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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
New Explosions, Gunfire In Gaza; NYPD Detective, Two U.S. Marshals Wounded During Attempted Arrest, Suspect Killed
Aired July 28, 2014 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, thanks for joining us. A lot going on tonight. We have breaking news and something new in the rush of events. Some sheer human agony of the war between Israel and Hamas.
For the first time since hostilities broke out, hostilities by the way continuing as we speak with explosions tonight in Gaza, the true war aims at each side are coming into focus. From that, we're learning how much longer this may go on and how the shape of it may change.
You'll hear tonight in our special extended two-hour edition of 360, the man who speaks for Israel's prime minister, who says the aim is now to demilitarize Gaza. He's not ruling out at larger and longer running ground war to do it. His boss going on television today warning Israelis to prepare for, quote, "a protracted campaign."
Inside as well tonight, into what Hamas wants and why neither side has much incentive at this point to end the fighting.
We begin, though, with the human cost of that fighting with the smoke and flames, the rubble and human agony of this war. Today in addition to activity that continued into the night a rocket hit the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon and something hit a Palestinian hospital in Shifa.
Karl Penhaul was at the hospital, joins us tonight from Gaza with that and all the latest.
So a lot of explosions, a lot of flares. What's happening right now in Gaza?
KARL PENHAUL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right now, Anderson, what is happening, a lot of illumination flares are being fired by Israeli artillery. Those illumination flares are drifting down over Gaza City, and up in the sky a lot of drone activity. It seems that those illumination flares are to light the way so that drones can spot activity down on the ground. They can spot targets, and sure enough, over about the last 45 minutes now.
We've heard F-16 fighter jets screaming overhead, bombing targets, we've also heard artillery slamming into targets through Gaza City.
Right now, from our sources we're hearing that a mosque has been targeted. We've also heard that homes belonging to some senior Hamas officials are also being targeted right now. And the Palestinian Authority has told us that so far in the last hour or so, 18 people have been killed in these renewed Israeli airstrikes -- Anderson.
COOPER: Other explosions, say, in Gaza, the refugee camp, a hospital, at least 10 people died, a lot of them children, both Israelis and Hamas, they blame the other for what happened. What did you learn?
PENHAUL: What I did learn is that beyond the excuses, beyond the explanations of the warring sides I learned the name of one of the little boys that died today. His name is Mohammed and I walked down the alley where he lived and said to one of his little friends, a 12- year-old girl, did you know Mohammed? She said, sure, I did. I said, tell me about him. And he said, well, Mohammed, he was great at math, top of his class, and he loved Barcelona football club, he thought Messi was the best player in the world. That's Lionel Messi, the Barcelona star striker.
She said Lionel Messi, the best player in the world and an amazing striker, according to little Mohammed. Well, they brought little Mohammed's body there. His mother said her last good-byes and Mohammed was taken off for burial.
Eight children in total died down that street today along with two adults. It was the first day of the end of Ramadan, Eid holiday, and that's how it ended while the warring sides argue between themselves about who shot that round that killed these children. Nobody should have been there firing any munitions anywhere near them. And tonight over Gaza more people dying.
Let me just be quiet and I'll step out of the way so that maybe you can see a little bit more of what is going on, Anderson.
Illumination rounds coming down over central Gaza. It's a moonless night tonight that's why it's important for the Israeli military to put those rounds up in the air so that people can see what is going on and the drones are whirring overhead. Those are the ones down on the ground that are trying to spot targets and then after that is when we're hearing artillery bombardments, when we're hearing F-16 fighter jets screaming overhead and trying to hit targets.
We've had confirmation in the last few moments, the Ameen Mosque, a Hamas-run mosque, was hit, and also some of the houses of top Hamas officials, Palestinian Helpful Authority, just to reiterate, 18 people dead in about the last hour or so -- Anderson.
COOPER: Karl, I've been seeing a lot of tweets in the last hour from people in Gaza who are just saying enormous explosions. Have you felt those and how did they -- how did tonight compare to previous nights?
PENHAUL: Tonight is very different from any night that we have experienced over the last two or three weeks in that the activity is much closer to central Gaza City than it has been ever before. We haven't seen these type of illumination rounds coming down here. We've heard isolated strikes on building within Gaza City.
I'll just fall silent again. (CROSSTALK)
COOPER: So is that an illumination round behind you there?
PENHAUL: Absolutely, Anderson. That's an illumination flare and you'll hear the sound of an explosion. That's the illumination flare popping out. And then it drifts down. But following that you'll hear a bigger blast. Now the blast that really rocked the building where we are now was about an hour ago. That was a hit on the Ameen mosque, that is a Hamas-run mosque, and of course the Israeli military has accused Hamas of --
OK, well, there you go. As we were saying, illumination rounds are going in and then a strike. That appeared to be a strike from an F-16 fighter jet again. We felt the reverberations of that in the building where we are now. But we must also mention is that the air tonight is so thick with the smell of high explosives, that residue is drifting in here to the building. That is the second largest explosion, it must be said, that we have felt tonight.
The first large explosion that hit on the Ameen mosque, a Hamas-run mosque. As I was saying that those kind of mosques is what the Israeli military accuse of Hamas of using as secret weapons dumps -- Anderson.
COOPER: And I just wanted to explain to our viewers, on the left-hand side of your screen you're seeing Karl and our camera on Karl, and what Karl is seeing behind him. On the right-hand side of your screen you're seeing a different vantage point, that from Reuters, from -- is that a live shot? That's a live shot also on the right-hand side of your screen. So both of these are live shots.
Karl, when you talk about F-16 fighter jets, and I can hear some of the drones now actually over, it sounds like that very distinctive buzz is a drone sound. With the fighter jets, how precise can they be? Are those actually guided munitions?
PENHAUL: I would guess that the fighter jets have got much more precise munitions than the artillery weapons, of course in this age of laser guiding and target marking, and such like, one would think they should be more precise. We've heard from the Israeli military that they don't want to kill innocent civilians, but that plainly is not working because of the more than 1,000 people have died in this confrontation so far. More than 75 percent have been innocent civilians, that according to the United Nations.
So whatever the Israeli military has been trying to do whatever its stated intention has been, that has not been successful. Tonight as I say in the last hour or so, the Palestinian Helpful Authority reporting more than 18 people killed. We don't know how many of those are civilians and how many may have been militant fighters.
But certainly what you see those flares going up in the air, that allows the drones as you rightly say you're hearing those now, it sounds like a large lawnmower and that then permits the F-16 bombers and artillery to find a target and go and blow it up -- Anderson. COOPER: Karl, stay with us, because I also want to bring in our Wolf
Blitzer who's joining us from Jerusalem today.
You've been talking to Israeli officials tonight. What are you hearing from them about these flares, about the explosions, these large explosions people in Gaza have been experiencing?
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR, THE SITUATION ROOM: They are saying that they're going after these specific targets in and around Gaza City. And that's why they're illuminating the skies over Gaza. They want to try to be, they say, as precise as they possibly can.
The Israelis have been deeply, deeply angered as a result of what was going on during the course of today leading up to what's going on right now, Anderson. Hamas -- they started on both sides of this border relatively, relatively quietly. There was a little bit of a lull but then all of a sudden it took off. Hamas rockets and missiles started going into the southern part of Israel then the central part of Israel, in and around Tel Aviv.
But then eventually they started going all the way up, not only towards Caesarea, along the Mediterranean Coast, but even towards Haifa, approaching the Lebanese border, and the Israeli say that's strengthened their will to go after those rocket launchers, those missile launchers. And what you see now is presumably some direct Israeli action going after what they see as legitimate targets.
They say those targets are in some of those populated areas but that's because Hamas puts those targets there, and as a result they have no choice but to do what they're doing. But they acknowledge those are Israeli drones you're hearing, those are Israeli flares that you're seeing, and those are Israeli airstrikes that you're seeing as well. They're moving ahead and remember, there have been some other activities along the border with the infiltration from these tunnels. So it's been a very intense day.
COOPER: Yes, Karl, I want to go with you -- back to you. And Wolf, stay with us as well.
Again, on the left-hand side of your screen is Karl's vantage point. That's our camera. Karl just stepped out of the way on the right-hand side of the screen, a different -- a slightly different vantage point from Reuters, both again, live images I'm told.
Karl, in terms of just geography, can you explain the -- the geography of where we are looking at in terms of central Gaza City and where many of the strikes have been previously, and where they are today?
PENHAUL: Yes, absolutely. From our vantage point, Anderson, as you rightly said, I stepped out of the picture because we want to let you see what is happening in real time. This is a vantage point in Gaza City, that's north central Gaza, and this camera, our camera is now pointing south. So you're looking across a vantage point towards the south of Gaza City and down south towards the southern end of the Gaza Strip. The explosion where the Ameen Mosque is, is west of our position, so
if you look at your TV screen and look towards the right, that is where one of the large explosions has been going on. If you've got sound turned up well right now, you may be able to hear the sound those illumination flares make as they explode into the sky.
COOPER: So that's the popping sound that we've hearing?
PENHAUL: Absolutely. That is the popping sound. Because those illumination flares are being fired from the Israeli M-109 artillery guns now. They're based on the eastern border between Gaza and Israel, and they're about eight or nine miles away from where we are now, so they're being fired with force into the sky. And then as they get over their target, they make this explosion and pump out that flare will then float to the ground on a parachute allowing time for targets on the ground below to be illuminated.
That will give time also for the drones above to get a good look at what is going on down below. And they -- the image that those drones are sending back to their bases will then be used to choose targets on the ground and that is what has been happening because now after an intense period of sending up only illumination rounds the targeting for the last 45 minutes, or perhaps an hour now, has begun and we've heard airstrikes that are beginning to rock certain parts of Gaza.
And the air now that is drifting into our studio, the air that is drifting into our office, is heavy and thick with the smell of high explosives. Down on the ground as well, through the deserted -- almost deserted streets of Gaza, I can also see the occasional flashing of red lights on top of the ambulances. There have been casualties, 18 dead so far, according to Palestinian authorities -- Anderson.
COOPER: And Karl, in a situation like this, I mean, you and I discussed this last week. Hamas hasn't built bomb shelters. So there's -- where do -- do people just stay in their homes? Do they gather? I mean, we've obviously seen some people gathering at U.N. compounds, a U.N. school that was struck last week. But is there really anywhere for people to go?
PENHAUL: If you can hear me, Anderson, I have trouble listening to that question. Communications this evening have also been very tricky. I'm just trying to get communication back with you so that we can continue that conversation. But meanwhile, I'm going to let you listen in to some of the sound of what is going on.
I'm back with you now. I'm back with you. I can hear you again now -- Anderson.
COOPER: OK. Karl, the question was, you know, you and I last week talked about the lack of bomb shelters in Gaza City. They haven't been built by Hamas. So where -- is there anywhere for people to go? Are most people just kind of cowering in their homes? Do they -- I mean, obviously we've seen some situations where they've gone to a U.N. school, the place that was hit. I know the Israelis leaped to an area, telling people to move elsewhere. Is there anywhere for people to go?
PENHAUL: There is not, Anderson, and the tragic thing tonight is that earlier in the day the Israeli military was sending SMS and text messages to people in northern Gaza telling them to flee their homes there and head to safety in Gaza City. And now tonight it is Gaza City that is under attack. It seemed like some tragic joke that was played on the people of northern Gaza to come here and now find themselves under a barrage of Israeli artillery.
But there is no safe place. Just down there below 300 yards from us, a United Nations shelter. But right now people are bunkered down in their homes, they dare not move -- Anderson.
COOPER: And Wolf, you visited earlier today a tunnel, one of the tunnels that Israel has cited as one of the reasons that they have launched this operation. Explain what you saw.
BLITZER: The Israelis say it's their top priority right now, eliminating those tunnels. And they said they found about 30 of them so far. These are tunnels that go underground from Gaza into Israel. They're usually about 45 feet or so below the surface. The tunnel that I visited went from Khan Yunis in Gaza. It went about a mile and a half underground, about 45 feet underground from under Gaza, but then it crossed the border into Israel, what, about another nearly -- about a mile, let's say, under the ground in Israel.
There would have been an opening, so when I went down there I saw this -- and we're showing our viewers some pictures. It was very, very intense. The concrete was poured, was very strong and it just went on and on and on. You can walk down there, you can see the tracks at the bottom. That's where they remove the dirt and the sand that they found to build these tunnels.
This particular tunnel that I saw, the Israelis say it probably took them about two years to build this tunnel. They say the goal of Hamas is simple, to have this tunnel -- it would open up in Israel. They could go out. They could send their Hamas militants into Israel, kill Israelis or capture Israelis, kidnap a soldier or two, bring that individual back, try to work some sort of trade.
And they found a whole bunch of these tunnels and they say there are more out there and their priority right now is to destroy these tunnels. They make the point that even if there were a ceasefire, and right now it doesn't look very likely but if they were that would not halt their tunnel operation. Their desire to destroy these tunnels. That's their top priority.
COOPER: Wolf Blitzer, I appreciate it. We're going to continue to check in with you as well as Karl Penhaul on the ground in Gaza.
Coming up next, the Israeli and Palestinian views. What each side wants and why their goals could make for a long war.
Later tonight, the shootout after the hunt. An alleged sex offender cornered, killed in New York City today. That suspect tracked down after he was featured on CNN's "THE HUNT." Host John Walsh joins us shortly and we'll update you on the three lawmen who were also wounded in the gunfight.
COOPER: Breaking news tonight, certainly no sign that Gaza or Israel of what an Israeli military spokesman earlier today called a lull in fighting. Israeli forces hammering targets in Gaza. Palestinian authorities reporting at least 18 killed in recent hours. Five Israeli troops killed today alone. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu warning Israelis to prepare for a long campaign in Gaza.
And as we mentioned at the top, we have a better idea tonight of what the two sides hope to achieve the end of all these, their goals, as you might imagine, especially compatible and in some cases maybe mutually exclusive. In some respects, to underscore why this conflict has gone on so long, each side wants what neither side has been able to give in quiet times or when in war time.
First the Israeli, the view from Mark Regev, top spokesman for Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
An Israeli general, General Amos, told the "New York Times" that the Hamas tunnels were, in his words, collapsing in front of its eyes. When the tunnels are destroyed, is that the end to this operation in Gaza?
MARK REGEV, SPOKESMAN FOR ISRAELIS PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: Well, obviously we have to deal with the tunnels because they are a very real strategic threat to our country for obvious reasons. You can't have a situation where terrorists in Gaza can infiltrate your country, pop up on our side of the frontier with weapons, with explosions, and kidnap people or murder people. You can't have people in the southern part of Israel living in constant fear of, you know, a terrorist walking into their house.
So we have to deal with the tunnels. It will take a while longer but we have to not only destroy all the existing tunnels, we have to make sure that new ones aren't built.
COOPER: Well, I mean, how do you go about doing that? I mean, you -- it's one thing to destroy existing tunnels to ensure that new ones aren't built, there's no way to do that unless you have a -- maintain a permanent presence, I would think.
REGEV: Well, it's a challenge and the reason we've got to do it is because you don't want a situation where we have another Gaza war six months from now. I mean, that's -- I mean, I think everyone understands that we don't want to go through all this over again after a year -- after a year from now. And so it's important as we move out of this that we deal with the very serious and challenging issue of demilitarizing Gaza.
If cement goes to Gaza, it should be to build houses, kindergarten schools. It shouldn't be siphoned off by Hamas to build these murder tunnels. If money is going to Gaza for the people of Gaza, it should actually reach the people of Gaza, it shouldn't be siphoned off by Hamas to pay for rocket-full explosives that are fired at Israel.
In other words, I think demilitarization of Gaza has to be part of the end game agenda. And the truth is, Anderson, it's a Palestinian commitment. It's a signed Palestinian commitment that Gaza should be demilitarized and it's time the international community make sure that that commitment was implemented.
COOPER: The attacks today on the Al-Shifa Hospital and the Al-Shati Refugee Camp, the Palestinians are saying the Israeli Defense Forces are responsible for those strikes. What do you say?
REGEV: Well, it's ludicrous. In fact tonight we did a briefing in Tel Aviv and the chief of staff of the Israeli army actually brought pictures, photographs to show that this was a grab rocket that was aimed at us, they had a malfunction, it fell short, and it landed on their own people. It's not the first time we've seen this sort of thing happened where Palestinian northerners has killed Palestinian civilians. There's no doubt about that.
COOPER: Secretary of State Kerry, his latest ceasefire proposal, which included an easing of the blockade of Gaza, something that you outright rejected. We understand members of your government including the prime minister are very disappointed in that proposal. Why is that?
REGEV: You'll recall, Anderson, you probably covered the story at the time, that nine years ago we pulled out of the Gaza Strip. We took down all the settlements and we pulled back to the international frontier, the 67 alliance. And we signed an agreement through then Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. There was supposed to be, you know, gates in the fence, and we were supposed to have open trade and we were supposed to have commerce and tourism. And the idea was to have a cooperative peaceful relationship with Gaza.
When Hamas took over and started firing rockets into Israel, obviously all that changed. The people of Gaza can't come to us and say, we want a normal relationship if rockets are being fired from Gaza into Israel if they're trying to kill us. So the restrictions are a function of the violence. If the violence ends and my prime minister said that today. If we see a sustained period of quiet, of course we're willing to talk about easing restrictions.
We have got nothing against the people of Gaza, if the violence stops, many things that are today impossible will become possible.
COOPER: Mark Regev, I appreciate your time. Thank you.
REGEV: Thanks for having me.
COOPER: Well, that's the Israeli view. As for what Hamas wants and whether it's willing to accept the existence of Israel here's what exiled Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal told CBS News' Charlie Rose.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) KHALED MESHAAL, HAMAS LEADER: Translator: I'm ready to co-exist with the Jews, with the Christians or the Arabs and non-Arabs. Would also agree with my ideas and also disagree with them. However, I do not co-exist with the occupiers, with the settlers and the -- those who --
CHARLIE ROSE, CBS NEWS: It's one thing to say you want to co-exist with the Jews, it's another thing you want to co-exist with the state of Israel.
Do you want to co-exist with the state of Israel? Do you want to recognize Israel as a Jewish state?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Let's (INAUDIBLE) now in Hamas and what it wants from this fighting from Mouin Rabbani, senior fellow at the Institute for Palestine Studies.
Mister Rabbani, tactically, strategically, what does Hamas hope to achieve here? What is the end game for them in this current conflict?
MOUIN RABBANI, INSTITUTE FOR PALESTINE STUDIES: Well, I think from Hamas' perspective, this is a conflict that was initiated by Israel and is a conflict of Israel's choosing, but nevertheless they're insisting that any resolution must include a lifting of the seven-year blockade of the Gaza Strip since, for them, that's the underlying cause of these repeated Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip.
COOPER: I want to read something that you wrote. You said, "For the past year, Hamas has been in a precarious position. It had lost its headquarters in Damascus and preferential status in Iran as a result of its refusal to give open support to the Syrian regime and faced unprecedented levels of hostility from Egypt's new military ruler. The underground tunnel economy between Egypt and Gaza had been systematically dismantled by the Egyptians and for the first time since seizing control of the territory in 2007, it was no longer able regularly to pay the salaries of tens of thousands of government employees."
So, I mean, is part of this also that Hamas saw the current fight as a chance to distract attention from those realities?
RABBANI: I wouldn't say it was so much to distract attention from those realities, as to focus on those realities and insist on their resolution as part of any ceasefire arrangement that would end this current round of fighting. I mean, Hamas, I guess could have chosen to simply, you know, fold its position at the first sign of F-16s flying over the Gaza Strip. But I think they took the decision that they were not only going to stand up to this Israeli assault, but also do so in a way that would result in a lifting of the blockade in a way that they could again govern the Gaza Strip more effectively than they have been in the past year.
COOPER: And as you know, I mean, Israel says, look, we were pushed into doing this because of Hamas rockets being fired into our territory and these tunnels and no country can allow that to happen. To that you say what?
RABBANI: Well, I heard your interview with Mr. Regev, and I realized, you know, that it's his job to defend his government, even by those standards. It was an exception. It was a mere distortion of the facts. I mean, the nice thing about facts is that they're usually fairly easy to verify. And here, we have, beginning next month, a deliberate and premeditated escalation of Israeli attacks on the Palestinians, first in the West Bank.
COOPER: You're saying -- you're talking about in the wake of the kidnapping and murder of the three Israelis?
RABBANI: Yes, which Israel immediately blamed on Hamas. And for which they have to produce any evidence. And for those who know Hamas, it's an organization that's usually quick to take responsibility for its actions and even to exaggerate them. And in this instance, it's in fact denied involvement in this attack, and Israel has yet to -- has yet to provide any evidence that Hamas was responsible for these killings.
Secondly, Israel escalated quite deliberately against the Gaza Strip. Israel has in its doctrine something that it calls mowing the lawn, which consists of periodic fierce assaults against the Gaza Strip, to basically cut Hamas down to size, to reduce its military capabilities and so on. The problem with mowing the lawn is that the grass consists primarily of Palestinian civilians.
COOPER: Mr. Rabbani, I appreciate your time. Thank you for being on it.
RABBANI: Thank you.
COOPER: We should point out the Israeli government's spokesman continues to blame Hamas for the kidnapping and murder of those three Israeli teenagers. Mr. Rabbani was saying they've offered no direct evidence of that.
Over the weekend an Israeli police spokesman said that it was a lone cell affiliated with Hamas, but not under the leadership of Hamas, not taking orders to kidnap and kill those kids from Hamas directly.
The Israeli spokesman I asked him about that in the part of the interview that we didn't play said that either the police spokesman was misquoted or just simply misinformed or misspoke and that it's the position of the Israeli government. They continue to hold Hamas responsible for the kidnapping and murder of those three kids. As always, for more on the story, go to cnn.com.
Just ahead, the war zone in Eastern Ukraine, where the crash site of Flight 17 remains unsecured and unreachable because of the fighting on the ground. We'll have more coming up from Gaza and Israel ahead.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: We continue to cover the situation in Gaza City. You're seeing a live picture right now in Gaza City illumination flares that have been fired closer to Central Gaza city than we have certainly seen on previous nights. We're hearing from many of residents that the amount of explosions has been significantly more than they have heard in quite some time in Gaza City.
Those illumination flares allowing drones, Israeli drones, which you can also hear that buzz sound those are drones circling over the area looking for targets. And then the artillery is fired from the border region or from F-16 fighter jets coming in.
Tonight in Eastern Ukraine, the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is still not secured. It's been 11 full days since the plane was shot out of the sky killing everyone on board, 298 souls. One official calling it one of the biggest open crime scenes in the world, a crime scene where human remains are still uncollected.
Heavy fighting in the area is making it too dangerous for investigators to do their work. They were actually forced to turn back again today before reaching the site. I'll talk to one of the team members in a moment because we're on for -- all the way until the 10:00 hour tonight on 360.
Over the weekend, the U.S. State Department release satellite images that it said showed Russians firing into Ukraine. Today, they were unconfirmed reports from pro-Russian rebels that Ukraine's military broke through to the crash site and set up armored personnel carriers there, again, unconfirmed reports.
Nick Paton Walsh joins me now from Donetsk. So after 11 days it's remarkable there isn't any type of organized effort to search for and recover the victims of the crash. You were with those OSCE observers and large teams of investigators as they tried to get to the crash site today. What happened?
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Simply they were turned back because of the fighting, which is picking up intensely, Anderson, like you frankly couldn't have imagined as international focus turns to get that crash scene secured. We were almost too close do some of the heavy artillery that was pounding that particular area.
They went one kilometer further ahead than the separatist militants would allow us to go with them, but then were turned back. They're going to try again tomorrow, but there's a lot of Ukrainian military activity in that area. A lot of heavy weaponry being used.
COOPER: There are large numbers, though, but the most investigators, international observers, not only from OSCE, but also from the Netherlands and from Australia on the ground there right now, correct?
WALSH: Yes, there are, 40, 50 of the police, and contingent of OSCE monitors, who have been here for a while observing the conflict, they have the ability to negotiate access with the separatists, which they've been doing. And the separatists do escort them a certain amount of the way.
Because the separatists aren't talking to the Ukrainian government in an organized fashion, the cease-fire never seems to hold. As they moved toward that site today the Ukrainian government announced they were in an operation to retake key towns. Leaving some to think it's a matter of pride for Kiev to be the ones offering access for that particular crash site. We'll have to see what happens in the days ahead -- Anderson.
COOPER: Nick Paton Walsh, appreciate it. Thanks. Stay safe.
Up next, more breaking news, a wild shootout in New York City, police say a suspected sex offender refused to be arrested, opened fire, the suspect is dead. Three officers were wounded. Tips on the suspect's location came in after the case was featured on CNN's "THE HUNT" with John Walsh. That first broadcast two weeks ago. It's re-broadcast last night. The tips came in. I'll talk with John Walsh ahead.
COOPER: Welcome back. I want to take you again to Gaza City. You're seeing our CNN camera on the left, Reuters on the right. Told just a short time ago, a few minutes ago. Several large explosions, you see EMS workers rushing to the scene. Our Karl Penhaul is there. Karl, what's occurred?
KARL PENHAUL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That very large building is the building that houses the Hamas-run radio station. There are now fire trucks and ambulances down near the entrance to that building, and we've also just seen a group of people that have appeared to have been evacuated from that building or a building nearby.
That building in the last 15 minutes or so has been struck now at least three times by what appeared to be very large bombs fired by F- 16 fighter jets. That building is no more than about 500 yards from where we are now. It sent the building where we are shaking, and of course, it is close enough to send shrapnel fragments to our position, which is why we also were taking cover.
But the bombs there, at least three of them we heard within 15 minutes directed at the Hamas run radio station. That radio station was not broadcasting at the time, but there clearly were people in the building. In the last few moments, we have seen fire trucks and ambulances race to that area, and people evacuating from the base of the building -- Anderson.
COOPER: It's hard to tell from our vantage point here what we're seeing given the darkness. Is that a several multi-story building? Is that a tall building? And if so, do you know how many floors they actually uses and whether munitions were put into those floors in particular or is it a small building that was hit?
PENHAUL: No, that is a large building, one of Gaza's skyscrapers by Gaza standards, that building would have been at least 18 stories, 58 floors high. What we saw with the first bomb that was dropped on that building, appeared to hit the top of the building and for a while started the fire.
The other two explosions may have gone in the side looking from here, I would kind of concede through the dark, the dust that perhaps explosions have gone in around the 15th floor. But also it is very clear that the windows up at the top of the building have been blown out.
I also believe from the sound of the explosion and the way it echoed is that possibly those bombs or missiles have gone into the front of that building. We're looking at the rear of the building, but it's certainly no more than 500 yards away. Damage has been done there, I can see the top of one of the antennas.
It looks to have been twisted by that again, indicative that some kind of missile or explosive was dropped on the top of the building. Perhaps the other rounds going into the side. Three very large explosions there sent our building shaking as well.
We are taking cover there because we are well within the possible shrapnel field of a large explosive should it continue to hit that target -- Anderson.
COOPER: Any reports, have you seen any -- either directly or had any reports of casualties?
PENHAUL: Not immediately on that building. We did as you saw there, a live picture of ambulance crews and fire trucks racing to that scene, you caught that scene live almost as it was beginning to unfold. We didn't see people being loaded into the ambulance, but from my vantage point, I saw people crossing the street that appeared to be making their way very hastily out of the base of that building.
COOPER: Karl Penhaul continuing to keep cover. We'll continue to check in with you throughout the two-hour broadcast tonight. Much more from Gaza and Israel ahead. We're live until 10:00 p.m. Eastern tonight. We'll be right back.
COOPER: Welcome back. A shoot out in New York City and the suspected sex offender is dead. Gun fire rang out in the middle of the Greenwich Village. The fugitive was cornered after he was featured on CNN's "THE HUNT" with John Walsh. Authorities say New York Police detective and two U.S. Marshalls were wounded during the attempted arrest.
This video from affiliate WCBS shows some of the wounded officers. That gun is picked up off the ground. It's unclear if that was an officer's gun or the suspect. The dead suspect is 32-year-old Charles Mozdir, the former wedding photographer, had been on the run for more than two years, accused of sexually molesting the son of two friends in California.
Police got tips on his location after John Walsh profiled the case on July 20th and again last night. Here's that report.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My son sat me down and he said, mom, I have something to tell you. And I said what is it? He said, I don't know if I should, because he promised me I won't say anything at that moment. My heart just sunk. And he proceed to tell me that Charlie had touched him inappropriately, and how he did it. When he finished telling me, I was physically sick, and I called his father and said you need to come home right now, we need to talk.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Even though Melissa was in the same bed. Not only in the same house, the same room, but the same king sized bed. He pulled back the sheets and proceeded to play with our son's private parts, and he tried to explain to our son that it was normal what he was doing to him. That his parents were going to be upset with him if he told them. But it was normal for friends to do that. That it was normal for him to know about how to masturbate.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We both listened to the story, and we both wanted to make sure we weren't accusing one of our best friends of something so horrible --
COOPER: Horrible and sickening. The former best friend is dead, I talked about the case with John Walsh.
COOPER: John, this guy's been on the run since June of 2012.
JOHN WALSH, CNN HOST, "THE HUNT": From last Sunday night's show, the Marshall's had their mobile crime unit, which actually pulled up to the hotline and we got some terrific tips and zeroed in on Manhattan.
COOPER: It's incredible. Just remind viewers what he's accused of. It's among the worst of all things you can do to a child.
WALSH: You and I have talked so many times over the years. I think everyone knows I'm the father of a murdered child. It took 27 years to catch the serial predator, pedophile that murdered Adam and these are the guys that I hate the most. People can't seem to wrap their heads around the fact that they live among our midst.
COOPER: And they're known to families?
WALSH: This guy is alleged to have molested his college roommate's son. He was the godfather of this child. With the mother in the room. He was the guy that everybody trusted, the family trusted so much to take care of this little boy.
COOPER: The guilt she must feel called him in to help her deal with the -- one sick kid and the boy.
WALSH: Everybody trusted this guy, I say the vampires that live amongst us. The person who did this is alleged to have done this with someone they trusted. That they brought into their family. COOPER: When they went to police initially, and as soon as the wife told the husband, they went to the police. The police told them he had been accused of this previously, and he didn't show up for a court case.
WALSH: When they got into his computer, he had the addresses of several animals, he was bragging about molesting these dogs. This is the side of society no one wants to talk about. And he planned for that run. When they had the courage to go to police and started to charge him. If you're innocent, do your day in court, get in there and defend your innocence.
COOPER: John, thanks.
WALSH: Thank you, Anderson.
COOPER: The suspect is dead, the episode of the hunt that led to his arrest is going to air tonight at 11:00 p.m. Eastern here on CNN. Remarkable that already John Walsh got action.
Up next breaking news, new flares, explosions and gunfire in Gaza. The battle in our live second hour coming up.
COOPER: Good evening. Thanks for joining us for this special edition of AC360. Tonight no lull in the fighting between Israel and Hamas. That sound, what appears to be incoming artillery, you're also seeing illumination flares that have been fired over Gaza City tonight.
Flares burning overhead, there are drones in the air, F-16 fighter jets as well, targeting Hamas, controlled a mosque in some cases. Three large explosions heard at a mosque-run radio station, a short time ago. We're talking a few minutes ago. Ambulances seen -- some of the aftermath video again given the darkness, it's hard to tell.
But you're seeing the smoke coming off a very large building in downtown in Central Gaza City. Hamas for its part firing rockets into Israel today.