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IDF Stepping Up Airstrikes Against Hamas in Gaza; U.S. Says It Will Boost Defense Posture In Middle East; First Trucks Carrying Humanitarian Aid Cross Into Gaza; Parents of Hamas Hostage Talk About Their Son; Israel-Americans Collecting Humanitarian Aid. Aired 5-6a ET
Aired October 22, 2023 - 05:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNA COREN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, and welcome to all of you watching in the United States and around the world. I'm Anna Coren live from Hong Kong with our ongoing coverage of Israel at War.
It's 5 p.m. here in Hong Kong, noon in embattled Gaza. Where we're now hearing that another small convoy of trucks with food and medicine is preparing to cross from Egypt into Gaza. 20 trucks were allowed to cross early Saturday. And Egypt's Red Crescent says another 17 trucks are ready to go today.
Well, meanwhile, a ground invasion by Israeli forces could come at any time. On Saturday, the Israeli military announced its bombardment of Hamas targets in Gaza will become more relentless than ever. Hundreds of armored vehicles along with thousands of Israeli troops, and now poised at the Gaza border waiting for orders.
On Saturday, the IDF again dropped leaflets over northern Gaza, wanting civilians to evacuate self or risk being considered a partner of Hamas.
The Israeli military says it carried out an airstrike early today on a mosque in the West Bank in order to stop a, quote, "imminent terrorist attack."
The White House says President Biden has been kept informed on all the latest developments. On Saturday, a reporter asked if he was trying to get Israel to hold back on its offensive. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you encouraging Israelis to delay invasion?
JOE BIDEN, (D) U.S. PRESIDENT: I'm talking to the Israelis.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COREN: In light of increased agitation by Iran and its proxies, the U.S. Defense Secretary announced on Saturday that the U.S. will bring in more advanced missile defense systems to the region and put additional troops on notice for possible deployment.
Well, CNN's Scott McLean is following all of these developments for us from London. Scott, let's start with -- with this news that we're hearing about aid trucks at the Rafah Border Crossing, what more do you know?
SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anna, so the latest that we have from the border is that there are no movements at the moment of any trucks actually crossing the border. But as you said, the information that we have is from the Egyptian Red Crescent, which says that 17 trucks carrying food and other types of aid are on the border on standby to cross when or if they get the red light.
We have seen for days and days now, aid piling up in Egypt ready to cross into Gaza. But the forces that be that control that border have only let a limited amount actually in. And so there was a lot more than just those 17 trucks which could, in theory, go into Gaza, if they were given the green light.
We saw 20 trucks entering yesterday. But the Palestinians say that look that is a drop in the bucket compared to what they need. They say that normally 500 trucks cross the border every single day to supply the essentials to the more than 2 million people who actually live in this enclave of the Palestinian territories.
We have seen, according to the U.N. some 60% of healthcare facilities in Gaza have shut because either there's been bombing nearby or because they simply don't have fuel to run their generators and of the 20 trucks that we saw enter yesterday, Anna, they had food, they had water, they had medicine, but they did not carry any fuel. So whatever those hospital facilities have right now, at least for the time being. That's all they're going to get.
COREN: Scott, we know that the USDA is increasing its force posture, if you like in the Middle East. Is it preparing for involvement, or is this supposed to act as a deterrent to Iran and Hezbollah?
MCLEAN: Yeah, so the U.S. has been saying all the time, you know, from the outset here that what they have done thus far is meant to act as a deterrent. They don't want to get involved more than they already have. They have already moved to aircraft carriers to the eastern Mediterranean. They say that they shot down incoming fire coming from Yemen they say according to U.S. sources from Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen. They have also seen drone targeting of U.S. bases in Syria and Iraq. In one case, there were minor injuries and now they're ramping up their presence or at least their defenses in that area. According to the Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. He says that there's going to be more Patriot batteries put in locations across the Middle East to protect U.S. forces.
And he's also deploying something called the THAAD system, it stands for Terminal High Altitude [Area] Defense battery. This is according to the manufacturer designed to intercept targets, outside and inside of the atmosphere, which is what makes it unique. You can see there each system costs 800 million. And according to the manufacturer, the U.S. army only actually has seven of those. So these are a precious commodity. And as you mentioned earlier, Anna, Lloyd Austin also saying that he is, quote, "placing an additional number of forces on prepare to deploy orders as part of a prudent contingency, planning to increase their readiness and ability to quickly respond as required.
COREN: It really has the potential to expand into a much larger conflict. Scott, Israel is wanting Gazans to evacuate South even though the IDF is actually hitting targets in the South. It has dropped flyers telling Gazans there'll be considered a partner for the terrorist organization. Where are these people supposed to go especially those in hospital, being treated in hospital?
MCLEAN: It's pretty remarkable, Anna, because as you said the -- the IDF has been telling people for, you know, since -- since the outset of this conflict really to move south of the Wadi Gaza. So basically, the top 1/3 or so of the Gaza people are supposed to leave. This is where the majority of the population actually lives. The difficulty, though, is that we have been seeing even today, strikes that are outside of that area. So even if people do manage to go south to other areas, they are far from safe. Deir el-Balah, for instance is in central part of Gaza, it is seen virtually a daily strikes on -- on apartment complexes and other sites on a pretty much daily basis.
We saw leaflets being dropped on Thursday, telling people to move south. We saw them again yesterday. But the ones dropped yesterday had different language on them, which stands out and I'll read it to you. It says, "Urgent warning to the residents of the Gaza Strip, your presence in north of Wadi Gaza puts your life in danger. Everyone who chose not to evacuate from the north of the Strip to the south of Wadi Gaza might be considered as a partner for the terrorist organization."
So the IDF yesterday confirmed that they did in fact drop those leaflets but sort of walked back some of that language saying that there was no intention to consider those who have not evacuated from the affected area, fighting as a member of a terrorist group, stressing that it does not target civilians intentionally. It says that the translation of these leaflets which has spread online was imprecise. It said though it didn't elaborate on what was in precise exactly. The translation that I just read you by the way, that CNN's translation. That's not anybody else's.
The IDF spokesperson was asked yesterday what Israel would do in the event of this ground operation to try to prevent civilian casualties. And, you know, he repeated what -- what Israel has been saying all along that Hamas uses civilians as human shields. And then he said this. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LT. COL. JONATHAN CONRICUS, IDF SPOKESPERSON: What we will be doing is first and foremost trying to distinguish between who is a combatant and who isn't. And we will target the combatants, the Hamas terrorists. We have tried to evacuate the civilians and we still try to evacuate them from the northern part of Gaza, because that is where most of the combat will be. And we continue to warn civilians in various locations to stay clear of Hamas so that they don't endanger themselves.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCLEAN: And despite these -- these leaflets being dropped by Israelis, we know that there are still civilians in the northern part of Gaza, many of them, thousands of them, according to sources on the ground are actually sheltering at some of the hospitals that remain open figuring that those are still among the safest places to be at this point. Anna.
COREN: Scott McLean in London, we really appreciate the update. Thanks so much.
Well, aid organizations are calling for unrestricted access to Gaza, saying in a joint statement from the U.N., but time is running out to help the thousands in need of medical assistance. CNN's Salma Abdelaziz shows us the dangers that come with this growing humanitarian crisis. And a warning her report includes some disturbing video.
SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN REPORTER (voice over): Hospitals in Gaza are crumbling. Everything is running out from surgical equipment to medicine, and the tiniest lives are left hanging in the balance.
We need power, we need access to clean water, this doctor says. Without basic services, this will be a humanitarian catastrophe.
Already, seven hospitals and 21 primary health care facilities here are out of service, according to Palestinian officials because of shortages.
After intense diplomatic efforts, prayers of relief at the Rafah Border Crossing, as a trickle of aid was allowed in from Egypt. But the 20-truck convoy is only a drop in the ocean of need here, equivalent to just three percent of what entered this enclave daily prior to the conflict.
More than 200 additional trucks of assistance remain stalled on the Egyptian side, according to the U.N., and every hour costs lives.
And so far, no civilians can leave the enclave. 10-year-old Palestinian American, Aiden, is among those trapped.
AIDEN BSEISO, PALESTINIAN AMERICAN: And we had no place to go. All the streets are bombed. They're literally gone. How are we supposed to go out? I mean, how? It's all closed.
ABDELAZIZ: Even if people are allowed out, it will be a limited number, most likely only those with foreign passports. Sealing some 2 million others, half of them children, into this hellscape.
But some refuse to go even if they could, fearing Israel intends to bomb and besieged them out of their homes, never to return.
Even as Mahmoud (ph) buries his children, he says he will keep fighting just to exist here.
We will still be patient. As long as we are alive on this earth, we will be patient, he says. We will never leave this land.
After the October 7th terror attacks, when Hamas killed more than 1,400 people in Israel in a brutal surprise incursion, Israel vow to wipe out Hamas.
But with hundreds of airstrikes pounding the densely populated enclave a day, innocent blood is being spilled.
Innocent children were struck down while they were sleeping, this woman shouts. What did they do? Did they carry weapons? These are innocent children who know nothing. Tell us, when will this end?
There are calls for a ceasefire to get civilians out of the war zone and allow more aid into Gaza. But the please fall on deaf ears so far. Israel is preparing for the next phase of its operations, a potential ground incursion, that can only bring more suffering. Salma Abdelaziz, CNN, London.
COREN: Aid organizations are also warning that a shortage of basic supplies is pushing Gaza to the edge of catastrophe. Earlier I spoke with Nebal Farsakh, Spokesperson with Palestine Red Crescent Society. She describes how desperate the situation is in the besieged enclave.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NEBAL FARSAKH, SPOKESPERSON, PALESTINE RED CRESCENT: The situation in Gaza is just heartbreaking and overwhelming. It can't even be described. 2 million Palestinians now are stuck either in their homes or in schools, or even at hospitals, where they take shelter without having food, water and even without electricity.
All those Palestinian civilians are in urgent need for every basic humanitarian need, which is only food and water and this is literally what is happening. People now are spending days without having a piece of bread.
As for the hospitals, unfortunately, hospitals are overwhelmed. They are working on full capacity. They start running out of the medicine and medical supplies as well as a fuel which is needed to have electricity because they are completely relying on backup generators to have electricity. On top of that, up to the moment, seven hospitals went out of service, either due to the bombardment or because they run out of supplies, as well as 24 Medical Centers went out of service. We have around the 24 hospital now under the threat of being bombed at any second due to the Israeli evacuation orders. One of them is our hospital and codes hospital we have received threatens to evacuate and put hospital immediately because it's going to be bombarded.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COREN: Well, if you'd like to help humanitarian relief efforts for Gaza and Israel, head to cnn.com/impact. You'll find a list of vetted organizations answering the call on the ground. That's cnn.com/impact.
We're taking a short break. When we return, we'll show you how some Israelis are honoring their loved ones held hostage in Gaza and demanding their government do more to bring them home.
And how Ukrainian special forces and now using unconventional methods to rattle Moscow.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHELLY SHEM TOV, MOTHER OF HOSTAGE OMER SHEM TOV: All the countries, where are you? You must understand, it's crazy. We are in --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In hell.
SHEM TOV: -- in hell.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are in hell.
SHEM TOV: And we want our lovers back home now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COREN: Incredibly distress mother of an Israeli hostage pours out her anguish at a demonstration in Tel Aviv on Saturday night. She was one of several family members of hostages who joined the rally along with hundreds of other Israelis. They call it on the government to bring all the hostages home immediately. Wave signs calling for a ceasefire.
Israel's military now says 212 people are currently being held in Gaza two weeks after the deadly Hamas attack on Israel.
On Friday night, many of those same families including the woman you just saw, were at another ceremony in Tel Aviv, where a Shabbat dinner table was laid with 200 empty place settings, each one representing a hostage.
The parents of 21-year-old Omer Shem Tov, who was taken from the Nova Music Festival on October 7, spoke with Kaitlan Collins about their son and the last time they spoke with him.
MALKI SHEM-TOV, SON KIDNAPPED BY HAMAS: One phone call, to another phone call, he sound much more panic, much more hysteric. Even in the one of the phone call, he say that they're running away. They have a lot of friends, but they start to run. So they lost some of his friends. And while he was running, he said that they are shooting all over, and he say that even see some dying people. And "I love you. I love you."
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR, THE SOURCE WITH KAITLAN COLLINS: I mean, you must have been so panicked, to hear your 21-year- old son, telling you it's not just rockets. It's -- there's gunfire, and people are running and being killed.
M. SHEM-TOV: Yes, yes. It was like we could understand, from his voice that this is something that we cannot understand, even what he's experienced over there.
S. SHEM-TOV: He told me he was panicked. He was afraid. He said that they got into the car, and they're trying to escape from there.
My daughter told him, send us the live location. He sent the live location. And then, the phone was stopped. And then, we started to see that the point is moving, like not in the right way.
COLLINS: Not coming home?
S. SHEM-TOV: Not coming home at all. It's moving to the border. And my daughter started to cry. And she told us, "Listen, it's not the way. It's not the way." I called him to say, "Omer, it's not the way." And he didn't answer. The phone was ringing, and he didn't answer. And then, we saw that he is getting into -- into Gaza.
M. SHEM-TOV: He was behind the border orbit (ph)
S. SHEM-TOV: He was behind the border orbit (ph).
M. SHEM-TOV: And then, in the evening, we got a video that was published by the Hamas, that Omer is -- he's a hostage, he's over there. We saw -- we saw Omer, handcuffed, in a back of pickup, we --
COLLINS: He was handcuffed in a truck?
M. SHEM-TOV: Yes, with his friends. They were alive. There was no blood or something on his clothes. And that was the only -- the only single of the -- signal that we got from him.
COLLINS: And it's been almost two weeks. Tomorrow will have been two weeks. I mean, what have these two weeks been like, for both of you?
S. SHEM-TOV: We didn't -- we are not sleeping. We are not eating. We -- all of the things that we are doing now, it's to shout all over the world, our pain that no mother, in all over the world, needs to feel like -- mother and father needs to feel like we are feeling now.
Imagine that your son is going to a party. And the next day, people murders, kidnapped him. And you don't know if he's eating, sleeping, if they are beating him. The basic thing of a mother is to --
M. SHEM-TOV: Protect.
S. SHEM-TOV: -- to protect her son. And I cannot protect my son. And it's driving me crazy. And it's -- I'm talking not only for myself. I'm talking for a lot of families. You must understand that people were in the safe place at their home. They were sitting, eating breakfast. Some of them were sleeping.
And then, these terrorists came in, through their house, and murdered, and took them, from their house, from the place that it's the most safe place. And they took in babies, children, teenage, mothers, fathers, grandmothers.
COLLINS: And he's 21. But he's your baby. I mean, what's he like? What's his personality? What is he? You were saying he kisses you three times, on the cheeks, all the time.
S. SHEM-TOV: Yes. Yes. Yes. Every day.
M. SHEM-TOV: Yes, yes, he's an amazing guy. He's a party guy. He's by himself. He's a D.J. And he likes very much all these kinds of festival, music festivals. So, that's Omer.
S. SHEM-TOV: Yes.
M. SHEM-TOV: Very, very happy guy. Very happy guy.
S. SHEM-TOV: Yes, funny.
M. SHEM-TOV: Funny, very funny.
COLLINS: I mean, he's so --
S. SHEM-TOV: We call him a --
COLLINS: -- so cute.
S. SHEM-TOV: We call him a sunshine, because like the sunshine, everybody wants to be --
M. SHEM-TOV: Next to him.
S. SHEM-TOV: -- next to him.
COLLINS: The last time, Omer's family saw him, was at Shabbat dinner, two weeks ago. He was there, like he always is. He's always the life of the party, as they talked about, his big personality. And that night was the night that he went to the Nova music festival.
The next time, his parents heard from him, was in a series of panicked phone calls, the next day, when they realized that the festival he was out was being attacked by Hamas.
The ceremony, tonight, and this huge table that you see, is for all the families, whose loved ones are being held hostage, tonight, whose loved ones won't be at Shabbat dinner, tonight.
And Omer's family is hoping that he will be back, at their Shabbat dinner, at their table, very soon.
Can you show me the video that you were showing me, a moment ago?
S. SHEM-TOV: Yes.
M. SHEM-TOV: Yes.
(21-YEAR-OLD OMER SHEM-TOV'S VIDEO)
M. SHEM-TOV: Amazing.
(21-YEAR-OLD OMER SHEM-TOV'S VIDEO)
COLLINS: And that was a picture of your family?
S. SHEM-TOV: Yes.
M. SHEM-TOV: Yes.
COLLINS: How many times have you watched that video?
M. SHEM-TOV: Wow.
S. SHEM-TOV: Oh my god.
M. SHEM-TOV: I saw it. You know, at the beginning, when Dana (ph) posted, I saw it, I don't know, maybe 100 times. And each time, I'm crying. And I get very emotional. Even now, when I see that, I get very emotional. And also the song say, "You're going to get out from this."
S. SHEM-TOV: "Don't be afraid from this fear."
M. SHEM-TOV: You are going -- yes, "You are going to get out from it."
COLLINS: If you could talk to him, right now, what would you say to him?
M. SHEM-TOV: Come back. Enough -- enough -- you did enough troubles. Come back.
COLLINS: What about you, mom?
S. SHEM-TOV: That I love him, that I miss him, that I want every -- every day, when he is going, he is coming to me, he is telling -- he's hugging me, telling me, "Mom, I love you." He is kissing me three times, and he's going. So, I am -- I want him back. I want.
M. SHEM-TOV: I want to hug him. I want to hug him, to smell him. That's what I want very much, to hug him and smell him.
COLLINS: It must have been a relief to hear what the IDF said today that they do believe most of the hostages are still alive? M. SHEM-TOV: You know, for us, it's given maybe some light. But until we don't see them --
S. SHEM-TOV: I want to say something about that. My son have asthma. He cannot breathe well. And I also. Every day, when I'm coming -- when I'm waking up, and I don't have --
M. SHEM-TOV: Breathe.
S. SHEM-TOV: -- cannot breathe, I'm taking my --
M. SHEM-TOV: Ventorlin, yes, inhaler.
S. SHEM-TOV: Yes, the inhaler.
And I'm thinking about Omer that is there, and he don't -- he's --
M. SHEM-TOV: Inhaler.
S. SHEM-TOV: Inhaler, whatever he goes. And it's the minimum thing that the humanitarian thing that they need to do, first of all.
M. SHEM-TOV: It's unbelievable.
COREN: Welcome back. Let's get back to our continuing coverage of the war in Israel. Egypt Red Crescent says another small convoy of trucks with food and medicine is preparing to cross from Egypt into Gaza. 20 trucks were allowed to cross early Saturday. And Egypt's Red Crescent says another 17 trucks are ready to go today.
Well, meanwhile, the Israel Defense Forces say they are increasing and intensifying airstrikes in Gaza. A clear sign that it's paving the way for a ground incursion of Gaza. No timeline has been announced but Israeli officials indicate it will be soon.
On Saturday, the IDF again dropped leaflets over northern Gaza wanting civilians to evacuate south or is being considered a partner of Hamas.
While the war rages on in Israel, so does Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Ukrainian officials say Russian missiles killed at least six people on Saturday in the Kharkiv Region, another 16 were injured. According to the regional prosecutor's office, Russian forces fired two missiles at a building belonging to a logistics company with employees inside. Search and rescue operations are underway and the victims are still being identified.
Well, here you can see firefighters putting out flames at food depots in Donetsk. The mayor says four people died after shelling hit the city.
Russian officials are speaking out about the Israel-Hamas war. Sergey Lavrov Russia's Foreign Minister is warning that the situation in Gaza could lead to a regional crisis.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SERGEY LAVROV, RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: As for the Gaza Strip, the risk of this crisis escalating into a regional conflict is quite serious. I have already mentioned that the United States vetoed a resolution that called for a stop to any hostilities and to begin to resolve humanitarian issues. Therefore, the United States has apparently showed that it is not ready to call for a truce, a ceasefire. And if this is so then they will probably believe the conflict may grow.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COREN: Well, for more, let's bring in Jill Dougherty, she's an adjunct professor at Georgetown University, a CNN Contributor. And of course, former CNN Moscow Bureau Chief. Jill, great to have you with us. You believe that Israel and Ukraine wars are linked. Explain to us how?
JILL DOUGHERTY, ADJUNCT PROFESSOR, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: Well, it's -- there are a lot of, I think complex interconnections kind of cross currents. But I would say, if you look at the immediate reaction that Vladimir Putin had to the attack back on the seventh of October, he blamed the United States, that was a primary thing. He did not go into details like, was this terrorism. He did not mention Hamas, specifically. Instead, he said the United States is to blame. Why? Because the United States is monopolizing, as he put it, the Mideast peace process in general, excluding Russia from being part of that. And then Putin would argue, American diplomacy failed. So it's essentially America's fault.
And if you can see the same kind of logic, if that's what you want to call her messaging, in what's happening in Ukraine, Putin also would say that the United States, the -- the West, are behind what's happening in Ukraine. And there are many other connections. You know, I just mentioned one, that you're hearing kind of the same messaging about the developing world, the Global South, this is something that back in the old Soviet days, the Soviet Union would took the side of revolutionary movements. And you could say, Hamas, Hezbollah, et cetera. Russia has better relations with them, even to this day. So Russia has now picked that up as a revived message, let's say and says, developing world, we're on your side, we're on the side, against the elites in the West, et cetera.
So, I mean, there are many more cross currents we could talk about. In fact, Iran, definitely look at Iran, better relationship between Russia and Iran. And guess what, Iran is supplying drones to be used in Ukraine, so many connections?
COREN: Yeah. I want to ask you about that. Because how does, you know, Moscow's relationship with Israel? How has it affected by, you know, his stance, Putin's stance, considering, as you say, Russia has ties to Iran, that is supplying drones to Moscow for its war in Ukraine?
DOUGHERTY: Yeah, it's -- it's kind of another complex situation, because actually, Russia has, over the years most recently, improved relations with Israel. But at the same time, when you look at Vladimir Putin's comments about the airstrikes by the Israelis on Gaza, he actually made a connection between that and the Leningrad blockade. And remember, Leningrad was where he was born in the Soviet Union at St. Petersburg. And he actually made that connection, the Nazi blockade of Leningrad. So I think what he's, again, trying to do is not really directly take sides here, blame it on the United States, and say, we should have, you know, a peace or some type of ceasefire. But it's -- it's complicated for them too, I think
COREN: Jill, you would have to assume that Putin is going to capitalize on this moment, you know, while the U.S. in the world is distracted on events in the Middle East, do you believe that he will up the ante in Ukraine and increase attacks?
DOUGHERTY: You know, upping the ante in Ukraine is more difficult, because he has to have the firepower behind it. Now, they have been making -- the Russians have been making some more incursions. But I don't think you can say that he can turn the tide at all right now. That's, you know, Ukraine, big picture seems to be kind of stuck in this stasis, at least for the while.
And you could argue, and some people actually do that maybe that works for Putin, because, you know, Ukraine kind of is there. But now there's a danger that has been forgotten, because what is happening in the Middle East, and that works for Putin, because he can kind of make similar arguments about, you know, airstrikes, and, in a way justify the airstrikes that he is making in -- in Ukraine.
So I think what you also have to look at on -- on a really quickly is the situation in the United States with political chaos in the Congress. There's no question. Biden is asking for $61.4 billion more for Ukraine. And it can't get through because the United States doesn't have a speaker right now, and that is another complication.
COREN: It certainly is a mess. Jill Dougherty, we appreciate the context. Great to see you. Thank you.
Well, meanwhile, Ukrainian special forces are launching raids on Russian occupied Crimea. They're using unconventional methods in hopes of throwing Moscow off its guard and in order to boost morale during Ukraine slowed counter offensive. Fred Pleitgen shows us how.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A brazen attack from the sea, Ukrainian forces using jet skis to land in Russian occupied Crimea. The Fighter speaking goes by the call sign, Musician. He tells me, the operation was successful but tough. When we were landing the sea was storming, he says. The waves were up to two meters high. Plus, Russian warships were patrolling the Raptors.
The Ukrainian say, they also managed to destroy Russian military gear before racing off across the Black Sea using larger boats to carry fuel for the jet skis on the long journey back to Ukrainian held territory.
Musician says these missions are militarily essential. It helps our forces in the trenches, he says. We distract the enemy's attention towards us and the enemy is forced to relocate their personnel and vehicles to the Crimean seaside.
Ukraine has started a major campaign against Russian military targets in and around Crimea, hitting the HQ of Moscow's Black Sea Fleet, damaging a submarine and a Russian landing ship as well as hitting an airbase. The Ukrainians use drones and cruise missiles for some of the attacks but rely on a network of undercover partisan groups inside Crimea for information and targeting.
One of the groups agreed to answer our questions, but only in writing for security reasons. We constantly monitor all military facilities on the territory of the Crimean Autonomous Region with the help of our agents and residents of Crimea, who constantly inform us the ATESH Group, writes. A wide and developed system of agents allows you to make a choice.
One of the key targets Ukraine has hit several times, the Kerch Bridge linking occupied Crimea to the Russian mainland. The attacks have led to severe disruptions, Russian Leader Vladimir Putin vowing revenge.
There will definitely be a response from Russia, he said. The Ministry of Defense is preparing proposals. For the Ukrainians, missions like these are also psychologically important, one of the planners of the jet ski, Rey, tells me.
We are fighting a trench war on the front lines and the armed forces success is not so obvious, he says. And special operations of this kind in the rear or in the sea, they inspire and give energy to keep fighting.
And the fighters, Navratzva (ph) unit say, their next infiltrations are already in the works, but they won't say when, where, or how. Fred Pleitgen, CNN Kyiv.
COREN: U.S. House Republicans will attempt to choose a speaker once again this week. But it's unclear whether any candidate can get the votes needed to secure the gavel. That story and more after the break.
[05:46:21] COREN: U.S. House Republicans who want to be the next House Speaker have a little more than six hours to declare themselves. The deadline for filing is Sunday at noon Eastern Time. There will be a Leadership Forum Monday where candidates will make their case to the party, followed by a closed-door caucus vote on Tuesday.
Majority Whip Tom Emmer is the latest of several Republicans to declare an interest. But it's unclear whether anyone can get the 217 votes needed to secure the gavel. On Friday, Kevin McCarthy slammed the block of hardcore conservatives who ousted him nearly three weeks ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY, (R) FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER: The crazy eights led by Gaetz, the amount of damage they have done to this party into this country is insurmountable. We are in a very bad position as a party, one that has won the majority, one that America has trusted us with, that a simple eight people have put us in this place.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COREN: Well, polls open just about two hours from now in Argentina's presidential election. Ballots have been shipped around the country which is suffering from inflation of more than 130%. The latest polling shows a tight three-way race that's likely to head to a run off in November. Some voters say they won't make up their mind until they get to the ballot box.
Libertarian outsider Javier Millay is seen as the frontrunner. He has pledged to take a metaphorical chainsaw to the status quo.
The sports world is in mourning, mourning the loss of Manchester United's sir Bobby Charlton. The team called him one of the greatest and most beloved players in the history of the club. He scored 249 goals in 17 seasons with the team. He also helped England win the World Cup in 1966.
In a statement the team wrote, "Sir Bobby was a hero to millions, not just in Manchester or the United Kingdom, but wherever football is played around the world." Bobby Charlton was 86 years old.
Many Israeli Americans say they feel helpless watching from the U.S. as the wall against Hamas rages on. What some are doing to help their fellow countrymen, next on CNN.
COREN: In Spain, thousands demonstrated in Barcelona and Madrid to show their support for Palestinians amid the Israel-Hamas war. With protesters marching and shouting in Spanish, Gaza is bleeding out and the world is watching.
And in Tunisia, demonstrators waved Palestinian flags. They shouted that the world needs to quote, "wake up, stand up, speak up, and stop the genocide."
Police in London say more than hundred thousand people marched through the city to the Prime Minister's residence. They waved the Palestinian flag and shouted, "Free Palestine."
COREN: The U.S. has been seeing rallies in support of the Palestinian people as Israel stages more airstrikes and prepares for a ground incursion. In New York about thousand demonstrators gathered in Brooklyn on Saturday. They cause -- they call, I should say, for a ceasefire in Gaza.
COREN: The message was the same in Washington D.C. where the national march for Gaza took place Saturday. The American Muslims for Palestine and the U.S. Council of Muslim organizations hosted events.
Well, many Israeli Americans are working to collect humanitarian supplies, Camila Bernal has more on what people in the U.S. are doing to help both Israel and Gaza.
CAMILA BERNAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They're focused on raising as much money as possible, collecting as many supplies as possible, but also focused on mental health resources and fighting misinformation. A lot of these Israeli-Americans began to watch and see what was going on in Israel and say they were shocked. They were heartbroken and also felt helpless in a way many of them that were maybe IDF members were able to travel back to Israel, but others say that it's just better to stay here and do everything they can to help from the U.S.
I talked to the organization, Bulletproof Israel and they said in the beginning, they were in need of a tactical gear, bulletproof vest, anything that they could collect to help the military. But they now say they're also very focused on medical supplies, the basics. They've been able to ship from L.A., from New York, from Miami, and they will continue to do so over the next couple of days. They say they want to send as much help as possible. Here is the CEO of Bulletproof Israel.
LION SHIRDAN, CHAIRMAN & CEO, BULLETPROOF ISRAEL: For me, wouldn't make sense to go back but knowing so many people in Israel, and knowing what they're going through, what my goal is just to do everything that I can to help them out, everything, everything, it doesn't mean -- there's no limit to what I would do. It doesn't matter. They're there and they're fighting for us and they're trying to get my family out.
BERNAL: And Lion told me two members of his family have been kidnapped, which is part of the reason why he's doing everything he can to help from the U.S. Now, we also reached out to organizations helping Palestinians in Gaza. And what they've told us is that it is impossible for them to send supplies. So instead, they are extremely focused on trying to raise as much money as possible. But again, it's Americans who feel like they need to do something from the U.S. to then send that help. Camila Bernal, CNN, Los Angeles. (END VIDEO CLIP)
COREN: If you'd like to help humanitarian relief efforts for Gaza and Israel, head to cnn.com/impact, you'll find a list of vetted organizations answering the call on the ground. That's cnn.com/impact.
And before we go, the Premier League, one of those impacted by the Israel-Hamas conflict, a moment of silence was observed at both the Chelsea vs Arsenal and Manchester City vs Brighton matches. Players, managers and officials will also wear black armbands for the next round of matches.
Well, that wraps up this hour of CNN Newsroom. I'm Anna Coren in Hong Kong. Thank you for your company. CNN This Morning is next with more of our ongoing coverage of Israel at War.