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State of the Race with Kasie Hunt

Israel Orders "Complete Siege" of Gaza after Coordinated Attacks by Hamas Kill 700 Plus People; Anxious Wait for Families of Hostages; Israel Orders "Complete Siege" of Gaza; Israeli Airstrikes Hit Gaza after Major Hamas Attack; Israel at War with Hamas after Unprecedented Attacks; 260 Bodies Found at Music Festival Site after Hamas Attack. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired October 09, 2023 - 11:00   ET




KASIE HUNT, CNN HOST, STATE OF THE RACE: Good day, I'm Kasie Hunt to our viewers watching in the United States and around the world. Welcome, it is

Monday, October 9, 11 am here in Washington, 6 pm in Israel. And we begin our breaking news coverage there we are just learning that Israel says it's

attacked 130 Hamas targets with dozens of planes over the course of the last three hours as a devastatingly bloody war has erupted.

The Israeli Defense Minister says he's given the order to begin a "complete siege" three days after Hamas launched an attack by land, air and sea.

Major blasts rocked Gaza just minutes ago. Israeli airstrikes raining down on the Palestinian enclave these days after the co-ordinated attack by

Hamas, Israel says Islamist militants killed 700 people.

The Israeli response to this weekend's attack also coming, on the ground heavy armor and troops have been moving south. But any ground offensive

will be complicated by Hamas and its allies holding hostages. The Islamist militants in Gaza claimed to be holding more than 100 captives.

And that's on top of Palestinian civilians on the ground, who will likely be caught up in any fighting. Palestinian officials say more than 500

people have already been killed in Israeli strikes. All this as rocket fire from Gaza continues. Many of the rockets have been intercepted, but some

have landed in Israeli territory.

You can see the damage here where charred vehicles litter this street in Southern Israel. And it's not just the south there are growing concerns

Lebanese militant group Hezbollah will enter the conflict and threaten Israel's northern frontier. Israel says it's already killed armed suspects

who entered from the Lebanese side.

And it says its helicopters are striking inside Lebanese territory. U.N. forces have reported explosions near a town on the Lebanese side of the

border. For the latest CNN's Becky Anderson is live in Tel Aviv, Israel. Becky, how have things been unfolding you and I last spoke around 5 am

Eastern time. A quite a lot has happened since.

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: Yes, this is central Israel. I've got line of sight down the road towards Gaza from here about 50 miles

and I've got line of sight towards Northern Israel here the Lebanese border and we are in central Israel.

As I said in Tel Aviv, where we have continued to hear all day that kind of low level rumblings, booms, the Iron Dome, intercepting incoming rockets

from Gaza fired by Hamas towards Tel Aviv in Ben Gurion Airport. We've got some evidence this morning when an engineer was coming in that there was an

explosion just south of the airport here.

Everybody hit the deck there. And so you know, the intensity of this, I think is really the story of the hour in and the fact that we have Gaza in

play Tel Aviv and Jerusalem hearing sirens, because there are incoming attacks or incoming rockets from Hamas and then to the north here, the

potential for something significant happening on the Lebanese-Israeli border. It is a ratcheting up there is no doubt in what is this very bloody

conflict, Kasie.

HUNT: All right, Becky Anderson in Tel Aviv. Stay safe, Becky, we will be coming back with you much more throughout this hour. But joining us now

from Jerusalem is CNN's Ben Wedeman.


Ben, Jerusalem, of course, one of the places where these sirens have been heard. What's the latest there?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Kasie, about an hour and a half ago, we heard the sirens go off. And then some distant

thuds we understand there may have been as many as 10 intercepts. And there are reports coming from the Israeli medical service that several people

were injured on the outskirts of Jerusalem.

It's not clear if that was an impact, or, as I've seen myself before, when the Iron Dome intercepts incoming missiles, there's a lot of shrapnel that

falls to the ground. So that may have been the cause for those injuries as this conflict intensifies. What we have heard so far today, for instance,

that you have Golan to the Israeli Defense Minister has ordered what he called a complete siege on Gaza.

Cutting off all food, electricity and fuel to a place where 2 million people are living now, according to the World Food Programme 63 percent of

the population of Gaza is, "food insecure". The Israelis are of course preparing by all accounts for a massive ground incursion invasion into

Gaza, sending lots of armor in that direction.

Now, it's not clear how far they're going to go. But certainly in 2008, 2009, when there was a prolonged outbreak of violence between Gaza and

Israel. The Israelis did cut the Gaza strip in half, but they avoided going into population centers in 2014, Israeli forces entered the Gaza Strip.

But yet again, avoided going into population centers. Now the expectation is, this time, given the gravity of the situation, the Israeli operation in

Gaza will be much more extensive. It may take time for that to happen. But of course, what we're seeing is that there are, according to the Israelis


So far 130 strikes in Gaza, they say on Hamas targets, but what we've seen is that they seem to be having done away with what's known as the knock on

the roof where a small explosive device is directed at the building, they plan on hitting a sort of a warning shot for people to leave.

Sometimes the Israelis will actually call people in the building and tell them to evacuate. It doesn't seem to be happening. At the moment in Jabalia

in the northern part in the Jabalia refugee camp in Northern Gaza. There was a strike earlier today the extent of damage from the videos we're

seeing is massive.

There's talk of as many as 50 people being killed in that strike alone. And I think the expectation people of Gaza are that this is just the beginning

of what's going to be a very long and difficult period.

HUNT: Ben Wedeman in Jerusalem. Thank you very much for that. We're going to dive into all of this now with today's panel. Natan Sachs is the

Director of the Brookings Institution Center for Middle East Policy, Vivian Salama and National Security Reporter for The Wall Street Journal.

And David Sanger is CNN's Political and National Security Analyst. He also serves as a White House National Security Correspondent at the New York

Times. And David, let me start with you. Because you have covered this whole career essentially, and can help us understand that.

Ben was walking us through some of what may happen in the Gaza Strip in the coming days, really unprecedented.

DAVID SANGER, CNN POLITICAL AND NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: It is and it poses a whole series of dilemmas for Prime Minister Netanyahu, his

government for President Biden as he tries to support the Israelis. So the first dilemma is what do you do about the hostages?

There are, as you said, more than 100. We've been reporting at the times the number may be closer to 150. Clearly, some of those are also American

citizens so that we don't know how many. But in any case, hostages for any society are a big deal. And for Israel, as you know, it's going to be a

huge issue.

So they've got competing instincts here. One is to go in to clear out Hamas and the second is saving the lives of those hostages, and the hostages

presumably are in tunnels or in the middle of Gaza. The second problem is its, one thing to go into Gaza, which we have seen happen before, though

not in a long time.

It's another thing to stay in Gaza, right. And this is the same problem the United States faced when it went into Afghanistan, when it went into Iraq,

because at some point, if you become an occupying force, you just get a constant guerrilla war. So the Israeli government is going to have to make

the decision about how far does it want to go.

And the third issue and you're seeing it right in these pictures here is going to be one of proportionality.


OK, so then tragic for the Israelis we think they're about 700 dead you could see numbers that went way above that fairly quickly if the Israelis

sustained this kind of a campaign, and many Palestinians living in Gaza are not fans of Hamas.

HUNT: Natan, this is a region you spend all of your time focused on, you obviously have deep ties to Israel itself. I mean, just talk about what

David, kind of laid out there and what you see being the next turn in Gaza?

NATAN SACHS, DIRECTOR OF CENTER FOR MIDDLE EAST POLICY OF THE BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: But what's interesting, not interesting, tragic about this

case is that it's not just another round. This is not just another repeat of previous times, in Israeli psyche, this is, you know, to a large degree,

Israel's 9/11 would happen on Saturday was so barbaric, and so ostentatious in Israeli minds.

And we haven't even seen all the pictures yet. That the mood in Israel is very different than it's been in the past. David spoke very well about the

price that Israel would pay if it went in, and especially if it stayed there. But Israel is now willing to take prices to take costs and to also,

you know, take prices also from the Gazans, unfortunately, that it wasn't in the past.

And so we could definitely see a massive invasion. We might also see even an attempt to take down Hamas, which is something as well as never done

since Hamas took over the Gaza Strip, taking -- and taking over the Gaza Strip. We've seen Israel live with Hamas, of course, an enemy, but at least

in the dress they can deal with.

Now, a lot of things have changed in Israel. I don't know if the government will decide to topple Hamas. It is not out of the question. It was in

previous rounds. It's not today.

HUNT: And Vivian, your paper has been reporting some of the origins of this. We obviously haven't quite jumped into the conversation about Iran

yet at this table. But it certainly seems as though sources that are speaking to the journal, they say from Hamas and Hezbollah, are saying

that, hey, Iran was deeply involved in this.

VIVIAN SALAMA, NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER FOR WALL STREET JOURNAL: Right, number of my colleagues in the Middle East reported that Iran had basically

cooked up a plan with leaders in Hamas and Hezbollah as well, trying to find a way to essentially execute this plan.

The administration here in Washington denies that they say they haven't actually seen any direct evidence of direct involvement by Iran in this

particular case. But they say there's no doubt that Iran over the past few years has been arming, equipping, funding, advising Hamas fighters.

And so you know, whether or not they were directly involved, it remains to be seen the U.S. doesn't have that Intel yet which then raises the question

again, of the intelligence, what America knew, what Israel knew?

HUNT: And you know, David, you've covered this community for your whole career. How did they miss this?

SANGER: This is fascinating, because Kasie, this was not just an intelligence failure. There was obviously an inability to go hear the

chatter, which is amazing. Considering how much the Israelis have wired up the inside of Gaza, there was an inability to see these missiles coming


Usually, they've been so good at this, that they have picked out ships or a bomb maker who was you know, driving to work that failed. And finally, when

the events actually happened, the response was strikingly slow. So you've got Israeli institutions at this moment that as an autonomous pointed out,

you know, is bringing the country together.

But, when things settle down, there is going to be a real reckoning of how a country that has spent 75 years figuring out how to defend itself, in

these cases, allowed this to happen.

HUNT: Natan, briefly.

SACHS: It's really amazing. It's really civil society has come together, people feel a lot of unity, the demonstrations against Anthony out are set

aside or they're not forgotten by any means. But the government seems to be absent and the sense among Israelis of a government that has not functioned

as it should.

And moreover, a military that does not function as it should for hours after hundreds of Hamas people came in started slaughtering communities

killing families in their homes. The military seemed to be absent and as a military that's close by that is very powerful. It is very strange.

I'll just warn though this could be a Pyrrhic victory for Hamas. Israel responded very badly. This was a debacle. But it's also going to come back

it is way stronger than Hamas. And I say this with deep regret. It's going to be terrible in the Gaza Strip in the coming days. I say that was zero

Glee, this is going to be absolutely horrendous.

And what has been opened here will be not only damaging for Israel and the Israeli military with enormous costs, it will also be terrible for the Gaza

Strip. I hope not for Lebanon.

HUNT: It's going to be more terrible in the Gaza Strip. Let's just say it's been terrible for a long time.

SACHS: Yes, it is.

HUNT: Yes. All right, up next here, the latest from Jerusalem, families wait in horror and desperation as Hamas says it's holding scores of Israeli

hostages in Gaza.



HUNT: You are looking at live pictures of the Gaza Strip. And as you can see airstrikes are continuing that cloud of smoke growing larger even since

we first showed you some of it at the top of this hour. So we of course are back to our breaking news. Hamas says that they're holding more than 100

hostages after their attack on Israel.

Many families say that they found out from videos that were posted on social media. These images show Hamas taking captives near the Israeli-Gaza

border. And in this disturbing video and Israeli father watched Hamas fighters force his terrified daughter onto the back of a motorcycle, that

father talked with CNN's Becky Anderson.


ANDERSON: It was Noa, frightened and threatened he says. You don't want to believe it even though you can clearly see it our daughter.


HUNT: Israeli military officials tell CNN that they will do everything possible to bring the hostages home. And they're vowing to strike back

against every Hamas militant involved.


LT. COL. RICHARD HECHT, INTERNATIONAL IDF SPOKESPERSON: These are not soldiers that they've taken. They've taken grandmothers, children, young

girls and I've seen gruesome and barbaric things on their social Medias of driving them in the streets and showcasing these young girls the fake touch

a hair on their head, we will get every one of them. This is something we have experienced before an unprecedented attack.


HUNT: Wow and again you are looking at live pictures from the Gaza Strip as the sun is setting there where it is 6:20 in the evening, and we have are

joined by CNN Hadas Gold who is live in Jerusalem with the latest on this terrible hostage situation, Hadas.


HADAS GOLD, CNN JERUSALEM CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Kasie, I mean, there are at least 100 hostages from what we understand from what Hamas says from what

my own sources say they've been saying the numbers are in the dozens that were taken by Hamas from their homes, from the streets from that music

festival and taken with them into Gaza.

We have now heard from some family members who say some of these hostages are as young as nine months old. So we're talking about babies that have

been taken. Hamas says that these hostages are being held in locations across Gaza. But as we watch these very, very heavy airstrikes, literally

flattened buildings in Gaza, you have to wonder, what is happening with these hostages?

Where are they? Now essentially, by putting them in different locations around Gaza, Hamas is using them as human shields against these airstrikes.

But you cannot watch what's happening in Gaza right now without wondering what will happen to these hostages. And also that makes it even more likely

that there will be a ground incursion by the Israeli military.

Because how can you rescue hostages necessarily from the air? I have a feeling there will be a ground incursion there. Meanwhile, actually out

here in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, we've had our share of sirens again today, rockets were fired towards Jerusalem. And there were actually several

injuries including a 10 year old boy who is in I believe, serious condition according to medical officials here.

It is very strange to hear sirens in Jerusalem with this intensity. This is where the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound is, or also known as temple mount to the

Jews. This is where so many holy places are and rockets coming this way. Normally, Jerusalem is sort of kept out of this situation, or there might

get a few rockets stored up to the suburbs around it.

It is very unusual to hear rockets exploding over our head in Jerusalem, just because of the chance that one of these rockets could land on these

holy sites in the middle of Jerusalem in the Old City.

HUNT: Yes, you know, it's a really striking point. And for anyone who has spent time there, you know, they're all actually very close together so

very, very early.

GOLD: Really -- today.

HUNT: Yes, you're right, Hadas Gold, thank you very much for that report. Stay safe. And I'm sure we'll be back with you soon. We are going to bring

our panel in. Now joining us is CNN Military Analyst retired U.S. Air Force, Colonel Cedric Leighton. Natan and David are back with us as well.

Colonel, let me start with you. And I just want to pick up on what Hadas was talking about with a ground incursion, potentially into Gaza to try and

rescue these hostages. We were talking a little bit earlier about why it is that Israel's never really done anything like that before. There are a lot

of hurdles.

This will be an incredibly difficult military operation. But it may be an utterly necessary one. How do you see it playing out?

COL. CEDRIC LEIGHTON (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Yes, this is going to be extremely difficult, Kasie. And the reason it is because any ground

incursion is going to be tough, but this one has particular problems with it, because Gaza is such a crowded area.

There are so many nooks and crannies, alleyways, all kinds of things that they would have to overcome in order to find the hostages, for example --

HUNT: -- like the most nightmarish place to fight a counterinsurgency.

LEIGHTON: Absolutely.

HUNT: Yes.

LEIGHTON: You know, you think of big urban battles, like you know, Stalingrad from World War Two or something.

HUNT: Fallujah.

LEIGHTON: Fallujah, yes in Iraq, absolutely. I would say a magnitude 10 times greater than what you saw in Fallujah is a possibility here in Gaza,

just because of the cavernous nature of the settlements there. And the very fact that Hamas is really implanted in almost every place there.

And that's going to be a really difficult thing for the Israeli forces to contend with. They can do it, but it's going to be very tough for them.

HUNT: Yes. David, we've also learned that it's likely that there are Americans among these hostages. Senator Tim Scott is running for President

was on with my colleague, Abby Phillip last night, and he has said that America needs to help try and rescue these hostages, he wouldn't explain

exactly what that would mean. But in the course of your reporting, I mean, how would the U.S. support something like this?

SANGER: A little bit difficult. I mean, at this point, almost all of those who are being held hostages from everything I've heard are likely dual

citizens. So Israel and the United States, no doubt, we'll try to work together. But it's hard for me to imagine in this circumstance.

President Biden thinking that it would do a whole lot of good to have American troops going in there as well. The Israelis obviously are quite

trained in this and they've done this before. But as we were discussing a little bit before, and Cedric and I were discussing last night.

That impetus to go in and deal with Hamas is going to run head on into the impetus to save lives among the hostages, which is exactly why the hostages

were taken, right. And so this is going to have to be done quite delicately. I wouldn't be surprised if the Israelis did a full ground

invasion anytime soon, partly because of the complexity.

And partly because they're going to want to see if they can negotiate the hostages way out before they have to take this kind of risk.


HUNT: Natan, do you agree with that?

SACHS: I don't know is the answer there's a lot of pressure domestically for a very forceful operation something that would be much greater than in

previous times but whatever set is exactly right. And the report of babies, young children or people, among the hostages, does two things.

It makes the blood boil for Israelis, and it policy in for revenge, which is not good policy ever. But it's certainly an impetus there. But it also,

of course, stays everyone's hand. I'll just say what I said, again, because this is so ostentatious because of what happened on Saturday.

I think the willingness of Israelis to incur costs. They did not the past possibility of many dead among the soldiers, and even among the hostages

might be greater than the past. It's a nightmare dilemma, and what the Netanyahu and possibly the opposition leaders if they join the government,

will have to deal with in the coming days.

HUNT: Yes, I mean, it's Cedric the sort of big picture here. And as Israel decides this, in tandem, you have the Americans have sent a carrier strike

group into the region, what signal does that send? And what are the other potential U.S. signals that could come in, in the coming days?

LEIGHTON: Well, the biggest signal is one of support for Israel. And you know, as Natan was mentioning, you know, you've got a situation where you

have a lot of different factors at play here. So there's some political angle, you know, where people are going to demand action of one type or


And you've got the practical angle, you know, that David is also talking about where the carrier strike group is going to be there as a show of the

flag of the U.S. flag. It's also going to perhaps put a damper on actions by other powers that might possibly want to come in, like the Iranians, for

example, or Hezbollah, you know, but those things really depend on a lot of other factors.

And one of the big problems, I think, that I see with this, is if you have a carrier strike group in the area, there's the possibility of asymmetric

warfare efforts, going after that carrier strike group such as you might see in the Persian Gulf, for example, like what the Iranians do in places

like that.

SANGER: The way one administration official put it to me yesterday was the strike group is 70 percent, about telling the Iranians stay away from this,

and about 30 percent providing support, including medical evacuation, evacuation of American citizens, you know, all that. It would be, you know,

malpractice not to have that strike group nearby.

If they had the opportunity to go do it but there is a risk. And, you know, the question is, do the Iranians really want to go mess with the Gerald R.

Ford, you know, group that comes along there?

HUNT: If they did, what are the consequences?

SANGER: So the consequences would be pretty immediate and pretty severe. My guess is they're not going to do that. You know, they will voice as

President Raisi he did today, some support for Hamas. But I would doubt that they're going to like, step out and try to go interfere in a direct

way right now.

HUNT: Right, fair enough, Cedric, last word.

LEIGHTON: It's also logistically difficult for the Iranians to do that. They can but it might be really tough in that particular --


HUNT: Yes. Now that makes sense. All right, we've got to go more on our breaking news because look at that there's a massive explosion in Gaza

right now that you are seeing live. And of course we are live along Israel's border with Gaza as these missiles are fired. And sirens have been

hurting Israel's largest city. Stay with us.



HUNT: All right, you are watching live and hearing, live strikes on the Gaza Strip. Right now as the sun is setting over Israel. This happened just

moments ago. This major barrage of course, our Nic Robertson is quite nearby to this. And I want to bring him in now.

Sorry, we were just pausing to listen to that there. Nic, you're very close to what has been unfolding what our viewers have been watching on their

screens. What's the latest there where you are?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, quite literally hearing the fighter jets going in and coming back from Gaza there. And just

as you were speaking to me, I saw a convoy of about seven or eight army Israeli Defense Force trucks with troops and go by. This is a sign of what

we're seeing more of this more than coming up the road here.

Now, more and more Israeli Defense Force troops dispersed around this area of Israel close to the Gaza Strip, increasing numbers as an empty tank

transporter going up the road as well. But the whole sort of atmosphere of what's happening here is you hear the fighter jets, you hear those huge

explosions coming up from Gaza.

You see the plumes of smoke coming up. And as the sun is going down here, I have to say that this is typically a time you would expect Hamas to be

trained of and other groups inside Gaza, to be trained to fire out rockets. They often use this sort of early period of sunset, to try to use that

little bit of darkness to see what they're doing.

But also try to evade being spotted firing out rockets. It's not clear that they'll do it at this time tonight that might be just a little predictable.

But it wouldn't be surprising if they did. And that would also explain the continued strikes at this time to try to disrupt Hamas, Islamic Jihad and

those other groups of their terror activities inside Gaza to try to destabilize them and take back the initiative. That's another jet just

flying in here over towards Gaza, so an ongoing situation here, Kasie.

HUNT: Nic, is this something what we're witnessing these jets that we expect to continue through the night?

ROBERTSON: Absolutely. It'll have a tempo, it'll have a rhythm, there will be targets that will be looked for acquired. There will be an effort to

suppress Hamas Islamic Jihad activity, there will be an effort to when there is to go after those targets of opportunity, there will also be

targets in their Hamas leadership targets.

So if active, real time intelligence comes in that pinpoints a senior Hamas figure at a certain location, then you can expect specific targeting on

that. But right now, this will be to absolutely control and stop and put pressure on Hamas to control and stop any rocket launchers that are coming

out. So this will continue through the night. I think that we can be pretty sure.

HUNT: All right, Nic Robertson, stay safe. My friend, I'm sure we'll be talking to you continually throughout the night. Thank you very much. Let's

bring our panel back. Vivian Salama covers National Security for the Wall Street Journal. And joining us is Paul Begala; he's a CNN Political

Commentator and a former adviser in the Clinton Administration.

And of course David Sanger is CNN's Political and National Security Analyst; he also serves as the White House National Security Correspondent

at the New York Times.


This obviously, you know, we're very early for political conversations, but not for geopolitical ones. And Paul Begala, you have been in rooms advising

presidents when crises have unfolded. This is a very significant crisis for the Biden Administration. What are the conversations that are happening

behind the scenes?

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: It is. Well, the first thing is he's got to have clarity of message which I think he has. He stood with

Secretary of State and he said America's commitment to Israel is unbreakable, full stop. Israel has right to defend itself full stop. I

think that's important.

I think he needs to communicate that there's a vast difference between the two sides here. Terrorism has meaning. Terrorism means targeting civilians

with violence to achieve a political end, intentional targeting, that is what Hamas has done. It is not what the Israeli Defense Forces were seeing

these attacks in Gaza.

Israel is trying their best to target military targets, as Nic reported, right, rocket launchers. I think the president needs explained that the

American people we know about terrorism here. I have worked in Israel as well, in Israeli politics.

HUNT: Yes.

BEGALA: They experienced terrorism tragically, frequently. So I think that's the first thing. The second thing is built out of bipartisan

support. Kevin McCarthy used to be the speaker; he was a strong supporter of Israel.

HUNT: Right.

BEGALA: I wish we had a speaker. It'd be better if it was from the other party, frankly, for Biden. So you could show both parties standing strong

for Israel. It would also help frankly, if he could get any of his generals or admirals confirmed for partisan reasons. One Republican Senator Tommy

Tuberville has blocked them. It would be helpful if we could get an eight package for Israel and one for Ukraine.

HUNT: -- Ambassador to Israel.

BEGALA: And Ambassador Jack Lew has been nominated to be terrific, former Treasury secretary. They've blocked all that. So he does have partisan

problems to deal with at home.

HUNT: I mean, the reality, Vivian is that, you know, when we were when I was covering the speaker's debacle last week, I mean, I said, you know,

when I was speaking with one of my colleagues that the main problem with this is that God forbid, there's a crisis. And we, the United States

government are unable to respond.

And I don't think anybody was sitting there last week thinking that this was going to be the crisis. But the reality is to Paul's point, right now,

the U.S. government is not in a position to pass an aid package, because Congress is not functioning. What does that do for us on the geopolitical


SALAMA: So you know, the dysfunction in Congress is definitely something that's been talked about all weekend. You know, talking to senior officials

at the White House, who is telling us constantly that they're trying to find workarounds at this point.

HUNT: Right.

SALAMA: That's a big chunk of how they spent this weekend. They were able to send a couple of fighter jets to Israel to kind of help them with their

needs in the short term. But in the longer term, they keep on trying to debate whether or not they can provide additional military assistance or

any other kind of assistance.

And you need Congress to do that. You need a speaker to be able to do that. And so, they're literally dusting off some of the old books about how

Congress functions to try to find workarounds to see what they can do. But right now, it is really being felt definitely in the halls of the White

House, but also throughout the government.

HUNT: Yes. David, there recently was a deal made to release some American hostages in Iran. And the money that was sent to Qatar, it was they were

Iranian funds that were unfrozen. They're held in a bank in Qatar ostensibly for humanitarian purposes, that money is already becoming a

significant political conversation.

Is the Biden Administration going to look back on that and say, it was a mistake right now? They're saying anything that ties that to what we're

seeing here is disinformation. That's what they're saying.

SANGER: It's also just not factual that these two are sort of related to each other right? The money was in South Korea, it was Iranian money

deposited in South Korea, that the Iranians would have had some, some purchase on anyway. It has now been moved to, as you say, a bank, gutter,

or two banks.

And it can only be dispersed under certain circumstances for humanitarian purposes. Now, if somebody cheats on that, I suspect we'll probably find

out about it pretty quickly. It's a pretty far stretch to say that that has any relationship here other than the fact that the president's political

opponents didn't like it, at the time.

Didn't know quite what to say about it, because it involved the release of Americans from Iran, we've been trying to get out. Countries make all kinds

of deals to get releases. Israel to get back a soldier a few years ago released over a thousand Palestinians. So you know this is part of the ugly

nature of this.

Just to Paul and Vivian's point though, really its interesting moment here for the Republicans who have normally stood completely behind Israel. They

are now confronted with getting themselves organized for this package and making a decision on whether or not they're going to continue aid to

Ukraine, which has sharply divided the Republican Party.

How they would explain on TV, supporting our great ally Israel and not supporting Ukraine after it's been invaded by Russia would be quite a bit

of footwork. And it's interesting we have not heard very much from the Republican candidates so far.


HUNT: Yes, we're going to have a lot of tough questions for everyone in the days ahead. All right ahead here as night falls in Israel, we're taking a

closer look at how all of this has unfolded. And we are live on the ground in Tel Aviv as more rockets are fired, that's next.


HUNT: Welcome back. We are looking at live pictures it has, night has fallen on the third day of this war between Israel and Hamas. And the

Israeli Defense Minister has ordered a complete siege of Gaza. Israel says that they'll prevent food, water and fuel and electricity from entering

Gaza. So how do we get here, CNN's Clare Sebastian takes a look at the events of the past several days.

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: One of the bloodiest weekends in Israel's recent history began at dawn on Saturday and on this border

separating the 25 mile Gaza strip from the rest of Israel. Well, here are some of the locations where Hamas militants broke through identified by a

CNN analysis of the close to a dozen Hamas propaganda videos.

They range from up in the north by the arrows crossing up there. You can see this video here released by the armed wing of Hamas on Saturday showing

militants storming that border post and then down as far south as well as close to Sufa near the Egyptian border. The IDF even reported an attack by

see militants landing on the beach up here at Zikim.

The worst violence so far will that was here near Re'im, a kibbutz or agricultural community. It was an outdoor music festival. You can see some

of the aftermath here as of Sunday morning. At least 260 bodies have been found according to Israeli authorities. That's part of a broader picture of

indiscriminate killing and hostage taking as militants advanced several miles into Israeli territory, the idea of having to evacuate more than 20

border communities.


Well this has not just been on land, rockets have been fired multiple rockets from Gaza towards the coastal towns of Ashdon and Ashkelon. Hamas

is also claiming to have fired rockets towards Ben Gurion Airport, which is just outside Tel Aviv and sirens have even been had in Jerusalem.

Well, now the focus shifts back to Gaza and that promised mighty vengeance from Israel. The moment in this video you'll see it in a minute of an

Israeli airstrike on Gaza. Hundreds have been reported dead after Israeli strikes, pounded the strip leveling in some cases, entire apartment blocks.

Now there's already no way out of this territory for civilians, and Israel has now promised to cut off both free food, fuel and electricity. Well, the

concern now is also for the broader region and potential spillover. Hezbollah has already claimed that it targets several Israeli positions up

here near the northern border on Sunday morning, Israel firing back.

Two Israeli tourists were also shot dead Sunday in the Egyptian city of Alexandria. Now Iran, which supports Hamas and Hezbollah, denies any

involvement. And the U.S. says it has no direct information linking Iran to the Hamas attacks. Now this is also thrown into that U.S. diplomatic effort

to bring Saudi Arabia and Israel closer together.

The U.S. now attorney to more practical measures, it says as a deterrent to prevent further attacks, deploying an aircraft carrier strike group right

there to the eastern Mediterranean. Clare Sebastian CNN, London.

HUNT: All right. Meanwhile, there are increasing concerns about the situation developing on Israel's northern border with Lebanon. For the

latest CNN's Becky Anderson is live in Tel Aviv, Becky?

ANDERSON: Yes, and we are certainly seeing some activity on the northern border here. And we've I can actually I've got line of sight to the

northern border of Israel, southern Lebanon, of course. And we've seen plumes of smoke from there today, as we understand that the IDF targeted a

number of suspects who'd infiltrated into Israeli territory.

Nobody has claimed responsibility for whom or nobody has claimed, who those targets were from which group. There are a number of groups, of course

working in southern Lebanon, those who are associated with Hamas, Iran backed and of course, Hezbollah, a significant force on that southern

border of Lebanon.

I want to bring in for you at this stage, Kim Ghattas, who is in Beirut. Kim, you know the ratcheting up of what we are seeing here in Israel, and

in Gaza to this northern border of Israel. And this offensive strike that we've seen by the Israelis today is significant. But we need to work out

how significant. So what do you make of what we are seeing?

KIM GHATTAS, LEBANESE JOURNALIST: Well, we've seen some skirmishes on the border between Lebanon and Israel since Saturday and Sunday and again

today. We have heard reports that the -- Brigade of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad has claimed that they are responsible for these, for these rockets

being fired at Israel.

And we're just hearing from the news agency Reuters that one Hezbollah member has been killed in the Israeli retaliatory fire against Southern

Lebanon. So this is getting rather tense on Lebanon's southern borders, Israel's northern border, and it could develop.

However, for now there's a sense that Hezbollah will not want to escalate further that this is still part of a very carefully choreographed dance, a

deadly dance sometimes between Hezbollah and Israel, where Hezbollah can say that it is there in support of its Palestinian brothers.

And it has issued statements to that effect, saying that it is there in support of its Palestinian brothers. But aiming very carefully and limiting

the room of maneuver of the groups operating on the southern border in a way that is also understood by the Israelis. But these things can slip and

deteriorate very quickly.

ANDERSON: Understood. The wider region here of the Middle East doesn't need a full scale of conflict here between Israel and Hamas. And it certainly

doesn't need to see an escalation in a conflict which could spill across borders. How concerned are you at this stage that there could be

significant consequences to what we are seeing here in Israel?


GHATTAS: Well, there's no doubt that this is the axis of resistance as its known. Hezbollah, Iran, Hamas, making clear that it disapproves rather

violently and vehemently of the efforts at normalization between Israel and its Arab neighbors.

We've had a lot of talk over the last few weeks about advancement in the talks between or the possibility of normalization between Israel and Saudi

Arabia. This events, these events, these violent events over the last few days make very clear what Hamas, Iran and Hezbollah think of that.

And all their statements have made clear that this is a response to those normalization efforts. However, as everybody's been reporting, there is no

evidence of any Iranian involvement in the planning of the attack that took place by Hamas on Saturday.

There is a long standing relationship that has been strengthened between Hamas and Iran over the last few, over the last year or so it gets weapons

and arms and money from Iran. But it's been interesting to see even the U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken say that although there is a long

relationship between the two sides, there is no evidence of a direct involvement.

I think everybody wants to try to stop this from spilling over. But the very immediate consequences, of course, are what is going to happen in

Gaza. And it is distressing to hear the language coming out of Israel, talking about Palestinians as human animals, talking about a siege that is

going to deprive Gaza of electricity, food and water.

Half the population are children. The collective punishment approach does not work. And sadly, I see echoes of past campaigns going all the way up to

1982 in Lebanon, when then Defense Minister Ariel Sharon wanted to remove the PLO from Lebanon invaded all the way up to Beirut.

But instead what happened, he invited Iran into the conflict. That was the birth of Iran's involvement in all of this.

ANDERSON: Kim it's always good to have you. We'll have you back. You know, clearly we are in the early days here. And the IDF describe this as just

the beginning. Your analysis and insight on how this could have significant consequences for the wider region is extremely important. Thank you very

much indeed for joining us, Kasie?

GHATTAS: Thanks for having me.

HUNT: Becky Anderson in Tel Aviv thanks very much for that. And our viewers were looking at more live strikes in Gaza just a moment ago. But one of the

first and deadliest attacks by Hamas was at a music festival on a farm near the Gaza Israel border.

Hundreds of festival goers were surprised by gunfighters in the early morning hours on Saturday; many ran only to be struck down while running.

CNN's Nada Bashir spoke with the parents of those missing.


NADA BASHIR, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): This was Israel's nova music festival in the early hours of Saturday morning. But in the distance rocket

is seemingly intercepted in the dawn sky. The festival then brought to an abrupt, terrifying end, as Hamas gunmen launched a deadly rampage, killing

hundreds and taking dozens hostage.

RICARDA LOUK, MOTHER OF SHANI LOUK: They were just shooting at them and taking them by force. They were waiting. My daughter tried to get to her

car and they had military people standing by the cars and was shooting, so people couldn't reach their cars even to go away. And that's when they took


BASHIR (voice-over): 21-year-old Adi Maizel was also among those targeted in the ambush. Her mother hope she could still be alive, held captive in

Gaza. But fears time is quickly running out.

UHUVA MAIZEL, MOTHER OF ADI MAIZEL: I'm a mother who was looking for her daughter, she's missing. I think I believe she's hurt. She's bleeding

someone and like me, there are more hundreds families that are looking for their beloved. I'm a mother; I want to protect my kid. That's all I want to

do. And I'm sure that all mothers in the other side in Gaza in everywhere that they are not me are thinking the same thing.

BASHIR (voice-over): Dashcam footage geo located by CNN shows Hamas gunmen at the site shooting and killing people at point blank range. The site of

Saturday's massacre now stands eerily quiet, charred cars line nearby streets. Hamas claims that has captured more than a hundred Israeli

citizens. There is no exact figure yet from the Israel Defense Forces.


The result, dozens of families left in anguish, all hoping against hope for a miracle.

MIRAV LESHEM, MOTHER OF MISSING DAUGHTER: She calls and said, mum, they're shooting at us, the car has hit. We are all wounded. I don't know how you

feel, but the nightmare of a parent sitting in here and her child saying mum, come and help me and we cannot do a thing, nothing. Only to be with

her on the phone and say to her mommy, I love you. Mommy, hide.

BASHIR (voice-over): But as their anxious wait continues, questions are also beginning to mount as to how an attack of this scale was allowed to

take place.

URI DAVID, FATHER OF MISSING DAUGHTER: What is happening is unbelievable, simply unbelievable. I join; we join in grieving of all the families. We

demand answers, not all the answers will be happy ones.

BASHIR (voice-over): Nada Bashir, CNN.


HUNT: While you are watching live pictures of Israeli strikes on the Gaza Strip. I am Kasie Hunt. Our breaking news coverage continues after this

quick break, don't go anywhere.