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Israel Accepts Gaza Ceasefire; Border Deportation Began; Iraq in Crisis

Aired July 15, 2014 - 05:00   ET


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking this morning. Hopes for a ceasefire in Gaza fading fast. Israel agreeing to the terms early this morning but Hamas remains defiant, launching more rockets overnight.

We're live with the very latest developments.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Bordering crisis, deportations now beginning as Congress continues to battle over what to do with the thousands of children who have illegally crossed into this country.

BERMAN: And oh my, what about this weather. Violent wind, torrential downpours, flooding, hails. Millions of Americans facing severe storms today. We certainly faced them overnight. Jennifer Gray tracking what you need to know for this day.

Good morning, everyone. Welcome to EARLY START. Good to see you this morning. I'm John Berman.

HARLOW: I'm Poppy Harlow. It is Tuesday, July 15th, 5:00 a.m. here on the East Coast.

We begin, of course, with this breaking news. Israel accepting a ceasefire plan to end the violence between Israel and Gaza but the military wing of Hamas says no way, no deal.

The plan brokered by Egypt calls for Israel and Hamas militants to put down their weapons after seven days of violence and nearly 200 fatalities. If both sides can agree, Gaza's border could be reopen, also peace talks could begin in Cairo within days but listen to what Hamas spokesman told CNN's Wolf Blitzer.


OSAMA HAMDAN, HAMAS SPOKESMAN: It's not really initiated. It's not really an idea. What they are trying to do is to corner the Palestinians and to help the Israelis more. I don't believe that this is a political thing to be done. It's close to be a joke.


HARLOW: Karl Penhaul, live from Gaza this morning.

Karl, the military wing of Hamas, which is called al-Qassam Brigades, has rejected this deal, saying in part that it is not worth the ink it was written with. So now what?

KARL PENHAUL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, absolutely, Poppy. They are also vowing to intensify the ferocity of their fight against Israel and they are not just talking. They are also acting because about 20 minutes before we came to air, we were out on the streets in central Gaza and saw a barrage of militant rockets flying into the air, flying off towards Israel. We counted at least seven rockets going out. That seems to be a pretty resounding no to this Egyptian ceasefire proposal.

The proposal that Israel said it would observe. Now really, what is going on here is neither Hamas' military nor political wing believed there is enough merit in them sitting down and talking ceasefire right now. They believe that if they do that now, then they will have simply wasted their time fighting for the last week.

What Hamas is looking for on both the military and the political side is an end to what they call the blockade of the Gaza Strip. They want the greater freedom of movement of goods and services through the borders into Gaza. They want to be allowed to move people in and out of Gaza through that border crossing with Egypt and also importantly, they are calling for deliberation of hundreds of prisoners that Israel rounded up in Palestinian areas following the kidnap and murder of those three Israeli teenagers back in June.

Also, in addition to Hamas' rejection of any terms for a ceasefire, Islamic jihad, the other main militant group here on the Gaza Strip has also come out and said it does not accept the ceasefire proposal, so for now at least it looks like a fight will go on.

Israel, also, its prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu telling people in the last few minutes that he believes that if Hamas rejects this ceasefire offer, then Israel will have full international backing to go in and do what is necessary to stop those rockets heading toward Israel -- Poppy.

HARLOW: And looking at this in a long-term context, you've got nearly 200 deaths in Gaza, you've got 1400 injuries. And of course Hamas' military wing saying accepting a ceasefire deal would be, quote, "kneeling in submission." But at the same time, what is the long-term outlook that they have at this point and do you get a sense, Karl, that the political wing of Hamas perhaps may be slightly more inclined to some sort of deal than the military wing?

PENHAUL: Not really. From what we heard from Hamas' political spokesman, Fawzi Barhoum, last night, he was really handing over the decision making to the militant wing. He was saying that any decision has to be in full agreement with the terms and conditions set down by the people, the Palestinian people and also by the Palestinian resistance fighters. So I don't see any real sign right now, at least, to the split between the political and military wings.

It does seem they're speaking with one voice here. Longer term, it depends what you mean by longer term. It could be that Hamas has been preparing for this fight for some time since, in fact, its last confrontation with Israel back in 2012. It could be that they have some kind of game plan going forward here.

If you look back to 2008-2009, certainly this confrontation could get a lot worse. Back in 2008-2009, there were, to my memory, more than 1,000 people here killed on the Gaza Strip. So things could get a lot, lot worse before they get better.

What could also make things worse is if Israel decides to press ahead and launch a ground offensive or intensify its aerial bombardments as well. In the much longer term, of course, Hamas' claim here is that they want better living conditions for the people of Gaza and also to get, as I say, the better freedom of goods and services into Gaza, and allow its people freedom of movement in and out of this very small strip of land -- Poppy.

HARLOW: Karl Penhaul live for us in Gaza this morning. Thank you Karl.

Well, Israel has charged three suspects with kidnapping -- with the kidnapping and murder of a Palestinian teenager. The incident touched off violent protests in Arab sections of Jerusalem and also northern Israel. Israel says the suspects admit to abducting the victim and setting him on fire earlier this month in revenge for the murder of three Israeli teens in the West Bank last month.

BERMAN: Now the latest on the immigration crisis spiraling out of control at the U.S. border with Mexico. Forty undocumented immigrants have been returned to Honduras. And Homeland Security officials say it is just the initial wave of deportations.

As officials in Washington battle over what to do with thousands of women and children from Central America who enter this country illegally.

Let's get more now from senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: John and Poppy, there will be more political wrangling this week over the fate of those unaccompanied minors fleeing to the U.S. from Central America.

Obama administration officials will meet with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus on Wednesday to discuss their growing concerns about calls to the White House and Capitol Hill to send nearly all of the minors back immediately.

The administration and lawmakers in both parties are trying to change a 2008 law that's now seen as offering a loophole. The current migrants streaming across the U.S. border. Under that law designed to prevent human trafficking. Children from non-border countries are afforded immigration hearings and not sent back immediately unlike young migrants from Mexico who face speedier deportation proceedings.

Now last week, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said the White House is seeking changes to that 2008 law to give the Department of Homeland Security more flexibility in deporting those unaccompanied minors back to their countries of origin. But at Monday's White House briefing Earnest signaled a shift in tone on the future of those children, stressing some of these young migrants who have arrived in the U.S. from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala may ultimately be allowed to stay in the country if they can qualify for asylum status.

And the Department of Homeland Security said Monday that approximately 40 adults with children were returned to Honduras by immigration officials. The department said more are on their way back to their home countries -- John and Poppy.

HARLOW: Jim, thank you very much.

Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl reporting for duty. Army officials say Bergdahl has now -- now has a desk job at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio. This after completing the final phase of his reintegration following five years as a Taliban prisoner of war. Meantime, the officials say that Bergdahl has refused to see his parents or to speak to them on the phone since he was released from captivity.

BERMAN: Nearly $400 million in improper disability payments could be sent out by the VA in just the next few years. The agency inspector general telling the House Veterans Committee that the rush to make payments to clear a massive backlog is leading to payments without verification of medical records. The whistleblower also testified that workers in Philadelphia were told to change the dates veterans apply to make it appear they were being processed years faster than they really were.

HARLOW: All right. Time for an EARLY START on your money.

Asian stocks finishing the day higher. Stocks in Europe mixed right now. The U.S., futures are mixed here.

The U.S. market got a pretty nice boost on Monday from some deal news and better-than-expected earnings from Citigroup, that despite the bank's $7 billion mortgage settlement with the Department of Justice.

Strong results bumped the Dow up more than 100 points to once again finish above that psychologically 17000 mark, just as Berman predicted yesterday. But really, just missing a record high.

The Nasdaq and the S&P 500 also ended the day higher. This rally comes as analysts at Goldman Sachs upgraded their target for the S&P 500 for this year from 1900 to 2050. The index may see some more positive movement today. This is a big week for corporate earnings. Major names in banks and tech to the largest sectors in the S&P releasing their quarterly numbers.

Today on the docket we'll hear from JPMorgan Chase, Intel, Goldman Sachs and Yahoo.

BERMAN: I can predict the markets and the weather. It is going to rain today. Man, oh man, did it rain overnight. Severe thunderstorms threatening millions across the country. Look at this map. We have damaging winds, flooding expected over the next couple days as a shot of unusually cold weather is set to move in. This will really affect nearly everyone in the west, the south and along the East Coast, pretty much everywhere. HARLOW: Everywhere.

All right, in Texas, a severe storm tore through Ft. Worth. Wind gusts up to 60 miles an hour there. The storm destroyed at least one home, downed trees and caused power outages for thousands.

BERMAN: In Volusia County, Florida, powerful summer storm brought strong winds. Trees that were brought down there and the power lines and crushing that police car in Port Orange.

HARLOW: And in Minnesota, more rain, heavy rains causing lakes to swell near a resort in Otter Trail. The high water has surrounded cabins, even shut down some of the businesses there.


KATHY MANTEUFFEL, LIMMER'S RESORT: We have never seen water this high. I have never had to wear hip boots to clean fish.


HARLOW: Well, the resort has already put down hundreds of sandbags to try to save its cabins. It has been -- an absolutely mess there.

BERMAN: Yes. The land of 10,000 lakes, maybe 11,000 or 12,000 by now.

HARLOW: The boats on the lake. I was just home there. You can't even go with any weight because they're worried about all the erosion. It's been really, really awful.

BERMAN: It's a mess and looks like will be more so.

Jennifer Gray tracking the severe weather for us from Atlanta.

Good morning, Jennifer.

JENNIFER GRAY, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, good morning, guys. It has been a wild couple of days as far as weather goes. We are going to look at some more storms this morning. This morning the focus Louisiana on into Mississippi, right along the I-20 corridor, we are seeing a lot of lightning, some thunderstorms. But the severe focus is going to be in the northeast today, D.C., Philly, New York, all the way up to Massachusetts.

We're going to see large hails, damaging winds, slight possibility of a few isolated tornadoes. But your main threat with this will be the hail and the wind. Also the rain.

Look at this. This is through Thursday. Could see two to four inches of rain outside of Boston. Two to three between D.C. and New York. So it is going to be a wet commute for a lot of folks in the northeast. We have flood watches in effect for some very populated areas.

Also behind this, though, that cooler air that we've been talking about, affecting the Midwest is going to filter down to the south affecting more of the southeast and the East Coast. Not in the same fashion that we're seeing up north. But we will see that cooler, more refreshing air filter in over the next couple of days or so.

Current temperatures in Chicago, 57 degrees, 56 in Minneapolis. Of course, morning lows chilly in the Midwest, 45 degrees in Marquette this morning, guys. So cooler the next couple days.

HARLOW: Absolutely. Waiting for the rain to stop. That's for sure.

Thanks so much, Jennifer.

GRAY: All right.

HARLOW: Well, get this. A scare in the sky for one pilot. His helicopter nearly hit by a drone. It is a new wave of technology taking flight and is it making flying unsafe?

BERMAN: The NFL hit with a new lawsuit, accused of dishing out prescription painkillers to players to keep them on the field. One former player is speaking out.

HARLOW: Also terrorists in Iraq gaining ground, inching closer to Baghdad. Can anything be done to keep that country together? We're live with what is being done today, straight after the break.


HARLOW: Breaking news from Russia. You are looking at pictures of a metro train that has derailed in Moscow. Ten people we know at this time are dead. We know 120 others are injured, 50 of them in critical condition. More than 200 people in that area forced to evacuate. Officials don't know exactly what caused the train to derail, to go off the tracks. They are, though, ruling out terrorism.

We'll bring you more on that as soon as we have it.

BERMAN: A bloody night north of Baghdad. Iraqi forces clashing with militants. The two sides exchanging fire at machine guns and rocket propelled grenades. In one village, a dozen bodies have been found all with gunshots to the head.

The Pentagon is monitoring the violence. The U.S. still undecided this morning about whether to get further involved in the situation there. Meanwhile, Iraq's parliament which has done pretty much flat- out nothing is back in session this morning, trying, we think, to form a new government after the disputed presidential and parliamentary elections.

Senior international correspondent Arwa Damon live from Baghdad this morning.

Arwa, what's the latest?

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. Well, as we were leaving to come out for this live shot, parliament was finally beginning to read off a list of names of possible candidates for speaker. If the speaker and his two deputies are in fact elected today, that would set in process motions that would, at the very least, begin the process of government formation, which is quite vital at this stage because the fight against ISIS is not just military, it is political as well.

When it comes to the battlefield, Iraqi Security Forces have launched a number of airstrikes in the last 24 hours to include the very vital city of Baiji that houses one of Iraq's largest oil refineries, upon which local consumption relies quite heavily. Not targeting the refinery itself. But they were targeting a mosque.

However, right next to the mosque was a hospital and a number of casualties there as well. In total, 12 people were killed in those airstrikes. The airstrikes as well as in the city of Mosul. That of course ISIS took over when it began this offensive and also in Fallujah where unclear at this stage exactly what the Iraqi government was targeting but one person and seven others wounded, all from one family in the airstrike that took place right there.

ISIS, in terms of the advancement, it's trying to make, still continuing from four different directions to push toward the capital of Baghdad. The U.S. releasing that initial assessment on the capabilities of Iraqi Security Forces saying that they are concerned about a number of things to include the fact that the Iraqis are so reliant on the use of militias. These are militias that used to fight American forces when it comes to protecting Baghdad.

Worried about the sectarian nature of the Iraq Security Forces and also worried that ISIS may have infiltrated them as well. All of which would have, of course, pose great dangers to any U.S. advisory mission moving forward.

BERMAN: Yes, Arwa Damon, with the situation there, they need some kind of political movement to reach any kind of military success.

I appreciate your report this morning.

HARLOW: Also developing this morning, the FAA is now investigating a near miss in the skies over Cleveland. This miss between a helicopter and a drone. It happened last Friday. An unmanned aircraft coming within 50 yards at the chopper up at 1700 feet.


DREW FERGUSON, HELICOPTER PILOT: It's scary. I mean, the bird strikes scare us. This is an unknown. We haven't had a -- any documented hits between an aircraft and UAV. So, you know, no one wants to be the first.


HARLOW: Yes. Certainly that near miss happened about five miles northeast of Cleveland.

BERMAN: Developing this morning, the Drug Enforcement Administration launching an investigation into the alleged abuse of prescription drugs in the NFL.

Back in May, a group of retired players filed a suit accusing the league of illegally administering pain killer and other drugs to keep the players on the field. More than 700 players have now joined this suit.


JEREMY DEWBERRY, FORMER NFL PLAYER: Drugs, you know, none of them medical degree. Some of them aren't licensed and handing out the drugs, anti-inflammatories, they're handed up painkillers, they're heading sleeping pills. They are handing out this stuff together. And then, you know, a lot of times you're on a team plane and then you're washing it down with beer.


BERMAN: The D.A. is trying to determine who provided the drugs to team doctors for the distribution to players.

All right. Coming up for us, baseball's biggest sluggers going yard again and again and again and again in Minnesota. All of them, except one. Yasiel Puig, what the heck is up with him? Andy Scholes tells us all about the big wins and the big embarrassment in the "Bleacher Report." Next.


BERMAN: Baseball sluggers swinging for the fences last night in the annual Home Run Derby. They went yard. Several times. The term just learned for the first time this morning.

HARLOW: Just learned in the last five minutes.

BERMAN: By Poppy Harlow. You want assessment as to the A's, he was the big winner.

Andy Scholes has more now in the "Bleacher Report."

HARLOW: Good morning, Andy.

ANDY SCHOLES, BLEACHER REPORT: Good morning, guy. You know, in the Home Run Derby, it's not who can hit the ball the farthest, it's who can hit the most. But if they gave an award for who has the longest homerun, Yoenis Cespedes would have won that, too.

Now everyone was expecting fellow Chief Yasiel Puig to put on a show. But look at this. A check swing. It goes back to the pitcher. Yes, that's an out. Puig failed to hit one home run in the competition. Now the Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton who's known for hitting monster shot, he got everyone off their seats with this shot way up into the third deck at Target Field. But in the end, no one was a match for Cespedes who hit 30 home runs in the competition including a 452-foot shot. He's the first player to win back-to-back derbies since Ken Griffey Jr. did in '98 and '99. Trending on this morning, Derek Jeter take the

field for his final All-Star Game tonight. And yesterday Jordan Brand released an awesome star-studded tribute to the Yankees captains. The ad features tons of athletes, coaches and celebrities tipping their cap to Jeter. Tiger Woods, Jay-Z and Michael Jordan are just some of those who make an appearance in the ad.

Jeter, he was baseball's first player to join the Jordan Brand in 1999. He has had 12 signature Jordan shoes since, which is more than any other athlete other than Jordan himself.

A new era in college football means a new trophy unveiling. College football goes to that four-team playoff format this year, getting rid of the old BCS system all fans love to hate. But does the new trophy hold water against the old one? Well, you be the judge. Here they are side by side. The old BCS trophy, now it isn't going away. The team at the top of the final coaches ball this season's end will be awarded the crystal ball.

What do you think, guys? I kind like the crystal ball more than the new trophy.

HARLOW: I do too.

BERMAN: A little more durable, though, the new one. You know, you don't want to see the trophy break.

Andy, can I ask you? Do you think it was odd that Derek Jeter starred in his own tribute commercial?


HARLOW: Apparently Berman does.

BERMAN: I tipped my cap to him but he tipped his cap to himself, too. It was simply strange.

SCHOLES: I liked it. I thought it was pretty cool the way they put it together especially with Red Sox and Mets and everything giving a tip to the cap. I thought it was nice.

BERMAN: There was no more deserving person in the world. I just thought it was a little strange that he was in his own tribute ad. Just saying.

HARLOW: I'm just --

SCHOLES: I see where you are coming from.

HARLOW: I'm just glad I know what going yard is.

BERMAN: Going yard, Andy Scholes. You learned it right here this morning.

HARLOW: Thank, Andy. BERMAN: Breaking news this morning, no deal on a cease-fire between

Israel and Hamas. Israel agrees to it, Hamas, not at all. So now can anything be done to stop the violence? We are live after the break.