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Cease-Fire Holding In Middle East; Primaries Held In Four States; Eastern Ukraine Preparing For Assault; New York City Patient Tested for Ebola
Aired August 5, 2014 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Your NEW DAY starts right now.
Good morning and welcome to NEW DAY. It's Tuesday, August 5th, 6:00 in the east. We want to welcome our viewers from across the U.S. and around the world. So, for the first time in weeks, there is quiet between Israel and militants in Gaza.
We are five hours into a 72-hour cease-fire. Both sides appear to be respecting the temporary truce in a deal brokered by the Egyptians that took effect this morning despite a barrage of rockets into Israel and an air strike in Gaza just minutes before the pause took effect.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Israel has now pulled all ground troops back from Gaza after destroying some 32 of Hamas' terror tunnels. The big question now, can negotiators figure out a lasting peace agreement before this truce expires?
Anderson cooper is along the Israel-Gaza border this morning with the very latest. Anderson, what are you seeing? What are you hearing?
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR, "AC360": Well, good morning, Kate. Not hearing much, and that's certainly good news for people here in Ashkelon. Last night, right before my broadcast, two rockets came, siren sounded. We have not heard sirens today.
Some five hours into the cease-fire and as you say, it does appear to be holding. It's been a quiet day here in Ashkelon thus far. What makes this cease-fire different than others, most of which were broken very quickly is that Israel is not having any operations that are continuing.
In past cease-fire, the last unilateral cease-fire that Israel held, they said they would continue ongoing military operations. Right now, they say they have pulled back all forces from Gaza. All are on the Israeli soil. They are in what they call defensive positions.
We'll talk to Lt. Colonel Peter Lerner in a moment, but first I want to go to John Vause, who is standing for us in Gaza City. John, what are you seeing and what are you hearing there?
JOHN VAUSE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, it seems that there's just an incredible sense of relief here in Gaza. Once again the streets had here. People are heading out to the marketplaces and to the banks to get cash. Stuff that you normally do.
But what is not normal is that other people are heading back to what's left to their homes. We're told by Palestinian officials in the last few hours 38 bodies have been pulled from beneath the rubble of those homes.
After four weeks of death and devastation for many there's a glimmer of hope that maybe the Israelis and Hamas can strike a deal for a more permanent end to the fighting.
VAUSE (voice-over): This morning all Israeli ground forces withdrawing from Gaza Strip, both Israel and Hamas agreeing to an Egyptian plan for a 72-hour cease-fire. But moments before it went into effect a final barrage. Hamas firing 20 rockets from Gaza into Israel, and fire going both ways according to Palestinian media.
The deal, brokered by the Egyptians, is a little different to the one offered weeks ago. It allows for no fighting from either side. The U.S. State Department expressed optimism saying in a statement we strongly support this latest proposal for a 72-hour cease-fire and urge both parties to respect it completely.
Overnight, an IDF spokesperson told CNN they have now completed one of their main military objectives, destroying 32 of Hamas' tunnels, which they say would have been used for terror attacks. For now displaced Palestinians are leaving the U.N. schools turned shelters.
Gathering their possessions to return home, and if the cease-fire holds Israel says it will join delegates representing Palestinians in Cairo to try and negotiate a more permanent end to the fighting.
VAUSE: Anderson, the underlying reasons for this conflict still have not been resolved. Hamas has a long list of demands including opening the border of Gaza. Israelis are linking any reconstruction here to demilitarization of the Gaza Strip and we heard moments ago from a spokesperson from Hamas saying Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, has failed in Gaza -- Anderson.
COOPER: Well, obviously this is a -- the issue is between the sides, between all sides here. It's going to take a lot more than 72 hours for which the cease-fire is expected to last for, supposed to last for. They will have to try to extend the cease-fire while any talks are under way.
Israel says they will send a delegation to Cairo to engage with Egypt and other factions in talks, though obviously not direct talks, with Hamas. I want to bring in Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner who is standing by in Jerusalem, the spokesperson for the Israeli Defense Forces.
Colonel, from a military standpoint what did Israel believe they achieved here? PETER LERNER, SPOKESMAN, ISRAEL DEFENSE FORCES: Well, primarily which was their primary concern which is indeed their tunnels. I'm happy to report that 32 or approximately 32 of those have been destroyed, demolished and no longer pose a threat to Israel.
I mean, each throughout the last three weeks we've seen several attempts of infiltration by Hamas terrorists into -- into Israel. You've covered it extensively. So this was a clear threat. This was our concern.
This was the main reason for our ground force activities, and indeed, that threat is currently null and void. It was a bad, bad investment on behalf of Hamas to pour so much cement into the ground, $100 million worth of building material.
Instead of doing something good for Gaza, they tried to do something bad. I'm grateful that this is no longer a threat for us.
COOPER: Do you have -- I mean, are you convinced there are no more tunnels?
LERNER: We can't be certain for sure. We know what we know. We've had extensive intelligence that helped us find the majority of these tunnels before even we came in. We carried out more extensive activities on the ground that helped expose some more, but there could still be a potential of more tunnels.
We're confident that we have dealt with the vast majority of those because the type of attack they intended to do with these tunnels was a simultaneous ten terrorists in 10 or 20 tunnels, simultaneously accessing Israel, carrying out vast attack against the state of Israel.
That never happened. We cut that off. We severed those capabilities, and we destroyed the infrastructure, which was meant to serve that type of attack. If there are still more tunnels on the underground, it is a possibility. That is why we have I would say withdrawn our troops.
We have left a substantial presence around the Gaza Strip so that if somebody decides to come out of a hole from the ground there will be forces on the ground to deal with it.
COOPER: In terms of the rocket capabilities of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and some of the other factions, do you have a sense of what percentage their rockets you have destroyed?
LERNER: Well, our assessment suggests that we have taken out around 3,000 of their 10,000 rocket arsenal. They have launched approximately the same figure, around 3,400, something to that effect. We will be putting out figures a bit later on today.
So we assess that they have about a third left of their arsenal that they began with. That was never a -- a part of our goals. We did want to deplete those capabilities. We never thought that we would be able to take those out completely. I think what we really need to ask is the next time they think about launching a rocket against Israel they will have to say is it worthwhile to attack Israel? Is it worthwhile to launch these rockets indiscriminately into Israeli cities?
First of all, they don't hit. We are able to intercept them and the price that Gaza pays for when they carry out these attacks is a pricey result.
COOPER: The IDF -- Israel has received enormous criticism from the United States and from the U.N. for an incident on Sunday in which the IDF says they were targeting three Islamic Jihad militants on a motorcycle, striking near -- just outside a U.N. shelter.
Some nine to ten people were killed outside that shelter, a dozen of others were wounded. The U.N. has said it was a crime. Have you looked more into this incident? Why did so many civilians die in this strike?
LERNER: So here's what we know about this incident. For sure there were three terrorists that were speeding through town and we intercepted them on the way. We struck them with our aircraft. Palestinian Islamic Jihads, they had bad intentions and that's why they were targeted.
So out of the figures that you mentioned, the ten, so we know at least three of them were terrorists involved in this strike. We are currently investigating the outcome. We don't know if these terrorists were carrying explosives that caused a large explosion.
We haven't determined exactly the result and why this happened. We are carrying out an investigation. That is what we do. We take our business seriously. You know, every loss of human life in this conflict is a true tragedy.
And I'm heartbroken when I see the pictures coming out of Gaza. This is a reality we are faced. We didn't have a choice, but to operate against these terrorists that had, you know, all they were doing is constantly attacking Israel.
When we spoke earlier this week, Anderson, and what I said was we -- we just don't have a choice. Every time there was a cease-fire on the table, up until this morning, every time they had a huge barrage of rockets against us. They tried it again today.
We held our fire. We did not escalate it. We felt comfortable being behind our defensive positions in the ability to defend and ruin those tunnels and defending from the rockets. We're in a better position today than we were a week ago or ten days ago.
COOPER: As we said, five horse in, it seems to be holding. We'll continue to monitor it. Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner, appreciate your time. Chris, Kate, back to you.
CUOMO: Thank you very much, Anderson. Obviously what everybody wants is for the temporary to become permanent. We just heard the Israeli disposition from the IDF on situation. We will hear from the chief Palestinian negotiators coming up on show so listen for that and get some balance.
BOLDUAN: Get that other perspective. Other news we're watching right now so let's get over to Michaela for that.
MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. Here's a look at your headlines at this hour. Voters in Michigan, Missouri, Washington, and Kansas will head to the polls today for primary elections. The Kansas race has gotten national attention because President Obama's distant cousin, Milton Wolf, is trying to upset long-time Republican Senator Pat Roberts.
Meantime, Tea Party candidate, Chris McDaniel, who lost to Senator Thad Cochran in Mississippi's GOP primary is now formally challenging the outcome. McDaniel claims there were enough illegally cast votes to change the result of that race.
Eastern Ukraine is on brink of assault as government forces are advancing on pro-Russian rebels. Ukrainian forces are moving on the rebel stronghold of Donetsk and have warned civilians to leave the city. Reports say Russia is building up its forces near the Ukrainian border prompting concerns of as possible Russian intervention.
Meanwhile, investigators of the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 crash site are expected to continue searching for passenger remains and evidence.
Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl getting set to be questioned by a general who is looking into how he ended up in Taliban hands for five years. Major General Kenneth Dahl will meet with him tomorrow at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio where Bergdahl is back on regular duty.
Many of Bergdahl's fellow soldiers claim he deserted his post in Afghanistan before he was captured in 2009. Bergdahl, as you'll recall, was freed in a prisoner swap for five high-ranking Taliban members.
The nation and Washington are remembering James Brady, Ronald Reagan's one-time press secretary who died Monday in Alexandria, Virginia, after battling a series of health issues. You'll recall Brady was severely wounded in the 1981 assassination attempt on Reagan.
He was left paralyzed but became one of the nation's most staunch advocates for gun control. The White House press briefing room bears Brady's name. James Brady was 73.
BOLDUAN: You see that plaque every time you go in the White House press briefing room.
PEREIRA: Every time you go in, exactly.
CUOMO: You know, he and his wife built a real organization there that advocates -- he certainly took his legacy very seriously and turned his tragedy into, you know, something more.
PEREIRA: Some very dark days. BOLDUAN: More than what happened to him he made it even something bigger.
CUOMO: Right. He will be missed to be sure.
BOLDUAN: Absolutely, right.
Let's take a break here on NEW DAY. Coming up next, new fears that Ebola has spread to the United States as a man gets tested here in New York this morning and a second American infected with the deadly virus is heading to Atlanta. We're going to -- we're going to talk to Dr. Sanjay Gupta about the experimental treatment that may have saved her life.
CUOMO: Plus, a cease-fire. How long will it last? What will it lead to, if anything? We're looking to see if it could be the beginning of something more. We have key voices and key factors ahead.
BOLDUAN: Welcome back.
New Ebola fears in the United States after a man who just returned from West Africa turned up at a New York City hospital with Ebola-like symptoms it was described as. The man has been quarantined at Mt. Sinai Hospital while doctors await lab results to see if he has the deadly virus.
All of this is happening as another American infected with Ebola in Liberia. She is headed back to the United States on a medical flight for treatment in Atlanta.
Chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta is standing by in Atlanta.
But, first, let's get to Jason Carroll who is at Mt. Sinai Hospital for the very latest on this potential case in New York.
What more are we hearing, Jason?
JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, those test results that you talked about, those could come back as early as today.
In the meantime that male patient, that unidentified male patient is still in strict isolation. He's been in strict isolation ever since he showed up here yesterday morning complaining with flu-like symptoms, immediately after doctors found out he traveled to West Africa. Within seven minutes he was put into strict isolation.
The chief medical officer here says basically after examining the patients odds are it's not Ebola. A health department official basically saying the same thing.
But, Kate, until those test results are back, doctors are not be sure. That's why everyone is here waiting for the results from the lab -- Kate. BOLDUAN: Absolutely, on high alert and quickly making those protocols
kick into place. We'll see what the results are maybe at some point today.
Jason, thanks so much for that update here in New York.
CUOMO: People are nervous. Let's bring in Dr. Sanjay Gupta. He's live at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. He's also on the staff there. That's where the second American confirmed with Ebola will arrive later today.
Doc, good to have you. As always --
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Chris.
CUOMO: This is a situation we do not want to be alarmists, but as you know and as we're both hearing every day on and off air, people are getting nervous.
When you look at the situation in New York, what can you say to make people feel more secure? Are the hospitals set up? Do you think this guy has Ebola? If he does have Ebola, what does it mean about it spreading? What can you tell us?
GUPTA: Well, first of all, you know, you can understand the concern, and there's a heightened awareness obviously so someone comes back from a West African country with fever, with abdominal pain, that travel history. It may warrant a little more investigation which is what it sounds like happened here. They quickly isolated the man and obviously they are testing his blood.
But, look, they have also said that based on looking at the specific travel in West Africa, he's not likely to have Ebola, unless he came in contact with someone who is very sick with Ebola, he just isn't likely to have it by virtue of the fact that he was simply in West Africa. There were a lot of things that can cause fever and abdominal pain, Chris. You and I have traveled all over the world and probably suffered those symptoms ourselves from time to time.
And, again, based on the same scientific rationale, the idea that he did have it, it would start spreading within the hospital and within the city of New York is just unfounded.
CUOMO: Why is it under unfounded, Sanjay? I'm nervous.
CUOMO: If he has it --
GUPTA: Well, it's not transmitted through the air, and that's one of the most important points. Someone does not become infectious until they are very sick themselves. They are not up walking around in the city and shaking hands with people and spreading this virus unwittingly.
So, unless you're someone who comes in contact with a sick patient with Ebola, you're unlikely to get it. It just doesn't spread that way. So, you know, the science is pretty clear on that point.
Even if, again, he had it, it would be unlikely that other people would get it.
CUOMO: All right. So, keep your powder dry is what you're telling people. Don't feel panic, and even if this man did have Ebola, it doesn't spread as easily as a cold or flu virus that we're familiar with does, and if it does start to spread, how set up are hospitals in New York, greater metropolitan areas? Can we handle this?
GUPTA: Yes. You know what's interesting is that unlike airborne pathogens, things that can spread through the air, the way that you contain something like Ebola which, again, just spreads through bodily fluids and close contact is actually a much simpler isolation program.
Even though Dr. Kent Brantly was brought to the Emory Hospital and to one of four containment units in the country, there are other isolation units that would for Ebola would work just as well, because again, it doesn't spread through the air. You don't need negative air filtration for example the rooms. You just simply need to have contact isolation and what is known as droplet isolation.
That's why you see the people wearing suits when they come in contact with somebody who is sick with Ebola because they don't want any of those bodily fluids getting anywhere on their sick. But a few people a few feet away, they're just really not at risk from this.
So, I think most hospitals do have an isolation ward set up of some sort. We've had other infectious diseases throughout history that other people have required isolation for, and if more patients with Ebola show up here, a lot of hospitals, most hospitals would have the ability to isolate them.
CUOMO: You know how pandemic panic is, boy. It spreads faster than any virus known to man.
We're watching the scenes down there at Emory. It looks like a NASA operation. People get skittish.
So, let's talk about what the realities are in the situation. What do we know about how Brantly is doing, what do we know about how Ms. Writebol is doing because she's due to come today.
GUPTA: Well, you know, when we heard about Dr. Brantly last, it sounds like things were going pretty well for him. We saw those images of him walking off the ambulance. No matter how you look at it, that bodes well for him, given how sick he had been at one point.
We know that he was able to have a 45-minute conversation with his wife separated by a glass wall. That's how they are keeping him isolated. They were able to talk by intercom and look at each other. Obviously, that bodes well also. Also, we know with regards to Ms. Writebol that she's expected to arrive here midday. The transportation is going to be almost identical to the way Dr. Brantly was transported. We talked to the ops people, and they described it almost exactly the same. She's going to come by ambulance, eventually end up here, and also go into the same isolation ward where Dr. Brantly is
She's known to be in sable condition and medically suitable, they say, for this big flight, you know, 6,000-mile journey across the ocean. So, that's important. We don't know her exact condition. Sources tell us they wouldn't be surprised if unlike Brantly, she's brought off on a gurney. She is older. She may have been a little more weakened by the disease we're hearings, but obviously, we'll see in a few hours.
CUOMO: Last question for you, Sanjay. The secret serum, what is this thing? Is it a known cure? We known it was given to them under a charitable exception. It's not FDA approved yet.
Is this something we should put confidence in? Is it something that would be available to regular folks or just special people? What do you know?
GUPTA: Well, you know, it's still highly experimental. You know, Dr. Kent Brantly was the first person in the world to receive this, and, you know, this is something that people want to be very careful in terms of when you start recommending it to the mass public.
Typically, Chris, as you know, you want to go through a trial process. You want to see, is this safe for large numbers of people? Is it effective for large numbers of people? And then can it be mass produced to be given to large numbers of people?
What we describe happening real-time over this past week is highly unusual. It had never been used in a human being before and sort of as an effort to sort of save Dr. Brantly, it was given. It may have come under the compassionate use sort of clauses. It's not clear exactly how they got that through but he was given it.
He was -- he thought he was dying. He told that to health care workers in the area. He had called his wife and by the next morning, we know, he was able to get up and shower before he got on the jet, a pre-arranged jet to come back to the United States.
So, it seemed to have had some impact on him, but what does that mean for larger populations of people? You know, that's why you go through this trial process.
CUOMO: So, we don't know that it will actually get out there faster, but we'll also see what happens with the demand and we'll take it step by step that way.
Sanjay, thank you so much for filling us in. It's a tough commute to get in there and do your rounds at Emory. I like that this served two purposes.
GUPTA: Anything for you, though, Chris. You know that.
CUOMO: You are the best, without question. I'll talk to you soon.
All right. We're going to take a break here on NEW DAY. When we come back, a cease-fire in Gaza, now in its fifth hour and holding. That's promising. How did it come together? How will it stay together?
We have a chief Palestinian negotiator joining us. Hear it for yourself.