Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.
Continuing coverage of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. Plus, the latest on Mideast tensions.
The following is a transcript of a phone interview between CNN's Jake Tapper, and Hamas spokesman Ghazi Hamad. For our interview with an Israel Defense Forces spokesperson, click here.
Jake Tapper, anchor CNN's "The Lead": To the other side of this conflict, Ghazi Hamad is a senior Hamas official. He's joining us on the phone from Gaza. You're looking at live pictures from Gaza right now. Mr. Hamad, I want to ask you, Hamas has said your fighters are better prepared to take on Israel this time. How are they better prepared?
Ghazi Hamad, senior Hamas official: Look, I can say now we are just defending ourselves. We are fighting against occupation. We tried to protect ourselves. We are not terrorist people that we want just launching missiles from Gaza to Israel. And you have to know that he Israel started this aggression against this when they started to arrest people in the West Bank, and to punish people in the West Bank. And you know that Gaza is under siege for seven years. They closed the crossings and the terminals, they prevent entrance of the building materials, raw materials. The situation is very terrible. So I can –
The following is a transcript of a remote interview between CNN's Jake Tapper and spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces Lt. Col. Peter Lerner. For our interview with a Hamas official, click here.
Jake Tapper, anchor "The Lead": Joining us now in Tel Aviv is Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces. Lt. Colonel Lerner, thanks for joining us. Can you give us a status update on your operation? And is it just limited to shutting down these Hamas tunnels, because to many observers it seems to be expanding in goal.
Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, IDF spokesman: Well, indeed the IDF activities that commenced last night in a ground mobilization are primarily to deal with the tunnels. As we go into the Gaza strip, cross into the fence, clearly the tunnels that are utilized to infiltrate Israel in order to carry out devastating damage and death and carnage, they are primary targets. I would point out that over the last 11 days, we've had about 1,600 rockets launched from Gaza. So those would be a secondary target, as well. These are the type of threats we are up against.
(CNN) – In the administration's strongest words yet on the downing of the jet, which left 298 people dead, President Barack Obama said Friday rebel fighters couldn't have operated the surface-to-air missile believed responsible for the shoot down "without sophisticated equipment and sophisticated training, and that is coming from Russia."
He and other U.S. officials stopped short of publicly placing the responsibility on Russia, which has denied any involvement in the destruction of the jetliner, whose debris lay strewn Friday across the eastern Ukraine farm field where it fell.
But a senior defense official told CNN that the "working theory" among U.S. intelligence analysts is that the Russian military supplied the Buk missile system to rebel fighters inside Ukraine.
U.S. officials believe the plane was "likely downed by a surface-to-air missile ... operated from a separatist-held location in eastern Ukraine," the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, told an emergency session of the U.N. Security Council.
(CNN) – A Malaysia Airlines passenger jet crashed in a rebel-controlled area of eastern Ukraine on Thursday, prompting swift accusations from Ukrainian officials that "terrorists" shot down the aircraft.
"We intercepted a number of phone calls between the terrorists talking about shutting down the plane now," Ukrainian foreign minister Pavlo Klimkin said in an interview with CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper."
(CNN) – A Malaysia Airlines passenger jet crashed in eastern Ukraine on Thursday.
"We must and we will find out precisely what happened to this flight. No stone will be left unturned," Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak told reporters. He called for an international team to have full access to the crash site. "If it transpires that the plane was indeed shot down, we insist that the perpetrators must swiftly be brought to justice," he said.