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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Rockets Found Hidden Inside U.N. School in Gaza; Hamas Fighting Propaganda War; Gaza Conflict Blame Game; New Fighting in Eastern Ukraine Prevents MH17 Crash Investigation From Reaching Site Again; Patrick Sawyer the First American Fatality in Ebola Outbreak
Aired July 29, 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. Welcome to a special extended two-hour edition of 360. A big night on many fronts.
Breaking news out of Gaza, international inspectors make an ugly discovery, rockets being hidden at a school in Gaza not for the first time.
Also tonight President Obama announcing new sanctions on Russia over Ukraine and the downing of Flight 17 and filling the question a lot of people have been asking ever since.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Is this a new Cold War, sir?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Developments on that and at the crash site.
Also tonight the nightmare of the worst Ebola outbreak yet. It is deepening, it's getting worse. We saw the first American fatality, a man on his last stop before heading home from Africa. The world now grappling with the terrifying prospect spread by air travelers to potentially all corners of the planet.
We begin tonight with breaking news, breaking news that bolsters a key Israeli argument about Hamas, that it uses civilian facilities such as schools to hide weapons. Prior to the outbreak of hostilities, U.N. inspectors twice uncovered rockets at a school it runs in Gaza. Today with the battle raging, a third discovery of rockets at a U.N. school.
It comes at the end of 24 hours of fighting that tonight leaves parts of Gaza in piles of smoking rubble and much of it entirely in the dark.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KARL PENHAUL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Out of this side of the building. (EXPLETIVE DELETED).
You would ever seen the same--
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Just some of the scenes we have seen over the last 24 hours. A very active period in a battle that's now entering week four and now the breaking news, the discovery of rockets at that U.N. school in Gaza.
Wolf Blitzer has been monitoring that development in Jerusalem, joins us with the latest.
Wolf, what's the latest on this weapons cache?
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR, THE SITUATION ROOM: Well, the United Nations says they did find some weapons, Hamas weapons, in the United Nations school. It's not the first time they say this has happened. The school was not really in business right now, wasn't operational, but it is still very disturbing. Of course the Israelis make the point that sometimes they go after these targets, if there is a school, if there is other U.N. facility, Hamas has used these facilities and the U.N. itself has acknowledged that.
At the same time, a lot of Palestinians and Hamas say these are not necessarily all that common. They are isolated incidents but the Israelis don't believe it and it's part of the continuing battle, if you will, between Israel and Hamas over who's responsible when all is said and done for all the Palestinian casualties.
COOPER: Wolf, you just spoke to the Palestinian ambassador to the U.N. What did he say?
BLITZER: Well, he says that no U.N. facility should be housing any kind of weapons in Gaza or any place else. Riyad Mansour is the PLO, the Palestinian representative to the United Nations. At the same time, he says what Israel is doing is obscene, outrageous. He says Israel is disproportionately going after civilian targets in Gaza.
The Israelis make the case that it's a small area and Hamas deliberately places its weapons in civilian areas including U.N. facilities and the United Nations has acknowledged there had been some cases where they found Hamas arsenals in U.N. facilities where there are schools or other U.N. relief centers, hospitals, other places along those lines.
COOPER: You know, Wolf, a senior Israeli official told CNN today that Israel is ready for a ceasefire. It doesn't seem to be a ceasefire anywhere in sight at the moment, does there?
BLITZER: No, I don't think so, although I'm hearing that there are some diplomatic activities, back channel events going on right now. I think there is a real split within the Israeli cabinet of Prime Minister Netanyahu. Some of the ministers are much more inclined for a ceasefire, others more -- hardliners, they don't want a ceasefire, they want to crush Hamas right now. They want to, in their words, finish the job but there are some in the Israeli cabinet who say you know what? That's not going to happen.
The Israelis are going to come under a lot of international pressure including pressure from the U.S. They'd like to destroy as many of those tunnels as possible, destroy as many of those rockets infrastructure as possible. But when all is said and done, there presumably will be a ceasefire sooner probably rather than later but might not be in the next few days.
COOPER: Wolf -- thanks very much, Wolf.
As we showed you at the top of the broadcast, Gaza has taken a pounding in the last 24 hours. Hamas turned down a ceasefire. Both sides again appear to be digging in and tonight more flares, more war planes overhead, more explosions. It seems again tonight a recipe for many more long nights and deadly days ahead.
Our Karl Penhaul has been there through some of the worst of it. He joins us tonight once again from Gaza City.
Karl, as Wolf just said, this is not the first time weapons like this have been found at a U.N. facility.
PENHAUL: We have had direct communication with the United Nations saying that rockets have been stored in U.N. facilities, in the schools, and on one occasion, in fact, the rockets that had been placed there, that had been discovered there, a U.N. staff left them unattended, and when they got back the rockets had been removed.
COOPER: It's obviously been an incredibly eventful 24 hours. What's the latest tonight?
PENHAUL: The latest tonight, we have seen across in eastern Gaza, in the (INAUDIBLE) area, close to the border between Gaza and Israel, some heavy ordinance being dropped from F-16 fighter bombers. In fact just now in the distance you can hear the thud. That was down in southeast Gaza it seems to me. But what I saw across in the (INAUDIBLE) neighborhood in eastern Gaza appeared to be 2,000-pound bombs being dropped from the F-16s and the F-16s made several passes over in the course of the afternoon, as well.
Large bombs of the same size being dropped in that area. I would guess because of the size of the explosions, because of the weight of the ordinance that perhaps they are trying to destroy something underground, perhaps one of those tunnel complexes, but we have had no confirmation about that from the Israeli military just yet -- Anderson.
COOPER: Yes, there's --
PENHAUL: Otherwise, overhead here in central Gaza City, we're hearing the drones up once again and they are up there precisely because they are looking for targets, and yes, another pounding of a bomb going off there in the distance, as well.
COOPER: It is extraordinary, the repetitive nature of all this. I mean, when I was there in 2012 -- we've got some video of that -- Israelis fired at the same building that we saw being struck behind you last night. This is back in 2012. We were standing exactly where you're standing, watching what looked, appeared to be two missiles going into either side of the building. I remember running down.
That's the same building Al Aqsa Radio was hit last night while you were on the air. It really speaks to the kind of repetitive nature of this.
PENHAUL: It does beg a belief, really, doesn't it, that the Hamas organization, both the political and the military wings understand that their infrastructure is going to be targeted. The Israeli military accused, of course, Al Aqsa Radio, of reporting the military wing's propaganda, the kind of casualty toll that it's inflicting on the Israeli military. That's why they say they targeted it. But they don't seem to move it.
Like you say, it hit in 2012 when you were reporting from here, it was hit with three strikes last night and also, as well, while you and I were talking on air, a section of the Finance Ministry, which is only about 500 yards from where we are on the other side of the building, that was also hit. Well, I remember when I was here in 2008, 2009, in that confrontation, again the Finance Ministry hit then. So it does seem to be that a number of these targets continue to be hit.
COOPER: Karl Penhaul -- be careful, Karl, thank you.
Well, three weeks into the war, more than 1,000 fatalities later, there seems no clear sign of whether Israel intends to wind down military operations in several days as Wolf said earlier or embark on a much longer running course of action as Prime Minister Netanyahu warned yesterday.
Joining us also in Jerusalem, Mark Regev, chief spokesman for Israel's prime minister.
Mr. Regev, the last 24 hours have seen the heaviest bombardment over the last three weeks. Why the intensity at this point? Has the scope of the operation expanded?
MARK REGEV, SPOKESMAN FOR ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: Not the scope, the goal remains the same, to stop those rockets coming in on Israeli cities and to prevent Hamas terrorists from infiltrating across the border through those tunnels, trying to kill our people. We had a chance yesterday to deescalate. We tried that very seriously. Unfortunately, Hamas was not interested in just increasing attacks upon us and today, we're responding in time, in kind.
COOPER: Yesterday, though, you talked about -- I mean, it's not just about tunnels, not just about rockets, you talked about a demilitarized Gaza. I just don't understand how you're able -- you think you can achieve a demilitarized Gaza without occupying, without actually having boots on the ground there.
REGEV: First of all, it's not going to be easy, but if I can give the parameters, I'd put it this way. First of all, we are, through our military activity and through the fact that they are using ammunitions firing at us, when this is over, Hamas' stocks of weapons will be considerably depleted. I mean, the Israeli military is acting as we speak to dismantle that very formidable Hamas terrorist machine. That's one part of it. The second part is that we're hopeful of when
this is over, that Hamas leadership will understand that -- they can't shoot rockets at Israel with impunity. And thirdly, and this is the most important element that we want to make sure that Hamas cannot rearm because that's what happened after the previous rounds. And if Hamas can rearm and you're back to square one and we have to do all this in a year and no one wants to revisit this sort of conflict.
And so preventing Hamas from rearming is making sure that those countries who support Hamas, and there aren't many, there's only basically three, that's Iran, Qatar, and Turkey. But we have to make sure that those countries, first of all, don't ship weapons to Hamas and that if they do so, those weapons are intercepted along the way before they reach the Gaza Strip.
COOPER: Today we saw a strike hitting Gaza's only power plant. The head of the power plants says he believes it was an Israeli tank shell or shells that hit the plant. Can you say definitively that Israel is not responsible for that strike?
REGEV: Yes, all the information I have says Israel is not responsible. First of all, the head of the power plant is working for the Hamas control government and I don't think he can say anything else. He can only blame Israel. But we did not target that power station and I can tell you, we also checked to make sure it wasn't air and fire and we spoke to the relevant units, both ground forces and air force, and no one was aware that they targeted the plant.
And I'd remind you, Anderson, it's important to remember about 10 percent of all Hamas rockets firing out of the Gaza Strip for -- they dysfunctional fall in the Gaza Strip. That's what happened yesterday at the hospital in Shifa.
COOPER: There is some confusion, obviously, on the part of Palestinians but have you heard anything concrete about a renewed ceasefire? Are there talks going on behind the scenes?
REGEV: There are talks going on in parallel to the military operation against terrorist targets in Gaza. The phones have been ringing and conversations are happening and if it's possible to find a diplomatic solution that will be a good thing. Probably the military operation and the increased pressure on Hamas from our forces can augment, can help move forward a diplomatic solution.
COOPER: Mark Regev, appreciate your time. Thank you.
REGEV: Thanks for having me.
COOPER: A lot more to talk about tonight. As always, set your DVR so you can watch 360 whenever you want. Why Israel targets Hamas media and a look at the message that Hamas sends out to Gaza and the world. The propaganda front in this battle and the war has been running now for years, when we continue.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: Again, tonight much of Gaza is in darkness, homes without power, sewage plants not pumping. The result of massive explosions as Gaza's only power plant -- we've been talking about the sense of deja vu. The same targets hit again and again over the years.
There's also the propaganda angle, the fight over who was responsible for this and several other high-profile attacks. They were for public opinion, also explains why Israel is hitting Al Aqsa radio and television, especially the TV outlet which is a key vehicle for Hamas to get its message out. Take a look.
COOPER: Al Aqsa TV is presented as a combination of news and entertainment.
The theme of Hamas rising up against Israel is a near constant under current. In this video, Hamas fighters triumphantly tunnel into Israel. Attack Israeli targets, then sneak back into the tunnels, and return home as heroes.
The station is used to broadcast messages directly from Hamas leadership. In the first days of the conflict, the group's spokesman encouraged Gaza residents to act as human shields saying, quote, "do not comply with the war of rumors and psychological warfare that the Zionist enemy was waging upon you.
Al Aqsa's news anchors also towed the party line.
How many children has Hamas killed? Zero, the anchor says. How many women has Hamas killed? Zero. How many children has Israel killed? Over 400. How many did they hit? Thousands. Saying later, all the martyrs are civilians, all of them.
Al Aqsa began to broadcast in Gaza in 2006, shortly after Hamas won a landslide victory in Palestinian elections. In 2007 they garnered international scrutiny with this children's program featuring a Mickey Mouse-like character named Farfour. Who was killed by an Israeli interrogator.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, my dear children, we have lost our dearest friend, Farfour.
COOPER: Beyond the clear Hamas propaganda, Al Aqsa TV also broadcast from the field. They are often first on the scene of airstrikes, broadcasting some of the most searing images of this conflict. The Israelis say images like these are themselves propaganda. An effort by Hamas to garner sympathy around the world. And part of the reason Israel targeted Al Aqsa's headquarters, saying in part, Al Aqsa was used to, quote, incite Palestinians against Israel and to, quote, "transmit orders and messages to Hamas operatives."
COOPER: We want to look closer now at the lens through which Palestinians see themselves and the rest of the world. For that we turn to Khaled Elgindy. In addition to being a former advisor in the Palestinian Authorities, 2004 to 2009 permanent status talks with Israel. He's currently a fellow at the Brookings Institution Center for Middle East Policy.
Thanks so much for being with us.
KHALED ELGINDY, CENTER FOR MIDDLE EAST POLICY, THE BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: Thanks for having me.
COOPER: Israel says that Hamas uses Al Aqsa to, quote, "transmit orders and messages to Hamas operatives. Is that true in your opinion?
ELGINDY: It may. I mean I think it's not unusual for governments to use their media to reinforce their own messages. I mean, Israel does it, Egypt does it. That's what state or government controlled media do. And I think you can make a very similar case in Israel, for example, where you have kind of the inverse of Hamas' propaganda where you don't see body counts and you don't see dead children and women and civilians on Israeli television. So I think it's part and parcel of conflict. It's part and parcel of politics in a way.
COOPER: The ceasefire put forward by President Abbas, Hamas and Gaza quickly rejected it later. Some Hamas officials in Beirut told CNN that they could agree to it. How much division is there within Hamas?
ELGINDY: Well, I think there is -- there is some division between the political wing, which is mostly outside of Gaza and the military wing inside Gaza and I think it's not unusual. There was some division, even before the current crisis started, difference of an opinion on how to proceed, whether in terms of national reconciliation with the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank or how to proceed with regard to what Hamas refers to as a resistance.
So there was already a division and I think the conflict has exacerbated that but much to the advantage of the hard liners. Any time you have massive death toll like what you have in Gaza and, you know, there is always going to be a strengthening of the position of hard liners.
COOPER: And would you say it's also weakened the Palestinian Authority in the eyes of any Palestinians?
ELGINDY: For sure. I think the Palestinian Authority looks weak and incompetent. They are unable to influence any of the key actors in this scenario. Not Hamas, not Israel, not the United States. I think to some extent, the United States is trying to bring Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority into this to make them relevant, but yes, this crisis has highlighted the weakness of the current Palestinian leadership and actually, why it was so important to have a unified Palestinian policy to begin with.
COOPER: When you hear the Israeli government spokesman talking about a demilitarized Gaza.
ELGINDY: Right. COOPER: I just don't see the reality of that happening. Do you? I
mean, do you see --
ELGINDY: Well, what Israel would like is for the international community to do it because it has not been able to do it itself. Not when it directly occupied Gaza before 2005 from 1967 until 2005, and now, of course, with a full blown blockade by air, land and sea, it hasn't been able to limit Hamas' rearming.
This -- you know, this is about the seventh major military operation in Gaza over the last nine years or so. The most serious ones being in the last five years and in 2008 and 2009 Israel killed 1400 Palestinians, most of them civilians, with the same exact mission. In fact, this could be a replay of that 22-day conflict this time around, and what happened since then, Hamas rockets became more advanced, more sophisticated, more numerous. And so there simply is not a way to pound Gaza into submission or to demilitarize by force.
Militarization and violence is a function of occupation and the blockade. That is a response to those conditions and so there will be no demilitarization, I think, as long as there is a blockade and Israeli occupation.
COOPER: Khaled Elgindy, appreciate you being on. Thank you very much.
ELGINDY: Thanks for having me.
COOPER: For more on the story now, you of course can go to CNN.com. We have a lot more, though, on the situation in Gaza and in Israel in the next two hours. The killing of three Israeli teenagers, their bodies found in the West Bank nearly one month ago. As the death toll rises in Gaza, the finger pointing for those murders continues.
Remember, that's really what started this -- this entire round. There are at least two versions of what happened and who is to blame. We'll look at the facts behind the claims, next.
COOPER: Well, the blame game being played out in the current conflict in Gaza has its immediate roots of the kidnapping murder of three Israeli teenagers whose bodies were found at the beginning of this month. There are two versions of those murders. Versions that played out on this program last night.
Israel immediately blamed the murders on Hamas but some Palestinians say has yet to produce any evidence. And a Palestinian affairs expert we spoke to last night said this would be the kind of attack that Hamas normally would claim responsibility for.
Last night, a top Israeli spokesman related his government's position that Hamas is indeed responsible.
Randi Kaye has more.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They are abducted in the dark of night while attempting to hitchhike home from religious school in the West Bank. It's June 12th, when these three Israeli teenagers go missing. Realizing they are in danger, one manages to make this call for help.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello, this is Udi.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've been abducted.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Put your head down. Put your head down.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Put your heard down. Hands down.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello? Hello?
KAYE: It's the last anyone hears from them. Three days later, June 15th, the boys still aren't home. Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu publicly blames the terror group Hamas warning of serious consequences.
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: This attack should surprise no one because Hamas makes no secret of its agenda. Hamas is committed to the destruction of Israel and to carrying out terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians, including children.
KAYE: But he offers no proof Hamas is directly involved.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (Through Translator): Netanyahu's comments are stupid comments. The occupation is totally responsible for the escalation in the West Bank against our people and leadership.
KAYE: June 20th, Operation Brother's Keeper begins in the West Bank. A full-scale effort to find the three Israeli teenagers. More than a thousand homes are searched, more than 150 Palestinian suspects are detained.
Ten days later, June 30th, the bodies of the missing boys are discovered in the West Bank.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Three innocent boys that did nothing, did nothing wrong in their life, they're so holy, they're so pure and this Hamas just want to kill them.
KAYE: The Israeli prime minister delivers on his threat. With Israel launching airstrikes into Gaza and the West Bank shortly after the bodies were found. They destroy the homes of two suspects in the kidnapping that Israel calls Hamas terrorists.
The abducted teenagers are buried the next day, July 1st. Hamas always quick to claim credit for acts of terror denies it ordered the killings and questions swirl whether or not they are really involved.
(on camera): A day later, July 2nd, a 17-year-old Palestinian teen is abducted while heading to a mosque. His body found in a Jerusalem neighborhood. He was burned alive. Israel condemns it calling it a revenge killing.
(voice-over): The next day, July 3rd a cell phone captures this horrifying video of what appears to be Israeli police beating a Palestinian American teenager, stomping on him and kicking him. He is the cousin of the Palestinian teen killed the day before.
Israel is investigating questioning whether the teen was an innocent by stander. On July 7th, Israel launches "Operation Protective Edge to stop rocket fire into Israel. Over 100 air strikes since then, over 1,000 dead, mostly Palestinian civilians.
What began with the death of three young teens, now a full out war and still no proof of how it started. Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.
COOPER: Former U.S. Special Envoy to the Middle East and former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell joins me now. This current conflict, Senator, what do you make of it? I mean, here we are three weeks in and there doesn't seem to be any end in sight.
GEORGE MITCHELL, FORMER U.S. SPECIAL ENVOY FOR MIDDLE EAST PEACE: I think both sides are calculating their gains and losses and I think fairly soon the time will come when they will coincide in deciding that it's in their interest to end this round of the conflict.
Both are suffering some losses, both are making substantial gains, and so when that balance is achieved, that they both decide it's time to stop, I think there will be a cease-fire, as there has been in the past.
COOPER: What is in the interest of both of them that would make them stop in the interest of Israel and the interest of Hamas?
MITCHELL: Well, Israel's gains are substantial in terms of degrading Hamas' capability first through the tunnels to have the fighters enter Israel and then secondly, it's capacity to launch missiles to Israel and they -- the disadvantage to Israel, of course, is the increasing outcry around the world over the large number of Palestinians killed, the death and destruction among many innocent civilians.
I think once they complete the tunnel operation and they substantially degrade the rocket capability, it will be time for them to take some action. On the Hamas side, they are desperate because they have been ineffective. They haven't governed well. They haven't produced anything for the people and that's why they keep saying they need to end the blockade, which is important in terms of quality of life for people before they will stop the rockets.
COOPER: Have you, I mean, you've defended Secretary of State John Kerry in recent days from some of the criticism that's come his way in Israel. Does it surprise you the level of criticism against him?
MITCHELL: No, that comes with the territory. Feelings are very strong in the region. Keep in mind, that Israel is a democracy. There are all kinds of points expressed just like in the United States. There are many people that support the U.S. government, many people strongly oppose to the current administration.
People express contrary in differing views all the time. That's the same way in Israel. So you can't expect there not to be criticism, particularly because as I said, there are many in Israel who don't agree with the objective of American policy.
They don't agree there should be a Palestinian state and therefore, they are not inclined to support a policy, which has that as its objective, but Anderson, let's be clear, the United States is the dominant economic and military power in the world. Every country in the world thinks that our policy ought to favor them.
When I first went to the Middle East, I went to 17 countries and I met with the leaders there many, many times, and every time they would criticize American policy, I would ask what do you think our policy should be? And without exception, they wanted our policy to be consistent with their country's interest.
You have to accept as the dominant power with a sense of maturity and some degree of resignation you will get criticized. People expect us to solve every problem in the world. We don't have that capability. We have an unequal capacity to influence events and that's what the secretary is trying to do.
And I think ultimately, it will be in the interest of both sides obvious to them to end the fighting. The next step will be to get to the point where they can negotiate, I think that's a way off.
COOPER: That certainly seems like it. Senator Mitchell, appreciate your time. Thank you.
MITCHELL: Thank you, Anderson.
COOPER: Just ahead tonight, 12 days after Flight 17 was shot down, investigators still unable to get the work done. Still unable to get to the crash site. We'll look at what is costing them in terms of evidence and more importantly, recovering victims' remains.
COOPER: Welcome back. Late developments in Eastern Ukraine to tell you about, a short time ago, President Obama announced new sanctions against Russia over the support for the rebels in Eastern Ukraine and the downing of Flight 17.
(BEGI VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We've also made it clear as I have many times that if Russia continues on its current path, the cost on Russia will continue to grow and today is a reminder that the United States means what it says.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: The European Union has also expanded sanctions on Russia in the last 24 hours, so far none of the sanctions stopped the fighting or the flow of weapons into Ukraine according to U.S. officials. On the contrary it seems to be getting worse.
Today CNN's Nick Paton Walsh was within 10 miles to the Flight 17 crash site, had to head to safer ground. Take a look.
BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We are now hearing what sounds like an exchange of artillery beginning between two sides. It's time to move back away from here.
(voice-over): We left along with many other locals, some on foot, all now fleeing down a road the inspectors want to travel up. This what awaited them when they tried to go by the site unsuccessfully later that day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That's why for the third straight day, a team of investigators had to turn back before reaching the crash site. I'll talk to someone on the team in a moment. But first, Nick Paton Walsh joins us from Donetsk with the latest. How close were you able to get.
WALSH: We were within, I think, 10 to 15 miles of the large sprawling crash site but a very similar picture. The town you saw pictures from, lines between Donetsk, the main city of a million, today where a residential apartment block was hit by shelling and the crash site itself.
It's really the reason they keep having to turn back. It's been hit for the last three days in a row. We were there yesterday when they got close and had to turn around. As you saw there, we actually saw that shelling hit the town itself today. It seems to be still on the control of militants, but they are shaky.
They are tired. They are poorly equipped and cut off and don't know where the Ukrainian soldiers are, but they do feel it in circle. That's the reason it's so hard to get to the site because the front lines constantly change -- Anderson.
COOPER: U.S. officials said that Ukrainian military fired short range ballistic missiles at the pro-Russian rebels just within the first 48 hours, have Ukrainian officials responded?
WALSH: They said yes, we do not use such weaponry. I have to say hearing the booms that happen this time of night so regular on the outskirts of Donetsk, it's entirely possible they have. They will be getting into everything they can to get the advantage in this particularly brutal and bitter fight. And bear in mind, too, the commander kind of sort of a figure among the militants here yesterday gave a short press conference but he did say in the last 48 hours, the Ukrainian Army was using heavy weaponry.
So yes, certainly a lot of heavy weaponry being used, making it very dangerous for civilians, one killed in that attack on the residential apartment block we saw earlier on today -- Anderson.
COOPER: A lot of civilians getting killed in this conflict. Nick Paton Walsh, appreciate it. Stay safe.
As we said, for the third straight day, the team of OSCE investigators had to turn back before reaching the crash site. It's been 12 days since the plane was shot down. Michael Bur, a spokesman for the OSCE joins me tonight.
Michael, this is the third day in a row where you haven't been able to get to the site. What happened today?
MICHAEL BOCIURKIW, OSCE SPOKESMAN: There were a lot of talks again going on in Kiev and here in Donetsk, and we the OSCE mission took the decision to do a recognizance trip. It was only two vehicles today and we were heavily kited up and we made it as far -- we made it the other day, 2/3rds of the way to the crash site.
Once we got there, it was clear that the bombing and shelling was extreme heavy. In fact, at one point we had to take cover next to the vehicles because it was so bad. What this indicates, once again, is that one or perhaps both sides are not honoring their commitment seriously.
Today was meant to be a day of tranquility where the OSCE special monitoring mission as well as up to 50, 60 experts from the Netherlands and from Australia would have gone out to the crash site and done the crucial work that we've talked about before.
COOPER: Again, it bears repeating because for our viewers who may not have heard you last night. For the first time, you have personnel with you from the Netherlands, from Australia who actually have equipment that they can use to collect the victims, to collect the remains and to begin the process of returning them for further examination to the Netherlands. You have those people with you now for the first time?
BOCIURKIW: That's correct, Anderson. These are people, don't forget, many of them Australian who have flown half way around the world to do this. I know that the Dutch issued a statement out of Kiev today and just reading between the lines you can really sense frustration in not being able to not get out there.
Because not only people, Anderson, but even equipment, specialized equipment, I've seen on the list even people who are qualified divers that can go into those big ponds of water and search for debris.
I walk around here in this hotel where they are staying and you can read it on their face their frustration because they are keen to get out there, number one priority, collect those human remains, treat them with dignity and have that moved as quickly as possible back to the Netherlands and back to their families.
COOPER: I know today you believed you would be able to get to the site because there were high-level talks in Kiev and pro-Russian rebels in Donetsk, promises had been made on all sides and as you said, clearly, somebody did not honor the promises. Are you hopeful, crossing your fingers tomorrow is going to be different?
BOCIURKIW: I think we can say we're more than hopeful. You know, the message has been honed very, very hard to both sides and I think what everyone is looking for, Anderson, is a reset to a few days ago where we had, remember, so many days of pretty much unfettered access to the site in terms of the amount of time spent there and geography covered.
And I mentioned the other day, there is one big site that still has not been scoured, the chicken farm where there is debris and possibly even human remains. That still is waiting to be examined and processed. So a heck of a lot of work to do in a short amount of time. Every day that goes by is another day lost in terms of possible loss of humane remains and of really crucial evidence.
COOPER: I know that some of that weighs heavily on you as you've been out to the site more than anybody else and seen it with your own eyes. Michael Bociurkiw. I appreciate you being with us, thank you.
BOCIURKIW: My pleasure, thank you.
COOPER: Up next tonight, the first American fatality in the Ebola outbreak. He boarded a plane in Liberia, became visibly ill during the flight to Nigeria. The concerns tonight, did he infect any other passengers on the plane and could the virus spread across the globe?
COOPER: Welcome back. Tonight, the Ebola outbreak in Western Africa has taken a frankly terrifying turn. CNN has learned that the CDC has sent a team of U.S. officials to Nigeria to track down anyone who has come into contact with this man.
Patrick Sawyer, an American who died shortly after flying on a regional carrier to Nigeria from Libera. He's the first American fatality in the Ebola outbreak. He became visibly ill during the flight showing a number of symptoms. Ebola does not spread through the air, but it only takes a tiny amount of the virus to infect someone.
It wasn't a direct flight. There was a layover in Ghana and a change of planes in Togo before it touched down in Lagos, Nigeria, a city of millions and the hub for international travel. It's a sobering development in health crisis that's already claimed hundreds of lives.
Joining me tonight, chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta who seen firsthand what health workers are up against in Guinea where the outbreak started and also with Monia Sayah, a nurse who works for the group "Doctors Without Borders." She's been treating patients on the front lines outbreak, recently returned from Guinea.
Sanjay, let me start with you. The fact that this man who died was able to get on a plane, how big of a concern is it that this outbreak could potentially spread throughout the region?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: I think it's a real concern and it's been a concern for some time. We've talked about this idea that when you talk about this virus, it's found its way into areas where you have airports, international airports and that could be a real concern.
COOPER: And people now who are on the plane with this person are being told to monitor your temperature for 21 days to see if you get a fever. You would have to go out into local communities in Guinea trying to monitor people. How difficult is that to get people to come in to be tested.
MONIA SAYAH, NURSE, "DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS": We get an alert. We have a team set up to investigate whether the case is suspect and whether the person needs to come in to get tested. That was the most challenging for me. We go into communities where we're not necessarily welcome because they understand now that the survival rate is not very high.
COOPER: As a nurse, what is it like to see this firsthand, to treat people, not only I imagine, at least if it was me, there would be a certain amount of fear just about getting infected myself as a health care worker, it's often healthcare workers that get infected. What was it like for you?
SAYAH: It's true. At the beginning when -- before we know there is an outbreak, the health care workers are the people that get infected first. The family members, obviously and health care workers and this is when we get alerts. If there is a few health care workers getting sick in the same facility, it's not normal and then we investigate.
As a nurse working on the ground, working with patients affected by the Ebola virus, I was not afraid. We use -- we work with barrier nursing. We use personal protective equipment, which you have seen on photos and videos, yellow gowns, sometimes yellow, sometimes white.
COOPER: You cover up every inch of yourself.
SAYAH: Every inch of the body has to be covered, yes, it's essential.
COOPER: You're incredibly brave. Brave people never say they are, I say I'm a chicken so I can tell you. You're incredibly brave.
SAYAH: When we're on the ground and we actually see all the measures we have in place, very strict infection control measures, very careful waste management, the high risk and low risk areas are very clearly defined.
COOPER: Sanjay, you saw this firsthand, there is no cure for Ebola, so the treatment, what does it entail, Sanjay, and how effective is it? GUPTA: One of things that happens is people just start to lose a lot of fluids, but it disarms your immune system. So it switches the immune system off so it can't fight the virus, sneaky that way and also sort of inhibits your ability to clot, your body's ability to clot.
And therefore people start to bleed, but that can cause someone to lose fluids and they can be replaced and that is what is called supportive treatment and that can be helpful, but there is no anti- viral. There are a few experimental vaccines that are not widely available yet, but not much else that can be done for those patients.
COOPER: Sanjay, again, flu, is it possible for someone to fly internationally in the United States with Ebola here?
GUPTA: When I left, it was interesting, they took my temperature at the airport and asked me to fill out a questionnaire, which I did and that was really about it. Is it possible, yes? I mean, if I had been exposed for whatever reason and it was 21 days later before I got sick, there was nothing that would have prevented me from getting on that plane.
I think it will happen at some point. Observing the process, it's almost impossible to prevent from happening, but I think the idea that it can be stemmed so it doesn't turn into mini secondary outbreaks is very possible. We can prevent that from happening.
COOPER: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, appreciate you being on and Monia Sayah, thank you so much and for all the work you do. Thank you.
SAYAH: Thank you very having us.
COOPER: A programming note, the widow of Patrick Sawyer, the American killed in the Ebola outbreak will be on NEW DAY tomorrow morning to talk about his life and the family he now leaves behind.
Up next, another hour of 360. We'll have the latest from Gaza where the main power plant was hit as well as a Hamas radio and TV station where missiles were discovered being hidden at another school in Gaza.
COOPER: Thanks for joining us. Thanks for staying with this special edition of 360. Breaking news tonight in the Middle East, a striking discovery in Gaza. Deadly weapons hidden where children learn and play.
Also the first American death in the biggest Ebola outbreak the world has ever seen. An outbreak that came terrifyingly close to jumping from Africa to the rest of the world.
Also can airlines and new technology to prevent tragedies like Flight 17, the answer how relatively little it could cost might surprise you.
We begin tonight with the breaking news, the discovery of rockets at a U.N. school in Gaza and new explosions being heard there, all of it after punishing 24 hours in the three-week long war. Look what we've seen over the last 24 hours.