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ISIS Fighters Closing In Kurdish Defenders; American Humanitarian Aid Boosts Morale In Hard-Hit Iraqi Areas; New U.S. Airstrikes In Iraq; U.S. Warplanes Target ISIS Convoys; Israeli Strikes On Gaza After Rocket Fire Resumes

Aired August 8, 2014 - 20:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, thanks for joining us.

There are major developments on many fronts tonight, beginning with the battle lines on surrounding the Kurdish northern Iraqi city of Irbil. ISIS fighters closing in Kurdish defenders, holding on the wearing down. Late today, some relief, a second wave of U.S. air strikes carrier based F-18s along with missile firing drones hitting ISIS targets outside Irbil. American humanitarian aid, meantime, appears to be getting through and judging by this crowd of people very much in demand. Both kinds of assistance boosting morale in the region. That said, ISIS fighters made gains taking control of the Mosul dam, Iraq's largest and over running a number of towns near Irbil.

Kurdish authorities revealed the price they are paying, 150 Kurdish fighters, known as the Peshmarga, killed in less than a week in battle. They say about 500 have been wounded. Now again, tonight the angels from Barbara Starr at Pentagon, Ivan Watson in Irbil, Jim Sciutto on the possibility of mission creep and Jim Acosta at the White House.

We begin with Barbara Starr who has got a late on the air strikes. Barbara, what have you learned?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Good evening Anderson. Three strikes today. The first one was a strike against an ISIS artillery position outside of Irbil followed by another strike by a drone and a third round of strikes by a number of f-18s off the carrier George H. W. Bush in the Persian Gulf. They are striking at convoys, artillery, mortar positions.

All right, of this is aimed at stopping this ISIS advance on Irbil. They are going after mobile targets of ISIS and trying to push them back from the outer perimeter around Irbil. Very precise targeting by the United States. They are using precision weapons. Held-fire missile off that drone and off the f-18's 500-pound precision-guided bombs.

So they are being as precise as they can in going after these targets to push ISIS back. ISIS, however, fighting like an army as officials will tell you. An army with heavy weapons, heavier weapons than they've had, strategy. Tactics, taking ground and holding ground. Nobody is talking really about defeating ISIS at this point. They are

talking simply about pushing them back a little bit, if they can. This is an army, this is a group that is fighting something that Al Qaeda only could have aspired two years ago. Years ago, Al Qaeda never got this far -- Anderson.

COOPER: It is startling to see how fast they are moving. The air drops, the humanitarian air drops to these people stranded, have they continued today, as well?

STARR: We had that one overnight. I think it's very fair to say there will be additional air drops. You can see from the video you showed, the desperate, desperate need on that mountain top. A number of other international organizations exploring ways to see if there is any way they can get aid to the people.

What we have learned is after that first air drop, the U.S. flew a drone to come to the a calculations if the pal lets of food and water actually got to the people. They flew the drone and in looking at the footage, discovered that almost all of them did about nine pallets, either the drop done or got lost somewhere in those mountains. So they are very confident that they are able to drop those parachute pallets of food, water and supplies in very precise locations to get to the people. But this is going to have to continue. There may be 40,000 people stranded on that mountain. They are going to need a lot of help.

COOPER: And then the question how did they get out of there and to safety in Kurdish areas?

Barbara Starr, appreciate that. Let's go to Ivan Watson in Irbil directly in the path of ISIS fighters. What is the situation like on the ground now?

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the Kurdish leadership has been publicly very grateful thanking the U.S. for stepping in with air strikes, which are seen as helping to protect Irbil after a very shaky 24-- 36 hours. The last 24 hours Kurdish's top rank officials are telling me were much quieter and they gave the Peshmerga which are appear to have been routed from a number of towns and villages and just -- thus prompting a wave of basically refugees flooding into the Kurdish zone.

This is given the Kurdish Peshmerga time to re-group, time to bolster their defenses against the ISIS militants who are located in some locations just about 35 minutes, 35 miles away from Irbil, the capitol of the Kurdistan region.

Meanwhile, Kurdish officials reeling from the wave of hundreds of thousands of displaced Iraqis that have flooded the Kurdish tan region and I saw really sad scenes at places like churches today, youth centers, basically anyplace possible that these hundreds of thousands of people are taking shelter in. There are efforts to try to distribute water, distribute food to the people but what is saddest of all to see is that this enormous wave of humanity, none of the people that I've spoken with think that they will ever get a chance to go back to their homes, in some cases locate 50, 60, 70 miles away from here, a real despair among them. And the question, what are going to do with these people while also fighting the is military front at the same time.

COOPER: Well, I also understand that about 4,000 of these trapped Yazidis who were surrounded by ISIS were actually able to escape across the border to Syria. What more do we know about that?

WATSON: Well, the international rescue committee, it's an aid organization says it has rushed medical assistance to around 4,000 of these Yazidis who were able to escape from Sinjar mountain to neighboring Syria to a Kurdish controlled area where they were being treated for dehydration and exposure to the elements. It does appear according to the media that some Kurdish fighters were able to create some kind of a corridor to help thousands escape.

It appears this daring operation has been helped by fighters from Kurdistan workers party or PKK. They are labeled by the U.S. government as a terrorist organization but they are clearly working alongside the Kurdistan regional government to help free, to help some of their Kurdish escape. So here you have a strange situation where you have the U.S. working to help stranded Kurds, tens of thousands that were reported to be on this mountain alongside a group that is labeled by the U.S. government as a terrorist organization.

A strange situation to say the least, but uniting the help to protect what is clearly a humanitarian catastrophe. Senior Kurdish Officials telling me that children and elderly to continue to die on the mountain day after day as they are exposed to the elements there and have a hard time reaching any kind of fresh water or food.

COOPER: All right. Ivan, appreciate the update. Be careful out there.

Now, the reality on the ground raises the possibility the need of air power nor the Peshmarga, the Kurdish fighters may be enough to turn the tide which for the White House certainly have bad spot. Called that last night, President Obama made it clear, Iraqis is not Americans. We will have to win this on the ground.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As commander in chief, I will not allow the United States to be dragged into fighting another war in Iraq. As we support Iraqis as they take the fight to terrorists, American combat will not return to Iraq because there is no American military solution to the larger crisis at Iraq.


COOPER: What solution there is, is not clear with war planes back from another raid and American advisors close to the front lines, the tight Peshmarga casualties, the impulse to do more, that, of course, could grow stronger.

Jim Sciutto has more and that he joins us. Now, as the Obama administration, what did they say the their main objective here is?

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: As defined, Anderson, two main objectives, one, protect and rescue the Yazidi people who have been trapped. Get them aid, protect them from a massacre, possibly build a humanitarian corridor to get them to safer ground in Kurdish-controlled area. That's objective one.

Two, protect Americans, not only in Irbil but also Baghdad from the is advance, the particular concern now, the is advance on Irbil. What is undefined is what does the U.S. do longer term? Josh Earnest, the White House spokesman referenced today somewhat obliquely a broader mission going forward. The president last night, as well, talked about possible aid to the Iraqis going forward as they stand up to this fight, but administration has not defined what that aid would be.

COOPER: Right, and I mean, the bottom line problem is the Iraqi military, largely because the upper echelon of the officer core is not able to stand up and fight despite the huge resources poured into it despite the overwhelming superiority jut in terms of numbers against ISIS and their fighters and their Sunnis supports. Do, without the Iraqi military able to stand up, I don't see what exactly the end game is, obviously, then, the short term protecting these Yazidis and person minorities in protecting American forces in Irbil.

SCIUTTO: The Iraqi military cannot hold back the ISIS advance let alone gain back territory that has been gained. A good 40 percent of the country under the sway of ISIS. So what do you do then? You have powerful voices here in Washington, some in the Democratic Party.

Diane Feinstein, the chairman of the Democratic chairman of the Senate intelligence saying today that is an army. It needs an army to respond to it. She's calling for more American support, air strikes, et cetera to push them back, not just to keep to the two limited goals of protecting the Yazidis. And the Americans there, to this point, the administration saying there will be no mission creep. The only solution is an Iraqi solution to the problem.

COOPER: Well, I mean, if someone argue there has already been mission creep, first the insertion of 500 or so American advisors, Irbil was supposed to be a relatively safe place. It does seems like the U.S. is basically drawing the line in terms of protecting the Kurdish north. That the Kurdistan had been well run. They have an army that traditionally has been able to fight and they have been responsible ally to the United States.

SCIUTTO: That's right. And there is mission creep even within the this very strictly defined mission. One is, what if other Iraqi minorities come under threat of massacre. You have hundreds, thousands of Christians who are also under threat. Can't imagine leaving them in a similar situation as the Yazidis are now. That's an open question.

The air strikes so far had been the back ISIS from making further progress on Irbil. But if you are going to open a humanitarian corridor, that might require air strikes, as well, and the U.S. has said Irbil is the priority now. If is again threatens Baghdad like it did some weeks ago, the U.S. is going to have to act because you have hundreds of Americans staffing both military advisors and councilor and embassy staff staffing there. So even in this small strictly defined definition of the mission, there is potential for mission creep. It leaves open the question though, Anderson, that you raise, who will help the Iraqis push back the is advance. That's an open question.

COOPER: And of course, we heard nothing from European nations, from Gulf states, from any other countries that could possibly also become involved here.

Jim Sciutto, appreciate that.

For the concern about mission creep, one lawmaker took issue with President Obama for in so many words ruling out mission creep.


REP. PETER KING (R), CHAIRMAN, HOMELAND SECURITY COMMITTEE: When the president says that we're not going to use -- we're not going to go beyond air strikes, I can't understand why a commander in chief would ever tell the enemy what we're going to do or not do. He can decide himself whether or not he wants to used additional force.


COOPER: By in-large though, President Obama seen here meeting with his national security team in the oval office today seems to have gotten quiet support of congressional leaders in both parties for hitting ISIS. What he has not done is seeking out legislation explicitly authorizing this force and lawmakers demanded at this point that he do so.

Let's go to the White House now to bring in our Jim Acosta.

So, the president last night announcing that he had given authorization to the military to do the strikes for each new strike, does the military have to go back to the president or is this just an open-ended authorization?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: At this point, it's very open ended, Anderson. I heard from one deputy national security advisor earlier today, Ben Rhodes, who described this as a green light to the military to conduct air strikes on one of two different targets who are both targets if the case deems to be necessary, one of those target around Irbil, those ISIS forces around Irbil that are threatening American military advisors and diplomats who are located in the Kurdish capitol, according to Ben Rhodes. It was ISIS shelling of the Kurdish that prompted this initial round of air strikes earlier this morning.

I am talking about, Ben Rhodes, I should mention, Anderson, you talk the about the Yazidis. The White House just put out an statement just a few moments ago stating that Ben Rhodes met with members of Yazidi community here at the White House earlier today to hear their concerns. So the White House is continuing, even though, the president is not authorizing each individual strike. He's making phone calls, talked with the king of Jordan earlier today and members of the staff are reaching out to member the of the Yazidi community for example. And -- go ahead?

COOPER: Is there a longer term strategy? I mean, I know I'm talking years but weeks or months, obviously, this is an emergency situation that the president felt it was in the U.S. interest to respond to both for American military personnel and other consular personnel in Irbil and also protect the Yazidis and Christian minorities. But is there a longer strategy here? I mean, you, obviously, they would like to see improvement of Baghdad. They would like to see improvement of Iraqi security forces. I assume there would be arming of Kurdish forces who say that they are out gunned. Bt is this just kind of a whack a mole situation right now?

ACOSTA: It's starting to look that way, Anderson. You know, we heard conflicting statements from the White House, from the administration officials first aid. They are saying that this is going to be limited in scope. But at the same time, they are not putting a time frame on this. This is really an open-ended military operation that the White House is conducting. They are not saying how far they are willing to go to put down the is threat.

The White House press secretary Josh Earnest earlier today was asked whether or not the White House would be comfortable with ISIS control and any part of Iraq. And they really just didn't answer the question. I think the preference would be for ISIS not to control any part of Iraq but they are not willing to say how far they will go to make sure that that is not the case.

You mentioned the Iraqi government. That's a key component in all of this. All right, along, the White House, the president has been saying unless the Iraqis can show the ability to form a unity government, President Obama is just really not feeling it in terms of providing support, air support to the Iraqis. But, now that that is starting to take shape, they are seeing signs of that, they feel like the air strikes aren't necessary.

But as long as there are military advisors on the ground in Iraq and senior administration officials, I asked about this, are you willing to pull them out? They are not willing to do that at this point. As long as those advisors are in Iraq, the president made this very clear and Josh Earnest made this clear earlier today, they are not going to leave those soldiers in Iraq without the protection of U.S. military air power, if it becomes necessary. As for winning the long battle against is, the White House was clear today that is up to the Iraqis. It's their job to settle -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Jim Acosta, thanks very much.

Coming up next, the brutality of ISIS and a booth force challenge of defeating them, with a deeply problematic Iraqi army and Kurdish fighters seem to be getting pounded later.

We'll be right back.


COOPER: The USS George H. W. Push in the Persian Gulf f-18 from the Bush taking part in more air strikes in ISIS targets in Iraq. A second wave happening late today. ISIS fighters, now with less than half-hours drive outside Irbil. Sobering reports from the Kurdish region on government about the forces confronting ISIS on the ground, 150 Peshmarga fighters. S the Kurdish fighters killed 500 others wounded in the last six days alone.

ISIS in control of Iraq's biggest dam. A discouraging picture, no doubt about it. Digging deeper now with America's power to influence the outcome and the limits of it, military analyst and retired U.S. air force lieutenant Rick Francona, also David Kilcullen, advised Condoleezza Rice and General David Petraeus (INAUDIBLE) issues. He is the recent author of "out of the mountains, the coming age of the urban gorilla."

Colonel, what do you make of these U.S. air strikes now underway? How effective are they to actually slow down ISIS forces?

LT. COL. RICK FRANCONA, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, they are very effective in what they are doing, but I don't know if it is enough to blunt this offensive, you know. They are taking out small units of mortar positions, artillery pieces, several vehicles. I'm not sure that's going to blunt ISIS. They have a lot of equipment. They have got a lot vehicles. They can move very quickly.

COOPER: They have tanks in some cases.

FRANCONA: They have not only tanks but M-1 tanks, U.S. made and they have a lot of the old Russian-made tanks, as well. So they can bring a lot to bear and they could quickly overwhelm what one carrier air wing could do. So there are other assets in the region, we may have to bring to bear on this.

COOPER: David Kilcullen, you say that the American air power totally changes the equation. How -- in what way do you think that changes it?

DAVID KILCULLEN, AUTHOR, STRATEGIST: Well, as I think most will remember from the war in Iraq in 2006 and 2007, we were fighting the predecessor group to the current Islamic state. And at that time, they were operating as gorillas, right? They are moving around in civilian clothes with weapons in civilian weapons and would sneak around by night and plant bombs and so on. And what they have done since U.S. forces left Iraq, is they have been able to transform themselves into much more of a conventional army as we have been talking about tanks and technicals and so on. And they have been operating in a much more conventional way. What Guerilla warfare theorists would call a war of movement rather than an insurgencies. So they swarm, you know, dozens of vehicles on to towns and attack them in so on in broad daylight.

You can do that when there is no air threat. As soon as there is an air threat, even if the strikes that have initially been launched haven't done a huge amount of damage physically to the movement, ISIS leaders would have to sitting down tonight in thinking OK, what do we need to do to make us all survivable? We don't want to look like the Taliban in 2001 who operated an exactly the same way and lasted about seven weeks. We don't want to look like the Somali militia and not (INAUDIBLE). So I think there has to be some consideration of new tactics and possibly dropping back a stage to a more Guerilla warfare approach when it gone more (INAUDIBLE) and that of course is going to slow them down.

COOPER: David, and of course, you helped design the surge in Iraq, essential in all of that, of course, was getting Sunni groups which had been fighting against the United States this so-called Sunni awakening, which involved in many cases paying the Sunni groups. Those payments were stopped by the government of Maliki. How important is it long term, I'm not just talking about this immediate crisis right now with the Yazidis in Irbil, but how important is it in the coming months and years, even, to try to peel away some of the Sunni groups who have gone back who are now working in league with ISIS? And is that even possible given the leadership in Baghdad?

KILCULLEN: Well, I think it's really important as you've already noted, Anderson, to see that this intervention isn't really in support of the current government in Baghdad and the U.S. has put some very strong conditions on the political requirements that will be needed before that kind of support would be forthcoming, which I think is very wise as a policy.

I think rather, you should see this intervention as being in support of the Kurdish regional government and Kurdish Peshmerga who have actually been doing quite a good job in dealing with ISIS until about a week ago when they lost Sinjar. They have been fighting ISIS across about a thousand kilometer front and there even groups from the YPG which is the Syrian militia that's been fighting ISIS in Syria who have also been engaged around Sinjar.

So they are quite a competent military force that have just been over stressed in the last week or so by ISIS' growing strength. And I think the way to think about this is unfortunately, people are recognizing that it may in fact be too far gone for some tribes in (INAUDIBLE) and trying to hold what remains in terms of a stable environment in Kurdistan.

COOPER: And colonel, explain the risk for U.S. personnel, I mean, in these aircrafts conducting these kind of operations.

FRANCONA: Well, right now, they are staying above the threshold of these shoulder fire, that man paths that we have talked about. And so, if they are operating at, you know, 18,000 feet and as long as you are using precision-guided weapons that's probably doable. But if you are going to provide any kind of close air support, you are going to have to get down low and put yourself at risk. And that's where you run the real problem.

What happens if one aircraft gets shot down? Now, what Do you do? Are you going to rescue the pilot? You got to mount -- an operation that puts you to even more Americans at risk. So I think we have to realize that there are Americans in combat. I

think the government is playing with words when they say we're not putting boots on the ground but we are putting Americans in harm's way. Same with the pilots that are dropping humanitarian relief supplies. At some point, they are going to be within the thread envelope of these weapon systems.

COOPER: David Kilcullen, just very briefly, can the Iraqi military, I mean, you know, a huge amount of money has been poured into it, obviously, the operational leadership core that Maliki has put in, a lot of it these guys are just kind of appointees. They don't actually have battle field experience or even interest in protecting their own troops. Is that solvable or throwing more money at it until there is a change of leadership in Baghdad, is that even worthwhile?

KILCULLEN: I really don't think so. And you know, I'm not necessarily a supporter of the administration on every issue, but in this case, I think that the way that the Obama White House approached this is exactly correct to say look, there are critical political requirements that have to be in place before, you know, there is any sense in supporting the Iraqi military trying to push is back.

Just to pick on something that they said, though, I think it's really important agreeing with him to recognize that as soon as this gets into a serious fight, there will have to be joint terminal attack controllers as in U.S. guys controlling air strikes, either on the ground or they will have to be forward air controllers. The most -- the best example in Iraq was 2008 during the battle of (INAUDIBLE) and we required, you know, dozens of U.S. guys on the ground to enable Iraqi forces to push back militants on the ground. So it's not a matter of just completely surgical and, you know, dudes in the air at 30,000 feet.

COOPER: David Kilcullen, appreciate it. Colonel Rick Francona, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

Up next, ISIS' brutality caught on tape and put online because for the world to see because ISIS wants it that way. It's all part of their strategy. We'll dig into that ahead.


COOPER: As U.S. air power begins to make its presence felt in Northern Iraq, ISIS remains on a brutal tear across the region driving several hundred thousand Iraqi Christians from their homes and tens of thousands of Yazidis on to a desolate mountain top.

It's a reign of terror. It harkens back to the early Taliban even Cambodia in some respects and it has ambitions in the west.

Here to talk about it is "Quartz" managing editor, Bobby Ghosh, one of the longest-serving journalist on the "Iraq Beat" and also national security analyst and former CIA officer, Bob Baer.

Bobby, ISIS fighters saying that they will raise their flag over the White House. You have said that this is a kind of force that really have not faced before.

BOBBY GHOSH, MANAGING EDITOR, "QUARTZ": Yes, it is. We've heard this thing before from other groups, but this is a very different kind of group in that violence is directed at everybody including their fellow Muslims and it's the nature of the violence and the pure enjoyment they seem to take from it. That is particularly blood curdling.

COOPER: You say you actually wrote something and said they are an unholy combination of al Qaeda, the (inaudible) and the Nazis and for brutal efficiency they are several steps above Hamas, Hezbollah, Boca Haram and even the Taliban.

GHOSH: Yes, I think we have not seen anything like. This is, if you can think of evolution in terms of terrorism, this is a new evolved creature. It's especially monstrous.

COOPER: Because of their brutality, you're saying?

GHOSH: Because of their brutality combined with their efficiency and cold-bloodedness. This is a strange combination.

COOPER: Some of their videos are almost like music videos. There is high production videos.

GHOSH: They have sophisticated media outreach or directly not through people like us, but directly to their audience. They have a sophisticated social media outreach.

You're right. Their videos are very, very high gloss and their instruction videos about how to decapitate a person with a real decapitation. That's the kind of thing -- that's the kind of new level of monstrosity, of horror, the words just aren't adequate to express this.

COOPER: Bob Baer, you've seen a lot of brutality around the world up close firsthand. Do you agree with Bobby that this is something kind of a level of which we haven't seen?

BOB BAER, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Bobby is absolutely right. We're seeing an efficiency in this group that we've never seen in al Qaeda or Islamic fundamentalist group. It's on par with Hezbollah, but the problem is it's much more bloody minded than Hezbollah ever was and more determined to wreak, you know, murder across the Middle East and in the west. I've never seen anything this sophisticated.

COOPER: The foreign fighters within ISIS, I mean, you know, it's easy to say they are a huge threat to the United States. We have yet to actually see any of that. This was this guy from Florida who was in a suicide attack, who "The New York Times" reported actually came home to the United States before going back to Syria and blowing himself up.

But do you see this as kind of the wave of the future in terms of threats to the United States. They have western passports. It's hard to track these guys sometimes? BAER: Well, you know, Anderson, the problem is a lot of people have been crying wolf about the second wave after 9/11 hitting the United States. Let me tell you what I'm hearing locally. You know, there is supposedly 900 American passport holders fighting between Syria and Iraq, who are supposedly ready to come home and fight within our borders.

That seems like a lot of people and I really doubt that number and reports out of Mosul are conflicted, to say the least. I've also heard from law enforcement that there is a real problem of suspect ISIS members sneaking across the Mexican borders.

These people don't have U.S. passports, of course, but the estimate is that they are intending to do harm in this country. I think the fact that ISIS is so efficient. They have efficient communications. They have a lot of money.

And they are very well-organized and determined to hit the United States that I think we should consider that the threat has gone up significantly since this conflict has started and especially since this morning we supposedly hit a column in the open and killed a lot of ISIS members in Iraq.

COOPER: And Bobby, do you agree that that, the U.S. conducting air strikes makes it the more likely that the U.S. then will become a target?

GHOSH: I don't know that is more likely. These people want to hit --

COOPER: They don't need an excuse.

GHOSH: Exactly right. There are two things to consider, one, is when we were hit in the homeland, it was not by people with American passports, so you don't need American passports to be able to wreak that kind of havoc.

The other thing to keep in mind is what is an American target? Not all American targets are here in the United States. When our embassies were hit in Australia, Africa, American targets --


GHOSH: When USS Cole was hit, American target, a group of tourists, a bunch of children on summer break. An American target can be widely defined and does not have to be America.

COOPER: And also Bob Baer, I mean, the problem of tracking people, I mean, because these aren't people who are, you know, taking a plane from New York to Aleppo or you know, they are going to Turkey, Lebanon, or other countries. I would imagine for intelligence or westerners, once they have a passport, they can go anywhere in Europe.

GHOSH: Yes, Anderson, exactly. You take a taxi, walk across the border, you're in Syria. You can disappear and move to Iraq. It's an open border, you can get to Iraq. You get your training and I would like to say, Bobby is right. We don't know where they will hit. It could be within the borders or any target abroad. I just think that the more ISIS members we kill in air strikes, the more likely they will come back and hit us somewhere in the world.

COOPER: Bob Baer, appreciate you being on. Bobby Ghosh as well, thank you.

Coming up, the Gaza cease-fire broke and no extension in sight, the rocket hits and air strikes resume. I'll speak with both the Israeli and Palestinian spokesman next.


COOPER: No extension for the broken Mideast cease-fire. The Israeli military says it carried out strikes in at least 70 targets in response to what it says were at least 50 rockets fired in Israel.

A spokesman for the Palestinian ministry of health says an Israeli striking Gaza City killed a 10-year-old boy. We'll hear more of the Palestinian perspective in a moment.

But first, Israeli government spokesman, Mark Regev, joins me. So the Egyptian foreign ministry says in a statement that the negotiations so far yielded what they said is, quote, "The great majority of topics of interest to Palestinians and that the differences remain only around a few limited points," to use their.

Is that your understanding? Because that certainly doesn't seem the Palestinian side to understand.

MARK REGEV, ISRAELI GOVERNMENT SPOKESPERSON: I'm afraid, Anderson, I have to apologize, I can't go into the diplomacy of what discussed in Cairo in those discussions. I can say the following, those discussions were predicated on an agreement that violence ends.

In other words, we went to Egypt after there was total cessation of all the violence and we'll not go back until the rockets stop because we are not going to negotiate and have rockets falling in Israel at the same time.

COOPER: Is there -- I mean, what -- to the claim by not just Hamas, but the rest of the Palestinian groups that you were -- that Israel was not being responsive, that really Israel not was there to seriously negotiate. I mean, you had always talked about not just demilitarization of Gaza.

But agreeing to some Palestinian demands if there was a stable period of quiet but you would never specify publicly how long that period of quiet had to be.

REGEV: It's clear that these negotiations, if they ever resume will have to be done in discretion, but the fundamental equation is clear. They end violence, no more rockets on Israel, no more attacks whether through the sea or by those terror tunnels. Total cessation of all hostile activity from Gaza against Israel. And in return, Israel can ease restrictions because if they are no longer hostile, we can have a more normal relationship. That is a frame work Israel accepted. It's based on an end to violence and rocketing of our cities. If Hamas isn't willing to do that, this process goes nowhere.

It has to be based on non-violence, a complete sensation of all attacks. Israel won't go into those discussions until that stops and so the problem is Hamas, are they willing to cease-fire.

COOPER: The Palestinians are speaking with one voice. We're all on the same page here. Do you believe that's true? Do you believe that the Palestinian Authority, the PLO, that they have control over the military wing of Hamas?

REGEV: I think you raised a very good point to what extent. It's clear that Saeb Erekat doesn't speak for Hamas and doesn't speak for the Hamas military wing and that's one of the issues here. I think internally, the majority of Palestinians, I believe, Saeb Erekat as well was very critical of Hamas for allowing cease-fire to die for violating the cease-fire and not extending it.

I saw a survey, 92 percent of the people of Gaza wanted the cease-fire to continue, 92 percent. Now that is amazing and it shows that Hamas is really out of touch.

COOPER: Mark Regev, appreciate you being with us. Thank you.

REGEV: My pleasure.

COOPER: Well, Hamas denies responsibility for rockets being fired before the cease-fire ended and says Israel is trying to confuse the situation. Chief Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat joins me now.

Mr. Erekat, you say the Palestinians speak with one voice, do you, does the Palestinian Authority, does Mahmoud Abbas support the fact that rockets were fired into Israel two hours before the cease-fire expired?

SAEB EREKAT, ISRAEL PALESTINIAN NEGOTIATOR: No, Anderson, no. We don't want the rocket to be fired. We want to sustain the cease-fire. We want to extend the cease-fire and we are exerting every possible effort to do that, and as I'm talking to you know, meetings are ongoing with our delegation in order to extend the cease-fire.

But at the same time, what people should note, Anderson, is that the situation is very, very dire in Gaza. People expect, you know, an immediate relief as far as electricity, running water, sewage not there, shelter is not there for 480,000 people.

Medical supplies for 10,000 wounded people in the hospitals. So I really uplifting, you know, by air, by sea, by land through Egypt, through Jordan and to allow Israel lift the siege on the closure from Gaza so we can provide the needs for our people.

And at the same time, I hope by tomorrow morning a formula will be worked out so extend the cease-fire. I really hope because to me failure should not be an option -- Anderson.

COOPER: I understand the importance from your position to maintain united front as a Palestinian group, are you upset at all that whether it was Hamas or Islamic Jihad or whoever it is who fired rockets.

I mean, at the very least from a strategic standpoint, I don't understand if you are at a negotiating table with somebody, how holding a gun to their head, or even firing that gun, firing rockets at the people you say you want concessions from, how that helps the negotiation. Does it upset you at all that this occurred?

EREKAT: Well, you know that the whole idea was a 72-hours. It was not an open-ended cease-fire.

COOPER: Right, but it didn't even last 72 hours --

EREKAT: Wait now. It lasted 70 hours and we are going to hope, we hope it will last and will be open-ended. That's what we're doing. You have to understand the situation under ground is difficult. I'm not trying to justify anything. I want rockets not to be fired.

I want Israel to stop bombarding Gaza because I think six Palestinians were killed between the West Bank and Gaza today and that's not the point here. The point here is that the balance is between extending the cease-fire and not allowing Israel to use the medical supplies, food supplies, water, and electricity as instruments to pressure us in the negotiations.

COOPER: But again, I know you are in a very difficult position and there are many different factions in many different groups, but it doesn't sound like that you speak for everybody. There are certainly military actors on the ground in Gaza who have a difference of opinion and seemed to acting unilaterally no matter what negotiators in Cairo are doing.

EREKAT: You're right, Anderson. There are political parties and factions, and luckily we don't see with one eye and ear and spoke with one lips. We have differences. We do. At the same time, we have a common paper, Hamas and this paper, I helped prepare it last week.

COOPER: That's the political wing of Hamas, you keep talking about this common paper. A piece of paper doesn't seem to be stopping rockets from being fired from Gaza.

EREKAT: Well, rockets firing from Gaza, political leaders have a say and have a lot to say and they are saying a lot now. We are doing everything as humanly possible. Look, we haven't reached the level of perfection to have things come down in Gaza.

We're doing everything humanly possible to get our act together, to sustain and extend the cease-fire and I think it will help a great deal if the Israeli negotiating behavior will not employ medical supplies, food supplies, electricity and water as instruments for the negotiating behavior.

COOPER: Saeb Erekat, I appreciate talking to you. Thank you very much, sir.

EREKAT: Thank you.

COOPER: Up next, breaking news in the fight against Ebola. It's now officially a global health emergency. A live update from the hot zone, next.


COOPER: More breaking news tonight, the World Health Organization is against sounding the alarms about the Ebola outbreak. It's not killed nearly a thousand people in West Africa. The WHO is declaring the outbreak a public health emergency saying that a coordinated international response is necessary to stop the spread of the disease.

Now by all accounts that's what is needed, but it's not what the people of West Africa are getting at least up to this point. David McKenzie has been doing some remarkable reporting from the ground in Sierra Leone. He joins us now live. So the WHO declaring this health emergency. What is the reaction on the ground from that?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the ground reaction from "Doctors Without Borders" is one thing but what is needed are boots on the ground, people, knowledge and infrastructure. The latest news we have from here is yet another well-known physician at the main referral hospital here has fallen sick, tested positive for the dreaded Ebola virus.

Just another number to the scores of health workers who have been affected by the Ebola virus in the last few weeks. It's a dire situation. It's good the WHO is taken seriously, but they need words put into action.

COOPER: What is it like being there? How concerned are people in the streets of free town and elsewhere?

MCKENZIE: It's what everyone is talking about, Anderson. Anything you hear on the radio is about Ebola at this point. That is a very positive sign, of course, and then you just see the situation that our hotel is practically abandoned.

When we've been out on the street we've seen NGO and charity workers trying to make their way out of the country in Liberia, the U.S. embassy has said that family members should leave. There is a sense that these countries are being blockaded from without and from within.

There are hundreds of soldiers blockading the eastern part of Sierra Leone. This is a very serious situation and obvious around on the streets and even for us, Anderson.

You can't help, but feel nervous when reporting on this issue, but ultimately, this is a public health issue and the word needs to get out from these countries that are so badly affected.

COOPER: David, you're doing a remarkable job as I said for you and your team. Please be careful. Appreciate it. In the next hour on 360, ISIS militants on the move. The city of Irbil in their sights. We are going to get an update from the city itself and sanctuary for thousands under siege.