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Isa Soares Tonight
IDF Says Troops Are Now In "Very Significant Areas Of Gaza City"; U.S. Secretary Of State To Visit Israel And Jordan; Egypt: Preparing To Facilitate Evacuation Of Nearly 7,000 Foreign Nationals From Gaza. Egypt Will Help Evacuate 7,000 Foreign Nationals From Gaza; Israeli Military Now Has Gaza City Encircled; U.K. Prime Minister Decries "Disgusting" Rise In Anti-Semitic Incidents; Heckler Demands President Biden Call For Cease- Fire; Storm Ciaran Wreaks Havoc In U.K. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired November 02, 2023 - 14:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ISA SOARES, HOST, ISA SOARES TONIGHT: Hello, and welcome everyone, I'm Isa Soares. Tonight, the Israel Defense Forces say their troops are now in very
significant areas of Gaza city.
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SOARES: An IDF spokesperson says troops have surrounded the city and Hamas defensive lines are collapsing as fighters retreat towards central Gaza. He
says, quote, "the battle is progressing as we planned". Israeli forces have been entering northern Gaza, engaging with militants as they move towards a
densely populated areas of Gaza city.
Meantime, the U.S. Secretary of State is once again heading to Israel and Jordan. Antony Blinken spoke a short time ago from joint base Andrews in
Maryland. Have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTONY BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE, UNITED STATES: We will be talking about concrete steps that can and should be taken to minimize harm to men,
women and children in Gaza. And this is something that the United States is committed to. I'm not going to get into the details here, but it's very
much on the agenda.
When I see a Palestinian child, a boy, a girl, pulled from the rubble of a collapsed building, that hits me in the gut as much as seeing a child in
Israel or anywhere else.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: Well, CNN's Ed Lavandera joins us now from Tel Aviv. For more on Israel's grand campaign, a new video that may show that Hamas is fighting
back. Ed, great to see you. So Israeli forces as we've been just announcing in the last few minutes inching ever closer, deeper into Gaza city. Now
saying they're in very significant areas. Just explain what that means to our viewers?
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we have seen evidence of this over the last few days, Israeli soldiers making their way deeper into the Gaza
Strip, surrounding Gaza city. And what that means is that, it becomes a much more treacherous fight for Israeli soldiers, and we're seeing evidence
of that as well as the death toll is going up for Israeli soldiers. Now, 20 confirmed dead of Israeli soldiers that have been involved in this Gaza
LAVANDERA (voice-over): The fire fight on the ground between Israeli soldiers and Hamas fighters has intensified for days. And now, Israeli
military leaders say its forces have entered Gaza city. Israeli Defense Forces released these video images of soldiers moving through the war-
ravaged streets of Gaza.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Our soldiers have been operating in Gaza city for the past few days, surrounding it from several directions,
deepening the operation. Our forces are in very significant areas of Gaza city.
LAVANDERA: Israeli forces have made their way into the northern and central areas of Gaza as well. This is where it says Hamas military leaders
are believed to be operating from a sophisticated system of underground tunnels. Israel Defense Force officials say more than 10,000 munitions have
been fired into Gaza, striking thousands of targets.
DANIEL HAGARI, SPOKESPERSON, IDF (through translator): Fighters of the IDF continue to progress in Gaza, holding battles, face-to-face with their
Hamas terrorists, deepening their combat.
LAVANDERA: Hamas released this video of what it says are its fighters emerging from underground tunnels, attacking Israeli soldiers inside Gaza.
The video does capture the dangerous nature of this ground fight. The military wing of Hamas also says it released this video showing the moment
of an aerial drone dropping munitions on a gathering of Israeli forces in northeast Gaza.
The fighting has taken a deadly toll across the Gaza Strip since October 7th, over 9,000 have been killed here according to Palestinian health
officials in the Hamas-controlled enclave.
Israeli aerial strikes have left massive craters in residential and refugee areas, as the military says it's trying to dismantle Hamas military
operations underground. The Israeli military says 20 IDF soldiers have been killed in the Gaza operation. One of those was 20-year-old Raei Dawi(ph).
Dawi's funeral service brought out hundreds of mourners near Jerusalem on Thursday.
LAVANDERA: And Isa, we've seen in the last few days that several family members of the deceased soldiers here in Israel have asked for mourners to
come line the funeral procession routes, to show their support for these soldiers. And this will be something to continue to watch here in the days
and weeks ahead as well. Isa?
SOARES: Ed Lavandera for us this hour in Tel Aviv, thanks very much, Ed. We turn now to a tense situation in the north of Israel. In the past few
hours, the Israel Defense Forces says there have been multiple launches from Lebanon towards Israeli territory. Have a look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
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SOARES: This video allegedly shows rockets being fired from an area in southern Lebanon towards Israel. These were the scenes earlier in a town in
Kiryat Shmona, close to the Lebanese border. The Lebanon branch of Hamas confirmed their forces launched dozen rockets, targeting the area. The IDF
says they are now striking back against what they describe as Hezbollah targets.
I want to bring in Jim Sciutto who is in northern Israel and reporting on the pace here of rocket fire from southern Lebanon across the border. Jim,
good to see you. Let's talk about that pace because that has intensified as of late --
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF U.S. SECURITY ANALYST: Yes --
SOARES: Talk to this uptick of rockets being fired from Lebanon --
SCIUTTO: Yes --
SOARES: And how Israel interprets this, because of course, it comes the day before Hezbollah Secretary General, Hassan Nasrallah is scheduled to
deliver a televised address.
SCIUTTO: That's right, Isa. It is definitely an uptick in rocket attacks across the border today. The worst since October 7th, our own team
experienced ourselves. We were driving from -- not far from Kiryat Shmona and we heard two big booms in the sky, looked out the window and saw the
trails, the smoke trails of Iron Dome having intercepted at least two of those rockets.
But the volume so great that some did get through, not just into Kiryat Shmona, but other areas of northern Israel, mostly unpopulated areas.
Because listen, the northern part of this country has largely been evacuated of civilians. Many of those communities, including Kiryat Shmona,
under mandatory evacuation as a result of that rocket threat.
And this is a definite uptick in the number of rockets being fired in. The question of course, is, does this signal a more material, more aggressive
involvement by Hezbollah and other Iran proxies in the north in this war against Israel? As you mentioned, a great deal of anticipation here on
Nasrallah's public comments tomorrow. His first public speech since the start of this war on October 7th.
Not clear if he will simply express further support for Hamas, its brother- in-arms, also backed by Iran, or signal or justify a greater involvement by Hezbollah. But there's great nervousness up here because Hezbollah has an
enormous arsenal, not just of rockets, but of highly capable, long-range missiles with the range, capability, not just to hit here in the north, but
all the way to Tel Aviv.
They have fired them in Tel Aviv's direction before. And of course, the concern becomes, you've got missile defenses that can take down many of
these missiles, most missiles and rockets, but not all of them. Particularly if they're fired in volume. That was Hamas' tactics from Gaza
in advance to the October 7th attack, to fire so many that some get through.
The concern is that Hezbollah would draw on its enormous arsenal, a stockpile of missiles, fired so many, not just at the north, but also at
Tel Aviv, that some do get through, and then you have civilian casualties on the ground. So, lots of folks in this country are going to be watching
that speech tomorrow very closely.
SOARES: Yes, and on that, Jim, in the last hour or so, I'm sure you've seen this. U.S. Intelligence basically saying they assess that Iran and its
proxies so far, that's the wording, so far, is seeking to avoid a wider war. But how does, you know, what you have seen on the ground, how does
that assessment sit with what we are seeing? Because Hezbollah is, in some way involved, but not in it.
SCIUTTO: Yes, that has been a consistent U.S. Intelligence assessment for the last several weeks that they do not believe Hezbollah and Iran want to
get involved into a direct regional war or a wider war directly with Israel, and possibly bringing in the United States. That's the assessment.
Of course, assessments can change.
The calculation being that, Hezbollah is in effect for Iran, a first line of defense. That those many missiles that could target Israel are meant
from Iran's perspective as a deterrent against Israel, striking Iran's nuclear program.
So, the greater degree, Hezbollah is involved in this war, the lesser degree Iran might calculate that it can defend Iran and Iran's own
interest. That said, tonight, we are certainly seeing more rockets fired. Is that just a signal? A shot across the bow as it were, or is it the -- is
it a sign of something more intense from up north? We'll only know when we hear the words from the Hezbollah leader and what we see here in the coming
SOARES: Indeed, important context there from our Jim Sciutto in northern Israel, thanks very much, Jim.
SCIUTTO: Yes --
SOARES: Well, for the second day in a row, hundreds of foreign nationals have finally made their way out of Gaza and into Egypt. Border officials at
the Rafah Crossing telling CNN, 341 people managed to leave on Thursday, among them, between 20 and 25 American civilians -- citizens, pardon me. In
the last hour, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke about the Biden administration's work to get aid in and foreign nationals out. Have a
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BLINKEN: We've been able to establish over the last couple of weeks efforts to get trucks moving. We've had about 50 to 60 trucks a day of
assistance going in. We need that and want that to increase. And I expect you'll see that in the coming days. At the same time, we've been working to
make sure that our nationals and other foreign nationals could get out.
And over the last two days, you've seen Americans and their families begin to come out of Gaza, and we expect that to continue over the coming days.
This has been a very deliberate effort on our part, working with other countries to make sure we can get a passage out for our citizens and
citizens of other countries.
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SOARES: And Secretary Blinken is now on his way to Israel and Jordan. Meanwhile, at the Rafah Crossing, we are told that dozens of injured
Palestinians are also expected to leave after 45, if you remember, were evacuated for treatment on Wednesday. Egypt says it will allow nearly 7,000
foreign citizens to cross over from Gaza through the Rafah checkpoint.
But the borders remain closed, the overwhelming majority of Palestinians since, of course, October the 7th. And Qatar has been playing a pivotal
role in the deal to allow people to evacuate. And that's where our Becky Anderson is this evening in Doha. And Becky, thousands that we said could
be leaving Gaza over the next few days, but this is an extremely fraught process. You and I have spoken about this, it's chaotic, it's logistically
very difficult --
BECKY ANDERSON, ANCHOR, CONNECT THE WORLD: Right --
SOARES: Talk us through what we have been seeing today.
ANDERSON: And it's been going on, let me tell you, almost since this conflict began in the days after that horrific massacre of Israelis by the
Hamas terror group and others. There were clearly talks behind the scenes by the U.S. and others when they realize, they needed to get their citizens
out. That this wasn't going to stop any time soon.
There are, Isa, believed to be between 6 and 7,000 people on these lists now of those who are able to leave Gaza through Rafah. A couple of dozen
Americans as you pointed out today, made it through the process. It was hoped that number would be as high as 400, sources tell me, there were
certainly 400 on the list to be processed today.
More than 100 Jordanians passed through, with a number now having reached the capital in Amman. Others from Hungary and Holland also making it. But
it will take days to get everybody through. The talks behind the scenes to get this agreement on this evacuation has been painstaking and complicated
for the negotiators.
Competing demand from Hamas and Israel on who gets out and how, and from Egypt, which is very real security concerns about who makes it into Egypt
and for how long. Families that CNN has spoken to in the States, at least, report that some members of families have made the list to get out, others
have been left off from the same families, described by the attorney of one family in Michigan as either callousness or incompetence one hopes at this
It is just as a result of this sort of chaos. Have a listen, I think we now have some sound from one family, one Jordanian family who have made it out.
Have a listen.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We were in Dafa(ph), but we moved to shelter in the schools. We thought schools would be safer than houses, because in the
middle of the night when people are sleeping, they would strike a house, a four-story building that would fall on top of the people inside. They'd be
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: And Isa, you reported that Blinken, Antony Blinken is now in region. Remember, I'll ask our viewers, I'm sure we'll remember, that he
was on a sort of whistle stop, seven-country tour, almost immediately this conflict broke out.
I think the timing of his trip back here, as we see Americans and dual nationals being released is no coincidence. But he will be seeing King
Abdullah of Jordan, who has been at the forefront of calls from Arab nations for a ceasefire and an immediate humanitarian truce in Gaza.
Arab nations are really concerned that this conflict risks escalating around the region. Jordan, along with Egypt has been Israel's peace partner
for years. But there are fears of a mass displacement of Palestinians to their respective countries is a red line. And the recalling of the
Jordanian ambassador today is a big diplomatic move.
And one that certainly will not have passed by Antony Blinken as he flies back into this region and moves on to Amman tomorrow. Isa?
SOARES: Becky Anderson for us in Doha, thanks very much, Becky. Well, relatives, as Becky has been saying around the world are waiting, both fear
as well as hope to see if their loved ones are among those able to leave Gaza through the Rafah Crossing into Egypt. A Palestinian official at the
crossing tell CNN that at least, 400 foreign nationals are expected to leave Gaza today.
But fear remains as families in Gaza say they're being split up. I mean, Becky brought you one story. Let me give you another one, Mai Abushaaban is
experiencing this now. The family lawyer, the family lawyer here says Abushaaban's mother is on the list to evacuate, but the sister is not. She
joins me now. Mai, thank you very much for taking the time to speak to us.
Just give us a sense, first of all, what you're hearing from your sister and your mother on the ground? What are they being told?
MAI ABUSHAABAN, PALESTINIAN-AMERICAN WHOSE FAMILY ARE STUCK IN GAZA: Hi, Isa. So unfortunately, this experience has been nothing short of just
completely chaotic and heartbreaking, not only for my mom and sister on the ground, but for my family here in the U.S. My mom was on the list to
evacuate the morning of November 2nd, however, my sister wasn't.
Obviously, my mom is not going to leave without my sister. She doesn't even speak enough Arabic to go across the crossing alone. Which is why she needs
to be with my mom. And they waited for hours and hours and hours. I've called the embassy in Jerusalem, I called the embassy in Cairo, and I was
unfortunately unable to get anywhere with them, and they were forced to turn around and go back home.
And I want to be clear that the evacuation of Americans is not a win for the Biden administration. Because our lives are not more valuable than
those of our family and friends in Gaza. And an immediate ceasefire is the only solution.
SOARES: And we'll talk about the Biden administration in just a moment. But I wonder, what have you been told? What is the reasoning, Mai, as to
why your mother was on the list, but your sister was not? What are embassies telling you? What is the State Department telling you?
ABUSHAABAN: That's the thing. We haven't received any concrete knowledge or guidance from any of the embassies and the State Department. And it
seems like they're on completely different pages on how they should be proceeding, regarding the evacuation of the Americans from Gaza. And it's -
- like I said, it's extremely chaotic. There is no concrete details --
SOARES: Yes --
ABUSHAABAN: As to how we should proceed or what should be done. And I feel like my family is being torn apart, not just my family, but so many other
Palestinian-Americans who are stuck at the border. My mom and sister told me that there was one lady who had two young children, both less than ten
years old, one of them was just a few months old.
And her children were on the list, but she wasn't. They told her that her children could cross through, but she would be unable to. Which is
obviously completely unrealistic --
SOARES: Yes --
ABUSHAABAN: To send two minors alone across the border.
SOARES: Do you worry at all? I mean, you say your mom won't leave her daughter behind, and that makes perfect sense. But do you worry at all,
Mai, that if she gives up her spot, do you worry that, that spot may not come again, or you don't know when that might come again?
ABUSHAABAN: That's definitely a fear I'm having right now. And I am worrying and I'm trying to scramble to contact people and the State
Department within the embassies to give us some sort of guidance or direction on how we should proceed, because the situation is very chaotic,
it's constantly changing. And you know, the way my lawyer put it, she described it as psychological warfare at best.
And it's been really mentally draining, emotionally and physically for me. I can only imagine how they're feeling right now.
SOARES: And your family went to visit extended family, I believe, in the northern Gaza city, right? They've also had to move south.
But I've also heard from my team that your family has decided to sue the U.S. State Department. Just explain why, Mai?
ABUSHAABAN: Sure, so we believe that there is a huge difference in the way Americans in Israel were evacuated, compared to the way Palestinian-
Americans were evacuated. Americans in Israel were evacuated on October the 15th, meanwhile, Americans in Gaza had to wait almost 25 days to receive
any sort of direction or guidance from the United States State Department.
And this is my family's fourth time going to the border, and it's their fourth time being turned away. So, as you can imagine, it's really
stressful and it's really heartbreaking to see that there is this inequality and this injustice in the way that Americans are being treated.
SOARES: Mai, really appreciate you taking the time to speak to us. Keep us posted on how your sister and your mother, when they get out, when they're
getting out. We wish you all the very best. Thanks very much, Mai.
ABUSHAABAN: Thank you.
SOARES: And still to come tonight, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, on his way to Israel and Jordan. We will discuss the mission of his trip to
the region. That is just ahead. You are watching CNN.
SOARES: As Israel doubles down on its war on Hamas in Gaza, we are hearing of new violence breaking out in the West Bank. Three Palestinians were
killed by Israeli forces in separate incidents on Thursday. That is according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health. Among the dead, a 14-year-
old boy -- you are looking at images there of his funeral.
The unrest comes as the IDF conducted new raids in the West Bank on Thursday. In total, more than 340 Palestinians have been killed by soldiers
or settlers in the area since the start of the year, with a third of those since October the 2nd. The IDF also says one of its reservists was killed
in the West Bank today when his vehicle came under fire and overturned. Still top of the very latest there.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is now on his way to Israel and Jordan. Ahead of boarding his flight, he spoke with reporters, confirming
that he would be discussing, quote, "concrete steps". Israel can and should take to minimize civilian casualties. He also reiterated that Israel has
the right and the obligation to defend itself. I want to get the very latest from Natasha Bertrand who is at this hour in Washington for us.
Natasha, good to see you. So, what will be then, his overarching message, not just to the Israelis, but to the Jordanians as well?
NATASHA BERTRAND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER: Well, a couple of key points that he wants to make to both countries, Isa. Of course, in his
conversations with Israel, he wants to get an update on their military operation inside Gaza. He wants to reiterate to them the need for them to
protect civilians and adhere to international humanitarian law.
And importantly, he said earlier that they would be discussing concrete steps that Israel can actually take to better protect civilians in there
that remain in those areas of where the military is operating there. Now, another aspect of this that he wants to discuss, interestingly, he really
drove this home in his comments earlier, is not what's happening right now, but what's going to happen after Israel achieves its objectives in the Gaza
Strip if and when it eliminates Hamas.
How is Gaza going to be governed? He said that he wants to discuss a two- state solution with the Israelis. Something that he says is the only way forward. The U.S. believes for a durable and sustainable peace. Now,
another aspect of this that we expected him to discuss is, as you were just laying out here, that settlement violence in the West Bank.
He and the State Department spokesman, they have strongly condemned this violence, and they have urged the Israelis to tamp down on it, because all
it's doing is inflaming tensions even further in the region. But when he speaks to the Jordanians, he is going to also emphasize to them that the
U.S. does not support any kind of mass displacement of Palestinians to Jordan or to anywhere else in the region for that matter.
And that really goes back to that conversation that he needs to have with the Israelis about that two-state solution, about what comes next. Because
as we saw from that Israeli intelligence document that leaked earlier this week, the regional allies are very concerned that the Israelis want to see
a kind of mass exodus of Palestinians into Jordan, into Egypt, not something that they want to do.
So his job really is going to be to reassure the Jordanians that, that is not something the U.S. supports. That he is reiterating to the Israelis
that they need to protect civilians and ultimately, what is the end goal here? What are Israel's military objectives, and are they achieving those
objectives proportionate to the amount of civilians that are being killed in this war? That really remains to be seen at this point, Isa.
SOARES: Natasha, thank you very much for laying that all up for us. Natasha Bertrand. And still to come tonight, more on the plight of Gazans
and foreign nationals trying to escape the war zone. We'll have a live report from CNN's Melissa Bell who is in Egypt this hour. Plus, we look
ahead to a speech from the leader of Hezbollah as fears grow of a wider conflict in the region. You are watching CNN.
SOARES: Welcome back to the show, everyone. Back to Israel and Hamas.
The IDF says its forces are now in, quote, "very significant areas" of Gaza City and have surrounded the city as the military deepens its ground
A spokesperson says Hamas' offensive lines are collapsing with fighters retreating to central Gaza.
In the meantime, border officials at the Rafah checkpoint tell us more than 340 foreign nationals were allowed to cross into Egypt from Gaza today.
That includes roughly 2 dozen Americans. Egypt says it is preparing to allow 7,000 foreign citizens to exit Gaza through the Rafah checkpoint
Let's get more on evacuations. Our Melissa Bell joins me now from Cairo.
Melissa, I know it is all very fluid and chaotic.
Can you provide context for us?
In the last seven minutes or so, I spoke to an American Palestinian lady, whose mom and sister are stuck in Gaza. She told me her mom was on the list
to get out but not her sister.
Can you shed light as to how they are selecting who makes it through here?
MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Isa, this is the kind of story we have been hearing over and over again the last couple of, days
ever since these evacuations began.
It is a very opaque process in terms of how these lists are drawn up. Every, day we are looking at a few hundred each day on the list who are
going to be allowed out. Now that is opaque because it is organized between Egypt, Israel and Hamas, with Egypt's security concerns weighing heavily.
What we've seen over the course of the last couple of weeks is the slowness of aid going on because of the Israeli checks. It is the Egyptian security
concerns at the Rafah crossing that have made any evacuation of any civilians, be they foreign or wounded Palestinians, extremely slow.
That is why we have to wait this long to get here. They've been clear from the start that they're concerned about a flood of refugees. They are
concerned about a full scale displacement of the Palestinian people. They've been blocking the Rafah crossing very -- in a very determined way.
Now that this deal has been struck to allow foreigners out, they've confirmed they will allow 7,000 foreign internationals to get, out of there
keeping a close eye on who those people are.
Now what that means is every day these lists are published, with several hundred names on them, first of, all people inside have to be made aware
that their name is on the list that day. That's very difficult when you consider the situation on the ground -- the media blackout, the internet
being down, the lack of food, water, sanitation.
People just aren't able to get that information. And when they, do, we've heard examples of people getting down the Rafah crossing, finding their
name on a list but not seeing that their spouse, parent or child are. Therefore, deciding to stay behind.
I think this is something we're likely to see play out over the coming days, over and over again. Hugely frustrating for the families involved,
who are desperate to get their loved ones out. Impossible to imagine for those who are stuck inside, determined to stay until their loved one can
come with them, given the situation that they are in.
And the fact they've been there, many camped out at the Rafah crossing for three weeks, ever since the evacuation order was given. And the suggestion
was given that the dual nationals and foreign nationals would be allowed out.
We've been hearing from one American woman, one of the first women who came out, yesterday, she spoke to CNN this morning and said, look, we spent two
weeks camping out on the car park, no food, no water, no sanitation. The water we were drinking was the kind they used to flush the toilet.
The conditions are horrendous. People are being stuck there simply because of the way this is being organized and the disorganization at the heart of
BELL: But it is very difficult for even the consular services at the Rafah crossing to get a clearer idea of how the lists are being drawn, up and
what input they can have in getting people out, Isa.
SOARES: Frustrating, like you said, and an agonizing wait for so many others. Melissa Bell in Cairo this evening, thank, you Melissa.
The leader of Hezbollah is set to deliver a televised speech on Friday. It would be Hassan Nasrallah's first public address since the October 7th
attack. It comes as Hezbollah and Israel Defense Forces trade fire almost daily along the Israel-Lebanon border. Ben Wedeman is in Beirut this hour.
The last few hours we've seen rockets being fired into -- from Lebanon into Israel.
Does this give us an indication of what we might hear from Nasrallah tomorrow?
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: At this point, we have no idea. He's obviously keeping his speech very close to his chest. But
given what is at stake, it is likely that everyone here in Lebanon and probably across the Middle East will be hanging on his every word.
WEDEMAN (voice-over): The message on clips circulating on social media, ambiguous but ominous. They are stoking anticipation for a televised speech
by Hezbollah leader, Hassan Nasrallah, scheduled for Friday afternoon.
Daily, since the 8th of October, Hezbollah and Israel have been exchanging fire across the border. It's not a full blown war yet.
KARIM BITAR, ST. JOSEPH UNIVERSITY: I feel a sense of doom in Lebanon.
WEDEMAN (voice-over): Professor Karim Bitar has lived through all his country's travails.
BITAR: Some of them are afraid that we might be on the verge of the apocalypse. So I have never seen this much tension in this country.
WEDEMAN: Hezbollah's leader has been unusually quiet since the war broke out in Gaza. But his allies in Iran have made it clear that, if Israel
crosses red lines in its operations against Hamas, new fronts could open.
WEDEMAN (voice-over): And what are those red lines?
AMAL SAAD, CARDIFF UNIVERSITY: These red lines for Hezbollah, Hamas, Hamas leadership, Hamas remaining intact as an organization and, of course, the
Palestinian people themselves, preventing another Nakba from occurring are Hezbollah's red lines.
They're also Iran's red lines; they're Hamas' and Islamic Jihad's red lines. They're everyone's red lines in the resistance axis.
WEDEMAN (voice-over): The nakba, Arabic for catastrophe, is when, in 1948, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled or were expelled from their
homes in what is now Israel. As the fighting in Gaza intensifies and the civilian death toll soars, the prospect of regional war looms.
And that could spell disaster for Lebanon, a country already in a state of economic collapse and political paralysis.
MAHA YAHYA, MALCOLM H. KERR CARNEGIE MIDDLE EAST CENTER: A war with Israel would literally send the country back not to the Stone Ages but pre-Stone
Ages, probably, unfortunately. It is not something that the country would - - it would take it ages to recover from.
WEDEMAN (voice-over): On Beirut's Cote Anish (ph), 70-year-old retired bank employee Basen (ph) waits for the fish to bite.
"Nobody knows what's going to happen," he tells me. "Everyone is worried. The situation is not reassuring."
The sea appears calm but a storm may be coming.
WEDEMAN: And what we saw this afternoon and into this evening was probably the most intense exchange of fire across the border yet. Hezbollah claimed
19 strikes on Israeli targets. In addition to, that the military wing of Hamas, their people here in Lebanon claimed a strike on Israel.
The Israelis hit back with airplanes, artillery and helicopter strikes. Isa.
SOARES: Ben Wedeman for us, in Beirut, thank you very much.
SOARES: This just breaking and I will bring you up to date on what we've heard. Israel, the Israeli army, now telling CNN that Gaza City has been
encircled. If you remember, at the top of the show, we mentioned the troops had a very significant area of Gaza City.
Now Israeli military telling CNN they have completed its encirclement of Gaza City. This is coming from the IDF spokesperson, Admiral Daniel Hagari.
They went on to say the Israeli engineered corpse (ph) is now working to locate as well as neutralize underground infrastructure, explosives and
other threats to allow the IDF to move freely in the area.
SOARES: This coming from the IDF in the last 10 minutes, Israel army says they have now encircled Gaza City. If you remember, if you can visualize
that map that we've seen the last few days, the plan was, of, course coming in with, troops coming in from the south but also from the northeast and
from the west.
We'll bring you up to date with the very latest after this short break when we touch base with our teams on the ground.
SOARES: A wave of hatred directed against Jews is affecting countries across the globe. Officials from the U.K., Europe, North America, all the
way to Australia, have reported an alarming rise in anti-Semitic behavior.
The hate is palpable, like this scene in Sydney, Australia, just after the October the 7th attack, at a protest at the opera house. An Israeli flag
was burned and chants invoked the Holocaust and other anti-Semitic slogans.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES (voice-over): Australia's prime minister called the slogans "horrific" and police are investigating.
In Russia, if you remember, a crowd of people stormed an airport in Russia's mostly Muslim region of Dagestan as a flight landed from Tel Aviv.
In videos verified by CNN, the crowd held anti-Semitic signs, with slogans such as, "We are against Jewish refugees."
Then in Europe, descendants of the Holocaust were again being threatened because of who they are and how they worship. Like these scenes in Paris,
where dozens of blue Stars of David, a symbol of the Jewish faith, were painted on buildings. City officials condemned the anti-Semitic acts, which
left residents fearful.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I saw these on my way to university this morning. It is shocking. It is worrying. But the current
context, I feel like they are marking the Jewish families in the neighborhood. It is dangerous, it is unimaginable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES (voice-over): Here in the U.K., London's police force said there had been a 14-fold increase in incidents of anti-Semitism since October the
7th. Prime minister Rishi Sunak called it disgusting.
SOARES: The police say incidents include a person being called "a dirty Jew" on the way to a synagogue and a swastika was etched into a school
The United States is not immune. This week, the director of the FBI warned that anti-Semitism in the U.S. is reaching, quote, "historic levels."
According to the Anti-Defamation League, anti-Semitic incidents have increased nearly 400 percent.
Let's get more on all of, this I want to bring in Stephen Collinson, who's reported on the rise of anti-Semitism across the United States.
Stephen, let's start off with the incidents we have seen on some U.S. campuses, where we've seen a growing climate of fear and a rise in hate.
What are the leaders doing on the campuses to put an end to this?
What are they saying?
STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: A lot of the leaders, especially in some Ivy League universities, were criticized by people at
the universities, donors and outsiders, politicians, of being far too slow to address the rise in anti-Semitism following the October 7th attacks.
What we have seen in some of these universities is a blurring of the lines between protests against the Israeli response to those attacks, a criticism
of Israeli policy and that's crossing over in some cases to anti-Semitism and actions and intimidation that has made Jewish students feel unsafe.
What I've heard a lot in recent days from American Jews is this idea that they believe that Israel and the United States were always safe places. The
United States was not perhaps showing the anti-Semitic activity that has been around in modern politics in Europe.
This, of course, is a country that's -- it's a committee that has great historic trauma. So incidents like this in the United States have suddenly
made American Jews feel a lot less safe.
I think that is one of the reasons why we've seen this reaction to what has been going on. It's not that there shouldn't be protests against Israeli
behavior and pro Palestinian protests in universities; it's the way that it has permitted or lifted the lid on some blatant anti-Semitism that you
don't normally see in the United States.
SOARES: We have seen President Biden, Stephen, unveiling new measures to tackle anti-Semitism as well as Islamophobia. Talk me through what these
are and how they have been received by some of the authorities on campuses.
COLLINSON: So what the administration has tried to do is take a number of steps that directed the Justice Department, the Department of Homeland
Security, to liaise with campus police forces, local police forces.
They are trying to process complaints against discrimination a lot quicker. Obviously they are reacting to something that has been building over the
last few weeks. And this is clearly a very politicized time in the United States.
Especially Republican presidential candidates, who have already been complaining about what they see as "woke" climates, very left-wing
sentiments on U.S. campuses, they are jumping on this and saying it's all a part of the radicalism of the progressive movement, which they see as un-
So it's very political. And the administration, both in its attitude and its posture toward Israel -- and the domestic dissent building over this
issue -- is walking quite a fine line.
SOARES: Let's talk about the politics here because President Biden has been pretty unequivocal about the support for Israel and Israel's right to
defend itself. We heard that again today from secretary Antony Blinken.
Increasingly, the administration, Stephen, has been confronted with questions about Israel's commitment to minimizing deaths. And then
yesterday, at a closed door fundraiser, this happened. Help a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my God.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) I need you to call for a cease-fire right now.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. No. Get out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: This lady was a rabbi there.
How much pressure is the administration under?
COLLINSON: Well, it is increasing. And it's pressure which is important to President Biden because he's in a weak political position. He looks like he
is going to be facing Donald Trump in the general election next year, which is going to be very, very close.
Some areas, where there are a high concentration of Muslim voters, for instance, the swing state of Michigan, which could go either way next year,
this could have a direct political impact. I don't think it's that Arab Americans are going to vote for Donald Trump.
COLLINSON: After, all he has been talking about how he will try to reinstate his immigration ban on certain Muslim nations.
But if people don't show up to vote for President Biden, that could be a real problem in some of these states, which were decided last time by tens
of thousands of votes.
The other issue is that the plight of the Palestinians is very important to progressive voters on the left wing of the Democratic Party, who are less
than enamored with President Biden. And, it's also an issue for younger voters, many of whom regard the president as far too old to be running for
reelection in the first place.
And they are not that enthusiastic about him. That is a group of voters that typically is quite difficult to get young people to show up to vote in
the polls at the best of times. So any diminution of enthusiasm for the president next year could be a real problem.
The 2020 election was decided in the whole of the country with more than 140 million votes by about 60,000 votes in a few key swing states. So you
can see if some small patches of voters don't show up because of this issue, the president could be in quite a lot of trouble.
SOARES: Such important context, Stephen, always great to have you on the show.
SOARES: Still to come tonight, the latest on Russia's war with Ukraine. What we're hearing about evacuations in the, east that is just ahead.
SOARES: If you're just joining, us I will bring you up to date, the breaking news in the last five or 10 minutes.
The Israel Defense Forces, telling CNN they have announced Gaza City is now totally encircled by Israeli ground forces. The IDF spokesperson, Admiral
Daniel Hagari, says troops are now working to locate and neutralize underground infrastructure, explosives, as well as other threats in order
to allow the IDF to move freely in the area.
We have a map to show you. What we've been seeing in the last few days is the IDF attacking from the northeast and the northwest. So right at the.
Top as well as from the south. Almost like a pincer.
Now what we know is that the Israeli army is encircling Gaza City, trying to cause, to locate and to neutralize underground infrastructure. In the
last few hours, we heard they had made significant steps, taken over significant areas of Gaza City. That's important to point out.
SOARES: There are still many civilians in the area. What we've heard is that this is when the real hard battle begins of urban warfare.
That is the very latest we are hearing from the IDF.
I want to bring you up to date with the other headlines we're following for you.
In Ukraine, 89 children have now left Kharkiv, following evacuation orders. That is according to an official there, 275 children and their families
being told to leave the region, which has been facing intense Russian shelling.
A powerful storm system struck northwest, Europe Storm Ciaran battered the coast of southern England, bringing heavy rain and hail. Wind speeds
reached up to 93 miles per hour at a Jersey airport, that is south of mainland U.K. Local emergency service declared a major incident.
Finally, a new Beatles song has been developed using artificial intelligence. Titled "Now and Then," it features the voice of late band
member John Lennon. It seemed the song, which was originally a home demo recorded in the late '70s, could never be completed.
But new technology allows for vocal contributions from all four Beatles.
That does it for us this hour. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is next.