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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

On the Next Episode of The Lead

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world lead

July 18th, 2014
06:25 PM ET

Monitors find confusion, hostility at Malaysia Airlines crash site

Kiev, Ukraine (CNN) - International monitors investigating the Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine said Friday the team was not given full access to the site and was greeted with hostility by armed men guarding the scene.

"It basically looks like the biggest crime scene in the world right now, guarded by a bunch of guys in uniform with heavy firepower who are quite inhospitable," Michael Bociurkiw, spokesman for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe team, told CNN's Christiane Amanpour.

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world lead

July 18th, 2014
06:14 PM ET

Why not agree to a cease-fire and end civilian casualties? We have demands, says Hamas official

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 -
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world lead

July 18th, 2014
06:10 PM ET

IDF spokesman on civilian casualties: There will be mistakes

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.
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world lead

July 18th, 2014
05:27 PM ET

Flight 17: 'Working theory' is Russians supplied the missile system used, says sr. defense official

(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.

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July 18th, 2014
12:12 PM ET

Obama: Malaysia Airlines jet shoot-down an 'outrage of unspeakable proportion'

Kiev, Ukraine (CNN) - President Barack Obama warned Friday of a difficult, murky and complicated investigation into the apparent downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, calling the shoot-down an "outrage of unspeakable proportions" and scolding Russia for training and equipping rebels who U.S. intelligence agencies say appear responsible for the attack.

In the administration's strongest words yet on the downing of the jet, which left 298 people dead, Obama said the pro-Russian fighters couldn't have shot down Flight 17 or other Ukrainian military aircraft recently downed in the region "without sophisticated equipment and sophisticated training, and that is coming from Russia."

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