Return to Transcripts main page

Isa Soares Tonight

Biden Hosts Japanese Prime Minister Kishida; Israel Says It Has Killed Six Family Members Of The Political Leader Of Hamas; Zelenskyy Says Ukraine Can Break Putin's Backbone If It Receives The Needed; Putin Has No Intention To Travel To Areas Devastated By Flooding; Near Bologna, An Underwater Power Plant Exploded; Mississippi's "Goon Squad" Sentenced; Challenges With Aid Distribution In Gaza; Israel-Hamas War; Eid Celebrations Dulled By Devastation Of War; French Woman Found Dead In An Abandoned Church In Northern Italy; In Response To ISIS Danger, Paris Strengthens Champions League Security; Heartwarming Earthquake Rescue Dog Made Of A Police Academy Dropout; Fourth "Bridget Jones" Film Will Feature Renee Zellweger And Hugh Grant. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired April 10, 2024 - 14:00   ET



ISA SOARES, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: A very warm welcome to the show, everyone, I'm Isa Soares. Tonight, U.S. President Joe Biden hosts the

Japanese Prime Minister at the White House, of course, we'll have more on those high-level diplomatic meetings and that press conference that you

heard in the last few minutes.

Plus, Israel says it has killed six family members of the political leader of Hamas. Now, the Hamas chief says he will not back down, those details

for you, are just ahead. And then Ukraine's leader says his forces can break Russia's backbone if they get the aid they need. CNN's conversation

with President Zelenskyy ahead.

But right now in Washington, U.S. President Joe Biden has been hosting as you've been watching here on CNN, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida for

a critical summit. Just moments ago, both leaders wrapped up joint news conference that did briefly touch on the war in Gaza and aid for Ukraine.

Let's go to Priscilla Alvarez, who has been monitoring that press conference. And Priscilla, well, talk about the war in Ukraine and Israel

as well in just a moment. Just talk us through, first of all, what is been announced from the Japanese Prime Minister in terms of cooperation and

United States. What did they unveil today?

PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, this visit was critical to and reaffirming friendship and cooperation between a key ally in the Indo-

Pacific region for the United States. And so, there was a wide array of issues that were touched on primarily, for example, the deepening of

military cooperation, of course, as there is a resurgent China and amid the heightening complex abroad.

But there was also and perhaps related to this, changing the U.S. for structure in Japan, that was quite important going into these meetings as

Japan has shifted its defense policy. In addition to all of that, they also discuss space collaboration as well as artificial intelligence research

initiatives, all of which the senior or senior administration officials had previewed to reporters that would be part of the dialogue between the U.S.

and Japan.

And earlier before the press conference and the two during a ceremony also, not a two-some -- more symbolic takeaways. For example, Japan providing

more cherry-blossom saplings here in Washington as some of them are going to be chopped down here in the tidal basin for construction purposes.

So, all of this to say that this was really a visit that showed how significant this relationship is with Japan. This is a relationship that

the U.S. has touted especially on the defense front, but also in the other initiatives that they have worked on together, including, for example, when

I mentioned with artificial intelligence.

The President, President Biden saying during that press conference, you're seeing images there, that this is -- their relationship is a beacon to the

entire world. So, above all else, this was obviously an opportunity for the two to reaffirm that publicly.

Also, tonight, they will have -- there will be a state dinner. So, the pop- in circumstance will continue here in Washington as these two leaders continue their dialogue.

SOARES: In terms of Prime Minister Kishida, what did he want to get out of there? What were their priorities?

ALVAREZ: Well, certainly, on the defense front. I mean, they have shifted their defense policy. It has been a topic that has repeatedly come up,

especially as they too start to change their defense structure, and all of this against the backdrop of the aggression in China with North Korea,

which also came up during this joint press conference and the ongoing war in Ukraine.

That is something that toward the end of the press conference, the president was asked about and he's forcefully called for that Ukraine aid

to pass Congress.


That is something that he has beat the drum on multiple times. I was going to be a topic of conversation during his meeting with the Japanese Prime

Minister. So, that would be front and was and is front and center according to senior administration officials.

SOARES: Priscilla, do stay with us. I want to bring in Jim Sciutto; our colleague Jim Sciutto. And Jim, and just add some context here for our

viewers right around the world, just how important is it for the Biden administration to showcase his strong ties with Japan right now amid what

we have seen, of course, as China's aggression in the South China Sea.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, they didn't say it in so many words, that this is about standing up to China they made, took care to say this is a

defensive alliance between the U.S. and Japan, which it is. But strengthening this alliance is very much about China and about China's

military rise and expansion.

And you can see it as part of a broader response to China's rise in terms of the U.S. strengthened relationship with South Korea, the tripartite

relationship between the U.S., Japan and South Korea. The AUKUS Agreement between the U.S., the U.K. and Australia for submarine technology, all

those are pieces of a broader U.S.-led strategy, to stand up to China's expansion, not go to war with it, but increase those defense alliances, but

also as both Kishida and Biden mentioned there, it's about trade, it's about keeping shipping lanes open and so on.

And we should not forget that they view North Korea as a threat, not on the scale of China, but it's a nuclear power, it's got an expanding missile

program of course, very close to Japan, that is a threat, very much at the top -- much at the top of Japan's mind as well.

So, this is about that threat. We should also note though, it's about trying to solidify these alliances with a very open question as to how the

U.S. will proceed in the world following the November election. Because also on the ballot is Donald Trump, who -- senior advisors of his own have

told me, has very little interest in these alliances, and attempt by the U.S. President now to lock those alliances in, in effect prior to whatever

the results are of the November election.

However, the fact is, U.S. commander-in-chief has enormous ability to enforce or not enforce such alliances. So, it's an open question, and it's

one that U.S. allies in Asia and Europe have said to me, and you're hearing more publicly is an issue of enormous concern for them.

SOARES: And Jim, do stay with us. Let me go back to Priscilla, and Priscilla, we know that both leaders were also peppered with questions, not

just about Ukraine, but also Gaza. What did we hear?

ALVAREZ: Yes, President Biden was asked about the situation in Gaza, and he said or he told reporters that he has been, quote, "very blunt and

straightforward with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about the need to get more humanitarian aid into Gaza." Of course, last week in some

respects really marked an inflection point, that is when we saw the deaths of those seven World Central Kitchen" employees.

And President Biden had released a statement shortly thereafter, saying that he was quote, "outraged", and then that followed with a call between

President Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, where the President said directly that he wanted to see changes, some of those

changes were announced shortly thereafter by or approved, I should say, rather by the Israeli security cabinet that included, for example, opening

up a land crossing, opening up a pore to get more humanitarian aid in, and also ramping up supplies.

Now, this is something that the U.S. has been watching very closely as the humanitarian situation unfolds in Gaza, the images of the catastrophe that

has happened there. And so, this has been front of mind for the president. We have seen a rift between the President and Israeli Prime Minister over

time since October 7th.

Of course, they -- we talked quite regularly right after the terror attacks. They have talked less often now, and we have seen some of the

back-and-forth between the two of them play out privately and publicly. And so, this was a moment where the president when asked about this said and

reiterated that he is being blunt with the Israeli Prime Minister who he has a long history with.

Of course, we do not know what steps the U.S. would change if Israel doesn't change itself and its policy towards Gaza, but all that remains to

be seen.

SOARES: Priscilla Alvarez there for us and Jim Sciutto, whose show will be on in about 15 minutes right here on CNN. Thank you to you both. Now, it's

not a coincidence that while the White House summit was going on, Taiwan's former leader was meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing.

She says Taiwan and China belong to the same Chinese nation, and there's no grudge that cannot be resolved between the two countries. Taiwan officials

tell CNN, the meeting was moved to today to coincide with the Japanese Prime Minister's visit to Washington. It comes just weeks before Taiwan

swears in a new leader, one Beijing openly opposes.


Now, the head of Hamas says he won't back down after an Israeli strike killed three of his sons and three grandchildren. To think otherwise,

Ismail Haniyeh says, is delusional. It comes at what may be a critical time in ceasefire talks between Hamas and Israel. Hamas now has the latest

proposal and CNN's being told the group is not able to find 40 females as well as sick and elderly hostages to exchange in a ceasefire.

The war overshadowing festivities, marking the end of Ramadan. And we'll have more from Gaza in just a few moments. But first, let's go to Jerusalem

and CNN's Jeremy Diamond is there. And Jeremy, in the last what? Forty minutes or so, the IDF has confirmed they were behind the strike on the six

members of Hamas leader's family. What is Ismail Haniyeh saying? What is the IDF saying? And talk to the implications here?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN JERUSALEM CORRESPONDENT: Yes, well, earlier today, we got reports from on-the-ground in Gaza that a vehicle had been struck, and

that the sons of Ismail Haniyeh, three of his sons, as well as three of his grandchildren were killed in an Israeli airstrike on the vehicle they were

traveling in.

The driver of that vehicle was also killed, and now in just the last hour or so, the Israeli military has now confirmed that it carried out that

airstrikes, saying that it was targeting these three Haniyeh's sons, Amir Haniyeh, who they say was a Hamas cell commander, Mohammad Haniyeh as well

as Hazem Haniyeh.

Both of whom the Israeli military calls Hamas military operatives. And so, it's interesting obviously, to see the Israeli military confirming this

strike, claiming that these three sons of Ismail Haniyeh, who is the head of Hamas' political bureau, were active military operatives.

Now, Haniyeh, for his part said that this would make him quote, "more steadfast in our principles and adherence to our land." And he also

suggested that the Israeli military had sought to target his sons directly in order to influence the state of those negotiations.

And he said that whoever thinks that this will influence the state of negotiations is very wrong, saying that it will of -- it's delusional,

sorry, that this will not force Hamas to back down from their demands. Obviously, this is a very significant strike that the Israeli military has

carried out because of the personal connection directly to the head of Hamas who has been involved in these negotiations.

It's not clear yet whether the Israeli military was targeting these individuals because they simply believed they were Hamas operatives or

because they knew that they were Haniyeh's sons understood the symbolic value of this strike as well. That is one of the questions that I am still

asking at this moment, Isa.

SOARES: And I know you'll continue to dig on this, but you know, this strike as you hinted there, it really does come at a -- Jeremy, at an

extraordinary moment. It's Eid-al-Fitr, of course, as we mentioned a moment, supposedly of celebration for so many. We know that's not happening

in Gaza.

But it comes as you said, as negotiations continues over ceasefire and release of hostages. What can you tell us about those negotiations, and

more importantly, the sticking points here?

DIAMOND: Yes, these negotiations are continuing, but there -- it is very clear that there are a number of stumbling blocks. We've been reporting on

two of the key sticking points, which is the return of Palestinians in northern Gaza, as well as the withdrawal of Israeli troops from the Gaza


Those are still very much at the core of the disagreement between Israel and Hamas. But my colleague Alex Marquardt and I are now also being told

that Hamas is effectively saying that they cannot track down or that they do not have 40 hostages who match the categories of release for this

initial phase of a potential ceasefire agreement.

We know that the talks have centered on the release of 40 Israeli hostages, women, children, the elderly, as well as sick hostages, who are being held

by Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza. But now, I'm being told by an Israeli official that Hamas has told the mediators that it simply does not

have 40 living hostages that match that category.

And we're also being told that Hamas is saying that it is unable to identify 40 such hostages, that it would also need additional time during a

ceasefire to actually be out -- be able to go out and gather the information on the hostages who could be released. An Israeli official

telling me that Israel is suggesting that Hamas should fill out the rest of that category of 40 hostages with men of military age or male Israeli

soldiers who are being held by Hamas.

That is likely to increase the price that Hamas would place on those hostages in terms of the numbers of Palestinian prisoners they would like

to see release. But certainly, beyond the implications for the negotiations, this also indicates that fewer hostages may be alive than we

currently know.


We know that some 30 Israeli hostages have been confirmed dead by the Israeli military. But there's also a sense that more may be dead, but

simply not fully confirmed by the Israeli government as of yet --

SOARES: Yes, very concerning indeed for all the families, Jeremy Diamond, appreciate it, thank you very much. Let's get more on all these strands,

I'm joined now by Daniel Levy, has negotiated with the Palestinians for Israel, and he's currently president of the U.S. Middle East project.

Daniel, welcome to the show. Let me pick up really for what we're hearing from Jeremy there, about this Hamas strike. The strike -- Israeli strike on

the Hamas leader's family. The IDF has confirmed that in the last 40 minutes or so, how much do you think this is part of the pressure campaign

for Hamas to accept any sort of deal, any sort of negotiation that the IDF, that Israel has put forward.

DANIEL LEVY, PRESIDENT, U.S.-MIDDLE EAST PROJECT: If it is, then it suggests that the Israeli leadership's reading of the situation is even

more faulty than we have assumed to be honest --

SOARES: Yes --

LEVY: So far. There has been such indiscriminate bombing. We know that 14,000, if not more children have been killed four times more than it

killed in conflicts around the world on any given year, according to Save the Children. So, was this a deliberate targeting? If we go with the

assumption that it was, I think the only way one can read this is that it's more intending to undermine any talks than to advance those talks. The idea

that this will lead to some kind of capitulation on the part, it's for the birth.

SOARES: I mean, the thing that made me -- what stood out to me when I -- when the news broke was, you know, if you're Hamas and you have aid coming

in, you have some IDF soldiers now leaving from the south, why would they go in -- except any of these negotiations is given, of course, they may

have the upper hand at this very moment, or am I reading it wrong?

LEVY: Well, I think there has been a quite consistent position on their part. And this is what's missing? Yes. This is about people returning to

the north. It's about getting Palestinian prisoners out of Israeli jails, which is a priority for them in exchange for the Israelis that they are


It's about an IDF withdrawal, but -- and this is still the crucial missing link in those negotiations. For Hamas, they see this as an on-ramp --

SOARES: Yes --

LEVY: To a permanent ceasefire.


LEVY: If on the Israeli side, the position is that this is a pause before unleashing hell on Rafah, where so many 1.4 million Palestinians within a

cattle, having been sent from unsafe zone to unsafe zone. Then there's not going to be a deal, and I think what we haven't seen is a serious American

effort to make this an on-ramp to a ceasefire. And so, the talks are still not in a place where one is going to have a way out.

SOARES: Do you think they will have any sort of ceasefire? Any sort of pause before this operation into Rafah that Netanyahu is promising that no

one will stop it from happening? How do you see it playing out?

LEVY: Well, you know, here, I think first of all, it is important to acknowledge that this isn't necessarily going well for Israel, whether on

the battlefield --

SOARES: Yes --

LEVY: Sure, you've destroyed Gaza, Hamas is in some way been downgraded. But Hamas is stronger in most respects, Israel's reputation

internationally, legally, morally in so many other respects. When Israeli analysts were looking at that, you know, six months, the six-month ledger,

how it's going, it was surprising the extent to which there was an acknowledgment this hasn't gone well.

Netanyahu is OK with this taking longer. He has not been in a position --

SOARES: Why? Because he wants to stay -- is playing the long game?

LEVY: Yes, but for all the Israeli Prime Minister, the morning after is when he faces the music on what happened on October 7th, who is

responsible? Are you responsible? Will you step down? The military heads are likely to step down. So, for Rafah to take longer is OK with him. He

seems intent on carrying out this mission.

And I think unless and until there is a willingness on especially the American side, not just to express frustration -- you know, Biden is


SOARES: Yes --

LEVY: They've exchanged harsh words. Are you going to put on the table the leverage that you have primarily at this stage, that's the conveyor belt of

weapons, including these 2,000-pound bombs and what are those for? Those are the -- what's killing so many people.

If that's on the table, then conceivably, there will be a debate inside Israel, because there is a fault line, Isa --

SOARES: Yes --

LEVY: Primarily, it's around what priority should be accorded to getting back the hostages. We've heard now that there's likely to be even less

alive if you want to get them back. Do you say, well, if it's not 40, then the other 35, whatever that number --

SOARES: Yes --

LEVY: Is, can die. So, there's a real fault-line in Israel on the hostages, including inside the military, including inside the war cabinet.


A serious proposal, plus American leverage -- and by the way, other countries should also stop the weapons flow, that will influence America --

SOARES: U.K. as well?

LEVY: Absolutely. I find it shocking that, that legal -- that legal recommendation has not yet been made public in the U.K. Then, I think

Netanyahu is perhaps in a corner. It looks to me like the U.S. administration is trying to do just enough to say domestically, hey,

there's some distance between us and the Israelis, but not enough to actually bring an end to what the International Court of Justice is

considering has a case there over a plausible breach for the genocide convention.

SOARES: So, let me ask you this because we've heard -- I'm not sure if you heard the interview with President Biden with Luicion(ph) in the last 24

hours where he talked about frustration, sharp criticism of Netanyahu saying handling the war had been a mistake.

So, definitely, that -- I mean, that criticism has definitely become more pronounced. But like you were saying, that we have no -- we haven't seen a

policy change from the United States. If the IDF goes in, if and when it goes into Rafah, and United States sees no plan, so far they haven't

received any plan as we heard from Secretary Blinken yesterday.

How should the U.S. react to it? Should it be pulling -- I mean, do you think it will stop any sort of any weapons? How should the U.S. change its

policy vis-a-vis the Rafah incursion?

LEVY: So, first of all, at this stage, for someone to say, well, the Israelis have reassured us, Rafah will be done clinically. There won't be

these huge civilian casualties.

SOARES: And no one is saying that.

LEVY: No one is saying that.

SOARES: Yes --

LEVY: No one would sound credible.

SOARES: Yes --

LEVY: Unfortunately at this stage if they try to say that. I fear that the Americans will have more handwringing -- well, we tried to tell them not to

do this. We thought they would do it --

SOARES: This is an election year though, Daniel, how --

LEVY: Well, the president is apparently from what we can tell, from what we hear, not convinced that this matters to him electorally, he apparently

still thinks he has something to lose on the other side of that equation.

SOARES: On that -- very brief, because we are running out of time. Thomas Friedman writing in "New York Times" wrote this, he talked about the

Netanyahu strategy in Gaza, calling, utterly insane. He wrote -- I think we have a little graphic to show. It has locked -- Netanyahu has locked Israel

into politically unwinnable war, and has ended up isolating America, imperiling our regional and global interests, compromising Israel

supporting U.S., and fracturing the base of President Biden's Democratic Party.

I mean, the damage that Netanyahu has done in the last six months of this war, and perhaps, the lack of action from the United States and others. Do

you agree with that?

LEVY: I don't accept that Netanyahu has done this damage at all. President Biden, the U.S. administration have done the damage.

SOARES: Explain --

LEVY: They -- well, they are the ones who chose especially of the backup preaching to the world, standing on their moral soapbox and telling us rule

of law, international law, look what's going on in Ukraine --

SOARES: Double standards --

LEVY: Well, here it is. When it's your ally, you can bomb the hell out of a place, civilians, indiscriminate, what the court of justice says doesn't

matter. It's meritless. This damage and it's a very significant damage is self-inflicted.

SOARES: Daniel, I wish we could speak -- I speak -- I could speak to you for the rest of the show, but unfortunately, I'm being told to wrap up.

Daniel Levy, great to have you on the show --

LEVY: Thank you so much, thank you --

SOARES: And still to come tonight, Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks to CNN about Ukraine's war with Russia. And he responds to remarks from Donald Trump.

That is next.



SOARES: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says additional military aid is urgently needed in the fight against Russia. He said this at the

Delphi Economic Forum in Greece, hosted by CNN. Mr. Zelenskyy also said he's willing to talk to former U.S. President Donald Trump.

His comments follow Trump's recent remarks claiming he could quickly resolve the war if he wins re-election in November. Our Fred Pleitgen joins

me now from -- where is he? Greece, I believe. There he is, I can see you. And Fred, what we heard, and I heard a little snippet of it.

We heard a very feisty and combative President Zelenskyy calling in on the West to hurry up with its delivery of weapons. Was this directly -- was

this directed at the United States, I should say here? Add some context for us, Fred.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think a lot of it was actually directed at the United States. I was also quite surprised

by Volodymyr Zelenskyy, especially despite some of the battlefield problems that they've been having over the past couple of weeks, the past couple of

months, of course, they are badly outmanned and outgunned.

I would have expected him to be a little more downtrodden, but he certainly was very combative, and actually optimistic in a certain sense as well. He

did say that the Ukrainians have a plan to take the fight back to the Russians. But of course, all of it hinges as he put it right now on U.S.


And if, when and what type of weapons they are going to get from the United States. He says that it's very important for the Ukrainians to get

ammunition, of course, first and foremost, but also surface-to-air missiles, he says is absolutely key if Ukraine is not only going to

survive, but also hit back at the Russians. Here's what he said.


PLEITGEN (voice-over): As Russia unleashes barrages of powerful missiles in Ukraine's cities, killing and wounding dozens in the past days, and Kyiv,

both outmanned and outgunned suffers setbacks on the battlefield. I asked Ukraine's president about Donald Trump's reported plan if he's elected to

end the fighting by forcing Ukraine to give up territory and hand it to Vladimir Putin.

(on camera): Would you ever be willing to give up Ukrainian territory for peace?

VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, PRESIDENT, UKRAINE (through translator): First of all, these signals were on the appropriate media, on the appropriate platforms

in the mass media. I did not hear it directly from Trump. His ideas in detail, I did not have the opportunity to talk to him about this topic and

his idea of how to end the war.

If there's such an opportunity, I will be happy to hear, and I will listen, and we will talk about this topic.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): The Trump campaign today also denied the former President has agreed to visit Ukraine after reports surfaced he was

planning a visit. Zelenskyy says Ukraine will lose the war if Republicans don't approve U.S. military aid fast.

Kyiv's army running short on everything, from artillery ammo to air defense missiles.

ZELENSKYY: I understand that it's not easy and everyone thinks about themselves. Our partners are helping. I'm grateful to them. They help us

much as they can, but as much as they can, it's not enough if we really want to defeat Putin. If no one wants Putin to drag the world into World

War III.

PLEITGEN: Speaking to me, Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged the U.S. and its allies not to be intimidated by Putin. If Ukraine gets the weapons and ammo, he

says, Kyiv will win.

ZELENSKYY: It is a war, and we have a serious enemy against us. But let's be realistic, not pessimistic. Let's be realistic. Today, the situation is

stabilized. If there are concrete weapons, concrete political steps from our partners, we will break Putin's backbone.


SOARES: And that was Frederik Pleitgen reporting there and interviewing there, President Zelenskyy. Well, parts of Russia are still dealing with

flooding that has hit several regions, and President Putin is still not planning to visit the affected areas.


A government spokesman says, the rising water levels are affecting new areas. He adds that President Putin is monitoring the situation. Earlier

this week, at a protest in Orsk, where a dam break worsened the flooding, citizens chanted disgrace and Putin help. Of course, we brought you that

story on this show yesterday.

Well, divers are searching for four missing workers after a massive underwater power plant explosion near Bologna in Italy. An official says,

five workers have already been rescued and four of those are seriously burned. The explosion took place 40 meters below the surface of the

reservoir. The mayor of Bologna has called for a day of mourning on Thursday.

And still to come tonight, we have the sentencing of the so-called "Goon Squad". Why the victims, his attorney says, he hoped for longer sentences.

That is next.


SOARES: Welcome back, everyone.

Justice has come to Mississippi. Those words from Attorney Malik Shabazz after a sentencing that will see Mississippi's so-called "Goon Squad" spend

the next few decades in prison. The six former law enforcement officers pleaded guilty to torturing two black men in January of last year. In

Mississippi State Court earlier today they were each given prison sentences between 15 and 45 years.

The victim's attorney says he had hoped for a longer sentence for the officers. Have a listen.



MALIK SHABAZZ, VICTIM'S ATTORNEY: Yes, we would have preferred that a couple of more years of time were added on to the defendant's sentences.

However, we respect the judgment of this court. We respect the wisdom of this court. And Mississippi has spoken here. This is Mississippi. This has

never happened in Mississippi. Justice has come in Mississippi.


SOARES: The former officers handcuffed, kicked, waterboarded, and used tasers on the two victims, and shot one of them. The six were already

sentenced last month in federal court where they received sentences of between 10 and 40 years.

Our Ryan Young is following all developments from Jackson, Mississippi, and he joins us now. And Ryan, just walk us through the state sentences these

men are facing, and how that connects, of course, what we're just saying, that the sentences they have already received federally here?

RYAN YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, this was all set up based upon a plea deal so we knew this day was going to happen. In fact, the lawyers for the

defendants today didn't even make any arguments in court because they knew the judge already had decided what he was going to do. In fact, the judge

made it very clear he was not going to do the minimum deal the state wanted. He gave him toward the maximum range.

They were trying to send a message here. This was a courtroom where these deputies used to work. They would be in and out of there all the time. And

in fact, something that was very interesting that stood out to a lot of us is no deputies were in court. They used state troopers to guard the men

while they were in court today.

But when you think about all the things that were done to these two victims over a two-hour period, this wasn't because of a crime. They literally

showed up because someone reported that they were dating white women. And then they went inside that home, tortured them, sexually assaulted them,

beat them over and over, tased them for over two hours. Listen to one of the victims talk about what today meant to him.


EDDIE PARKER, VICTIM OF DEPUTY ASSAULT: It's been a long year, man, but it was a short year. I'm thankful for all you all, you know, who's been here

with us, man, for the ride. All you all that helped us, you know, with this fight, man. I just want you all to know, man, it's -- it touched me in my

heart, man, to know that we are -- we're listened to, you know. You all gave us a voice, man. You all gave us time, man. You all gave us strength,

you know.

So, I appreciate you all, you know. And today, Rankin County, you know, made -- believed out of millions. You know, made -- believed out of

hundreds, hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of people. So, I'm just thankful and, you know, and I'm here to see it. And I'm glad, you know,

Michael here to see it with me.


YOUNG: One of the reasons why this case was able to be broken open is because that was Eddie Parker talking, but Michael Jenkins actually had a

gun stuck in his mouth. And they did a mock execution, and during that mock execution, the gun went off, severing his tongue. He had to learn to talk

again, which was very difficult. That bullet exited out of his cheek, and that's the reason why when state investigators started investigating this,

they said, oh, this doesn't make sense, and then this whole case started to fall apart.

These men were charged with crimes they did not do. And in fact, one of the deputies even went into the closet to urinate in it. To make sure that when

the men got out of jail, the house would smell. This is a case that had a lot of us scratching our heads, but now you can see justice moving forward.

SOARES: Horrific and absolutely senseless. Ryan Young, appreciate it. Thank you very much.


SOARES: And still to come tonight, what happens after the aid trucks cross into Gaza? Details ahead on the problems that agencies face with aid

distribution. That is next.



SOARES: And returning to one of our top stories this hour. As we've mentioned, this is Eid al-Fitr, a holiday celebrated with family as well as

with food. CNN's Nic Robertson tells us that this year in Gaza, it is marked by sadness and loss.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice-over): Eid's joys are scarcer in Gaza this year. Celebration eked amidst ruin.

Farrah (ph) crying as she recounts finding her beloved Eid clothes in the rubble of her home, then realizing she won't get to wear them. Her family's

festivities foregone this year.

Thank God we're alive for Eid, her father explains. But we're exhausted and devastated. We should be in our home, comfortable, eating, celebrating. But

we're humiliated with nothing. But we still thank God.

In the ravaged enclave, millions are clinging to what is unbreakable, tradition.

We insisted on praying inside Rafah's Farooq Mosque so all the world knows that we are holding on to our mosques, to our land, to our country, Mustafa

El Hallou (ph) from Gaza City says. Hopefully, next Eid, we'll be celebrating inside the mosques near our homes.

Eid spirit also being kept alive in makeshift kitchens. Ingredients of everyone's Eid memories donated by charities outside of Gaza. Lovingly

crafted into date, sesame and caraway cookies.

We're trying to make our kids happy. Remind them of the smell of Eid, Akhlaan Salah (ph) says. They didn't get the traditional new clothes. There

is no joy for Eid. No balloons. No sweets. The kids are missing all kinds of delights and happiness.

What is in abundance this year, Eid's custom of commemorating the dead. Silent clusters of sorrow surrounding fresh dug soil in other years less

tragic than today.

Um Ahmed (ph) came with her children.

My kids lost their father, she says. When I told them I was going to visit his grave, they told me, mom, we want to come visit baba. This little one

was banging on the stone, saying, I want to see baba. He said, who's going to celebrate Eid with me like baba used to?

There is no going back. A generation here growing up with new memories of Eid, of suffering and loss. A long time before the joys shared by about 1.9

billion other Muslims around the world become universal in Gaza again.

Nic Robertson, CNN, Jerusalem.


SOARES: While Israel says a record number of aid trucks entered Gaza on Tuesday, but agencies working on the ground are getting aid in is only the

first challenge. Figuring out how to distribute that aid, it's an even greater problem.

And joining us now with more details on the procedures inside Gaza is spokesperson for the Norwegian Refugee Council Samah Hadid. And Samah,

welcome to the show. We have been hearing, of course, some sort of discrepancies between what Israel -- Israeli officials are saying in terms

of what's going into Gaza. 419 trucks on Monday, 468 on Tuesday, and what is being distributed.


I mean, what is the experience from the Norwegian Refugee Council in terms of aid going in and the distribution?

SAMAH HADID, SPOKESPERSON FOR THE MIDDLE EAST, NORWEGIAN REFUGEE COUNCIL: Well, our experience has been that the aid going in is simply nowhere near

enough. And the recent figures being reported by COGAT, the Israeli government, need to be further verified. There are valid concerns by the

U.N. that the numbers being reported of aid trucks entering are lower than what we've seen.

And so, the important point here, I think, is that even if 400 trucks or a little over 400 trucks per day have entered Gaza recently, it's still not

enough to meet the growing needs on the ground and to avert famine which is looming now across Gaza.

So, for us it's not about the number of aid trucks entering Gaza only. It's also about the volume of aid on the trucks themselves. And we haven't seen

enough of that since the start of the conflict.


HADID: And finally, the main challenge here is distribution of aid because our aid workers can't distribute aid safely under ongoing bombardment and


SOARES: Let me break that down because you've got -- make important three points there. First on the number of trucks that we have been told are

going in. Are you disputing the numbers of trucks going in, the 419, the 468. Do you -- you don't believe that those numbers of trucks are going in?

Is that what you -- is that what you're saying?

HADID: I think the numbers need to be further investigated and looked into. They're only just being reported now, but across the past few months, what

we've been seeing is a lack of volume of aid entering Gaza to meet the catastrophic needs on the ground. Before the war, we did have at least 500

trucks, aid trucks entering per day.

SOARES: Yes. And --

HADID: Now we need significantly more because of the needs.

SOARES: Yes. And the other thing you mentioned, of course, is how -- you know, how much aid are inside these trucks. Give us a sense -- give our

viewers a sense, when was the last time, for example, that the Norwegian Refugee Council had an aid truck go in? Just give us a sense of one of your

aid trucks and the process here.

HADID: Well, we've had aid trucks go in throughout the conflict and recently a few weeks ago. The experience of us is that the aid -- the

trucks that we're sending in are delayed and have to wait at the border, sometimes for weeks, right? Requiring for further inspection. And the

volume going in, the speed is just simply too slow and it's not enough. And this has been the experience throughout the entire aid sector.

SOARES: And is the --

HADID: This is happening now when famine is looming. So, I think an urgent shift is required.

SOARES: And I'm sorry, and on the volume front, I mean, this is something that we keep asking ourselves. My team having -- often have this

discussion. On the volume front, is that because some items are not allowed in from the Israeli side? How do you explain the volume aspect of it?

HADID: There are reports, of course, that over the past few months, the Israeli government has blocked trucks from entering in because they

arbitrarily decide that some items can't go in, such as sleeping bags or other items that are needed for medical assistance and aid delivery.

So, this has been very random and ad hoc. And we saw, on a positive note, that the U.S. government has now increased its pressure on Israel to remove

the restrictions on aid to protect aid workers. What we need to see is an increase on this pressure because six months on with looming famine and

civilians dying from starvation and dehydration, the war needs to end. And we do need to ceasefire in order to scale up aid to the levels needed right

now to avert famine. It's beyond urgent.

SOARES: Yes, indeed. And of course, some of the aid not going to the parts that are needed most, like the north, and that is critical. Samah Hadid,

really appreciate you taking the time to speak to us. Thank you, Samah.

We're going to take a short break. We'll be back after this.



SOARES: We turn now to a shocking and mysterious story out of Northern Italy. A 22-year-old French woman has been found dead in an abandoned

church. Her body drained of blood. She had reportedly told family she was looking for a haunted house believed to contain ghosts. Police say, the

victim could have been attempting to carry out a TikTok stunt.

I want to bring in Barbie Nadeau, who's following this from us -- for us for Rome. And Barbie, talk to us first about this woman. What do we know

about her death here?

BARBIE NADEAU, CNN REPORTER: Well, of course, you know, any time there's such a young victim whose death is being investigated as a homicide, we've

got to think about how difficult these details are for her family. We do know, though, from Italian investigators who we spoke with this morning

that she had some sort of a fascination with ghosts and had quite a social media presence in which she tried to seek out these ghosts.

We know that the deconsecrated church, so a church that was no longer in use, where her body was found, is very near a haunted house called the

Derby Castle in the north of the country. And she had been -- she and her male companion had been asking information about this particular location

in the days prior to when her body was found.

Now, police are still searching for him. We don't have a lot of information. The police have identified her positively. Her family members

came down to Italy to identify her, but they have not named him. There has not been an international arrest warrant or anything like that, but there

is an ongoing search for him, obviously, to ask any questions about what he might know, or, of course, to see if he was involved in her murder.

She bled to death. She was cut -- had several cuts in her neck which -- and her body was drained of blood. Some of that blood was taken from the crime

scene, investigators told us, but she was also shot. And they -- the autopsy seems to suggest that these three gunshots were inflicted after --

so many details about this horrific murder. It's still unclear, like pieces of a puzzle, but investigators are hoping to get to the bottom. Isa.

SOARES: Yes, so many questions to remain but very mysterious indeed. Barbie, great to see you. Thank you very much.

Now, Paris police will considerably boost security measures for the champions league quarterfinal between Paris Saint Germain and Barcelona

which kicks off in just a few minutes. For those who are interested, the heightened security follow threats from ISIS terror group against European

football stadiums.

In a statement -- CNN, the Union of European Football Associations is aware of the alleged terrorist threats and is closely -- with the authorities at

the respective venue. We brought you yesterday, of course, we'll stay across.

In Taiwan, a playful Labrador retriever who flanked out of police academy has captured the hearts of people struggling in the aftermath of the --

earthquake. Roger was too friendly and playful to be a drug sniffing dog, but his intelligence and personality, a great rescue dog. He has played a

crucial role in his recovery effort.


According to Taiwan's Central News Agency -- and his handlers found the body of a missing 20-year-old woman. And this isn't Roger's first quake

mission, though. No, he's worked on seven operations since 2018. Eight- year-old retriever may be retiring soon as most rescue dogs into a suitable home when they turn nine. Love, Roger.

And good news for any "Bridget Jones" fans out there. That's pretty much most of my team. A fourth film is on the horizon. Renee Zellweger is set to

return in "Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy". The story will pick up 14 years -- 14 after the last film, where Bridget finally ended up with Mark

Darcy, of course, and only played by Colin Firth.


COLIN FIRTH, ACTOR, "BRIDGET JONES'S DIARY": It's all right, Bridget. We'll find a way.


FIRTH: It's all right. I'll carry you.


SOARES: Yes, always been a Darcy fan. Well, Hugh Grant will reprise his role as Daniel Cleaver, her former boss, despite not appearing in the last

movie. The film is expected to hit theatres internationally and on Peacock in the U.S. on Valentine's Day next year.

That does it for me. Thanks very much for your company. Do stay right here. "Newsroom with Jim Sciutto" is up next. I'll see you tomorrow. Bye-bye.