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The Source with Kaitlan Collins
U.S. Secretary Of State: "Israel Will Never Be Alone"; Rep. Steve Scalise Drops Bid To Be Speaker Of The House; Axios: Israeli Intel Picked Up Signs Of Irregular Activity Before Attack. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired October 12, 2023 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: CNN's coverage, from Israel, continues.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN HOST, THE SOURCE WITH KAITLAN COLLINS: Tonight, straight from THE SOURCE.
New explosions, in Gaza, as Israel exposes more of Hamas' horrors to the world.
Plus, there are dire humanitarian warnings, coming out of Gaza, tonight, as Israel is vowing to continue blocking food and water, until the hostages are freed, by Hamas.
And with aid to Israel, on the line, House Republicans have devolved into complete chaos, tonight. The Republican nominee for Speaker has just dropped out of the race.
I'm Kaitlan Collins. And this is THE SOURCE.
Tonight, an unrelenting series, of Israeli fire, is raining down, on Gaza. Explosions could be heard, until just a short time ago.
We're live, in a moment, with Anderson Cooper, on the ground, in Tel Aviv.
As there's also an ongoing buildup of IDF troops, and tanks, at the border, and a resounding message from the United States, which was personally delivered, by Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, today, who forcefully said, and I'm quoting him now, "Israel will never be alone."
Standing alongside him, you could see him there, Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who called this a, quote, time to stand united against evil, and to show the world what that evil looks like. Netanyahu released three graphic images, today. They are three horrific pictures of babies, who were slaughtered, by Hamas.
Secretary Blinken, whose stepfather, I should note, survived the Holocaust, struggled to even talk about those images, after he saw them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ANTONY BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE: A baby, an infant riddled with bullets. Soldiers beheaded. Young people burned alive in their cars.
There is revulsion, disgust and a determination, a determination not to allow this to go forward.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: Secretary of State, clearly moved, after seeing those photos.
I should note that tomorrow, U.S. Defense Secretary, Lloyd Austin, will also be visiting Israel. He'll be there to discuss Military support.
And all of this is coming as the White House has now confirmed that the number of Americans killed, in Saturday's surprise attacks, by Hamas, has now risen to 27. 14 Americans still remain unaccounted for, tonight.
And meanwhile, there are dire warnings, from humanitarian groups, about the crisis that's unfolding in Gaza. Israel has vowed no power, no water, no fuel, no other supplies, until the hostages are returned.
I want to get straight to CNN's Anderson Cooper, who has been live, in Tel Aviv, all day.
Anderson, I know you're in Tel Aviv now. But you also visited the scene of that Nova music festival, where so many young people were killed. What did you see when you went there today?
COOPER: Yes. The scene is much as it was at by Sunday morning, after the slaughter that took place, there. As you know more than 216 -- excuse me, more than 260 people were killed there, according to Israeli officials.
Burned-out cars, shot-up cars, bloodstains, in vehicles, on car seats, bloodstains, on the walls, of bomb shelters, where, dozens of young people tried to seek safety, cramming into small bomb shelters, maybe 15 feet long by six feet wide, dozens of people in there.
And in a number of locations, grenades were thrown in, by Hamas gunmen, repeatedly thrown in. There's video that exists, from inside those bomb shelters, which I've seen, which are probably the most gruesome things, I've ever seen.
And I think all the soldiers, who were there, have been deeply affected, by what they have seen there. I spoke to an IDF commander, on the ground, there, a rear admiral, who talked about the soldiers, who were there, seeing what happened, and taking that with them, and motivating that, in the fight, to steel themselves for the fight that's ahead.
Because, I think, everybody here knows all -- certainly, all the soldiers, the 300,000 or so reservists, who have been called up, are aware of what lies ahead, and the difficulties of it, and the difficulties, of fighting, in a place, with such a big civilian population, in such small cramped quarters, and trying to separate the Hamas terrorists, from the civilian population.
Everybody is aware of the difficulties that lie ahead. But I've never heard such anger, and resolve, in a fighting force than I have, just today, in talking to a number of these soldiers.
COLLINS: I mean, these forces that you, these reservists that you spoke to, today? I mean a lot of them -- I mean, in Israel, obviously, it's compulsory they all are -- all of them have been called up.
I know it's 300,000. I think it's the biggest mobile reserve of them, mobilization of them that has ever happened, in the country. I mean, I can't even imagine what's going through their mind, to have just seen their neighbors, their friends, their families, slaughtered, and now, to be preparing for this.
COOPER: I think many people, and certainly the rear admiral, I spoke to, today, talked about how this is different, that what has occurred here is kind of a watershed event. And that's my word, not his.
But that this is something that -- and the rear admiral, I talked to, had joined up in, when he was 18-years-old. I think he's now 46-years- old or 47-years-old. He's fought in a lot of different fights.
But he says things, this one is different, this has to change, they have to change the paradigm, on the ground, in Gaza, that they cannot allow Hamas any longer, to operate and to train up again, and to do this again, in the future. Whether that's going to be possible or not, remains to be seen.
Obviously, Kaitlan, as you well know, in past incursions, in past exchanges, with Hamas, international pressure grows, very quickly, to cease operations, because of the huge civilian population, inside Gaza.
COOPER: That's no doubt will occur again. The question is will that impact the length of any kind of operation that's moving forward. It remains to be seen.
COLLINS: Yes. Anderson Cooper, thank you. We'll be back with you, later on, in the show.
And of course, that fighting force that Anderson and I were just talking about, it's made up of people, like my next guest, Sergeant Major, David Citron. He's a father of two, a third on the way. His day job is as a tech investor, now. He's an Israeli reservist, called to duty. And he joins me, tonight.
And thank you so much, for being here. Obviously, can we just start with you walking me through, what happened, on Saturday? I know, obviously, it was a Jewish holiday. How did it go from slowly -- how did you go from slowly figuring out what was going on, and then realizing that Israel was under attack? SGT. MAJOR DAVID CITRON, IDF RESERVIST SINCE 2012: Sure. Thank you so much for having me.
So, like you said, it was Saturday. It was a Jewish holiday. I'm an observant Jew. So, we don't really touch our phones or electronics.
Started off the morning, with a rocket siren, which was abnormal, for the location that I was in, with my family. First one goes off. You think it's just a coincidence. Then the second, and then third, you realize that something's wrong.
So, the first instinct is to go and check your phone. So, you turn on your phone. And your second instinct is to touch base with your unit commander, and reserves, just to understand what's going on.
The first message I received from my commander was "Nothing's happening for now. There's an incident in the south. Stay put." And then that quickly escalated, within an hour, to "Get to base as soon as you can."
So, the escalation, at least from our perspective, and being out of the loop, to being completely in the loop and understanding what's going on, was relatively quickly.
CITRON: But it was still nowhere near understanding what was actually going on.
COLLINS: So, it seemed as if nothing to worry about, at the beginning. And then, you realize, obviously, quickly, it was. I mean, what was it like, when you got to the base?
CITRON: I think it was -- there was a lot of emotions. I've never seen such a great number of soldiers, on our base, at a single point in time. I served in the Military Mandatory Service and Reserves for the past 11 years. But I've never seen so many soldiers, to the point where, highways were parking lots.
People were parking in the side of the road, and then hiking about two miles, just to get to the base. So, it was really impressive, to see people showing up, so quickly. But also, you know that it's a different situation, when these -- that many soldiers show up in such a short period of time.
COLLINS: As I mentioned, David, you have two kids. I know your wife is pregnant with your third. I mean, first, let me say congratulations. I know that's a really exciting time, in any family's life.
CITRON: Thank you.
COLLINS: But how have you explained to them? As you were just saying, how this is different than before. How have you explained to them, why you had to leave, why dad needed to go?
CITRON: I think it's not -- you know, I'm not special. I think, living in Israel, the situation is that this is our only shot. This is our only country. And we need to do everything we can, to protect our country. And it's balancing the personal versus the greater national aspect of it, your family versus your country.
But the reality is if we don't have a strong country, we don't protect our borders, and we don't protect our country, as reservists, or as citizens? We won't have families at all. So it's, I don't want to say it's easy to reconcile. But there is a way to reconcile, internally. And then, it's just a matter of portraying as much calmness as you can.
My wife is a superhero, back home, with our kids. We have a lot of support system, from family that are able to help.
But the anecdote that I would like to share is when I say goodbye, to my wife, at the doorstep, giving her a hug, and a kiss, so trying to hold back at tears, and seeing her doing the same, getting in the car and driving off? You see the exact same scene, in every house, down the street.
Seeing, like a replication of that goodbye moments, between a husband and a wife, where the husband is off to a reserve, or the wife is, and then you realize that you've got your own personal life. But it's everyone -- it's everyone else together. So, there is a collectivism, here.
COLLINS: It's kind of amazing to think of you going through that moment, of leaving your home, leaving your wife, who's pregnant, and your children, and seeing other families, going through that exact same thing, at the exact same time, after this shared national trauma.
CITRON: Yes, I mean, it's hard to process. I think, we haven't had a situation like this, at least since the Yom Kippur War, which was almost exactly 50 years ago. The level of calamity that just unfolded, in the past couple of days, is indescribable.
I think you've been exposed to the images. And I think the American public needs to be exposed to the images.
But what we've seen here, on the ground, what I personally witnessed, what my friends have witnessed, just images that are, ISIS. We're dealing with ISIS. We're dealing with full-blown terrorism. We're dealing with modern-day Nazism.
I've lost friends, friends of mine, who lost friends. Friends of mine have lost brothers and sisters, whether they were in active duty, or they just went to help, knowing what was going on.
So, just the existential threat level that occurred, in the past couple of days, kicks into gear. And we'd like to say "Never again." But it's not a cliche. It's real, like we need to protect ourselves. This is our homeland. And this is our only shot.
So, seeing what's going on, seeing the images, which are horrifying, you would, the instinct kicks in, to just protect everyone, your family, from a personal perspective, but the country in general.
COLLINS: David Citron, thank you, for taking the time, to share that, because it's a very important perspective. Thank you for that. And we'll make sure our audience does see that and does hear those stories.
CITRON: Thank you very much.
COLLINS: A retired Israeli general, who rushed to confront Hamas attackers, himself, didn't hold back, in criticizing his own government, and Military, calling what happened on Saturday, a complete failure.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEN. ISRAEL ZIV (RET.), ISRAEL DEFENSE FORCES: It's a total collapse. I'm not going to say any excuses. It's a total collapse. It's a systematic collapse. It's the intelligence. It's the whole defense system. The defense system has a lot of elements, you know? It's defense. It's the technology. It's the deployment of the army. It's the backup. It's so many things. It all collapsed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: We have new reporting ahead, on what Israeli intelligence did pick up, on the eve of the attacks.
Plus, tonight, the humanitarian crisis is growing, in Gaza. Hospitals are running out of fuel. People are in danger of starving. We're going to get an update, on that very important story, next.
COLLINS: Tonight, we are seeing, what is, perhaps, the most haunting image, to emerge, from the slaughter, of well over 1,000 people, who were killed, in Israel, by Hamas.
It is just one of the photos that was shown earlier today, to Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, when he was in Tel Aviv, shortly before he compared Hamas to ISIS.
I want to warn you it is very upsetting. I'm going to give you a moment, to prepare yourself, or you to even look away, if you need to. It's a photo of a baby, who's tiny body is stained with blood, and was murdered by Hamas terrorist.
(GRAPHIC IS SHOWN OF A BABY MURDERED BY HAMAS)
COLLINS: It's a picture that takes your breath away.
The Israeli government acknowledged it's unusual to release a photo, like this, of a family's dead child, but believe it's important, for the world to see, these atrocities, firsthand. I want you to know that we here, as a team, also struggled, with whether or not to show it. But feel it's necessary to grasp the sheer brutality of Hamas, their complete disregard, for human life, including the massacre, of innocent babies.
We'll be back in just a moment.
COLLINS: The U.S.'s ability, to provide Israel, with more aid, in the wake of the deadly attack, by Hamas, is now even further undermined, tonight, on Capitol Hill.
Congressman Steve Scalise has just dropped his bid, to be the next Speaker of the House, something he just confirmed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. STEVE SCALISE (R-LA): There are still some people that have their own agendas. And I was very clear: We have to have everybody put their agendas on the side and focus on what this country needs.
This country is counting on us to come back together. This House of Representatives needs a Speaker, and we need to open up the House again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: CNN's Manu Raju is live, on Capitol Hill, where there has been a lot of venting, behind closed doors, today. Maybe even not behind closed door.
Manu, I think this is like an eight-day bid that Steve Scalise had here, to be the next House Speaker. I mean, what's next? Is it Jim Jordan? Is another candidate going to emerge? Is it even clear, right now?
MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's not clear, right now, Kaitlan. We do expect Jim Jordan to announce that he will officially run, for the Speaker of the House.
But I can tell you, in talking to several Republicans, they are not sold, on Jim Jordan, as the next Speaker of the House. There are some, who are not as conservative as him. Some more moderate members, who are concerned, about Jordan's more conservative politics.
And there're also members, who are in key races, who are not sure that Jordan could be the best Speaker for them, as a hint of a daunting election year environment. In fact, many of these Republicans, in some of these swing districts, are flatly concerned that the disarray, that we have seen, in the past week, and this crisis, on Capitol Hill, will only undermine, their efforts, to keep their seats, and it could potentially lose the majority next year, amid all of this. Now, this all happened rather quickly. Steve Scalise was nominated, just yesterday, to be the new Speaker of the House, after that historic vote, an unprecedented vote, last week, where McCarthy was ousted, from the Speakership.
But there was a problem for Steve Scalise, the math. He only had 113 votes, to be nominated. So, as Speaker, the Speaker candidate for the GOP, he needed 217 votes, on the House floor. And there were more than a dozen, maybe roughly two dozen or so Republicans, who simply would not vote for him.
He tried all day long, in closed-door meetings, to swing them, to urge them to come his way. Ultimately, that did not happen. So, that's why he went to his Conference, tonight, and said he is stepping aside, now leading to more questions, about how the Republicans will go forward.
Now, we expect tomorrow, Republicans will again meet, at 10 AM Eastern, behind closed doors, to talk about their way forward. We'll see if any other candidates emerge. No names have yet emerged yet.
There's a possibility that Jordan will have a chance ask himself to prove he can get 217 votes, to be elected Speaker. But if he doesn't get it, or if there's a challenge, then, we'll see what the next step is.
Some talk of elevating the powers of the Interim Speaker, Patrick McHenry, to consider legislation, on the floor. That is one area of discussion. But it just shows you the unprecedented moment we're in, as Republicans are badly divided, and Congress is completely paralyzed, unable to address key national issues, at this time.
COLLINS: Yes, absolutely.
COLLINS: Just the idea that there was going to potentially be a vote, yesterday, seems like so far away.
Manu, thank you so much.
Joining me here, on set, Senator Cory Booker, who was in Jerusalem, I should note, when the attack, on Saturday, began. New Jersey Democrat was forced to take cover, as Hamas unleashed its killing spree.
Obviously, I want to talk about what that experience was like.
But this chaos that is happening, on Capitol Hill, obviously has consequences. Things like aid to Israel, aid to Ukraine, all on the line. I mean, what do you make of the fact that they can't find a House Speaker?
SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ): I mean, it has a stunning implication, for what our country can do, in a time of crisis. Let's be clear. The partisanship that often rankles our country is not
present here. There are majority of House Republicans, majority of House Democrats, majority of Senate Republicans, they want to support Ukraine. They want to stand by our ally, Israel. They even want to fund the government.
So, to have a small group of House members that are so extreme right now that they're undermining the ability of the United States, the United States Congress, the Article I branch of Congress, to respond to this crisis, is very frustrating.
COLLINS: I mean, and you saw it firsthand. I mean, you were in Jerusalem, on Saturday, when this happened. Can you just walk me through what that was even like, to be there, as the warning signs started to show, of what was really unfolding?
BOOKER: So, I went there, to meet with Palestinian leaders, and Israeli leaders, and then move on throughout the Middle East. Because there is an effort going to normalization, centering the Palestinian -- and these Palestinians, in these discussions, that's more hopeful than I've ever seen in my lifetime.
The night before I was there, I got there early, because I wanted to spend Shabbat with friends. It was Simchat Torah (ph) a holiday that's very important to me. I was dancing with the Torah.
My host for that evening, the friend that I brought with me, by the next morning, their family members were being killed. I'm out running, and I've never had a call like that in my life, "Get back to the hotel." The rockets have been launched towards Israel.
And then, it was a holiday. And to have these filled bomb shelters with children, and parents all gathered together, some Americans, who can't look at their phones, leaning on you, for information about what's going on. And the more you look, the more the horrors, the staggering implication--
COLLINS: So, they're learning from you, what was going on?
BOOKER: It was just horrific and grotesque. And then, just imagine living in a country, where it's so small, that you're one degree separated, from people that are being murdered.
I have a friend with me, tonight, in the studio, who lost, in Kfar, the kibbutz, who lost her niece, niece's husband, children locked in a closet, praying that they would be able to survive, which these two boys did.
The stories are a lot more intimate and personal, to people, who are that connected to the violence, or god forbid, who lost their lives, or their family members did.
COLLINS: You and your staff were able to get out, obviously, leaving Israel, at the time, when so much is going on there.
There are a lot of Americans, who have been, in Israel, desperately trying to get out. But domestic airlines have been canceling so many of the flights, in and out of Israel.
The U.S. is going to start chartering flights, tomorrow, the White House announced today. But should they have done that sooner, do you think?
BOOKER: I've talked to State Department officials, literally, as the rockets were being launched, until now. There's an extraordinary amount of effort that's been going on, to get people out.
I'm glad that they're now doing chartered flights. They're going to be taking other efforts. There are efforts, to support Americans that are stuck, in Gaza, right now, and find ways, to get those Americans out. So, the State Department--
COLLINS: Which is incredibly difficult.
BOOKER: Look, what Hamas has done? This terrorist organization that in its very charter, is not to stand against the State of Israel. Their charter is to kill Jews. We need to be clear. This organization, and their founding, was not about Israel. "We are killing Jews." It's a hate organization, reminiscent of ISIS, or even the Nazis.
And there, before we even get to this decade, anytime the Palestinian people had meaningful progress, with Israelis, towards real peace? Remember, right after the Oslo Accords, where you have a Palestinian leader and a Israeli leader winning the Nobel Peace Prize. What is this hate organization's response? To begin in unprecedented efforts, to bomb civilians, buses, killing and murdering the Israeli people.
And so, at a time, when I was hopeful, on my way, to celebrate a holiday, and then move through the Middle East, meeting with Arab leaders, Israeli leaders, Palestinian leaders, on this extraordinary effort, building upon the Abraham Accords?
When you have the leader of Saudi Arabia, on Fox News, saying every day, we are getting closer? And the Palestinian people are the critical element? When I talk to the State Department, when I talk to others, the Palestinians were a key part, having meetings. They had -- Saudis had not been to the West Bank, since 1967. And they're now getting together, was talking about this deal.
This hate-filled organization targeted civilians, killed and murdered, not just Americans, Brazilians, Argentinians French, not just Israelis, is the most heinous attempt, to upend human rights, security and dignity of Israelis, and Palestinians.
COLLINS: Do you think part of it was to -- because I spoke with Prime Minister, Netanyahu, three weeks ago. He was very hopeful that they were on the cusp of a deal. That deal would have reshaped the Middle East.
I mean, do you think that that deal is still possible now, though?
BOOKER: So, I'm going back, in about a week, and a very small group of bipartisan senators, to Saudi Arabia. I left Israel, on a mission. I was not going to let the terrorists stop our efforts, to go to Bahrain, to go to UAE. I continued my talks with high-level leaders there.
And let me tell you, in those countries, from business people, media, everyone knew what Hamas was about, that this is an evil organization, not representing what is best, for the human rights, and dignity. The Palestinians, in fact, they saw them as frustrating elements, to peace and security, and a two-state solution.
And so, I'm not letting that progress stopped. I talked to the State Department, today. I talked to the President of the United States, twice, in the last few days. Everyone is determined, not just to meet this crisis, stand with Israel, in their right to self-defense, but to continue the work, to get dignity and security, for everyone, in the region.
COLLINS: Well, one question about this, though, has been what the Deputy Treasury Secretary told House Democrats, today, which is he says the U.S. government, Qatar, came to an agreement that the $6 billion in Iranian funds, that came from South Korea, won't be touched that basically it's been put on ice.
Do you think it should stay frozen?
BOOKER: I think we should be doing everything we can, to end this organization of Hamas. I don't think any of these dollars, or--
COLLINS: Or Tehran -- Iran funds.
BOOKER: Iran funds? Look, the Qataris, who are playing the constructive role, they have to self-examine. There are Hamas leaders living in Qatar. There are a lot that we have to get to the bottom of.
But there should be no confusion, in the United States of America. There should be no equivocation. This is an organization, Hamas that is focused on destroying pathways to peace, killing civilians, and perpetrating hate. Look at Amnesty International's reports about what this organization has done, the brutalizing, the kidnapping, the killing of Palestinians. This organization must end.
And we should have moral clarity in this country, bipartisan, for people, who love children, love Palestinian children, love Israeli children. This is a moral moment, where we need clarity and focus, one, to stop terrorists, whether they're ISIS or Hamas, stop people, who live and focus on hate, but to embrace constructive real pathway to peace.
And this is historic. And your, and my lifetime, we have never had regional leaders, Arab leaders, Muslim leaders. And by the way, Hamas is destructive of Islam and Islamic principles. We've never seen a moment like this. We have such an accord of nations that want to find a pathway, to peace and normalization, in the region.
And I'll tell you what. You know who doesn't want it? Iran doesn't want it. You know who doesn't want it? Hezbollah doesn't want it. You know who doesn't want it? Hamas doesn't want it.
So, we should fight for Palestinian dignity, and security. We should fight for Israel's, stand unequivocally by Israel's right to exist, right to defend itself. But we should be embracing this pathway to peace that, right now, as diverse actors, I'm not giving up. That's why I'm going back to the region, in a matter of days, with Republicans, and Democrats, from the Senate.
COLLINS: Yes. We'll see if it remains intact.
Senator Cory Booker, glad you're safe. Glad you're here, to join us, tonight.
BOOKER: Thank you.
COLLINS: Thank you.
COLLINS: Also tonight, speaking of what's happening in Gaza, the Red Cross is now warning that hospitals could be turning into morgues. They're running out of fuel. They're running out of food.
We have the latest, on the ground, with Anderson Cooper, in just a moment.
COLLINS: Tonight, Israel's siege of Gaza is choking off food, water and fuel. And with Israel continuing airstrikes, today, more than 330,000 people, in the Palestinian territory, have now been displaced, from their homes.
The United Nations is warning that Gaza is on the brink of a humanitarian disaster, as many hospitals find themselves overwhelmed, tonight.
Want to bring Anderson back in.
Anderson, of course, today, the White House said that there are, what John Kirby described as ongoing conversations, with Israeli officials, about the need, for the continued flow, of humanitarian assistance, into Gaza.
But, I mean, Israel has not let any goods in, since the strikes began, just kind of underlining how dire this could get very quickly.
COOPER: Yes. I mean, it's already dire, for civilians, in Gaza. There's no doubt about it. The hospitals there say they are running out of gas, which means running out of fuel, for generators, which means incubators, everything that need power would not be working.
Israel has said that in order for anything to come across, Hamas has to return the 150 or so hostages that have been taken. That seems like something Hamas is not willing to do, no matter how dire the situation may be, for the civilian population.
As you know, Hamas has spent a lot of money, building tunnels, under Gaza, to allow for the movement of Hamas fighters, militants and weapons. They're not bomb shelters that they have built. Those tunnels are not for the civilian population, to seek shelter. And therefore, Hamas to operate in.
So, obviously, with Israel, if they do intend to go in, on the ground, it is going to be a very bloody and very dangerous situation, for Israeli troops, and for civilians, on the ground, in Gaza. And there doesn't seem to be any way around that.
Egypt is not allowing the border to open, to allow, inevitably hundreds of thousands of Gazan residents, to come across, and settle there in the Sinai, for however long it takes. That's a security threat, they are not willing to undertake, and haven't been in past years.
So, it's very, I mean, it is clear that it is going to be a very, very dire situation, whatever the Military operation is moving forward. And it is, unless something gives, it's going to be incredibly difficult, and incredibly dangerous. And it's going to be awful.
COLLINS: Yes. And Hamas, of course, doesn't care about those civilian Palestinians.
Anderson Cooper, thank you.
Joining me now, to talk about what could be unfolding, is the Executive Director of Doctors Without Borders USA, Avril Benoit.
Avril, thank you, for being here.
I mean, from hearing what Anderson was warning about, it's not -- A, what's already happening, B, what could be to come, what are you hearing from your teams on the ground, in Gaza?
AVRIL BENOIT, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS USA: We have roughly 300 colleagues that have been working in Gaza, for many years. Because, although we are impartial, we're humanitarians, with principles of neutrality, guiding us, we do focus on areas, where there are gaps.
Gaza has been what we would call a humanitarian chronic crisis, for so many years. And that's why we were there. And now, it's a full-blown catastrophe.
What we're hearing from the hospitals that we support, is that it's very difficult, for patients, to even reach the hospital. Everyone's terrified just to move. It's impossible for staff, sometimes, medical staff, to be able to go to work. And if they do go to work, they don't know if they'll ever see their families again, at night.
For the medical supplies, we moved around three weeks' worth of supplies, to Al-Nuseirat (ph) hospital, which use them up, in three days, because of the influx of injured people. And so, the situation, in the hospitals, is absolutely overwhelming.
And this looming crisis, as a result of the siege, of not being able to, bring in more supplies, bring in more staff, bring in the fuel, for the generators, bring in water? I do agree with the analysis, and the commentary, from the International Committee of the Red Cross that the hospitals will become morgues.
COLLINS: And if -- because the hospital, if it's out of power, and they're running on generators, and the generators run out of fuel? I mean it's -- and then they can not only serve anyone, but even for the people who are there.
BENOIT: Yes. You've got preemie babies in incubators. You've got people who count on dialysis, in order to be able to live another day. You've got people on respirators. They need oxygen.
The situation, without electricity, a hospital, really, has very few levers, to be able to save people. Without water, clean water, you have such a tremendous risk of spread of infection. And that's what's going to kill people.
And then, think about without the medicines. We have hospitals now that are running short of anesthesia, to be able to do the surgeries. Imagine what that surgeon, what that surgical team, the nurses, everybody, in the operating theatre, is going through, knowing that there is no more anesthesia.
COLLINS: Do you know how many hospitals are still able to even run semi-properly at this time?
BENOIT: Well, a number of hospitals have actually been harmed in airstrikes, so, even some -- our own clinic, on Monday, was damaged. It's functional again.
And other hospitals that we are supporting, there are three of them that have suffered some damage, but they're doing the best they can, to be able to work in the parts that are not damaged, to be able to continue. I mean, it really is life or death.
But as I say, even the risk of moving, from A to B, of transporting patients in ambulances? I've heard a report of four ambulances have been hit in airstrikes, completely destroying the ambulances and one person reported dead. Don't know about many others. I mean, these are just the little pieces that we hear about.
COLLINS: What did you refer to Gaza, as a chronic?
BENOIT: A chronic humanitarian crisis.
COLLINS: It's been a chronic crisis.
BENOIT: That is now a catastrophe.
COLLINS: Can you put it in perspective of how this is different, from what it's been like before, when strikes have happened, when there's been a blockade?
COLLINS: How is this -- how does this change? How is this different?
BENOIT: Well, what we're hearing, from our colleagues, on the ground, some of whom have lost their homes, or they receive the text messages, being told, "OK, flee now. There's going to be a strike." But of course there's nowhere to go. You just stand around--
COLLINS: Nowhere to flee.
BENOIT: --in the middle of the night, looking at the sky, wondering how can we possibly hide anywhere?
What the reporting is that block by block, and sometimes night after night, the same areas are getting bombed. And so, it's just terrifying. And it's creating what we see, as an impossible situation, only likely to get worse, in terms of the human toll.
COLLINS: Avril Benoit, thank you.
And of course, thank you, for sharing the perspective, of your colleagues, who are actually on the ground, living this.
BENOIT: Thank you.
COLLINS: Thank you, for tonight.
Ahead, as we were talking earlier, not just what's happening in Gaza, we're also looking at the bigger picture here. What Israeli intelligence reportedly stumbled upon, on the eve of these attacks, by Hamas?
COLLINS: One of the biggest questions that is still unanswered, from Saturday's brutal attack, by Hamas, was how they were able to pull off such a coordinated surprise assault.
Tonight, we are learning more about the apparent intelligence failures, as Axios is reporting that Israeli security chiefs didn't put the border, on high alert, despite picking up on signs, of irregular activity, among Hamas operatives, in Gaza, the night before.
Joining me now is Barak Ravid, who broke this story.
And Barak, obviously, you have been speaking to sources. You've learned that the day before this attack, there were these signs that seemed to suggest Hamas could have been preparing for an attack. What have you learned?
BARAK RAVID, AXIOS FOREIGN POLICY REPORTER: Good evening, Kaitlan.
Well, some time, on Friday evening, or Friday afternoon, Israeli intelligence started picking up on, small signs, that each of them alone, doesn't really show anything. But when you put all of them together, you start getting this very worrying picture of Hamas may be thinking of doing something.
And because of all of those signs, a series of high-level consultations took place, some of it, on Friday night, several hours, four or five hours, before the Hamas attack. And those consultations were? I mean, the IDF Chief of Staff, General Halevi was on the consultation, the head of the Military intelligence, the head of the Southern Command, the head of the Shin Bet security agency.
So, all the top security officials, in the country, were on those conference calls. And the dilemma was whether this is a real preparation, for an attack, or an exercise. And there were several proposals, to put the border, all the IDF forces, on the border, on high alert. And at the end, the decision was not to do it, and wait for the morning, to see what happens.
Several hours later, the attack took place.
COLLINS: I mean, these were high-level consultations. I mean, what has the Prime Minister's office said about all of this?
RAVID: Well, the main question was whether someone updated the Prime Minister or the Minister of Defense. And the truth is nobody did.
RAVID: Netanyahu, according to his office? And I have to say, I checked it with several sources. And I think that they're not lying, when they're saying it, that Netanyahu got his update, at 6:29 AM, when the rockets were -- when Hamas started firing rockets, and mortar shells, at those villages, near the border.
And until then, he didn't even know that there was this issue, that there was this intelligence signs that something might be happening. But at 6:29, it was already too late.
COLLINS: That is so striking. And, of course, I mean, that has been one of the biggest questions that everyone has, given how venerated Israel's security and intelligence apparatus is.
But Barak, I was looking at this. And we were talking about this last night, at the end of the show. This is another piece, really based on reporting that you had that's highly relevant, right now.
Because, you had the reporting, when Trump accused Netanyahu, of disloyalty, he was mad that he had acknowledged President Biden's win, and he's been criticizing him publicly. He's praising Hezbollah as very smart. He's been going off and criticizing, really, the missed intelligence, and that Netanyahu was caught off-guard, and saying that he was ill-prepared, to handle this, essentially. RAVID: Yes, I think that if anybody was still wondering whether Donald Trump cooled down, from the fact that Netanyahu congratulated Joe Biden, after he won the elections? He had no other choice. He need to congratulate the new president.
So, Donald Trump did not cool down. Not only did he not cool down, it seems that he's even more angry at Netanyahu, and it makes him say, really weird stuff.
And I think that a lot of people that are both Netanyahu supporters and Trump supporters, raised eyebrows, over those comments that honestly are really mind-boggling.
COLLINS: Yes. And I asked Netanyahu, about that, and if it bothered him. Because, I mean, not only did he accuse him of disloyalty, he also used an expletive, to you, saying "F him," speaking of Netanyahu.
I asked if that bothered him, and he kind of chalked it up to political life, saying things ebb and flow. Of course, that was before Trump was attacking him, days after the deadliest day.
RAVID: Yes, and by the way, you know what Netanyahu told you? And this was very interesting, because it was something that I did not know, and nobody knew, until he told this to you, that Trump sent him a note, congratulating him, for winning the elections. So, I thought that, Trump was cooling down. Apparently, he's not.
COLLINS: Yes. Barak Ravid, great reporting, as always. Thank you, for tonight.
RAVID: Thank you, Kaitlan.
COLLINS: Meanwhile, U.S. cities are also bolstering security, as war tensions have been rising. Questions, of course, about what's happening in Israel, the effects it's having here the United States.
Why tomorrow, in particular, is of concern to officials? We'll brief you next.
COLLINS: Today, President Biden, and Vice President Harris, meeting with top law enforcement and national security officials, to talk about how to safeguard the United States, as we are seeing more breakout, in the Middle East.
A new video message, from a former Hamas leader, is encouraging supporters, to show anger, tomorrow, on Friday, October, the 13th.
Ahead of possible protests, the New York Police Department is stepping up its security, at synagogues, and other sensitive targets, across New York. But the Governor said, tonight, there is no credible threat. That is just a precaution. Joining me now, is CNN's John Miller, our Chief Law Enforcement Analyst and the former Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence & Counterterrorism for the NYPD.
I mean, it is very important that DHS officials have said repeatedly, there is no credible threat. But what are they doing, to make sure that they're prepared for it, in case there is one?
JOHN MILLER, CNN CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT & INTELLIGENCE ANALYST, FORMER NYPD DEPUTY COMMISSIONER OF INTELLIGENCE & COUNTERTERRORISM: So, what they understand is even if there's no specific, credible threat, that's on the radar, there might be one that's not on the radar.
Their main concern is the propaganda, the chat rooms, the dark corners of the internet, and that lone wolf who decides that they are going to rewrite their life story, by taking some kind of stand, and committing a violent act.
So, that means things you'll see. You'll see the Hercules teams, the heavily-armed teams with the explosive-detection dogs, and rifles, at key Jewish locations. You'll see the Stryker teams, moving from location to location. There's a lot of fluidity and unpredictability to it. So, if you're looking at a target, you don't know, when it's going to be secured heavily, or not, to keep people off balance.
And the other thing is the Intelligence Division, their human sources, beyond their surveillance of known gathering places, on the internet, of violent extremists. And they have help. They have help from the Community Security Initiative. They have help from the ADL, and others, who do the same thing. So, there's a lot of conversations going on.
But the key is?
COLLINS: What are they looking for?
MILLER: They're looking for somebody, who is either saying, "Can somebody help me do an act of violence," or somebody who's saying, "I'm looking for someone to carry one out." That's the basics.
But this is a tough business, because you know, you had the Tree of Life synagogue attack, where the person was in one of these forums, and said, "I'm going in." And that was the only clue he left before he committed a massacre.
So, a lot of effort goes into this. The good news, for a place, like New York, is that no place puts more resources into that. But there are other cities that are part of that network, and they share the information. So, it works.
COLLINS: And I interrupted you. What were you saying was the key thing?
MILLER: The key thing is to look for that individual, who is looking for that connection, to say, "Where's the target? Where to go? What to do?" and to get in between them, and action. COLLINS: Yes. John Miller, I know you're tracking all of this. We'll check back in with you, tomorrow, of course, as this continues to develop.
MILLER: Thanks, Kaitlan.
COLLINS: Thank you, for that reporting.
And thank you so much, for joining us, in this hour.
"CNN NEWS NIGHT" with Abby Phillip, starts, right now.