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New Al Qaeda Tape Surfaces; Interview With Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Aired July 27, 2006 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone.
Israel calls up tens of thousands more troops, as al Qaeda calls for jihad in south Lebanon.


ANNOUNCER: Pounding Lebanon, taking casualties -- but, more than two weeks in, Israelis want to know, why can't their army stops the rain of rockets from the north?

David and Goliath -- just a few thousand fighters taking on the toughest army in the region -- why Israel is having such a hard time with such a small enemy.

And they said they took the town.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We took total control on the city of Bint Jbail.

ANNOUNCER: But, when they got there, the terrorists were waiting -- inside the ambush that rocked this war.


ANNOUNCER: This is a special edition of "ANDERSON COOPER 360": "Crisis in the Middle East: Day 15."

Reporting tonight from the Israel-Lebanon border, here's Anderson Cooper.

COOPER: And thanks very much for joining us.

We're coming to you tonight from the border town of Kiryat Shmona, a town which saw heavy shelling from Katyusha rockets. Those Hezbollah rockets have hit this town virtually every day since this crisis began. But today was a day like no other -- more than a dozen falling in a -- in a very short amount of time. We will bring you all of that.

First, let's get you up to date, what's happening right now, the latest information, in our CNN "War Bulletin."

Israel's war cabinet meeting today, deciding against a wider war or a deeper push into Lebanon, but also calling up about 30,000 reservists, in case the fighting intensifies. Al Qaeda reared its head, a new tape from Ayman Al-Zawahri surfacing today. In it, he says Israel and its allies will pay the price globally for taking on Hezbollah. "As they attack us everywhere," he says, "we will attack them everywhere."

And casualties growing on both sides -- 405 dead in Lebanon, according to security officials, though the health ministry says it's more like 600. Israeli fatalities, meantime, now total 50.

As I said, we are coming to you from the town of Kiryat Shmona. And what we saw today here is just a small slice of what towns all along this border here in northern Israel have been seeing. Today was a particularly bad day here in Kiryat Shmona, as the rockets just rained down from the sky.


COOPER (voice-over): Smoke hangs over Kiryat Shmona. Every day, new rockets fall, new fires break out.

(on camera): Incoming Katyusha rockets have become just a -- a daily fact of life here in Kiryat Shmona. When we were driving around the town, there were a number of rockets that landed. This industrial warehouse is now on fire. The firefighters have just arrived.

There's also now this other fire which has broken out down there. Another rocket landed. That fire is burning out of control. Fire -- one truck has just arrived over there. But, you know, this is just a typical day in Kiryat Shmona.

(voice-over): The fire spreads quickly. This warehouse is filled with cardboard boxes. More firefighters arrive, just as more rockets land nearby.

(on camera): While they're still battling this blaze, another Katyusha rocket has landed about a mile or so off -- off in that direction. Emergency workers say that, in the last hour alone, there have been seven Katyusha rockets that have landed here in Kiryat Shmona. But, so far, there are no casualties.

(voice-over): At times, it's hard for emergency workers to keep track of where all the rockets are landing.

(on camera): Well, firefighters battling this blaze -- you can hear outgoing Israeli artillery fire hitting south Lebanon.

They're -- they're able to track very efficiently exactly the spot where these rockets came from. And they try, in -- in a very short amount of time, to -- to fire back and knock out the -- the Hezbollah position.

(voice-over): The two-week rain of rockets has caused businesses here to shut. There are destroyed cars on the street. The damage is clearly visible.

Talk to the town's mayor, however, and he will tell you, no matter how bad the damage gets, Hezbollah's rockets are missing their mark.

(on camera): These rockets, they're designed to -- to cause maximum damage. They're designed to -- to make people here afraid. Do they work?

"We're strong," he says. "We know that, today, the fight is about the actual existence of the state of Israel. We don't have another country. We're strong. And these rockets don't frighten us. In the end, our government will achieve its goals."


COOPER: Well, more than 150 rockets fell over northern Israel today -- that according to Israeli Defense Forces -- over the last 24 hours or so.

Behind me, you can see the scene here. This is a residential street. A -- a rocket hit about five or 10 feet away from these two cars, have completely destroyed these cars. It could have been much worse, though. There's a gas line very close by. The -- the rocket missed the gas line by, just literally, a -- a matter of feet. If it had hit that gas line, it would have been far worse.

We will show you more of this a little bit later, coming up.

A number of major developments really throughout the region, and we have the -- all areas covered tonight on 360.

Let's go now to Beirut, where two things to talk about, shelling, Israeli aerial bombardments of Beirut, and, also, that tape from Ayman Al-Zawahri, the number two-man of al Qaeda.

CNN's Nic Robertson is in Beirut.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): On the 16th day of the war, new images of suffering in south Lebanon, death at the side of the road, families forced from their homes taking shelter in a government hospital.

"I come from Bint Jbail," she says. "The Israelis leveled our house. We came out from the rubble and walked."

Into this chaos, al Qaeda's leadership is threatening to intervene.

AYMAN AL-ZAWAHRI, SECOND IN COMMAND OF AL QAEDA (through translator): We will not stand by, watching these explosives pouring down on our brothers in Gaza and Lebanon.

ROBERTSON: But, among Hezbollah supporters, this is not a welcome message.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But we don't support them at all. We don't think their statements support us, also. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here, Hezbollah is fighting just for Lebanon and for -- just for Lebanese people and our freedom.

ROBERTSON: Hezbollah characterizes its battle as a war of resistance against Israel. In the past, its leader, Hassan Nasrallah, has condemned the methods and operations of al Qaeda and its leader, Osama bin Laden.

But, as the war continues, anti-American sentiment is growing -- the accusation, that the United States and Israel are in the fight together against Lebanon.

DR. ALI FAYYAD, HEZBOLLAH CENTRAL COMMITTEE (through translator): It's the U.S., under the heading of Israel's right to self-defense, who provided the political cover for the Israeli attack on Lebanon.

ROBERTSON: A scenario that al Qaeda appears to be exploiting.

AL-ZAWAHRI: The dangerous events going on in Gaza and Lebanon are proof to any sane person that the crusader Zionist war is targeting us.

ROBERTSON: Zawahri's message is not al Qaeda's first attempt to build alliances here. In the early 1990s, Hezbollah gave al Qaeda operatives weapons and explosives training.

(on camera): More recently, in the past few years, an unpublished official security report handed to CNN concluded that there is a clearly recognizable effort by al Qaeda to recruit groups in Lebanon, particularly in the south, where it's lawless, specifically in the Palestinian refugee camp.

(voice-over): A radical Islamist CNN interviewed near Beirut this week predicts, al Qaeda's anti-American message will resonate here, as it has in Iraq, drawing in Islamist extremists from outside.

SHEIKH OMAR BAKRI, AL-MUHAJIROUN LEADER: This could be the same scenario here, where people fight against Israeli forces and everybody aligns with them. So, it is -- the scenario could happen.

ROBERTSON: A suggestion that scares many here, including this Hezbollah sympathizer.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a little scary, because it says that this matter is taken much further than it should. And the hope for people, for the war to cease very quickly.

ROBERTSON: No indication that's about to happen, in a conflict that, in recent days, has only become more intense and more dangerous.


ROBERTSON: There's another thing here that people tell us about Hezbollah and al Qaeda. They say, what is this message from al Qaeda? Only a few weeks ago, Ayman Al-Zawahri was talking about, in Iraq, killing the Sunnis -- I mean, killing the Shias. Here, Hezbollah are the Shia party. Why are they talking about an alliance with the Shias now, when they're talking, a few weeks ago, about killing them? Very strange for people here right now -- Anderson.

COOPER: Strange bedfellows, indeed.

Nic Robertson, thanks. We will check in with you very shortly, when we have our roundtable of -- of correspondents in a few moments.

Want to go right now, though, to Kabul, Afghanistan.

Our CNN terrorism analyst, Peter Bergen, is there.

Peter, what is the relationship between Hezbollah and al Qaeda?

PETER BERGEN, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: Well, as Nic indicated in his piece, I think that al Qaeda, in the early '90s, was very interested in playing footsie with Hezbollah, sent people to Hezbollah training camps in southern Lebanon.

Imad Mugniyah, who is the military commander of Hezbollah, was somebody that bin Laden wanted to model himself on, in terms of the kinds of attacks that Hezbollah was doing in Beirut. And, so, there has certainly been an historical relationship.

But the leader of Hezbollah, Nasrallah, condemned the 9/11 attacks. So, you know, it's kind of a mixed picture. They have had an historical connection. There has been a distance in recent years. Now Ayman Al-Zawahri is extending this fig leaf.

COOPER: Extending a fig leaf, and also sort of, I mean, it seems like, trying to glom on to some of the publicity that -- that Nasrallah is getting.

I mean, is -- is this just an effort of -- of al Qaeda, in some ways, to stay relevant?

BERGEN: I -- I think so, Anderson. I think that we -- you know, we fully expected this tape. We expected it now.

The kind of -- the cycle of when these tapes come out, usually, Ayman Al-Zawahri takes about two weeks to get a tape out. It almost exactly came two weeks later after the beginning of hostilities.

We're expecting now, I think, a bin Laden audiotape, not a videotape, I would say, within the next few days, because bin Laden is clearly further away from civilization, as it were, the -- the -- the places where these tapes can be transmitted. Usually, there's a time lag of three weeks before bin Laden's message gets out. I fully anticipate an audiotape from bin Laden in the next several days.

COOPER: This Zawahri tape, though, is -- is different, just visually. I mean, it looks almost as if he's in some sort of a television studio. There -- there -- there's posters behind him.


No, well, they have -- Al-Sahab, the al Qaeda video production arm, is really upping its game. In this video -- the most recent videotape, they have got pictures of al Qaeda leaders, pictures of the World Trade Center. And we have seen, over the past year or so, that they have started putting more sophisticated -- sophisticated graphics. They have started putting subtitles in different languages.

Ayman Al-Zawahri did a recent tape addressed to the Afghan people which was subtitled in -- in Dari and Pashtu, the local languages here in Afghanistan. So, this video production arm is -- is really upping its game in the last year or so.

COOPER: Does -- I mean, you -- you -- you described it as extending a -- a fig leaf. Do you actually think al Qaeda will start trying to work hand in glove with Hezbollah?

BERGEN: Unfortunately, I think it's quite possible.

As Nic indicated in his piece, there is some kind of al Qaeda presence in southern Lebanon, in the Palestinian refugee camps there. The thing that really worries me, Anderson, is that this -- this call might be a call to foreign fighters from around the jihadist world to come in, into this struggle.

It's already complicated enough. But, as we have seen in Iraq, the foreign fighters, led by al Qaeda in Iraq, had a disproportionate effect, in terms of suicide attacks and affecting the realities on the ground in Iraq. Imagine for a second that several hundred foreign fighters started coming in to this situation in -- on the Israeli- Lebanon border. That would make things even more messy than they are already.

COOPER: It -- it's interesting, also, to hear them reference Palestinians.

As -- as I read in your book "The Osama Bin Laden I Know: The Oral History of Osama bin Laden," I mean, bin Laden wasn't talking about Palestinians from the get-go.

BERGEN: Well, he -- he has always been interested in the Palestinian issue. But he -- but they weren't really involved.

You know, it was quite striking. Until 9/11, al Qaeda didn't really attack Israeli or Jewish targets. After 9/11, we have seen a lot more of those attacks from al Qaeda.

I think bin Laden has been very interested in the Palestinian issue, but he's actually done nothing about it until -- until recent years. And now, of course, they're attempting to insert themselves even more.

COOPER: A troubling development.

Peter Bergen, appreciate you joining us from -- from Kabul, Afghanistan. Here in Israel, a number of major developments to talk about -- the government calling up tens of thousands more troops for possible further ground action in south Lebanon.

We will have that, as our roundtable of correspondents gathers -- next on 360.


COOPER: We have convened our roundtable of correspondents who are deployed throughout the region.

Joining me now, John Roberts along the border. Nic Robertson is in Beirut. And John King is in Jerusalem tonight, following diplomatic efforts and other things as well.

John Roberts, let's talk about the action on the ground in south Lebanon. What do we know about how the fighting is going?

JOHN ROBERTS, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's going, and it was a better in Bint Jbail today than it was yesterday.

I spoke with one of the chief commanders of the northern command, who told me that they did manage to suppress that Hezbollah counterattack yesterday. One of the squads from the fabled Golani Brigade engaged it, while they took heavy casualties. He says they killed at least twice as many Hezbollah fighters.

But they're still bringing reinforcements up to the front. I spent most of today with a combat engineering battalion which was headed for the front. They should be going over some time in the next day or two. They were not exactly thrilled to be up there. Nobody is thrilled to be at war.

But they say, after what happened at Bint Jbail, it has changed the tone of the battle from one of being of a mission and defense of Israel, now to being very personal, Anderson, because, even though there are many people in this army, it's still a small army, and a lot of people know a lot of other people.

COOPER: And, as John pointed out, Israel calling up, not yet deploying, but calling up perhaps as many as 30,000 more reservists, in case this action continues further.

John King, following developments in Jerusalem, some developments from -- from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas about the fate of that one Israeli soldier still missing, still kidnapped in -- in Gaza. What do we know?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, an official translation of something President Abbas said raised some hopes, at least for a short time, that Corporal Gilad Shalit, who has been held now for a -- more than a month, two days more than a month, might be released.

But it turned out to be a misunderstanding. An official translation after conversations Mr. Abbas had with the Italian prime minister quoted him as saying the release of Corporal Gilad Shalit was imminent. But when others went back and listened to what Mr. Abbas said in Arabic, and went through the translation, he simply said that there were urgent discussions still under way.

And Palestinian officials are saying those discussions and negotiations do continue, but nothing at all is imminent -- so, a mixup in the translation perhaps raising hopes that the kidnapping that started all this -- remember, before the confrontation with Hezbollah and Lebanon, there was an Israeli confrontation that continues with Hamas in Gaza.

But, tonight, we are told by Palestinians, don't look for anything imminent at all -- Anderson.

COOPER: Well, hopes raised, hopes dashed on that one.

What about on the diplomatic front? I understand Condoleezza Rice is coming back to the region this weekend.

KING: Due back on Saturday, we are told. They have not officially announced that. They just say she is inclined to come. They haven't put it on her official schedule yet. But we are told she will come back.

She plans to meet with Israelis. She plans to go to Lebanon as well. She's trying to resolve the difficult issues, the obstacles they could not get over at the emergency summit yesterday in Rome. And that means, from Israel, she wants to say: If I can broker a cease-fire deal, it will require you to give back some land to Lebanon, require you to have a prisoner swap with Lebanon.

But the biggest issue remains Hezbollah. In Lebanon, she needs to lean on the Pal -- the Lebanese government -- excuse me -- to expand its authority, to enter into a dialogue with Hezbollah.

And it's quite interesting, Anderson. The United States publicly says, Hezbollah has to disarm as part of a cease-fire deal. We're hearing now, though, from U.S. officials what they want is simply to make sure that Hezbollah pulls back, promises to abide by any cease- fire, and then enters into negotiations with the Lebanese government about disarming. So, disarmament wouldn't necessarily have to be immediate.

COOPER: Nic Robertson, in Beirut, how is this Zawahri tape, this al Qaeda number-two man tape, playing in Lebanon? He's calling for jihad in -- in south Lebanon, essentially calling for foreign fighters to come fight against Israel and fight against the U.S. and its allies around the world. How is it playing?

ROBERTSON: Well, a lot of people here have been telling us that, look, there's a fundamental difference between Hezbollah today and al Qaeda today. They say Hezbollah today is -- is not all about getting a global Islamic caliphate, which is al Qaeda's sort of global mission statement, if you will. Indeed, this radical Islamist that I was talking to here just a few days ago said, you know, he doesn't even really believe in -- in -- in Hezbollah's fight. He -- he says, it isn't a jihad. When do they call -- when have they ever called for a fight in the name of God?

He said, "It's not my jihad," really meaning it's not really al Qaeda's jihad.

So, it's very interesting to see al Qaeda try and step in and usurp whatever -- whatever public sentiment there is.

Certainly, the Lebanese, on their borders, would try and stop foreign fighters coming in here. Hezbollah would likely look upon them with a great deal of suspicion, if they try to join the fight in the south of Lebanon.

But, really, people here are a bit dumbstruck by this. They're not too surprised that al Qaeda might try this tactic of -- of getting some publicity here off this issue. But they just see them, Hezbollah and al Qaeda, as being really two different things -- Anderson.

COOPER: John King, a -- a couple of countries have come forward and said that they might be willing to contribute troops. What do we know about that? Who are they?

KING: We know Italy, France, Norway and Turkey have said that they either definitely will or that they are inclined to participate in this new international force.

Because the United States says it does not plan to send troops in, the European Union agreed, in Rome, to take the lead in recruiting these troops. So, those four nations have said they are inclined to participate. Italy and France have been much more up front -- up front, saying they would participate.

But, of course, all that hinges on getting U.N. approval of this force, trying to recruit some other nations as well, and particularly setting the rules of engagement. What the United States is pushing for -- and there was general agreement on this in Rome -- is, because you're likely to still have a Hezbollah with weaponry, even if it agrees to a cease-fire -- and, remember, that still remains a big if -- this force would have -- under the current plans, anyway -- a pretty robust mandate.

It would have the rules of engagement that would allow it to engage Hezbollah guerrillas, if it encountered them.

Still a lot of negotiating to do, though, Anderson, at the United Nations Security Council. But, slowly, they are recruiting some nations to join that force.

COOPER: I know, this weekend, John Roberts, in a special edition of "CNN PRESENTS," is going to be looking at the lessons learned the last time, when the U.S. got involved in an international peacekeeping force here in Lebanon, of course, the Marine barracks bombing. That's going to be a special "CNN PRESENTS" this weekend. You will want to tune in for that.

John Roberts, John King, Nic Robertson, appreciate talking to you guys. I will talk to you also in the next hour.

When we come back: an exclusive interview with the -- the -- the Turkish prime minister about Turkey's possible willingness to send in troops on the ground in south Lebanon. Larry King talked to him.

A lot more, too, about the diplomatic efforts and the fighting on the ground -- when 360 continues, live from the border.


COOPER: And welcome back. We are live in Kiryat Shmona.

We're at the scene of where a Katyusha rocket hit earlier today, destroying two of the cars that you will see behind me. I will kind of show you this area a little bit later on.

CNN's Larry King talked to Turkey's prime minister earlier this evening about whether or not Turkey would play a role in a peacekeeping force in south Lebanon.

Here's what he said.


RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, PRIME MINISTER OF TURKEY (through translator): Turkey was invited by the United States to take on this responsibility.

Now, given the current difficult situation, of course, we feel compelled to fulfill our duty. There is -- we witness a disproportionate use of force. And, under those circumstances, we believe that the presence of a peace force, a stabilization force, will be very important.

If such a force can fulfill its duty, then a cease-fire can be achieved. And, once the cease-fire is achieved, there could be a participation, after the realization of the cease-fire by Turkey to such a force.

And my foreign minister expressed this position of Turkey at the meeting in Rome. And we hope that we will come to that point in the process as soon we all can. And I -- I hope that all the countries will take the necessary steps in order to create the conditions for a cease-fire.

And, once the cease-fire is there, we can initiate the work on the peace process. And we would be all ready to sit around a table to talk about what needs to be done for peace.

If it is an exchange of prisoners of -- prisoners of war, they have to be exchanged, and other steps have to be taken, as a result of which, we hope we will achieve peace in the region.

LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": Who -- in your opinion, who is to blame for all of this?

ERDOGAN (through translator): Well, I have to say, very clearly and very sincerely, that I don't think we're not -- we're in a position to look for who's to blame, because, if we are looking for someone to blame, we would endanger the process further, because, then, we will become more emotional.

What we have to do now is to achieve a cease-fire, and look to see how we can initiate a peace process. In other words, we would like to -- we should see the full side of the glass, which is half- empty.

In other words, if we're looking to point fingers, then we would be move -- moving towards no solution, because history will determine who's right and who's wrong, who's to blame, who's not to blame. We should leave that to history. What we have to do is to concentrate on steps that will take us towards peace.

KING: Mr. Prime Minister...

ERDOGAN (through translator): And, frankly, this is my opinion.

KING: Mr. Prime Minister, you recently lost 15 of your troops to terror attacks from Kurdish separatists from Iraq. There is domestic pressure in Turkey to take a leap out of Israel's book and attack back. The United States is concerned that this might destabilize the whole situation.

What do you do about that?

ERDOGAN (through translator): With regards to this issue, let me say the following.

Terrorism is an international scourge. And there is no religion, language, nationality, or geography to terrorism. It exists everywhere. And, as Turkey, we have -- we have been working, fighting against international terrorism. We have been part of all platforms where there has been an effort to combat terrorism. And we have provided support to all these efforts.

Our country has -- has been faced with terrorism for the last 30 years, almost. And, unfortunately, the international understanding confines itself simply to stating that the PKK is a terrorist organization, but not doing anything more.

In other words, declaring the fact that the PKK is a terrorist organization does not solve the problem. We have to have a common fight against terrorism, in the same way as that fight took place in Afghanistan and elsewhere in the world.

So right now, we have in Turkey lost 30,000 people to terrorism, unfortunately. And those acts of terrorism continue to be the case in Turkey and this continues to be a very serious problem. In three days, 15 people died here, and 15 security officers died. And now if that is the case, of course, this is a very difficult situation for us.

And as someone whose prime minister who is -- has responsibility vis-a-vis the people, I have responsible for the security of the people, of my people. And as the prime minister and as the government, we have to take whatever steps are necessary to secure the security of the people.

At the moment, these terrorists are -- it seems that these terrorists are basing themselves in Northern Iraq. They have camps. They have deployed themselves in Northern Iraq. And this is something that we have been discussing with our American friends for many years.

There is now a legitimate government in Iraq, and we have been discussing these issues with the Iraqi government. We've also discussed these issues with the transitional governments in Iraq in the past. What we are looking for is to reach a solution. We have to do this together.


COOPER: That was Turkey's prime minister, Recep Erdogan, speaking with Larry King earlier.

When we come back we're going to take a look at whether or not Israeli forces have underestimated the strength of Hezbollah. Intense fighting continues on the ground in South Lebanon as 360 continues.


COOPER: It's just past 5:30 a.m. here in Kiryat Shmona. Day 16 of this conflict is done. Day 17 is now just beginning.

I'm not sure if you can hear it. There are a number of Israeli artillery batteries in this area which have opened up fire, shelling into positions in South Lebanon. No doubt you will hear the shells ringing out over the next half hour as we proceed.

Let's get you up to date with the latest information in our CNN war bulletin. Here's what's going on. Israel says it is prepared for an extended campaign to drive Hezbollah back from its northern borders. Defense minister Amir Peretz says they both have time and the force to do it. Israel, though, is not planning to expand the campaign just yet.

Hezbollah fired more than 150 rockets into Northern Israel today, according to Israeli Defense Forces. One strike caused a major fire right here in this town at a warehouse in Kiryat Shmona.

Israeli military meanwhile concentrated its attacks on Southern Lebanese towns of Maroun al-Ras and Bint Jbeil and al-Roun (ph).

And on the other front Israel says its tanks and troops are moving out of Northern Gaza after a two-day incursion. The military says it has completed its mission. Palestinian sources says Israel's air strikes today had wounded as many as ten people.

We asked CNN's John King to look at the fighting on the ground in South Lebanon right now. The fighting that this shelling that you're hearing right now is being designed to support. To see whether or not Israeli troops have in some way underestimated the strength of Hezbollah, underestimated the resistance they're now facing.

John King reports.


JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The cease-fire not in sight and a public display of the differences blocking a diplomatic deal to end the fighting. From the European Union, a warning. It says Israel should not take the failure to reach a cease-fire deal at this week's Rome summit as a green light for military operations.

BENITA FERRERO-WALDNER, E.U. EXTERNAL RELATIONS COMMISSIONER: ... to stop because we say that never, ever a military action will bring an end to this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thank you very much, Mr. President.

KING: But at the White House, President Bush made clear he won't accept a cease-fire that doesn't deal with longer-term security issues.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Making sure there's a lasting peace. Not a fake peace, not a fake, you know, circumstances that make us all feel better and sure enough the problem arises again.

KING: Yet for all the tough U.S. rhetoric that a cease-fire mouse include disarming Hezbollah, a U.S. official involved in the talks concedes that would be a process, not something that happens overnight.

That is why the administration supports both Israel's effort to degrade Hezbollah now, and a strong mandate for the international force envisioned in any cease-fire deal, including the authority to engage Hezbollah guerrillas.

MICHAEL O'HANLON, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: That could be violent. That could involve European armies, for example, fighting against an Arab resistance group on its home territory. This is not going to be fun.

KING: The United States isn't planning to send troops, so the European Union is taking a lead recruiting role. Diplomatic sources tell CNN at least four countries are offering so far: France, Italy, Turkey and Norway.

But a cease-fire is needed first and Secretary of State Rice plans to return this weekend to discuss the major stumbling blocks with Israel and Lebanon. In the meantime, Israel's defense minister vows to press ahead with military action. AMIR PERETZ, ISRAELI DEFENSE MINISTER (through translator): The goal is to bring about a situation where Hezbollah will not threaten the state of Israel not now and not in the future.

KING: Meeting with the European delegation, Israeli deputy premier Shimon Peres claims success so far.

SHIMON PERES, ISRAELI DEPUTY PREMIER: We feel that in spite of all the propaganda that Hezbollah is losing ground.

KING: But U.S. officials tell CNN they believe Israel underestimated Hezbollah's capabilities and say Israeli officials privately concede the fight is more difficult than anticipated.

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN, FORMER DEPUTY CIA DIRECTOR: They're not amateurs. This is many respects is a far more professional organization than al Qaeda ever was or probably ever will be. So I'm not surprised.

KING: Some experts see a bit of deja vu in Southern Lebanon. Israel's powerful military learning the same painful David versus Goliath lesson the United States faces against the Iraqi insurgency.

ROBERT MALLEY, INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP: The record of invasions that try to get to the heart of a militant guerrilla organization, as opposed to conventional army, is not very good?


COOPER: John King joins me now in Jerusalem.

John, what do we know about Secretary of State Rice's agenda this weekend? She's supposed to come back to the region. What is the next step in this diplomatic effort?

KING: They haven't publicly released any agenda, not even publicly confirmed she is coming. She says she's willing to come. Her top deputies, though, Anderson, are already here meeting with Israelis, will meet with the Lebanese officials. We fully expect her to come barring some dramatic change on the ground here in the war effort.

The biggest challenge on her agenda, even though she will come to meet with the Israeli officials, the biggest challenge is truly across the border to the north in Lebanon. And it is, in a word, Hezbollah.

Can she convince the Lebanese government to take a tough stand against Hezbollah, to make clear to Hezbollah that it must agree to enter into a political dialogue? That it must not only accept a cease-fire but it must be willing to enter into a dialogue about disarming and it must also agree to let this international force come in without violence.

Those are huge questions. They are questions that were on the international agenda before this war started. The intensity and the heat about them, obviously, is much higher now that the war is under way -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right, John King in Jerusalem, covering diplomatic efforts. Thanks very much, John.

We're going to have a lot more when we come back. First, though, let's take a look at the fighting in the last 24 hours in South Lebanon. According to Israel it has been intense. Here's the raw data. Here are the numbers.

Overnight the Israeli Defense Forces said it attacked more than 90 targets in Lebanon. They included about 40 structures and locations that Israel says were being used to hide Hezbollah fighters and weapons.

Israel says since the fighting began, Hezbollah has launched more than 1,500 missiles across the boarder. They said in the last 24 hours there were about 150 rockets that landed in Northern Israel.

When we come back the battle in Bint Jbeil. A tough fight house- to-house, street by street and a deadly ambush for Israeli forces.


COOPER: A lot of other stories happening around the world in the United States. Let's get a quick check with Heidi Collins in New York -- Heidi.

COLLINS: Hi, there, Anderson.

In fact, to another war zone: 3,500 American soldiers learned today they'll be staying an extra four months in Iraq to help subdue the escalating sectarian violence in Baghdad. The troops are from an Alaska-based infantry brigade and were scheduled to come home next month. Instead they'll move from their post in Mosul to the Iraqi capital.

The Pentagon's announcement came as an insurgent attack in central Baghdad today killed at least 32 Iraqis and wounded more than 100.

After nine months of testimony, the trial of Saddam Hussein adjourned today until mid-October, when the verdicts will be announced. The final hearing ended without the former dictator in court. He and seven others have been on trial since last October for their alleged roles in the killings of more than 148 Shiite Muslims. Saddam and two other defendants are facing the death penalty.

ExxonMobil, the world's largest publicly traded oil company, today announced staggering second quarter profits of more than $10 billion. Royal Dutch Shell came close to matching that. It posted net income of more than $7 billion. The enormous profits come as gas prices in the U.S. are averaging $3 a gallon at the pump.

And just four days after winning the Tour de France American cyclist Floyd Landis facing charges of doping and the possible loss of his title. A drug test found unusually high levels of testosterone in his system after stage 17 of the race.

Landis has been suspended from his cycling team and will be dismissed if tests on a second sample confirm the results. The cyclist denies taking drugs ton enhance his performance.

Anderson, back now to you.

COOPER: Heidi, thanks very much.

We have been trying to follow what is going on on the ground in South Lebanon as much as possible. One of the problems is without the embedding process, reporters embedded with Israeli ground forces, it's very hard to get an accurate sense or an independent sense of exactly what is going on. You have to rely on Israeli Defense Forces statements, what they say is happening.

We are learning more about an ambush that took place in the town of Bint Jbeil in which nine Israeli soldiers died. At least nine, an ambush by Hezbollah fighters.

CNN's Tom Foreman takes a look.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, earlier this week the Israeli army said that they had surrounded the Hezbollah stronghold on the border called Bint Jbeil. They had the high ground above it. They've hammered Hezbollah down in here. They thought they had it under control.

So middle of the week, they sent foot patrols in on the main roads to seize the center. And they were ambushed by much stronger forces in here than they expected. How did that happen?

Well, look at these pictures and you can see what they saw. And you'll understand why.

Look at this. Stone buildings, tight alleyways, no room to bring in a tank or big armaments. You've got to go here door-to-door, one by one, house to house, to root out your enemy.

A lot of Hezbollah fighters ended up dying in here. There's no question about this. But look at the challenge for Israel. Yes, they can control the rain roads here, which we've marked in green. That's easy. Harder to control, the caves and the weapons stores and the tunnels built by Hezbollah.

And really hard to control this: the alleys and the trails and the foot paths that are around this town. Not just a few of them, but hundreds of them all around this city, all around towns throughout Southern Lebanon -- Anderson.


COOPER: Tom, thanks very much. Of course, with so much of the ground fighting designed to stop the incoming Hezbollah rockets, which have been just hitting all over Northern Israel 150 yesterday alone.

Here in the town of Kiryat Shmona, we saw a number of rockets, more than a dozen hitting us in the afternoon hours.

In this scene, a Katyusha rocket hit over there. I think you can probably see the impact zone. It was just a few feet away from a gas line, so the explosion could have been much worse. But that one rocket -- take a look at these cars, just to give you a sense of the damage that one rocket can inflict, completely destroy. Look at the shrapnel holes in this car door. This, of course, the license plate which has been completely destroyed.

If you get a close-up shot of these, small pieces of these Katyushas are filled with ball bearings, filled with scrap metal. And they just -- they can rip right through this metal. They become deadly projectiles. Obviously, if they hit a person they cause an awful lot of damage to your hearing.

So outgoing Israeli artillery shells being lobbed at rocket positions and also trying to help provide some ground cover for Israeli forces in south Lebanon. We've been hearing that all night long. There's been, actually, very heavy barrages from Kiryat Shmona, responding again to these heavy barrage yesterday of rockets coming in from Hezbollah forces.

When we come back our reporter's notebook, behind-the-scenes look at what it's like reporting this story. Stay with us.


COOPERS: We get a lot of e-mails from viewers asking us what it's like reporting a story like this, what it's like sort of behind the scenes. And to give you that perspective, we've had a photographer from Getty Images, Uri Lieberman (ph), traveling with us, taking photographs of us and the things that we come across.

He filed some of his pictures with us, and used some of my words from journal entries over the last several weeks, just to give you a sense of what it's like reporting this story. The pictures by Uri Lieberman (ph). Take a look.


COOPER: This has been a day of much activity...

(voice-over) Every place we've gone to report this story has a different feel to it. In Haifa, the war still seems far away. I mean, you hear the sirens, see the rockets landing, people die. But you don't see where the shells are coming from. They just seem to fall out of the sky.

Here in the very north of Israel, it feels much more like a front line. You can actually see where the troops are crossing the border. The fighting seems very personal: small units, guerrilla warfare.

When the soldiers come back, some smile. They wave Lebanese flags they picked up, or the yellow flag of Hezbollah. Not all the soldiers return so triumphant, of course. The fighting is tough, and the casualties are mounting.

After awhile you don't even notice the sound of shelling. Two weeks ago I couldn't tell the difference between incoming and outgoing fire. Now it seems so obvious.

Standing next to these artillery pieces when they fire, the power of it is overwhelming. A percussive blast washes over you. A shock wave of heat and dust, smoke and steel, grease and gun powder. If you're not wearing ear plugs, it's deafening.

Everywhere you look these days it seems like there's smoke, small fires constantly burning. A Katyusha hit here along the side of a road we just happened to drive by. That's the rocket still sticking out from the ground.

The mountains are on fire, as well. The Katyushas ignite forest fires that are hard to fight. It's a tough hike up these steep slopes.

When you actually see the Katyushas, they're sickeningly simple. They're filled with scrap metal and ball bearings, designed simply to maim or kill.

Today during the afternoon more than a dozen rockets fell around the town of Kiryat Shmona. A warehouse was hit. We got there just as the first rescue workers did. There were no tears, no bloodshed, just flames and water; men, Israelis, working together trying to save what they could. It's the daily struggle here.

As we stood there watching the building burn, one man pointed to the flames and shrugged. "Makes us want to fight harder," he said to me softly. "It makes us more determined to win."


COOPER: Those pictures by Uri Lieberman (ph) of Getty Images. Want to thank you him for not only his pictures but also his help with us over this last week or so.

We're starting a new series tonight on 360. It's called "Giving 360". It's about people with extraordinary kindness, and compassion, and strength, people who have responded to extraordinary events with extraordinary actions.

We begin tonight by focusing on a man who is helping children who have a parent in Iraq, or Afghanistan.


PETER TROVATO, FOUND, MSLF: Let him go, come on now. UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): When Peter Trovato was at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst he was the star hockey player. But his focus extended beyond the sports page. He was touched by stories of local children who lost a parent in combat.

TROVATO: While these kids' parents were over in Iraq or Afghanistan, I was playing hockey. So it kind of put it in perspective.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trovato decided to take action, creating the Massachusetts Soldiers Legacy Fund, a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising college tuition for children in need. If their parents' home of record at the Department of Defense was Massachusetts, they'll get money from the fund.

TROVATO: This is a list of kids.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One child on Trovato's list is Marcus, whose father, Peter Enos, was killed in Iraq in 2004. Now 2 years old, Marcus and his mother Shannon live in Texas, and while college is still years away, the security of Trovato's fund helps make Shannon and Peter's dream for their son a reality.

SHANNON ENOS, IRAQ WAR WIDOW: It gives me peace of mind to know that he will have the opportunities open to him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trovato says 51 service members from Massachusetts have died in Iraq and Afghanistan, leaving 36 children ages 2 to 17 years old, eligible for help from the fund. He's raised nearly 500,000 dollars in almost two years.

TROVATO: What we try to do is honor the sacrifice of those soldiers who are over there. And we try to honor that through their children.


COOPER: A remarkable man.

Coming up we'll have all the latest developments from the front lines here along the border and with Lebanon. Stay with us.



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