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Isa Soares Tonight

Israel Assessing Hamas Claim that Youngest Hostage And Some Family Members Are No Longer Alive; Talks Underway To Extend Israel-Hamas Truce As It Nears Its Final Day; Blinken: NATO Is Committed To Helping Ukraine; Convoy Arrives In Israel With Hostages; Negotiations In Hope Of Extending Truce. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired November 29, 2023 - 14:00   ET



ISA SOARES, HOST: Hello, and a very warm welcome everyone, I'm Isa Soares. Tonight, a devastating claim by Hamas is overshadowing what could be

another day of joyful family reunions in Israel as more hostages could be released from Gaza anytime. Without providing evidence, Hamas says the

youngest Israeli hostage, a ten-month old baby boy was killed at an early Israeli airstrike along with his four-year-old brother and their mother.

Israel says it is assessing that claim. And while we are expecting another exchange of Israeli hostages for Palestinian prisoners soon, it could be

the last unless a truce has already been extended by two days is extended once again. But we are already seeing some movement on the ground today.

A Red Cross convoy entered the Rafah Crossing from the Gaza side, and according to the IDF, two women are now back inside Israeli territory. This

after Hamas said it handed over two female Russian hostages to the Red Cross in Gaza. All this happening amid a scramble to keep the truce going.

Qatar is spearheading negotiations involving U.S., Israel and Egypt.

It says -- it tells CNN, it is hopeful an extension will be announced by the end of the day. Keeping an eye on all these developments for us is our

Jeremy Diamond who is following -- who joins us tonight from Ofakim in southern Israel. And Jeremy, let's start first on the status of today's

plain -- planned hostages release. We've heard two hostages had been released so far. Why only two, and what about the rest?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it appears that those two hostages that have already been released are outside of the framework of

this negotiation. We have watched now as earlier this week, there was another Russian-Israeli citizen Roni Kriboy, who was released outside of

this framework.

These are Israeli citizens, but they also have dual citizenship with Russia, and it appears that there is a side arrangement being made with the

assistance of the Russian government to secure their release. We are still waiting of course for the ten additional Israeli hostages to be released

today who are part of that framework agreement.

We have watched as yesterday, ten Israelis were released. Today, ten more expected to be released as part of this two-day extension of the original

deal to see women and children released as part of this pause in the fighting. But now, the question is turning very much to whether or not

there will be an additional extension.

We are just three hours away from midnight, and still questions looming about whether or not that truce can be extended. We know that they are

active negotiations with the CIA director in Doha, Qatar, alongside the Israeli, Egyptian and Qatari intelligence counterparts, and they're working

to see whether or not they can extend this deal.

The initial focus will still be on trying to get all of the women and children held captive in Gaza out first, but there is also a broader

negotiation beginning to brew as well, and that one is focusing on men and Israeli soldiers as well. Those will come at a much higher price for the

Israeli government in terms of the types of -- and the number perhaps of Palestinian prisoners that they will have to release from prisons.

So a lot of efforts being made today, I was told earlier today by U.S. official that things were looking good in terms of securing perhaps a one

or two-day additional extension focused on those women and children, but whether something broader can be achieved is another question altogether.

SOARES: Yes, it's 9:00 p.m. there, we've got about three hours or so left. And in the last few hours we're just reporting, telling our audience here

that we heard this devastating claim, Jeremy, from Hamas, that three members of the Bibas family, including the ten-month old Kfir, the youngest

of all the hostages are no longer alive.

This is what Hamas is saying. Just tell us -- just break it down for us. What are they saying because I think we have to be careful, we have to --

you know, with anything that Hamas has, it has to be with a grain of salt here. What is the IDF saying in response to this?

DIAMOND: Yes, if true, this is absolutely devastating news, not only for the Bibas family, but really for this whole country. Kfir Bibas, the

youngest hostage held -- taken captive by Hamas on October 7th, has really become a national symbol in so many ways, and so many people across this

country really feel connected to this story.

We saw initially Shiri Bibas clutching her two children surrounded by Hamas militants on October 7th.


Now, Hamas is claiming that all three of them, the mother, Shiri Bibas and her two sons, Kfir, who is ten months old, and Ariel, who is four years

old, Hamas is claiming that they were killed in an Israeli airstrike. The Israeli military for its part says it is assessing those claims, but it has

notified the family of those claims by Hamas, and is in touch with them.

The family for their part, they put out a statement saying that they have learned of the latest claims and that they are quote, "waiting for the

information to be confirmed and hopefully refuted by military officials". So certainly, they are still waiting whether or not there's going to be

some kind of verification or confirmation of that claim by the Israeli military.

What is still also very much unknown is the fate of Yarden Bibas; the father of those two young children, who is also believed to have been taken

captive on October 7th. But as I said, this entire country very much united behind this family, feels connected to their story, and certainly, the

whole world really in many ways has seen those images, and they really were etched in the memories of that dark October 7th.

SOARES: Thank you, Jeremy Diamond there for us, thanks very much, Jeremy. And while the world's spotlight is on Israel and Gaza, violence is sharply

escalating in the occupied West Bank. The Palestinian Health Ministry says two children were shot dead by Israeli forces in Jenin today, including an

eight-year-old boy. Israel launched a major incursion in Jenin yesterday, saying it was conducting counterterrorism activities.

Doctors Without Borders says two Palestinians were killed on Tuesday after Israeli military vehicles blocked ambulances from reaching them. CNN's Ben

Wedeman has more.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Israeli forces with bulldozers and Jeeps entered the camp under the cover of

darkness. This has become a routine. And this is the usual aftermath, wreckage and rubble, asphalt roads plowed down to the dirt. Once the damage

is repaired, there is another raid, and it's the same thing all over again.

(on camera): For almost two years, a low intensity war has been raging in the occupied West Bank. Residents here in Jenin's refugee camp say that

there have been more than 30 Israeli military incursions since August of this year.

(voice-over): The camp is home to militants who Israel has accused of involvement in attacks on Israelis, but here, those whom Israel calls

terrorists are seen as fighters against a decades-long military occupation. Well, Al-Diam Kuskas(ph) is not a fighter, he works for the local


(on camera): I guess it's the kids room --

(voice-over): But last week, Israeli soldiers took over his home during yet another raid. As he shows me around, the remains of what was a family's

life crunched under our shoes. Brutal is how Al-Diam(ph) sums up the soldiers' behavior. Scars of battles passed pockmark the camp's walls,

debris on almost every corner. Houm Sami(ph) shows me spent cartridges on the floor of her house, saying Israeli troops used this room to fire down

into the street.

"They took my husband, bound his hands and pushed him outside in the cold", she says. "They kept him there from 6:00 in the evening until 5:00 in the

morning." Eventually, the soldiers let him go, but took away her recently- married son. After ransacking his bedroom searching for weapons. Eighteen- year-old Mahmoud Abu-Hege(ph) was shot last Thursday evening, shot through his bedroom window.

His mother, Hidam(ph), holding a bloodstained towel, recounts how Israeli soldiers wouldn't allow medics to take him to hospital. "I was sure we were

going to the hospital", she says. "We went downstairs. A second officer was there and made the medics put the stretcher down. Mahmoud(ph) bled to death

in front of his home."

Tuesday night, Israeli forces raided the camp again, sparking gun battles with militants, and in the process, Israeli troops killed at least four

people, including this eight-year-old boy, and then they left.


SOARES: And Ben Wedeman joins us now. And Ben, as we've been reporting and have been reporting beginning of this year on the show, the violence that

we have been seeing in the West Bank pre-dates the October the 7th attack, probably we've seen over 260 Palestinians it seems detained in the West

Bank since Friday, 24th.

Now, this according to the Palestinian society here -- prisoner society. Why are more Palestinians being detained?


WEDEMAN: Well basically, I mean, it really since the 7th of October, you've seen this great upsurge. Now, of course, I think part of it is the

Israelis are nervous about the situation in the West Bank. Let's keep in mind that actually, the situation around Gaza, except for a flare up back

in May of this year has been rarely stable.

But what we've seen is increasingly, the Israeli government has been focusing on the West Bank while we have, you know, high extremist ministers

in the Israeli government are pushing the idea of expanding settlements, empowering the settlers, more handing out weapons to them.

So certainly, what we're seeing is that there is more unrest among the Palestinians who aren't happy with this, but more than that, I think the

Israelis see the situation in the West Bank and are trying to sort of keep the natives under control, so-to-speak, but increasing as they watch what's

going on in Gaza. And they have been experienced -- experiencing in recent years this upsurge in settlement activity and settler violence, keeping in

mind how many have been killed since the beginning --

SOARES: Yes --

WEDEMAN: Of the war in Gaza, almost 250. It's a powdered keg, and even American officials have warned the Israelis that they have to bring the

settlers under control, and perhaps the conditions for money given to Israel have to be increased because of the trouble that can be posed by the

current Israeli policy in the West Bank.

SOARES: You say --


SOARES: It's a powder keg, I mean, you know the region, you know the West Bank better than most journalists, I think it's fair to say, so I'm keen to

get your sense, Ben, of what the mood is like. We are seeing -- we've seen the past several days Palestinians being released to jubilant celebration,

somewhat can't even celebrate outside, of course, that's what we've been hearing.

But if this truce is not extended, and we go back to Israel trying to break the back of Hamas -- we've heard from the IDF in the last few moments,

saying they're preparing themselves for continuing of this fighting. If that continues, what could change in the West Bank?

WEDEMAN: Well, I think the fighting resumes in Gaza, and we see the kind of bloodshed of these sort of mass killing of civilians in Gaza, the

situation could become even more unstable. Keep in mind that it's not the Palestinian Authority backed by the United States and the European Union

and led by Mahmoud Abbas. It's winning the freedom of these Palestinian --

SOARES: Yes --

WEDEMAN: Prisoners and the detainees. It's Hamas, and by and large, the Palestinian Authority is looked as --upon by most Palestinians in the West

Bank as corrupt and incapable and powerless when it comes to dealing with the Israelis. That's why for instance, Jenin, which technically is under

Palestinian Authority control, the Israelis, every time they go into that city, they drive right in.

The Palestinian police who I saw yesterday when I went to Jenin disappeared. They put up no resistance. So the structure, the political

structure that was established by the Oslo Accords, sponsored by the United States, establishing the Palestinian Authority, that's eroding as the war

in Gaza continues, if it continues, and it probably will continue --

SOARES: Yes --

WEDEMAN: In the coming days. So politically, the head at the top of the Palestinian Authority is not particularly stable.

SOARES: Such important context. Ben, appreciate it as always. Ben Wedeman there for us in Jerusalem. Well, Israeli forces have opened fire into

southern Lebanon on two separate occasions on Wednesday. That is according to a Lebanese news agency. The IDF say they are looking into these reports,

cross-border fighting between Hezbollah and the IDF had almost stopped the truce between Israel and Hamas started in Gaza last week.

But with that truce set to expire on Thursday as we heard at the top of the hour, the situation -- Israel's other front looks increasingly tenuous too.

Well, the fragile truce has held for six days after almost seven weeks, of course, of fighting. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who is

vowing to continue Israel's military operation until Gaza is quote, "no longer a threat to Israel."

That as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken prepares to arrive in the region amid talks in Doha that are aiming to extend the truce. So, where

are we at this point then in the conflict. CNN global affairs analyst Kim Dozier joins us now from Washington. Kim, great to see you. We are hearing

-- and I'm sure you've seen that CNN reporting from the Qatari Foreign Ministry that they're hopeful that they will be able to announce a truce

extension in the coming hours.


You heard at the top of the hour from our Jeremy Diamond. We've got what? Three hours or so left. But we've also heard that there's a push for men,

military personnel to be released, be part of this agreement. How complicated can you think this will be?

KIM DOZIER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, on the existing agreement, it's not as complicated. The Israeli Prime Minister's office said there are

about 35 women left. According to the IDF, there are nine children left, and then there are also a little bit under a dozen men under the age of 75.

So, that group ostensibly could be covered under the existing agreement, and so if they could extend the truce another couple of days, perhaps, you

can get most of them out. But once it gets to the men, Hamas is facing internal pressure. It's got Palestinian-Islamic Jihad among other terrorist

groups inside the territory who want a higher price.

They're saying we are not going to turn over the Israeli soldiers that were holding all the men of military age, unless we see far more Palestinians

released from Israeli jails. And at this point, it's upwards of 8 to 9,000 Palestinians held in Israeli jails. So, the Israeli government has said

once you -- once you try to change the parameters, we go back to fighting, and we negotiate under fire.

SOARES: Right, so for the Israel -- for Israel, the red line, is that clear in terms -- because at the moment, it's 3 to 1, right? Three

Palestinians --

DOZIER: Yes --

SOARES: For every Israeli hostage. And I wonder if, you know, how much room there is for negotiation here from the Israeli side?

DOZIER: From my understanding, the way the current deal was structured, the deal that was signed by Hamas, voted on by the Israeli Knesset, it's

got to say that 3 to 1 ratio.

SOARES: Right --

DOZIER: So the moment Hamas tries to change it, that's when you get into bargaining territory, and Bibi Netanyahu, the Prime Minister, all of his

recent comments indicate that the moment you get into that bargaining territory, that's what they're waiting for to restart the offensive. And he

even has a threat within his own government right now of his most right- wing members --

SOARES: Yes --

DOZIER: Saying that they will pull out of government, probably not during the current war, but just afterwards, if the fighting doesn't restart very

soon to decimate Hamas further.

SOARES: And so on that then, Kim, if there's no agreement hashed out in the coming hours, how soon could hostilities start, and what could that

look like? Because we know the U.S. has been pushing Israel to take a more targeted approach when they restart these military operations.

DOZIER: I think you could be looking at -- by the numbers this weekend, early next week. Now, U.S. officials have been cautioning Israel that this

time, this quote-unquote, "second offensive" in the south has to be different than in the north. It can't displace as many civilians. Now, they

say that they've gotten a receptive response from Israeli officials, but the guidance that I'm getting is that you're not going to see -- say

targeted Israeli special operations raids, but you might instead, because that puts a lot of troops in harm's way.

SOARES: Yes --

DOZIER: You might instead see smaller bombs being dropped, but you're still going to see large, armored personnel carrier movements because

that's one of the only ways to get the troops into the area using tanks, et cetera, while still keeping them somewhat protected in what is a very

dangerous territory for them right now.

SOARES: All hoping that the truce, of course, is extended for these hostages to be released for the aid to continue to make its way in. Kim,

appreciate it, thank you very much. We are going to take a short break, we'll be back after this.



SOARES: Well, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken says his country's support of Ukraine is unwavering. Blinken met with Ukrainian Foreign

Minister Dmytro Kuleba Wednesday at a gathering of NATO foreign ministers in Brussels. Kuleba told reporters that Ukraine is key to defending all of

Europe. Have a listen.


DMYTRO KULEBA, FOREIGN MINISTER, UKRAINE: Will not be an exaggeration to say that defending Europe without Ukraine is a futile task. You cannot do

it simply for one simple reason, because we currently have the strongest and the most battle-hardened army in Europe.

ANTONY BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE, UNITED STATES: I heard a strong and during commitment on the part of alliance members to Ukraine, and making

sure that it had what it needs to defend itself, to retake territory seized from it by Russia, but also to build itself up so that it can stand

strongly on its own feet militarily, economically and democratically.


SOARES: Well, from the battlefield in Ukraine, a remarkable story of survival. A soldier was trapped alone for two weeks. His unit used drones

to deliver aid and help him get to safety. Our Anna Coren has this story.


ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In a stairwell of a public hospital in central Ukraine, Serhiy(ph) draws back on a

cigarette. The 36-year-old soldier picked up the habit during the war, but after what he's endured these past few weeks, it's the only thing that

calms him down.

Last month, he and his unit were in Klishchiivka, on the outskirts of Bakhmut, trying to hold trenches. After a few days, their dugout was

shelled by Russian motars and Serhiy(ph) was hit.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I was wounded in both legs. I immediately touched them to check if they were still there.

COREN: But there were far worse injuries amongst the other soldiers, broken legs and jaws. When the evacuation team arrived under heavy

shelling, Serhiy(ph) insisted they take the others first. He would wait for the next team. Another unit arrived, but were pinned down because of

constant Russian bombardment, so supplies were sent in by drones.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Our commander dropped snacks, painkillers, water from drones, even cigarettes and a lighter. We wanted to


COREN: As another soldier scrambled out to collect the supplies, water had become an issue, as almost every bottle burst on impact. But their problems

were about to get a lot worse when an enemy drone dropped a grenade into their small dugout, landing on a soldier next to Serhiy(ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I was wounded again, but he was in really bad shape. Two people from his brigade took him away, and I realized

I was alone.

COREN: For the next three days, Serhiy(ph) hid in his dugout alone surrounded by the enemy who he could hear just meters away. Whispering on

the radio, he gave his commander their coordinates, basically calling in artillery on his very own position. He says multiple evacuation teams had

tried to reach him over those two weeks, but some of those soldiers were killed.

In the end, his commander said the only way out was to pray and crawl, which he finally did.


With a radio in one hand and his unit drone overhead, he crawled back to safety, dragging his legs that were now beginning to rot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Only one way to escape and I even didn't hope that I'd survive.

COREN (on camera): As Serhiy(ph) recovers in this hospital in central Ukraine, eager to go home, he maintains his story is nothing special, and

that it's the soldiers now fighting on the battlefield that deserve the world's attention.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): What I have seen cannot be expressed in words. Every guy in this war has gone through something like

this. Our guys are paying a very high price.

COREN (voice-over): A price Ukrainian soldiers are continuing to pay. As this war painfully grinds towards its second year. Anna Coren, CNN, central



SOARES: We'll be back after this.


SOARES: Welcome back everyone. Hamas identifies them as two Russian females. More exchanges just set to happen today just under the wire as the

truce between Hamas and Israel set to expire on Thursday. Qatari officials say they're hopeful that another extension can be reached before the end of

the day.

Alex Marquardt joins us now live from Washington with the very latest. And Alex, we've been reporting there in the last half hour of two women being

released back on Israeli territory. But what do we know about these two women, and also where are we in the status of the remaining of those

hostages expected to be released today?

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, these two women are Russian citizens. And we understand that this was a deal that was

brokered directly between Hamas and Russia.

This is the kind of thing we saw the other day with an Israeli Russian man. We have an expectation now that there would still be 10 Israeli women and

children, who will be released at some point in the coming hours.

And in fact we are understanding from sources that at least one of them is also an American citizen. That is very important, from the Biden

administration's standpoint. They have been intimately involved in these hostage negotiations, not just because they want to see all of these

hostages released but also because there are believed to have been at least 10 American hostages before this pause began.

And the three women and children were supposed to be released in that initial four-day period. Here we are, Isa, coming off the end of the sixth

day, only one American child has been released.

So if this American woman is released later today, that will still leave another American who has not yet been released, raising all kinds of

questions about her status and seven other American men.

And so there is a belief that women and children will continue, could continue to be released in the coming days. But that will beg all kinds of

questions about what comes next, Isa.

SOARES: Do we have -- no we don't. I thought we had Jeremy Diamond, want to bring him in. But I'm going to continue the conversation if you don't

mind, Alex, because counting down to the end of this truce, about three hours or so left for the extended truce.

We've been hearing from the Qatari foreign ministry that they're hopeful that they will announce a truce extension in the coming hours. We've also

heard that there has been a push, of course, for men and for military personnel, be it women or men, of course, to be released, to be part of

this agreement.

How realistically -- how realistic it's this?

What are you hearing from sources in the U.S. as to whether this will happen?

MARQUARDT: The men and the IDF soldier part is certainly not expected to be anytime soon. That is believed to be a lot more complicated, certainly,

when it comes to the Israeli soldiers.

The U.S. very much wants this pause to be extended in the same way that Qatar does as well. Israel has been very clear, saying that, if Hamas

continues to release 10 hostages per day, they can have another day of pause.

Now Bill Burns, the CIA director, has been in Doha. He was there yesterday meeting with Israeli, Qatari and Egyptian counterparts. The belief, Isa, is

that this current pause for women and children can be extended by two more days.

We will know in the coming hours, because what happens every evening is that Hamas releases a list, hands over a list of the 10 people that they

expect to release the following day.

And so if that happens tonight, we will likely be looking at a seventh day of a pause in the fighting. And so the belief is that that could go to up

to eight days. And then it starts to get a bit more complicated because you are getting into men and those soldiers.

And there is a very good chance, Isa, that Hamas will want more in exchange, certainly for the soldiers than this ratio that we've been

talking about. Three Palestinians released for every Hamas hostage.

SOARES: And on that, if this is Hamas' strategy and thinking then, do we know whether Israel is prepared to go there?

I mean, what is the red line in terms of the hostage negotiations here?

How far are they prepared to go?

MARQUARDT: Well, you do have these competing forces in Israel, where you have many in the government threatening to relaunch the military campaign.

We just heard from the minister of defense just hours ago, saying that they're ready to immediately start up military operations again from sea,

land and air. At the same time, there is a huge amount of pressure on the Israeli government to get those hostages home.

And so we could get to a scenario, in which all of the women and children who Hamas can find or has in their custody, have been released. It would

be, of course, relatively easy for Hamas to continue this with some of the elderly men.

Those men are certainly eligible, if you will, to be released in the way that we have seen Hamas do it with these women and children. But the

expectation is that core of soldiers, women and men -- and there are dozens of them -- is going to be a lot more complicated.

No one has forgotten that Gilad Shalit deal from 2011, when one Israeli soldier, after years of negotiating, was released in exchange for more than

1,000 Palestinian prisoners, including the head of Hamas in Gaza.

SOARES: Stay with us, let me just go to our Jeremy Diamond, who was on the ground.

And I was looking at my screen because I could see there were joyous festivities behind you, of course, as those two hostages -- I think the

van, the truck went past.


SOARES: Can you tell us what you saw?

Paint the scene of the mood there, Jeremy.

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right. This is a crowd of people who are there to greet the newly-freed hostages, who have

spent more than 50 days in captivity.

And in fact, moments ago, we just saw those two Russian Israeli women, who have been released by Hamas. Not as part of the framework of the deal

between Israel and Hamas, mediated by the Qatari government, but rather a part of a side agreement that appears between Hamas and the Russian


These two women, Yelena Trupanov and Irena Tati, released by Hamas today. And we just saw them come through. I saw one of those women actually waving

at the crowd as the van that she was in slowed down to make it around this roundabout.

And she was certainly smiling and very happy to be welcomed home in such a way. And these are the kinds of scenes of joy that are happening across

Israel, as loved ones are being reunited with their family members.

But beyond the family, it is clear from the scene behind me and talking to Israelis around the country that people feel so involved. They feel

connected to these hostages, to the fate of these hostages. And that is why you are witnessing scenes like the one behind me right now.

SOARES: And it's wonderful to see these scenes, to hear the music and to see the celebration and seeing loved ones return, Jeremy.

What are you hearing in the meantime about the remaining hostages in terms of the status here of their arrival?

DIAMOND: We are still waiting to get word of when exactly those 10 additional hostages are expected to be released tonight.

The second wave of that two-day extension of the truce that would see 10 Israeli citizens released from captivity by Hamas, 30 Palestinian prisoners

released from Israeli prisons, in exchange for this additional day of pause in the fighting.

We are still waiting to see exactly when they will get out. But we expect that when they do, they will take a similar route being driven here to the

Hatzerim air base, which is right in front of me, and then get on helicopters on their way to hospitals in Israel.

SOARES: And in terms of the truce, you were telling us that we only have several hours until this truce runs out. Alex and I were talking and we

heard what the Qataris were saying as well, that looking positive.

What are you hearing from the Israeli side about an extended truce here?

DIAMOND: Yes, there's no question that this has been negotiated all day long. There've been active conversations between Israeli, American, Qatari,

Egyptian officials, all involved in trying to secure an extension of this truce.

I spoke earlier today with a senior Israeli official, who made very clear to me that they are looking to extend this pause. But what they want to see

is all women and children released before they move on to a broader conversation about the men and the soldiers who are still believed to be

held captive by Hamas.

They want Hamas to fulfill the initial part of this agreement and extend that agreement effectively until it is achieved. And then there can move --

the conversation can move to another agreement.

A broader agreement that would, of course, come at a much higher price for the Israeli government in terms of who and how many Palestinian prisoners

they would need to be released and perhaps some other conditions that could also be thrown in.

SOARES: Stay with us Jeremy, let me go back to Alex Marquardt, if we still have Alex, I think we do.

And Alex, if there is -- this truce is not extended then -- and we have got several hours, although it does seem from the Qataris at least that they

are optimistic -- if no agreement then is hashed out, what could hostilities look like?

What are you hearing from your source, what are you hearing from the United States?

Because it's clear from what the IDF said in the last hour, said that they are preparing themselves for the continued fighting. The concern is that we

will see the scenes we saw north of Gaza in the south.

MARQUARDT: And that could very well happen in the coming days, even if this is extended by say another day or two and all the women and children

come out. We could easily see the fighting starting back up by this weekend.

What the real fear here is in Washington is that we will see what we saw in the north in terms of that extraordinary devastation, 14,000 people killed

so far in the past seven weeks. That kind of thing would be replicated in the south.

Israel has made clear that they do plan to move operations into the south. But at the same time, Isa, of course, Israel had told north Gaza residents

to move into the south. Now you have a situation where almost 2 million Gazans are displaced.

The vast majority of them are in the south. And so what the administration is saying is that they have told the Israelis in very clear language --

that is a quote -- that they do not want Israel to replicate the kinds of tactics that they did in the north.

They want them to go in much more carefully, much more cautiously; if they are going to carry out counterterror operations against Hamas operatives,

to do it in a much more surgical way. There is certainly a concern that, as Israel ramps up their military operations, that we could see them going in

as aggressively as they did earlier in this conflict.


MARQUARDT: And that is not what the U.S., wants Isa.

Alex Marquardt there for us and our thanks to Jeremy Diamond.

Appreciate it, Alex, thank you.

Thousands of people are expected in Dubai for the COP28 climate summit. But there will be a notable absence. Pope Francis will not be attending on the

advice of his doctors. Barbie Latza Nadeau reports from Rome.


BARBIE NADEAU, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Pope Francis, one of the most traveled world leaders, has been grounded. He will not be going to

Dubai this week to address COP28 on climate change -- doctor's orders.

After suffering lung inflammation last week, the pontiff, who turns 87 in December, has been told to stay put. Extra care for a man who had part of

one of his lungs removed as a young man.

At his Wednesday audience in Rome, he was on his own two feet. But he admitted that he is not quite his usual self.

POPE FRANCIS, PONTIFF, ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH (through translator): I am still not well with this flu. And my voice is not nice.

NADEAU (voice-over): Since his election in March 2013, the pontiff has taken 44 trips to 62 countries. But he has also had some serious medical

problems and has been hospitalized three times in the last two years.

He has part of his colon removed in July 2021 and returned to the hospital twice in 2023, the last time in June for an abdominal surgery. Whenever a

pope is sick, it is assured that the faithful start to pray.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I hope and wish him a speedy recovery. Obviously, his health is most important. Hopefully he can get back soon to leading and to

getting back to work.

NADEAU (voice-over): Last year Pope Francis said he signed a resignation letter in case he becomes incapacitated.

The hardworking pope still has plans for the Catholic Church and does not seem ready to leave center stage anytime soon -- Barbie Latza Nadeau, CNN,



SOARES: Good to see that he's better.

That does it for me tonight, thank you very much, I'm Isa Soares in London, "MARKETPLACE MIDDLE EAST" is up next and I shall see you tomorrow. Bye-bye.