Thursday: July 31

Live at 4am ET Thursday: Fresh shells fall near UN school-turned-shelter in Gaza

 

 

July 21st, 2014
05:01 AM ET

'Moment of Truth for Russia'

There's no shortage of evidence that shows pro-Russian rebels shot down a Malaysian jet in Ukraine last week, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said.

Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 fell from the sky in Donetsk on Thursday, killing all 298 people aboard.

There's video of a launcher with one surface-to-air missile missing, imagery showing the firing and intercepted calls with rebels claiming credit for the strike, Kerry said.

"We know from intercepts ... that those are in fact the voices of separatists," he told CNN's State of the Union on Sunday. "And now we have a video showing a launcher moving back through a particular area there out into Russia with at least one missing missile on it."

Kerry accused Russia of backing the separatists.

"This is the moment of truth for Russia. Russia is supporting these separatists. Russia is arming these separatists. Russia is training these separatists. And Russia has not yet done the things necessary in order to try to bring them under control," he said.

British Prime Minister David Cameron didn't mince words either on who was to blame. In an op-ed in The Sunday Times, he called the plane crash and its aftermath "an outrage made in Moscow."

Russian President Vladimir Putin fired back with a video statement posted on the Kremlin's official website early Monday, arguing that his country has been pushing for peace in Ukraine.

"We have repeatedly called on all parties to immediately stop the bloodshed and to sit down at the negotiating table. We can confidently say that if June 28 fighting in eastern Ukraine did not resume, this tragedy most likely would not have happened," he said. "However, no one should have the right to use this tragedy to achieve selfish political objectives. Such events should not divide but unite people."

He stressed that safety must be guaranteed for international experts investigating the crash.

"We must do everything to ensure their work has full and absolute security (and) ensure necessary humanitarian corridors are provided," Putin said.

MORE on CNN.com

July 18th, 2014
03:34 AM ET

Hamas Warns of 'Heavy Price' for Israel

Deadly clashes broke out after Israeli tanks drove into Gaza and launched a ground operation that escalates the conflict with Hamas.

The incursion Thursday night follows 10 days of Israeli bombardment of Gaza that has killed more than 250 people. Israel launched the aerial offensive last week, saying it aimed to halt the firing of Hamas rockets from Gaza into Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon ordered the ground operation to destroy tunnels dug from Gaza into Israeli territory, according to a statement.

Thirteen Hamas militants used a tunnel earlier Thursday to launch an attempted attack in Sufa, near an Israeli kibbutz, but were stopped by Israeli soldiers, the Israel Defense Forces said.

The IDF said it had sent a "large" force into Gaza that includes infantry, tanks, artillery, combat engineers and intelligence units, with aerial and naval support.

CNN's Wolf Blitzer asked Mark Regev, Netanyahu's spokesman, whether Israel planned to occupy Gaza for a long time.

Regev didn't answer directly, but said Israel's goals are to "diminish" the Hamas military force and to show that it cannot attack Israel with impunity.

You can follow all the developments at CNN.com.

Posted by ,
Filed under: Israel • Israel-Gaza conflict
July 18th, 2014
03:30 AM ET

U.S. Official: Missile Shot Down Malaysia Airlines Plane

A Malaysia Airlines passenger jet crashed in a rebel-controlled part of eastern Ukraine on Thursday, spurring swift accusations from Ukrainian officials that "terrorists" shot down the aircraft.

The United States has concluded a missile shot down the plane, but hasn't pinpointed who was responsible, a senior U.S. official told CNN's Barbara Starr.

The Boeing 777 with 298 people aboard fell from the sky near the town of Torez in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine, officials said. A top Ukrainian official said the plane, which was on the way from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was flying at about 10,000 meters (nearly 33,000 feet) when the missile hit.

A radar system saw a surface-to-air missile system turn on and track an aircraft right before the plane went down, the senior U.S. official said. A second system saw a heat signature at the time the airliner was hit, the official said. The United States is analyzing the trajectory of the missile to try to learn where the attack came from, the official said.

The Obama administration believes Ukraine did not have the capability in the region - let alone the motivation - to shoot down the plane, a U.S. official told CNN's Jake Tapper.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said the plane never made a distress call.

He called for an international team to have full access to the crash site.

"We must and we will find out precisely what happened to this flight. No stone will be left unturned," he said.

"If it transpires that the plane was indeed shot down, we insist that the perpetrators must swiftly be brought to justice," Najib said.

Ukrainian officials maintained that pro-Russian separatists were behind the crash.

You can follow the updating story at CNN.com

Posted by ,
Filed under: MH17 • Russia • Ukraine
Hundreds of Children Found at Vermin-Infested Shelter in Mexico
July 17th, 2014
04:43 AM ET

Hundreds of Children Found at Vermin-Infested Shelter in Mexico

Mexican authorities are still unraveling the horrors allegedly committed on nearly 500 children sheltered at "La Gran Familia" refuge in the southwestern state of Michoacan.

At The Big Family shelter, scores of children - some as young as two months old - were denied visits from their parents, virtually imprisoned in vermin-infested quarters and routinely subjected to physical, psychological and sexual abuse, authorities said.

Authorities raided the sprawling, squalid shelter in the city of Zamora Tuesday after a number of parents complained about being denied access to their children, Mexican Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karan told reporters.

"We found close to 500 children in truly deplorable conditions," Murillo said.

Victims told investigators that children were routinely forced to beg for money on the streets, eat unsanitary food and sleep on hard floors crawling with rats and roaches, Murillo said. It was not clear from Mexican authorities how so many children - along with some adults - came to be at the shelter.

The operator of the shelter, Rosa del Carmen Verduzco, was detained along with eight of her employees, authorities said. They were being questioned in connection with abuse and other charges.

"This is truly upsetting," Michoacan governor Salvador Jara Guerrero told reporters. "We did not expect to find such conditions... We must not allow these things to occur - not in Michoacan, not in the republic."

MORE on CNN.com

Posted by
Filed under: Children • Mexico
July 17th, 2014
04:07 AM ET

Cease-Fire Broken: Rockets Fired Toward Israel

At least three mortars were fired from Gaza toward southern Israel on Thursday morning, some two hours after a temporary lull in hostilities went into effect to allow humanitarian supplies into the area.

The mortars fell in open areas and no injuries were immediately reported, the Israeli military said. Mortars are smaller and have a more limited range than rockets.

Israel, which said it would honor the cease-fire but not sit idle if attacked, did not immediately respond.

The five-hour long temporary halt in fighting went into effect at 3 a.m. ET, requested by the United Nations to offer a brief respite in a conflict that has killed more than 220 people.

Banks opened for the first time in 10 days in Gaza and residents poured into the streets.

Red Cross officials visited hospitals and damaged houses to assess medical needs, and worked with local officials to quickly fix water pipelines, which has left hundreds of thousands without water.

There were no reported air strikes since the cease-fire began. Still, the fear of death hung heavily over Gaza. The health ministry warned civilians to avoid gathering in squares.

"Should the humanitarian window be exploited by Hamas or other terror organizations for the purpose of launching attacks against Israeli civilian or military targets the IDF will respond firmly and decisively," the Israeli military said.

MORE on CNN.com

Posted by ,
Filed under: Hamas • Israel
July 16th, 2014
08:27 AM ET

Residents of Three Areas in Gaza Told to Flee

The Israeli Defense Forces said Wednesday that it warned residents of three areas in Gaza to vacate their homes because of its plans to carry out airstrikes on Hamas and other terrorist groups.

The IDF said it used recorded messages, text messages and leaflets to alert the populations in Beit Lahyia, Shuja'iya and Zeitoun, places where it said "a high volume of rocket fire at Israel has originated."

"We are all scared but we are force to live in this and there is nothing for us to do," said Abu Musbah, a, 21-year-old member of Islamic Jihad, one of the groups that is firing rockets at Israel. "The children are scared but we struggle to continue our lives."

He said he had already evacuated all of his family members from his house in Shuja'iya.

A woman in the southern Gaza town of Khan Yunis said some people had fled there from harder hit areas in the north and east of the territory, filling some homes with multiple families.

"Those who have family here have come," said the woman, who asked not to be identified for fear of repercussions from talking to the news media.

She said she believed other people were staying in their houses, regardless of warnings from lsraeli leaflets or other means.

These are their homes, they will not run, she said.

MORE on CNN.com

Posted by , ,
Filed under: Gaza • Israel
Comcast Agent's 'Belligerent' Tone Prompts Apology
July 16th, 2014
04:41 AM ET

Comcast Agent's 'Belligerent' Tone Prompts Apology

Comcast never wants a customer to go - but says one of its representatives went too far trying to convince one account-holder to stay.

On Tuesday, the cable company apologized to Ryan Block and his wife, Veronica Belmont, after the couple's attempts to cancel were stymied by a phone call with a customer service representative that Block called "straight up belligerent." The incident garnered attention because Block and Belmont posted a partial recording of the conversation on the Internet.

In the eight-minute recording, the unnamed Comcast employee badgered Block with questions such as "Why is it that you're not wanting to have the No. 1-rated Internet service, No. 1-rated television service available?"

In the employee's defense, he explained one of the reasons for his questions: "If we don't know why our customers are leaving, how are we supposed to make it a better experience for you next time?"

The recording went viral Tuesday morning, partly because the prominence of Block and Belmont. Block, a former editor of Engadget, works for AOL, and Belmont is a Web show host and writer.

In a statement, Comcast said it was "very embarrassed by the way our employee spoke with Mr. Block and Ms. Belmont." The company said it was contacting them to "personally apologize."

"The way in which our representative communicated with them is unacceptable and not consistent with how we train our customer service representatives," the statement said. "We are investigating this situation and will take quick action."

Block responded on Twitter: "I hope the quick action you take is a thorough evaluation of your culture and policies, and not the termination of the rep."

MORE on CNN MONEY

Posted by
Filed under: Comcast
July 15th, 2014
03:54 AM ET

Israel Accepts Cease-Fire Plan; Hamas Rejects It

Israel says it has accepted an Egyptian proposal for a cease-fire with Hamas. But without the militant group signing up as well, there may be little hope of seeing an end to the near constant exchange of fire that has so far killed more than 190 Palestinians in Gaza.

The Israeli security cabinet met early Tuesday morning and released a statement that said, "The cabinet has decided to reply positively to the Egyptian initiative for a ceasefire at 9 a.m. (2 a.m. ET)."

The plan calls for all sides to cease hostilities in Gaza. It also calls for the opening of border crossings, once the security situation is stable, and for high-level talks among those involved.

Hamas officials did not immediately respond to the cabinet's decision. But since the cabinet's announcement, only one rocket was fired from Gaza into its territory, the Israeli military said.

Earlier, Hamas mocked the proposal in public, with a spokesman describing it as a "joke."

"We did not receive this declared paper from the Egyptians ... which means it's an initiative for the media. It's not a political initiative," said Osama Hamdan.

Speaking on CNN's "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer," he continued: "It's not really an initiative. It's not really an idea, what they are trying to do is to corner the Palestinians and to help the Israelis more."

Hamas' military wing, the Qassam Brigades, said it hadn't received any formal or informal request about a cease-fire. But it said it rejects the proposal, describing it as an initiative of "kneeling and submission."

MORE on CNN.com

Posted by ,
Filed under: Israel
July 14th, 2014
04:56 AM ET

Palestinians Struggle to Find Safety as Israel and Hamas Continue Attacks

One bomb dropped on a center for the disabled. Another wiped out 18 members of the same family.

By Monday morning, the death toll from nearly a week of Israeli airstrikes on Gaza had reached 172 - all of them Palestinians - with more than 1,250 wounded, according to Palestinian health authorities.

Israel has so far shrugged off international calls for a cease-fire, saying it will continue the offensive as long as the militant group Hamas keeps firing rockets into its territory.

And Hamas shows no sign of letting up after already launching almost 1,000 rockets at Israel.

Caught in the middle are the residents of Gaza. While the Israeli attacks have killed some militants, around 70% of the fatalities were civilians, according to the United Nations. Of the dead, more than 30 are children, the U.N. reported.

"All sides ... must respect the sanctity of civilian life," said Chris Gunness, spokesman for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees.

MORE on CNN.com

Posted by ,
Filed under: Hamas • Israel
July 11th, 2014
01:20 PM ET

Rocket Fired Into Northern Israel from Lebanon as Gaza Conflict Continues

Israel faced attack from a second front Friday, but it is unlikely that a rocket fired from Lebanon signifies the widening of a conflict that has left at least 100 dead in Gaza.

The rocket launched from Lebanon landed near the northern Israeli town of Metula, which sits right by the Lebanese border, and no damage or injuries have been reported. It was not immediately clear who fired the rocket.

An Israel Defense Forces spokesman said Israel holds the Lebanese government responsible for the attack, but concerns that Israel will face a two-front conflict are unlikely to be realized.

Hezbollah, which operates in Lebanon and is caught up in other conflicts in the region, probably does not have the appetite to start a war with Israel.

Thousands of rockets were fired from Lebanon into Israel during a war in 2006, but rocket attacks since then have been sporadic. Tensions are always high between Hezbollah and Israel, but Hezbollah's involvement in Syria's civil war means that a fight with Israel might not make sense.

Nonetheless, Israel responded with artillery that landed in the vicinity of the Lebanese town of Kfar Shouba. No casualties were reported, the Lebanese army said.

Israel continued to weather rocket attacks by the Palestinian group Hamas in Gaza, but virtually all of the casualties in the conflict have been suffered on the Gazan side.

Though menacing, nearly all the Hamas rockets have been intercepted by the Israeli air defense system or struck empty areas. Airstrikes by Israel in Gaza, in contrast, have been blamed for at least 100 deaths, including 22 children and 20 women, a spokesman for Gaza's Ministry of Health said.

Hospitals in Gaza are unable to take care of the wounded - who top 700 - and patients are being treated on the floors because emergency rooms are overcrowded, medical sources told CNN.

The same medical sources said that medicines are running low and that the scenes at the hospitals are not unlike the chaos witnessed at Syrian hospitals during its civil war.

CNN staff in Gaza reported there are rolling blackouts, and there are water shortages in some areas because airstrikes have damaged pumping stations.

The Israeli military, meanwhile, said that some 100 rockets were fired at Israel today, including one that was intercepted over the Tel Aviv metropolitan area.

MORE on CNN.com.

Posted by , ,
Filed under: Gaza • Israel • Lebanon
« older posts
newer posts »