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Israel Continues to Attack Targets in Southern Part of Lebanon

Aired July 13, 2006 - 09:30   ET


MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you. I'm Miles O'Brien.

Let's get right to breaking news out of the Middle East.

Lebanon calling for a comprehensive cease-fire with Israel after a day of heavy fighting. Hezbollah has been firing rockets into the northern Israeli town of Safed this morning. The Israeli army's northern command center is located there.

Israeli bombs hit the runways at Beirut's airport earlier today, and now Israel is making -- well, really, it's not quite a veiled threat to attack a Beirut neighborhood. They believe that the head of Hezbollah is living in that neighborhood, and they have told people living there that they should evacuate. Hezbollah is responding in turn with threats to send rockets into the major Israeli city of Haifa.

We're covering this story from a couple of angles this morning. Paula Hancocks in Jerusalem for us. Alessio Vinci is in Beirut.

Alessio, let's begin with you.

Good morning.

VINCI: Good morning, Soledad.

We just heard from the Lebanese information minister, Ghazi al- Areidi, who, coming out of the first emergency session of the Lebanese cabinet session this afternoon, basically called for a comprehensive cease-fire and "an end to this open-ended aggression," referring, of course, to Israel's attack of the three runways of Beirut's international airport. It's perhaps curious that the Lebanese information minister is calling for a cease-fire on a conflict that Lebanon did not initiate or has absolutely no -- the Lebanese government has no control over it.

But nevertheless, we are seeing some demands here coming from the Lebanese cabinet as they just ended their first emergency session earlier today. They will convene later today to map out and have some strategy how to deal with the consequences of not just the strikes on the airport, here in Beirut, but also in the naval brigade that is taking place right now that is obviously having a bad having an effect on the entire tourism industry here. Not only people cannot reach Beirut because the airport is closed, but also cruise ships are not allowed to arrive here anymore as well, of course, as important tanks delivering fuel for the power plants in this country. So, all this, of course, is reason for major concern for the Lebanese government who is trying to come up with a response.

In the meantime, Israel continues to attack targets also in the southern part of this country. They have -- the result of these attacks have been, so far, as we understand from the Lebanese officials 45 civilians killed and two Lebanese soldiers who also happened to be there, they were also killed as a result of these attacks. So, all this, meanwhile, while Al-Manar Hezbollah controlled television here is saying basically, responding to the threat of Israel to attack a city here in Beirut that is, they are saying that if -- should Israel attack the suburbs of Beirut then they will respond by shelling a important northern part of the city of Israel and that is Haifa. Back to you.

S. O'BRIEN: Series of attacks and counterattacks and threats and more threats. Alessio Vinci, thanks.

Let's get to Paula Hancocks. She is in Jerusalem for us this morning.

Paula, good morning, what is happening there?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hello there, well we are hearing that the Israeli casualty list is growing. We understand from the Israeli military that one more person has been killed on the border with Lebanon. Now we know that a woman was killed in Safed, this is where there have been rockets launched by Hezbollah guerillas from southern Lebanon into this northern Israeli town. As you say, this is a town also where the northern command for the Israeli army has its headquarters, so a significant strategic target by the Hezbollah militants. And we know that there has been one more woman that has been pronounced dead in the past few minutes. Now earlier on there was also one Israeli woman who was killed in the town of Netanya which is in the northwest of Israel and also around about 38 people have been wounded at this point.

So that's the latest information that we have, but we do know that the assaults are ongoing by the Israeli aircraft, by gunships. They have pretty much cordoned off Lebanon by the sea. The ports have been closed, the Israeli military saying, so that terrorists and weapons cannot get into Lebanon.

S. O'BRIEN: That's Paula Hancocks for us this morning. She is in Jerusalem. Thanks Paula.

Carol Costello has the day off so Brianna Keilar is following the headlines for us. She's in the newsroom.

Hey Brianna.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hi Soledad and good morning everyone. "Now in the News" thousands of firefighters east of Los Angeles are battling a massive wild fire. The Yucca Valley blaze has grown to more than 37,000 acres. Almost 100 buildings have been destroyed and temperatures hit 108 degrees yesterday and officials worry it'll be more of the same today.

And a developing story out of Iraq. The U.S. military confirms an apache helicopter has crashed in a dangerous area southwest of Baghdad. The two pilots survived and are now in a medical facility. The military is looking into the incident.

Meanwhile, officials now tell CNN President Bush will host Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki next week at the White House.

Angelina Jolie reportedly has signed on to play the widowed murdered journalist, Daniel Pearl. The movie, "A Mighty Heart" is based on Mariane Pearl's memoir of the same name. Pearl, as you may recall was abducted and beheaded by Islamic militants back in 2002. Filming for the movie begins next month.

And J-Mac, remember him? He's the 17-year-old with autism who stepped in for the last few minutes of his high school game and scored an unbelievable six three-pointers in less than four minutes. Well, Jason McElwain was awarded the ESPY last night. ESPN's Best Sports Moment Award. J-Mack beat out L.A. Laker star Kobe Bryant who was in the running with his 81-point game for last season. Time now for a check of the weather, Chad Myers is at CNN Center, and we just can't get enough of J-Mac. Can we?

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: That's a great story. It really is. And a good picture of him, too. Good morning everybody. Good morning Brianna.


M. O'BRIEN: All right, Chad Myers, thank you very much. Chad you should pay attention to the next story. OK, will you?

Next time you get angry at something, you know, traffic or whatever, you know how that goes. And it's petty, I want you to stop and think about the amazing man you're about to meet. New York City police officer, Steven McDonald has every right to be mad. He's been a quadriplegic for about 20 years now, shot in the line of duty and now he feels he has the duty to tell the world about the power of forgiveness. CNN Faith and Values correspondent, Delia Gallagher joining us with more on the story.

Hello Delia.

DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN FAITH AND VALUES CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Miles. You know, when an act violence affects a member of your own family it changes lives and raises the difficult question of how to cope and in many cases how to forgive. You're about to meet one of New York City's police officers who did just that and changing the lives of others in the process.


(voice-over): It happened 20 years ago this week.

DET. STEVEN MCDONALD, NEW YORK CITY POLICE OFFICER: And I was staring down the barrel of a small gun.

GALLAGHER: But the detective Steven Mcdonald rembers it like it was yesterday.

S. MCDONALD: The first bullet shot me in the head, above my right eye and the power of that threw me backwards. As I fell backwards I believe the second shot he thought me in the throat and then as I laid on the ground he stood over me and he fired a third shot and it rested in my left arm.

GALLAGHER: A young New York police officer, McDonald was on patrol in Central Park when a 15-year-old boy shot him and ran.

S. MCDONALD: And I closed my eye shut don't remember much after that, but I was very frightened. The worst nightmare of a police officer, I felt right away I was dying.

GALLAGHER: He survived. But doctors said he'd be paralyzed for the rest of his life. His newlywed wife Patty Ann, then three months pregnant, collapsed from the news.

PATTY ANN MCDONALD, WIFE: I felt like I got punched in the stomach.

GALLAGHER: Macdonald, unable to move or speak at the time could do nothing to comfort his wife.

S. MCDONALD: I was trapped inside this broken body.

GALLAGHER: Doctors told Patty Ann to leave her husband and put him in an institution, but two decades later she still at his side.

(on camera): Did you ever consider his advice the, doctor's advice.

P. MCDONALD: Oh no. No, no.

GALLAGHER (voice-over): The MacDonald's have stayed together, thanks in part, to their faith.

S. MCDONALD: The plan was that god would take this terrible act of evil and make something good out of it.

GALLAGHER: That faith also led the MacDonald's to forgive the teenage assailant. They made the choice on the day their son Coner was baptized.

P. MCDONALD: You have the feeling of revenge, just, I mean we have seen people, you know, through the years and it just wears at you and wears at you to be able to give that up and not dwell on it after Steven was injured. I mean, my emphasis and focus of all my energy went to him and being at the hospital every day and just encouraging him to get better.

GALLAGHER: Now, MacDonald brings his message of forgiveness to communities torn by violence. He and his family have traveled to Ireland, Bosnia, and Israel and also he also speaks close to home at inner city schools. The MacDonald's say they have good and bad days. They still pray for a miracle cure for Steven's health, but believe even without it that good can come from tragedy.

CONOR MCDONALD, SON: God gave my dad a mission and gave my mom a mission, gave myself a mission and you just got to go with it.


GALLAGHER: And Steven MacDonald still works for the NYPD. In fact he's just been promoted to first detective. So many congratulations to him.

M. O'BRIEN: Whatever happened to his attacker?

GALLAGHER: His attacker was caught. He served nine years in jail. He served his full sentence and Steven MacDonald hoped when he got out he hoped he would join him talking to some of these kids and traveling to him but ironically he was killed in a motorcycle accident just a few days after his release.

M. O'BRIEN: Interesting. And wouldn't that have been a powerful statement to have them side-by-side. Reminds me a little bit of the pope forgiving his attacker. Pope John Paul II...

GALLAGHER: Absolutely, yeah. It's the same question about forgiveness and how do you do it if you do it at all. Because some people, of course, don't find it that easy to do.

M. O'BRIEN: Well, yeah. If he can forgive we all can forgive. Delia Gallagher, thank you very much. Great story.

Coming up a little bit later "Pipeline" is the place to be. It's Miles Cam day, of course, Thursday.

S. O'BRIEN: It's Thursday, must be Miles Cam.

M. O'BRIEN: If you don't tune in I will never forgive you. No, no. Anyway. We invite you to send us e-mail now to participate in this extravaganza. And of course we have a space spin today, if you want. We have the shuttle up in orbit, the space station, all the things going on with that. is the place for the e-mails, the place to watch which is a powerful and potent and new way to get your news.

S. O'BRIEN: And you're on it today.

M. O'BRIEN: And I'm on it, because it's Thursday. Thank you.

S. O'BRIEN: Nevada casinos are cashing in their chips. They won big this spring. We're going to tell you just much coin they raked in when Andy minds your business. That's just ahead. Stay with us.


S. O'BRIEN: Want to see some pictures after fabulous beach? This is an island paradise and it's for inmates. Yeah, believe it or not it's Norway's attempt as a new kind of incarceration. Although none of the prisoners actually get locked up. CNN's Becky Anderson explains.


BECKY ANDERSON, CNN NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): From the Norwegian mainland, Bastoy Island looks like a perfect place for a day trip. But talk to the locals and you'll hear tales after sinister past.

LARS ARNTZEN, LOCAL RESIDENT: One hundred years ago it was a prison colony for young boys if they did something wrong, they're parents used to frighten them that if you could be sent to this island.

ANDERSON: Now it's not young boys but murders and pedophiles and drug traffickers who ascend her. Norway's Alcatraz, if you will, just a much more liberal version. Far from trying to make a run for it, prisoners ferry you to and fro. It's a picture post card setting for the 115 inmates.

(on camera): Is this the sort of view you get at home?


ANDERSON (voice-over): Just wait until you see the cells.

(on camera): So, this is home.

MELSTAVEIT: This is home. Home sweet home.

ANDERSON (voice-over): Ronny Melstaveit spent two years in a traditional cellblock in a high security prison before coming to the Bastoy.

(on camera): There are those that will suggest that this is just a holiday camp. What do you say to people who say that?

MELSTAVEIT: Well, then they should try it themselves. When you're out there you don't have the possibilities if you have kids and family, you can't see the value of family. That's what we're committed for. To don't have our freedom. And always we have guards watching us.

ANDERSON (voice-over): The guards are watching, the emphasis at Bastoy is on trust. In the carpentry shop, prisoners work with chainsaws and axes, so far there's just been one act of violence in Bastoy's nine-year history.

BJOERN HARDERSON, PRISON GUARD: You have to trust people to have responsibility so they can grow, you know, and they feel they have been trust.

ANDERSON: Amongst all the fun and games it's easy to forget the company you're in. (on camera): Ronny, what are you in for?

MELSTAVEIT: I'm convicted for murder.

ANDERSON (voice-over): Convicted, but Ronny says now reformed.

Becky Anderson, CNN, Bastoy Island, Norway.


S. O'BRIEN: OK. He's a convicted murder. He complains that he doesn't have his freedom and the guards watch. They're playing volleyball. He lives in a house that is nicer than most people's homes. All rightly. Another oddity of the prison, believe it or not guys, is one of the beaches is open to tourist, so the tourist can come in and join them too.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not going there. You going there?

S. O'BRIEN: The warden apparently says they have more problems with the tourists wandering into the prison than they have with the prisoners trying to escape. Clearly because the prisoners have such lovely facilities. Why escape.


M. O'BRIEN: It's like Club Med, right?

S. O'BRIEN: I would be curious to know what the family members of the victims really would feel about that. You know?

M. O'BRIEN: They were absent from that piece.

S. O'BRIEN: Whoever that guy murdered. What do they think now that he's, you know, on the bunk bed reading a book and hanging out?

SERWER: It's a beautiful little house. Did you see that?

S. O'BRIEN: It was quite lovely.

SERWER: Yeah, charming.

M. O'BRIEN: CNN "Live Today" is coming up next. Daryn Kagan here with a preview.

Hello Daryn.

DARYN KAGAN, "LIVE TODAY": I thought you were going to say -- speaking of oddities.

M. O'BRIEN: No, never do that.

KAGAN: Good morning to you. We do have a lot of news going on today. Attacks and counterattacks, fighting between Hezbollah militants in Israel intensifying. We will profile the side in this conflict as we continue to follow this breaking story with live reports from the region.

Also ahead storm delays at the airport. A headache for travelers, the FAA offering some relief. Join us at the top of the hour for these and other breaking news stories, which there has been quite a bit of lately, especially during our two hours. We'll have it for you here on CNN.

M. O'BRIEN: If history is any guide you will have a busy couple of hours ahead.

KAGAN: I'm telling you, earning my keep.

M. O'BRIEN: Yes, absolutely. We'll see you in just a little bit.

KAGAN: Sure.

M. O'BRIEN: Andy is "Minding Your Business," next.

What have you got?

SERWER: Miles, busy morning. The markets are open. We'll talk about that. Plus Las Vegas hits the jackpot again and again, hey that's bad for you. Plus the Soup Nazi, remember him? He thinks big. Really, really big. We'll tell you about that coming up next on AMERICAN MORNING.


M. O'BRIEN: Well, when you think of prime terror targets, what comes to mind? The Empire State Building, the U.S. Capitol, maybe the space shuttle. Well, how about, Old MacDonald's Petting Zoo in Woodville, Alabama? Or Mule Day Parade, Columbia, Tennessee? Or the Apple and Pork Festival in Clinton, Illinois? Indiana, interestingly, weighed in with about 8,600 potential sites. Then No. 1 site for terror targets in the nation. Indiana's Amish Country Popcorn Farm on the lest as well, the owner Brian Lehman, joining us now from Berne, Indiana.

BRIAN LEHMAN, AMISH COUNTRY POPCORN: And I don't know, do I say congratulations. What do I say on this occasion?

LEHMAN: I'm not sure. I'm confused.

M. O'BRIEN: Confused it is. Do you have any idea how you ended up on this list?

LEHMAN: I can only guess I have would be a food safety issue. I don't know how I go along with the other ones.

M. O'BRIEN: So, it's nothing to do with like piling up like a lot of popcorn in a pile and that could have some explosive capability or anything like that, right?

LEHMAN: No, sir.

M. O'BRIEN: What, I assume you heard from a lot of people once this came out. What are people saying to you?

LEHMAN: They just keep asking me why I'm there, and I keep telling them I have no idea.

M. O'BRIEN: Well, I mean you know, part of this is, you know, everybody is -- every state, every locality, is supposed to come up with places that they think, you know, might possibly be a target and so if you're in the county and you're looking around, oh well, how about the popcorn factory and all that gets filtered up and it's given to Department of Homeland Security and there becomes the list. Do you think -- is that the right way to do this, do you think?

LEHMAN: I'm not going to get into that. I'm glad they're protecting us. I feel safe here. I'm really confused I'm on the list at least at the top, because I didn't know anybody knew we were here. They do now.

M. O'BRIEN: They do now. Well, I guess that does beg the question for us here is now that you're on the list, you probably couldn't buy advertising like this, could you?

LEHMAN: No way, absolutely not.

M. O'BRIEN: Tell us a little bit about your business. What exactly do you do there? You make popcorn? Is it as simple as that?

LEHMAN: We just grow and package our own brand. We only -- no microwave only the unpopped kernels you have to do at home. We're one of the few companies that do a lot of that anymore. We have a big variety to choose from.

M. O'BRIEN: And you ever see any shady characters around that way? I mean you ever worry about terrorism?

LEHMAN: No, not at all.

M. O'BRIEN: Just popcorn.

LEHMAN: If we see someone going down the road, we check, yeah, we check to see who is going down the road. We know everybody in this area. We're on a gravel road, we're...

M. O'BRIEN: You probably know everybody, right?

LEHMAN: Absolutely.

M. O'BRIEN: All right, we got to put in a couple of comments here from the Department of Homeland Security and from a state official in Indiana. Let's share this with you. The Department of Homeland Security says, you know, basically they're relying on the states to provide them a list and they said, you know, if India -- "...if Indiana has submitted more assets to us than New York, that does not mean that Indiana will get more money." This is in reference to the fact of how the DHS funding is dispersed, there's a lot of concern here in New York and Washington about that. And then Pam Bright, who's with the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, she says, "...there wasn't a good clear definition of what DHS was looking for," so in that sense she was doing her job, she didn't have a good definition, she just gave them a bunch of possibilities and off they went. How do you feel about all of that?

LEHMAN: I'm glad we're living in a country that we've still been safe. I'm glad they're trying to do their job. I'm surprised that they pick a company like mine. I appreciate what they're doing.

M. O'BRIEN: We are, too. I got to ask you a question, this is a little bit out of your -- the popcorn biz do you think in making a telephone book size list like this with 8,600 potential sites in Indiana does that make us safer or is that just kind of muddy the waters about possible targets?

LEHMAN: I can't answer that question. I don't know.

M. O'BRIEN: All right. Well, we wish you good business. We hope it keeps popping along there. Brian Lehman.

LEHMAN: Well, thank you.

M. O'BRIEN: Amish Country Popcorn there in Berne, Indiana. A apparent target for terrorists. Thank you for being with us -- Soledad.

LEHMAN: Thank you.

S. O'BRIEN: We've got this news just in to CNN. Looks as if Israeli aircraft have bombed a Lebanese military air base, it is happening near the Syrian border in the eastern Bekaa Valley. This is coming to us from the "Associated Press. The first strike on Lebanese army in Israel's fight, of Isaeli war planes rather, it's the first strike on Lebanese army in Israelis -- Israel's fight, rather, fight with the Hezbollah guerilla.

We've been talking about the escalation going on between Israel and Hezbollah and the attack with missiles be lobbed back and forth and it does not seem anywhere near ending.

Also a report from the "Associated Press" where the European Union apparently expressing great concern over Israel's disproportionate use of force in Lebanon. All of this began, of course, with the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers has completely escalated very rapidly. We'll continue to follow the story for you. We are going to turn now to a little business news, as well.

M. O'BRIEN: Let's do business, yes. Andy Serwer's here. Next time you're at a big casino, big gleaming casino, remember one thing, it was built on the backs of losers. Here's case in point from Andy Serwer.

SERWER: Yeah, we're going to get to that. Let's talk about the markets first of all, and when the news that Soledad was just bringing us it's not a surprise that stocks are trading down 83 points following yesterday's loss, obviously jitters affecting trading here in New York. Also jitters affecting the price of oil which is just under $76 a barrel, a record there. Wal-Mart and Disney also getting hit by negative brokerage reports.

I wanted to dispel a couple of notions that you might have about gaming. No. 1, you can go down to your casino and make some money over the weekend. Chances are, you won't. And No. 2, Las Vegas is tapped out. It isn't. To-wit the city just announced that the casinos in Nevada made $1.13 billion, made $1.13 billion in May.

M. O'BRIEN: Net.

SERWER: Yeah, that's -- that is their take. And that's close to a record. They now have a record for year to date of $11.3 billion, so keeps on keeping on and you know where that money's coming from, folks.

Another story we want to tell you about this morning rember the Soup Nazi, this is a guy who got famous on the Seinfeld show, based on a real character, Al Yeganeh, here in New York City. I used to go to this spot right on 55th Street before he was famous and he was simply crazy. I mean there's no way to put it. He's yell at you...

M. O'BRIEN: There's some basis in truth, right?

SERWER: He'd make you move over and I'm sorry to say that, but it's true. He has the original Soupman franchises. He has 20 of them now. And he plans to expanded into England. And the news is also that he says within a few years he's going to have 1,000 of these stores across the United States and presumably the globe. So, look for the original Soupman. Doesn't say "no soup for you," and obviously he can't be in all thousand stores at the same time, but...

S. O'BRIEN: Why the delay? I mean, Seinfeld...

SERWER: Yeah, that was...

M. O'BRIEN: A bit of a gap here.

SERWER: Yeah. I think he's getting his -- you can't imagine his pitches to the bankers. Maybe there were some problems there.

M. O'BRIEN: He's been stewing over the whole thing.

SERWER: Very well put.

S. O'BRIEN: All right. All right.

M. O'BRIEN: Back with more in a moment.


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