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THE SITUATION ROOM
Jordan Will Release Terrorist if ISIS Frees Pilot; Israel Hits Back after Deadly Missile Attack; Netanyahu: Those Behind Missile Attack 'Will Pay'; New England Digs Out from Record Snow; Airlines Under Threats; Voices of Auschwitz
Aired January 28, 2015 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Happening now, ISIS hostage deal. Tense negotiations as Jordan offers to free a female bomber if -- if the terror group releases one of its pilots captured in Syria.
Border war brewing. Israel hits back at Hezbollah after a missile attack kills two of its soldiers, and it issues a very thinly veiled warning to Iran even as it beefs up its own defenses.
And airline threats. A growing number of flights delayed or even canceled because of bomb threats made on social media. So who's behind it all, and can it be stopped?
I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Breaking now, a deal may be in the works for a prisoner swap with ISIS. The terror group has demanded that Jordan release a jailed female bomber, and Jordan says it's willing to do so if -- if ISIS frees a Jordanian fighter pilot captured in Syria.
The demand came in a video message from a Japanese ISIS hostage whose comrade has already been beheaded. His own fate is unknown.
At the same time, hair-trigger tensions along Israel's northern border area. Two Israeli soldiers are dead in a Hezbollah missile attack. And Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warns those behind it will pay a price.
Israel has retaliated with heavy shelling, and a U.N. peace keeper has died in the cross-border violence.
We have full coverage of both of these breaking stories and a whole lot more. Our correspondents and analysts are standing by, along with Jordan's foreign minister and State Department spokeswoman, Jen Psaki.
Let's begin with our chief national security correspondent, Jim Sciutto. He has the very latest -- Jim.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: This would be the complicated and difficult deal, a convicted terrorist for -- in exchange for a Jordanian pilot, possibly as well as Japanese journalist. But a government source tells me today that exchange is not imminent. The key obstacle is that ISIS has not presented proof of life, that
it's evidence that that Jordanian pilot is still alive. Without that, Jordanian officials say there will be no prisoner exchange.
SCIUTTO (voice-over): At the Turkey/Syria border today, an anxious wait for a prisoner exchange that so far hasn't happened.
Today, Jordan made a bold public offer to release this woman, Sajida al-Rishawi, a failed suicide bomber, from a devastating attack on Amman hotels in 2005 that killed dozens. Her release, in exchange for the Jordanian pilot, Lieutenant Mu'ath al-Kaseasbeh, captured by ISIS when his went down in Syria last month and, it is hoped, captured Japanese journalist Kenji Goto.
On Tuesday, ISIS released a video showing an image of Mr. Goto, handcuffed and holding a picture of what appeared to be Lieutenant al- Kaseasbeh, warning that without al Rishawi's freedom, they would both be killed within 24 hours, a deadline that has since passed with no word from ISIS.
Japan's deputy foreign minister is in Jordan now on what he calls a nonstop effort to save his fellow citizen.
YASUHIDE NAKAYAMA, DEPUTY FOREIGN MINISTER: We will never give up until our Japanese hostage, Mr. Goto, is safely coming back to our nation.
SCIUTTO: The proposed exchange remains uncertain. Jordan says ISIS has yet to show evidence the pilot is still alive, placing already difficult negotiations in an agonizing limbo.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: Not sure that Jordan can go ahead without an assurance that they are going to get their pilot back. The war effort is controversial in Jordan. This puts the king of Jordan in a very difficult position.
SCIUTTO: Then tense talks come as ISIS demonstrated its growing reach far beyond Syria and Iraq. ISIS has now claimed responsibility for the deadly siege on the Corinthia Hotel in Libya that killed ten, including American security contractor, David Berry, showcasing images of men ISIS claims to be the attackers.
LT. COL. JAMES REESE (RET.), CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: We've got people in Libya. They like watching what ISIS is doing. They -- they are extremis jihadists themselves, and they want to carry the banner of ISIS.
SCIUTTO: Expanding in Libya but pushed back in Syria. Kurdish forces are celebrating the retaking of the town of Kobani, though only after a relentless air campaign of U.S.-led strikes, some 700 over four months. The latest strikes coming just last night.
(END VIDEOTAPE) SCIUTTO: ISIS's 24-hour deadline, included in its latest hostage video expired this morning, but you will remember a previous 72-hour deadline for killing the two Japanese hostages passed last Friday, with evidence since then that at least one of them -- that is Kenji Goto -- is still alive.
Wolf, of course, one of the difficulties in any exchange like this, any negotiation with terrorists, is deep, deep uncertainty, lack of trust; and that's a real obstacle right now.
BLITZER: They do need that proof of life to show that that jet fighter pilot, the F-16 pilot, Jim, is still alive.
SCIUTTO: No question. That's a basic thing. Jordanian officials, the foreign minister echoed this: there will be no exchange until they have that proof.
BLITZER: All right. Jim Sciutto, thanks very much.
Let's go to the Pentagon right now. Our correspondent, Barbara Starr, is standing by.
Barbara, you've been speaking to sources about all of this. What are you hearing?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, Wolf, King Abdullah of Jordan now in one of the most sensitive situations potentially of his reign over that country. The U.S. well aware of what Jordan is going through right now.
Big question: are they even talking to the right people who can possibly deliver them the pilot and the Japanese hostage? The U.S. is aware that Jordan right now is sensitive to any notion it is negotiating with ISIS terrorists.
What the Jordanians are saying is they are engaging in a prisoner exchange. They are going to point out, I think, you will see that the U.S. did this with Bowe Bergdahl, the Army sergeant that the U.S. got back after exchanging him for five Taliban prisoners, also pointing out Israel often exchanges Palestinian prisoners to get its military personnel back.
The Jordanians making the case in their view that this is standard procedure in war zones for prisoners to be exchanged. Right now, with no proof of life, as everyone is saying, nothing is going to happen.
But the key question: why would the Jordanians be willing to give up this woman, who was convicted in this devastating hotel attack that still resonates through Amman to this day since 2005.
Officials are telling me the sense of it is she was not directly responsible for any of the killing, devastating as the attack was. Her suicide vest malfunctioned, so they think that they can agree to release her. And that is what the Jordanian government is saying.
But as the hours tick by, make no mistake: concern growing about how all of this will be resolved -- Wolf.
BLITZER: It's a sensitive, sensitive, very delicate moment right now. Barbara, thanks very much.
The United States government obviously watching all of these developments very closely; and its own swap of Taliban prisoners, five of them at Guantanamo Bay, for the captured U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, may give Jordan some cover right now to go forward with its own swap.
Let's talk about all of this and more with a State Department spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, who's joining us from the State Department.
Jen, thanks very much for joining us.
JEN PSAKI, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN: Hi, Wolf. Great to be here.
BLITZER: If the Jordanians go ahead and release this female terrorist, convicted terrorist, in exchange for their pilot, captured by ISIS, and maybe throw in the Japanese journalist, who hopefully is still alive, that would be OK with the U.S. government, right?
PSAKI: Well, let me first say, Wolf, that Jordan is a partner country. They're a friend; they're an ally. We work with them on a range of issues around the world. They're going through an incredibly difficult situation that, unfortunately, we can relate to, given our own history with ISIL hostages here.
This hasn't happened yet. As you mentioned in your reporting and through your reporters, there are a lot of different scenarios and details. We're in touch with a range of parties, but we're going to wait to see what happens and how this plays out before we make a judgment.
BLITZER: But on principle, a swap like this, similar to what the U.S. did in exchange for Bowe Bergdahl, releasing five prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Taliban prisoners, that was all done through the negotiations intermediaries of Qatar, the government of Qatar. In principle, you would understand and presumably support a Jordanian decision to free this convicted terrorist?
PSAKI: Well, Wolf, obviously, let's see what happens. We certainly support -- Jordan is a sovereign country. And they're, again, a country we work very, very closely with. The situation with Bowe Bergdahl, as you know, he was a prisoner. He was in combat. He was taken, and we don't leave men and women who have served our country behind. And so that was the situation where there has been ample precedent in the past; and we decided to make a swap.
There are many different scenarios at play here, but again, we're in touch with a range of countries. We're watching this closely. And we share the heartache and the anguish of the Jordanian and, frankly, the Japanese people.
BLITZER: What's your message to the government of Jordan and the government of Japan? PSAKI: Well, one, both the government of Jordan and the government of
Japan and their people are friends. They're our partners. We work with them on a range of issues, and their heartache is our heartache. And we unfortunately relate to what they're going through.
We have a range of our own policies, as you know, as a United States government, and we don't make concessions to terrorists. That includes ransoms. That includes swaps. And we have those policies in place to keep American citizens as safe as they can.
But we understand the need and the desire to protect and do what is necessary to bring citizens home. And we take steps on our own to do that with our American citizens.
BLITZER: Is it your understanding -- and I know this is sensitive, delicate diplomatic negotiations that are under way, but is it your understanding that Jordan's demand is their fighter pilot, that F-16 fighter pilot, be freed in exchange for this convicted female terrorist, or are they also demanding that the Japanese journalist be part of this deal?
PSAKI: Well, Wolf, there are a lot of different reports out there. And that's, I think, exactly why you're asking that question. I know the government of Jordan has spoken a bit to this. The government of Japan has a bit. We've had conversations.
But given how sensitive it is and just in the interest of being as supportive as possible, I'm just not going to outline those more publicly at this point in time.
BLITZER: All right. Let's talk a little bit about this most recent video that is released. It's a video that shows the Japanese, the two Japanese hostages; and it was apparently shot indoors -- they had some fake background or whatever -- instead of outdoors. You understand why they would do this?
PSAKI: I don't have any analysis for you. Obviously, there are experts in the intel community who look at that. They have no -- pose no question to the authenticity of the video. And I know the government of Japan has also spoken to that, as well.
Our focus is really, at this point, on being as supportive as we can of the government of Japan and their people at this point in time.
BLITZER: So there's -- as far as you know -- and we hope that Jordanian F-16 fighter pilot and that Japanese journalist, they're still alive?
PSAKI: Well, we don't have any more details or information on that, Wolf. Obviously, the Jordanians have also spoken to that. But there are a lot of unanswered questions, and obviously, this is an incredibly sensitive and fluid situation.
BLITZER: Well, speaking of sensitive and fluid situations, it's pretty sensitive and fluid right now, potentially deadly along the Israeli northern border with Syria and with Lebanon. Jen Psaki, I want you to stand by. We're going to have a full report on what's going on. It's a delicate moment, a deadly moment already. Much more right after this.
BLITZER: The State Department spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, is still standing by over at the State Department. We'll get to her momentarily. But this is just coming in.
I want to go to CNN's Will Ripley in Tokyo for more on what's going on as far as a possible hostage exchange. The mother of the Japanese hostage, Kenji Goto, is begging her government in Tokyo to save his life. The government says it won't give up that fight.
Will is joining us now live from Tokyo. Will Ripley, what is the latest you're getting?
WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, there's a lot of tension here right now, because it's been more than seven hours since we've gotten an official word from the Japanese government, an official update; and that last update was that they had no news to report.
So what -- what Tokyo needs to know right now is confirmation of one of two things. That a successful prisoner swap has occurred, which we do not believe to be the case, because had that happened, once all parties were safe, we would have known about it.
So the second thing that we need to find out in Tokyo is has ISIS agreed to delay this execution deadline, and are negotiations still ongoing? We're getting word that perhaps there may be some indirect talks, but until we hear directly from ISIS that, in fact, and ISIS is willing to show proof that these two prisoners, Kenji Goto and Mu'ath al Kaseasbah, are still alive. Then there's going to be a lot of fear and a lot of skepticism here about the prospects for Japan.
BLITZER: We know Japan has the senior government official in Amman, Jordan, right now, working with the government of Jordan. But let's say hypothetically that Jordan gets its pilot back from ISIS, they release this convicted woman, who's convicted of terrorism, but the Japanese journalist remains captive. I assume the Japanese government would be severely disappointed that they couldn't get a three-person swap.
RIPLEY: Absolutely. That would be a horrible outcome for the government here in Tokyo.
They do have some leverage in the fact that they have pledged a significant amount, $200 million of humanitarian aid, to help a lot of the Syrian and Iraqi refugees in that region, including in Jordan. So Japan also, through oil diplomacy, has good relationships with a lot of Middle Eastern countries, and they're certainly trying to cash in right now on that political capital to see what kind of a deal can be -- can be worked out.
But yes, it would be very disappointing. And then it really comes down to this, Wolf. Does Kenji Goto -- has he been able to develop some sort of a rapport with his captors? They have clearly kept him alive for a reason. They've now used him in two different propaganda videos. Does he have some sort of a connection that can help him stay alive until ISIS decides to either, A, release him or, B, the other scenario, which people don't want to talk about but is on everyone's minds here.
BLITZER: Certainly is. All right. Thanks very much for that. Will Ripley in Tokyo.
We're following all the information that's breaking tonight. Jordan's willingness or unwillingness to swap, if you will. It's clear they're ready to exchange this convicted woman terrorist for their pilot.
Let's go back to the State Department spokeswoman, Jen Psaki.
What's it like, Jen? I know you're familiar with all of this, this dialogue that apparently is under way between the Jordanian and Japanese government. Is the U.S. involved in helping to coordinate those talks?
PSAKI: Well, again, I really refer you to the government of Japan and the government of Jordan. These are their hostages. Certainly, we support and we can relate to what they're going through and these challenges that they're going through, but this isn't a U.S. effort.
BLITZER: Let's leave that for a moment and go to what's going on in northern Israel along the border with Lebanon and Syria right now.
As you know, there was another incident today, a deadly incident. Two Israeli soldiers were killed, about seven or eight were injured, some of them severely. The prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, warning there will be Israeli reaction. Has the secretary of state been in touch with Prime Minister Netanyahu?
PSAKI: He does speak with him regularly every couple of days. The secretary just got back this morning and had a range of meetings on his schedule. I know that he hopes to talk with him in the next 24 hours about this situation, as well as a range of issues we discuss with Israel.
BLITZER: How concerned are you of a possible escalation? I suspect that neither Hezbollah nor the Israelis want an escalation. But you know that part of the world: one miscalculation could trigger all-out war.
PSAKI: Well, certainly, Wolf, we don't want an escalation, either. This is, though -- I think we need to remember here, this was Hezbollah attacking Israel, attacking IDF; and Israel has the right to defend itself. Certainly they do broadly, but this is a case where they were attacked.
Now, as you noted, there has long been a U.N. Security Council resolution that kind of monitors peace along the line, the blue line there. And that's certainly something, reducing the tension. Reducing the back and forth, having peace in that area is something -- certainly something we would support and we hope for. BLITZER: As you know, Iran is a major supporter of Hezbollah. What's
its role in all of this?
PSAKI: I don't have more details on that at this point. You're right, there's a long history there. They've been supporters of Hezbollah, but in terms of this specific attack, I don't have any details on that.
BLITZER: Jen Psaki at the State Department, thanks very much for joining us.
PSAKI: Thanks, Wolf.
BLITZER: Thank you. Coming up, there's new deaths, rising tensions. We're going to have much more on these growing fears of war along one of Israel's most dangerous boundaries. We're going live to Israel's northern border with Lebanon and Syria.
Then, the spokesman for Israel's military, Lieutenant Colonel Peter Leonard, he's standing by live. He's in Jerusalem. We've got a bunch of questions for him on this very, very deadly situation.
BLITZER: Tensions are very high along Israel's northern border area. Israel has answered a deadly Hezbollah missile attack by pounding targets in Lebanon, and it's issued a not-so-veiled threat to the Shiite group and its Iranian patrons.
The spokesman for Israel's military, Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner, he's standing by live in Jerusalem. There he is. But first let's go to CNN's global affairs correspondent, Elise Labott. She's got the very latest from the Israeli border with Lebanon.
What is the latest, Elise?
ELISE LABOTT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, tonight Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened a meeting of his top national security aides after Hezbollah launched the most deadly attack against Israeli forces since the war with Hezbollah in 2006.
And Netanyahu says Iran is the culprit, and Israel will respond aggressively to any attempts to open up a new front.
LABOTT (voice-over): The Hezbollah assaults started with anti-tank missiles striking an Israeli military convoy, killing two soldiers and wounding seven more. Smoke rose from the border, as Israel answered with air strikes and shelling into Lebanon.
Hezbollah came back with more mortar fire against Israeli Army positions. A U.N. peace keeper in Lebanon was killed in the fighting.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took to Twitter to promise who was ever behind the attack would pay the price. But it pointed the finger at Iran for using Hezbollah to open up a new front on its northern frontier with Syria and Lebanon.
A day earlier, two rockets launched from a Syrian Army position into the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights were met with Israeli airstrikes back into Syria. A stern warning to Hezbollah a new front will not be tolerated.
AARON DAVID MILLER, WILSON CENTER: If you can shell Israel from the Golan, if you could kind of condition the Israelis to the fact that this is now the new normal, you have achieved something quite significant. The Israelis, on the other hand, are simply not prepared to concede that.
LABOTT: Hezbollah called it payback for last week's strike against Syria targeting and killing an Iranian general and six Hezbollah members.
And while it hasn't acknowledged the attack, Israel's Army is on high alert, deploying the Iron Dome anti-missile system after Iran vowed to hit back with, quote, "ruinous thunder bolts."
(on camera): Israel has deployed several Iron Dome batteries in the area like the one behind me. The system has a very sophisticated radar which can track an incoming rocket, lock onto it and shoot it down within 15 seconds. But it's never been tested against a very large salvo of rockets.
And the fear is that if Hezbollah starts shooting hundreds of rockets into Israel, the system may not be as successful.
(voice-over): Wednesday's attack, Hezbollah's most deadly against Israeli forces since the 2006 Lebanon war. Tonight, military sources say neither side has an interest in escalation but warn violence could spiral out of control. A fear echoed in Washington.
PSAKI: We certainly encourage all parties to respect the blue line between Israel and Lebanon. We urge all parties to refrain from any action that could escalate the situation.
LABOTT: And Wolf, a tense calm over the area. It's been quiet for about the last ten hours or so. The question now is has each side made their point? Are they ready to de-escalate? Or will the fighting continue? And as you know well from covering the region, any wrong move on either side and this could really spiral out of control.
BLITZER: It certainly could. One miscalculation could escalate this, you know, to an all-out war. Thanks very much, Elise. Be careful up in the northern part of Israel where you are right now. We'll check back with you tomorrow.
Let's go to Jerusalem right now. The Israeli military spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner, is joining us.
Colonel, what is the latest information you're getting about the situation along Israel's northern border? LT. COL. PETER LERNER, ISRAELI MILITARY SPOKESMAN: Well, as Elise
pointed out, it's tense but calm. It has been for about ten hours now. We are maintaining military presence on the border, substantial enough to defend Israeli civilians. That is our goal. That is what we're doing.
BLITZER: How concerned are you that the situation, though, could escalate if there were some miscalculation?
LERNER: Well, we're doing everything possible in order to prevent that. Of course, there are concerns. Hezbollah, a terrorist organization with a huge weapons capability, larger than most European countries, actually, has the ability to strike all of Israel.
So this is of great concern, and we need to be poised and prepared for a negative development, although we're hoping and taking necessary steps to be prepared for otherwise.
I would say that we need to be prepared with the tools, with the intelligence, with the military forces capable on the ground to address any threat that could possibly develop.
So today, these five lethal antitank missiles that were fired at the troops, killing two soldiers and wounding another seven, is a severe situation. And this is something we really need to look ahead and try and foresee if these type of attacks can happen again.
BLITZER: Because you know Hezbollah says this was retaliation for what Israel did last week when it launched an airstrike against a convoy carrying Hezbollah militants and an Iranian Revolutionary Guard general. You killed them. They say you started all of this.
LERNER: Well, we need to be responsible, rational and level-headed in what we are doing and how we are defending the people of Israel from Hezbollah and its Iranian patron.
They are attempting to establish another front in the Golan Heights. We need to be able to defend ourselves. That is what we're doing.
BLITZER: Because we know --
LERNER: Just yesterday, in fact, if I might add --
BLITZER: Go ahead.
LERNER: Wolf, if I might add, just yesterday, they launched two rockets at Mount Carmel. We had to evacuate 1,000 people off of a skiing resort.
BLITZER: So what are you saying now? When the prime minister of Israel says that Hezbollah and Iran. In his words, he said it very specifically. He said they will pay a price for today's deadly attack that killed two Israeli soldiers, what does he mean by that?
LERNER: Well, as the military, we need to be prepared for any development. We need to take the necessary steps to safeguard the state of Israel. That is what we're doing. People cannot be allowed to shoot rockets at us, at people.
The vehicles that the soldiers were traveling in were unmarked military vehicles on a road where civilians were traveling. They could have shot anybody. People need to be able to travel their roads.
I would say it needs to be responsible, rational and level-headed.
BLITZER: So you see an escalation, this tension escalating. Is it simply because of Hezbollah, or do you see Iran behind it? We know Hezbollah has the full support of the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad. Give us your analysis of what's going on here, because since 2006, that northern Israeli border was very, very quiet. And all of a sudden, the last week or so, things have really escalated.
LERNER: Well, the reality is that Iran is using Hezbollah as its proxy. It is its forearm here on our northern border. They have been supplying them with rockets and missiles. They have been training them. Hezbollah have been operating on their behalf in Syria to prop up the regime there. They have gained huge field experience inside Syria that probably made them successful in their attack against our forces today.
So they are deeply involved. They're all serving one goal, and this is the prime concern. Iran, together with Hezbollah and Syria operating, using these areas as springboards to launch attacks against Israel, is something we can't put up with.
BLITZER: We saw Elise in her report standing not far away from that U.S.-built Iron Dome anti-missile system. I assume you're moving those Iron Dome systems up to the north, but do you think they could get the job done in the face of what could be hundreds, if not thousands, of rockets, mortars, missiles, launched at targets in northern Israel?
LERNER: Well, the Iron Dome is just one component of our multi-tiered capabilities, defensive capabilities. So we have to depend on the people that will act responsibly. We're giving orders and advising people how to act in such a circumstance. And we have other mechanisms, as well as the Iron Dome in order to protect the people of Israel. That is precisely what we're doing. That is the Israel Defense Force.
BLITZER: Have you mobilized reservists yet?
LERNER: No. We have not, Wolf. We have sufficient forces on the border. The air force is poised and prepared. We are prepared to defend Israel if required. We have enough forces to do so.
BLITZER: Peter Lerner, Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner, the spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces, thanks very much for joining us.
LERNER: Good evening.
BLITZER: Up next, what's behind an alarming new spike in threats against airlines here in the United States? It's causing flight delays and even getting military jets involved.
Also coming up, the huge challenge of digging out from a storm that left record amounts of snow in several areas.
BLITZER: -- the Northeast finally are digging out from that record- breaking Blizzard of 2015. Take a look at this. The storm set one- day snowfall records in Bangor, Maine; in Providence, Rhode Island. Boston set a record for its biggest January snowstorm; and Worcester, Massachusetts, is buried under an all-time -- all-time record of 34- 1/2 inches of snow.
Brian Todd is in Worcester, joining us now. Brian, what's it like over there?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, it is cold, and this is kind of an illustration of what it's like here. I'm on top of a 12-1/2-foot- high snow pile. These scenes are repeated throughout the city of Worcester; and it's presenting real logistical and safety headaches for city officials.
As I make my way down I'll explain why. As you mentioned, this snowfall dumped more than 34 inches of snow on this city, a record since they started keeping records back in the early 1900s. And frankly, with mountains like this and this one over here that I'm going to point out to, they just don't know where to put all this.
The snow came down faster than a lot of the plows could actually plow it out of the way, but now they've got to try to get rid of it. And what the issues are, are that it's just difficult to park your car on the street. It's difficult to walk anywhere. This is a rare example of a plowed sidewalk, but a lot of the sidewalks are filled so they just can't -- you know, a lot of people can't walk. And that presents a real safety problem, because a lot of people are walking on the street. It gets very dangerous. This just represents some of the many challenges people throughout this region are facing as they come out of this storm.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is brutal. Brutal.
TODD (voice-over): Tonight, New England is struggling to dig out after the epic blizzard that pounded the region, breaking records. One snowbound resident in Berlin, Massachusetts, filming this 24-hour time lapse of snow piling up on a porch. This house in Scituate, Massachusetts, covered in a thick layer of ice.
While New York City was largely spared, parts of suburban Long Island are buried. The town of Orient, New York, is reporting 30 inches.
In Hartford, Connecticut, a relatively modest ten inches. And in Boston, just over 24 inches. Boston suffering the sixth biggest snowstorm since 1935, the most ever in January. In the coastal Massachusetts town of Marshfield, we witnessed a
violent storm surge pounding the seawall. During high tide, the seawall was breached in two places. Several houses were quickly flooded, some destroyed. Residents scrambled to get out.
(ON CAMERA): This is one of the worst damaged houses here in Marshfield. The man who lives here, we are told, got hurt by flying glass, had to have 70 stitches in his face, but he's OK. It took a front-end loader with crews in the front-end loader to get him out.
Here was another problem. Lobster traps blowing in from the ocean during the height of the storm surge.
(VOICE-OVER): When we caught up to that injured resident, Tim Mannix, he spoke of those fearful moments when he tried to escape in his truck but then had to be rescued from his house.
TIM MANNIX, LOST HOME IN STORM: Well, after I got whacked, I was scared, because I was bleeding so much. And once I got a towel on it, and got into my truck, you know, I calmed down then.
TODD (ON CAMERA): Do you want to come back and live here after this?
MANNIX: Well, no. This is probably it. Sell the property and get out. Just have no answers to my future right now. I've got a pretty bleak future today, tomorrow, the next day, you know. So we'll see what happens. I'm trying to laugh it off. You know, think about tomorrow, not yesterday. OK?
TODD: Tim Mannix is going to have to find a way to press on somewhere along that coastline. He makes his living as a commercial fisherman.
Meanwhile, the blizzard warnings and the travel bans have been lifted, but that doesn't mean that people here are out of the woods. What's going to really wreak havoc now, Wolf, are below freezing temperatures overnight. These streets here in Worcester, you can start to feel the icy sheen. They're starting to freeze over now. That's going to be a big problem.
BLITZER: Thirty inches of snow in Worcester, that is a record. Thanks very much, Brian Todd.
Up next, an alarming new spike in threats to U.S. airliners. At the top of the hour, the latest on the negotiation -- negotiations over a possible hostage deal with ISIS. Should anyone be negotiating with terrorists? We'll have the latest.
TODD: That's going to be a big problem.
BLITZER: Thirty inches of snow in Worcester. That is a record.
All right. Thanks very much, Brian Todd. Up next, an alarming new spike in threats to U.S. airliners.
And at the top of the hour, the latest on the negotiations over a possible hostage deal with ISIS. Should anyone be negotiating with terrorist? We'll have the latest.
BLITZER: A disruptive, costly and potentially very dangerous new problem in the United States airline industry.
Let's go live to our aviation correspondent Rene Marsh. She's joining us from LaGuardia Airport in New York.
Update our viewers, Rene, on what is going on.
RENE MARSH, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, this is a relatively new type of threat. It has gone from happening once in a while to happening every day. We're talking about social media bomb threats. Not just happening every day but multiple times a day. And a U.S. official tells me today the uptick just started this month.
MARSH (voice-over): Planes diverted, passengers evacuated. Law enforcement and bomb sniffing dogs close in. All because of fake bomb threats on social media.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We didn't know until we landed.
MARSH: It's happening more and more. A U.S. official tells CNN, online threats increased after a bomb scare on a flight from Atlanta to Raleigh January 17th. Fifty similar incidents followed.
In New York, this flight swept for explosives. Military jets scrambled after a tweet said bombs were on board two planes bound for Atlanta. And a tweet claiming to be from the terrorist group ISIS targeted a flight from San Diego to Dallas.
JEH JOHNSON, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: I want to see those who are responsible for those -- that kind of activity tracked down and prosecuted.
MARSH: The head of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson told CNN today, even false threats are dangerous to public safety.
JOHNSON: They cause certain reactions, certain overreactions. Very often fighter jets are scrambled to address the situation.
MARSH: The FBI is now investigating these social media threats, tracing computer IP addresses.
JEFF PRICE, AVIATION SECURITY EXPERT: It could be a small group of people. It could just be one person with a few Twitter accounts and a really dumb idea. No devices have been found. But we can see how much it disrupts the system. MARSH: The threats tax law enforcement, airport and military
resources. It's also costly for airlines and passengers.
PRICE: Every time a threat comes in, it has to be taken seriously. Aircraft have to be turned around or landed at the nearest location. Thousands of dollars are lost every minute that that plane is expectedly delayed.
MARSH: Well, at this point, the way this process usually works is when an airline receives this sort of threat, they automatically report it to law enforcement. At that point the pilot, the airline and law enforcement, they all work together to figure out how credible is this threat, will they divert this flight. Those are all things that they come together to make that decision.
I will say in speaking with both the airlines and -- as well as law enforcement officials, they believe that these are mostly copycat incidents fueled by the publicity that they are getting. But very important to highlight, it's not fun and games. This is a federal crime. The FBI again investigating. And when they track that person or persons down, they could be facing time behind bars -- Wolf.
BLITZER: They certainly could. Thanks very much for that, Rene, from LaGuardia.
As the world commemorates this week's 70 years since the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp where the Nazi slaughtered more than a million people, mostly Jews, CNN is bringing you the voices of Auschwitz survivors.
A new special report airing later tonight includes my own personal journey to Auschwitz, my conversations with those who somehow managed to get out alive.
Here is a clip from my conversation with Eva Kor, who was only 10 years old she was brought to -- to Auschwitz and subjected to the infamous medical experiments, so-called, at that camp.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: We are looking here at the ruins of these gas chambers, these crematoriums.
EVA KOR, HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR: Yes.
BLITZER: So, Eva, tell me, what do you remember? You were just a little girl, 10 years old.
KOR: We knew from the smell, it smelled like burning flesh and burning hair. And the smoke was rising high above the structure. And we actually knew that most of our families probably ended up here.
The other kids who were in the barrack, that first night we arrived, they said, look. See the smoke and the flames? Your families must be burning right now there. And I said, that's not possible. Burning people? That is crazy.
BLITZER: So, Eva, this was a barrack that you lived in, something like this?
KOR: Yes. It was my home for almost nine months. I entered the place, we went to the Le Train which are at the end of the barrack. There on the filthy Le Train floor, there were scattered corpses of three children. Right then and there I made a silent pledge that I will do anything and everything to not end up on the filthy Le Train floor.
BLITZER: Eva, tell us what was going on in this building.
KOR: We used to be brought here three times a week. They would tie both of my arms to restrict the blood flow and give me minimum of five injections into my right arm. The content of those injections we didn't know then nor do I know today. But after one of those injections, I became very ill. Next morning, Dr. (INAUDIBLE) came in and he turned to the other doctor then said, laughing sarcastically, he said, too bad, she's so young. She has only two weeks to live.
It was late in the afternoon, a woman ran yelling at the top of her voice, we are free, we are free, we are free. And then in the distance, I could see lots of people. They were all smiling. They gave us chocolate cookies and hugs. And this was my first day of freedom.
My name is Eva Moses Kor. I am a survivor of Auschwitz.
BLITZER: And please join us later tonight. Our special report "VOICES OF AUSCHWITZ" at 9:00 p.m. Eastern, only here on CNN.
Up next, Jordan offers to free a female terrorist if the terror group releases one of its pilots captured in Syria. Stand by.