Return to Transcripts main page
ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
24 Hours under Attack
Aired July 28, 2006 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to be a special edition of 360 from here on the Israel-Lebanon border to the suburbs of Beirut, the fighting and dying continues around the clock, and so does our coverage of it. "24 Hours under Attack," a special edition of 360 starts now.
ANNOUNCER: Attack and counterattack. Crisis in the Middle East as it unfolds from daytime destruction to the dead of night. Inside Hezbollah, bombed out but not backing down. The terror group state within a state, and Anderson's chilling guided tour with the Party of God.
COOPER: There are people who are watching you and guys on motorcycles talking on cell phones who pass you by watching very closely what you're doing.
ANNOUNCER: And war trauma. Doctors saving lives and under fire. 360 M.D. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, takes us to a front line E.R.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: The rockets we've been talking so much about are filled with thousands, tens of thousands of these pellets. These pellets have gone straight through the body of the car. Imagine what they would do to the human body.
ANNOUNCER: From the Israel-Lebanon border, this is a special edition of ANDERSON COOPER 360, "24 Hours under Attack."
Here's Anderson Cooper.
COOPER: Tonight, snapshots of war. Moments that reveal how this war is being fought and felt on both sides of this border and around the world, moments that have happened around the clock over the last two weeks.
We start at midnight here on the Lebanon-Israel border where Israeli artillery units are pounding Hezbollah positions in the south. It's the leading edge of Israel's campaign to crush Hezbollah, just a few dozen men and six artillery pieces.
COOPER (voice-over): In the dead of night, an Israeli artillery unit prepares to fire shells into south Lebanon. When we first visited this unit and talked with its commander, Captain Boaz, the current crisis was just three days old. CAPTAIN BOAZ, ISRAELI DEFENSE FORCES: It's been a long three days.
COOPER: Large numbers of Israeli ground troops had not entered south Lebanon and Captain Boaz was targeting Katyusha rocket positions.
BOAZ: And every time that Hezbollah engages fire, we have to respond. So they give us like a target point.
COOPER (on camera): So your command sees where the Hezbollah rocket comes from and then you try to respond on that spot?
COOPER: The shelling went on all night long. Captain Boaz just received a call moments ago to fire on a position in Lebanon. They're now trying to get the exact coordinates. They're plotting it on their map. And then they'll give the command here to actually fire.
BOAZ: I just want to see our guys come home. We have three kidnapped soldiers, one in the Gaza Strip, two in the north. We just want to see them come back home. I mean, nobody wants war. We want to just live in peace and quiet.
COOPER: Today there's anything but peace and quiet. Captain Boaz and his men are in the exact same spot, though their mission has only gotten more complicated.
(On camera): It's been firing shells pretty consistently now for the last hour. What they're trying to do is not only target Hezbollah rocket positions on the ground in south Lebanon, they're also trying to provide air cover for Israeli troops fighting Hezbollah. As the fighting continues to intensify on the ground in south Lebanon, so does the work for these Israeli artillery crews.
(Voice-over): In between the shelling, Captain Boaz checks on his men. There are always more shells to arm, artillery pieces to clean. Some soldiers sneak in a smoke, a few minutes of talk, and there are more targets to attack.
(On camera): Each Israeli artillery -- exactly what they're firing at. Their commander knows. He passes the order down to them. The whole process just takes a matter of moments.
(Voice-over): Each soldier in this unit is very aware of the difficult battle being fought just a few miles from here. Each soldier is aware they'll not be going home any time soon. After two weeks of fighting, Captain Boaz is realistic, but more determined than ever to win.
BOAZ: It would be stupid and presumptuous to say that it's going easy and we're doing great and everything is cool, because it's not. And Hezbollah is a really tough enemy. But we're a strong army. And we're going to do whatever it takes.
COOPER (on camera): Sadly, there's no beginning or end to the work day in Lebanon's hospitals, just hour after hour of pain.
At 10 a.m., in Tyre in south Lebanon, CNN's Karl Penhaul saw what civilians are going through, civilians caught in the crossfire of this war, whether they support Hezbollah or not. We want to warn you, some of the images you're about to see are very graphic, but they're also very real.
KARL PENHAUL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Asad Habas's (ph) life is ebbing away. His left leg is almost ripped from his body, shrapnel has seared his brain.
Doctors say Habas (ph) was in his car about three miles away from here trying to flee the ongoing Israeli assault when a bomb dropped from the sky. His doctors battle to save him. Habas (ph) mutters softly, yella (ph), Arabic for quickly. With that, doctors race him into the operating room. The door swings shut as they work at fever pitch.
I head to the first floor to see other civilian casualties. 13- year-old Zainab Haider's young body is pockmarked with shrapnel from what she says was an Israeli bomb. Like many of those wounded, she says she was just trying to find a safe haven.
Zainab Haider, BOMB VICTIM: They bombed the cars in front of another car and we got down from the car and went to the -- I mean, the -- we sat under the trees.
PENHAUL: Zainab, cannot understand why help is not arriving. She has a message to the world from south Lebanon.
HAIDER: Tell them to stop this right now because there is -- not everybody is terrorists. And -- and it's not our fault.
PENHAUL: Doctor Ali Tohme adds up the casualties from bombs.
DR. ALI TOHME, TYRE HOSPITAL: In the last 24, 48 hours, we have received about 16 to 20 were killed and more than 40 were injured.
PENHAUL: I go to check back on Asad Habas's. His surgeon, Mahmoud Ataya, blurts out the bad news.
DR. MAHMOUD ATAYA, SURGEON: We tried our best, but he give away. He died.
PENHAUL: Dead at 45 years old, another life wasted in this vicious cross-border war.
Karl Penhaul, CNN, Tyre, south Lebanon.
COOPER: It's late morning, 11 a.m., and hospitals in northern Israel are beginning to fill up as doctors are risking their own lives to try to treat others, as 360 M.D. Sanjay Gupta found out firsthand.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Rambam Hospital, the largest hospital in northern Israel. Now for the first time ever, in the target zone. Doctors under fire. (On camera): We're in the operating room suite at Rambam Hospital. I want to show you something that has really not been seen before. Doctors who are actually operating under situations of conflict. While under attack themselves, they're responsible for saving others' lives.
(Voice-over): There is a calmness here as Dr. Tony Karam operates. A few floors above, gurneys and ambulances waiting. Today they will all get used.
A loud thud and an explosion. Close. Too close. And then an increasingly familiar routine.
(On camera): You really get a sense of what's happen now here. You saw the ambulances take off after that thud, not even 100 meters away probably here. It is total pandemonium here, but everyone is getting ready. They're getting their gloves on, they're getting their garb on. They're waiting for any traumas that might actually come into the hospital. This is where they'll come from this particular area.
(Voice-over): Within minutes, patients come pouring in, all of them civilians. Hard to say how badly wounded, but bloodied, banged up and certainly terrorized. Suddenly all those sirens and thuds come to life.
(On camera): Just to give you a sense here, you get the sense that there's been a lot of shrapnel injury here, probably some glass injury as well. Obviously a lot of bleeding here from the shrapnel.
(Voice-over): Many of the injuries come from these vicious ball bearings packed into the rockets. I saw them firsthand.
(On camera): Take a look at these pellets. The rockets we've been talking so much about are filled with thousands, tens of thousands of these pellets. I want to give you an idea of how much damage they can do. Take a look at this car. This is close to the blast site. Look at these pelts have gone straight through the body of the car, shattered out all these windows, through the car seat as well. This car has been completely devastated by these ball bearings. Imagine what they do to the human body.
(Voice-over): Today, no one dies from the missile strike. Quickly, breathing tubes are placed and the blood is replenished. Patients stabilized.
Rambam is one of the finest trauma centers anywhere in the world. Still, I saw it in Beirut and now here in Haifa. Hospitals are not immune in this war.
(On camera): We used to think that hospitals and ambulances and health care workers should be given some immunity from the war. But it doesn't appear the case this time around.
DR. TONY KARAM, VASCULAR SURGEON, RAMBAM HOSPITAL: Actually, it doesn't. You know, my daughter asked me some days ago when she was crying when the sirens went on, she asked me why did I continue to go to work. I told her that it was accepted usually in the whole world that no one sends rockets to hospitals. So I will be safe here, even safer than any other places. But it seems it's not the case anymore.
GUPTA: And as the operation continues, this is just another day in the life of Rambam Hospital.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, Haifa.
COOPER: Mid-day brings a new wave of Hezbollah rockets crashing into northern Israel. Sometimes there's a siren. But always, after the explosions, there's a desperate rush to the scene as emergency workers and reporters try to find out what happened.
(Voice-over): In Haifa, chasing Hezbollah's rockets has become a daily routine. This (UNINTELLIGIBLE) explosion occurred.
(On camera): It's in the port area in downtown Haifa. You can see it from the hotel. We're now just racing there. We're not sure of the exact location, but we're driving as fast as we can to get there to see what impact it has. I can already see some soldiers running. We'll see what happens.
(Voice-over): After a rocket lands, reporters and police all converge on the scene. There are moments of chaos, but it is surprisingly controlled.
(On camera): The Israelis obviously have a lot of experience with these kind of situations. They immediately cordon off the entire area. They push the press back. If there are not any casualties involved they really try to get it investigated and cleaned up as quickly as possible.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please, please, the sidewalk. Thank you.
COOPER (voice-over): This rocket attack struck the roof of a closed courthouse building. There's some shattered glass visible, but no casualties. There is relief, but suddenly the air raid sirens start sounding again. There's now another siren just gone off. Everybody is traveling from the scene so we're going to try to figure out where we should go.
(On camera): Everyone runs for cover against a nearby building, not sure where the next rockets would land. We've heard several explosions now, dull thuds. The ground hasn't shook, so it doesn't sound like they were that close, but we're just going to have to wait and see. As soon as the air raid siren stops, we'll see what happened.
(Voice-over): As soon as police give the all-clear, we run to our van and head out to see where the new round of rockets fell. This time it's a residential neighborhood that's been hit. On the way, we make sure to put on our flak jackets. Hezbollah says they don't target civilians, but their rockets are inaccurate. And the truth is, they can't control where the missiles will land. (On camera): The police are saying there may be a gas leak here. This is the building that was hit right over there. There's still smoke. I see some stretchers, but there's no signs of people that have actually been killed or injured.
(Voice-over): As we get closer, we see there were people inside the building when the rocket hit. An elderly lady stunned, scared, is carried out and taken away on a stretcher.
(On camera): Firefighters have arrived now on the scene. A small fire has broken out on the second floor of this residence. They're trying to deal with the fire so they can continue searching the complex to see if there are any more people trapped inside.
(Voice-over): In the end, three people were removed from this apartment building. No one, however, was killed. It could have been much worse. There has already been so much blood shed on either side of this border. Tomorrow it's likely there will be still more.
Noon comes and goes. When "24 Hours under Attack" continues, we take you to the heart of Hezbollah-controlled territory. A Beirut neighborhood that is the center of the bull's eye for Israeli bombers, a place where Hezbollah is still firmly in control.
Plus, life underground. What it's like hunkering down in a shelter as rockets and bombs tear your town to shreds. We'll be right back.
COOPER: Welcome back to this special edition of 360, "24 Hours under Attack."
By 12:30 in the afternoon, Beirut used to be a very busy, bustling city. Now it's shocking to see how much the city has changed.
We landed in Beirut on an LZ in the U.S. Embassy. It was like something out of a movie, snipers on nearby buildings, lines of Americans waiting to get out. You could see the anxiety on everyone's face. A lot of people were leaving family members behind. No one could believe how quickly things here had fallen apart.
It's terrible what's happening here, but the strange thing is, you don't feel the war everywhere in Beirut. Downtown the hotels are open. You check in like normal. There's room service, Internet connections. It's not as if the whole place has collapsed.
At times you feel disconnected from what's really happening here. You hear the shells landing. You turn to look. There's a distant flash in the night sky, a plume of smoke, maybe the ground shakes, the windows vibrate. But you don't often see the impact, not right away.
On Arab TV, the story is civilian deaths, crying children, Israeli tanks. There's blood shed on both sides of the border. There's plenty of suffering to go around. It all depends on where you point your camera.
We've been moving around a lot, trying to see this war from different angles. In Israel, running from Hezbollah rockets, the adrenaline pulses through your veins. There's fear and anger, emotions have hardened into resolve.
In Beirut civilians are caught in the middle. Even those who don't support Hezbollah end up paying a price. Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced from their homes. Many like these people are now sleeping in public parks, waiting for the fighting to stop.
We went to Hezbollah territory, south Beirut. It's really a separate state unto itself. We couldn't walk around freely. Hezbollah guides on motor bikes would yell at us if we pointed our cameras at things they didn't want us to photograph. This family said they were spending the night in the basement of their apartment building. They were Hezbollah supporters and slept under a picture of Hezbollah's leader, Hassan Nasrallah. They're poor. Hezbollah gives them help, gives them a sense of pride, a feeling of power. They don't want Hezbollah to disarm.
The lines here are so deeply drawn, the positions so entrenched, it's different world views, different objectives. For one side to win, the other has to lose. There's little room, it seems, for common ground.
(On camera): I keep thinking back to last year in March 2005. We were here in Beirut. Pro democracy demonstrations swept the country. A million Lebanese filled this square, calling for Syria to get out. There was so much hope here, so much optimism. A democracy was being born. Now Martyrs' Square is empty. The future is unclear.
When the fighting stops, this city, this country, these people have to decide what they want it to be, which direction to move toward. Right now, it seems, everything is just standing still.
Nic Robertson joins me now from Beirut.
Nic, you were one of the first correspondents to arrive in Beirut after this crisis began. What was your first impression?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It was eerie. The streets were completely empty when I drove down from the border from the main highway from Damascus, the driver who was taking me drove at a really high speed, 100 miles an hour in places coming down the mountain site. I thought he was overreacting. But within half an hour of me getting into the city of Beirut here, we heard that the road we just traveled down had been shelled. The airport had been shelled earlier in the day. And really that brought it home to me that the battle really was on. The streets were deserted in this city. And that's the way it remained for several days -- Anderson.
COOPER: Nic, the U.S. has refused to call for an immediate cease-fire. That has angered many in the Muslim world, and particularly many Lebanese officials. What is their impression right now of U.S. efforts?
ROBERTSON: The general impression here is that the power lies in the hands of the U.S. If they want to pressure Israel into moving towards an immediate cease-fire, they are the ones, the only ones who are capable of doing it. And the impression among a lot of people here is -- and this is an impression that's being spread by the Hezbollah as well, that the United States and Israel are in this together. They feel that they're under pressure, threat, an attack from Israel. They see that as coming from the United States as well.
And there's a lot of dismay and displeasure and anger being expressed at the United States over this situation right now and over the continuation of the bombardments here. They don't see it as just being Israel. They believe the United States can stop Israel.
COOPER: Is there any anger being directed towards Hezbollah? There's been much made, of course, of civilian casualties in Lebanon. The Israeli Defense Forces say, well, look, Hezbollah has their infrastructures, has their leaders in positions, their bunkers in residential communities in south Lebanon and particularly in south Beirut where you are. Does Hezbollah take any responsibility for that?
ROBERTSON: Well, you'll certainly find people in the Christian community and in the Sunni Muslim community here ready to criticize Hezbollah. But they will do it in muted terms. They don't particularly want to do it publicly. They think Hezbollah should be disarmed. They say that they're still a necessary political -- part of the political process here because they represent the Shia population.
But what sort of overrides and trumps any anger they see and any anger they have with Hezbollah for raining these attacks in on the country is muted and trumped, if you will, by an anger at Israel for attacking Lebanon. The Lebanon now, and the Lebanese want to be united in the face of these attacks. And that's where they're putting -- that's sort of where they're staking their positions right now on unity, rather than anger at Hezbollah. None of them will say let's deal with Hezbollah afterwards and what they've done with the country. Right now we're under attack. We stay united.
COOPER: Nic, thanks very much. Appreciate your perspective.
In Beirut, the hardest place to be normal is in the southern suburbs. That's territory both protected and controlled by Hezbollah, which also makes it a primary target for Israel.
Next on "24 Hours under Attack," we take you deep into the heart of Hezbollah territory.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Gary Tuchman. More of our 360 special, "24 Hours under Attack" in a moment, but first the headlines at this hour. A threat to strike deeper inside Israel. Hezbollah fired a new type of rocket with four times the power and range of its trademark Katyushas. At least three of the supped-up weapons crashed into empty fields outside Afula, which is south of Haifa. No one was injured. In a statement, Hezbollah said the strikes signal a new stage of fighting.
As the battle between Israel and Hezbollah intensified on day 17, President Bush announced that he's sending his top diplomat, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, back to the region this weekend for a second attempt at ending the crisis.
At a news conference with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Mr. Bush said an international force should be sent quickly to southern Lebanon to secure shipments of humanitarian aid. Mr. Blair said a U.N. resolution was needed as soon as possible to end the fighting.
Also today the Bush administration spelled out its plans to sell nearly $5 billion of arms to moderate Arab states. The sales would include battle tanks and apache helicopters to Saudi Arabia and Blackhawk helicopter gunships to the United Arab Emirates. Jordan and Amman are also on the list.
Those are the headlines.
"24 Hours under Attack," continues in a moment.
COOPER: Welcome back to this special edition of 360, "24 Hours under Attack." It's 1 p.m. in the afternoon. And we got a chance to go to the heart of Hezbollah-controlled territory in Beirut, an area known as Dahia, in the southern suburbs of Beirut. Hezbollah is still firmly in control there. And that makes it still a prime target for Israeli bombers.
(Voice-over): Drive into southern Beirut and you quickly discover another city entirely. A heavily bombed state within a state, beyond the control of the Lebanese government.
This is Hezbollah territory. Along the road posted like billboards, pictures of so-called martyrs, Hezbollah fighters who died battling Israel.
(On camera): You can drive around. It doesn't seem like there's anyone around. And all of a sudden your eyes -- it's almost like adjusting to the darkness. Suddenly you realize there are people who are watching you, guys on motorcycles talking on cell phones who pass you by, watching very closely what you're doing.
(Voice-over): Tension in this neighborhood is high. Many here are convinced Israel is sending in agents to help guide their aerial attacks.
(On camera): We're not allowed to enter Hezbollah territory really without their permission. They control this whole area even after the sustained Israeli bombing campaign. We arranged with a Hezbollah representative to get permission to come here. We've been told to pull over to the side of the road and just wait.
(Voice-over): We'd come to get a look at the damage and had hoped to talk with a Hezbollah representative. Instead, we found ourselves with other foreign reporters taken on a guided tour by Hezbollah. Young men on motor scooters followed our every movement. They only allowed us to videotape certain streets, certain movements.
Once, when they thought we had videotaped them, they asked us to erase the tape.
These men are called al-Shabab, Hezbollah volunteers who are the organization's eyes and ears. (On camera): Look over there. You can still see their CDs on the wall still. Hezbollah representatives are with us now, but don't want to be photographed will say -- will point to something like that and say, well, look, this is a store. The civilians lived in this building. It's a residential complex. And while that may be true, what the Israelis will say is that Hezbollah has their offices, their leadership has offices in bunkers even in residential neighborhoods. And if you're trying to knock out the Hezbollah leadership with air strikes, it's very difficult to do that without killing civilians.
As bad as this damage is, it certainly could have been much worse in terms of civilian casualties. Before they started heavily bombing this area, Israeli war planes did drop leaflets in this area, telling people to get out.
The civilian death toll, though, has angered many Lebanese. Even those who do not support Hezbollah are outraged by the pictures they've seen on television of civilian casualties.
(Voice-over): Civilian casualties are clearly what Hezbollah wants foreign reporters to focus on. It keeps the attention off them and questions why Hezbollah should still be allowed to have weapons when all the other militias in Lebanon have already disarmed.
After letting us take pictures of a few damaged buildings, they take us to another location where their ambulance is waiting.
(On camera): This is a highly orchestrated Hezbollah media event. When we got here, all the ambulances were lined up. We were allowed a few minutes to talk to the ambulance drivers. And then one by one they've been told to turn on their sirens and zoom off so that all the photographers here can get shots of ambulances rushing off to treat civilians. That's the story that Hezbollah wants people to know about.
(Voice-over): These ambulances aren't responding to any new bombings. The sirens are strictly for effect.
When a man in a nearby building is prompted to play Hezbollah resistance songs on his stereo, we decide it's time to go.
Hezbollah may not be terribly subtle about spinning a story, but it is telling perhaps that they try. Even after all this bombing, Hezbollah is still organized enough to have a public relations strategy, still in control enough to try and get its message out.
CNN's Michael Ware is in Beirut. He's been working his sources, focusing on Hezbollah, their power, their tactics, what they want out of this conflict.
Michael, as we join you now, you can hear probably behind me Israeli artillery units lobbing shells into south Lebanon. They've been putting an awful lot of explosives, munitions into south Lebanon. They've been attacking from the air. There are Israeli ground troops on the ground now. They say they've been able to dismantle about 50 percent of the military capabilities of Hezbollah, but the rockets keep coming into northern Israel. Why is that? Why haven't they been able to stop those rockets?
MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, I mean, from here on the ground in Lebanon, from -- the more I see, the more I hear, the less that claim by the Israeli Defense Force seems real. There seems to be no obvious attrition so far of Hezbollah's capability. I mean, even their opponents here in Lebanon can see that they are an impressive outfit politically, socially and militarily. These guys are dug in, prepared, and they have been getting ready for this battle for at least six years.
So this is a tall order that the Israelis have set for themselves. And they've only been given a certain window by the international community.
So while America here is viewed as having given them a blank check to do what has to be done, it seems that the rest of the world is only giving them a certain amount of time to cash in that check. And, to be honest, given Hezbollah's apparent strengths, it seems unlikely that they're going to be able to dismantle Hezbollah in the time available.
COOPER: Especially if Syria and Iran are continually able to replenish Hezbollah's stockpiles. How are they able to do that? Are they able to do that? And is there any way to stop that?
WARE: I think without a shadow of a doubt, Anderson, that Hezbollah's state sponsors will continue to maintain the supply of material, financial support and even advice and expertise in the field.
COOPER: Also, will these guys ever really give up their weapons? If Hezbollah disarms, then they're just another political party. They have already a political role in Lebanon and they have territory they control in south Beirut. But do they -- I mean, do they have any incentive to actually give up their weapons?
WARE: Look, Anderson, none whatsoever. Hezbollah has proven itself to be the most powerful non-state actor in the region. There's simply no interest for Hezbollah to give up its weapons. It's got a multitrack strategy -- political and military among others. I mean, they go hand in hand. There really is no incentive for them to demilitarize. I mean, what would be the point for them? No one is offering them the right incentives.
And, really, in many ways, Lebanon itself has a very weak, if not failed state, has very limited interest in seeing Hezbollah give up its weapons. Senior Lebanese army officials will say, as defense analysts here on the ground will tell you, Lebanon relies on Hezbollah for the defense of its soils. Its own army is incapable of going toe- to-toe with the Israelis. The only ones who have a proven track record of defending this country are Hezbollah.
So, really, it doesn't seem that there's any immediate path to demilitarizing Hezbollah.
COOPER: Interesting. Lebanon relies on Hezbollah. And for other reasons, Syria and Iran does as well, in other ways.
Michael Ware, appreciate your perspective. Thank you, Michael.
Many people on both sides of this border have something in common. These days, a lot of them are spending long hours underground, hiding in bomb shelters or in basements. Could you spend two or 10 or more days in a bomb shelter like this? Stay tuned.
COOPER: Welcome back to this special edition of 360, "24 Hours under Attack."
At 3 p.m. in northern Israel when the rockets are falling from the sky, life moves underground, literally. People there can maybe escape the violence in their bomb shelters, but they can't necessarily escape the differences which have led to this conflict.
CNN's John Vause reports.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): You can hear the panic in her voice. There are more Katyushas, this woman yells, as she calls everyone inside the bomb shelter.
Safe below ground, they wait. Wait for the explosions above, wait for the all clear which never seems to come because the Hezbollah rockets never seem to stop.
Once inside, Dahlia (ph), a mother of three, tells me she's terrified. So too is everyone else. This is the debris from an earlier missile strike, she says, which landed just outside the bunker.
We're stuck underground and this is not healthy, she says. We support the prime minister and the Israeli military but we want to be evacuated. The Lebanese were evacuated. We want to be as well.
The days are long and tense. The nights are worse, they say. The electricity cuts in and out. This is the biggest bomb shelter in Nahariya, a northern Israeli town which has been hit by dozens of Katyusha rockets. Here Israeli Jews and Arabs seek cover together. Tempers are frayed. Heated arguments follow. The Israeli-Arab woman on the right accuses the Jewish woman of celebrating when Arabs are killed. The Jewish woman yells back, how can you say that when we give you shelter.
Here the Jews support the Israeli offensive. The Arabs want a cease-fire.
We don't want Israel striking Lebanon or Lebanon hitting Israel, says Fyka Sawad (ph), an Israeli-Arab. I'm scared, she tells me. It's not easy in this bunker.
(On camera): This bunker is about 20 feet underground. It's incredibly hot and the air is thick and stale. It seems difficult to breathe. And the people here have been living like this for almost two weeks now.
(Voice-over): It's hardest on the children. They're bored. Some are too young to understand.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They don't go to the schools, they don't go to play. Of course the children are not used to it. And sometimes I cry when they heard the bomb.
VAUSE: Here they cook meals, watch television for the latest news, and wait. Wait for either a cease-fire, or more rockets.
John Vause, CNN, Nahariya, northern Israel.
At 5 p.m., on the other side of the border, in south Lebanon, it is the same story for people there. Trying to escape the violence, not always successful.
CNN's Karl Penhaul reports.
PENHAUL (voice-over): Families huddle in this makeshift bomb shelter. The TV shows the latest on the fight for southern Lebanon. Their own lives frozen in time. It's just too dangerous to step outside.
ALI ATIA, FISHERMAN: I am afraid. I can lose my family here. Because I am afraid of the bomb. I hope if they can stop the war.
PENHAUL: Atia, a fisherman fled two blocks from his home to shelter in this basement of an apartment building with his wife and eight children. Seven families are holed up here, 40 people in total, yet no toilets, no running water. When I met them, they'd already been underground nine days.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not well at -- no eat, no sleeping and floor -- dirt -- everything dirty.
PENHAUL: Dirty may be, but probably safer than their own homes while Israel is running around the clock air strikes.
I feel so frightened at the sound of bombs in the air strikes. I want peace. I want the war to stop, she says. If they look through the window of their bunker, these families can see the remnants of more peaceful times, like when they were free to hang the laundry out to dry.
But the view down the street is different now. A mile and a half away, you see this. Israeli war planes pound Tyre's suburbs.
Hospital Cook Mona Bahine (ph) says she blames Israel and America for the destruction. She says Hezbollah fighters are heroes.
If Hezbollah was not here, then Israel would destroy us. Hezbollah protects us here in Lebanon, she says.
For now at least, there's still electricity to power the fans and those brave enough can still buy canned food from a few corner stores that remain open.
Carpenter Ahmed Naim tries to stay patient smoking his water pipe and daydreaming of home comforts.
I hope the war will stop and I can go home to sleep in my own bed, he says.
It's not that he's grown weary of his companions. He just wants to get on with his life, far from the fury of war.
Karl Penhaul, CNN, Tyre, south Lebanon.
COOPER: Not everyone who has been getting out of Lebanon has been lucky enough to catch a boat or a helicopter to Cyprus.
When we come back, making the run for the Syrian border, a perilous journey.
COOPER: As night falls, thousands of Lebanese civilians have nowhere to go and nowhere to sleep. Israel's army has told them to get out of south Lebanon, to get out of Hezbollah-controlled territory. Many families during the night try to make a perilous journey to the Syrian border.
CNN's Aneesh Raman has their story.
ANEESH RAMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The refugees just keep coming. Hundreds of thousands from Lebanon so far -- 40,000 today alone.
(On camera): This is the scene at the border crossing between Lebanon and Syria. There are hundreds of cars backed up, thousands of people trying to flee the violence. Many of them now have nowhere to go.
(Voice-over): The first sight they see, the flags of Hezbollah, the same flags many saw in Lebanon as they fled. Here I board a bus with a Lebanese family of 11 for the right to Damascus. We escaped our village in southern Lebanon, says Samira (ph). They attacked us with rockets and they attacked the bridge. I saw a pickup filled with women and children driving on the bridge attacked. I pulled seven people by my hands and I took them to the hospital.
Samira's (ph) family for the past few days saw people killed as they fled, but yesterday when two houses near theirs were destroyed by a bomb, they knew it was time to go.
The whole world is watching, Samira (ph) says. Where are the Arab countries? In front of their eyes, they can see people dying, the destruction. Where are the Arab leaders?
She wants those Arab leaders to secure the peace in Lebanon or to attack Israel. Her family has long supported Hezbollah and its war on Israel.
But for now do you know where you'll be sleeping tonight now that you've come here?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. No.
RAMAN: A half hour later, they hope to get an answer at this just-created refugee center in Damascus. Here we meet Rola (ph), whose daughter is crying for water. She hasn't had any for five hours. They head inside this gym as Rola (ph) tells us her children will inherit this battle.
I didn't escape, she tells me. I came to save my children, to see them grow up. And then I will send them back to fight Israel.
And as they continue to enter here, refugees stranded in this gym, their support for Hezbollah grows stronger, as does their anger towards Israel. Here they see no peace at hand.
Aneesh Raman, CNN, Damascus.
COOPER: When this special edition of 360, "24 Hours under Attack" continues I'll be joined by CNN's Christiane Amanpour and Brent Sadler. They both covered war in this region for many years. They're going to help us understand why this long smoldering conflict ignited into a firestorm. Next.
COOPER: Welcome back to "24 Hours under Attack."
I'm joined now by CNN's Christiane Amanpour in Jerusalem and Brent Sadler in Beirut. Thanks for joining me.
Brent, you've covered so many conflicts over the years. How is this one different?
BRENT SADLER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's different, Anderson, because, this, again is Hezbollah fighting the major military power of the region, Israel. Not in a fixed position, but simply as a guerrilla force, well trained, well equipped over the past six years, since Israel withdrew its forces from south Lebanon, holding up really and advancing to south Lebanon of Israel's military might.
COOPER: How tough has the fighting been, Brent? How tough is Hezbollah as a force?
SADLER: Since Israel withdrew its forces from south Lebanon some six years ago, Hezbollah's had the time to build up a powerful arsenal of Katyusha rockets to attack Israel. This has been like a volcano waiting to erupt sooner or later. Rockets that may have the range to one day be fired and hit Tel Aviv.
COOPER: We should just remind our viewers we're coming to you from the border between Israel and Lebanon. We're at an Israeli artillery unit position. And that's the firing you hear behind me. So don't get distracted by that. It may get quite loud while we continue this conversation.
Christiane Amanpour, in Jerusalem, what was it exactly that brought us to this point? I mean, was it just the kidnapping of these two Israeli soldiers along this border or was that just the tipping point?
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think this is such an interesting point. It was the capture of the two Israeli soldiers and the killing of the others who are in that same unit. But what's so interesting is that this week Hezbollah has said that it did not expect the Israeli response to be so intense.
And you can hear it from where you are and you can hear it in the air by the fighter jets and bombers that are dropping their bombs.
Hezbollah, according to the deputy commander of its pilot bureau, expected Israel to just to go and perhaps capture some Hezbollah leaders and then they would negotiate for a release of prisoners.
And Israel, with the United States' green light, has taken this not just to change the balance of power in Lebanon right now and push Hezbollah back, but to make a real big point of deterrents and its deterrent capability and to do what the U.S. wants to do, which is to basically, you know, fight the war on terror. And that battleground is Lebanon.
COOPER: Brent, do Lebanese leaders want the U.S. to call for an immediate cease-fire? How is that going to affect the perception of the U.S., not only in Lebanon but throughout the Middle East?
SADLER: Well, a perception of the U.S. and Lebanon has been that the U.S. has consistently supported Israel's intentions and Israel's policies in this region.
Look at Hezbollah as the star pupil of Iran, the close ally of Syria. The self-proclaimed defender of Lebanon. The liberator of Arab lands. This has been a multi-dimensional Hezbollah strategy that many Lebanese not in the Hezbollah camp understood would lead them into another major conflagration with Israel sooner or later, especially since the 9/11 attacks on America and especially with the pressure on Iran not to go nuclear.
COOPER: Christiane, can there be a solution to all of this? And we're talking about Hezbollah, that's the player we see. The players we don't see, Iran and Syria. Can there be a solution to what's going on here without involving at the very least Syria?
AMANPOUR: well, everybody pretty much thinks, except the United States right now, that Syria should be part of the solution. But I think what's interesting is what many of the Arab leaders are saying in public is cease-fire now, whereas I'm being told that in private they're saying, keep going. And I'm being told that in private they're saying keep going. And I'm being told also that their main concern is Iran. They know that Iran wants to be a regional power, and they want to deny Iran that possibility.
COOPER: Brent Sadler, Christiane Amanpour, thanks very much.
We'll have more of this special edition 360, "24 Hours under Attack," coming up next.
COOPER: Thanks very much for watching this special edition of 360, "24 Hours under Attack" of the Israel-Lebanon border. The shelling of south Lebanon continues 24 hours a day, so does the intensive ground fighting in the south. So does our coverage of all the action on the air and on line.
Thanks for watching this special edition. I'm Anderson Cooper.
TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com