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State of the Race with Kasie Hunt

Hamas Threatens to Kill Hostages as Israel Attacks Gaza; Iran's Supreme Leader Denies Involvement in Hamas Attack; President Biden Set to Speak with Israeli PM Netanyahu Today; U.S. Aid to Israel Stalls Without House Speaker; Hamas Fires Hundreds of Rockets at Southern Israel; Israeli Hospitals Treating the Wounded After Attacks. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired October 10, 2023 - 11:00   ET




KASIE HUNT, CNNI HOST: Hello, everyone, I'm Kasie Hunt to our viewers watching in the United States and around the world. It is Tuesday, October

10, 11 am here in Washington and 6 pm in Israel. And we begin our coverage there Palestinian militants are launching waves of rockets from Gaza today.

Projectiles have been seen streaking through the sky. Hamas announced earlier they were warning residents of Ashkelon to leave the city by 5 pm

local time. That deadline passed about an hour ago. This is day four of a war triggered by the Hamas invasion and the death toll from that attack

keeps climbing as officials recover more victims.

We want to warn you some of what you're about to see is disturbing. The Israeli military says more than 900 people were killed when the Palestinian

militants stormed into Southern Israel. This has been Israel's response, Gaza is under siege. Israel's military says a blistering air campaign hit

more than 200 targets overnight.

Israeli forces appear to be staging for what could be a ground operation. And the IDF says it has "more or less" secured the border fence with Gaza.

But sending troops in is going to be very difficult. Palestinian civilians of course will be caught up in the fighting. Palestinian health officials

say more than 700 people have already been killed, and Hamas has hostages.

Israel's U.N. Ambassador says the group may be holding up to 150. The militants are threatening to kill them and televise it if airstrikes

continue without warning. For the latest CNN's Becky Anderson is live now for us in Tel Aviv. Becky, in the hours since we last spoke. What have you

seen unfolding there?

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN ANCHOR CONNECT THE WORLD: Yes, we've just come back from a press conference held by families of four U.S. citizens missing

presumed to be held by Hamas at present, and it was a very emotional event. But what was very clear from the families of those that we weren't

listening to today.

And this range from a young 23 year old boy who was at the music festival and hasn't been seen since that music festival, of course was raided by

attacked by Hamas on Saturday morning at range from this 23 year old -- to a 66 year old grandmother who has disappeared from a Kibbutz on the

southern border with Gaza.

And her son and her daughter were speaking to us today. And what was made very, very clear from those who were in attendance today is that they want

to hear more from the Israeli government. And they want to hear from the U.S. government and their message was very pointedly directed at U.S.

President Joe Biden and the U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken.

Itay is a 19 year old he's a reservist who was deployed to tackle this attack when he went missing on Saturday morning and his father Rubi spoke

earlier have listened to what he said.


RUBI CHEN, FATHER OF MISSING ISRAELI RESERVIST: We do list on behalf of my family. I'm asking U.S. not to take a backseat.


The U.S. has a lot of resources and its attention it is able to do many things that can be different than what the Israeli government could do. And

we are asking on behalf of my family for President Biden, well, we assure his heart is in the right place when it comes to Israel, Secretary of State

to do what they can to make this and for us as soon as possible.


ANDERSON: Whether or not it came across in what Rubi was saying there the frustration from this family, and I think he probably did, the frustration

from these families is absolutely palpable. They feel effectively abandoned at this point. Look, they also understand this has been an incredibly

chaotic situation.

Certainly those first hours and what is emerging out of those first sorts of 10, 15 hours is almost I mean, it's unimaginable and it's almost, you

can't really get your head around what happened at that music event 260 youngsters slaughtered. What happened at this Kibbutz is along the border.

People hiding in their shelters, they're very used to incoming fire there incoming rockets. But they sheltered and 10 hours later, they had basically

been traumatized, and terrorized by these militants banging on the windows, murdering people on these Kibbutzes, and then banging on these windows.

And eventually getting through to people and taking them back as hostages out to Gaza. So a very frustrated set of families, as I say, U.S. citizens

appealing directly to the U.S. administration at this point, but it just sort of, you know, it's part of this wider story here, which is just, I've

sort of a vacuum of information, which you can, to a certain extent, understand.

But you know, it really is, it's just expanding and intensity, the entire thing, not just sort of, you know, what's going on the ground, but the

emotion here as well.

HUNT: Of course, Becky Anderson, thank you very much for that. And let's dive into all of this with today's panel. Joining me is retired Air Force

Colonel and CNN Military Analyst Cedric Leighton, CNN National Security Analyst Peter Bergen, Also with me Columnist for the Washington Post, Josh


And finally CNN Senior International Correspondent, Sam Kiley, who is live in London. And Sam, let me start with you. And let's follow up on what,

Becky, was reporting there with the families of these hostages. Can you help us understand what are the options for trying to bring these hostages

home diplomatic military?

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think they're very limited in terms of Israel's allies, United States and other

countries, number of Britons, French and South Americans missing. So there's an international community will want to get involved in this to

some extent, at the very least in terms of liaising with the Israeli government over exactly that question.

Now, the straight answer to that is there is a negotiated settlement or a military settlement to this. Now, Hamas want to have negotiations over the

future of the hostages, it has been to their advantage in the past. Last time they grabbed an Israeli soldier, he was eventually exchanged for over

1000 Palestinian prisoners.

Now, if they've got 100 plus hostages in Gaza, that ratio looks rather extraordinary. But at the same time, of course, there is this military

operation that is ongoing. In terms of airstrikes, it's an all probability going to lead to ground operations that will inevitably jeopardize the

safety of the hostages, even if they were not being threatened with execution by Hamas.

Hamas would probably take some pressure from potentially Qatar and Egypt that do have lines of communication into the Hamas leadership trying to

persuade them that they have gone already very, very far down the route of ISIS type atrocities that international sympathy for the wider Palestinian

cause is being undermined.

And that they need to be able to recover their position, perhaps morally, if that's at all possible by being less hardline over the hostage issue.

And then of course, there is the possibility of a hostage rescue operation. But that, frankly, is impossible in the prevailing military circumstances.

HUNT: Right.

KILEY: Even if they did have the intelligence as to where they are, which I strongly doubt they don't.

HUNT: Yes, so let's break that down into two pieces with our expert panel here. And we'll take the military piece first and then the intelligence

piece, Peter. So Cedric, I mean, from a military perspective, this operation is just I mean, if not insurmountable or impossible, just

extremely challenging at a bare minimum.

CEDRIC LEIGHTON, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Yes, Kasie, it is one of the most complex military operations that any force is going to undertake, probably

the next to decade or so. Because what you're looking at is not only a very crowded area to get into, but also the fact that Hamas has had time.


They've had time to prepare all kinds of things everything from traps to ambush locations, all kinds of things that may not be known to Israeli

intelligence, even if it is very detailed intelligence, you know, the kind of intelligence that tells you which way the doors open and which way the

light switches work, things like that. So --

HUNT: There are reasons to doubt that they have even that level of --

LEIGHTON: Yes, that's true. But we have to also think about the fact that strategic intelligence failure does not necessarily mean a tactical

intelligence failure.

HUNT: -- yes.

LEIGHTON: So when you look at what happened, for example, with the U.S. after Pearl Harbor, that was an absolute strategic intelligence failure,

but then we rebounded --

HUNT: Once we applied ourselves.

LEIGHTON: Once we applied ourselves, once we thought about it, we actually figured out what to do and so the Israelis can do that, but they're going

to have a really steep hill to climb in this case.

HUNT: So Peter Bergen, I mean, weigh in on that. And then also, I mean, what are, Sam mentioned these other channels that are open around these

hostages, people that are talking to Hamas? What are the possible outcomes or scenarios there?

PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, one hostage rescue operation is one. The hostage can often be killed either by the captors, or

by the rescuers even SEAL Team Six kills hostages when they try and rescue hostages. I think Qatar is probably the most likely country that will be

able to help obviously.

They got five, help to get five Americans out of Iran, relatively recently they've been very helpful with the Taliban getting Americans out of

Afghanistan. They've been able to get American journalists out of Syria who were being held by al Qaeda. They have good relationship with Hamas, they

provide Hamas with money. If there's going to be a diplomatic settlement around the hostages, coffers seems the most likely venue.

HUNT: Because money of course equals leverage if they threatened to take the money away. Josh, we also have this threat to televise, executions of

hostages, which I think would put us into kind of an unknown and we dealt with some of this when the U.S. was fighting ISIS. But the reality is of

media environment has changed significantly, even since then.

The proliferation of devices, the fact that you know, on Twitter, none of these images are getting blurred out anymore. What is the sort of, I mean,

obviously, from a human perspective, it's just a devastating possibility. But there are also strategic implications, too. I mean, how does that play


JOSH ROGIN, COLUMNIST OF WASHINGTON POST: Right. Well, we this new tactic of murdering innocent people on the internet was really prevalent in Syria

for many years. And we found out that it's a really hard thing to stop. There's a counter propaganda effort inside of the U.S. military and inside

of the U.S. government.

There's an effort to sometimes zap some of these videos off the internet in ways that our intelligence community doesn't really admit. But they do it

all the time.

HUNT: Zap?

ROGIN: Yes, they just take them down. I mean, we've got to this again, during the Syria where we started this all the time. They can remove stuff

on the internet, U.S. government, it's just a very difficult cat and mouse game, the technology always outpaces it. And, you know, this is the

propaganda and information war.

It's meant to sow fear into American and Israeli and European societies in order to get concessions. And it's only just beginning. And all of those

diplomatic channels that, Peter, rightly mentioned, are promising, but not ripe yet. And it's going to be a while before we get to that phase of the


And you can be sure that, you know, part of this will be to influence American, Israeli and European publics. And that's what these terror

attacks are meant to do. And we have a range of tools to fight it, both technologically and also in the information space. But it's a very, very

difficult fight. It's only just beginning.

HUNT: Peter, do you think Hamas would go through on this threat?

BERGEN: I have no idea. But I will also add to what Josh just said, I mean, social media companies also have terms of use and so they have very robust

what's known as photo DNA. So if a particular image of say an execution is up, immediately all the main social media companies will share that image

and immediately take it down.

It can't even be posted obviously, you know, the insurgents the terrorists can be ahead of you. But these images can be taken down pretty quickly not

just by governments by also responsible social media companies.

HUNT: -- emphasis on responsible quick last word.

LEIGHTON: It's one of those things where you know, when you look at that they can geo locate a situation like that as well. So the intelligence

services the military and special operations forces of the military can look at that and say exactly where those executions are taking place. And

then use that as information to go after them.

HUNT: Alright, so some risks inherent for Hamas and doing this. Alright, everyone's going to stick around and come back with us in just a few

moments. You're looking right now at the skies over Gaza, where we've seen Hamas firing a huge barrage of rockets toward the Israeli City of Ashkelon.

Our crew is on the ground there don't go anywhere.



HUNT: Welcome back, so Tehran is denying any involvement in the Hamas attack on Israel today. Iran Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said

called the allegations "nonsense". U.S. security officials say there is no direct information at this time linking these attacks to Iran.

And French President Emmanuel Macron says there is no "formal proof" of Iranian involvement. But it is "likely that Hamas was offered help". The

level of planning needed for the incursion by land, sea and air has prompted questions about whether Hamas could have done it alone.

And my panel is back with me. And you know, Sam Kiley, I think you're still with us in London. Let me just start with you on some of the reporting

around this. The Wall Street Journal earlier this week had cited Hamas and Hezbollah sources saying the Iranians helped us do this.

They detailed, you know meetings there was a lot of texture to that. But obviously, our intelligence services in the West and the Israelis, there's

no corroboration of that at this point. I mean, is it on its face at all plausible? What Khamenei is saying here that, you know, he denies any

involvement by Tehran?

KILEY: Well, I mean, he's certainly an accessory or his country's military is an accessory to this process and has been for a long time, certainly

from the Israeli perspective. It is, if you look at the evolution of rockets that Hamas has been firing over the last 10 years or so they've

gone from primitive homemade, or imported -- through to imported Iranian weapons.

And then the Iranians have been very open about this kind of in sending instructions and instructors, training engineers to improve the home built

rockets so that they go further and deliver more damaging warheads that can now threaten Tel Aviv and Jerusalem in a way that they couldn't before.

That's a pattern we saw also in Southern Lebanon where of course the Iranians have sent instructors physically onto the ground there to instruct

Hezbollah. So the fingerprints are publicly all over that in the broadest sense in terms of the detailed planning for this particular operation.


Hamas has been telegraphing its training with paragliders, its rockets for some time in propaganda videos, there was an assumption, frankly, that

those videos were shot in training camps in Iran. There's some evidence now, we're still looking into it to try and assess whether or not, for

example, these paraglider pictures that we're looking at.

And the mockup attacks on what's called February, in NATO fighting in built up area training was actually conducted under the nose of the Israelis in

Gaza. If it was, it's yet another staggering, absolutely staggering intelligence failure. But all in all, there is clearly very strong links

between Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Hamas, Hezbollah, and Iran.

And none of them really do anything entirely independently. So it's very unlikely the Iranians didn't know this was going to happen, the extent to

which they physically planned it, we'll find out in the coming years.

HUNT: Right. I mean, Peter Bergen, the idea that I mean, we've been showing our viewers kind of these are propaganda videos, we should note that have

been put out. But is it really possible that could have happened in Gaza, and the Israelis just didn't see it?

BERGEN: You know intelligence agencies produce information for policymakers that make decisions. And I'm sure as we go down the road, we will find that

there are plenty of indications that something was happening. The presumption was that Hamas would never do this. This was also the

presumption 50 years ago, during the Yom Kippur War, that Egypt --

HUNT: Right, that's not a political presumption.

BERGEN: And that's a political presumption. So the easy thing for policymakers is to blame the intelligence, because the intelligence makers,

they can't come back and say, you know, on the facts that classified and defend themselves, and they work for the policymakers.

So, you know, we saw this on 9/11, where it was deemed an intelligence failure, then it turns out, well, the CIA was providing plenty of

intelligence to the Bush administration, throughout the summer of 2001. And the Bush administration really didn't do anything with it.

HUNT: Josh, do you think that that's what's happening here?

ROGIN: Yes, no, I think that first of all, since there was such a missed intelligence, opportunity that we don't know what they have in their file,

so that's going to have to come out over days and weeks, but absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. And, you know, what we're going to

find, I think, is that there's a ton of circumstantial evidence.

And even if there's no smoking gun, you know, how did Hamas get the capabilities that they use? The drone technologies are very similar in the

ways that they were used to the ways that the Iranians have used them in other places, including on the battlefields in Syria and in Ukraine.

So if you match the tactics, you match the weapons, you match the capabilities. And then you add on the reports of the meetings, and the

trainings and the transfers and the bank statements that will come later. That's a pile of circumstantial evidence. It's not a smoking gun, but its

circumstantial evidence is just that its evidence and it shows that the Iranians have some of this blood on their hands, for sure.

LEIGHTON: And one of the things I think that's so interesting about this is, you know, policymakers often have legal training, who they're usually

lawyers, but by trading or by trade.

HUNT: -- they are.

LEIGHTON: And so the problem that they have is they want evidence that is legally sufficient in order to.

HUNT: Refutable.

LEIGHTON: It'd be refutable, in order to prosecute a war or some other kind of operation of whatever type, whether it's an intelligence operation or a

military operation. And you know, as both Josh and Peter mentioned you with intelligence, there's a lot of uncertainty out there.

But the circumstantial evidence often comes together in a very interesting way. And we always used to talk, especially around 9/11, of connecting the

dots, you know, putting all these disparate pieces together, and determining patterns of behavior and finding out exactly, how those

patterns work?

Do they work together? Is this just a coincidence? Most of us, frankly, after a while, don't believe in coincidences anymore. And we realize that,

you know, based on all the types of things that have been happening with Hamas, especially, there has to be some kind of a connection with Iran.

ROGIN: And the biggest failure really wasn't intelligence failure was the failure of deterrence. And that's a policy failure. We, as Peter said, we

had this idea that they wouldn't do this because the retaliation would be so massive that they wouldn't try it. That doesn't exist anymore.

We saw a failure of deterrence in Ukraine. People look at Taiwan, they say, oh, it's trying to steal deterred from Taiwan, it's clear that we're living

in a new era where these actors, these dictatorships are testing deterrence and pushing the limits of what they think they can accomplish with bombs

and guns and missiles.

And that's the pattern from Ukraine, to now to Israel, and hopefully not to Taiwan soon, but you never know.

HUNT: Yes, you never know. All right, this has been a wonderful discussion. Thank you very much. Sam Kiley, if you're still with us in London, I really

appreciate you spending some time with us as we try to understand this incredibly complicated story. So thank you very much.

Up next, Americans may be among those captured by Hamas. We're going to talk about what the White House knows about the hostages and President

Biden's discussion with the Israeli Prime Minister later today, much more on that, up next.



HUNT: Welcome back, I'm Kasie Hunt, live in Washington. American dual citizens are among the dead in Israel and could be among the hostages still

held by Hamas in Gaza. U.S. officials say they don't know yet if that's the case, but they are prepared to act if it is.


JOHN KIRBY, U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL SPOKESMAN: If there are American hostages, we'll work with might and main Poppy to get them return to their

families as best we can and will always put the safety and security of Americans being held overseas really, really high right up top of the

priority list.


HUNT: President Biden set to speak with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at some point today and he will give remarks on the war in a few

hours. Officials tell CNN, he will not urge Israel to exercise restraint. And there's still of course, no Speaker of the House which would be

necessary if the U.S. wants to send any new aid to Israel.

Kevin Liptak is at the White House. Kevin, a pretty notable reporting coming from you and the team at the White House that the President is not

planning to urge that Israel show restraint when he speaks later today.

KEVIN LIPTAK, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes, because that is typically something that you hear from an American President when these

kinds of conflicts erupt. But really, since this happened on Saturday, that is not aligned that you've heard from this administration.

And in fact, in his two previous phone calls with the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, that is not something that President Biden has

necessarily been encouraging as they discuss Israel's next steps in all of this. They have focused on Benjamin Netanyahu's plans the potential for a

ground invasion.

They have not necessarily heard whether that is a finalized decision. Of course, that is complicated by the fact that there could be Americans held

hostage in Gaza at the moment. Right now American officials are not saying they do not know how many Americans could be held hostage in Gaza.


That's something they're working very urgently to try and figure out. And we are told that that is something that the president could address in his

remarks later today. But really, I think what you're going to hear from the president is along the same lines of what he talked about on Saturday, this

firm support for Israel going forward.

But some things that I'm going to be listening for in that speech later today is what is his message about the scope and scale of the response?

Does he have any sort of determination for the American people about how this will unfold going forward? Because you know, this all happened over a

holiday weekend.

Today is the first day that I think many Americans could be tuning in. The White House really did want to put him out in front of cameras to hear so

that Americans could hear from him directly about this conflict and about how the United States is responding.

The other thing that I think you're going to hear from the president is a message to American Jews. A message of support and solidarity, as there's

certainly a lot of uncertainty about the situation, this growing sense that the world is a less stable place. And I think that president will want to

strike a very consoling tone, but also a very authoritative tone as he comes out and speaks to the American people, Kasie.

HUNT: All right, Kevin Liptak at the White House. Thank you very much for that great reporting. We will let you get back to that. And we're going to

have more now with our panel. Matt Mowers served as a White House Adviser and worked with Donald Trump and former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

Guy Cecil, the Former Executive Director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and Josh Rogin, a Columnist for the Washington Post.

We should also note that Mr. Mowers worked in the State Department under the Trump Administration, as well. Josh, let me start with you, though,

kind of big picture here. I mean, this is, of course, a nightmare for any administration. What are you picking up in terms of how they are thinking

about this and what they view as the major challenges for them going forward?

We've talked a lot about the obvious ones and trying to rescue these hostages. But from a political perspective, this is really tough to.

ROGIN: Right. This is an all hands on deck situation for the Biden Administration. The State Department is focused on building a coalition of

support around Israel and also influencing partners around the region to try to contain the violence and not do things that would exacerbate or

expand the war.

Inside the White House they're working with Senate Democrats and Republicans and leadership to craft an aid bill. My reporting is that this

will include a few billion for Israel, and then up to 60 billion for Ukraine, and then maybe some money for Taiwan and for U.S. stockpiles to

Mitch McConnell.

The Senate Minority Leader talked about this in his Wall Street Journal op- ed yesterday, this is going to be a tough sell in a House GOP caucus that is divided and dysfunctional. There's no speaker, many conservative, some

would say isolationist Republicans are very opposed to Ukraine.

Senator Josh Hawley came out and said that they should be split into two different things. And there's the rub, either we're going to pass Israel

aid or we're going to pass Israel and Ukraine aid. And that's going to be the fight in Congress in the coming weeks.

HUNT: Well, I don't you know, I just want to mention, as we've been talking here, we've seen new rockets over Gaza. It's a little bit unclear to us

right now, if they're coming from Gaza or going to Gaza. But we're hearing air raid sirens in Ashkelon, which is the city on the Israeli side of that


And Matt Mowers, you are the Republican at the table here? I mean, do you get the sense that I mean, to Josh's point, if they want to send you aid to

Israel, and or Ukraine, if they want to do anything, they have to pick a speaker of the House.


HUNT: It doesn't seem like there is necessarily any additional urgency being created around this year. In fact, there are more questions about

whether Kevin McCarthy is still interested in throwing his hat in the ring. I mean, do you have any sense that this has in fact lit a fire under people

or? I mean, I guess my sense is the reality is these aides are not necessarily going to be swayed by it.

Like the hardliners. The people that would be most interested in moving things along are already trying to fix the problem. And yet here we are.

MOWERS: Well, among members I'm talking to and this is both members of the Freedom Caucus, as well as those who are part of the Tuesday group and

other more mainstream groups. They're not confident that we're going to have a speaker this week. Right now Steve Scalise still has likely a lead

in potentially the majority of the majority, he likely has over a majority of the conference.

You see right now, though, that some of the allies of Jim Jordan are asking to even raise that threshold to 217, or almost an outright majority before

they'll ever bring that nomination to the floor, the entire House. This would delay a lot of any discussion around passing support for Israel or

potentially Ukraine.

It's one of the reasons why you actually have a lot of members right now talking about clarifying the role of interim speaker. Does Patrick McHenry

as interim speaker actually have authority to move some of this forward? Some would argue that since this was developed in the aftermath of 911, for

issues of national security, this would fall under that need some clarification though, right now.

HUNT: Yes, no, it absolutely does. I mean, it basically sounds to me like you're saying that Scalise is kind of ready to go. The Jim Jordan folks

might delay this to try to change the rules to make it easier for him to have a path to where they're going.

Guy Cecil, so let's like step back and look and talk a little bit about what Kevin was talking about because there's massive challenges obviously

for the White House and for Democrats. And you've already seen you know senators just today including Tim Scott who's running for president you

know sending a letter urging the cancellation.


Basically of this $6 billion of money that was sent to Qatar to be held for the Iranians to use for humanitarian reasons that is quickly becoming a

political flashpoint. I mean, what is the imperative for the White House right now? How do they navigate all of this?

GUY CECIL, FORMER EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, DEMOCRATIC SENATORIAL CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE: Well, the most important thing is that we do everything we can

to support the Israeli government, which the president has not only done from the very beginning, but has continue to lay out plans to direct his

government, to our government rather to do everything they can to provide resources to increase intelligence sharing, to redeploy.

So resources into that region, directed the government to spare no cost, no expense at identifying hostages, and to do what we can to bring them home.

By the way, it won't just be American citizens.

HUNT: Right.

CECIL: Who are being held hostage, I think we're fine that there are Italian citizens, German citizens; there are a lot of dual Israeli

citizens. And so our job is to make sure we're getting the resources we need into the Israeli government. The second thing I would just note, it is

disappointing to see Republicans pitch Ukraine and Israeli support against one another.

If there was a bill on the floor of the House today, a large majority of the House would support, would support aid for both government.

HUNT: Yes.

CECIL: If you put bill on the Senate today, a large majority of the Senate would support providing aid to both governments. We should provide support

to both governments and we should do it as soon as we possibly can.

ROGIN: But it doesn't seem like there's a clear path to get it to the House floor, no matter who becomes the speaker. And that's a big problem that

they haven't solved. And, you know, the idea is to use the Israel urgency to pressure Republicans into passing the Ukraine aid. But that might not


And, you know, we also have a government funding bill that's going to come up in the same time, that's a lot of legislation to get through a

dysfunctional House. And, you know, in addition to the Republicans, there's another group of people who are pitting the Ukraine aid against the Israel,

and that's the Russians.

And the Russians want to pose this as a choice between America supporting Israel or supporting Ukraine, because they know that these things are

actually connected. And the Russians and Iranians are working together. And they're fighting democracies on both countries. And they would love it if

the United States was so dysfunctional, that we actually falsely chose one or not the other.

HUNT: Guy, can I ask you about the Democratic Party when you and I have, you've been working on this for a long time. We've been having

conversations about what's going on in the party for a long time. There's been a shift around Israel, because it used to be a party that was

uniformly really behind what's going on.

And now there are there is an Echelon -- inside the House that is not interested in supporting. You've seen Nancy Pelosi ran into trouble when

she was trying to include funding for the Iron Dome missile system that we're seeing protect Israelis right now, from members of the squad in large

part. How should the Democratic Party be grappling with that? I mean, are those members in the right placing right now?

CECIL: Well, there's no question that there are a small number of members of our party who are frustrated by what's happened in the Middle East. But

I think it's important to say, there is no room in our party for Hamas apologists.

If you cannot, on the day that children are being murdered, and kidnapped, and families are being burned in their homes, without reservation, without

exception, criticize Hamas, and call them to account there is no place in our party for you. That's my perspective.

HUNT: Yes. Do you feel like there were members who did that?

CECIL: I do, there are members that tried to hedge that try to avoid really directly attacking it or attack or attaching it to other issues in the

region. MOWERS: Sure.

HUNT: Yes.

MOWERS: Well, I just found that that's one of the concerns about packaging up both support for Israel, as well as support for Ukraine. There are

certain members on the left wing of the party who haven't necessarily committed to this support to Israel, who aren't necessarily saying they're

going to go and support additional appropriations to support the iron bill. And once again, issues like that.

So that's one of the complications if their House tries to package these issues together, you may lose both the far left and the far right on this.

CECIL: That's what I want to clarify. There are half dozen members of our party that oppose the Iron Dome. There is half of the Republican conference

in the House that is saying they won't support Ukraine. So it's not exactly an apples-to-apples comparison. If there was a vote in the House, almost

our entire caucus would support both Ukrainian and Israeli funding. And the same is true in the Senate. But you can't say that.

ROGIN: And to be fair, we have to admit that there's a streak in the isolationist, right, that's against Israel -- because they see that as

contributing to a Forever War or whatever. Even Vivek Ramaswamy, the presidential candidate was skeptical of Israel, and he's not anymore. But

he was, so that that represents a strain of the conservative thought that it's also still president.

HUNT: Yes, that is at odds with the evangelical Christian conservative bloc inside the Republican Party. Alright, this was an excellent discussion.

Thank you all very much for ceasing, because we are out of time. I really appreciate it. Israeli soldiers are gathering along the border with Gaza.

We're going to have the latest on the situation. Plus Republican Congressman Mike Lawler joins was live, that's all next.



HUNT: Israel is pounding Gaza with deadly airstrikes today. And Israeli troops appear to be preparing for a possible ground operation. CNN cruise

shot video of this tank and other armored vehicles about five kilometers from Gaza. Also today these Israeli reserves were spotted along Israel's

southern border.

CNN Senior International Correspondent Ben Wedeman is live in Jerusalem. Ben, the sun is obviously set behind you on the fourth day of this war.

What's the latest?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The latest, of course, is that this evening at five o'clock local time, there was this massive

barrage of rockets out of Gaza. This was something that actually a Hamas military wing spokesman known as Abu Obaida had said would happen. At five

o'clock he said if the inhabitants of Ashkelon do not leave their city, Hamas will open fire.

And that's exactly what they did that a barrage the likes of which have we, I have not seen before. It's not clear the number of injuries or fatalities

as a result of that. But it just goes to show that after what four days of this, Hamas still has the ability to carry out these very violent strikes.

Now in the situation in Gaza itself is that overnight, the Israelis launched at least 200 air strikes on targets within Gaza. They say they're

targeting Hamas infrastructure, but what we've seen for instance, is there was a massive airstrike on the Rimal neighborhood in Gaza.

It's actually one of the upscale neighborhoods and that neighborhood appears to have been turned simply into ashes. And of course, we've heard

one resident there saying, you know, I'm not I never fired a rocket. Nobody in my building did why are we being targeted. And his building of course

had been destroyed. So there's certainly a lot of damage.


A lot of death in Gaza in this point to the death toll in Gaza, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health is 830 with approximately 4200

wounded. And keep in mind, this Gaza Strip, according to the CIA, has 40 percent of its population is under the age of 15. Can you see?

HUNT: All right, Republican Congressman Mike Lawler joins us now. He is a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Congressman Lawler, thank

you very much for being with us today.

REP. MIKE LAWLER (R-NY): Thanks for having me.

HUNT: I want to start with you in your role as a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee. What can you tell us about the latest that Congress is

learning about Americans who were killed in the Hamas attacks or are potentially being held hostage by Hamas?

LAWLER: Well, we're going to be having a classified briefing tomorrow morning, at which point, hopefully, we'll have a lot more information. But

you know, obviously, according to reports from the administration, we're looking at least 11 killed. And you know, a lot of people being held


And so it is deeply disconcerting. And I think we need to do everything in our power, in cooperation with the Israeli government, and military to get

our citizens back home. One of the things that I am very concerned about right now, especially representing one of the largest Jewish communities in

the United States Congress, in the 17th district of New York, is the fact that I have hundreds of residents that are in Israel that are trying to get


The lack of commercial flights has made this very difficult. I've been in touch with the White House, with State Department, trying to help

facilitate here so that we can get people out. You already see other governments, including Poland, sending military aircraft to get their

citizens out of Israel, given the war. And I think we need to take all actions to help get people home as quickly as possible, both between

commercial flights and military aircraft.

HUNT: So you think there should be a U.S. military airlift of the U.S. citizens out of Israel?

LAWLER: I do. I think, look, this is going to escalate very quickly. And I stand 100 percent shoulder to shoulder with Israel and Prime Minister

Netanyahu. They need to take Hamas out, they need to destroy them. They are a terrorist organization, hell-bent on wiping Israel off the face of the

earth, sponsored and backed by Iran.

And we must take this threat seriously. They butchered and slaughtered over 900 Israeli citizens, injured thousands. You're talking about women,

children being raped, beheaded. It is barbaric, and it needs to be treated as such. And the world needs to be united in this.

There can be no moral equivocation like we're hearing from some members of Congress, who, in my opinion, people like Ilhan Omar are unfit to serve --

to try and justify this in any way or belittle the terrorist attacks makes you unfit to serve. It is disqualifying. It is why we removed her from the

Foreign Affairs Committee earlier this year.

HUNT: Sir, there is some conversation about what the House can do. Obviously, there's very little that you can do without a speaker of the

House. But as that process moves on, there are conversations in the White House about tying aid to Israel with aid for Ukraine. Do you think that's

the best way to do it?

LAWLER: Well, there is an immediate need to get additional aid to Israel. Obviously, you are talking about a terror attack, the greatest slaughtering

of Jews since the Holocaust. And I think everybody needs to not play politics with this. We need to get back in the House chamber.

We need to advance legislation to deal with additional funds for Israel. We also need to move on legislation like my bill To Ship Act, which would

implement additional sanctions on Iranian petroleum.

HUNT: Yes.

LAWLER: So look, I think there's a lot of jockeying and leverage that the White House may want to use here or the Senate.

HUNT: Sure.

LAWLER: But I think we need to focus on the immediate task at hand, which in this instance, is support for Israel.

HUNT: Sir, do you think that the House Republicans will be able to select a speaker before the end of the week?

LAWLER: Look, we are --

HUNT: Does anyone have 217?


LAWLER: We had a meeting last night; we're going to be having a candidate forum today. And the vote is scheduled for tomorrow morning. At this point,

I don't think anybody has 217. But we're going to work through this process as expeditiously as possible. But it goes to my point that I made over the

weekend. This is precisely why this never should have been done in the first place. There was no justification to remove the speaker, mid-term,

and it has created a chaos and a constitutional crisis. And everybody who voted for --Republicans and Democrats on this, they voted to remove a House

speaker for personal and political reasons. And it was wrong. It should not have happened.

HUNT: All right, Congressman, Mike Lawler, thank you very much for joining us. I really appreciate your time sir.

LAWLER: Thank you.

HUNT: Coming up the brutal toll of war, CNN is in a hospital in Tel Aviv where care for the wounded by Hamas those wounded by Hamas is critical and

the journey to recovery is heart wrenching. We're going to have much more on that next.


HUNT: Welcome back. The human toll of this war is staggering and only growing. Now families sit by the hospital beds of their critically wounded

loved ones, hoping and praying. CNN's Becky Anderson has more.


ANDERSON (voice-over): The sound becoming ever more present for so many families caught in the crosshairs of war. Families like the Shindler's

praying that their beloved Amichai survives. The 33-year-old was at home with his wife and six kids when militants attacked the area around his

house. As he tried to fight back, he sustained heavy injuries and is now in critical condition.

He lives in a kibbutz called Kerem Shalom in southern Israel, right next to the border with Gaza. The location missteps away from where Hamas militants

bulldozed through the border, tearing down a section of the fence an image that has come to define this historic moment, in the decade's long


They threw a grenade on the door in front of him. He flew on his back. I thought he died. So I didn't even cry for help, his wife told me. His face

badly beaten, one arm amputated, the other left with only two fingers on his hand. He's being treated here in Shea Medical Center, the largest in

Israel. It's been taking him victims with the most severe injuries.

So far, the hospital says over 150 of the nearly 3000 wounded have arrived here since the fighting began on Saturday morning. Yoel Har Even, a

Director at the hospital says the types of injuries he's seen are mostly gunshot or shrapnel wounds and blast injuries. There are currently 42

patients like Amichai in critical condition. And the situation he says could get much worse.

ANDERSON: We are looking at the potential for a ground incursion, should that happen? What sort of numbers can you expect here and what sort of


YOEL HAR EVEN, DIRECTOR OF THE INTERNATIONAL DIVISION AND RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT: Unforeseen, but it's probably will be triple or quadruple

numbers. It can get worse but we already and this, we are training ourselves for many, many years.

ANDERSON: Sadly, this is not the first conflict. How are things different?

EVEN: It's the combination of civilians and military. So usually in the Congress conflict most of the casualties were army soldiers.

ANDERSON (voice-over): And for Amichai's family, this isn't the first time they're going through this pain. Over a decade ago, they lost Amichai's 24-

year-old brother after he was shot by militants during a flare up of tensions between Palestinians and Israelis.


He had his whole life ahead of him, his mother says, such wickedness such cruelty. It takes me back 13 years coping with this massacre. This

monstrosity, it's so difficult. But despite the horror, they remain positive. They have no other choice.

We believe Amichai will get out of this alive and everyone else who was injured will tune. We want peace, this is all we want, his wife says, a

desperate plea for hope, echoed by so many other innocent families on both sides of this conflict. Becky Anderson, CNN Tel Aviv.


HUNT: Absolutely heartbreaking. I'm Kasie Hunt. Our breaking news coverage continues after this quick break. Don't go anywhere.