CNN CNN


 

Return to Transcripts main page

NEWS STREAM

Latest on Israel-Hamas Conflict;

Aired November 21, 2012 - 08:00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong and welcome to NEWS STREAM, where news and technology meet.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STOUT (voice-over): And we begin in Tel Aviv, where at least 18 people have been wounded in an explosion on a public bus. And that comes on the eighth straight day of violence between Israel and Hamas while some of the world's top diplomats attempt to reach a breakthrough in Cairo.

Also ahead, the last surviving gunman in the Mumbai attacks is executed in India.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STOUT: First, the explosion in the heart of the Israeli city of Tel Aviv. Police say a bomb exploded on a bus as it passed by army headquarters just a few hours ago. At least 18 people were injured.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STOUT (voice-over): A spokesman for the Israeli prime minister says it was a terrorist attack. Israeli radio interviewed two witnesses who say that they saw a man throw a bag onto the bus and then run away. All this as Israeli authorities say that they carried out 100 more airstrikes in Gaza overnight into Wednesday. And 17 rockets fired from Gaza struck inside Israel.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STOUT: Across the border, people are living in fear of Hamas rocket fire as 17 rockets landed in Israel overnight. Israeli authorities report five deaths since the conflict began. Wolf Blitzer went to a neighborhood in the city of Beersheba and listened to a family that narrowly avoided being killed inside their home.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST (voice-over): Those Hamas rockets came toward Beersheba 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 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.

OTNIEL SCHNELLER, ISRAELI KNESSET MEMBER: All my sons, four of them in reserve, they are ready to go further.

BLITZER (voice-over): But there's a major debate in Israel on whether that's wise.

A former Air Force commander and mayor of Beersheba 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.

BLITZER: We're inside this Israeli ambulance. We have just left the command center heading towards an area where rockets just landed and currently there are injured and maybe even worse. We will see what's going on.

BLITZER (voice-over): Lieutenant Sharon Howard is the Israeli army liaison officer helping to coordinate medical care.

LT. SHARON HOWARD, ISRAELI DEFENSE FORCES: If there are any in need, if there are many casualties, so also medical units, the army also join them again (inaudible) to take care of all the injured.

BLITZER (voice-over): 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.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STOUT: Wolf Blitzer reporting there. Let's get the very latest on that blast, that bomb blast in Tel Aviv. Sara Sidner joins us now from there. And, Sara, what have you seen?

OK, unfortunately, we lost our correspondent, Sara Sidner, there at the scene of this bus bomb blast in Tel Aviv. We'll try to -- we -- actually, we have her back now.

And, Sara, good to hear that we've reestablished connection. I understand you've been at the blast site. What are you seeing around you?

SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Can you see me guys?

STOUT: OK, apologies for that.

Do we have Sara?

Sara, go ahead.

SIDNER: We're standing here along the street where this blast happened sometime around noon. We now know from hospital officials -- and there's a hospital very close by -- that there are 22 people that they're saying were injured; some of those people on the bus, some of those people on the street, the injuries ranging from everything from panic attacks to a serious injury to a shoulder.

There is one woman who we know is in getting surgery at this point in time, a very scary situation. The windows blown out; we saw the bus ourselves, all the windows blown out. But it was not damaged enough for it to completely destroy this bus. In fact, the bus actually was driven off of the scene, and now the scene has been cleaned up.

I want to get the latest information now from Micky Rosenfeld who is here with me from the police department, a police spokesperson.

Can you tell me first, have there been any people who have been arrested? And what is the latest on the investigation?

MICKY ROSENFELD, CHIEF INSPECTOR, ISRAELI POLICE: At the moment, the Israeli police are continuing to search around the Tel Aviv area for the possibility of a suspect who left the area just after the explosion. All the people who were injured at the time of the blast have been taken to the nearby hospital.

There's still a strong police sense of security in and around the area. We're not taking any chance whatsoever after this attack that took place. I would also like to add on that we didn't have any specific intelligence of an attack that was going to take place here in Tel Aviv and therefore our units are still located both down the street as well as around the different neighborhoods inside Tel Aviv.

SIDNER: I want to ask you about how this might have happened. At first, there was talk that there was possibly a suicide bomber; then (inaudible) potentially a package inside. Do you have any new information on exactly how this device got inside of the bus?

ROSENFELD: Well, the investigation is continuing based on what we have in terms of the scene. (Inaudible) people were questioned as well as people who are now in hospital and are being questioned by Israeli police and trying to understand what happened at the attack itself in those critical seconds, when the explosion took place.

But what we did confirm is that we know there was one device that was on the bus. It was not a suicide bomber. That we know from our police bomb disposal experts that have been at the site. We are now concentrating on seeing exactly who planted the bomb, who left the scene and possibly a vehicle.

Maybe there were people who helped the specific suspect from leaving the scene. And we're also looking at another aspect just to see if there was someone who worked on their own or the possibility of someone who had given specific orders to carry out the attack here in Tel Aviv today.

SIDNER: I want to ask you about that. There has been no claim of responsibility so far. Is that correct?

ROSENFELD: As until now, just over three hours after the actual explosion and the terrorist attack here in Tel Aviv, no one has taken responsibility. Obviously our intelligence units, as well as our police national units that are located here and around the different areas, are on high alert. We're not taking any chances around the country. At the moment, the level of alert is one lower than the highest level.

SIDNER: OK. Thank you so much, Micky Rosenfeld from the police department.

You got the latest information there, still looking for a suspect. I want to give you some idea of where we are. And this is a significant location, because we are right next to the military headquarters and as you heard Micky say just then, the investigation continues, guys.

STOUT: All right. Sara Sidner, live from Tel Aviv for us, thank you very much indeed for that.

Now the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, she has condemned the bus blast in Tel Aviv and calls it a terrorist attack. And she has been crisscrossing the Middle East on a diplomatic mission to try to stop the bombs falling in Gaza and the rockets slamming into Israel.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STOUT (voice-over): And just a few hours ago, she met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah. But it's not clear how much sway that Mr. Abbas may have over Hamas in its bitter showdown with Israel.

Now before and after that meeting, Clinton met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and she's now in Cairo for talks with the Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STOUT: The Gaza Ministry of Health says at least 139 Palestinians have been killed since the conflict began. And with Israel reporting more than 100 strikes into Gaza in the early hours of Wednesday, that number can only be expected to rise.

Ben Wedeman joins us now live from Gaza City with more.

And, Ben, airstrikes and rocket fire, they continue to hit both sides of the border. What have you seen today?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, just as you started -- were starting to speak to my colleague, Sara, I heard a large explosion right over there; a building seems to have been hit. And I can hear ambulances going to the scene, some people running down the street. Really since the attack took place in Tel Aviv, we have seen a fair number of explosions and airstrikes.

In fact, within about 40-45 minutes of news coming out of that attack in Tel Aviv, three or four rounds landed in a building right behind me. So definitely there's a feeling that this attack in Tel Aviv marks a ratcheting-up of the conflict.

Earlier in the day, there was this airstrike on a house in al- Nuseirat, a refugee camp south of Gaza City, where we are told that a house, there's the house of a senior adviser to Hamas, Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh.

Definitely things are much quieter in terms of just people on the street when news came out of the attack in Tel Aviv, a lot of people simply just left. The streets are relatively empty today. There is a feeling that things could be about to get much worse, Kristie.

STOUT: Ratcheting up of the conflict; you've been reporting more airstrikes from Israel since that bus blast in Tel Aviv took place a few hours ago.

Immediately after that bus bombing in Tel Aviv, what was the reaction inside Gaza?

WEDEMAN: Well, we did hear a nearby mosque loudspeaker saying that the attack in Tel Aviv was the work of so-called Lions of the West Bank and suggesting that Hamas was claiming responsibility for that attack.

However, looking on Al Aqsa TV, the television station here affiliated with the Hamas movement, they said they blessed the operation; Hamas that is. And but said it was a quote-unquote, "natural reaction" to events in Gaza.

As Micky Rosenfeld mentioned before, there has yet to be a claim of responsibility for this attack in Tel Aviv, but definitely whoever did it, there's a feeling that Gaza will pay the price.

STOUT: Now so far more than 130 Palestinians have been killed in a week of violence. We have new violence, a new level of violence today with that bus bombing in Tel Aviv. But then again we have all this diplomacy, just major diplomatic players there in the region, the flurry of talks to somehow broker a cease-fire.

What is the feeling there on the ground? Are there hopes that there could still be a cease-fire or just more violence ahead?

WEDEMAN: Well, certainly yesterday evening the atmosphere was much different. Most people we spoke to, sources in Hamas and others, indicated that it was just a matter of hours before an announcement would come from Cairo, where Hamas leaders are meeting with Egyptian officials there to try to coordinate a cease-fire, that they would announce an end to the hostilities.

But what we saw was that that announcement never came; we saw increased airstrikes and rocket fire out of Gaza overnight. And now certainly, given the atmosphere in Gaza, given the events in Israel today, there definitely is a feeling that an end to this violence isn't going to happen.

Now I'm hearing a streak in the sky. No, OK, it was nothing.

I'm getting it -- here. It was a distant thud to the south of here, so definitely no cease-fire, no sign of cease-fire, no hint of cease-fire here today.

STOUT: OK, watching the skies and monitoring the situation for us, Ben Wedeman joining us live from Gaza City, thank you.

Now you are watching NEWS STREAM. And coming up next on the show, as the violence rages on --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STOUT (voice-over): -- in Gaza and Israel, Hillary Clinton will now head to Egypt for talks. And we will be live in Cairo.

An execution in India: the last remaining gunman in the 2008 Mumbai attacks has been hanged.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(MUSIC PLAYING)

STOUT: More now on the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas. The U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is now in Cairo, hoping to reach a diplomatic breakthrough.

Reza Sayah has been monitoring that. He joins us now live from the Egyptian capital.

And, Reza, the headline this hour, the bus bombing in Tel Aviv, I mean, how does that affect all the talk and diplomacy for peace?

REZA SAYAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it certainly doesn't help it and it raises the urgency and it puts the spotlight on Secretary Clinton, who is now in Cairo at this hour and adds pressure to Washington, to see if Washington can come up with some sort of deal on a cease-fire.

The U.S. seems to be broadening its role in this conflict; Secretary Clinton scheduled to meet with Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, also the foreign minister. She's also going to be meeting with Nabil al-Araby, the head of the Arab League. Whenever there's flare-ups between the Palestinians and the Israelis, Washington wants to be seen as playing a major role as the peacemaker.

Certainly they have a lot of sway with Tel Aviv, the U.S. and Israel best friends. But the problem when it comes to Washington is that they have no relationship with Hamas. The U.S. views Hamas as a terrorist group, of course. And that's why many believe Egypt is going to play a critical role here with its links to Hamas, Kristie.

STOUT: That's right; the U.S. has no relationship with Hamas. So with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton now in Cairo for the cease- fire talks, what can she bring to the table?

SAYAH: Well, I think she's going to push the Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi to get Hamas to make some concessions. And when you look at Egypt, they seem to be the most logical peacemaker in all of this, because, remember, they still have a relationship with Israel as well.

They have a peace deal with them, the Camp David Accords back in 1979. And they came out and explicitly said that they're going to honor that accord. And of course, the Muslim Brotherhood has strong links with Hamas, Hamas, of course, born out of the Muslim Brotherhood.

And that's why, over the past few days, it's been Egypt that's taken a lead role. They were very optimistic that they had established a cease- fire yesterday. Of course, today, there's all sorts of signs that the violence is escalating, an apparent attack on the bus.

We could see it going into the new phase of this war, so now pressure both on Cairo and Washington to see if they can work together to establish a cease-fire, Kristie.

STOUT: Yes, the pressure is on; the optimism seems to be fading and the death toll is mounting. We have this bomb blast in Tel Aviv.

We were talking earlier to our Ben Wedeman in Gaza City, reporting more Israeli airstrikes into Gaza in the last few hours since that bus blast, even though there's no claim of responsibility for that blast. But yet we have this big diplomatic push and Clinton there, where you were in Cairo. So what is the level of optimism now about a cease-fire?

SAYAH: Well, I think as the violence continues, the level of optimism going to be going down. I think once this meeting is over, you're going to hear a press conference with Mr. Morsi and Ms. Clinton. I think you're going to hear statements of condemnation, statements of regret for the violence, but in the meantime, the violence continues to escalate.

And I think, in time, every player that's involved in these negotiations are going to lose credibility; they're going to come under criticism because the world is going to see them as failing in getting a cease-fire, and that's because the death toll is going up. So the pressure is going to continue to add to all of these players who say they want to play the role of peacemaker, Kristie.

STOUT: That's right; the pressure is on in Cairo.

Reza Sayah reporting for us, thank you, Reza.

Now a little later, Christiane Amanpour will speak to the Hamas firebrand at the center of cease-fire negotiations with Israel. And you can watch her interview with Khaled Meshaal in a few hours, right here on CNN. It's at 8:00 pm London time, 9:00 pm in Berlin.

Now nearly four years ago, he was one of a group that terrorized the city of Mumbai. And now India has executed the last surviving gunman in the 2008 attacks that killed more than 160 people.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(MUSIC PLAYING)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STOUT (voice-over): Coming to you live from a rather foggy Hong Kong, you're back watching NEWS STREAM.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STOUT: Now the sole surviving gunman from the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks has been executed. Pakistani national Mohammad Ajmal Amir Kasab was hanged at a jail in western India. Now it is the first time India has used capital punishment in eight years.

In November of 2008, Kasab, along with nine other Pakistani men, stormed seven landmarks around Mumbai, killing more than 160 people. Kasab was one of two gunmen responsible for the earliest attack on this major railway terminal, just firing indiscriminately into crowds as they arrived. Fifty-eight people were killed in that attack alone.

And the nine other gunmen were all killed during the attacks in Mumbai. And Sumnima Udas has been monitoring this story. She joins us now live from CNN New Delhi.

Sumnima, since news of the execution spread, what has been the reaction across India?

SUMNIMA UDAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kristie, as you can imagine, the reaction has been overwhelming, the positive Mohammad Ajmal Amir Kasab had really become a symbol of the Mumbai attacks. If you remember that one photograph of him, a 21-year old at that time, carrying that AK-47 and walking through that Mumbai train station.

That's the image that a lot of people here in India still remember, and that's the image that people across the world actually remember. So he had really become a symbol of those attacks. And so family members, those who lost loved ones, saying now that they are finally grateful that justice has been served at last.

One lady earlier was saying that they haven't been to celebrate Diwali, which is the biggest festival in this country for the past four years since those attacks. And now they feel like they can finally go back to their lives and celebrate, you know, normal occasions like Diwali.

And while we're not seeing any kind of celebration on the streets right now, because of this execution, there's an overwhelming sense of -- that justice has been finally served, Kristie.

STOUT: So finally justice there for people in India. Now we and many other news organizations around the world and also in India only learned that Kasab was executed after the event earlier today. So why all the secrecy?

UDAS: That's right, Kristie. I mean, the home minister came out earlier and tried to explain why all of the secrecy and he said basically there were two main reasons. It's a very sensitive issue, of course, not only because so many lives were lost in those Mumbai attacks, but also because, at least according to India, those perpetrators came to actually from Pakistan, a Pakistan-based militant group, Lashkar-e-Taiba.

So any time you've got Pakistan and India involved, it becomes a hypersensitive issue. And also he was saying that security was a major concern.

Ajmal Kasab had been in a Mumbai jail for the past four years, but he had to be transferred to another jail about four hours outside of Mumbai to Pune. And that's where the hanging had to take place. So for obvious reasons, they did not want anyone to know that this was actually happening in India today, Kristie.

STOUT: All right. Sumnima Udas, joining us live from New Delhi, thank you very much indeed for that.

Now you're watching NEWS STREAM and when we come back, we will return to the Israel-Hamas conflict. We are inside Israel --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STOUT (voice-over): -- as tensions rise after today's Tel Aviv bus explosion.

And Arwa Damon follows families in Gaza who have been forced from their homes by airstrikes but few places are truly safe.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

STOUT: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. You're watching NEWS STREAM, and these are your world headlines.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STOUT (voice-over): At least 22 people were injured when a bomb exploded on a bus in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv. The bus was going by Israeli army headquarters when the explosives detonated. It could only make efforts to achieve a cease-fire between Israel and Gaza more diff.

As diplomats scrambled to avert a ground battle in Gaza, airstrikes and rockets have continued to cause destruction on both sides of the border. Authorities in Israel say that more than 100 strikes into Gaza occurred in the early hours of Wednesday, while 17 rockets struck Israeli soil. The official Hamas TV channel reports 142 Palestinian deaths since last Wednesday. Israel says five of its citizens have been killed.

The sole surviving gunman from the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks has been executed. Mohammad Ajmal Kasab was hanged at a jail in western India on Wednesday. The Pakistani national was one of 10 men who targeted landmarks around Mumbai nearly four years ago. And the attacks killed more than 160 people.

The latest installment of bailout money (inaudible) for Greece is in danger after E.U. finance ministers failed to agree on a debt reduction package. (Inaudible) 12 hours of talks ended without a decision. And the source of delay is not clear, but talks will resume on Monday. We'll have more on that story on "WORLD BUSINESS TODAY" in roughly half an hour from now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STOUT: An explosion on a bus in Tel Aviv, more airstrikes in Gaza and more rocket strikes in Israel. Let's go straight to our Frederik Pleitgen. He is on the border between Israel and Gaza.

And, Fred, the big question now is Israel's response to that bus bombing? I mean, since that bombing in Tel Aviv, there have been more airstrikes into Gaza and the fear now, could there somehow be a ground incursion? Could that be prompted next?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I mean, the ground incursion is something that had been in place for the past couple of days, Kristie. And I can tell you that certainly the Israelis are saying that they're both willing and capable to do so. And I can show you from our position here, if you look behind me, that that is certainly the case.

This is a frontline Israeli tank and armored personnel position that you see here. You're only seeing part of it, because they actually wouldn't allow us to go to the larger part of it, which shows dozens of armored personnel carriers and tanks parked close to here. So they certainly seem to be in place to start such an incursion.

However, these Israelis have been saying for the past couple of days that for the point -- and for this point in time, they are putting planning for a ground offensive on hold to try and give diplomacy more of a chance.

Now the big question is, of course, does that equation change with this attack and this going-on or that happened in Tel Aviv, and also, of course, there was a big rocket strike in Tel Aviv yesterday as well. We've yet to see the Israeli response. There also has been a response from Israeli officials about whether or not this could bring peace negotiations or truce negotiations, at least, to a halt.

But certainly, it is something that is very opposite to the kind of news we were getting yesterday, to talks of a possible agreement, of a truce or at least a period of calm for 24 hours. So right now, we're not seeing any movement here; however, also we're not seeing any movement on the diplomatic front to get some sort of cease-fire going, Kristie.

STOUT: OK. When you say you're not seeing any movement, are you saying that you haven't seen any military escalation on the ground in the last 24 hours? As you mentioned, there was a lot of optimism yesterday that there could be a cease-fire. And yet behind you, we do see the tanks there. Any escalation, sign of that in the last day?

PLEITGEN: That's a very interesting question, because there has been somewhat of an escalation. I mean, on the ground here, this buildup is going on. This is something that's been going on for the past couple of days.

And of course, it also continues while the negotiations are going on as well. This is something where a big military apparatus has been put into place, has been put into motion. And that's going to keep going until they are ready to go into Gaza if they're ordered to do so.

What's happening in terms of escalation, though, is that we have seen an increased number of rocket attacks from Gaza into Israel. And I can tell you I was in Ashkelon this morning with an explosive ordnance disposal unit of the Israeli police. Those are the guys that clear the rockets out of the way after they've been struck.

And they say they're working overtime, absolutely in tows like Ashkelon and surroundings. And this morning alone -- and in the hours before noon ,Kristie, our crew has had to take shelter at least six times because of rocket attacks going on on the town of Ashkelon.

It hasn't only happened there; it's happened in other towns as well. It seems as though, at this point in time, there are more rockets flying from Gaza into Israel than, for instance, 24 hours ago, Kristie.

STOUT: Yes, more rockets flying into Israel from Gaza than 24 hours ago.

I also wanted to ask you about from the Israeli point of view, Israeli airstrikes, they have hit Hamas government complex, a government complex, the headquarters of a Hamas bank in Gaza. From the Israeli side, what is their intention here? And is the objective changing with its airstrikes?

PLEITGEN: Well, I'm not sure the objective is changing. It might be that the military operation is widening. I mean, one of the things that the Israeli government has said all along is that if they feel that they are not achieving the objective they want to achieve, which is very clear; they say they want to stop rocket fire from Gaza going into Israel, that then they are going to widen their military operations.

In the short term, that can mean more airstrikes as we're seeing right now. In the longer term it could mean that the armor that's behind me could get set into motion.

It's unclear whether or not they're trying in some way, shape or form to decapitate Hamas' leadership or if they're trying to hit these key targets just to weaken Hamas within the -- within the Gaza Strip. That's certainly unclear at this point in time. But it's clear that these airstrikes are ongoing. They are intensifying.

And it is something that, I'll tell you, from speaking with people in Ashkelon, they favor that. I talked to people in Ashkelon yesterday, and I told them, what do you think of a possible cease-fire and all of the people I spoke to said they believe it's too soon; they want a longer-term solution. They want their military to carry on, Kristie.

STOUT: The view from inside Israel, and tension ratcheting up. Clearly there at the border, Fred Pleitgen reporting for us, thank you.

Now this week, we've been talking about how cyberspace is becoming a major battleground in the conflict. On our website, we asked, will Twitter and war on Twitter become the new normal? That is one of several special features online.

Also we have two side-by-side timelines which compare this conflict to the one in 2008. Just go to CNN.com/international for all the latest.

Time now for a check of your global forecast, including some volcano watching. We have a volcano erupting in New Zealand. Mari Ramos has got the details. She joins us now.

Mari?

MARI RAMOS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Hey, Kristie, this eruption happened just around 1:30 pm local time in the north island of New Zealand. I want to first of all show you a little bit about the geography so we know the areas that we're talking about. We're talking about Southern Hemisphere, of course; go ahead and turn the globe.

And we're going to head to the north island over here, very active, of course (inaudible) part of the Ring of Fire. We're going to go ahead and head to the Tongariro National Park. It's actually a very large area, set aside, a very old national park. And you have Ruapehu here on one side and this volcano, very popular tourist destination.

You may have -- if you watched the "Lord of the Rings," this area that they used throughout the movie for many of the scenes, just a beautiful, vast area with some very extreme peaks. This area also covered in snow during the winter months; there are some ski areas in this region. There's a lot of nature trails and hiking areas and this right here is Tongariro itself.

And it doesn't look like your typical volcano, where you have just one central cone, it's actually made up of several different cones, as many as 12 different areas that have been sighted here as far as being part of this one very large volcano.

And it is here where we had this eruption. So I want to go ahead and show you the pictures and where you're going to see these people fleeing. But I want to make sure you know ahead of time everyone got out safely. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RAMOS (voice-over): This is a group of school children that was hiking near the base of the volcano. You can see they're still at a safe distance away from the volcano itself. But you can hear the fear in their voices as they are moving away.

They were in a safe area, but of course, a very scary situation to see something like this unfold right behind them. The volcano is, of course -- this is an active volcanic hazard zone, as they say. But all of the hikers that were in the area were able to get away safely. They don't get as close to the crater. There was some steam still coming out in the afternoon hours from the volcano.

But all indications are that everything is quiet now. The interesting thing is, Kristie, that this volcano is closely monitored because it is, of course, near more densely populated areas, even though it's in the middle of a national park. And seismologists are saying that there were no indications that an eruption was going to happen.

There weren't any of those telltale signs that we see every once in a while with volcanoes, which is, for example, tremors, seismic tremors ahead of time, or maybe an increasing in gases, none of those things were measured by the instrumentation that is near that volcano.

So that was pretty interesting that nothing -- there was no warning sign when it came to this eruption, so much still to learn when it comes to volcanoes.

We head to East Asia, very quickly talk about the weather here, some rain coming in across these areas here, very cold also as we head into areas, up to north Beijing, only at 1, Seoul only at 1 and you can see the difference as we head into western Japan, 12 degrees. So that's a pretty big difference in a relatively small area here when it comes to temperature.

The cold air will remain pooled here to areas to the north. We do have a front that will be developing and bring some rain showers across East Asia. The heaviest rain, though, I think will be back over here across western parts of Japan as we head to the latter part of the week.

We are watching NEWS STREAM right now. Thanks for watching. We will return in just a moment right after this break.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(MUSIC PLAYING)

STOUT: Now more on the Tel Aviv bus blast and the eighth day of the Israeli-Hamas conflict.

Michael Oren is the Israeli ambassador to the U.S. and he joins us now live from Washington.

Ambassador Oren, welcome to CNN International. Now the bus bombing in Tel Aviv took place just a few hours ago, 18 people injured, some critically. Does that bombing represent a new level of violence, a new front in this conflict?

MICHAEL OREN, ISRAEL AMBASSADOR TO THE U.S.: Good to be with you, Kristie.

The bombing in Tel Aviv, it basically embodies what this whole conflict is about. It's about Hamas and terrorist groups in Gaza trying to kill the maximum number of Israelis. They didn't succeed in killing Israelis this time, but wounding a great deal. And even as we're speaking now, there are supporters of Hamas handing out candies to little children in celebration of the bus bombing.

Over the last eight days, we've been hit in Israel by something of the order of 1,600 rockets. And those rockets, each one of them, is designed to kill civilians. We are fighting back. We're defending ourselves. We are doing our utmost to avoid Palestinian casualties, but when Palestinian casualties occur, for us, it's a failure. When they kill or wound Jews and Israelis, it's a victory. There's the difference.

STOUT: Now there has been no claim of responsibility to this bus blast in Tel Aviv. And we did hear from your police spokesman earlier in the hour that an investigation is still underway. But what will be your country's response? How will Israel respond to this bombing in Tel Aviv?

OREN: Well, Hamas is certainly celebrating the bus bombing. As I said, their representatives are handing out candies to little children and that does have an impact. We are engaged in intense diplomacy and showing, I believe, superhuman restraint in the face of literally thousands of rockets falling on our citizens.

And the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in the area today and shuttling back and forth. And we are, again, showing restraint in order to reach, A, a cease-fire but more importantly a situation, a mechanism that will prevent Hamas and other terrorist groups from attacking us in this way in the future and prevent advanced Iranian weaponry and rockets from reaching terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip to prevent the smuggling.

STOUT: Now a reporter in Gaza City has been reporting more Israeli airstrikes into Gaza since that bomb blast in Tel Aviv. That doesn't sound like restraint to me.

OREN: Well, it's restraint in the fact that before any of this happened, over the course of the month before this, we were hit by 600 rockets. We had a million Israelis in bomb shelters or not -- unwilling to move a 15-second run from the nearest bomb shelter. That's how long you have between the time the siren goes off and the bomb hits.

So the entire southern part of the country was paralyzed before we took any action, Kristie. And you have to see that in context. We didn't start this; Hamas and other terrorist groups simply opened fire on a million innocent civilians and any country would have done just the same thing. That's precisely what President Obama has said again and again.

STOUT: We're also seeing military reinforcements at the border, and that begs the question, could this escalate even further? Is a ground incursion into Gaza more of a possibility now?

OREN: Well, it's true; we've mobilized a great number of reserves. They've left their homes. They left their families to go off and defend their country and they are prepared to initiate a ground action if the escalation continues, if Hamas does not stop firing at us. We don't want that escalation. I don't think anybody in their right minds would want it.

But we will have to take all necessary and legitimate means to defend our citizens if they remain the targets of hundreds if not thousands of rockets designed to kill them.

STOUT: Now a diplomatic push is underway. We have the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Cairo right now for talks after her earlier meetings in Israel and Ramallah. What are Israel's expectations of her efforts and the cease-fire talks in Cairo?

OREN: Well, our expectations that Hamas will stop firing at us. It's no -- it's not a magic formula here. It's very simple. They have thousands of rockets in their arsenal; they are shooting them at our civilians.

If they stop firing at us, if they agree to terms that will prevent further rounds of such aggression against our civilians, if they stop importing deadly rockets from Iran, smuggling them into Gaza, then we will -- we will have no reason to defend ourselves. We just want to live in peace on our side of the border.

We're not -- we're not interested in territory; we're not interested in escalation. We just want them to leave us alone.

STOUT: Ambassador Oren, thank you very much indeed for joining us here on NEWS STREAM.

OREN: Thank you, Kristie.

STOUT: Now we have reached out to representatives of Hamas for their response, and we will bring it to you as soon as we get one.

And now as Israeli airstrikes on Gaza continue, Israeli authorities are telling Palestinians civilians to leave their homes and seek shelter elsewhere. As Arwa Damon found when she followed one family, safe havens are in short supply.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is the first family we came across, barreling down the road. All they knew was that they did not dare stay at home.

"We left without knowing where to go," Afada Dava (ph) tells us, cradling her 4-month old. They say they could hear explosions as they fled.

DAMON: What's behind this mass exodus was the Israeli army dropping these leaflets, warning residents in certain areas that they needed to depart immediately for Gaza City, and the leaflet even indicates specifically which route they should take to stay safe.

DAMON (voice-over): And though few believed the Israelis, leaving was a better option than staying behind. Afada (ph) says their house was hit a few days ago.

DAMON: This is the second school that they have actually gone to, looking for a safe place to stay. But it obviously was full as well. And now we're going with them to try out a third one.

DAMON (voice-over): It's already packed. People angrily moved benches, staking their claim.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking foreign language).

"There is another school," a young man gestures. "Come with me."

Amidst a frantic search, fear. Four years ago, the last time Israel launched an operation in Gaza, a school was bombed. The Israelis said Hamas was using the cover of schools to fire rockets.

But whatever the risk for these families, there is no alternative.

DAMON: This just gives you an idea of how chaotic the situation is. This is the fourth school that the family has been to now, looking for a place to stay.

DAMON (voice-over): Finally, they find a room. "Come, come quickly," Afada (ph) calls the rest of the family as others help to clear space. She is exhausted and stunned. The children arrive, talking breathlessly about seeing a ball of fire outside.

DAMON: We're less than a minute away from the school, and while we were standing in there, we actually felt the windows of the building there shaking from an explosion, and it seems that this was the target.

DAMON (voice-over): Little reassurance for those that fled to stay safe -- Arwa Damon, CNN, Gaza City.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STOUT: And we will continue to follow the situation in Gaza in the hours ahead here on CNN, and we'll also check on a major story in the world of sport.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STOUT (voice-over): Six months ago, this man coached Chelsea to their first European Cup and now he's out of a job. Pedro Pinto will have much more next.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(MUSIC PLAYING)

STOUT: Welcome back. Now this isn't the first time we've said this, and it probably won't be the last. Chelsea have dismissed their manager. Pedro Pinto joins us from London. He's got all the details.

Pedro?

PEDRO PINTO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Kristie, that's right, another one bites the dust. Roberto Di Matteo became the eighth manager to leave Chelsea in nine years. The Italian coach was sacked by owner Roman Abramovich after the Blue suffered a heavy defeat to Juventus, which left their Champions League aspirations in tatters.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PINTO (voice-over): Fabio Quagliarella put the Italian champions ahead in the first half and never looked back. Arturo Vidal and Sebastian Giovinco scored the other two goals that put the final score at 3-0 in Turin. And that was Di Matteo's last game as Chelsea manager.

In Group B's other match, Shakhtar Donetsk beat Nordsjolland in Copenhagen; Luiz Adriano with a hat trick there. It means the Ukrainian side is through regardless of what happens in the last round of fixtures.

Juve just need another point to book their place in the Round of 16. Chelsea, meanwhile, are running the risk of becoming the first defending champions to be knocked out in the group phase of the competition.

After Tuesday's results a total of seven teams have now booked their place in the next round. I told you about Shakhta. The others are Porto, Malaga, Bayern Munich, Valencia, Barcelona and Manchester United. There's more Champions League action on Wednesday.

In the United States, the Lakers have got their NBA season back on track. On Tuesday, they won for the fourth time in the last five games. New head coach Mike D'Antoni sat on the L.A. bench for the first time since replacing Mike Brown as the Lakers took on the Brooklyn Nets. He got a close look at what Dwight Howard can do on defense. How about that big block on Deron Williams.

Williams wouldn't be denied later, though, as he put the visitors up by 5. But when you have the likes of Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Howard, you always have a good chance of winning. And the three combined for a crucial basket, tying the game up at 86.

Later, Bryant took matters into his own hands, two of his game-high 25 points scored on the hook. Lakers improved to 6-5 on the season and D'Antoni was feeling great about that win.

MIKE D'ANTONI, LAKERS COACH: I felt different all through about two weeks now. So this is really good. You know, everybody's kidding you and you know, the pressure's there. But you know what? This is great. I wouldn't change it for the world. So I don't know if it's any better today than yesterday, but it's going to be the same tomorrow ,too, so this is good.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PINTO: The good news for Mike D'Antoni is he still has Steve Nash to come back from injury; he still hasn't played since he's been named head coach.

Kristie, back to you.

STOUT: All right. Pedro Pinto there, thank you.

And before we leave you this hour, want to bring you up to date with the latest developments from Israel and Gaza. Now a bomb has exploded on a public bus as it passed by Israeli army headquarters in Tel Aviv earlier on Wednesday.

An Israeli police spokesman told CNN there were 22 injuries, three of them serious, in what he describes as a terrorist attack. Hamas describes the attack as a natural response to Israel's actions.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STOUT (voice-over): On the other side of the border in Gaza, authorities report 142 people killed since the conflict began, as Israeli airstrikes continue to hammer the territory. Israel says five of its citizens have been killed. Israel Defense Forces say that there was more than 100 airstrikes on Gaza in the early hours of Wednesday while 17 rockets from Gaza landed in Israel.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STOUT: And that is NEWS STREAM. But the news continues at CNN. "WORLD BUSINESS TODAY" is next.

END