tv The Situation Room CNN November 20, 2012 1:00pm-4:00pm PST
we arrived on a scene of a blast that occurred just a short time ago while our ben wedeman was on the air. our coverage continues from the region with wolf blitzer. wolf. anderson, thanks very much. happening now, no cease fire, no peace. just another day of deadly attacks in gaza and israel. the secretary of state, hillary clinton, she's here in israel right now. she's trying to find some way to broker a deal to stop the fighting. all the while civilians on both sides of the israeli/gaza border live in terror. the next explosion could claim their homes, relatives or their own lives. we'd like to welcome our viewers from the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer reporting from jerusalem. you're in "the situation room."
we're coming to you from jerusalem the end of the seventh day of this deadly crisis. it's been two hours since we expected an official of hamas, the militant organization that controls gaza, to come before cameras in egypt and announce a period of calm. but that announcement has not happened. instead, the office of the e jimgs president, mohamed morsi, told cnn the egyptian government has no plans to make an announcement tonight. since wednesday of last week militants have fired hundreds of rockets into israel. we're about to bring you one family's harrowing story of dodging the rocket that hit their home today. random attacks like this provoke ferocious air assaults on gaza by the israelis, which also continued today.
[ gunfire ] about two hours ago a reuters camera in gaza city caught this explosion. cnn's ben wedeman reports a building near the city was likely hit by an israeli air strike in gaza. he was on live with hala gorani when the explosion happened. take a look. >> i think it's pretty clear that we are moving in the direction of -- [ gunfire ] i can hear shattering glass out there right now. the building just shook of course because i was looking at the camera i didn't see where the blast took place. anybody see it? okay. to the north of this building here. so despite talk of cease fire, hala, it appears that the guns are still firing. >> the gaza ministry of health says 114 palestinians have been killed and at least 900 injured since last wednesday. the israeli military announced that an israeli soldier was
killed by a hamas rocket this afternoon bringing the israeli death toll to five with at least 70 people wounded. our cnn crews are monitoring the situation on both sides of the israeli/gaza border. in addition to their reporting, we expect to hear from the secretary of state hillary clinton who arrived in tel aviv about an hour or so ago to meet with the israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu right here in je reduce loam. that's expected to begin shortly. we're expecting statements from hillary clinton and benjamin netanyahu. you will hear and see those statements live. we'll see if they announce anything closely resembling some sort of cease fire. despite the expectations that the diplomats are close to reaching some kind of cease fire agreement, today was anything but a period of calm for civilians in southern israel. we visited a neighborhood in beer sheva earlier today, visited members of a family who narrowly escaped death. the hamas rockets came toward
beer sheva and hit the ground. people scrambling for cover even in residential neighborhoods. this house was hit by a rocket a few hours before we arrived. and from the outside it didn't look too bad. but inside it's another story. a mother and father and four of their children were inside the home when it was hit, when the sirens went off they had less than a minute to run into their safe room. and they made it. they survived. we did the procedure the husband says. we went to the safe room, closed the door. we heard a big boom and straight after that an electric outage. he says the young girls were in a little hysteria. we were lucky we entered the safe room. his wife says their fear was at first for the family and to protect the children. then later when they saw the incredible damage, they were stunned. we will go to a hotel for a few days until they find us an alternative home she says. their 9-year-old daughter said she was frightened when she heard the initial siren and then the large explosion. an israeli member of parliament
who came to the house minced no words in what he thought israel had to do. >> they are ready to go further. >> there's a major debate in israel on whether that's wise. a former commander and mayor of beer sheva says iz ray leer air power can get it done alone. while we were in the city 11 hamas rockets entered the city. some interintercepted by the iron dome system. others got through and caused casualties. we were allow today go inside the emergency medical command center. sirens alert them and they brace for the onslaught of calls. we're inside an israeli ambulance. we've just left the command center heading towards an area where rockets just landed and currently there are injured and maybe even worse. we'll see what's going on. sharon howard is the liaison
officer helping to coordinate medical care. >> many casualties, also medical units also join to take care. >> turns out it was a woman overwhelmed by fear during the rocket attack. very common these days. back at the command center, the sirens kept going off. both the israelis and hamas say the other size had not agreed to the terms yet for a cease fire or for calming the hostilities. let's go to our senior international correspondent, arwa damon. what's going on? >> that's right, wolf. just a few moments ago in the span of a minute there around six or seven explosions we saw in the distance, balls of fire rising up. and then of course the sound rumbling across the city. they were pretty much across the entire horizon. there have been a fair amount of
intense explosions here to say the least. one of the blasts happening just around the corner from our live location shaking the building, breaking glass. gaza residents have been saying that normally they would see this kind of intense activity in the later hours at 1:00, 2:00 in the morning. but we've really been seeing it ever since darkness fell on this night. we had been seeing earlier in the day rockets being fired here towards -- from here towards israel. after we saw one of them being fired we shortly heard from our jerusalem bureau that the sirens had gone off there. so most certainly any talk of a cease fire at this point in time just seems like it's really, really something that is entirely unachievable. >> yeah. it seems like that here as well. but, arwa, you know there's been a lot of speculation that it may be imminent -- the u.s. embassy by the way in tel aviv has just release add photo of the secretary of state hillary clinton here in israel getting
ready to meet with the israeli prime minister. it will be intriguing to see what they have to say. but arwa, what about the leaflets being distributed in gaza? tell us what you're seeing. >> well, earlier in the day around midday we did see leaflets being dropped over the city. we managed to get our hands on one of them effectively very straightforward the israeli defense forces warning residents in certain areas, mostly in the northern part to stay away, to leave their homes. and in fact this goes so far as to name the routes that they should take to come to the center of the city. and they're telling residents they needed to leave because that was the only option they would have to effectively stay safe. we went to a school where a lot of these people were gathering. and the schools were just overwhelmed. >> arwa, i'm going to interrupt you right now. we're hearing prime minister netanyahu and the secretary of state speaking right now.
let's listen in. >> -- the worst enemies of israel are doing everything in their power to maximize the number of civilian casualties. obviously no country can tolerate a wanton attack on its civilians. now, if there's a possibility of achieving a long-term solution to this problem through diplomatic means, we'd prefer that. but if not, i'm sure you understand that israel will have to take whatever action is necessary to defend its people. this is something that i don't have to explain to americans. i know that president obama, you and the american people understand that perfectly well. and i thank you once again for your support. welcome to jerusalem. >> thank you very much, prime minister. i look forward to productive discussion this evening at such a critical moment for israel and the region. president obama asked me to come to israel with a very clear message. america's commitment to israel's
security is rock solid and unwavering. that is why we believe it is essential to de-escalate the situation in gaza. the rocket attacks from terrorist organizations inside gaza on israeli cities and towns must end. and a broader calm restored. the goal must be a durable outcome that promotes regional stability and advances the security and legitimate aspirations of israelis and palestinians alike. president obama has emphasized the same points in his multiple conversations with president morsi of egypt. and we appreciate president morsi's personal leadership and egypt's efforts thus far. as a regional leader and neighbor, egypt has the opportunity and responsibility to continue playing a crucial and constructive role in this
process. i will carry this message to cairo tomorrow. i will also be consulting with president abas in ramala. let me also say to echo the prime minister, i'm very pleased that the iron dome defense system is performing so well. our partnership in support of this system represents america's enduring commitment to the safety and security of the israeli people and to israel's right to defend itself. but no defense is perfect. and our hearts break for the loss of every civilian israeli and palestinian and for all those who have been wounded or who are living in fear and danger. i know today was a difficult day. and i offer my deepest condolences to the loved ones of those who were lost and injured. in the end there is no substitute for security and for
a just and lasting peace. and the current crisis certainly focuses us on the urgency of this broader goal. so in the days ahead the united states will work with our partners here in israel and across the region toward an outcome that bolsters security for the people of israel, improves conditions for the people of gaza and moves toward a comprehensive peace for all people of the region. and i thank you, prime minister, for your hospitality and look forward to our discussion. >> thank you. >> all right. so there you see the secretary of state, the prime minister of israel making statements clearly no cease fire agreement was announced by either of them. although there were some intriguing hints from both the prime minister and the secretary of state that maybe something is
in the works. hillary clinton saying that there's an effort now in her words to de-escalate the situation and achieve some sort of broader calm -- restore a broader calm. this word calm all of a sudden over the past few hours we're hearing increasingly rather than a phrase like cease fire agreement, we're hearing in the short-term maybe there can be a calm, the situation can be de-escalated, if you will. and then they can move ahead. israel can achieve in her words security and that the palestinians' condition in gaza can be improved as they all work towards some sort of comprehensive agreement. but the bottom line if anyone was expecting a formal announcement by the prime minister or the secretary of state that a cease fire agreement has been achieved, they will be disappointed in learning that no such agreement was announced here in jerusalem over the past few minutes. the secretary of state now goes into this meeting with the prime minister of israel. tomorrow morning she'll be
meeting with the president of the palestinian authority before flying to egypt to meet with the new president of egypt mohamed morsi who's been very intimately involved in trying to broker some sort of cease fire agreement. he's got agreement with hamas and israel, the egyptians as all of our viewers know they do talk to hamas. we'll see what emerges over the next 24 hours. right now no agreement from jerusalem, and no agreement from cairo, hamas doesn't announce a cease fire agreement as well. we're going to talk about what's going on. prime minister netanyahu's speaker is standing by. [ male announcer ] in blind taste tests, even ragu users chose prego. prego?! but i've bought ragu for years. [ thinking ] wonder what other questionable choices i've made? i choose date number 2! whooo! [ sigh of relief ]
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pleaded with arab governments to keep pushing for some kind of cease fire. listen to this. >> translator: we ask our arab brothers more stances and more -- more creativity to help the palestinian people and to end the israel aggression and to stop the massacres that has been committed by the zionist occupation. >> let's get some reaction to what's going on. the spokesman for the israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu. thank you for coming in. >> my pleasure. >> no cease fire you suggested earlier in the day amidst reports it wasn't going to happen. what's going on? >> i think bear mention to two words the prime minister used tonight in his public remarks. he said we want a long-term solution. it's clear hamas we've been
hitting them hard, their military infrastructure, their command and control, their missiles, their launching sites, their communications, they're taking blows from the israeli military. we are going to hit them as long as they keep attacking our civilians. i think anyone in our situation would try to stop them shooting those rockets. but the bottom line is i think hamas probably wants a time-out. when hamas thinks cease fire, they're talking about a full-time of quiet and rest and regroup and then attack the next week. that's not a solution. that's kicking the can down the road. >> so what do you want? >> we want as the prime minister said, a long-term solution. >> how do you ensure that? >> it's difficult when you have a prickly customer like hamas. but i think with the help of regional players like the united states and others, it's possible to create arrangements which we think can we hope bring long-term peace and quiet to the israeli civilians in the south
who ultimately just want to live normal lives. they want to be able to live without the fear of an incoming rocket. >> how do you work out those arrangements? israel doesn't speak to hamas. the u.s. doesn't speak to hamas. you're basically relying on the egyptian government of mohamed morsi. >> and we hope that the egyptians can play a positive role in this. let's be clear here. israel has options. if the diplomatic process proves to be unsuccessful, we will act as my prime minister said earlier today. we can defend ourselves and we can use our military to silence those rockets, to prevent those rockets. we prefer a diplomatic solution. and the diplomatic ball is in play. the two leaders, my prime minister and secretary clinton are meeting now as we speak. she's going obviously to egypt tomorrow to continue talks there. i hope that this diplomatic path brings fruit that we do get the peace and quiet that we want. we'll see. either way, we'll give a certain amount of time for this
diplomacy. we hope it can work. we prefer the diplomacy succeed. but israel will not sit be idly. >> you're not ruling out a ground invasion by israeli forces, tanks, armored tender nel carriers, thousands of troops into gaza? is that what i'm hear sng. >> without going to the details of a possible military operation, i want to say the following, we prefer a diplomatic solution if it's possible to create a long-term period of quiet for israeli civilians in the south. we would prefer that. that's our first option. but if that appears not to be a real option, of course we will use other means to bring peace and quiet to protect our people. ultimately, wolf, the obligation of every government is to protect its citizens. and we have an obligation to protect our citizens in the south who've been on the receiving end of these rockets for much too long. >> are you seeking assurances as part of an agreement from the united states? >> look, if it was just between israel and the united states, we wouldn't have a problem.
if it was just, you know, for the americans and israelis to find a solution, we wouldn't be here now. the problem is hamas, which is a very brutal and extreme organization committed to a very radical agenda. and people watching have to remember hamas isn't just israel's enemy. hamas is the enemy of everyone who wants to seek peace here in the middle east. they're against reconciliation. they're against peace talks. hamas says any palestinian who negotiates peace with israel is a traitor to the palestinian cause. they're not just the enemies of israel, they're the enemies of everyone who wants to see peace and reconciliation in this world. >> what part does the u.s. have? >> the u.s. has the important role of creating that sort of package that we're looking for that could possibly help with a diplomatic solution. secretary clinton spoke about it and we're very thankful for the american support on this is first of all our iron dome. >> that's the anti-missile system that's been pretty
efbtive in shooting down incoming rockets and missiles. >> i don't know how many israeli lives we would have lost without that anti-missile system and we thank the americans. it's a useful cooperative venture and it's been successful as you say. >> i want to go over a few words. diplomatic nuances are very important when you're trying to broker a cease fire agreement. the secretary of state said they were seeking a broader calm. what is israel's -- we've heard israel wants a period of calm, if you will, before a formal cease fire agreement. is that what she's alluding to? >> i think. it's not for me to interpret the secretary's words, but i think what she's talking about is what we're talking about. >> what is that? >> a long-term period of stability and quiet. we don't need a quick fix just to have everything explode in our face next week or next month. when we come out of this crisis, we want to be in a situation where we have a sustained period of peace and quiet. the civilians on both sides of the frontier deserve that. >> she wrapped up her comments
with three conditions. three statements she says, the u.s. wants security for israel. you obviously want security for israel. improved conditions for the palestinians in gaza. and eventually a comprehensive peace. but the improved conditions for palestinians in gaza, is israel under -- if there were security, if there was a period of calm prepared to improve the lives of the million plus palestinians who are struggling in gaza? what are you prepared to do to improve their condition? >> here you have to put cause and effect in the right sequence. because when we pulled out of the gaza strip in 2005 and we took down all our settlements, you were here, you covered that story, wolf. the hope was we pull out of gaza and then israel and gaza can have a new set of relationships, there can be trade and tourism and people go back and forth. we impose restrictions only because of the hostility, because of the violence, because of the missiles after hamas took over. >> so if the missiles and the
rockets stop, will you take steps to improve the lives of the palestinians in gaza? >> we've already been taking those steps. until the recent crisis if you look over the last two years there's been a gradual but consistent improvement. we've been lowering the restrictions. ultimately, wolf, always remember we don't see gaza's civilian population as our enemy. on the contrary, they too are victims of this terrible and brutal hamas regime. >> so if we speak 24 or 48 hours from now, will the shellings and missiles and killings on both sides still be underway? or do you sense both sides are close to a deal? >> i hope that we get that diplomatic deal. i hope it's possible through creative diplomacy. through this visit now by mrs. clinton, by the visit of the secretary general, that we can achieve a framework that will diplomatically create peace and quiet for the citizens of southern israel. if that proves impossible, i think we will have to act more
forcefully to silence those rockets. it can be done. as i said, it's not our preference, but it can be done. >> because today was a brutal day in southern israel and in gaza. if you were any close tore cease fire agreement, if you're in gaza or southern israel, you wopt know it. >> i'd also adhere in -- i was here in the studio when a missile was fired at jerusalem. they fire add rocket here at jerusalem, that says more about hamas than any statement i could make. because this city which is so special to tens of millions of people across this planet, a city which is holy to the three great faiths, a city that is inhabited by a pureless population of jews and arabs, it could have landed anywhere. it could have landed at one of the holiest sites. we understand what could have happened. and they have no reservations whatsoever about doing such a thing. it shows what we're up against. >> the spokesman for the prime minister of israel, thanks very much for coming in. >> my pleasure.
as the violence rages here in israel and gaza, peace is also hard to come by in nearby syria. but a major development today could help the rebels gain some ground. standby for that. and we'll have the latest on the secretary of state hillary clinton's push for peace. she's here in jerusalem right now. she's at the prime minister's office meeting with benjamin netanyahu. lots of breaking news happening right here. on gasoline. i am probably going to the gas station about once a month. last time i was at a gas station was about...i would say... two months ago. i very rarely put gas in my chevy volt. i go to the gas station such a small amount that i forget how to put gas in my car. [ male announcer ] and it's not just these owners giving the volt high praise. volt received the j.d. power and associates appeal award two years in a row. ♪
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right now. lisa, what do you have? >> hi there, joe. big news on this front. both the uk and france are declaring support for the rebels fighting the assad regime in syria. france has said it would consider arming the opposition while the british say they will help with political and humanitarian issues. no statement yet from the united states on the violence in syria has killed more than 37,000 people since march of 2011. and encouraging news in the fight against hiv and aids. a u.n. report shows new hiv infections have dropped more than 50% in 25 low and middle income countries. many in sub sa ha ran africa. the number of people getting anti-retro viral treatment has increased in the last two years and aids-related deaths have been dropping. and federal chairman ben bernanke says "the stakes are high when it comes to the fiscal cliff." he's urging lawmakers to act quickly. he says the $7 trillion in spending cuts and tax increases could send the u.s. back into
recession. members of congress have been optimistic about reaching a deal, but they still can't agree on taxes. and that's going to be the big stumbling block as you well know. >> absolutely. that's a very tough fight. and a lot yet to come. thanks so much, lisa. now we're going back to wolf blitzer in jerusalem. wolf, is there anything new in the all-important meetings between the secretary of state and the prime minister? >> well, they're in those meetings right now. and we're waiting -- we're going to be watching closely to see what if anything hillary clinton or the prime minister benjamin netanyahu say after their meeting. you heard their statements going in. they both were expressing hope that this could be resolved peacefully. the prime minister though not ruling out the so-called military option going in on the ground if necessary. the secretary, joe, she's been traveling in southeast asia with president obama. when she hurriedly was dispatched here to the middle ea east. let's go to our foreign affairs correspondent jill dougherty
checking in with all of her sources. jill, explain to our viewers why the president decided to send hillary clinton halfway around the world for these urgent rounds of meetings. >> he wanted her, wolf, to be their personally to sit down to talk with these people face to face. after all, don't forget, she knows a lot of the key players. she certainly knows benjamin netanyahu. she's met with the head of the palestinian authority. and she knows of the issues. so a lot of it as victoria nuland, the spokesperson for the state department, said it's really that showing up. >> president obama asked me to come to israel with a very clear message. america's commitment to israel's security is rock solid and unwavering. that is why we believe it is essential to de-escalate the situation in gaza. the rocket attacks from terrorist organizations inside gaza on israeli cities and towns
must end and a broader calm restored. the goal must be a durable outcome that promotes regional stability and advances the security and legitimate aspirations of israelis and palestinians alike. >> so that was as you can see the secretary, wolf, being even handed saying of course support for israel is rock solid. but also giving some space to try to bring both sides together and help both sides ultimately if that's possible. >> you know, one of the key players in all of this, jill, is hamas in gaza. but the u.s. doesn't talk to hamas. it regards hamas as a terrorist organization. although hamas of course is launching rockets and missiles, the u.s. with others trying to get a cease fire. how does the state department -- how does the secretary of state deal with this fundamental
problem that the u.s. isn't talking to one of the key players? >> that's a good point, wolf. after all, she's going to be speaking with ma moud abas but has little influence when it comes to hamas. so enter egypt. that is why she'll be going to cairo to meet with president morsi because they are the people who do have influence with hamas. and look at the words she used, you know, for egypt. that they have the opportunity and responsibility to try to exert their efforts toward some type of resolution. so she's urging them very strongly step up to the plate, as they already are, and try to bring that together. so she has to do it indirectly, you could say. >> i noticed that they're not using the word cease fire. they're talking about calming things down, de-escalation. these are significant code words. what's wrong with the word cease fire? >> you know, cease fire we are
told by at least one official is too specific because they are not -- the officials here at the state department, are not really sure what either side will want to use, what kind of words. and you don't want to lock yourself into defining something that neither side has really decided on. so that's one issue. another is, you know, you lower the bar somewhat on expectations. you don't try to predefine what's going to happen. and then it could be a broader let's call it a cease fire, but it could be a broader cessation of hostilities in some way. so again, not trying to get locked in. >> you know, i wouldn't be surprised having covered this story for so long the secretary of state meeting right now with the prime minister then she'll fly to cairo to meet with the new egyptian president mohamed
morsi, would it be surprising to you, it wouldn't be surprising to me if she were then to fly back here and engage in what they used to call shuttle diplomacy to nail down agreements back in the '70s. what are you hearing about the flexibility of her schedule right now that would allow hillary clinton to engage in some shuttle diplomacy if necessary to achieve this calming down or cease fire? >> you know, wolf, that's a good point. i mean, there are hints that if something happened, schedules could change at the very end, at this point they're not saying that specifically. but certainly if -- obviously if she felt based on what people are saying here that there was some type of opportunity, she would not stop in trying to facilitate that type of outcome. >> yeah. let's see if she comes back to jerusalem after her talks with
president morsi in cairo and what happens after that. let's see what happens. obviously the stakes right now in the middle east indeed in the world as a result of what's going on enormous right now. jill dougherty at the state department. thank you. today the israeli president shimon perez says it's been a constructive surprise to him egypt's new government is trying to play in ending the fighting in gaza. we're going to have a closer look at what the egyptian role is. stay with us. going down? ♪ there is no relief for the brakes. we'll put them to the test today. all right, let's move out! [ ross ] we're pushing the ats brakes to the limit. going as fast as we can down the hill. we are making these sharp turns, slamming on the brembo brakes. [ derek ] it's like instant response, incredibly consistent. this is the challenge, machine vs. mountain. [ male announcer ] the all-new cadillac ats.
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meet with the new egyptian president mohamed morsi. president obama called president morsi at least three times that we know of over the last 24 hours. he's clearly playing a critical role in trying to broker a deal between hamas and israel to stop the fighting in gaza and southern israel. let's go to cairo right now. cnn's ian lee is standing by. egypt's president is very much involved getting praise from the u.s. and others and palestinians, what's going on? what's the egyptian role? describe it to us in a nutshell. >> reporter: well, wolf, what we're seeing is a resurgence of egypt as a strong vocal diplomatic player. president mohamed morsi and his base muslim brotherhood historically have strong ties with hamas. and we saw this recently during this conflict as members of the muslim brotherhood were visiting hamas officials in gaza.
and so they have this -- they're hoping to put influence on hamas to bring about a cease fire. if you look at egypt, egypt has historically had a good working relationship with israel. it did under president hosni mubarak. so far we've seen them continue that. it's likely to see if we do see a cease fire, when we see a cease fire tharks egypt will be at that core, wolf. >> this is a huge test for president morsi if he succeeds in getting this deal between the israelis and hamas, i assume he will be rewarded. the u.s. will strengthen its relationship the u.s. provides egypt with extensive economic and military support. this is a big test for the new egyptian president. >> reporter: you're exactly right, wolf. this is a huge test for president mohamed morsi both diplomatically and internationally.
first, domestically the community the eptian seem to be pleased with mohamed morsi's reaction to what's happening in gaza. his harsh condemnation of israel's actions in gaza has pleased the egyptian street. but they're going to want a harsher and continue this sort of condemnation if the violence continues. well, if president mohamed morsi does go with that, he risks alienating foreign players. and especially now that's crucial because egypt is looking for money from other countries as its economy is staggering. so if egypt were to come out harsher against israel, it could alienate foreign donors. we're also reading in egyptian media people who are also condemning him for focusing too much on gaza and not enough on the problems in egypt right now. just this past week we had a train accident which saw dozens of children killed. and so people are saying why is president mohamed morsi focusing too much on gaza and not enough
on the problems at home? so quick resolution to the conflict in gaza will be good for him diplomatically, wolf. >> i think economically as well down the road if he succeeds. ian lee in cairo, thank you. we're standing by the prime minister benjamin netanyahu meeting with secretary of state hillary clinton. meanwhile, as rockets rain down on southern israel as well as in gaza, social media's playing a big role in keeping israelis in particular safe. there's a new app for that. standby, we have some details. ♪
a bombshell announcement on wall street today. lisa sylvester's monitoring that and some of the other top stories in "the situation room" right now. lisa, what do you have? >> hi there, joe. hp is taking -- because the company misrepresented its finances. stocks of hp fell sharply on this news. ceo meg whitman says those responsible have already left hp. whitman says the board feels terribly about missing the accounting fraud. and google is getting a lot of grief for leaving out december. the people app in the new operating version skips right from november to january. so people can't enter events or birthdays in the month of december. one internet headline asks if google is the new grinch that stole christmas. google says this bug is going to
be fixed soon. have you ever wondered how much an adjusted gross income it takes to be in the top 1% of income earners? that figure $370,000. that's according to the irs. but on average the top 1% earned more than $1.1 million. this group of top earners remains in the spotlight when it comes to higher taxes and the fiscal cliff. and that's going to be the big question, are taxes going to go up on the richest. >> there's a huge difference between $370,000 and $1 million? >> i think there certainly is. $370,000 gets you in the top 1%, but the average is a little over a million dollars. we're talking big bucks either way around for most of us folks. >> all right. thanks, lisa. while the rockets and warplanes fly over israel and gaza, there's also a battle being waged to influence your opinion. wolf is back from jerusalem with the story behind the pictures of grief and sorrow people all over the world are seeing. snacking, gift stacking,en nutcracking and yellowing. because if you're not whitening, you're yellowing.
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the israeli military strikes against militants and the rocket sites in gaza certainly have taken a toll on gaza civilians. brian todd takes a closer look at the findings at the huger toll and the implications. >> the pictures are jarring, children dead, children badly injured in gaza. a doctor nearly breaks down. >> maybe, how do you feel? >> reporter: from cairo to ramala, civilian casualties have led to protest of israel supporting hamas. israel leaders are hearing refrain to what they heard four years ago when roundly
criticized for causing hundreds of civilian deaths during operation cast led. a bloody ground offensive against hamas in gaza. this time around israeli officials say they're doing everything they can to minimize that. >> we've had cases of pilots who have had to abort missions because they've seen that rockets are in the middle of playgrounds or mosques or middle of schools. >> israel's ambassador to the u.s. says rockets have been routinely fired from israel in recent days to civilian areas in gaza. many militants in gaza have regular jobs by day and fight at night. >> they dress in civilian garb and indistinguishable other than the fact they have guns. we have rockets placed in civilian homes. we have pictures of them. these homes have families in them. >> israeli officials also tell us that in gaza in rekrengt days militants have posed as or mingled with journalists. in one case a militant was
riding in a car marked tv. in another militants stayed in a building known to be used by media outlets. israeli officials say it's an effort by hamas to sustain casualties on the palestinian side and generate more pressure on israel. hamas leaders say they have no choice but to fight from among civilians in one of the most crowded places on earth. and they call israel's campaign a massacre of civilians. >> if the leaders of the occupiers, the israeli leaders brought to justice in the previous aggression, they would not have dare to -- >> reporter: but strategic advantage for hamas? one analyst says it could lead to help from egypt's new president. >> that could create so much pressure than mohamed morsi has to open up the border and creates a very different environment in gaza than you had beforehand.
>> john altman says hamas could seek to capitalize on support it's getting elsewhere in the palestinian territories to generate more pressure on mahmoud abass, someone not seen or heard from very much during this conflict, wolf. he's now set to meet with hillary clinton. >> brian todd reporting for us. thanks very, very much. anderson cooper's standing by in gaza when we come back, we're going to anderson live for the very latest. this isn't just a headache. trust me, this is new bayer migraine. [ male announcer ] it's the power of aspirin plus more in a triple action formula to relieve your tough migraines. new bayer migraine formula. and the candidate's speech is in pieces all over the district.
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or may become pregnant. tell your doctor about other medicines you're taking. call your doctor right away if you have muscle pain or weakness, feel unusually tired, have loss of appetite, upper belly pain, dark urine or yellowing of skin or eyes. these could be signs of rare but serious side effects. ♪ is your cholesterol at goal? talk to your doctor about crestor. [ female announcer ] if you can't afford your medication, astrazeneca may be able to help. i've got a nice long life ahead. big plans. so when i found out medicare doesn't pay all my medical expenses, i got a medicare supplement insurance plan. [ male announcer ] if you're eligible for medicare, you may know it only covers about 80% of your part b medical expenses. the rest is up to you. call and find out about an aarp medicare supplement insurance plan, insured by unitedhealthcare insurance company. like all standardized medicare supplement plans, it could save you thousands in out-of-pocket costs. call now to request your free decision guide.
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lessons for iran what israel's sworn enemy may be learning from this conflict. and four california men facing terror charges for an alleged plot to attack u.s. troops. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer in jerusalem. you're in "the situation room." the deadliest latest conflict between israel and ha moose. we're live in jerusalem for word of any diplomatic progress. there's been talk in the day about -- israel responded to fresh rocket attacks from gaza with missile strikes that killed at least five people including a child according to gaza health
officials. the israeli army dropped leaflets warning residents in some areas to leave immediately for gaza city even indicating which routes they should take to stay safe. earlier today i visited the israeli town of beersheva. the family who lives in this home told me they made it to their safe room with only about 30 seconds to spare. the israel defense forces says one of its soldiers was killed by a hamas rocket earlier today. a total of five israelis have now been killed in this week of fighting. throughout the day whaling sirens have sent people in israel running for shelter including cnn's frederik pleitgen. take a look at what happened when he was reporting live earlier in the day. >> fred, what do you got? >> su san, we just have an air alarm going off right now. it literally went off as we went on air.
get unplugged. let's get inside. >> please be safe. okay. >> i'm going off. we're going to move to a safer area. you still with me, susan? >> i am, fred. please move to a safe area. if you have to disconnect, please do. >> we're moving inside. come on now, guys. let's go. come on. all right. we're almost inside. let's go. so we're moving to a safer place basically just inside this -- >> could be pretty scary as i can testify when the sirens start going off. you don't know what's coming your way. frederik pleitgen is joining us live from the israeli town of ashkelon only a few kilometers north of gaza. fred, there's been intense rocket fire in southern israel, ashkelon, beer sheva, elsewhere in southern israel throughout the day, give us the sense what's the latest? >> hi, wolf. in the past couple of hours it's gotten more quiet. it was really that time if you remember earlier today we were thinking there was going to be
an announcement made by hamas or possibly by the egyptian government that there was going to be a cease fire. it was really in the hour before we thought that announcement was going to be made that all of a sudden all hell broke loose out of gaza. i was standing at a hill at some point overlooking gaza and you could just see rockets flying out of that place at an enormous pace going towards ashkelon and beer sheva. a lot of those rockets were picked off by that iron dome missile intercepter system in midair. and later of course i was in ashkelon with the strike that you just saw also happened. and we saw rockets fly over our heads aimed at the town of ashdod. we saw at least five rockets that were picked off there. and of course one of the things that also happened is that a rocket landed really close to the town -- the main town of course of tel aviv injuring several people there when it hit a house, wolf. so there was a big phase with a big barrage of rockets. it's a little more quiet now, however we have no sense that this is in any way over, wolf.
>> yeah. that was the second time a rocket got close to tel aviv. one got close to jerusalem today as well. second time that's happened. how are the folks, the israelis that you're dealing with that you're seeing and speaking to, average civilians, how are they dealing with all of this? >> reporter: well, that's a very good question. of course the big thing on people's minds here is that possible truce or cease fire or let up in violence as some people are calling it. and many people here i was quite surprised to hear especially in towns like ashkelon are not happy with that at all. they say they feel that the objective of this military campaign has not been reached yet as long as rockets are still flying out of gaza. have a listen to what some people we asked had to say. >> they were supposed to finish the job. they didn't even start the job there. as we talk right now we have missiles flying above our head every five, ten seconds you
see -- ten minutes. and they shoot -- they continue and finish the job as they promised us. and unfortunately for mr. netanyahu, if he won't finish the job there, then there is election coming soon and he will pay the price at the election. >> translator: i think the other side doesn't want a cease fire. it's a bluff. they only want war. >> i don't believe this. you know, where is guarantee what you make -- 100% we'll be quiet. who is to give the guarantee? >> reporter: now, wolf, those are some very strong words for israel's government and also israel's defense forces. the people there are saying they simply don't want to continue in this way anymore. they say they feel that if there is a truce or cease fire, then two months, three months, maybe two or three years down the line you'll probably see a similar military campaign as the one right now. of course especially towns like ashkelon. they take rocket fire all the
time even in the best of days you have rockets hitting here maybe one or two every week, maybe one every two weeks. however, the people here live in constant fear. and they say they simply don't want that to continue. they want the problem solved once and for all, wolf. >> yeah. they certainly do. that's what i heard when i was in beersheba earlier today and walked through the house that had been destroyed when i was where you are, frederik pleitgen, thank you very much. gaza also taking a deadly pounding throughout the day today despite the talk of a cease fire. anderson cooper is in gaza city for us. you got a firsthand look at the explosion. share with our viewers what you saw. >> that's right, wolf. for all the talk of cooling down period if anything things remain very hot here, continue to heat up. we've heard a number of explosions even within the last hour one just about a minute or so ago while you were talking to fred in ashkelon. there was a large explosion
actually near our office a couple of hours ago. and we actually ran out to the scene of it. there was about a block and a half from where we are, smoke filled the entire area. we could feel -- the smell of scorched metal, very awkward smell filled the air. we couldn't see signs of bodies or fatalities. one person taken to an ambulance who was still walking but in a villa said to be owned by a banker who also had been a minister who was no longer there. locals said they weren't sure who was using the house now, whether someone from hamas using the house or what. but that house was basically completely destroyed. and the blast actually occurred while our ben wedeman was on the air talking. take a look at what our viewers saw when ben was talking. >> i think it's pretty clear that we are moving in the direction of -- [ gunfire ]
i can hear shattering glass out there right now. the building just shook of course because i was looking at the camera i didn't see where the blast took place. anybody see it? okay. to the north of this building here. so despite talk of cease fire, hala, it appears that the guns are still firing. >> ben wedeman joining me now. all of us in the office basically ducked to the floor. i don't know how you remained standing. basically didn't even flinch. clearly you've been in the region a lot longer than i have. for all the talk of a cooling down period, nothing has materialized. >> nothing. in fact if anything it's intensified this evening i think going both ways. what we're hearing is in fact at this point there's not going to be any possibility of an announcement of a cease fire until tomorrow at the earliest. so -- and one hamas official is saying that sort of backtracking on what they said before that the israelis have not accepted their proposal for a cease fire or a period of calm. >> and we were listening to people in ashkelon voicing a lot
of skepticism about what even a cease fire would mean. i mean, unless there is some sort of long-term solution here, this could very easily happen again. >> of course. and it has. this is the second time. and really the solutions are stark. it's either a political solution with hamas. or a military solution whereby israel comes into the gaza strip which would result in massive casualties. >> and we did see the israel coming back in 2008 and 2009. i mean, is there really finally a military solution to this? it seems like no matter what hamas maintains power and able to get in more rockets as soon as israel leaves. >> in 2008 and 2009 it was fairly limited in terms of the areas they entered. and they had a much smaller call-up back then. this time it's 75,000 reservists. so if a cease fire's not reached, it appears that israel is preparing for a much larger operation. >> even if there is a cease fire or a cooling off period that hamas agrees to, there are other
groups in this region. does hamas have control over all of the groups as long as jihad and others are operating here? >> no. there are groups here consider hamas to be too moderate. islamic jihadist -- >> saw from that direction. >> islamic jihadist is definitely one of those groups, the major group challenging hamas here. but then there are other groups even al qaeda-affiliated groups that consider hamas to simply be too moderate. >> and wolf is with us in jerusalem. so, wolf, a lot here remains on the ground unsaid, unclear at this hour. there's a lot of skepticism here. i mean, how much do you think people here are siding with hamas? i mean, are they on hamas' side? how popular is hamas? >> they have a backing. hamas is a very sophisticated organization in terms of its grass root sort of social services and whatnot. but beyond those who immediately benefit from it, it doesn't have a lot of support.
many here grumble that hamas is making a lot of money off the tunnel business. hamas is only serving its own people. and it's doing things that result in this, bombardment, complete disruption of normal life. so there's a lot of dissatisfaction among ordinary people here. >> how are they making money off the tunnel business? >> it's basically tax. they tax every sort of everything that comes in there's a tax. cement, food, fuel, cars, computers. and so they have a cut in everything. and that's how they manage to survive. >> ben wedeman, that's the scene right now in gaza, wolf. >> did i just hear behind you, anderson, another explosion? or was that my imagination? >> no. that was definitely another explosion. it was pretty far off in the distance. i didn't actually see an impact blast. but, yeah, that was another
explosion. it was incoming. >> i wonder, anderson, because you showed our viewers earlier in the day some very dramatic video. maybe you and ben can explain what happened. i want to warn our viewers the video is very disturbing. the hamas leaders, they found some palestinians they accuse of being collaborators with israel. what happened, anderson? >> yeah. we basically heard a loud ruckus in the street, looked out our window and saw a number of guys on motorcycles, about seven or eight, dragging the body of a man through the streets. his feet were tied to the back of one of the motorcycles. he was clearly dead. his hands were over his head. you can see the video. it's very disturbing. this has happened before, ben, not only in the last several days when there was another killing, but it's happened in prior conflicts as well. >> oh, yeah. during the second it happened many times where collaborators were killed. my understanding involving these collaborators is they have been condemned already to death. they were released by hamas because they basically opened
all the prisons when this began because they couldn't hold them because the prisons were police stations and government facilities being hit and therefore basically their excuse is they are carrying out the sentence that's already been passed against these men. >> the other day though there was also an execution of somebody in the street who apparently had not gone through some sort of judicial process. it was basically street justice. >> yeah. and that's going to happen in a situation like this. there's everybody here will tell you that there are collaborators for israel wherever you go. somebody is sending information constantly. so hamas is a very paranoid organization. >> there is a lot of paranoia. especially when you see the hit on the media center yesterday three rockets hitting the second floor of the building, it was targeted very specifically they clearly had information about who was in the building at the time because they did say successfully and palestinian sources here say that islamic jihad official was killed in that blast. so somebody has eyes on the ground. >> yeah. they are getting some very good
intelligence. >> wolf. >> anderson, ben, guys thanks very much. we'll check back with both of you. we're watching what's happening in gaza. we're watching what's happening here in israel. meanwhile, swirling speculation about a deal to stop the fighting at least temporarily. we're going to get the latest from the spokeswoman for the israeli defense forces. that's next. e world... ...you see they all have something very interesting in common. they have teachers... ...with a deeper knowledge of their subjects. as a result, their students achieve at a higher level. let's develop more stars in education. let's invest in our teachers... ...so they can inspire our students. let's solve this. throughout our lives. one a day women's 50+ is a complete multivitamin designed for women's health concerns as we age. it has more of 7 antioxidants
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an 18-year-old israeli soldier was among the latest israeli casualties today as the fighting raged on for a seventh straight day. we're joined now by lieutenant colonel the spokeswoman for the israel defense forces. lieutenant colonel, thanks very much for coming in once again. tell us about this 18-year-old israeli soldier. how was he killed? >> well, actually when we damage severely the long-range rocket capabilities and medium range,
they moved to mortars and short-range rockets and probably happened today with the soldier. >> where was the soldier when he was hit? >> on the outskirts of gaza. >> like five kilometers near gaza? >> near gaza. >> so you think this was just a shelling? >> this was a very heavy barrage like we've seen the whole day. the entire country a large portion of the country was barraged especially the city of beer sheva, over 100 people were injured this way or another. >> just today? >> just today. and another civilian was killed in addition. >> so far in the past week now five israelis have been killed. >> right. >> and how many have been injured? >> hundreds. >> there was another civilian killed today as well going from three to five. what are you doing about it? what's going on? there's a lot of talk of a cease fire. but i was in beer sheva today and i didn't see any cease fire. anderson cooper is in gaza with ben wedeman and arwa damon, they're not seeing a cease fire.
>> we're still operating in the gaza strip. we are going ahead to the plans. we still have many more targets since there are many launchers lanching the rockets towards us, we're still operating. >> through air power and naval power. >> air power and naval power combined. we also use a little bit of artillery today. we're trying these methods in order to target these launchers. some of them are underground. so pretty difficult to find them. it's not just a launcher in the back of a van or something of that sort. and many of them are hidden between civilian areas. and this makes our lives of course a lot more difficult since we want to avoid civilian casualties. >> so you're using artillery that's in israel but shelling areas -- targeted areas inside gaza. it's the first time you've been using artillery for that purpose? >> i would say it's not the first time this operation. we actually dropped leaflets earlier today asking those people living in the areas of the shelling to clear those areas. and we are working with these areas in order to try and quiet
down the rocket fire. >> because those leaflets that you dropped, how did you drop those leaflets? by air power? >> yes. >> and what were you instructed palestinians and gaza to do? >>. >> i'm not sure many other militaries in the world do as well. we actually advise them and we told them in which areas we will be operating and advise them to stay away. interestingly enough the hamas radio called them to just ignore our message and stay at home. >> and did you go ahead and shell those areas that you warned in advance you would be shell sng. >> after some time we allowed them to clear the area and only then we shelled. >> you have all the preparations now in place potentially for a ground invasion of gaza? >> nothing has changed that course. >> is everything ready on that front in terms of the thousands of troops, the tanks, the armored personnel carriers, the artillery that would go in, is this all in place? >> all in place. all is ready. people are trained. waiting just for a decision.
>> you really don't want that option to take place? >> we want a rocket-free country. this is what we want. >> and is that going to happen? >> we're working on it so it will happen. >> the secretary of state of the united states is meeting as we speak right now with the israeli prime minister. so far there's been no announcement from cairo, from hamas, from israel, from the u.s., no announcement of a cease fire although there have been some hints that maybe the parties are close. >> so far the operation is going like you said. there is no decision. will it work or not, it's too early to predict. we are doing whatever we can in our pow er. >> one or two of them may have landed outside of tel aviv and outside of jerusalem today. were those missiles that landed outside of tel aviv and -- >> yeah. >> iranian-made. >> iranian-made. the only reason you see one or
two every couple days is because the arsenal was damaged. >> how many more do you think they have? >> we don't think they have many more. >> what does that mean? >> very small quantities. the ground rockets, which are the one to 40 kilometers, they have more of those. >> how many do they have? >> even thousands. >> thousands? >> when you have 400 smuggling tunnels on a very narrow 14.5-kilometer long area and you have to pay hamas to use those tunnels, then everything goes in those tunnels starting from rockets, explosives, people, you name it. >> there's talk of -- we heard the secretary of state use the word calm before some sort of formal agreement. how do you monitor from a military perspective a calm, if you will, in gaza? do you have drones that fly over? everyone hears those drones flying over. are those drones just taking surveillance video? what are they doing? >> the drones are used for intelligence. we have the best air power working now in gaza as we speak.
but calm is, you know, you can feel it in the country. you said you were in beer sheva, it was not calm. an hour ago a house seven stories was bombarded. >> that's near tel aviv. >> that's 20 minutes away from tel aviv. >> that was the miss sill? >> and luckily the family stayed safe. you would see the house. you would not believe it's the family survived this. >> they were lucky to stay alive. they didn't go into a safe room? they didn't have a shelter? >> they were not in the apartment at the time. >> so they were luck ku on that front. >> yep. >> lieutenant colonel, thanks very much for coming in. appreciate it. it's one of the most densely populated places in the world. and for the residents of gaza there's no escape from the fighting as we just heard. we're going to have life in a war zone. that's next. >ç
inside gaza city, a desperate battle to stay alive for palestinians caught in the war zone. with no easy way to escape. here's cnn's senior international correspondent arwa damon. >> reporter: this is one of the few markets open in gaza. most do their shopping in the morning, not so much for the fresher produce but because it's safer. one of the grocer here says when the strikes began prices immediately skyrocketed. people are expecting a repeat of israel's 2008-2009 invasion. >> translator: people were buying out of fear. it lasted for two days he tells us. and then the market stabilized and prices went back down.
gazans only too accustom to war have mastered the art of adjusting their daily lives. this woman lives in an area close to the israeli border. there are no cars around she tells us. saying that residents were warned not to leave their homes. so she hitched a ride with an ambulance to come here and shop for her eleven children. on the one hand gaza feels like just about any other area at war. the streets are largely deserted, the shops mostly closed. one would assume that the residents here had fled for safer ground. only they haven't. the 1.5 million plus people who call this home are simply hiding indoors. the vast majority of them are literally not allowed to leave. they can't cross into israel. and getting into egypt requires a hard to obtain permit.
once darkness falls, the streets are even more eerily silent, but overhead drones buzz incessantly. in an almost surreal contrast, a nursery rhyme and this 10-year-old leads the children in a game they invented. as in many other homes, the power is out. and there was no diesel at the pump for fuel for the generator. normally seven members of the family live here. now their numbers have swelled to over 30. she tells us the roof of her house is a sheet of metal, not concrete. we were afraid it would collapse on us she says. and even here there is no guarantee of safety. the family matriarch tells us one of the explosions was so
close the building trembled. i grabbed all of the kids that was sleeping in my bed. i grabbed them all like this and hold them close, she says. the 7-year-old started wetting her bed. we're in a prison. a big prison sadika sighs. it's all she knows. all she wants for the sake of the children is something better. arwa damon, cnn, gaza city. >> heartbreaking stories on both sides of the israel/gaza border. the escalating battle may be sending signs of caution to iran. just ahead, what that country may be learning from the military fire power now being used on both sides. stay with us. you're in "the situation room." (splashing)...
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benjamin netanyahu is meeting with secretary of state hillary clinton here at the prime minister's office here in jerusalem. we're standing by to hear what they stay following that meeting. going in they both made statements. neither suggested that there was a cease fire or some sort of deal. they're working on that obviously with hamas to try to end the fighting that's been going on now for a week. at the top of the meeting when they made their statements, prime minister netanyahu went out of the way to thank the united states for helping israel develop its anti-missile defense shield known as iron dome. listen to this. >> i want to thank president obama, you and the american government and people for their strong support for israel and in hour of need. i want to also thank you especially for your support of iron dome. it's been saving lives. and we are in a battle to save lives. one of the things that we're doing is trying to resist and
counter a terrorist barrage aimed directly at our civilians. and doing so by minimizing civilian casualties whereas the terrorist enemies of israel are doing everything in their power to maximize the number of civilian casualties. >> once again they're still meeting inside the prime minister's office. we'll see what they say. the secretary of state by the way tomorrow will be going to the west bank to meet with the palestinian authority president mahmoud abass and then going to cairo to meet with egyptian president mohamed morsi. let's see if she then returns to jerusalem to meet once again with the israelis, engage in what they used to call shuttle diplomacy. we're watching that part of the story very closely. there have been some intriguing hints that the secretary of state may have to do that to help broker some sort of deal. we'll see how close they get. meanwhile, both israel and hamas have been showing off their
respective military fire power over the past week in this escalating violence. and the sophisticated battle they're fighting could be sending some critical messages to iran. our pentagon correspondent barbara starr is joining us right now in washington. she's at the pentagon. what's going on in this part of the story, barbara? >> wolf, the question on the table is now as iran looks at all this fire power over gaza, is iran recalculating any things it might have against israel? israel's iron dome missiles have intercepted about 85% of hamas rockets fired at israeli civilians. it's a military success, but still short of all-out victory. >> the terrorist may be the big winner in as far as it doesn't take more than one or two of these things to land in a major urban center to cause political response, to cause panic and to
maybe at that point have forced israel's hand into a ground operation. >> hamas is already banking on iron dome's potential weak spots. >> iron dome does have a certain limit to the number of missiles it can engage. >> hamas can now fire a dozen rockets at a time. cnn's ben wedeman has seen growing hamas sophistication. >> some of them is more than one stage. it's a long rocket. it has to be disassembled and brought in. and this has increased the range of the rockets fired by hamas and the other resistance organizations as far as jerusalem and tel aviv. >> hamas is also burying rockets in underground pits covered by rock and sand. then using automated remote controls to fire. israeli pilots have to hunt them down one by one. one country, which is likely watching how israel handles this conflict very carefully is iran. which is wary of israel's
striking at its nuclear program. iran has missiles that might be able to hit israel, but iran may be seeing cautionary signs as it looks for ways to retaliate if israel were to launch a strike. >> israel may be able to tolerate whatever retaliation hamas or hezbollah might do in the event of an attack on iran. so iran may feel a little more vulnerable today than it did a week or two ago. >> israel has multiple defenses now. iron dome batteries can strike rockets launched 45 miles away. its longer range arrow missiles can detect targets 300 miles away. it's designed to go squarely after a ballistic missile attack from iran. a new weapon called david's sling falls right between. able to hit missiles and rockets fired from 40 to 150 miles away like a threat coming out of hezbollah targets in lebanon.
but iran has still one more advantage. right now it is able to continue smuggling rockets and missiles into gaza through the sinai. as long as that continues, wolf, a lot of experts say iran can still very much influence events. wolf. >> i know they're watching what's going on in gaza very, very closely and a lot of other folks are as well. good report, barbara. thanks very much. the secretary of state hillary clinton, she's here in jerusalem right now. she's meeting with the prime minister of israel. they're at the prime minister's office. what can she do specifically, hillary clinton, to stop the violence? can she close a deal in the coming hours maybe days? we're going to talk about that. that's coming up. our abundant natural gas is already saving us money, producing cleaner electricity, putting us to work here in america
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you're looking at a live picture of jerusalem right now where our own wolf blitzer's been reporting all day -- all week in fact. and we'll be getting back to him momentarily right here in "the situation room." in the meantime secretary of state hillary clinton is also in jerusalem hoping to help bring an end to the violence. but can she close the deal? joining us in our strategy session two cnn contributors the democratic strategist james carville, his wife, republican strategist, mary matalin. now, you all have seen this kind of thing play out before. presidents generally don't send their top people in a situation like this unless they think they're going to get something positive out of it. do you think this is sort of a sign just the secretary being there that it's pretty close to resolution? or do you think she still has to
close the deal? mary? >> no, we haven't seen anything like this before because the mideast is unraveling at a dangerous pace with the rise of the muslim brotherhood in egypt. noticed in their press conference they both mentioned egypt, the secretary of state's going to egypt and tunisia and libya and elsewhere. so it's a completely different foreign policy terrain. but what we have seen is the inability of any administration through decades and decades be able to get peace when one side is declared that only the elimination -- the complete elimination of israel is the only thing that will bring peace. i'm admiring that she's going. it's a serious problem for the united states. but i don't think sending her means they have a deal. >> james. >> yeah. i don't know. but i think there will be some kind of a cease fire. but i feel that this is a political thing more than it is a military thing. and i think what they're trying to do is rally people around
that region to their side here. i mean they're obviously not going to win a fight with israel. there's no way that's going to happen. i think that the fact that they have this iron dome gives people at least a sense of security for the time being. i think it's worked pretty well. and they may get a deal, but it's going to be a bit of a band-aid or something like that but you take what you can in an interim thing. >> this might be hillary clinton's last political trip but won't be her last political rodeo if you know what i mean. does she need another feather in her cap considering the fact she might go onto other things? >> i think her cap is well feathered for whatever she wants to do next. this is an impossible situation. and i think it's wonderful that she's there. but we shouldn't have any expectation that she could do what george mitchell and so many statesmen before her. but he's the hillary expert. >> remember that her husband tried the darnedest at the end
of his term to get an agreement, but that didn't happen. the prerequisite for president is solve the palestinian -- like 5,000 years of presidential candidates. >> well, there's been a lot of talk about bill clinton becoming a middle east envoy to try to resolve this thing too. >> well, i think maybe if you wanted some longer talks it would make sense to have an envoy. by the way i think his wife secretary of state i think she's perfectly capable of doing this thank you. and i'm sure that she is to the extent that it can be done. >> the funny thing is there's already talk about who's going to replace hillary clinton whenever she leaves office. and the name has come up of susan rice, the ambassador to the united nations. there's a lot of opposition on the hill particularly ong republicans. i showed you the letter 97 republican house members sending a letter to the president voicing their opposition to the nomination of susan rice if she's nominated. and i want to read you a little
bit of that. ambassador rice is widely viewed as having either willfully or incompetently misled the american public in the benghazi matter. her actions plausibly give u.s. allies and rivals abroad reason to question u.s. commitment and credibility when needed. do you think it's the advice and consent role? >> this is not about susan rice. this is not a personality. they're trying to get some answers. that letter was sent before they got the answer, apparently it was clapper who omitted from her talking points and sent her out on tv. anybody who would want to know why she went on television, did all the sunday shows with fraudulent information should be her. and i think there is an incompetence level having been inside there that she didn't even question this. this isn't her first rodeo either. >> well, look, this woman is a road scholar.
is the ambassador to the united nations. certainly the house republicans are elected people, they're entitled to say what they want. but then she's going to testify. so if people have these objections, that's the great thing about our system. i'm sure cnn will be there with the cameras. >> that's a fact. democratic congressman of south carolina was asked about that letter earlier on cnn. he sort of took a short. he suggested they were using code words. he didn't like the use of the word incompetent. he said there were racial implications to all of this. what do you think? i see you drop your head, mary. a bridge too far for you? >> is there anything that liberals don't see as race, class or gender? is there anything, anything? the party that's supposed to be color blind. no, i don't know what the code words are, but we just make up code words as we go to be able to call conservatives and republicans racist. i think it's despicable. the campaign's over. can we knock it off already? >> again, i don't know what
certainly the objection to her is not qualification or education. so there must be some other objection. and that objection is that she in the talking points. and she's a very articulate, very intelligent woman. and she can answer these questions herself and i'm sure she'll be delighted to do it. >> thank you so much. happy thanksgiving. appreciate you coming in. >> thank you, thank. now we'll go back to wolf blitzer in jerusalem. what's happening out there, wolf? >> lots happening right now. we're still waiting for the end of this meeting between the secretary of state, hillary clinton, and the israeli prime minister, benjamin netanyahu. at issue, whether or not there will be some sort of cease-fire or pause in the battle between the israelis and the palestinians in gaza. meanwhile, one family's close encounter with death in southern israel. ahead in our next hour, what i saw only moments after their home was hit by a rocket.
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an alleged plot to kill americans and bomb government facilities, busted wide open by the fbi. and now four young men from southern california are facing terror charges. cnn's kyung lah is joining us right now with details. what do we know about this alleged terror plot? >> reporter: the fbi just wrapped up a news conference here in los angeles at the federal building. and we did learn more about this group, made from different ethnic groups, and they are all part of what the fbi is saying a very serious home-grown terrorist network, with a singular plan, to kill americans overseas and they hatched that plan right here in southern california.
an event so unusual at this normally quiet home, that neighbor jen collins snapped pictures from her front window. she was so alarmed, she didn't fully open the blinds, but could see federal agents descending on the home of her neighbor, now charged in a terrorist conspiracy. >> it's kind of like shocking, like, well, they say for my son to go outside, like, it kills me. >> reporter: according to the criminal complaint, the apparent ringleader is omar kabir, born in afghanistan. one of the defendants refer to him as a mujahideen. they say they shared violent and extremist material on facebook, including video messages from anwar al awlaki, the now deceased leader of al qaeda in the arabian peninsula, and they liked various other links and
postings. the complaint alleges the men, once in afghanistan, planned to target american military bases. one telling a federal informant that he hoped to load up a truck with c-4 explosives and just drive it into, like, the baddest military base. i'm going to take out a whole base. >> reporter: and something we just learned, that kabir was also in the u.s. air force. we did reach out to the u.s. air force, confirming that he was in the military for a year and a half. he was discharged honorably at the end of 2001. wolf, he is now in custody in afghanistan. >> very disturbing story, indeeindee indeed. kyung lah reporting from los angeles. and anderson cooper is on the scene after a series of blasts. we'll go to him for the latest. and get the latest oen the meeting that's still ongoing right now between secretary of
and you're in "the situation room." happening now, there's no break in the fighting between israel and hamas. militants, despite earlier talk that there could be a cease-fire soon. i'll speak this hour with a hamas spokesman. stand by for that. i walked through the wreckage of an israeli home struck by hamas rocket fire earlier today. smoke with family members, soon after the attack. and a new smartphone app is helping to save lives during this conflict. and guess what, it's the idea of a 13-year-old boy. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world.
i'm wolf blitzer in jerusalem. you're in "the situation room." urgent talks are underway right now in the middle east. but it's not clear in israel and hamas are any closer in gaza to a truce, after a week of intense cross-border fighting. hamas backed off of plans to announce what they called a calming down period, a possible step toward a cease-fire. the israelis say they haven't agreed to anything yet. the prime minister, benjamin netanyahu, has been meeting with the secretary of state, hillary clinton, in jerusalem. they spoke to reporters just at the top of their meeting. >> one of the things that we're doing is trying to resist and counter a terrorist barrage, which is aimed directly at our civilians, and doing so by minimizing civilian casualties, whereas the terrorist enemies of
israel are doing everything in their power to maximize the number of civilian casualties. obviously, no country can tolerate a wanton attack on its civilians. now, if there is a possibility of achieving a long-term solution to this problem through diplomatic means, we prefer that. but if not, i'm sure you understand that israel will have to take whatever action is necessary to defend its people. this is something that i don't have to explain to americans. i know that president obama, you, and the american people understand that perfectly well. >> president obama asked me to come to israel with a very clear message. america's commitment to israel's security is rock solid and unwavering. that is why we believe it is essential to de-escalate the situation in gaza. the rocket attacks from terrorist organizations inside gaza, on israeli's cities and
towns, must end, and a broader calm restored. the goal must be a durable outcome that promotes regional stability and advances the security and legitimate aspirations of israelis and palestinians alike. president obama has emphasized the same points in his multiple conversations with president morsi of egypt. and we appreciate president morsi's personal leadership, and egypt's efforts thus far. as a regional leader and neighbor, egypt has the opportunity and responsibility to continue playing a crucial and constructive role in this process. >> earlier here in "the situation room," we heard from an israeli government spokesman for the prime minister of israel. let's get the latest on these cease-fire negotiations right now from a hamas spokesman. we're joined on the phone by
osama hamdan in beirut, a hamas spokesman. mr. hamdan, thanks very much for joining us. what is your understanding, how close are you and israel to a cease-fire agreement? >> reporter: well, thank you for this question. we have been discussing that or negotiating that for the last 48 hours. i can't say that we are close and we are on the edge. it may have been and it may not, because we have not received the last israeli answers about some important questions. i have to say that in one word, we are close and we have this can happen. although they are hard together at this time exactly. and let me say, we are open for all the diplomatic fortune, although to make an end for this crisis, but we are supposed to
do in order to protect our people and the future for our children. >> what is your understanding, mr. hamdan, what would hamas do such as an agreement, a calming period, if you would, leaving up to a formal cease-fire. what would hamas responsibilities be and what would israeli responsibilities be, as part of such an agreement? >> reporter: well, we believe that we have agreed for several times for a cease fire or for a truce. and every time that was violated by israelis, and then we went in for action. i think this time they're insisting, all together, to have a clear view, and a complete one, considering all the needs of the palestinians to have security. because the security is not only for one side. the security is supposed to also be for the palestinians. so what we are working now is to
have a complete deal which can secure the situation also for the palestinians. this is our responsibility. if that was guaranteed, i think, i believe, also, that hamas will implement this kind of truce, and we will fulfill our commitments according to that. >> and so you're prepared, in principle, as part of an agreement, to stop sending rockets and missiles into israel. is that right? >> well, we are prepared, if the israelis have accepted that. we are also prepared, because we have done that before. and i told you, we are prepared for both situations. we are prepared, if israeli has accepted the cease-fire. we are prepared to do that. if they do not also have the
best to defend ourselves. and i hope that israelis can take the message. because sometimes, the israelis consider that as a sign of weakness. it's not a sign of weakness. it's a sign of -- it's a positive sign from hamas. we are ready to do that. i hope that they can read the message positively and accept that. >> we heard from the secretary of state, hillary clinton. she said that an agreement she hopes would lead to some broader arrangements, in her words, security for israel, improved conditions for the palestinians in gaza, and eventual negotiations for a comprehensive peace between the israelis and the palestinians. here's the question. the u.s. doesn't deal directly with hamas, because you've not accepted earlier peace agreements between israeli and the palestinians and you don't accept israel for that matter. are you ready, as part of an agreement, to change that
position and accept previous agreements, accept israel, and leave in peace, in a two-state solution, israel and palestine? >> well, this is the question. i can answer that, in a few words. if you give me a full program, i will answer you. but i have to say in words, we believe that the peace process, which was from madrid 1992 to now, for 20 years, did not work, because it wasn't built in the right way. if there was a process, built in a very solid principles, a clear principle, fulfilling the needs of the palestinians and the right of the palestinians, i think we would act positively towards that. anyway, i hope that we can see a change in the new american administration, talking about the palestinian rights and the commitment towards the palestinian rights. i think this will be a good step
from the united states administration. >> well, what do you expect from president obama and secretary of state clinton? what are you looking for? >> well, we expect them to start talking about the palestinian needs. first of all, the palestinian rights. i have to say that [ inaudible ] recognizing the palestinian people as a nation. for now, the israelis are not defining what they mean by the palestinian rights, if they believe they have rights. so now they are much, in fact, working to achieve the two-state solution, which they have said, they are dividing the palestinian lands, they are taking over 40% of the west bank, and they are saying, we are looking forward to have peace. they were undermining the peace while they were talking about the peace. i hope that the new administration, obama
administration, can make a change, by saying, look, if you want the peace, you have to divide that palestinian land, without any condition. there is no need to have 20 years of negotiations for nothing. you have to withdraw now, and then we can talk about the arrangement. i think they can do that. if they did that, there would be a huge change in the region. >> and if the israelis were to do that, would you accept a two-state solution? a secure israel, and an independent palestine living next door to each other? >> well, i want to say clearly, the palestinians are seeking to have their rights. if they can't have fully, this is the best choice. if they couldn't, they are ready to fight and to sacrifice in order to have those rights. >> osama hamdan is a spokesman
for hamas. mr. hamdan, thanks very much for joining us. let's see what happens over the next 24 to 48 hours. do you believe, one final question, there will be a cease-fire? >> well, i believe there is a good chance to have a cease-fire, which can fulfill the needs of both sides. >> thank you very much for joining us. let's hope there is a cease-fire on both sides. appreciate it. while officials negotiate and israeli palestinian citizens are under fire, they're fearing for their lives every day. when we come back, more on the human part of this story. we're sitting on a bunch of shale gas.
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i went there earlier in the day and got an up close look at some of the damage and the fear. the hamas rockets came towards beer sheva and hit the ground, sending people scrambling for cover, even in residential neighborhoods. this house was hit by a rocket a few hours before we arrived, and from the outside, it didn't look too bad. but inside, it's another story. a mother and father and four of her children were inside the home. when it was hit, when the sirens went off, they had less than a minute to run into their safe room, and they made it. they survived. we did the procedure, the husband says. we went to the safe room, closed the door. we heard a big boom and straight after that, an electric outage. he says the young girls were in a little hysteria. we were lucky we entered the safe room. his wife says their fear was as first for the family and to protect the children. then later, when they saw the incredible damage, they were stunned. we will go to a hotel for a few days until they find us an
alternative home, she says. their 9-year-old daughter said she was frightened when she heard the initial siren and then the large explosion. an israeli member of parliament who came to the house minced no words in what he thought israel had to do. >> all my sons, four of them, are ready to go. >> reporter: but there's a major debate inside israel on whether that's wise. a former air force commander and mayor of beer sheva says he hopes israeli air and naval power alone can get the job done. while we were in this expanding and modern city, 11 hamas rockets entered the vicinity. some were intercepted by israel's iron dome anti-missile system. others got through and caused casualties. we were allowed to go inside the emergency medical command center. sirens alert them when rockets are incoming and they brace for the onslaught of calls. we're inside this israeli ambulance. we've just left the command center, heading towards an area
where rockets just landed and apparently there are injured and maybe even worse. we'll see what's going on. lieutenant sharon howard is the liaison officer helping to coordinate medical care. >> if they are in need of many casualties, also, medical units, the army also will join them to take care of all the injuries. >> reporter: turns out it was a woman, overwhelmed by fear during the rocket attack, very calm in these days. back in the command center, the sirens kept going off. let's bring in our senior international correspondent, sara sidner. she's based here in jerusalem, but one of the few journalists who have been here in the last few days in gaza. sara, give us some thoughts right now. what are people telling you? you've been on both sides of this conflict the last few days in gaza. you're based here in jerusalem. what's going on, from your
perspective? >> you know, we were talking to people also in beer sheva today, whose house was destroyed. a rocket hit so close, it knocked out the wind, you could see sort of the wall pushed in, and there was a 21-year-old young lady there studying. she could terrified and you could tell she was quite traumatized by all of this. we also saw families in gaza who had lost their entire homes. everything destroyed, nothing left. some people lost children, some people lost fathers. but both sides, when you ask them what they want, there's this sort of anger and frustration that comes out initially. but really in the end, they want a permanent solution to all of this. and there's a lot of talk about a cease-fire and it's sort of that, well, we're close. we're close. they want to hear -- they don't want to hear words. they want to see the results of this stopping. they want to see the results of no more rockets, no more air strikes, no more fear on their part, at least for a while. and then in the end, they really want a long-term solution. and that's what we've been listening to from both sides of the border, wolf.
>> you think that they're, as a result, if there is a cease fire, and we don't even know if there will be a cease-fire, but there were some hints earlier in the day that they're getting closer and closer, but still no deal. the prime minister is meeting right now with the secretary of state. those talks are continuing. if there is a cease-fire, can you see the potential for that expanding into real israeli/palestinian comprehensive peace negotiations? >> reporter: you know, it's really hard to say, but, you know, let's be honest. this has happened before. this is not the first time that these two governments have really gone at it. and i think it's very difficult for them to come to an agreement, when one side is really sticking to a lot of demands and the other side is saying, those are absolutely demands that we cannot meet. but what they both can likely agree on is that they want to keep their civilians safe, and the only way to do that now is to stop the back and forth with the rockets coming over and then the response from the air
strikes from israel. it's one of those things where they've got to start somewhere, right, wolf? i mean, they have to start talking and start firing at some point. and of course the civilians are terrified on both sides of the border. and no government wants that. >> we'll see what the secretary of state, hillary clinton, is in the region right now, what she can achieve over the next 24 to 48 hours. she's going to meet with mahmoud abbas in the morning and then goes to egypt to meet with mohamed morsi. we'll see if she follows up or engages in some shuttle diplomacy. sara, thanks for all your excellent work. we really, really appreciate pit. we're also keeping a close eye not only on the violence in gaza, but syria as well. government forces there aren't letting up on their attacks on rebel forces who today got a major international boost. stand by. [ female announcer ] e-trade technology
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we're still attacks here in israel and in gaza, but gunfire continues to rage, also in nearby syria. joe johns is back in washington with more on that and some of the day's other top stories. joe, what's going on? >> wolf, government troops battled syrian rebels in some of the heaviest fighting we've seen near the capital of damascus in months. fighting also raged near the border with turkey, as opposition forces stormed a basbase president bashar al assad was using to launch air assaults. and britain became the ninth country to recognize the new opposition coalition. it was an up and down day on
wall street. the dough finished down, just slightly, as the nasdaq and s&p 500 also ended the day near the break-even point. fed chairman ben bernanke didn't do much to boost traders' confidence today. he said lawmakers need to act fast to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff. admitting it will not be easy, but the stakes are high. he also says europe's debt crisis is an obstacle to u.s. economic growth, which he described as disappointingly slow. and tea party favorite rand paul says he may want to run for president in 2016. the republican senator from kentucky tells abc news he's not denying that he's interested. paul says he wants to be part of the national debate. though he also adds, he's ready to make a decision, ron paul of texas. back to you in jerusalem, wolf. >> all right, joe. there's some live pictures i want to show our viewers right
now. there are explosions happening, there you see them in gaza city right now. this situation is obviously not ending at all. we're standing by. anderson cooper is on the scene for us. we'll be speaking with him. there he is -- whoa. what's going on in gaza right now is obviously intense. we're watching this situation very, very closely. it's been an awful day in gaza, an awful day in southern israel right now -- >> this is a series of explosions, probably about six, just in the last few seconds, very close to the media center, which was a building hit yesterday, a building that's actually been hit twice before, that probably looked like about a block or two away from the media center. but a series of explosions, a number of different buildings that seem to be hit. there's a large, huge plume of smoke now, black smoke that's rising up and we're starting to hear some ambulances, some sirens, seem to be responding. but the entire area is now
basically blanketed in black smoke. >> anderson, i know you're watching this very closely. it looks -- >> i don't know if anderson can hear me right now. but it looks like -- >> -- a cooling down period, which never really materialized. we've seen a number of explosions over the course of the last several hours. there have been multiple explosions in this area -- yeah. i'm also joined by cnn's arwa damon, who's standing here as well. i mean, all of this has continued. we haven't heard rockets outgoing from gaza city or extra gaza, but we've certainly seen a lot of incoming explosions. >> we most certainly have. and it does seem as if in this case, whatever it was that was struck, there were then multiple explosions perhaps caused by whatever it was, that was impacted. we haven't really seen this kind of a blast since we've been here. >> so you think some of those explosions were secondary explosions? >> it very well could be, if we
look at the other explosions that we've seen, even when there have been, you know, large rockets, missiles being fired at various targets throughout the city, we haven't really had this kind of roll-on effect, when you do hear what sounds like secondary and then third explosions happening. >> it's really interesting, because you don't know what's in the buildings around you. you know, in the media center, which is the building about four blocks away that was hit yesterday, turns out there was an islamist jihad official on the second floor that was killed in that blast. so we have no idea what the target might have been. but this is such a densely packed city, you really don't get a great sense of who is in a building, either in the same building you're in, or who's even next door. >> no, you don't know that. this is one of the big problems for the residents here. yes, on the one hand, they have been warned to stay away from what may be a potential target, but a lot of people we've been talking to and we saw that with the explosion that happened around the corner earlier tonight, where residents in the area don't necessarily know who was occupying these various buildings. they don't necessarily know if areas within their vicinity are
going end to up being a target. so they actually don't know how to keep themselves safe. another of the buildings that was targeted tonight was housing the offices of afp journalists. they were luckily not on the floor that was struck, but they too did not know that the israelis were going to target. what they were saying was an intelligence operations unit for hamas. >> and the earlier strike, ben wedeman was on the air when there was a strike very close to here, about a block or so away in the other direction. that turned out to be a villa, which was local people were telling us was owned by a banker, who no longer lives there, a fatah member who no longer lives there, and locals couldn't say who was actually living in the house at the time, whether it had been taken over by hamas. they were unclear who might have been occupying that house. that villa was basically destroyed. >> exactly. and, you know, over the weekend, on a number of other occasions, we have also seen homes being destroyed and the residents inside them either being killed or in some instances, surviving and surviving to tell us about
how they did not think or know that there would be any sort of installation around them, that the israelis would want to target. and that is part of the reason why we see this really widespread anger and frustration, desperation amongst the people here, because they really don't have anywhere to go. they have nowhere to hide. and that smoke is just getting thicker. >> you can't see it right now, because it's obviously very dark outside, but there is a huge area of smoke. it probably spans at least two or three politblocks right now smoke, from multiple explosions that occurred, just a short time ago, about five blocks from the location that we are now in, which is in central gaza. and we've been seeing explosions really all throughout this area over the last several hours. >> we really have. it's been fairly intensive. at one point, a series of explosions coming across the entire skyline. it was a pretty difficult situation for everybody. most certainly, now we are seeing the ambulances heading back towards that site.
>> that's the first ambulance we're seeing responding. obviously, ambulance crews have been very busy over the last several days. >> we're going to try to boost the gain, so you can get a look at what is going on right now with the smoke. you can maybe make out one of the ambulances just arriving. and it looks like another explosion's about to -- that might have been just a reflection in the smoke. >> no. there it is. >> there's another blast off in the distance. again, i can't tell how much of the smoke you're actually seeing, but this is an area in central gaza, very close to the media center, a building that was hit twice before, a building that was hit yesterday, killing, according to the idf officials and local palestinian sources, one member of islamic jihad as well as another person who was working in the building. that building had also been hit on sunday. they were targeting a hamas
antenna on the top of the building. but we don't know what the target was this time around. >> we really don't. but, again, as we were saying earlier, the way that the blast happened, where we felt the first impact and then the way that it seemed as if there was secondary or third explosions that happened, six or seven that happened in a rapid succession makes one wonder exactly what it was that they did hit. and that's not exactly the first time that the area behind that tower has been targeted in the past, either. we are hearing that the israeli forces are coming back and hitting some targeting, multiple times, that at times they are coming in and striking the same area more than once. and again, all of this is coming offen on a day where throughout the entire day there was talk of a potential cease-fire, or at least a calming down of the situation. but most certainly, we've seen everything progressing throughout the night, that does not seem like it will be likely anytime soon. >> we'll try to rerack the video
we were rolling on at the time of the explosion and try to get that so we can show it to you as soon as possible, the multiple explosions that occurred, probably within the last ten minutes or so ago. but it's surprising. it is late at night here, but we're not hearing much of a reaction or response by first responders. we saw one ambulance heading toward the scene, but no more than that. >> no, not yet, at this point in time. and it is incredibly difficult, one has to imagine, for these emergency response units to spread themselves thin at this point, really trying to respond to all of the sites that have been struck. we keep seeing messages coming out from people who were living here, talking about various different explosions happening. and so many different neighborhoods. if we just look at the intensity of what happened here tonight, and we're hearing more ambulances in the distance right now, but their job most certainly is incredibly difficult, to say the least. >> and wolf, we went to the scene of a blast that occurred several hours ago, very close to where we are, and actually got there just before the first ambulance was getting there.
and by the time we left, there were probably about four or five ambulances, which had responded. they immediately rushed out with their stretchers, trying to see if there's anybody, any walking wounded, anybody that needs assistance that they can take to the hospital. but then they very quickly often have to leave the scene in order to respond to another location, where a blast has occurred, wolf. >> yeah, we're showing viewers, anderson, some of the video from earlier, when that initial explosion went off, and you obviously jumped and crawls down. it's a dangerous situation. anderson and arwa, i know you reported earlier that the israelis had dropped leaflets in beirut, warning citizens to avoid some certain areas. do either of you know if these explosions that we're now seeing are in those areas where the israelis said to the folks, get out of these areas? do either of you know if this area is part of that danger zone that the israelis described?
>> let me bring in arwa, because she couldn't hear your question, but the question was, the area where we saw the leaflets being dropped, is this the area where we're seeing the explosions now? you went out to the area where the leaflets were being dropped. >> actually, we went to the area where people were fleeing to. but the leaflets were really being dropped off more in that general direction. the neighborhoods that people were being told to flee were more to the north, versus over here, which is very much the central part of the city at this point. >> this is very close to the islamic bank that was hit also yesterday. i was out on that street earlier today, just to get some shots of the bank. that bank had been hit. and the reason local people felt that that bank had been hit was is that that's where the salaries of hamas members is actually paid out from, that bank. so that's perhaps why it was targeted by the idf. but, again, we do not know what the target was this time. usually the idf puts out a statement in the wake of a
bombing like this, to explain what they say, what the target. but clearly, multiple explosions. probably, perhaps, without a doubt, the most dramatic explosions that we saw today, and certainly not just because it was so close to our location, but just because of the sheer number of explosions. arwa thinking, wolf, that some of those were secondary explosions, perhaps. not all multiple rockets hitting the buildings. but perhaps something inside the buildings that caused a secondary explosion. >> and again, i mean, you look at just the impact -- >> it's now after 1:30 in the morning. >> -- afterwards, just shaking the entire city. it felt, and one can't help but to think in this city, when it comes to the residents that are having to cope with this day in and day out, they actually don't have air raid sirens or bunkers to go and hide in. we don't know what the impact was right now of that explosion, what other buildings next to the target were affected, what the target actually was. but that's what residents say is
so difficult to cope, even though they have been warned not to place themselves what may be potential targets, it's difficult for the population to determine that. we look at the streets completely deserted, normal for this time of night. but we see the streets being deserted pretty much this time of day. and that is by and large because the residents are staying inside. it's not because they fled, because they actually don't have anywhere to go. >> and wolf, israeli defense forces have put out a statement saying, do not go near any hamas installations. i can tell you, it's very difficult to know where hamas has taken up headquarters or where their official buildings they may own or what the idf may consider a target. it's very difficult to know, even if you're in a building, what else or who else may be in that building at time, wolf. >> all right. anderson and arwa, stand by. we're going to stay on top of this story. we're not leaving the story.
huge explosions rocking central part of gaza city right now. we'll take a quick break. we'll resume the breaking news right after this. i am probably going to the gas station about once a month. last time i was at a gas station was about...i would say... two months ago. i very rarely put gas in my chevy volt. i go to the gas station such a small amount that i forget how to put gas in my car. [ male announcer ] and it's not just these owners giving the volt high praise. volt received the j.d. power and associates appeal award two years in a row. ♪ yeah, i might have ears like a rabbit... but i want to eat meat! [ male announcer ] iams knows dogs love meat. ...but most dry foods add plant protein, like gluten iams never adds gluten. iams adds 50% more animal protein, [ dog 2 ] look at me! i'm a lean, mean flying machine [ dog 1 ] i am too! woo hoo! [ male announcer ] iams. with 50% more animal protein.
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>> wow. we're not hearing the sound yet, because we weren't tracking the audio as these explosions rocked, you're going to hear the sound in a few seconds. but just watch this videotape. >> whoa! whoa. >> we're live in gaza city. i'm not sure if we're even on the air. this is a series of explosions -- >> all right. so there you see what's going on in gaza city right now. anderson cooper and arwa damon are still on the scene for us. they're watching it. are more explosions happening right now, anderson? >> reporter: no, wolf, they're
not. we're seeing some first responders, seeing a number of ambulances heading toward the scene. this is a very dangerous time, though, for first responders. they obviously want to try to get to the scene as quickly as possible. but at the same time, there are oftentimes multiple firings on one target. so they don't want to rush to the scene, only to have more rockets land and get injured in subsequent blasts. so oftentimes, though they may park near the scene, they don't try to get too close to the scene until sort of the dust has settled, to try to get a sense of what is going on and whether the targets are going to be hit again. and just for our viewers, we're not sure what the target was. it's very close to the media center, which was hit earlier yesterday, in which one islamic jihad official was killed. it's also close to the islamic bank, which was also hit yesterday, and badly destroyed. but -- and again, i know it's a
very grainy image that you're looking at right now. it's dark here, obviously, but there's a huge, just black cloud of smoke, which now seems to stretch for several blocks, blanketing the entire area, making it very difficult to see. i don't see any actual flames, but it would be hard to imagine that there isn't something bu burning down there. >> and this most certainly was the largest explosion that i think we have seen in recent times. you heard the first blast, and then there were multiple blasts that took place afterwards, either secondary explosions or it was a multiple strike on that one location. but also when it comes to these first responders that are trying to reach these areas, sometimes they physically can't actually get there. we've seen some of these blast sites, the aftermath of them, the streeted covered in rubble from them. so they're having to really readjust themselves trying to get to these various locations. there was just a flash of light behind the building there right
now. but this most certainly was a massive, massive blast shaking the city in the middle of the night. >> and as arwa pointed out earlier, there are not air raid warning sirens here, so there is no real indication that a blast is about to occur. that's what makes it particularly dangerous for residents here. so it's very startling when a blast does occur. occasionally you will hear, you know, the whistle of a missile coming in. you certainly hear missiles being fired out very easily. but occasionally you'll hear an incoming, but oftentimes, you don't hear anything. we are about five blocks from where this series of blocks took place, didn't hear anything, until the first blast occurred. and the percussive blast, i mean, you feel the impact, i mean, the shock wave of the blast for blocks and blocks. as i said, we're about five blocks away. and you could feel it, i mean, in your bones, shaking this building. really, quite something. i'm not sure if the video that
we just re-racked and played, i'm not sure we caught, we showed you all of the blasts. i think we just showed you the tail end of some of the blasts, because there were a number of blasts. arwa, who has far more experience watching mortars land and artillery land from her time in baghdad, seems to think it could be secondary blasts. blasts based on something inside the building or inside the target that was hit, and you know, oftentimes if there's rockets being stored there or some sort of armaments, that might be a secondary blast causing further explosions. we certainly saw a series of explosions. we've also seen a number of times with idf targeting, like there was in the media center yesterday, three rockets were fired into that building yesterday, from various locations into the second floor of the building. so that also, allowed you to see multiple blasts. >> what i saw from the video,
the picture -- >> -- so we can get a little better sense of what's going on. wolf? >> it looked to me, and i don't know this for sure, but what it looked like is they hit a target, there may have been explosives there, and that caused what arwa's describing as these secondary explosions. if there are munitions, a warehouse or something. that's what it looked like, but we don't know that for a fact. obviously, we'll check as soon as we can what's going on over there. but that was pretty powerful. your experience, and in arwa's experience, in your experience and in arwa's experience, do the israelis strike usually around this time? it's approaching 2:00 a.m. local time, anderson? >> yeah, without a doubt. just within the last couple of nights, we have seen that. and in the last seven days of this conflict, seven nights of this conflict, we have seen that as well. it's usually around this time that the number of strikes increases. in fact, i just saw another flash in the sky, and i think in a few seconds, we'll hear
another blasts. that was farther off in the distance, and you can generally tell by how much time there is between you seeing a blast and actually hearing the sound of it, how far away it is. when it's very much in the distance, it sounds sort of like a distant rolling thunder. >> the other thing, too, though, is that also this explosion that we just saw, very much in the central part of the city. and it's worth noting that the israelis dropped leaflets in the northern part of the city, the neighborhoods that were on the outskirts close to the gaza israeli border, telling residents to come to central gaza, to keep themselves safe, advising them, telling them, warning them that this is where they should come. so we also saw this fairly sizable influx of people coming in from these outlying areas, trying to seek sanctuary. we saw them piling into schools. and one can just imagine what this experience has been like for them at this point in time. hearing this echoing across the city. >> and wolf, we're still trying to find out more information on what the building was that was hit and what may have been inside of it, wolf?
>> we're going to stay on top of the breaking news, anderson and arwa, stay with us. don't go away. i also want to alert our viewers, the meeting now between the prime minister of israeli and the secretary of state, hillary clinton, has just wrapped up. they have concluded no additional statements, at least not yet, coming from the u.s. or israeli side. we're watching this part of the story. hard to believe that only within the past several hours, there was a lot of speculation how close the two sides, israel and hamas were, thanks to egyptian intervention, to some sort of cease-fire. but you see what's going on in gaza city right now. that cease-fire seems very, very remote. we'll take another quick break, resume the coverage from gaza city right after this. these hapy progressive customers. i plugged in snapshot, and 30 days later, i was saving big on car insurance. with snapshot, i knew what i could save before i switched to progressive. the better i drive, the more i save. i wish our company had something this cool. you're not filming this, are you? aw! camera shy.
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let's get right back to anderson in gaza city where we're following the breaking news. huge explosions in the past few minutes. what's the latest, anderson? >> i'm here, watching this huge plume of smoke which continues to roll through the streets around the area that was hit. we also now just saw two rockets being fired from gaza city from an area about ten blocks or so, it looked like, away from where that blast occurred. those rockets actually kind of heading over the building that we are currently in. arwa damon gathering information on what may have been the building that was targeted. what are you learning, arwa? >> our palestinian colleagues are telling me that building that seems to have been the target was a complex that houses government complexes, passport offices, but we are seeing on social media right now, the
building that seems to be -- seems to have caught fire, although it's quite difficult to see from here, is perhaps a residential building. and that again goes back to the very difficult, difficult situation that the population here finds itself in. because a lot of these targets that the israelis are hitting are, in fact, in residential areas. and they have now, of course, been expanding their campaign as we have seen over the last few days, not just targeting sites that are used by hamas to launch missiles, but targeting government installations, the israelis have been saying they do not necessarily differentiate between the government in gaza which is, of course, the hamas-led government and its various institutions. and the sites that the hamas militant wing is using to launch rockets. and here it certainly seems we have yet another example of that, the target was most likely this government compound that is located just behind the tall building right there, pretty much. >> yeah, that tall building is the media center hit yesterday
on the second floor by three rockets killing a jihad official and also very close, more to the left, about a block or two away is the islamic bank also struck. that's the bank where salaries for hamas officials are paid out from, a major employer in gaza city. and you can hear echoing the sound of ambulance crews arriving on the scene. wolf. >> arrewa and anderson both sta by, anderson having a lot more coming up in an hour on "ac 3 360". clearly, that cease-fire doesn't look like it's taking place any time soon based on what we're seeing in gaza city right now and the intense bombardment in southern israel earlier in the day. the early israeli strikes against the militants and rocket sites in gaza certainly have taken a toll on gaza civilians.
brian todd is getting ready to give us a closer look at the fighting's human toll as well as its implications. we want to warn our viewers, some of the images in this report are very disturbing. brian? >> reporter: wolf, it's almost inevitable when there is a conflict in gaza, civilians will be caught in the cross fire. it happened in this case, but there is a question over which side is put under more international pressure when images of civilian casualties are broadcast. the pictures are jarring. children dead, children badly injured in gaza. a doctor nearly breaks down. >> you can't imagine. if it's yours, baby, how do you feel? >> reporter: from cairo, civilian casualties in this conflict led to protests against israel, supporting hamas. israel's leaders are hearing a similar refrain from four years ago when they were criticized by the united nations and others for causing hundreds of civilian deaths during operation cast led, a bloody ground offensive
against hamas in gaza. this time around, israeli officials say they are doing everything they can to minimize that. >> we have had cases of pilots who have had to abort missions because they have seen that rockets are in the middle of playgrounds or mosques or schools. >> reporter: israel's ambassador to the u.s. says rockets have been routinely fired at israel in recent days from gaza. he says many militants have regular jobs by day, and become fighters at night. >> they dress in civilian garb and they're virtually indistinguishable from the civilian population, other than the fact they have guns. but beyond that, we actually have cases of rockets that have been placed in civilian homes. we have pictures of them. and these homes have families in them. >> reporter: israeli officials also tell us in gaza in recent days, militants have either posed as or thingel he willed with journalists. a militant was riding in a car marked "tv" in another stayed in a building known to be used by
media outlets. israeli officials say it's an effort by hamas to sensationalize casualties on the palestinian side and generate more international pressure on israel. hamas' leaders said they have no choice but to fight from among civilians in one of the most crowded places on earth, and they call israel's campaign a massacre of civilians. one analyst says hamas could also seek to capitalize on support it's getting elsewhere to generate more pressure on mahmoud abbas, the palestinian president who has been the rival for power, someone not heard or seen from very much during this conflict. but wolf, as you know, getting set to meet with hillary clinton in the coming hours. >> what about the israeli efforts? they keep saying they're trying to avoid civilian casualties, taken measures to do so. what's going on on this part of the story? >> right, wolf. israeli officials are telling us on this side, and i know they've told you there, they're dropping
leaflets into neighborhoods in gaza and even putting blast phone calls out to tell residents to warn of air strikes coming. israeli officials say militant leaders on won't let them leave their neighborhoods in that situation. we can't independently verify that, but israel letting people know when they're going to strike. >> brian todd, watching this part of the story for us. brian, thanks very much. we've been following the breaking news in gaza city within the past 15, 20 minutes or so. major, major explosions occurring right in the central part of the city. anderson cooper on the scene for us. arwa damon, ben wedeman, a full team of reporters and producers, camera crews on the scene for us. we're watching what's going on. we're not going far away from this part of the story. anderson will be back in one hour on "ac 360." i'll be back watching what's going on in jerusalem. just within the past few moments, even at this
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