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One World with Zain Asher
Eight Hundred Israelis Killed By Hamas Terrorists; CNN's Becky Anderson Reports Live From Tel Aviv On Hamas Militants' Attack On Israel. Aired 12-1p ET
Aired October 09, 2023 - 12:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ZAIN ASHER, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Coming to you live from New York, I'm Zain Asher.
BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: And I'm Bianna Golodryga. Our breaking news coverage continues. After one of the darkest days in its
history, with reports of as many as 800 Israelis now killed by Hamas terrorists, Israel's retribution has begun.
Tanks and other heavy armor are heading toward Gaza, targeting the Hamas fighters who invaded Israel over the weekend. And already, take a look at
this video, Israeli rockets are pounding Gaza.
You can actually see the porosity of the assault here. Israel says it has hit over 130 Hamas targets in just the past few hours. And Israel says that
it is fighting off militants who are trying to infiltrate the country from the north in Lebanon. It is using artillery and helicopters to stop those
GOLODRYGA: And CNN has reporters covering every angle of this spiraling conflict. Let's toss things off to our Becky Anderson, who is in Tel Aviv
for us. And Becky, we have been covering just horrific stories of those who have been murdered, talking to their family members, and obviously those
who are still missing and unaccounted for, taken hostage. What more are you hearing?
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST: Yep, absolutely. And those hostages, and we're talking about possibly over a hundred, the IDF, the Israel Defense Forces
here, haven't actually put a number on the Israeli citizens who are in Gaza but we know that they are there. And they are there as we witness these
This is the scene over Gaza right now. Look at this video. Rockets and airstrikes pounding Gaza as Israel prepares for what could be a ground
invasion. Israel's Defense Minister says he has given the order for a complete siege of Gaza. That means no food, no electricity, no fuel.
But Hamas is not done attacking Israel. Hundreds of Hamas rockets have been fired today with air raid sirens heard here in Tel Aviv and in the holy
city of Jerusalem. The Israeli siege of Gaza is complicated by what we've just been discussing, the terrifying pictures of hostages captured during
Hamas, as I said, has claimed more than 100 hostages, many of them women and children, who are now being held in various locations in Gaza. And
there are fears that this conflict could, could spread north. Israel says terrorists based in Lebanon are trying to get into Israel and Israel is
using both helicopters and ground troops to beat them back.
Let's bring in CNN's Ben Wedeman who is following all of these developments and joining us now from Jerusalem. Let's start with these images coming out
of Gaza today. I mean the ratcheting up of the Israeli effort to target these military headquarters as they describe them in Gaza. We've seen the
smoke from here. We feel the booms here. As the activity goes on, what do you make of what we are seeing at present?
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, what we're hearing from Gaza is that these strikes going on right now are the most
intense Gaza has seen since the outbreak of fighting on Saturday morning.
Now, earlier this afternoon, the Israeli military had said that 130 airstrikes had been carried out upon Gaza, but certainly that number must
be rising by the minute. Now, what we've seen is these strikes have wreaked a huge amount of damage, it appears many casualties, as well.
One of the strikes was in the Jabalia refugee camp in the northern end of the strip where it appears it hit -- the strike was on a marketplace where
the Palestinian health services are saying that dozens of people were killed in that particular strike.
There was also, earlier in the day, strikes on the Shati refugee camp. That is really the most intensely populated part of the Gaza strip. Residents
are saying that some parts of that refugee camp are just completely flattened.
Now, the last we've heard in terms of the death toll and injuries in Gaza was several hours ago with 560 dead and almost 3000 wounded. But that
number obviously is going to be increasing, as well, and this is really putting a massive strain on Gaza's health infrastructure.
In fact, in the town of Beit Hanun, in the northern end of the Gaza Strip, to home to about 40,000 people, the only hospital there is now out of
ANDERSON: Ben, what we are witnessing in Gaza is clearly the sort of, you know, first front in this activity by the IDF. But as I've been reporting,
we've also seen IDF, Israel Defense Force activity to the north. And as I look to my right, I'm looking up the coastline here to northern Israel.
And we've seen activity by the IDF targeting suspects, they say, who have infiltrated Israel from southern Lebanon. Nobody has claimed responsibility
for those suspects. No one group. There of course are concerns that Hezbollah could get involved in a conflict with Israel. Not an awful lot of
evidence to suggest that, as yet.
But just let's talk about the significance of the opening up, if that is what we are seeing, of this front in northern Lebanon -- in northern
WEDEMAN: Well, I think -- I think, just in the last few minutes, Islamic Jihad in Lebanon, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, has claimed responsibility for
some of that activity on the southern Lebanese border with Israel. But what we understand is that Israeli helicopters and artillery have been in
action, firing on areas inside southern Lebanon.
The Lebanese army has said that just an empty house was hit, but it's warned residents of area to stay at home and not to go anywhere near the
border, while the Israeli military has told people living in communities along the northern border of Israel with Lebanon to stay inside, as well.
Now, Hezbollah has not claimed any responsibility of direct involvement in these activities today, but this really is the wild card in this currently
wild situation. The question is, will Hezbollah become involved. If Hezbollah becomes involved, of course, Israel is going to be dealing with a
And as much as Hamas has shown that its abilities are much greater than anyone thought, Hezbollah is really considered the most powerful, well-
equipped, well-trained non-state actor in the Middle East. So, that could change the situation even more radically than it has changed since Saturday
ANDERSON: Yeah, with as those who watch this keenly will suggest, tens of thousands of missiles available to them. Ben, thank you for the time being,
as we look at live images from Gaza -- an awful lot of smoke, fires burning there.
The attacks, the targeted attacks by Israel, clearly continuing, as Ben suggested, over the -- just this afternoon, it's 7:08 here now. Just this
afternoon, Israel, a couple of hours ago, had suggested they'd targeted some 130 targets with strikes just in a matter of hours. And those strikes
continue in their intensity.
Well, one of the first deadly attacks by Gaza militants on Saturday was at a music festival in Israel. Dashcam video reveals that a mass government
stormed the area, shot and killed people at point blank range and looted their belongings. They also took hostages. Some civilians were taken
hostage in that event.
So, it's at 7:08 as we consider exactly what is going on here. And I'm going to throw it back to you guys at this point. But it really is a
concern, a real concern, about what it is that we are witnessing, what happens next, what the significance of what is happening on that northern
border is, and the potential for this, not just scaling up here in Israel and in Gaza but it's slipping out across these borders and scaling up in
the escalation -- scaling up at some point is a real concern to this entire region. Back to you guys.
GOLODRYGA: Yeah, a real concern indeed highlighted by the fact that the U.S. has scrambled an aircraft carrier to the region and President Biden
over the weekend warning any of Israel's foes not to use this moment in their advantage to feel that they can now interfere and begin fighting, as
well. So, this is a rapidly moving dynamic right now in crisis in the region. We will come back to you, Becky. Thank you.
ASHER: When you think about what a ground incursion means just in terms of the cost, how expensive that would be financially, militarily, just in
terms of the humanitarian cost, the cost in terms of lives lost for IDF soldiers, as well. All of that playing into Netanyahu's calculus right now,
GOLODRYGA: That's right. And there is more grief spreading across Israel, especially for families who have no idea what is happening to their loved
ones. As we have been reporting, Hamas says that it's holding more than 100 hostages in Gaza. These are just some of these faces of the captives. Look
at them, young children. Yifat Zailer spoke to us earlier and pleaded for help in rescuing her kidnapped family.
YIFAT ZAILER, COUSINS KIDNAPPED FROM THEIR HOME: Saturday morning, we received video of my cousin, my beloved cousin with her two babies being
kidnapped by Hamas. There are more - as you can see her in the video and in the photos holding her two beautiful babies. We don't know what happened
with her husband.
Later on that day, when the army entered the kibbutz and went through the houses to find people, they didn't find my uncle and aunt, her parents. My
aunt has Parkinson's disease. She needs your medication. Thank you.
All the institutions of the world that help kidnap civilians, please do something to force Hamas to release them alive. This is a precedence --
nothing like this happened before. We need everyone's help.
GOLODRYGA: Quite an emotional interview there, obviously a loved one desperate to find her family. Let's bring in CNN's Nic Robertson, who is on
the ground in Israel. And Nic, I know you have been covering this story from multiple angles, but if you can specifically talk to us about those
young Israelis who spent a night attending a concert and ended up having the most horrific experience anybody could imagine, just being slaughtered
there before their very friend's eyes.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: We went to the site, went to those fields close to the border with Gaza where that music
festival was happening. And you get a real strong sense of just the desperation and the fear that people must have been going through as they
were being chased away by armed gunmen.
We saw the Hamas vehicles, the vehicles that they were in. We've seen dead Hamas gunmen at the side of the road where they were shot when Israeli
defense forces were able to get there. Hamas vehicles all had numbers on.
This was a carefully organized and constructed aggressive task force raiding party that Hamas had put together. It wasn't a random grouping of
fighters. Even the fighters, flat jackets that are left lying there have numbers on them, as well.
It was well coordinated. And they came in, flooded in these vehicles. So, all the party goers who were enjoying the music in the early hours of the
morning. They parked their cars at the side of the road. They were on foot. They were chased and gunned down. Some of them had their throats cut, we
understand. Some of them were shot with rocket-propelled grenades.
But when you look at the vehicles that are strewn along the side of the highway there where they'd parked to go off into the fields to enjoy this
music festival, you get a sense of the terror that they must have gone through. The doors are open. There are bullet holes along the side of the
There's blood in the road, blood on the crash barriers at the side of the road. He carnage and the fear is really alive in that scene even now. And
the place that it really comes to rest and you realize how brutal and ugly and merciless that slaughter was.
There are these shelters, bomb shelters, shelters from rockets. They're brightly painted. Everyone in Israel knows what they're there for. When the
rockets are fired by Hamas, you hide in the shelters, a natural place for some of these young people to try to go and hide when Hamas was coming at
them in their trucks, with their weapons blazing and what happened, people had gone into one of those concrete bunkers.
They're quite small like a large bus shelter. We took a look in one of them. There's blood on the walls, blood on the ceiling, blood pulled on the
floor and bullet holes in the concrete, on the wall and it's so clear what happened. The Hamas just stormed into one of these shelters where people
were hiding, cowering away from the danger and just sprayed them with gunfire.
The shell casings are littered on the ground outside, sprayed them with gunfire. They had no chance. They were gunned down utterly mercilessly.
When you look at that, that encapsulates in a way a fragment of the utter brutality of what took place that morning.
And now, that area is in control of the Israeli defense forces. There are lots of troops there. We saw them getting rid of some unexploded ordnance,
unexploded weapons in the area. And you can see, you're very close to Gaza. You can see the explosions coming up from the fighter jets to the flying
end. That's the scene where that party ended so brutally.
GOLODRYGA: Yeah, the inhumanity is just unfathomable and what these victims and their families must be going through as a nation still tries to process
what has happened in the last 48 hours. Nic Robertson, thank you.
ASHER: Surviving the absolute unimaginable. I want to bring in Becky Anderson. Again, Becky, you just heard Nick laying out there, just the
trauma, right, and the grief that so many Israelis experienced on Saturday morning. I mean, resilience is hard earned in Israel. I mean, these are
people who have grown up sitting on the knees of Holocaust survivors, right?
People who have understood trauma and loss really up close. Just explain to us, though, just given the sheer scale of what happened this weekend, the
psychological impact for ordinary Israelis, Becky.
ANDERSON: Well, let me discuss that with Dan Gillerman, the former Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations. And my colleagues have just been posing
the question, what's the psychological impact on Israelis of what they have witnessed just this past weekend?
I mean, most people will tell me most families know somebody who has been directly affected by this, whether they've lost somebody they know, whether
somebody they know is now a hostage in Gaza. I mean, this is a game-changer for many, many Israelis that I've spoken to. The vulnerability, the lack of
a sense of security and protection is a complete game- changer.
DAN GILLERMAN, FORMER ISRAELI AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: You're very right, Becky. And you know, you're sitting here on the balcony overlooking Tel
Aviv, probably one of the most vibrant and exciting cities in the world.
ANDERSON: And it's dead.
GILLERMAN: It's dead. Everything is closed. People don't leave their homes. I would say that at the moment, we are still in a state of shock at what
happened. Not only what happened but how it happened. We are very surprised by not being prepared and by being, you know, 50 years after Yom Kippur.
In a way this is worse than Yom Kippur because in the Yom Kippur in the '73 war, we faced two very large serious countries like Egypt and Syria with a
million and a half soldiers. And although we were unprepared, we managed to fight back.
They did not take hold of even a single settlement or kibbutz or moshav, whereas these terrorists coming out of nowhere are still in a certain way
holding people hostage and went, you know. And the way they did it was, you know, they've also exposed how evil they are which to us is unprecedented.
I mean, I'll say something which may sound maybe far-fetched and crazy but it's the way I feel. I mean, Hamas this time made ISIS seem like Mother
Teresa. I mean, these people, I mean, we know how cruel ISIS was, but these people going into homes, from one home to the other, and killing
indiscriminately people, elderly women and children. And then going into that party and killing youngsters who just came to have a good time.
ANDERSON: So --
GILLERMAN: And the way they did it was, you know, it showed the real evil face of Hamas and it made us realize who we're really facing and the fact
that we have to have -- it's a game changer.
And there are many who will say there's been a sort of hubris on the part of the Israeli government not -- not really understanding or having the
intelligence to understand just how well-equipped and how well planned this group now is and the spectacular failure of intelligence so obviously.
I want to talk about the sort of the fallout here because I think with three days in into this, talk of unity government here now, talk of
government that needs emergency powers. A government that is competent, a government that has experience.
Benny Gantz has suggested, the opposition leader has suggested that he would go into a coalition government with Netanyahu as has Yair Lapid.
There is likely -- there are likely to be conditions and demands about who else is in that government and whether the right wing of this current
government continues to play a role.
Should they -- should they continue to play a role at this point? How important is that unity government? And ultimately, what's the impact here?
What's the fallout for Benjamin Netanyahu?
GILLERMAN: Well, first of all, there's no doubt that we need desperately a unity government. Israel always unites even when it's, you know, in real
trouble, and especially when something like this happens. And we need that unity. But more than unity, we do need experienced, level-headed, serious
people in the government who will be in the Cabinet and give good advice to Benjamin Netanyahu.
I think that the people he's surrounded himself with so far are not the people who he can war with. When you go to war, and this has been declared
officially as a war, you need the trust of the Israeli people. You need everybody behind you.
Now, so far, the Israeli people have reacted in a way which is admirable. I mean, young people, you know, rushed, whether it was pilots or --
GILLERMAN: All the reservists. They were all there within minutes. And there is --
ANDERSON: And these are people who have been protesting this current government --
ANDERSON: in their tens of thousands.
GILLERMAN: Yes, in the hundreds of thousands. We've had protests which, you know, were unprecedented. And all these people who were described by this
government and by some of its spokespersons as anarchists and traitors, the minute they were needed, the minute their country was in danger, they rose
to the -- you know, and they went there and they -- you couldn't stop them.
Now, in addition to those people, you do need in the leadership today, the experience, the levelheadedness of people like Benny Gantz and like Gaddi
Eisencourt, these are two former Chiefs of Staff of the Israeli army.
You need the -- the -- you know, you need it not only to create more trust among the Israeli people and unite them, but you need them truly in order
to be part of the decision-making, because we're in, what we're seeing now in Gaza, Becky, is just the preview.
This is truly the trailer for a horror movie because we are going to go into Gaza and probably do things we've never done before. And we're going
to destroy Gaza and we're going to destroy Hamas. It's going to be very painful because Israel has always been very, very careful not to hurt
We were described even by some of the British generals and American generals as the most moral army in the world. We warned people to leave
before. I'm not sure this is going to happen because the ugliness, the horror, the total, you know, indiscrimination and cruelty of Hamas has made
Israel realize that we have to put an end to it.
This is no time for settlements, there is no time for negotiations, there is no time for compromise. We have to go in and make sure that after this
is done, there is no Hamas next to us.
ANDERSON: Ambassador, it's good to have you, to get your perspective, your analysis, your insight is extremely valuable. And as we sit at what the
ambassador has described and I've had it described to me as the early days, the beginning of what is to come, what that is, what that looks like and
the price that will be paid in terms of lives, we can only speculate on at present. Dan Gillerman, former Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations,
You're watching our live breaking news coverage of the war in Israel. This is a live video coming out of Gaza, 7:23 p.m. in the evening as we continue
our coverage of the war in Israel. We'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: And let there be no mistake. The U.S. stands with the state of Israel.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: There's President Biden offering America's unwavering support for Israel. He's also promising Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that
additional military assistance is on its way. And the Pentagon says Navy warships are moving closer to the Eastern Mediterranean Sea in response to
Hamas' unprecedented attack on Israel.
ASHER: But any further American help remains in question. Washington is currently in a state of dysfunction, with Congress unable to act without a
House Speaker. It comes as the State Department says that nine Americans were among those who were killed in the attacks on Israel.
GOLODRYGA: We want to bring in former U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper. He's joining us now from Fairfax, Virginia. Secretary, thank you so much
for joining us today. When you hear that the President of the United States has scrambled a U.S. aircraft carrier to the region, can you tell us what
that means in terms of the biggest priority for the U.S. right now and what they're most concerned about?
MARK ESPER, FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Yes, well, first of all, good afternoon to you both. Look, I think the first thing is to provide Israel
all the support it needs and requests. And I assume that begins with providing both tactical and strategic intelligence. That includes promises
of munitions and weapons and equipment. And we've heard some of that already.
And then I think the movement of the carrier, the Gerald Ford Carrier Strike Group, to the Eastern Mediterranean, first and foremost, is about
signaling support for Israel. It's a carrier with a cruiser and four destroyers. And can provide a lot of fire. But I think that's more about
assurance and support.
Secondly, it's about deterring nation states. Syria, Iran, for sure. And then I think thirdly, that task force can provide a number of functions. It
could be a non-combatant evacuation operation, since we know the airport of Ben Gurion is shut down.
Or it could conduct hostage rescues if the Israelis seek our assistance. So, it provides a lot of capability for the United States to provide to
Israel and a lot of deterrence and other functions, as well.
ASHER: Zain here. My question to you is this and we've spoken a lot this weekend about the failures of the army, for example, of intelligence in
Israel. But really, the buck stops with the prime minister.
Netanyahu is Israel's longest-serving prime minister. He has been in power for far too long not to bear some degree of responsibility for what
happened this weekend. I mean, this wasn't just sort of local guards who happened to fall asleep on duty.
This was a systemic failure. Every level of security failed this weekend. As a former Defense Secretary yourself, what do you make of Netanyahu's
response so far over the past three days?
ESPER: Well, that was my first reaction when this happened on early Saturday morning. And I was on another network talking about this, about
what it means for the Netanyahu government, whether people would call for him to be ousted, if you will, or rally around him in the short term.
I think clearly the Israeli people are rallying around the government. There are now calls for him to form a unity government, which is, I guess,
to some degree, a tradition in Israeli circumstances. At some point, there will be an accounting of what happened and why.
And as you note, it was not just an intelligence failure that nobody knew this was happening or being planned. There was a military failure as well.
It just astounds me that nobody was guarding the barrier fences along the Gaza Strip. You know, where were Israeli soldiers and troops? That they
were, they, the terrorists were allowed to cross in multiple points without being stopped.
So, look, there's going to be time for all that. I think right now the government, the military are rightly focused on dealing with the problems
they face. They've managed now to get the terrorists out of Israel, and now they're focusing on Gaza and striking, shutting down the rocket attacks
emanating from Gaza.
GOLODRYGA: Can I ask you two questions here? One, we know that at least nine Americans are among those killed, and that number could be greater if
you factor in how many hostages are in Gaza right now, as well, and if any Americans are among those hostages. What role will America play in securing
their release? And a follow-up, what, if any, does this do to impact U.S. assistance to the war in Ukraine?
ESPER: Well, I think first and foremost, there's a diplomatic role and there's already contact --
GOLODRYGA: Secretary -
ESPER: with -- GOLODRYGA: Secretary, I'm just going to pause really quickly. We're going to take you to the United Nations, where Antonio Guterres is speaking. If
you can just hold on one minute. please.
(LIVE COVERAGE BEGINS)
ANTONIO GUTERRES, UNITED NATIONS SECRETARY GENERAL: Sadly, these numbers are expected to rise as the attacks are ongoing and many remain unaccounted
for. In addition, over 100, possibly more, Israelis, civilians and military have been reported captured by armed groups, including women, children and
the elderly. Some are being held hostage inside Israel and many others have been taken inside the Gaza Strip.
Meanwhile, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad have launched thousands of indiscriminate rockets that have reached central Israel, including Tel Aviv
and Jerusalem. I recognize the legitimate grievances of the Palestinian people. But nothing can justify these acts of terror and the killing,
maiming, and abduction of civilians. I reiterate my call to immediately cease these attacks and release all hostages.
In the face of these unprecedented attacks, Israeli airstrikes have pounded Gaza. I am deeply alarmed by reports of over 500 Palestinians, including
women and children, killed in Gaza and over 3000 injured. Unfortunately, these numbers are rising by the minute as Israeli operations continue.
While I recognize Israel's legitimate security concerns, I also remind Israel that military operations must be conducted in strict accordance with
international humanitarian law. Civilians must be respected and protected at all times. Civilian infrastructure must never be a target. And we
already have reports of Israeli missiles striking health facilities inside Gaza, as well as multi-storey residential towers and a mosque.
Two UNRWA schools sheltering displaced families in Gaza were also hit. Some 137,000 people are currently sheltering in UNRWA facilities, with the
number increasing as heavy shelling and airstrikes continue. I am deeply distressed by today's announcement that Israel will initiate a complete
siege of the Gaza Strip, nothing allowed in, no electricity, food or fuel.
The humanitarian situation in Gaza was extremely dire before these hostilities. Now it will only deteriorate exponentially. Medical equipment,
food, fuel and other humanitarian supplies are desperately needed, along with excess for humanitarian personnel.
Relief and entry of essential supplies into Gaza must be facilitated, and U.N. will continue efforts to provide the aid to respond to these needs.
And I urge all sides and relevant parties to allow United Nations' access to deliver urgent humanitarian assistance to Palestinian civilians trapped
and helpless in the Gaza Strip.
And I appeal to the international community to mobilize immediate humanitarian support for these efforts. U.N. special coordinator and I --
(LIVE COVERAGE ENDS)
ASHER: All right, the U.N. Secretary-General there laying out the unimaginable, unimaginable horror that took place this weekend in Israel.
He talked about the legitimate grievances of the Palestinian people, but that really nothing, nothing can justify at all the sheer violence that
took place on Saturday morning. There is a lot of fear, of course, about what happens next, especially in terms of the humanitarian toll given the
siege of Gaza announced by Israel.
GOLODRYGA: Let's go back to former U.S. secretary of defense Mark Esper. Thank you for waiting through that for us. So, if you can just answer the
questions that I raised with you.
One, what does America do now in response to news that there are American casualties at the hands of Hamas and that there very well could be
Americans held hostage? And how does this ultimately impact, if any way, the war in Ukraine and the aid that the U.S. is providing?
ESPER: Yeah, first, let me comment on what the Secretary General said. And I've only heard a snippet of what you played. Maybe there's more. Maybe
he's going to continue to talk. But what a weak statement, you know.
Finger wagging at Israel about the precautions it should take with regard to Gaza and concerns about refugee camps and whatnot. Where is the
condemnation of Hamas? The war crimes committed by Hamas?
The fact that they are shelling, continue to send rockets into Israel and bombing towns and cities, the slaughtering of the young people at that
festival. I mean, this is another example of the U.N. doing this, you know, each-side-ism and not standing firmly behind Israel, which was attacked and
people massacred by these terrorists coming across the border. And it's just ridiculous.
And look, I know Hamas doesn't represent many innocent Palestinians who are subject to Hamas rule in Gaza. But if that's the extent of the Secretary
General's statement, he needs to do far, far better in terms of explaining what's going on here and taking sides.
There's no discussion about Hamas releasing the hostages. Over 100 have been taken, some who were killed, men, women, children, the elderly. It's
just -- I expect far more. And hopefully there was more out of that statement, but we'll find out later.
So, with regard to the Americans, look, we know nine Americans were killed, maybe some were hostaged. I think the United States role will first of all
be diplomatic, trying to work with Qatar, who has a relationship with Hamas, and maybe get them released.
But I suspect that Hamas, a reason why they took so many Israelis hostage was to trade them off Palestinians who are held by the Israelis.
Palestinian terrorists and criminals, by the way, who are held by the Israeli government, and also has human shields in the conflict that has
just begun and will likely continue for days, if not weeks.
ASHER: All right, Mark Esper, live for us there. Thank you so much. We appreciate it. And I want to I'm going to actually pose what Mark Esper was
just talking about there to my colleague Becky Anderson, who's joining us again from Tel Aviv.
So, Becky, I'm not sure if you heard what Mark was just saying there, but this idea that perhaps Antonio Guterres should have come out with a much
more aggressive condemnation of Hamas, of the fact that they're holding Israeli hostages.
Just give us your take just in terms of the sort of fine line that the International Community is walking, and whether or not the International
Community can do more, should be doing more to secure the release of these hostages, just from a negotiation perspective at least.
ANDERSON: Yeah, and I think it's important to point out that we didn't play all of that, and so you know, we didn't get the full perspective from the
U.N. there. But I think it's very important to point out that this is, you know, this is a conflict that's going on here, but this is a conflict that
everybody can play a part in trying to find a solution to.
Right now, there are more than 700 people confirmed dead in Israel, including four Americans. More than 500 on the Palestinian side, and you
know upwards of 3000 on both sides have been injured.
And what Mark was suggesting there, that there was no sort of key line from the U.S. Secretary General about what we can only describe as the massacre
that happened in Israel on the Israel side of the border at the music festival on Saturday where at least 260 music goers, you know, festival
goers were killed.
The Israeli families of those hostages we just mentioned are desperate and they are pleading for help. Fears are growing for their safety at this
point and so is the heartache. Have a listen.
ANDERSON (voice-over): The unspeakable anguish of a father describing the moment he saw a video posted on social media of his daughter pleading for
It was Noa, frightened and threatened, he says.
ANDERSON: I'm so sorry.
YAAKOV ARGAMANI, FATHER OF CAPTURED DAUGHTER: It's okay. It's okay. Thank you. It's okay.
ANDERSON: You don't want to believe it even though you can clearly see it's your daughter. He now wants this video to be seen widely. Twenty-five year
old Noa Agamani seen here on the back of a motorcycle being driven away. Her boyfriend, Avi Natan is seen here with two men holding his hands behind
his back. A dark plume of smoke can be seen in the background.
They'd been among the more than 1000 people partying at an all-night music festival in southern Israel near the Gaza border when it was raided by
armed Hamas militants early on Saturday morning. Her father says Noa and Avi Natan were kidnapped. Their whereabouts unknown but are assumed to be
held in Gaza.
Y. ARGAMANI: I'm so sad at this moment. She's my only daughter. And Yakov's pain mirrored by so many others. Parents, family members, wives, husbands.
Filled with horror and despair, thinking about the fate of their loved ones. In this video that's been circulating widely online, a woman is seen
in the back of a truck as a militant puts a scarf over her head. CNN has not been able to independently verify it.
But Yoni Asher, a resident of the Sharon region, told CNN his wife and two daughters, aged five and three, were visiting their grandmother near the
Gaza border. He lost contact with them on Saturday morning and suspected they may have been abducted. Later that day, his suspicions confirmed when
he saw the video. The woman was his wife. He told CNN he wants a video to be shown in the hopes of getting them home safely.
YONI ASHER, RESIDENT OF THE SHARON REGION: There was no doubt in my mind. I recognize them surely. My wife, my two daughters, my two little daughters
that were on this cart. So, I know for sure that they were taken.
ANDERSON: The Israel Defense Forces told CNN, it's taking pains to establish the exact number of hostages taken, emphasizing the complicated
nature of the situation. So far, they estimate there are dozens, possibly more, in captivity. Yaakov has a message to whoever is holding his
Y. ARGAMANI (through translator): You have casualties just like we do. This is an opportunity to connect between the two nations, to reach an honest
ANDERSON: For now, Yaakov sits at home and waits for news, taking comfort from his family and Noa's friends.
Y. ARGAMANI (through translator): She's a very special kid, so loving, so giving. I miss her so much. It's only been two and a half days. I cannot
believe she is gone, he says. She made this house so alive. It felt like this house is empty without her.
ANDERSON: The trauma really is unspeakable, guys. And so, the idea that this is just the beginning, the early days of an assault on Gaza where so
many hostages are being held and so many Palestinians' lives are at stake is really unspeakable at this point.
And I do just want to bring up some notes that I've got from a source who is familiar with what happened at the U.N.'s closed-door session yesterday,
Tor Wennesland who is the coordinator for Middle East Peace stressed yesterday that the assault on Saturday came without warning.
And he said especially since he's been engaged in talks with Hamas leadership and Israeli authorities on concrete measures to stabilize the
situation in Gaza over the past weeks and the idea was certainly from those in the room that Tor Wennesland had a sense that things were moving in the
right direction. He said that everybody's caught off guard. And he talked about specifically the massacre on the Israeli side of the border.
And we were just discussing before that report of mine and the positioning of the U.N. Secretary General, certainly the position of the U.N.
coordinator for Middle East peace, very much sort of empathizing with both sides here but certainly empathizing with what had happened on the Israeli
side and I think that's important to point out.
We're going to take a very short break at this point. Back after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNKNOWN: Obviously, it's very scary. This was a couple of nights ago was the scariest night of my life, actually. We were in the building hiding
under the stairwell when the missiles hit. So, it's very difficult.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ASHER: And we are, of course, continuing our breaking news coverage from the Middle East. In the last few hours, Israel claims to have attacked 130
Hamas targets with, quote, dozens of planes.
GOLODRYGA: Yeah, it is the third day of war between the two sides after Hamas launched a deadly assault on Israeli territory. Joining us live now
from Tel Aviv is Esther Solomon. She's the Editor-in-Chief of the Israeli newspaper "Haaretz".
Esther, thank you so much for being with us. I just want to get a sense from you. As ordinary Israeli citizens look to Benjamin Netanyahu for
leadership in this moment. A lot of people have described this as being a Churchillian moment for Netanyahu. What are they expecting of him in the
ESTHER SOLOMON, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, "HAARETZ" ENGLISH: Well, what they expect and what they fear are perhaps two different things. What any country or
civilians of a country that has been attacked in such a horrific way would expect a leader to take clear control with the authority of the position
that he holds.
Unfortunately, that is a bit more difficult in Israel, which has already been through nine months of a government led by Netanyahu that has tried to
undermine its democracy. And after the last 72 hours of an almost complete breakdown in governance and in military capacity.
GOLODRYGA: And this comes, Esther, as the nation continues to grieve and attempts to bury their dead. It's still a trauma, the darkest day one could
argue in Israel's history, at least dating back to 1973. And that was a military on military, yes, an existential threat. But here you have
civilians who were targeted and slaughtered.
In terms of trust moving forward, not only with trying to comprehend what just happened, but in the ongoing now retaliation and what looks to be a
larger, longer-term war, where does the trust lie between the Israeli public and this current government?
SOLOMON: It's a very, very difficult question. If you were here in Israel watching Israeli television all day, there have been terribly upsetting,
harrowing interviews with the families of people that were mowed down at that dance, outdoor dance party, many, many young people.
The relatives of persons who were wheeled into Gaza as captives -- it's very, very difficult to explain quite how harrowing and traumatized many
Israelis feel. On the other hand, the question is where those feelings lead to. Many of them are even more committed to trying to strike back at Hamas
to ensure that this doesn't happen again to anyone else in Israel.
Now the question is, will they give that a degree of trust in a Netanyahu government? Well, that's a question and that's why Netanyahu is now trying
to broaden the government to include more centrist voices, people who have been in absolute opposition to him for the last nine months.
Because he realizes without a much broader base of support politically and socially, then he's going to have a great difficulty in leading Israelis
into a military conflict that will also bear heavy losses.
GOLODRYGA: Yeah, and then, some are asking whether bringing in some of these more moderate voices means that he will expel some of the more
extremist members of his party right now and government.
SOLOMON: Well, that is --
GOLODRYGA: Well, Esther, listen, our thoughts are with you and Israel right now. These are dark days, and we will continue to cover every single angle
of this story. For now, we know 300,000 Israeli reservists have been called up for duty. We appreciate your time, Esther. Thank you.
ASHER: Thank you, Esther.
ASHER AND GOLODRYGA: We'll be right back.
GOLODRYGA: Well, we want to take a step back from the news right now and look at something personal to all of us here at CNN. Each of us has friends
and colleagues who are risking their lives to bring this story to you and the rest of the world.
ASHER: Right and we want to show you one moment that really illustrates just that, just what Bianna was saying. Watch as CNN's Chief International
Correspondent Clarissa Ward and her crew are sent scrambling as a barrage of missiles fly over their heads. Watch this.
CLARISSA WARD, CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I tell you -- shelter. Okay. Yeah. Yeah. Get down.
UNKNOWN: Get down. Close. Close. Close. You're fine. You're fine. We're okay. You're all right. You're all right.
WARD: Okay. Yeah. Are you seeing our situation, guys?
UNKNOWN: Can you hear the shots?
WARD: Stay down.
UNKNOWN: Really happened today here. Stay here.
GOLODRYGA: That was live on air that moment on CNN this morning when all of this was playing out and we saw her on the ground there. And I have to say,
Clarissa -- that's Clarissa being Clarissa.
ASHER: That is her.
GOLODRYGA: Five seconds later she was up on the street and reporting.
ASHER: Incredible bravery.
GOLODRYGA: Well, that is it for us today. Thank you so much for watching. I'm Bianna Golodryga.
ASHER: And I'm Zain Asher. Our breaking news coverage continues with Amanpour, next.