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Hours Away From Truce Between Israel And Hamas; FBI Probing Explosion At US-Canadian Border Crossing; Israel: No Gaza Hostage Release Before Friday; Qatar Negotiating Team Will Monitor Fulfillment Of Both Israel And Hamas Truce Obligations; AAA: Busiest Thanksgiving For Air Travel Since 2005. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired November 22, 2023 - 17:00   ET



WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Happening now, breaking news. We're now just hours away from a truce between Israel and Hamas, that pause in hostility set to begin at 3:00 AM Eastern time, eventually followed by the return of at least 50 captives. The Israeli government now says the hostage release won't occur before Friday.

Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer in Tel Aviv, Israel and you're in the Situation Room.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN Breaking News.

BLITZER: All right. We're following the breaking news right here in the Middle East. The agonizing wait for the first major, first major release of hostages from Gaza. Let's get straight to CNN's Jeremy Diamond. He is joining us from Sderot in Israel, not far from the Gaza border.

Jeremy, we just learned from the Israel National Security Council that no hostages will be released before Friday. What else are you learning?

CNN's Jeremy Diamond: Yes. That's right, Wolf. Israel's national security adviser saying that the release of the hostages, which was expected to take place tomorrow, will now be delayed until Friday. He says in a statement that that is the original agreement between both sides and not providing a reason for the delay. I mean, just hours ago we've been speaking with Israeli officials who were indicating you were -- who were telling us the logistics effectively of exactly when and how these hostage releases were expected to take place.

But now, Wolf, I'm also now told by an Israeli official that not only will the release of the hostages be delayed until Friday but that pause in fighting, that truce that was expected to take place over the course of four days to allow for the release of those hostages. That will also be delayed until Friday, which means that the fighting that we have been hearing all throughout the day here with the Gaza Strip right behind me will likely continue tomorrow as well.

That Truce had been expected to take -- to go into effect in the next -- in about 10 hours from now, Wolf. And that will also now be delayed until Friday. This is obviously a significant change. It's not clear exactly what motivated this change at this point. But what is clear, Wolf, is that this simply adds to the emotional roller coaster and the anxiety that so many of these families have these nearly 240 hostages have been dealing with for weeks now as they have been watching reports of these negotiations. They have watched as these talks have broken down. And now, yesterday, they saw in the early hours of this morning, actually they saw as this deal was approved by the Israeli government only for now to see yet another delay. And so, obviously that just adds a whole new layer for those families who are just waiting. Wolf?

BLITZER: And as we await to see how it all unfolds. Jeremy, what have you been seeing in northern Gaza tonight, not far from where you are in Sderot?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, it is relatively calm now but that doesn't mean that it is entirely quiet. We have been hearing artillery fire throughout this evening. Earlier today, though, Wolf, was a very active scene. Just across from where we are in northern Gaza. We saw very large plumes of smoke, large explosion, some of which appear to be controlled detonations. We know that the Israeli military has been destroying hundreds of tunnels that they have been discovering, inside of Gaza.

And this evening, we also saw flares being deployed, which we typically see with the movements of ground forces and the Israeli military has made very clear that they were going to continue those military operations until that truce actually began. And now it appears that they will have another 24 hours to continue those military operations.

What's also clear, Wolf, in hearing from the Israeli prime minister over the last 24 hours is that, this war will continue after that pause in fighting concludes. He has made very clear that this is not a ceasefire, not a permanent ceasefire in the fighting with Hamas, and that after that pause ends, whether it is for four days for those 50 hostages or additional days if Hamas decides to release additional hostages. At some point, the fighting will resume. Israeli forces expected to push further south into Gaza until Hamas is destroyed according to the Israeli prime minister. Wolf?


BLITZER: All right. Jeremy Diamond reporting from Sderot in Israel for us. Thank you very much.

I want to get some more right now. Our chief global affairs correspondent Matthew Chance is here with me in Tel Aviv. He's been talking to family members of hostages who are obviously very anxiously awaiting word. What's happening to these family members? What are you learning?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CHIEF GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Yes. This pause is delay, rather, in the release of the hostage is only going to add to that anxiety, I can tell you. I have learned something new from my sources in Israeli government within the past few minutes, which is that they have received a list of hostages from Hamas via the mediators in Qatar. They haven't told me how many people are on the list but it's understood to be between 10 and 12 people. And they're not going to be telling the family members about the names on that list because they've actually got them identified. Israeli media has been talking about how they're going to wait until the International Committee of the Red Cross has Israeli citizens in custody in their own so that they can actually verify who they are.

But yes, again, an incredibly stressful, anxious wait, which has just been made a little bit longer for people across this country.


CHANCE: As Israelis await the release of some women and children held in Gaza, a vigil for one of the hostages who may be left behind. 22- year-old Alon Ohel was abducted at a music festival on October 7th. That's an adult male, he's unlikely to be among those free under the latest hostage deal.

His mother, Idit, told me she believes her son will eventually be set free.

IDIT OHEL, MOTHER OF ALON OHEL, HELD HOSTAGE BY HAMAS: I know in my heart that I want my son home, I believe this is just the start, you know, because it's everyone has to get home. And this is just, you know, it's just the start and there'll be more.

CHANCE: So you're optimistic.

OHEL: Very.

CHANCE: Israeli insists it's keeping up pressure on Hamas, even as the agreed pause in this Gaza war approaches. From Thursday morning here, strikes like this one in Khan Yunis in southern Gaza should be suspended, while Israel frees Palestinian prisoners and Israeli hostages are handed over here.

Hostage support volunteers like Onra Dotan, tell me they're bracing to cancel dozens of traumatize women and children as they return home.

ONRA DOTAN, HOSTAGE AND FAMILY FORUM: Maybe Sharon (ph) and their daughter we released today, maybe, because daughter and the mother.


DOTAN: The way they are going to continue is, first of all, we have to ask for the permission to go inside and to do the first step together.

CHANCE: And of course, there's a possibility that these people could have suffered terrible trauma whilst in Gaza.

DOTAN: We are so afraid about the condition. They will come, so we cannot plan the trauma program because, first, we have to meet them to understand from the best psychologists what is the best way to deal with, and then step by step with the family as a family, and as a private (inaudible). CHANCE: Step by step down a long road.


CHANCE: And that road is just got longer with the fact that the Israeli government has now, Wolf, announced that it will be -- there'll be a delay in -- before the first hostages come out. And of course, there'll be a pull up, a delay before the pause in fighting happens as well, and so that that long road just got just a little bit longer.

BLITZER: So, the Israelis are not going to pause in the war, if you will, until they start getting the hostages back.

CHANCE: It seems to be that way. We were meant to start this pause in the fighting 10:00 o'clock tomorrow morning.

BLITZER: Local time.

CHANCE: Local time, yes. And it's been set back at least 24 hours.

BLITZER: Let's hope those hostages are freed and freed soon. Matthew, thank you very, very much. Matthew Chance reporting for us.

For more on the US involvement in this very intricate hostage deal, I want to bring in CNN White House correspondent Arlette Saenz. She's traveling with President Biden in Nantucket, Massachusetts right now.

Arlette, we just heard from a top White House official about the next steps in regards to this deal. Update our viewers what are you learning?

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, the White House's focus in this moment is on the execution and implementation of this deal. National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby, just moments ago, said that the administration is cautiously optimistic that this deal will be implemented as it has been laid out. He said the focus is now in ensuring that all sides are keeping to their commitment.


He noted that Hamas has a history in the past have not always been a reliable outlet in these types of negotiations. So the administration is focused in this moment in trying to ensure that the execution of this deal follows the outlines that they have set.

Now, it does come as the US has a working list of about 10 hostages that they believe will be released within that first day. What's unclear at this moment is whether any American citizens will be released in that first group. The expectation is that there could be three Americans released in this overall hostage deal that includes that 3-year-old Abigail Idan, whose parents were killed in the October 7th Hamas attack. So the focus for the White House right now is just trying to ensure that this implementation is carried forward as they are hoping that it could come, these possible releases, at some point in the next 24 hours.

BLITZER: Arlette Saenz reporting for us. Thank you very much, Arlette.

Coming up, there's more breaking news. We're following this news back in the United States. We'll have the latest on the investigation into an explosion at a major border crossing between the United States and Canada. Stay with us. You're in the Situation Room.



BLITZER: Breaking news at the US-Canadian border where officials are now investigating a vehicle explosion at a major crossing point between the two countries. CNN's Brynn Gingras is gathering new details for us.

Brynn, I understand the governor of New York just gave us an update. What's the latest?

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right. Kathy Hochul just saying that there is no indication right now in the investigation of this explosion that it was a terrorist attack. So that does very important information she's putting out there as that was a lot of the questions that were out there at the time. We also know, Wolf, that one of the crossings that was immediately shut down in the aftermath of this explosion, it is now open to traffic both ways between the US and Canada. So, we're starting to see some of the security precautions that were taken immediately afterwards, somewhat being lifted.

But let me get through exactly what we understand happened as of now. What we are hearing is that there was a car that was actually traveling on a local road in Niagara Falls at a high rate of speed. It hit a curb causing this vehicle to actually go airborne and then collide on the side of where a security checkpoint was happening at Rainbow Bridge. So it wasn't even trying to enter the checkpoint at that Rainbow Bridge site.

So that is what we are learning right now, the very latest of from the investigators that are still working this investigation there on the ground. We've also learned that there were, according to the governor, two people inside the car. I will tell you that some of our sources are still trying to determine exactly if there was one or if there was two only because of the debris field in that area.

You can see the fiery explosion. We understand that there was only an engine left of this car. There is debris all around that area. And investigators are sort of trying to piece together exactly what happened based on the size of what they're dealing with and, of course, because of that explosion. So that is the latest that we are hearing.

The big thing, though, Wolf, this does not seem to be a terrorist attack. It does seem to be somewhat of an accident. Still, the FBI there on the ground, the ATF, other federal agents trying to answer some of these questions, and there are still precaution safety measures that have been taken in response. We're seeing the airports, flights that have been sort of put at a ground halt right now while they try to answer some of these questions. And we're seeing more security measures being taken at the airports because of the busy holiday today, travel season.

So we're starting to see some of that being lifted but not quite yet. But again, we're getting more answers as we had so many questions as to exactly what happened there at the border crossing.

BLITZER: I'm sure we're going to be learning a lot more in the coming hours. Brynn Gingras, thank you very, very much.

I want to get reaction right now from our law enforcement and security experts who are joining us. And, Juliette Kayyem, let me start with you. New York's governor, Governor Hochul, says there is no indication this was a terrorist attack. How would authorities have been able to determine that so quickly?

JULIETTE KAYYEM, FORMER ASSISTANT SECRETARY, DHS: So by now they have possession of the car, even if it's damaged, they've identified the people. They're going to know why they were on this other road. I mean, they're able to put these pieces together so quickly, in particular, because the Joint Terrorism Task Force was involved. They'd be able to prove that maybe they have no background on any of these people or whatever.

So they, honestly, will they probably already have a narrative of what in fact happened, and whether there was any motive involved with the speed by which this car was going. Was there other nefarious activities we were talking about earlier.

Obviously, look, it's a holiday weekend, the threat environment is high. It's a major crossing between Canada and the United States. And it appear that someone was trying to go through it very quickly. So, of course, you're going to ratchet up and now we ratchet down and that's the nature of, of what a response mechanism looks like. And so, you can say it's not terrorism.

BLITZER: Yes. Let me get Donell Harvin into this conversation. Donell, what our investigators from your perspective looking for right now as they try desperately to determine as quickly as they can the cause of this explosion?

DONELL HARVIN, FORMER DC CHIEF OF HOMELAND SECURITY AND INTELLIGENCE: Well, I think the operative word that you use, Wolf, is quickly. I mean, from the incident to the governor's announcement, not saying that's all clear but that there's no -- they don't believe there's a nexus of terrorism. I think it's pretty rapid speed. The reason why is because that's a heavily trafficked crossing.

These crossings have CCTV that's high quality. They also have license plate readers. So even if the car is completely demolished they know the identification of that car before they went in. Which means that sensitively they know who the owner is, they can be knocking on that owner's door within minutes and start back tracing.


Some of that's what we call OSINT, Open Source Intelligence, looking at any posts, any social media accounts this individual has to see if they've made any threats. And also talking to people who may know the individual/individuals that they believe were in that car.

BLITZER: Juliette, what is the fact that the car actually was pulled to a secondary search area before hitting a curb and going airborne and then exploding? What does that all tell you?

KAYYEM: So this is where we will probably get a determination of the TikToks of sort of what happens. So it tells me that if there was some sort of secondary pull over. There's lots of nefarious activity that's not terrorism. So if this is in fact the way that it unfolded, they may not have wanted been -- have been caught at secondary in terms of other activity that they would want to have avoided. What it tells me is, these are not people or this was not a situation that wanted or was targeting the crossing.

And I want to just pick up on what Donell said, which I thought was really important, which is it's not simply that these are heavily, you know, cameraed areas, this is the lifeline of Canada and US crossings. And for a brief while we closed four major crossings because we didn't know what it was. So one of the reasons, Wolf, to your question, how would they know so fastest they had to know fast. Because you got to get these crossings back open. You can't leave them close, especially this weekend.

And so, there was a high incentive to say, OK, this was not -- this was a bad situation but we got it. We got to get people moving again. And that's an important priority. We got to keep this infrastructure open.

BLITZER: Yes. As somebody who grew up in Buffalo, New York, I can tell you how important these bridges between the US and Canada, the Rainbow Bridge, Peace Bridge, these other bridges as well.

Donell, what are the key questions you still have right now based on what we know about this incident, at least so far?

HARVIN: Well, we don't have the identity of the individuals that were in that car considering the massive amount of damage. That may take some time. It may have to be DNA, particularly if there's charged human remains. I worked in the medical examiner business and did forensics forensic death investigation for many years. And these cases can take some time to confirm the identity of the individuals.

Why they were traveling at such high rates of speed, how they were able to get that close actually, is another question. I think the bigger takeaway, though, if you kind of kind of pan out, Wolf, and look at what we've been talking about for the last couple of weeks, and Juliette alluded to this, is the threat environment.

The threat environment has everyone pretty edgy. I would say that the American public should look at this incident at the bridge and see that their government, local, state and federal, at all levels, are really taking that threat environment seriously. Director Wray came on the Hill several times this month, as well as Secretary Mayorkas and said that the federal government was doing everything they could to protect us and to engage the public to do so. And I think you see that playing out right now.

I know everyone's a little jumpity, it's a holiday season, but I think the process only played out as it should have from an investigative standpoint and we'll continue to see information that comes out but also with rapid speed unlike anything I've ever seen before.

BLITZER: Good point. Donell and Juliet, guys, thank you very, very much. Up next, there's more news we're following. We're going to bring you the latest information on the temporary Israel-Hamas truce and the hostage release both delayed by at least a day.

Stay with us. You're in the Situation Room.



BLITZER: All right. Let's get back to the breaking news right here in the Middle East. The first major release of hostages from Gaza delayed along with the truce between Israel and Hamas at the same time. I want to bring in CNN's Oren Liebermann. He's here with me in Tel Aviv. What can you tell us about this delay, Oren?

Well, this announcement just coming from Israel security cabinet in a fairly short statement that gives no explanation as to what changed or if anything went wrong here that led to the delay when we expect that everything was set to take place at 10 o'clock tomorrow morning. The statement simply reads the talks to release our hostages are advancing and ongoing. The beginning of the release will be done according to the original agreement of both parties and not before Friday. That also means the pause and fighting we expected to start tomorrow morning. That also it seems delayed by a day.

Worth noting the wording of that security cabinet message not before Friday, so the possibility of another delay seems to be out there. And then, I want to point to something that Admiral Daniel Hagari, the IDF spokesperson, said when he began speaking in his daily update today. He said, the final deal is not yet completed. There may still be more changes. Please wait for official statements, and there may be changes at the last second.

So it seems like Israel was preparing for the possibility. And on that front, it's worth noting that many of the details we have gotten about how this will all play out, if not come from the Israeli side. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who gave a press conference a short while ago didn't give any of the details. And I think you have to believe that he knew this wasn't starting at 10:00 o'clock tomorrow morning.


BLITZER: So what does this mean for the hostages who, you know, we all want them freed? What does this mean now that there's going to be this delay?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: It's another brutal, painful, anxious, nervous day of waiting. They have heard many times before and we've both spoken with them about how difficult that has been when they hear a deal is imminent, and then it falls apart and then it doesn't happen. And that's happened multiple times to get just at this point.

And here we are deal is actually complete. And it's something in the minutiae of the details that isn't getting finalized here. And yet it's another day of waiting. And the deal itself isn't easy to implement because it's 10 at a time when you have, you know, 240 hostages who are waiting to come out. So a difficult situation remains difficult and became even more so for the families who can't wait to see their loved ones.

BLITZER: It's also so painful for the -- especially for these families and for the hostages. All right, Oren Liebermann reporting for us, thank you very much.

Right now, I want to bring in Amit Parpara. His friend, Noa, was kidnapped by Hamas. Amit, thank you so much for joining us. We just learned as you know that the first hostage release won't happen, at least until Friday at the earliest. How much of an emotional roller coaster is this? Are you afraid this hostage release might not actually happen?

AMIT PARPARA, FRIEND KIDNAPPED BY HAMAS: You know, here in Israel, there's a saying you don't believe anyone until you see it in your own eyes. You can't understand how much painful it is to just, nerve wracking to see that the, you know, that the press talking about hostages release and talking about people there that are getting released, maybe tomorrow, maybe today and you don't know if it's going to happen or not going to happen.

We're not dealing with humans, we're dealing with terrorists. And I think that's the main problem that you can't trust the word. And that's how a rollercoaster of emotions of feelings that, you know, you sit by the T.V. every day, and you just wish for a happy news. And even if there's happy news, you can't believe that it's really happening. So like the happiness doesn't really come. Yes.

BLITZER: Amit, do you have any sense of whether your friend, Noa, will be included among these first 50 hostages expected to be released as part of this deal? Are you optimistic?

PARPARA: Sadly, the sayings now are that they released the children and mothers. And I guess I know how they got to conclude this deal. But sadly, she's not a kid or a mother. And it seems that she -- for me, at least, as I see it, I will do anything to get her back up until she's back. And I can't believe any rumors that are not really facts. Because for a fact for me is that she's home. And now that she's about to be released, or there's a list that she might be on or not might be on.

We can't really know what's happening really. And to think about it every day doesn't really do service good for us. So just believing in what we do is I think the line that we are keeping in our heads and not thinking about if she's going to be released or not, because that won't be for us.

BLITZER: Have you been given, Amit, any updated all about Noa, your friend, Noa, from the government since she was taken hostage?

PARPARA: There was a visit I think two days after the event that they confirmed that the issue was hostage. But there is -- there was no update on, you know, on their locations, on their abouts. I think that it's not even possible for them to know when the Red Cross is not even in there, right?

The Red Cross didn't even go in to check on the hostages, to check if the 240 people that are in there are really alive are there -- are really there or just, I don't know, somewhere. You can't really know until someone checks on them. And if not, no one checks up, how can we know. I think that bringing in the Red Cross to give medications, to check up on them, to give the list of who's really there, who's been held by Hamas, who's been held by Jihad, who's been held by some civilians.


This is the main purpose of what should -- we should be doing right now to push the Red Cross to do this, because without this, the government can't really give us updates, because there's no updates.

BLITZER: I know, Amit, you've said that the release of the hostages should be the top priority. Do you believe the Israeli government your government has handled this crisis well. And is it doing enough to bring about the release of all of the hostages?

PARPARA: I believe Israel has been in tough situations. I think Israel is not is here to stay and Israel is a place where tough stuffs happens. And usually the government does well. She does well with the civilians here. She does well with the army. And she does well with handling this kind of situation.

So I believe, the government does everything in our power to get back the hostages. And I believe -- I certainly believe that the people here in Israel are doing their best, the amount of volunteering here in Israel to get back the hostages is so great. And it's such an empowering movement to see all the people really gather up to get the hostages back.

And I believe that this power could really help us get them back, the power of the Jewish people, the Israeli people, I'd say, because not all Jewish that the Israeli people, this power can help us bring them back. And I think it's not just the government, it's the civilians here in Israel that do all these amazing things that can help us bring them back just by pressing all over the world to get the support.

BLITZER: Amit Parpara, I thank you so much for joining us. Let's help those hostages all come home and come home very soon. Thank you very much for joining us. PARPARA: Thank you. Thank you Wolf.

BLITZER: And we'll take a quick break. We'll be right back.



BLITZER: Right now the world is awaiting a truce between Israel and Hamas, as well as the first major hostage released since the beginning of this war, both now delayed by at least a day, the truce was made possible in part because of major diplomatic efforts of the Gulf nation of Qatar. CNN's Becky Anderson spoke exclusively with Qatar's lead negotiator.


MOHAMMED AL-KHULAIFI, QATARI LEAD NEGOTIATOR ON HOSTAGE DEAL: Within the four days pause, in each day, there will be an obligation in each side, an obligation of the Israelis and an obligation on Hamas, making sure that they're going to fulfill those obligations in each day. So in each day, we aim to have a number of releases because the number is back. So we try with the -- we've managed to get the parties to agree on the releases systematically. In other words, there will be an organized schedule, allowing the releases in each day. And each party is quite familiar now with their obligations.

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN ANCHOR: Ten hostages released on day one, for example, of --

AL-KHULAIFI: A minimum, a minimum of 10.

ANDERSON: Who will be released?

AL-KHULAIFI: So this agreement specifically focuses on civilian women and children in each side, in both sides. And we hope that within the four days, we will be able to complete the release of women and children in both sides moving to the safe side, away from this war. By the first hours of the agreements, we will be notified of the official list of people in each day. And by having that list we will make sure that we notify either the sides, the parties themselves, or even the countries that have their hostages in the Gaza Strip currently.

ANDERSON: Hamas has said, it doesn't have all the hostages, and it needs time to get around to gather information about hostages that it doesn't hold and find out where they are. Many have called that just a talking point, a cynical ploy to buy time.

AL-KHULAIFI: The obligation on Hamas on the first day is very clear. They need to provide us with that list. They have been granted that period of calm. And not only the period of calm but also preventing any military clashes, ground invasion, air surveillance that will provide them with room to provide us with that commitment.

ANDERSON: You've described in the language of this deal. You've described it as a truce in the Gaza Strip. And I think that language is really interesting. The use of the term, truce, this is by no means, a ceasefire. And the fact that this is in the Gaza Strip, the main pillar of which of course, is clearly the hostage release. What happens as far as humanitarian aid is concerned? What is the commitment on both sides as far as that uptick in aid is concerned?

AL-KHULAIFI: Sure. So this agreement has two major components, the first one related to the release of the hostages. And the second one is related to providing not only a quantity but also quality of humanitarian aid and assistance as needed. One of the most interesting components within that humanitarian aid, Becky, is the fuel. And the fuel has been a debatable issue in the early times of their conflict. Now we've managed to secure fuel being provided for a vital infrastructure such as hospitals and others.


ANDERSON: The Israelis have been very specific, they have said, this is a truce period. Before it starts, hostilities will continue. And very specifically, once this pause is over, the war will restart. Is that useful negotiations that sort of language?

AL-KHULAIFI: Our work is not done, we still going to continue to talk more to the parties to deescalate to seek a longer period of the ceasefire.

ANDERSON: The Israelis are not talking about a ceasefire at this point, they have categorically ruled out a ceasefire until all hostages are released. And at present, you will not mediating any talks on the soldiers or men being held by Hamas.

AL-KHULAIFI: Well, listen, Becky, the -- even the temporary ceasefire was not been considered at the early times by the Israelis. So we still -- we remain hopeful that and our effort is not going to stop at this level, our work is not done. We're going to continue working with both sides, hoping that we can secure this bigger objective.

ANDERSON: If there are families of hostages watching this interview today, families of hostages who are young men of serving age, what is your message about the likelihood that those Israeli soldiers will be released anytime soon?

AL-KHULAIFI: So we're doing everything that we can, as soon as the both parties wants to keep seeking Qatar's assistance in mediating, we're going to respond positively to that request. So we know that our mission did not finish. And our work is continuous for the better cause. And as you said, our hope is really that we see a period where we can put an end to this war, and let the people live and reduce this humanitarian suffering that -- for the people on Gaza.


ANDERSON: Wolf, he describes the past 45 days as intense and at times, extremely difficult. He's obviously relieved to have got these mediation talks across the line. But he said his work is not done. Qatar as a state has been very vocal about the fact that he wants to see a ceasefire, a permanent ceasefire, and that is not what we have here. But this humanitarian pause is a first step and will be a huge relief to many of those families of hostages, who may get the chance to see their loved ones over the next four days. And provide an opportunity for those who are unlikely to see the soldiers, the men coming out anytime soon. It provides them at least some sense that there is still a system in place that is working towards a solution. Wolf?

BLITZER: Let's hope that happens. Becky Anderson, reporting for us, excellent work, thank you very much.

Coming up, one of the busiest travel days of the year in the United States is now well underway. We're going to bring you the latest update and how your holiday plans might be impacted.



BLITZER: The Thanksgiving rush in United States is now in full force as millions of people take to the roads and the skies for one of the busiest travel days of the year. But there are some weather related delays already. CNN aviation correspondent Pete Muntean has the story.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Up we go traffic.

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): From slam traffic on the 405 in L.A. to snaking airport security lines in D.C., the Thanksgiving travel rush is that it's jam packed peak.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is crazy, you know. I thought it would be like this, so I'm actually three hours in advance for my flight.

MUNTEAN (voice-over): The TSA says it will screen 2.7 million passengers at airports on Wednesday making it the biggest day for air travel leading up to the holiday. Heavy clouds and congestion caused the FAA to slow the pace of flights at New York's LaGuardia and JFK as well as Houston, Fort Lauderdale and Orlando, 5,500 flights in the U.S. were delayed on Tuesday as cold wind and rain pummeled East Coast airports.

NICK CALIO, CEO, AIRLINES FOR AMERICA: The weather always is the key. We've been working with the FAA to adjust routes to move things around.

MUNTEAN (voice-over): From its station operation center right Washington, Dulles, United Airlines has a team of 50 monitoring weather, flight connections and even bags.

MIKE HANNA, AIRPORT OPERATIONS, UNITED AIRLINES: We are going to move approximately 6 million customers this holiday season. And we expect to be able to do that very reliably.

MUNTEAN (voice-over): On the roads, AAA says, Wednesday is the toughest for traffic with trips in many major metro areas forecasted to take up to 80 percent longer.

AIXA DIAZ, AAA SPOKESPERSON: The reality is many people are leaving on Tuesday, on Monday and also maybe coming back to Monday after Thanksgiving.

MUNTEAN (voice-over): But some like school teacher, Katie Belle, have no choice but to travel on one of the busiest days of the year.

KATIE BELLE, MONTGOMERY COUNTY, MARYLAND: Everyone is doing the best that they can so assume the best in people and be kind to people.


MUNTEAN (on camera): In all, airlines have delayed about 8,000 flights over the last two days. But the good news is cancelations have remained relatively few. In all, airlines could serve about 2.9 million people on Sunday. And that could be an all-time air travel record. Wolf?

BLITZER: Amazing. All right, Pete Muntean over at Reagan National Airport for us. Thank you very much Pete.

Despite some travel delays, weather disruptions have been easing in the United States. I want to go to our meteorologist Chad Myers. He's over at the CNN Weather Center for us. So Chad, how is it looking?


CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: You know compared to the rain we had in the Northeast yesterday and we still got all the planes other than 70 of them somewhere where they were supposed to be today's a much better day. I widen the view and everything looks great across the United States.

And that's good news, Wolf, because there are 6,700 planes on this map currently in the air. This is give your air traffic controller and your pilot a thank you today because, wow, look at that. Every time I look at that I am just amazed that they get where they belong.

We will see good weather for tomorrow as well. If you're going to Macy's Day Parade, 52 for your high probably somewhere around there but the winds will be 10 to 15. The rest of the country looks good. If you're flying home on the weekend, you might see some snow on the Rockies but if you're skiing in the Rockies, you will like this forecast a foot or more in many of the resorts out west. Wolf?

BLITZER: All right, Chad, thank you for that update. Chad Myers reporting.

Coming up, we're following major developments including the start of an agreed temporary truce in fighting between Israel and Hamas. That temporary truce is now delayed, and so is the release of some hostages held by Hamas. That's next, right here in The Situation Room.