Return to Transcripts main page


Israel Agrees To 7-Hour Cease-Fire; Thousands Stranded By Mudslides; Second Ebola Patient Coming to U.S.

Aired August 4, 2014 - 06:00   ET


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news, a qualified cease-fire now in place after fierce fighting overnight. Another U.N. shelter is hit by shelling. Israel being called out by the U.S. and U.N.

Anderson Cooper is there.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Also breaking, swept away. Take a look at this video. Fast-moving mudslides sweeping away homes, burying cars in California. Thousands stranded, including about 500 kids at camp. Rescue operations are still happening at this hour.

We have the very latest.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Dramatic change in a sudden reversal of fortune. The doctor battling Ebola, his prognosis is improving, this after he walked into the U.S. clinic by himself. His fellow American set to be flown back soon.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta has the very latest.

CUOMO: Your NEW DAY starts right now.

Good morning to our viewers from across the U.S. and around the world. Welcome to NEW DAY. It is Monday, August 4th, 6:00 in the East. We begin with breaking developments in the Middle East where Israel is almost three hours into a one-sided cease-fire.

The situation on the ground already seems to suggest otherwise. Israel said it would hold its fire for seven hours. A Palestinian official claims an air strike was launched shortly after the pause took effect injuring 30 people, making the cease-fire more dubious, Hamas never even agreed to it.

KATE BOLDUAN: One of the big reasons, this comes a day after another deadly air strike near a U.N. shelter that drew some of the strongest criticism yet coming from both the United Nations and the United States.

Anderson Cooper is joining us from Jerusalem on the ground there this morning with the very latest. So what is it looking like just a few short hours into this cease-fire -- Anderson.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR, "AC360": About three hours into this cease-fire Israel has said there's been at least 23 rockets fired into Israel from Gaza since midnight East Coast time. But I want to get you the latest details on the cease-fire.

Despite the early trouble we told you about, we're about three hours in with four hours to go. Israel agreed to hold its fire despite refusals by Hamas to commit as you mentioned. Israel say it is truce does not apply to soldiers working to destroy terror tunnels including tunnels into Israel.

The IDF, Israel Defense Forces say it will respond if fired upon. A senior Palestinian Jihad operative was killed. We believe Donian Monsieur was targeted before the cease-fire began.

The pause in hostilities comes in the wake of another air strike near a U.N. shelter. The United States went to call it disgraceful despite them claiming that they were targeting -- for more response, let's go to John Vause. John?

JOHN VAUSE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, well, as you say, three hours into the cease-fire here in Gaza City, at least, roads are once again jammed. The shops are opened, the markets are crowded. Many people taking an opportunity just to simply head out and resupply.

Children heading out to play in the open. Something they haven't been able to do safely for many, many weeks. Israel says it is investigating what may have been a strike on a house here in Gaza City about 20 minutes into that humanitarian window. Right now, they say they do not know what happened, what may not have

happened. But the Palestinians say the home was hit by an air strike. Thirty people were hurt. At least one person, an 8-year-old child was killed. The Israelis say this is a limited cease-fire. Their military operations are continuing especially in the southern part of Gaza.


VAUSE (voice-over): This morning, Gaza is just hours into another humanitarian cease-fire. Israel Defense Forces declaring the seven- hour window allowing food, water and medical supplies to enter Gaza, help for families devastated by attacks.

But this humanitarian pause excludes areas still occupied by the IDF including the town of Raffa. When firing took place early Sunday near a U.N. boys school sheltering 3,000 people. An explosion hit just outside the school's main gate injuring dozens, leaving at least nine dead.

It's the seventh U.N. school rocked by violence in the past month. The U.S. State Department released a scathing statement condemning the strike near the school calling the incident appalling and disgraceful saying in part U.N. facilities, especially those sheltering civilians must be protected and must not be used as bases from which to launch attacks.

The U.N. secretary general calling it a, quote, "moral outrage and a criminal act." Over the weekend dozens of powerful explosions rattled the Israeli-Gaza border, Israeli military saying more than 100 rockets had been fired towards Israel on Sunday alone. (END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: Hamas says the reasons why they're not entering into this seven-hour-long pause in the fighting, they say, first, they don't trust the Israelis, and secondly, they say this humanitarian window is just simply an attempt to divert attention from what happened at that U.N. school in Raffa over the weekend -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right, John Vause from Gaza. John, thanks. I want to get more perspective now in the Israeli side from Mark Regev. He is the chief spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Thanks for being with us this morning.

First of all, let's talk about the cease-fire as it currently exist, 23 rockets Israel is saying has come in from Gaza since midnight time East Coast. Palestinian officials are saying that violated the cease- fire 20 minutes into it with a strike.

MARK REGEV, SPOKESMAN FOR ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: That's not true. When we give an order from our forces to hold fire, they hold fire. From 10:00 this morning local time, we've ceased all offensive operations against terror targets in Gaza except for the specific locations like in Raffa where we have an underground operation to find the tunnels and terror targets.

Yesterday some 220 trucks entered the Gaza Strip with humanitarian support. We're working to fix power lines. We were working to fix water pipes to make sure that the people of Gaza receive both power and water.

We've said to all foreign governments and aid agencies, anything that you want to send to Gaza, we will facilitate that aid reaching the people of Gaza.

COOPER: What about the strike on the house at 10:20?

REGEV: I'm not aware of that. I can't tell you that it is Israeli ordnance. We've had examples in the past. We have Palestinian munitions have gone off or rockets have pulled in short. We don't know what happened in this case.

COOPER: To Palestinian officials who say this seven-hour cease-fire by Israel, unilateral, is really a smoke screen to deflect attention from the criticism that Israel received, really very strong criticism from the U.N. calling it a criminal act, even from the United States, calling it disgraceful. Why strike near a shelter where you know there are some 3,000 people?

REGEV: First of all, this is the seventh humanitarian cease-fire that Israel has agreed to or initiated.

COOPER: It's also the seventh strike near a U.N. school.

REGEV: If we want to discuss the U.N., let's be clear. What yesterday we're reviewing very carefully. We do know that there was a legitimate target. Three members of Islamic Jihad who we successfully targeted. It appears people were killed in collateral damage.

I don't know if that's because of our ordnance or they were carrying explosives and therefore, there was a larger explosion that people were killed. We don't know yet. We'll look into it.

COOPER: The United States says nevertheless, even if there are militants operating nearby that Israel must take greater caution when they know that there are thousands of civilians sheltering in a place that you have told them to leave one area. There's not many places that they can go.

REGEV: Let's be clear. No ordinance fell in the U.N. school. No one inside the school was hurt. We don't target U.N. facilities.

COOPER: People outside the school, though, there were a large number of deaths and injuries.

REGEV: That's correct. We want to minimize -- we don't want a single civilian casualty in Gaza. That's not going.

COOPER: To hear the United States saying, though, that Israel has to take greater caution, greater thought to live up to their own desire not to attack civilians, you say what? Is it appropriate? They say it's not appropriate to fire artillery shells into such densely populated areas.

REGEV: Yesterday, it wasn't artillery shells. Let's be clear. Yesterday, it was a specific missile that hit those Islamic-Jihad people. It was targeted hitting that collateral damage apparently hurt other poeple. It wasn't artillery fire or mortar fire. It was a specific rocket.

Having said that, we do hold ourselves to a very high standard. When innocent civilians are caught up in the crossfire between us and Hamas, it's an operational failure from our point of view. It's something we deeply regret. We don't want to see innocent civilians caught up in a crossfire.

COOPER: What happens at the end of this seven-hour window?

REGEV: We will return to operations against terror targets in Gaza. Ground forces are winding up the operations against the tunnels. We are winding up other operations. We are redeploying our forces in defensive positions.

COOPER: So does that mean no Israeli troops in Gaza?

REGEV: It's too early to say that because the operation in Raffa, of course, is continuing. We've got a very aggressive and nerve center there of tunnels and Hamas activity that has to be dealt with.

COOPER: But when you say you're going to withdraw to defense positions, does that mean out of Gaza?

REGEV: Some in, some out.

COOPER: And in terms of any kind of negotiations, there are Palestinians waiting in Egypt and saying they're willing to talk?

REGEV: We are, of course, our level of faith in Hamas' ability to honor any arrangement made internationally is at an all-time low. What happened on Friday, we were given assurances, the U.N., the Americans were given assurances from the Qataris that all Palestinian factions would abide by that cease-fire. Then 1-1/2 hours into the ceasefire we're brutally attacked and three people are killed.

COOPER: What do you now know about that incident, though, that you didn't know on Friday? On Friday, you thought that the Israeli soldier had been captured, thought there was a suicide attack. Now neither of those are the case?

REGEV: We were correct at the time. We said that we had two soldiers killed. He waited one or two hours before saying that because we have to notify the families. We said immediately soldiers have been killed and we said one of them has been abducted. We never said we knew he was alive. From our point of view,

operationally you presume he's alive until otherwise determined. In the course of searching for him there was evidence discovered that he was unfortunately killed and he was buried, as you know, yesterday.

COOPER: Mark Regev, appreciate your time. Thank you very much.

Obviously later this morning, we're going to have the Palestinian perspective with Ambassador Riad Monsieur, the Palestinian observer to the United Nation. Chris and Kate, back to you.

BOLDUAN: All right, Anderson, thanks so much. We're going to get back to you shortly. Anderson Cooper is on the ground for us in Jerusalem. Thanks so much. Let's get over to Michaela now.

PEREIRA: Good morning everyone. Let's give you a look at your headlines. In Iraq, ISIS militants are gaining crucial ground, seizing the country's largest hydroelectric dam. It provides power to Mosul, Iraq's second biggest city. After battles with security forces Sunday, Sunni extremists also seized control of three towns in Northern Iraq, sending thousands of people fleeing to the nearby mountains.

Rescue operations under way this morning after a deadly 6.1 magnitude quake struck Southwestern China. At least 380 people are dead, nearly 2,000 are injured. Thousands of homes were destroyed. Right now, troops and firefighters are digging through rubble looking for survivors. However, heavy rain is blocking roads and slowing relief and rescue efforts on the ground.

A Senate report detailing the CIA's controversial interrogation tactics in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. That could be released this week. The panel's top Republican says the 6,000-page report reflects how the CIA's techniques helped bring down Osama Bin Laden and disrupt terrorist plots.

President Obama who banned the practices after taking office said, Friday the CIA had, quote, "Tortured some folks during George W. Bush's administration." Those are your headlines, guys. BOLDUAN: Let's talk about Michaela's old stomping ground. California having a rough go over it right now. One person has died, thousands more stranded in Southern California. This all comes after heavy rain and mudslides pummelled San Bernardino County.

Flash floods carrying heavy debris cut off roads to the towns of Forest Falls and Oak Glenn. Among the trapped right now, some 500 children at a church camp. Let's get over to meteorologist, Indra Petersons with a look at more on this. Was it too much rain in a short period of time? What's going on?

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: It's exactly what's going on, Kate. When you think of Southern California, you probably think of dry drought conditions. But that is not the case in the summertime. You have monsoonal thunderstorms that can quickly bring heavy rain and deadly mudslides.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everything slides down and it's just this rush of rock and water and mud.

PETERSONS (voice-over): Torrential rain and deadly mudslides leaving residents missing and campers trapped in two Southern California towns. The rushing water overtaking drivers and leaving cars stranded. This helicopter footage shows the extent of the flooding.

Emergency workers forced to break the windows of this car to make sure nobody is trapped inside. The mud flow leaving roads impassable. Five hundred children and adults trapped at a local church camp.

Crews using bulldozers and heavy equipment to try to reach the campers as air rescue crews worked to free residents and their beloved pets. This van almost completely submerged in mud on a destroyed campsite.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I knew it was a flash flood. We were in the middle of it and we only had minutes to decide to turn around.

PETERSONS: Debris litters the street. The powerful water knocking even this hot tub from its foundation. Some roads now covered with six to eight feet of rock as floodwaters continue to rush down hillsides and across roadways making driving extremely difficult and extremely dangerous.

MICHAEL SCULLY, RESIDENT: This is the worst we've had since at least 1969. I don't feel like it is stopping.


PETERSONS: So notice where forest falls is and where the heaviest thunderstorms are. This area is prone to this. Whether the thunderstorms occur even 50, 60 miles away, all the rain comes down these steep canyons and takes campers completely by surprise as heavy water and mud as thick as even five to six feet can rush into the area, seemingly come out of nowhere -- Kate and Chris.

BOLDUAN: Sure, absolutely seems like it came from nowhere when you see how submerged the van is. It's unbelievable, Indra.

CUOMO: There is a sneaky aspect to it also because it looks like water, but has very different density because it's actually mudslide, much more force. People have taken by surprise.

BOLDUAN: It's a lot more dangerous.

Let's take a break. Coming up next on NEW DAY, a second American infected with the deadly Ebola virus is heading home now. Her colleague has already been flown to the states and possibly seen a dramatic change in his prognosis. Dr. Sanjay Gupta is at the hospital this morning with the latest developments.

Plus, the U.S. and U.N. have given the strongest condemnations yet of Israel's shelling. Israeli's prime minister isn't backing down. What will be done, if anything? We're live from the White House with the latest.


CUOMO: Welcome back.

A second American infected with Ebola is expected to be flown back to the U.S. tomorrow. Officials in Liberia confirmed Nancy Writebol will depart with a medical evac team. And we hear that there's been a dramatic change in the prognosis for her colleague, Dr. Kent Brantly, who's now receiving treatment at Atlanta hospital.

Yes, he's now in the United States. He arrived Saturday and he was actually able to walk by himself into Emory University Hospital. Doctors say they're encouraged by what is obviously an improving condition.

We have chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta live this morning at Emory University Hospital.

Doc, you were actually there when you watched the patient be unloaded. What was your impression of watching him actually walk under his own power and all the preparations in place?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Surprised I would say, Chris. I mean, you know, we heard that Dr. Brantly was quite sick obviously, even that he had deteriorated in terms of his condition a few days prior. So, to see him walking up, I was quite surprised. I think a lot of people were quite surprised.

Let me emphasize again Chris how much of a first this is. There's never been an Ebola patient in Atlanta, at this hospital, really anywhere in the United States or this continent. So this is really a historic time.

I want to bring you up to speed on the last couple of days.


GUPTA (voice-over): This morning, an American jet arriving in Liberia to pick up Nancy Writebol, the second Ebola patient. She'll be flown back to the United States on Tuesday for treatment at the same Atlanta hospital where the first American patient is currently being treated. The other American Ebola patient is Dr. Kent Brantly, and he's waking up in that Atlanta hospital after a life saving and well-orchestrated emergency evacuation from Liberia. He's the first patient infected with the Ebola virus to ever set foot in the United States.

Medically, scientifically, historically, historically, this is a first. Watch as Brantly walks off the back of the ambulance. Remember, just last week his condition was described as grave. We have subsequently learned he received an experimental serum while in Liberia and was even able to shower prior to departing from his flight.

DR. THOMAS FRIEDEN, CDC DIRECTOR: He seems to be improved from the reports we got earlier. Ebola can be deadly. But in people, the case fatality rate may be lower than the ones that we're usually quoting.

GUPTA: Brantly was flown nearly 6,000 miles in this special medevac jet, outfitted with a special containment unit to keep him stabilized and also to keep the personnel on the plane safe. After the plane landed in a military base outside of Atlanta, he was transferred to Emory University hospital, one of just four sites in the country with a special containment unit.

Dr. Bruce Ribner leads the team now charged with saving Brantly's life. He gave me an exclusive look at the protective suit he and his team have to wear each time they enter the room to treat their new patient.

(on camera): This is the mask with the air purifying system over here.

(voice-over): Covered from head to toe, his own vital signs will need to be checked twice a day. But Ribner says this is an assignment he has trained for his entire life.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They deserve the best medical care to try and resolve this infection that they can get.


GUPTA: So, and that care that we're describing is taking place right behind me here. This is the hospital.

One thing about that jet real quick, Chris. That's the only jet of its sort really in the world. After it dropped off Dr. Brantly, it turned around, got re-outfitted, back to Liberia and Nancy Writebol, the second patient expected here before noon tomorrow, Chris.

CUOMO: All right. We have two big things to unpack here, the actual treatment and the circumstances of safety. We know you have Dr. Isakov there. We'll get to that in a second.

But, Sanjay, the curiosity of what do you do, if there's no known cure for Ebola, we know about these mystery serums that he took and supposedly a blood transfusion from a young boy he had been treating. I mean, what do they think is working for him? What happens going forward?

GUPTA: Well, the real goal, Chris, in a situation like this, is you want to basically allow the body to overcome the infection and support the body while it does so. So, the body could eventually fight the virus, but if it becomes too dehydrated, the person may die. So, you provide fluids. If the person has bleeding problems, you provide blood. That's the real goal.

But there's also these investigational drugs which you alluded to, this idea that you take the fighting cells to Ebola and put them in somebody's blood to help them overcome the infection. I think that is real, that's something a lot of people are investigating and it could be what he received as well.

So, we don't know yet but I think some of those details are forthcoming.

CUOMO: Any idea of whether or not they're going to do that with Ms. Writebol. I know she got the serum as well. There was that very powerful story of where Brantley gave the dose of what they thought was the last dose to Writebol. It turns out there was another one so they both got one. What about her planned treatment?

GUPTA: I think it's very much the same. My understanding of these types of treatments, they go on over a few days. So, while they may have started the treatment, for example, in Liberia, the continuation of the treatment I think is expected to happen here.

CUOMO: All right. Can we bring in Dr. Isakov, Sanjay?

GUPTA: Yes, he's right here next to me.

This is Chris Cuomo, our anchor.


CUOMO: Hey, Doc. Nice to meet you.

This is a very --a lot of high interest in this situation for one big reason. The question is, is this safe? What can you tell people?

ISAKOV: Simple answer of the question. It's absolutely safe.

It's safe because the health care workers at Emory University Hospital's isolation unit and all the providers who helped get the patient here are trained for this. They've worked for 12 years to develop the right protocols, policies and procedures. It's absolutely safe.

CUOMO: All right. So, people at home, we're watching, OK? You're wearing these space-looking suits. You need your own breathing apparatus, a special jet. The whole thing seems fraught with risk.

How many layers of containment are there if something goes wrong? ISAKOV: Well, I think it may have been described before that how

Ebola is transmitted is primarily through contact or through droplets. So, if I were to touch Sanjay or I was to cough in his face and I was infected, he would be at risk.

But beyond that, it doesn't transmit by aerosol or by some -- as Bruce Ribner mentioned before, some magical pathway of transmission. So, contact and droplet precautions are something that in health care we're very familiar with. That's true also for the ambulance crew at Grady MS. They're very familiar with that. They've taken special precautions not only while they're caring for the patient, but also when it's time to get rid of that medical waste.

And the crew at Phoenix air has been prepared for this as well. I think, again, the 12 years of preparation is what has given us confidence that we can do this safely.

CUOMO: It's interesting that you've actually been preparing for this kind of scenario. I guess you have to as we learn more about these difficult-to-treat viruses going forward. Does having a second patient compromise the circumstances? What's your capacity?

ISAKOV: No, I don't think the circumstances are compromised at all. But you raise a good question about capacity. There's a lot that goes into caring for a patient like this, and that capacity is also determined by just how critically ill a patient is.

So, we've always said the unit has the capacity for two to three patients. Based on some factors and how well they're doing and what kind of resources we can bring to bear, the number might change.

CUOMO: How long can you keep them?

ISAKOV: I think we can keep them until they're better. That's our goal.

CUOMO: All right. So there's no timeline.

Sanjay, let me bring you in for one last point. Again, we're seeing all these massive preparations and prophylactic systems in place here at Emory. Then we hear about this doctor in Tennessee who is like self-quarantined. He was with his daughter when he got off the plane, may have been exposed to someone when they were sick.

I mean, what do we do with him?

GUPTA: Well, you know, it's an interesting point, because as much as we talk about the sophistication of this isolation unit, quarantine for Ebola is much simpler than quarantine for a lot of other diseases, because again, it can only spread by direct contact after someone is already sick. So, ultimately, you know, if he, in fact, has Ebola, he's going to need to go to one of these hospitals for the treatment and get the fluids and some of these investigational drugs we're talking about. If he doesn't, then the sort of self quarantine can actually be pretty effective for preventing future infections which is what the goal is. CUOMO: All right, Sanjay. Thank you very much.

And, Dr. Isakov, obviously, what I'm doing is I'm engaging the suspicion because that's how we keep people calm in these circumstances, by asking the questions that will scare us naturally as the uninitiated. We don't understand how you stay safe the way you do. So, thank you for telling us what's going to happen and we look forward to updates and hearing that Brantly is doing better. We hope to hear the same about Writebol.

Sanjay, thank you for being down there and watching it all happen for us.

GUPTA: You got it. Thanks, Chris.

CUOMO: All right. It's good to have you both.

Coming up on NEW DAY, Israel is trying another cease-fire, but already reports it has been violated. Meanwhile, unusually harsh words for the shelling of that U.N. school, the seventh time there has been damage to a U.N. school in this conflict. Just a bad situation in the Middle East. We'll take you through the latest.

Plus, another day without drinking water for residents of Toledo. You're going to hear the scary warning about the quality of their water. Why and what can be done about it, straight ahead.