.
And he said calls for a ceasefire or calls for Israel to surrender to Hamas, to surrender to terrorism, surrender to barbarism. That will not
happen. So making their positions very clear when it comes to not having a ceasefire, rejecting calls for a ceasefire. Your reaction to that?
BRENNAN: I don't think that committing to peace, protecting innocent women and children, can there be called a surrender under any circumstance. I
mean, we're -- it's deeply concerning to hear under the current circumstances where people are living in inhumane conditions. And this is -
- this is what we hear from our colleagues on the ground. The situation is inhuman.
We have people in overcrowded schools, thousands, a 600,000 people crammed into schools and other, what we call collective centers, completely
unhygienic, short of food, short of water, toilet is overflowing, diarrhea spreading, other infections spreading. And these are women and children who
are primarily affected like this. So, you know, a ceasefire is the only way out of this humanitarian catastrophe.
We wish that the people who were making the decisions would come up with some sort of peaceful resolution.
The costs of continuing this military operation are unfathomable for innocent women and children across Gaza.
SOARES: And we heard today that 26 aid trucks have arrived in Gaza from the Egyptian side of the Rafah Crossing, but we know there are a total of 59 or
so trucks on the other side. Why is it taking so long to get aid, much- needed aid to move in, doctor?
BRENNAN: Well, it's a combination of issues. There's -- you know, there's the verification system at the border that needs to be scaled up. There's
the pipeline that needs to be scaled up. There are -- just getting the trucks through. And then it's not just a matter of getting the supplies
across the border, then you've got to distribute the supplies --
SOARES: Yes --
BRENNAN: To the hospitals, clinics, the communities in need, and that has its own complexities, of course, in this incredibly insecure environment. I
mean, Isa, I might add, last week we did deliver supplies to both Al-Quds Hospital and Al-Shifa Hospital north, absolutely heroic conditions in the
north. Now, as of today, the U.N., we were planning another delivery, but the U.N. has assessed the security situation as unacceptable.
We cannot put our staff at risk to take aid to the people in Al-Quds and Al-Shifa and other hospitals in the north. So, the situation --
SOARES: And very briefly, doctor, just expand -- just expand on that, on those dangers. Because this is important.
BRENNAN: Yes, so, I mean, to deliver aid in an active war zone, you notify each party of the conflict and ask for what's called deconfliction or
ideally, a humanitarian ceasefire. Those conditions are being met right now. If we convey to the authorities that we want to deliver aid, it's
clear that this is an active war zone, and the security guarantees that we would expect the safe passage that we desperately need --
SOARES: Yes --
BRENNAN: Will not be given.
SOARES: Dr. Richard Brennan, always appreciate you taking the time to speak to us. Thank you very much, sir.
BRENNAN: Thanks very much.
SOARES: I want to get more now on our top story really. Israel saying a female Israeli soldier kidnapped by Hamas on October 7th is being reunited
with her family. CNN's international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson is in Sderot in Israel. And Nic, this is important and significant breaking news
that we've had in the last hour or so. What more can you tell us, how is the soldier doing?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, Private Ori Megidish, she was taken captive, hostage by Hamas on the 7th of October
from Merkaz(ph), which was where her military post was, at that Kibbutz, very close to the border with Gaza. And now, the IDF says that she has had
a medical check, that she is doing OK.
We've seen a still picture of her with her family looking very happy. She's been reunited with her family. We don't have many details or very scant
details, in fact, about how she came to be released, but the IDF says it was a ground operation. We do know, to give this some context, that both
the IDF and private individuals had been offering incentives to the citizens of Gaza to provide information about the whereabouts of hostages.
We don't know if it was intelligence, timely intelligence that led to her release, or whether it was the ground invading force happened to find a
tunnel system that she was in, those details haven't been released. But I think, you know, is in many ways unexpected at this early stage of the
ground incursion. I think a lot of people were fearing that once the ground incursion got underway, that many of the hostages would die and perish in
the intensity of the fighting.
So, it gives a lot of hope to all those other families who have got hostages still inside Gaza. And I think, you know, for Israelis overall,
this is perhaps the first big positive that they've seen coming out since, of course --
SOARES: Yes --
ROBERTSON: The horrible events of the 7th of October.
SOARES: On that point, Nic, I mean, will the military here, tonight, will Netanyahu feel vindicated or will this intensify the debate as to how
Israel should do -- should really take -- do this counteroffensive here to rescue the 2,200 or so hostages.
ROBERTSON: The Prime Minister is trying to make this war into a moral cause. He said we need to make a moral distinction, and this is his appeal
to countries all around the world, and moral distinction between the IDF, that only -- that doesn't target civilians, that civilians are only
accidental, unintended casualties of the conflict of the fight after Hamas.
And Hamas, who he calls barbarians, who on the 7th of October came out and slaughtered civilians. This was the terms that the prime minister put it
in. So he is really trying to head off all that criticism that Israel is facing for the very high civilian casualties in Gaza right now. He said
very clearly, there wasn't going to be a ceasefire, that, that would be given into Hamas.
So, I think what we're hearing at the moment is much more of a focus on what the IDF is going to do inside of Gaza, going to go after Hamas, rather
than answer some of the criticisms about the internal politics in Israel at the moment, the criticism of the prime minister's handling of it, quite
criticism of the security services and the prime minister's apparent failings that allowed such an attack by Hamas in the first place. I think
all that is being very much shunted to the back --
SOARES: Yes --
ROBERTSON: Burner, while the focus is on the war, and the prime minister preparing the country for a long war.
SOARES: And on that long war, Nick, from your vantage point, from your position, we have been seeing a steady drumbeat of new strikes, explosions,
of course, as the IDF, as you say, pushes deeper into Gaza. Just talk us through what you've been hearing, what you've been seeing today.
ROBERTSON: Yes, one of the -- one of the things about the changing nature of the conflict as it's unfolding, the IDF says that they're going after
terrorist positions, the ground forces are locating them, then they're calling in airstrikes. And we could hear the fighter jets earlier, we could
hear some of the detonation of the missiles being dropped, but in the last hour or so, we've seen something we haven't seen before.
Possibly, helicopters firing munitions down, sort of in a steep trajectory. We can see them going down, we can see the sort of red traces, the red
trace, if you will, the back of it -- the back of these individual rockets. We don't know precisely what they are, but I think this is indicative of
ground forces calling in precise and smaller munitions on targets.
You get the explosions like the one we just heard there. There are clearly very heavy munitions still being dropped. But in this changing nature of
the fight on the ground, I think helicopters, shorter range missiles are a new developing component of it, Isa.
SOARES: Yes, I want to get into this with U.S. Air Force Colonel Cedric Leighton in just a few seconds. Nic, appreciate it, thank you very much.
Let's expand this conversation then, in terms of the ground operation in Gaza with our CNN military analyst, retired U.S. Air Force Colonel Cedric
Leighton. Colonel, great to have you back on the show.
I heard -- I'm sure you heard what Nic was saying there. But let me first get your reaction to the breaking news we've had in the last what? Hour and
a half or so, the IDF saying their female soldier kidnapped by Hamas on October 7th has been released during these ground operations. This is
pretty remarkable as Nic was saying, and yes, so on -- so early on in this war.
CEDRIC LEIGHTON, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: It certainly is, Isa. And the key thing here, I think, to remember is that, the way in which it was
announced, it sounds like, it sounds like the Israeli forces were the ones to actually liberate her. So they liberated their own soldier, according to
the way in which these statements are phrased, Hamas did not release her, is what I read into it, at least. But of course, we need to confirm that to
make sure I understand it correctly. But --
SOARES: Yes --
LEIGHTON: This is a, you know, a very remarkable development because one of the big risks that we all thought, you know, was there, is that these
hostages would potentially be killed by Hamas, and especially with military operations ongoing like this. And these are not, you know, discreet
military operations, these are very severe, very hard-hitting military operations that can be felt throughout the length and breadth of the Gaza
SOARES: Does this then, colonel, strengthen the IDF's push inside of Gaza? Because the IDF has always said that the military pressure is against
Hamas, but it also aimed at returning all the hostages.
LEIGHTON: Well, it certainly seems to, you know, lend credence to that philosophy, that idea of the war planners to do it in this way. I -- it is
still very risky, and you know, we still have over 200 hostages --
SOARES: Yes --
LEIGHTON: That need to be released, so we have to bear that in mind. But you know, certainly, so far, so good, when it comes to the hostage releases
that have been made up until this moment in time, and I think that's going to be a critical measure of the success of this operation as to whether or
not, this can be replicated in various forms for all of the hostages, and hopefully, that's the case --
SOARES: Yes --
LEIGHTON: Of course.
SOARES: Indeed. I want to just show our viewers just a map that we have been seeing, how it seems that this attack has been carried out. The IDF
seems to be focusing in the north of Gaza, slamming it from the air and the ground, with the IDF saying that something like 100 -- its warplanes hit
about 150 underground targets in the north.
And it looks like -- if we look at the map, it looks like they're trying to split the north from the south with the Wadi Gaza in-between. Explain the
thinking, explain the strategy here.
LEIGHTON: So, the Wadi Gaza is a convenient dividing line for military planners, because the northern areas around Gaza city and all the other
towns that I have depicted on the map here, that is the most populated part of Gaza. It is also the place where Hamas has most of its operations, and
it's -- you know, it's where it puts its rockets, it's where it stores them, it's where it stores its other ammunitions, and it's where it has its
On the other part of this is the fact that the Israelis have for several days now, really since the start of this operation, have asked the civilian
population from northern Gaza to go down to the south, to -- across the Wadi Gaza into the area around Khan Younis and then down south to the Rafah
Crossing. So, the way this is supposed to work, at least, is the northern part will be the military zone, the zone of battle, if you will.
The southern part will be more or less a safe haven. Now, in practicality, that is not exactly what is happening because we do know that there have
been airstrikes in the south around --
SOARES: Yes --
LEIGHTON: Even around the Rafah Crossing, and that, of course, makes it somewhat dangerous for -- very dangerous, really for the civilians there.
So, they have to be -- the Israelis have to be very careful here because you do not want to attack civilians in what has publicly been declared a
safe haven. On the other hand, you also, of course, have to be able to use the doctrine of hot pursuit to go after any Hamas fighters that may be
mixing in with populations that are moving towards the south.
So, it's a difficult choice for the Israelis, but they seem to be trying to -- they're at least trying to make a distinction between military
operations area and an area --
SOARES: Yes --
LEIGHTON: That is used for the civilian population.
SOARES: And Colonel, we heard in the last, what? Twenty, thirty minutes or so, Prime Minister Netanyahu saying this is a time for war. We also heard
in the last few minutes from our Nic Robertson on the ground saying he's starting to hear and see helicopters seems to -- ground forces perhaps
using short-range missiles, precise ammunition here.
If we look at the map that we have here, if we can bring it up of the tunnels, explain the thinking. How do you see the military strategy in the
LEIGHTON: So, I think one of the key focus areas is what you're pointing out right here, and that's those tunnels. And there are several reasons for
it, of course. First of all, the hostages we believe, that most and the Israelis seem to believe the same thing that most of, if not all of the
hostages are actually in the tunnels. And so from a military perspective, that's one part of the mission, is to free those hostages.
The other part of the mission is, of course, to go after all the elements of Hamas and render them inoperable, in essence, and of course, they're
also in the tunnels. So, this gets to be a very difficult proposition to -- for the Israelis to carry out, because on the one hand, they want to save
lives in the form of the hostages, on the other hand, they want to be able to eliminate the threat that they perceive from Hamas.
And so, from a pure military standpoint, what they're looking at is trying to, in essence, destroy the military infrastructure and the leadership
infrastructure of Hamas.
So the tunnels are key to this, and those helicopter gunships that Nic was describing, they are the ones -- they are a primary instrument of power
that can be used in a situation like this, where they will go after these targets, and they are probably the best weapon that the Israelis can use,
in addition to, of course, their ground forces, and they are really skilled at eliminating opposition through, you know, using that form of air power
as well as infantry and armor as it goes through that -- those areas.
SOARES: Such important insight there from the Air Force. Colonel Cedric Leighton, always great to get your insight. Thank you, colonel.
LEIGHTON: Thank you, Isa.
SOARES: And still to come tonight, an anti-Semitic riot in southwestern Russia. Why a mob gathered at a regional airport. We have that story for
you just ahead.
SOARES: Hundreds of rioters stormed an airport in southwestern Russia on Sunday in a shocking and violent display of anti-Semitism. The mob rushed
to meet a plane arriving from Tel Aviv, shouting hateful slogans and attempting to reach the passengers on board. Russian authorities closed the
airport, but not before the riot had injured more than 20 people.
I want to bring in our Fred Pleitgen for more on this. And Fred, just talk us through, talk our viewers through what exactly happened here.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Isa, yes, certainly some pretty scary scenes that took place at the airport in
Makhachkala, which is actually the capital of the Dagestan region, in the south of Russia or the northern caucuses region. And all this happened
after a flight from Tel Aviv landed at that airport, but the rioters were already waiting. Here's what happened.
PLEITGEN (voice-over): The moment an angry mob charged onto the tarmac towards a plane from Tel Aviv, looking for Israelis.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
PLEITGEN: Some of the passengers surrounded, forced to prove they aren't Jews. "I'm Uzbek, but I don't know Uzbek language", this man assures. "Do
you want to fool us? Take his passport", a man answers. Rumors had swirled in the Muslim-majority Dagestan region of Russia, that this jet was
carrying refugees from Israel -- setting off the rampage. "There are no more passengers here, honestly", a ground staff member says as the crowd
surrounds the aircraft.
"Everyone immediately go back onto the plane", the crew of a different aircraft order its passengers as the protesters charge those disembarking.
Hundreds also broke into the terminal building, some carrying Palestinian flags leading to a total shutdown of the airport. The melee continued
outside as well, rioters searching vehicles, also looking for Jews. "I have a sick kid here, we only have sick kids, let us go", the man in this bus
says. And this woman screams, "we were traveling to bring our kids to get medical treatment, let us go, what do you want from us?"
Russian security forces used choppers to bring in reinforcements, firing into the air to try and push the protesters back. Authorities say more than
20 were injured, and more than 60 detained, the crowd throwing rocks at riot police even after they were driven out of the airport.
Russian President Vladimir Putin held a meeting with his security staff, but the Kremlin blames, quote, "external interference" for inciting the
crowd. While it's not clear whether any Israelis were harmed, condemnation from Israel's President in an interview with German Bild.
ISAAC HERZOG, ISRAELI PRESIDENT: It was like a pogrom. Thank God it was prevented at the end by the authorities, but it looked like pogrom and it
was live and everybody was worried about it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PLEITGEN (on camera): There you have, Isa, at the end of that report, the Israeli president obviously condemning the violence that took place there
at that airport. The Israeli government has since come out and called on the Russian Federation to ensure the safety, not just of Israeli citizens,
but of course of all Jews inside Russia as well.
The United States has done the same thing as far as that airport in Makhachkala is concerned. The authorities are saying that they've surveyed
the damage there. The airport is once again open. Flights are departing from there, however, certainly no flights to and from Israel, Isa.
SOARES: Incredibly scary and incredibly worrying. Fred, thank you very much.
Well, anti-Semitism is on the rise in the United States, too, and the Biden administration is now stepping up its coordination with college campuses.
The Ivy League's Cornell University is investigating online threats from this weekend against its Jewish students, posted on an online forum
threatened to shoot students and target the school's kosher dining hall.
Cornell's president saying, "Threats of violence are absolutely intolerable and we will work to ensure that the person or people who posted them are
punished to the full extent of the law." Of course, we'll stay on top of the story.
And still to come tonight, what Lebanon's prime minister is saying about fears that the war between Israel and Hamas could spread. We have that
story for you next.
SOARES: Welcome back, everyone. As we mentioned at the top of our show, a female Israeli soldier who had been held by Hamas since October the 7th is
now safe. According to the IDF, the soldier was released during Israel's ground operations in Gaza. They say she is doing well and is back with her
Earlier, Hamas released a new hostage video showing three women who they say are being held. We will not be airing it right now. One of the women in
it pleads with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to secure the release of all hostages. CNN cannot verify whether the statements were made
Well, some of the family members of the hostages held by Hamas spoke earlier in Tel Aviv in the last 20 minutes or so. Here's some of what they
had to say. Have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): These crimes against humanity, these crimes against kids, elderly, children and are unforgiven. In
addition, all the families would like to thank citizens for all the strength you give us. Don't leave us. Don't leave us alone for a minute.
Support us. Strengthen us until all the hostages are coming back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: Well, there are new concerns that the war between Israel and Hamas could spread beyond Gaza. The IDF released this video saying it shows an
airstrike in southern Lebanon on Sunday. It also says it hit Hezbollah military infrastructure a few hours ago without specifying where. Lebanon's
Prime Minister says the fears of escalation are real. Have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NAJIB MIKATI, LEBANESE CARETAKER PRIME MINUTES (through translator): The day I see that there is a real race between a ceasefire in Gaza and
escalation because escalation is not only affecting Lebanon and I fear that escalation will spread to the whole region, plunging the Middle East into
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: Our Jim Sciutto is going to show you now the impact the fighting is having on the ground.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Towns like Arab al-Aramshe along Israel's border with Lebanon are mostly deserted now. Evacuated due
to fear of attacks by Hezbollah.
Makes is one of the few who stayed behind, and from his roof, he shows us where Hezbollah fighters attempted to cross the Israeli border just a few
SCIUTTO: They broke through, they broke through the wall.
SCIUTTO (voice-over): Minutes after we arrive, we see the threat is constant. Hezbollah shells fired from across the border land on the
hillside just opposite us.
SCIUTTO: We are on a border town between Israel on this side, and just beyond the fence is Lebanon. And as we've been standing here, if you see
the smoke off in the distance, that is the result of Hezbollah artillery fire from Lebanon into Israel. You can see the smoke rising in the
distance. And speaking to residents here, this is a regular event. It's happening every day.
SCIUTTO (voice-over): Makes and his twin brother sent their families south for safety, but stayed behind themselves to protect their homes. The
question for them and others like them is how long before this area is safe again.
SCIUTTO: Does anybody talk about how long people will have to leave here?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He hopes that a month. Other people think it's going to be out a year, but we don't know.
SCIUTTO (voice-over): As the shelling picks up we head back south. Minutes later, Israeli soldiers block the road warning of more incoming Hezbollah
SCIUTTO: We're very close to the Lebanon border in Northern Israel, and soldiers have just blocked the road here in both directions. We can't go
either way. You can hear mortar and artillery fire going out, that is going from Israel towards Lebanon. We've also heard artillery fire coming from
Lebanon. And the concern is, the soldiers telling us, that there are possible infiltrations across the border from Lebanon by presumably
Hezbollah fighters. And that's why the level of concern is so great.
SCIUTTO (voice-over): The Israeli military is focused on Gaza, but the northern front now faces daily attacks. On Sunday, a rocket fired from
Lebanon landed in the city of Kiryat Shmona, setting this home ablaze. Hezbollah also claimed this strike on an Israeli tank a few days ago, with
the IDF responding by targeting Hezbollah positions in southern Lebanon.
All the while the constant exchange of artillery fire rumbles across the frontier. Jim Sciutto, CNN on the Israeli-Lebanon border.
SOARES: Let's get more on all this. Our Senior International Correspondent Ben Wedeman is live for us in southern Lebanon. And Ben, as we've just
seen, you know, cross border fire between both sides has been increasing the last few days. Just talk first of all to those hostilities and how you
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, certainly within the last few days I think marked by the beginning of Israel's ground
incursion in Gaza, there has been an incremental increase in the amount of fire coming from not just Hezbollah, but other groups in southern Lebanon
and the Israeli fire coming back.
But we're also getting signals that Hezbollah is not as eager as some might think to actually become involved in a full-scale war. For instance, today,
a senior Hezbollah official at a speech at a ceremony said that Hezbollah is fully prepared and ready to confront all possibilities, but then he
added but we also take into account the national interests and the interests of the people.
Hezbollah is, as aware as anybody else here in Lebanon, that this country is in the depths of the worst economic crisis in its history. This is a
country that cannot afford a repeat of the 2006 war, which left large parts of Beirut destroyed and much of southern Lebanon destroyed as well.
And even for instance if you go look yesterday over the weekend, Ebrahim Raisi, the president of Iran said on social media that Israel has crossed
the red lines in Gaza which may force everyone to take action. I think what you should -- we should stress when looking at that sentence by president
Raisi is may be forced to take action. Certainly the rhetoric from the Iranians has sort of swerved back and forth between caution and these
veiled threats. But even Iran perhaps doesn't want to risk losing Hezbollah and perhaps being at the receiving end of fire not just from Israel, but
from the United States as well, which has concentrated large forces in the Mediterranean in the form of two carrier groups.
The situation is tense, but there are indications that Hezbollah, for its part, does not want to cross what the Israelis have called the threshold of
SOARES: Yes. And of course the fear is that this could broaden to a wider conflict. In fact, we heard from Jake Sullivan, the U.S. National Security
Advisor, Ben, who says the U.S. is in an elevated risk, his words, of a spillover in the region. Have a listen to what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAKE SULLIVAN, THE U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: We are vigilant because we are seeing elevated threats against our forces throughout the region and
an elevated risk of this conflict spreading to other parts of the region. We are doing everything in our power to deter and prevent that, but I'm not
going to predict what the future brings other than to say that if we are attacked, we will respond.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: We've heard, you know, you've made the point, Ben, of where Hezbollah stands on this. There's no appetite right now for economically
at-home internal problems to take this on. But if there is no progress in the pause for humanitarian aid, if Israel goes further into Gaza, how will
Hezbollah react? Will, you know, what have they been saying regarding this?
WEDEMAN: Well, interestingly enough since October 7th, the Secretary General of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, has not uttered a word and
certainly he's the man who oftentimes will set the tone. Now, he is scheduled to speak on Friday. No one actually knows what he's going to say,
but the feeling is that if the situation in Gaza deteriorates, if Israel continues and intensifies its operations in Gaza and the civilian death
toll continues to soar, if there's no progress on some sort of humanitarian pause or getting new more aid supplies into Gaza, the situation might
change, the dynamics might change because as much as many of the rulers and leaders of the Middle East are autocrats, they are well aware that there is
lots of anger in the streets across the Arab world and that they have to do something.
Now whether that's military action on the part of Hezbollah, it's impossible to say.
But certainly you could see more -- sort of more increments of cross border fire here. But the idea that somehow this is going to break into a huge
regional war, most people are cautiously downplaying at the moment, Isa.
SOARES: At the moment. Keyword there. Thank you very much, Ben. Appreciate it.
Well, in the next hour, the U.N. Security Council will hold another emergency meeting to discuss the conflict. Diplomatic sources telling CNN
the United Arab Emirates is expected to seek a binding resolution from other Security Council members for immediate humanitarian pause in the
The UAE is the only Arab country that's currently a member of the Security Council. The emergency meeting comes after a U.N. General Assembly
resolution calling for a sustained humanitarian truce in Gaza passed if you remember on Friday with overwhelming support, although 14 countries
including the U.S. voted against it.
And still to come tonight, some of our other international headlines including the kidnapping of a Colombian football player's father. We'll
have a live report just ahead.
SOARES: There is no end in sight the fighting in Ukraine. Ukrainian officials say Russian attacks in the Kherson region have killed at least
two civilians, among them an 85-year-old woman. She was killed when Russian strikes damaged a high-rise building and set it on fire. In the Odesa
region, two people were wounded when a Russian rocket hit a ship repair plant.
Well, a major search operation is underway in northern Colombia after the father of a Liverpool football player, Luis Dias, was kidnapped over the
weekend. Dias's mother was also taken at the same time, but she was later rescued. Colombia's national police says 130 officers are involved in the
CNN World Sports Don Riddell joins me for more now. Don, good to see you. What more do we know about the search and any reaction really from Dias to
DON RIDDELL, CNN WORLD SPORTS: Hey, Isa. Well, Colombia's national media says that Dias' parents were kidnapped by arm men on motorcycles at a gas
station in the town of Barrancas. The director general of Colombia's national police force says they're offering a reward of more than $48,000
for information leading to the rescue of Dias' father.
And as you say, a considerable search team has been activated, some 130 police officers are out there looking for him. And you can only imagine the
anguish that Luis Dias must be feeling. Liverpool say that he's returned to Colombia. He'll be away indefinitely. Dias' teammate, Diogo Jota, honored
Dias by lifting up his Number Seven jersey after scoring against Nottingham Forest in the Premier League on Sunday. And the Reds manager, Jurgen Klopp
said the team dedicated their 3-nil win to him, adding that it was really difficult for the team even to think about playing yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JURGEN KLOPP, LIVERPOOL MANAGER: how can you make a football game really important on a day like this? I've never struggled with that in my life. It
was always my safe place, my -- sometimes my hiding as a player or as a coach, you are allowed during these 90-odd minutes to focus just on that.
And it was impossible. It was absolutely impossible to do that. So it was clear we have to give the game an extra sense and it was fighting for Lucho
and then the boys pulled out the shirt and I was not 100 prepared for that to be honest. It was really touching but wonderful as well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RIDDELL: You know, just last year, CNN spoke with Dias' father who's also called Luis about his humble beginnings. The region surrounding Barrancas
is one of the poorest parts of Colombia. It is unclear when Dias will rejoin the team. Of course, the only focus in the meantime, Isa, is finding
his dad and getting him safely home.
SOARES: Indeed, Don. Thank you very much appreciate it.
Well, FIFA is banning Luis Rubiales, the former president of the Spanish Football Association, from all football-related activities for the next
three years. Rubiales had been suspended after forcing a kiss on Spanish star, Jenni Hermoso, following her team's win in the Woman's World Cup in
August. The incident kicked off a long-running scandal in the country and the sport, which has continued up through today's decision.
And still to come tonight, remembering one of our favorite Friends, a look at the life and death of actor Matthew Perry.
SOARES: Welcome back. Well, tributes are pouring in for Matthew Perry.
The actor was founded on Saturday at his home in Los Angeles. Perry was beloved, of course, for his longtime role as Chandler on the TV series
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROSS GELLER AS ROSS, ACTOR: Turn, turn, turn.
MATTHEW PERRY AS CHANDLER, ACTOR: I don't think we can turn anymore.
GESLER: Pivot. Pivot. Pivot.
PERRY: Shut up. Shut up. Shut up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: Still watch FRIENDS on repeat. Well, the cause of Perry's death will not be known until the results of an autopsy and toxicology report
The medical examiner in Los Angeles says that could take a few weeks. Perry had been upfront about his history of drug addiction. He recounted his
struggles with sobriety and fame in his 2020 memoir. Matthew Perry was 54 years old.
And that does it for this evening. Thank you very much for your company. Do stay right here. Julia Chatterley will have much more on the Israel-Hamas
war after a very short break including of course the breaking use that we brought you at the top of the hour that a female Israeli soldier who had
been held by Hamas since October the 7th is now safe and has been reunited with her family. I'll see you tomorrow.