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Israeli Police: Terror Attack In Jerusalem; Israel Declares 7- Hour Cease-Fire; Water Emergency For Toledo, Ohio; Thousands Stranded By Mudslides

Aired August 4, 2014 - 07:30   ET



KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back. We have breaking news for you, Israeli police say a terror attack was carried out in Jerusalem this morning amid a cease-fire declared by Israel and Gaza. Officials say something about a tractor slamming into a passenger bus trying to overturn it.

Let's get all of the latest from Anderson Cooper, though, who is live in Jerusalem with the details on what we are seeing. This might be video that we're just getting in right now, Anderson. But what do you know about this terror attack?

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR, "AC360": Yes, this was an incident that occurred just a short time ago, about three or so miles from the location we're in now in central Jerusalem. You can sort of make out in some of the video an overturned passenger bus.

What police say happened is that a tractor, heavy earth moving equipment, a bulldozer was used by the driver to slam into that bus turning over the bus. When police arrived on the scene, the driver of the tractor was still behind the controls.

Some of the video actually shows the tractor still moving. Police officers responded, shooting the driver of the tractor, killing him according to Israeli police. They say the bus itself, the passenger bus was empty at the time, but the bus driver was injured and one other person was injured as well.

We're not clear who that second person is who was injured. But again, the Israeli police are labelling this a terror attack. They say they shot and killed the driver of the tractor, which overturned this bus.

As strange as this may sound, this is actually not the first time some heavy equipment was used in an incident like this. There have been two past incidents several years ago. So this is something that Israeli has seen before.

But certainly it just adds to the tension here in this city as we have some three hours, a little less than three hours to go before this cease-fire, the unilateral cease-fire that Israel called is supposed to end. BOLDUAN: I think you hit it with the right word there. Strange as it sounds. I would assume at this point there's no claim of responsibility or knowing anymore details about who was involved here.

COOPER: No. We have not heard any claims of responsibility at this point. As I said, police say they shot and killed the driver of the tractor. So we're obviously trying to find out more about that person's identity as well as the conditions of the two people said to be injured in this attack.

But you can see in the video, the bus clearly laying over on its side. In some video you can also see the still tractor, which is not far away. So there's still more to learn, I think more video is going to be coming out of police actually responding to the scene.

This occurred really just within several minutes ago really. So we're trying to collect as much information as we can.

BOLDUAN: Lay out again because terror attacks are not uncommon within Israel. You said as strange as this sounds, this type of terror attack is not also uncommon.

COOPER: That's true. There were two other incidents that I recall. I believe one was 2008 and another one was 2009 where heavy equipment was used to crush some cars. I can't remember the details of the other one. But this has occurred.

This was, as I said, in Central Jerusalem, in an area near international hotels. Not much of a planned incident this was or exactly the circumstances surrounding it. We have crews on the scene who were trying to gather information.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely. A lot more detail to come. Anderson is on the ground for us. Anderson, thanks so much with the breaking details coming out of Jerusalem. Thank you.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Let's take a quick break on NEW DAY. When we come back, is the media part of the problem in the Middle East? Is Hamas spinning us or is it Israel? We're going to speak with a columnist who said the media is enabling the campaign against Israel.

BOLDUAN: For a third day, 400,000 people in Ohio have been told not to use their tap water. We're going to speak with the mayor of Toledo, Ohio, about the tap water ban and when he believes that residents are going to get some relief.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY. Breaking news this morning, a terror attack in Israel. Police in Jerusalem shot and killed the driver of a tractor who overturned a passenger bus. Two people including the bus driver were hurt. That attack happened during Israel's seven-hour humanitarian cease-fire in Gaza.

It all comes after another deadly shelling near a U.N. shelter in Gaza over the weekend. The U.S. State Department and the United Nations have both condemned that attack. When it comes to covering this conflict, a different look at this, what is the media's role?

For that, let's turn to Lee Habeeb, the vice president of Content at Salem Radio Network and a columnist for the "National Review." Lee, you call the western media, you say western media is enabling Hamas. You say it's Hamas' co-conspirators. Where is the media lacking? What is lacking?

LEE HABEEB, COLUMNIST, "NATIONAL REVIEW": I think it's context. Who is Hamas? Who are they and what's their history and what's their goal? I mean, I believe that the goal of Hamas is strategy. The point of the spear is the media and dead children and dead women.

They used to use women as human bombs, women and children. Now they're using them as human shields. The American people, the world need to know Hamas' strategy. I don't believe that the media is covering it. Where are the Hamas soldiers? We don't see them because they're hiding.

We see the Israeli soldiers. They're wearing uniforms. Why do we only see the images of dead women and children and not the images of Hamas soldiers? That needs to be contextualized by the media.

BOLDUAN: But how then should the media cover it, do you believe? Do you believe that the media should ignore the deaths?

HABEEB: Absolutely not. But it's -- the point of the matter is it's Hamas' strategy to delegitimize Israel by making it look like they're killing indiscriminately women and children when we know that's not the case. In fact, Israel has gone to great lengths to not kill women and children.

They could have done drone strikes. They're risking their soldiers in very tough combat terrain and they're losing their soldiers. They could lose none. The point of the matter is there are tunnels, tunnels throughout Gaza. Hamas has used all that concrete not to build roads, but to build tunnels, terror tunnels that head right into Israel. What is Israel to do?

BOLDUAN: I know CNN and my colleagues have reported extensively about the tunnels. Wolf Blitzer even went into one of the tunnel with Israeli soldiers to take a look at the tunnels and also covering the Israeli side. Mark Regev, the prime minister's spokesman has been on CNN, been on our show almost daily.

But when you have a statement coming from the State Department just overnight from Jen Psaki calling -- just talk about this latest attack near a U.N. shelter saying, the United States is appalled and calling it disgraceful, we got to cover that as well.

HABEEB: You do. But that's the error of the State Department. You have to cover it. Where the media is complicit is in contextualizing this entire problem. There's a monster in the room, not an elephant in the room. There is a monster in the room.

It's Hamas and radical Jihad. It's ISIS. You know, in Mosul, for the first time in 1600 years, there is not a Christian mass. Christians are being driven all over the Middle East away from their homes, killed, executed, and asked to renounce their faith.

I think presenting this story as a story of the Hadfields and McCoys, as a moral equivalency between Israel and Hamas is a tragedy and a fatal error by the media. These are Nazis, Hamas. They're making life miserable for the people of Gaza. In the end, the people who were suffering the most are the people of Gaza.

BOLDUAN: That seems to be very true. And Hamas, we've noted, they don't believe in the right of Israel to exist. That's something that CNN points out in its reporting, but also this idea I think is very interesting and very perfect that we're talking about this today.

The idea that Hamas is trying -- as you point out in your article, the idea that Hamas is looking for mounting casualties because they want the sympathy of the international community, because they want to put that out there as Israel's problem.

That is a question and a criticism that our Nic Robertson actually posed to Khalid Meshaal, the political leader of Hamas in an exclusive interview. This is what Meshaal said to him in response. He said that the U.S. has now adopted the Israeli narrative. It's all lies.

How can it be both ways? How can the U.S. media be helping Hamas, be Hamas' co-conspirators and also adopting the Israeli narrative?

HABEEB: Do we care what the, quote, "Hamas narrative is?" This is the point. I think Nic did a beautiful job in that interview, by the way, and I commend CNN for periodically doing that kind of work. The fact of the matter is, as I pointed out before, this is not a case of the Hadfields and McCoys.

This is a case of Hamas using women and children as human shields and Israel having to do what it has to do to protect its own citizens. The good guys in this case are Israel and the bad guys are Hamas. This isn't my opinion.

I think the world will know ultimately down the road that radical Islam is the problem, whether it's Hamas, whether it's ISIS, whether it's al Qaeda, and presenting this as a case of moral equivalence is a tragedy.

I just wonder if the newsrooms of America and the world, are you wondering, are you pausing to reflect upon the idea that maybe you're being used as dupes by very evil regimes to make the case that Israel and Hamas are the same.

That they have the same world vision, that they have the same visions for their citizens and their people? I'd ask this. Where would you rather be a woman or someone who is gay? Israel or anywhere else in the Middle East.

BOLDUAN: The conversations, I assure you, I have been part of them in our newsroom, in our editorials and meetings. There have been many conversations in how CNN is covering it and who we should cover and how we covered.

I promise you the conversations are happening and I'm very proud of how CNN has done it. I know that you're not pointing the finger directly at CNN, you're talking broadly about the western media. Here is my question, though.

Important to have a conversation and look inwardly and to criticize ourselves and see how we can do a job better. That's for sure. But also what do you think the impact is of the coverage, let's say, on the American people?

NBC, they just put out a new poll, a joint poll, NBC/"Wall Street Journal" and Marist poll just over the weekend and I found it pretty interesting. The results showed that 54 percent still sympathize more with Israel.

Only 7 percent say they sympathize with Hamas. You can be critical and say no one should sympathize with Hamas, but 54 percent, majority of the American people still stand with Israel.

HABEEB: I think that's good. I think the American people having experienced in 2001 the effects of a radical Islamic ideology are actually able to see through the obfuscation or at least the idea of trying to create a template for reporting fairly for both sides.

I think the American experience has been that radical Islam has been a real problem for them. I think they see through just about everything that's been occurring in the media.

BOLDUAN: I got to stick you on this one point. We are on the ground. We have an anchor, Wolf Blitzer on the ground in Jerusalem. We have Anderson Cooper there as well. We have Mark Regev on, on a daily basis. We cover when Israelis are killed. We've covered Israeli funerals. I don't think I need to be defending CNN.

I also want to make sure that you're not saying we should not be covering or questioning when the casualties continue to mount, the United States, we do the same thing when the United States sees mounting casualties on its own part when the United States is involved in a conflict.

HABEEB: I'm not saying that at all. You should cover it. It's the contextualization. Who is Hamas? As you're covering Hamas, do the folks really know who they are, who they've been and who they want to be? Have we routinely reminded people about their desire for the destruction of Israel? That's your negotiating partner.

How do you negotiate with a partner who doesn't want to see you alive? This is the problem. It's the context. Routinely and continually reminding people who Hamas is and who Israel is.

BOLDUAN: Lee, thanks so much for coming in. Great to have the conversation.

HABEEB: You bet. Thank you. BOLDUAN: All right, going to take a break. Coming up next on NEW DAY, toxic algae has left more than 400,000 people in Ohio without drinking water now for three days. When will the water be safe? We'll talk about it.


PEREIRA: It's 10 minutes before the hour. Welcome back to NEW DAY. Nearly half a million people are still without drinking water this morning in Toledo, Ohio. Toxins believed to be from an algae bloom in Lake Erie have contaminated the tap water there.

Residents are being advised to not to drink nor cook with it. In an early morning press conference, Toledo's mayor announced new testing was being done and that it shows that the system is now safe, however he's choosing to keep the water advisory in place for now. Alexandra Field has more.


ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Another day begins without drinking water in Toledo, Ohio.

MAYOR MICHAEL COLLINS, TOLEDO: We are still in status quo. The not consume is still in place.

FIELD: The National Guard delivering water by the truckload. The Red Cross handing out gallons.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come get some, come get it. Come get it.

FIELD: Store shelves are empty and people are clamouring for cases.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If I don't have water, my baby doesn't eat, so that's going to be an issue.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You can't cook, it's hell.

FIELD: The 400,000 people in the Toledo, Ohio, area can't drink tap water. Boiling it will only make the problem worse. The warning first issued on Saturday.

GOV. JOHN KASICH (R), OHIO: Everybody stay cool, stay calm, and we'll get through this, we'll learn from this and we'll bring improvements.

FIELD: The issue appears to stem from algae blooms growing in Lake Erie. This photo shows a previous bloom so big you can see it from space. Routine testing of the water supply uncovered the problem churning up water samples of dangerous levels of microcystin, a toxin sometimes released by algae blooms. More testing is underway, but additional results are needed before the ban can be lifted.

MAYOR MICHAEL COLLINS, TOLEDO: I'm not going to take any chances with the community's wellbeing and health.

FIELD: Businesses and restaurants are closed. Officials say the water is safe for adults to bathe in, but that's not recommended for people with sensitive skin or weakened immune systems. The toxin can cause sickness and affect the liver. In the worst cases, it can lead to liver failure.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don't appreciate it, you don't know about it until you don't have it.

FIELD: Alexandra Field, CNN, New York.


FIELD: So again, the testing showed that in two neighborhoods the testing showed that the toxins were present in the water there. People that are living in the area have been advised a couple of things, don't drink the water, don't boil it because apparently boiling it intensifies the toxin.

Essentially it reduces it down and concentrates it. Also, don't give it to your pets or put it in formula, don't brush your teeth with it or bathe kids in it. So I mean, this is a serious situation.

CUOMO: Don't use it unless you absolutely have to and hopefully they are figuring it out and they are getting those supplies out.

PEREIRA: We are hoping that's the case because folks are going across the state to neighboring areas to get water. It's a mess.

CUOMO: The stripping chemicals are harsh also. All right, so let's go from one water situation to another with the mudslides that have shut down a Southern California town leaving thousands stranded. Heavy rain and mudslides are just pummelling San Bernardino County.

One person was found dead already inside a vehicle that was swept off the road and into a creek by flash water. These flash floods are carrying heavy debris and cutting off roads to the region.

Among them now trapped, there are 500 kids at a church camp. People are trying to get through them all of the mud with heavy equipment to get to them. We have meteorologist, Indra Petersons, checking this situation out.

You have two phase of this, right? You got the science of why it's happening and the ongoing rescue efforts that are being hindered until it stops, right?

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: People are confused, Chris, but they are thinking, it is California, we have drought conditions, right? Not necessarily. In the mountains and deserts, you have these monsoonal thunderstorms that bring heavy amounts of 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.

RYAN BECKERS, FIREFIGHTER: We are still looking at just trying to clear the roadways and make sure that people are sheltered in place.


PETERSONS: Just take a look at where the heaviest thunderstorms were. Notice very far east and north of the region, what happens typically in this area, the deep canyons, no matter where it rains, 15 to 16 miles away, all that rain goes down those steep canyons forms in 5 to 6 feet of mud and takes a lot of the campers from this campground by surprise -- Chris and Kate.

BOLDUAN: Six feet of mud, my goodness.

CUOMO: It's much more than just water also. It's going to create big problems for a long time. We can't forget those communities once the rain stopped because that's actually --

Let's take a break here on NEW DAY, when we come back with more on the terror attack in Jerusalem. Anderson Cooper is there. He will bring us the latest.

And we're going to talk to a spokeswoman for the State Department about the unusually harsh words for Israel and see what they will mean in terms of action. Question, was the shelling of another U.N. shelter the turning point?

BOLDUAN: And for the first time in history, Ebola is on U.S. shores because we brought it here. One American with the virus and another on the way, but does treating them here pose too big of a risk to others? Dr. Sanjay Gupta and an official with the National Institute of Health are here to talk.


BOLDUAN: Good morning. Welcome once again to NEW DAY, everybody. It is Monday, August 4th, 8:00 in the east now. We have breaking developments coming out of the Middle East.