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CNN, MSNBC Report Live as Man Sets Himself on Fire Outside of Trump Trial Courthouse: ‘An Unbelievably Disturbing Moment Here,’ Says CNN’s Laura Coates

By Jordan Moreau

Jordan Moreau

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Laura Coates Yasmin Vossoughian

A man set himself on fire outside the courthouse where the jurors are being chosen for former president Donald Trump ‘s hush money criminal trial. CNN ‘s chief legal analyst Laura Coates and MSNBC national correspondent Yasmin Vossoughian both witnessed the self-immolation and spoke about the incident live on air.

Incredible moment from Laura Coates — Adam Parkhomenko (@AdamParkhomenko) April 19, 2024

Popular on Variety

Both Coates and Vossoughian were reporting live on their respective networks about the Trump jury, with cameras catching the moment they saw the self-immolation and began to explain what was going on.

Coates at first thought the chaos appeared to be an active shooter, but she quickly corrected herself and reported the man setting himself on fire live. Cameras caught footage of the flames, then turned away to focus on Coates as she spoke.

“We have a man who has set fire to himself,” she said. “A man has emblazoned himself outside of the courthouse just now. Our cameras are turning right now. A man has now lit himself on fire outside of the courthouse in Manhattan while we are waiting for history to be made.”

A man appeared to have set himself on fire outside the Donald Trump trial in Manhattan as MSNBC was live on the air. Good lord. — Charles Robinson (@CharlesRobinson) April 19, 2024

Eyewitnesses told outlets that Azzarello threw pamphlets into the air before setting himself on fire. There is not a clear reason why he set himself on fire, and reports indicated Azzarello was still alive but in “critical condition” while in the ambulance.

The 12 jurors and six alternates in Trump’s trial had been chosen, and the court was heading into a break when the man set himself on fire outside. Trump is accused of being part of a large scheme to bury negative press stories about him ahead of the 2016 election, including making hush money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal to cover up alleged affairs. He has denied these claims as he is gearing up for the 2024 presidential election.

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Middle East conflict

April 15, 2024 - Israel-Hamas war

By Kathleen Magramo, Antoinette Radford, Maureen Chowdhury and Amir Vera, CNN

Our live coverage of Israel's war on Hamas in Gaza has moved  here .

Israel delays Rafah offensive as it weighs response to Iranian attack. Catch up here

From CNN Staff

Israel was set to take its first steps toward a  ground offensive in Rafah  this week, but has delayed those plans as it mulls a response to Iran’s attack, two Israeli sources have told CNN.

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has long stressed the importance of invading Rafah to dismantle Hamas’s remaining battalions, despite significant international pressure to call off an all-out ground offensive. But, a military response that risks escalating the conflict with Iran further would pull the military’s attention and resources away from Gaza.

Here's what to know if you're just joining our coverage:

  • War cabinet meeting : Israel's war cabinet reviewed military plans for a potential response against Iran, an official said. The cabinet remains determined to act , but it's not clear if a decision has been made. Israel has vowed to "exact a price" after the unprecedented large-scale drone and missile attack .
  • White House urges de-escalation: US President Joe Biden is focusing on preventing Iran's attack from spiraling into a wider regional conflict , spokesperson John Kirby said. Kirby said ultimately the US wanted tensions to de-escalate.
  • Countries urge restraint : Biden's sentiment is echoed by various countries who are urging Israel and Iran to avoid further confrontation that could plunge the area deeper into conflict. Indonesia, Malaysia , Jordan , Germany , the UK , South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya and Somalia — among others — have all expressed concern about rising tension in the region.
  • Iran's stance : Iran maintains its attack on Israel was a "legitimate" and “responsible” reaction , the Foreign Ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani said.
  • Flight operations resume : Airports in the Iranian capital of Tehran resumed flights at 6:00 a.m. local time on Monday, according to Iran's state-aligned Tasnim news agency.
  • Israel warns Palestinians to avoid the north : After thousands of Palestinians attempted to return to their homes in northern Gaza, Israel's military warned it was a "dangerous combat zone" through social media and airdropped leaflets .
  • Gaza death toll : The Health Ministry in Gaza says that 68 people were killed in the territory over the past 24 hours as a result of Israeli military operations. A further 94 were injured. CNN cannot verify the figures, and the Ministry does not provide a breakdown of civilians and fighters among the casualties. The Ministry said that since October 7, 33,797 people have been killed and 76,465 injured.
  • West Bank shooting: Israeli gunfire killed one person and critically wounded another in Nablus , in the occupied West Bank, on Monday, the Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of Health said. Israeli police described the man as a "terrorist" and said he threw an explosive device at their forces.
  • Palestinians released : Israeli authorities have released 150 people previously detained in Gaza according to the Palestinian General Authority for Crossings and borders on Monday. Two of the detainees were ambulance workers for the Palestinian Red Crescent Society.
  • Israeli soldiers wounded : An explosion near the northern border has injured four Israeli soldiers , one severely, the military says.
  • Gaza aid : The Israeli government agency that coordinates the delivery of aid into Gaza says that a new crossing in the north has again been used to deliver food aid .
  • Hostage talks: Hamas has slashed the number of hostages it is willing to release during the first phase of a ceasefire deal by more than half, from 40 down to 20, an Israeli source close to the negotiations said. This represents a significant step backward in the talks.

The post has been updated with details on the war cabinet meeting and the hostage talks.

2 Palestinian farmers killed after confrontation with Israeli settlers near West Bank city of Nablus

From CNN's Mohammed Tawfeeq

Two Palestinians were killed Monday south of the West Bank city of Nablus, according to Israeli and Palestinian officials.

The Palestinian official news agency WAFA, citing a local official, said the two were killed by Israeli settlers in Khirbet at-Tawil, which is near the settlement of Gitit. 

According to WAFA, Israeli settlers attacked and killed two farmers who were tending their farmland. 

The Palestinian Ministry of Health in Ramallah identified the deceased as Abdul Rahman Maher Bani Fadel, 30, and Muhammad Ashraf Bani Jame, 21.

The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) said in a statement it received a report Monday "about a Palestinian suspect who attacked a Jewish shepherd" in the Gitit area in the West Bank's Jordan Valley. "A violent confrontation developed there between Palestinians and Israeli citizens," the statement said. 

When IDF forces arrived, they "worked to disperse the confrontation," and "during the incident, two Palestinians were killed," the statement said. 

A preliminary investigation into the shooting appears that IDF forces did not do it, the statement concluded. 

The IDF and the Israel police are investigating the incident, the IDF spokesperson added.

China notes Iran's position on Israel attack and does not condemn strikes

From CNN’s Manveena Suri, Simone McCarthy and Wayne Chang

Wang Yi speaks during a press conference at Diaoyutai State Guest House in Beijing, China on April 1.

China said it noted Iran’s statement that the actions against Israel were an “exercise of the right of self-defense” during a phone call between the foreign ministers of the two nations on Monday, and did not condemn the weekend strikes.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian that China condemned the attack on a consulate building in the Iranian embassy compound in Damascus, according to a statement issued by China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Chinese foreign minister added the incident “seriously violates international law and is unacceptable.”

“China has noted Iran's statement that the actions it took were limited and it was an exercise of the right of self-defense in response to the attack on the embassy building,” the statement said. “The current regional situation is very sensitive, and Iran is willing to exercise restraint and has no intention of further escalating the situation,” the statement added, quoting Amir-Abdollahian.

Separately, China’s Special Envoy on the Middle East, Zhai Jun, met with Irit Ben-Abba Vitale, Israel’s Ambassador to China, on Monday, in which the latter expressed Israel's position and concerns on the conflict in Gaza.

Zhai said China was “deeply concerned about the current escalation of regional tensions, and conflicts and bloodshed serve the interests of no one.”

“What is pressing now is to achieve an immediate ceasefire and cessation of hostilities in the Gaza Strip, ensure humanitarian aid, release all detained personnel as soon as possible, and achieve a political settlement of the Palestinian question based on the two-state solution for the peaceful coexistence of Israel and Palestine,” a statement from the foreign ministry said.

15 more bodies recovered from around Gaza's Al-Shifa Hospital as exhumation process continues

From CNN’s Kareem Khadder and Zeena Saifi in Jerusalem

A United Nations team inspects the grounds of Al-Shifa hospital after an Israeli raid on April 8.

Fifteen bodies were recovered Monday from around Al-Shifa Hospital following the withdrawal of the Israeli military from the area two weeks ago, Gaza residents and medical crews told CNN.

Health workers and residents in northern Gaza have been searching for what they believe are mass graves and looking for their loved ones after they said Israeli forces killed hundreds of Palestinians and left their bodies to decompose during their two-week siege of the complex.

Hundreds of bodies have been recovered from areas around the hospital complex since the siege ended April 1, a Gaza Civil Defense spokesperson told CNN last week.

Video filmed by CNN Monday shows medical workers, some wearing UN-marked vests walking around the site over mounds of sand, digging up bodies. White body bags can be seen on the side of the excavation site, some marked with text that read “unidentified body” and some with names of people on them.

“Today I bid farewell to my mother who was inside Al-Shifa Hospital during the invasion and attack by the vicious Israeli occupation on this medical complex that has been turned into a big mass of rubble,” Mohammad Al-Khateeb, a resident of Gaza told CNN. “The Israeli military deprived patients, nurses, doctors and the displaced of water, medicine and food."

 Al-Khateeb’s mother, Khawala Al-Khateeb, was 75 years old when she was brought to the hospital three days before the Israeli military siege on the complex and surrounding neighborhood of Al-Rimal, and was killed three days after, he said.

CNN has reached out to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) for comment on these allegations but has not received a response.

Waleed Abu-Laila told CNN he had been searching for his mother since the Israeli siege on the hospital ended on April 1. On Monday, he said he found her body and was only able to identify her "from the specific markings on her feet and hands" from when she had a toe and finger amputated back in November.

Video shows Abu-Laila opening a white body bag, revealing his mother’s decomposed body.

“The hospital was blocked from all sides and there were bodies were scattered all over, squashed on the streets from the tank rails. When I got a call to come check the unidentified bodies, I opened a bag that was marked 'unidentified' and immediately found my mother’s body decomposed,” he said.

Khadr Al-Za’anoun of Wafa, the official Palestinian news agency, contributed to this report.

Hamas lowers number of hostages it's willing to release as part of a ceasefire deal, Israeli source says

From CNN’s Jeremy Diamond in Tel Aviv

Hamas has slashed the number of hostages it is willing to release during the first phase of a ceasefire deal by more than half, an Israeli source close to the negotiations said.

In its latest counterproposal, Hamas offered to release fewer than 20 hostages in exchange for a six-week ceasefire, more than halving the number of 40 hostages that has been the basis of negotiations for months now, representing a significant step backward in the talks.

A senior Biden administration official confirmed that Hamas is focused on those 20 for the first phase of a potential ceasefire deal. The official also confirmed Hamas is telling mediators that it only has around 20 remaining hostages who are women or sick, wounded and elderly men.

Hamas also called for the release of more Palestinian prisoners in exchange for fewer hostages, the source said, as well as a higher number of prisoners serving life sentences.

The Israeli source said the latest Hamas counterproposal signals that Yahya Sinwar, the Hamas leader in Gaza, does not want a deal, seeking to exploit fissures between the US and Israel over Israeli military operations in Gaza and domestic pressure on the Israeli government.

Basem Naim, a Hamas spokesperson, said Hamas had proposed “releasing (three) captured Israelis each week,” but said “no one is talking about final numbers.”

Beyond the ratio of Palestinian prisoners, Hamas is continuing to demand assurances about a permanent ceasefire, the withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza and unrestricted access for Palestinians to return to northern Gaza.

“I think part of this is Hamas thinks they're winning. Because their definition of success is survival and they've survived so far,” the Biden official said. “The longer the conflict has gone on the more recalcitrant Hamas has become rather than the other way around.”

This post has been updated with remarks from a Biden official.

Israeli prime minister says international community must "stand united in resisting this Iranian aggression"

From CNN’s Eugenia Yosef in Haifa and Larry Register in Atlanta

It's imperative the international community "stand united in resisting this Iranian aggression, which threatens world peace," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a Monday statement from his office on X .

Netanyahu added:

“Directly and through its terror proxies Hamas and others, Iran is conducting a full-scale campaign of aggression that threatens not only Israel but the entire Middle East.”

Netanyahu's comments follow an Iranian strike against Israel over the weekend in which more than 300 missiles and drones were launched.

Tehran said the attack was in retaliation for a deadly Israeli attack against a consulate building in the Iranian embassy compound in Damascus.

Golden Gate Bridge reopens after protestors against the war in Gaza block traffic  

From CNN’s Cindy Von Quednow and Jeffrey Kopp

Protesters are monitored by California Highway Patrol officers on Interstate 880 southbound near the 7th Avenue on ramp in West Oakland, California, on April 15.

The Golden Gate Bridge has reopened after demonstrators protesting the war in Gaza shut down the busy roadway Monday morning, California Highway Patrol Officer Andrew Barclay told CNN. 

Traffic is beginning to flow again as both sides of the bridge reopened, Barclay added. 

Earlier in the day, protestors also blocked Interstate 880 in Oakland and the roadway remains impacted, Barclay said. The northbound side of the interstate is almost completely clear, while the southbound side remains closed, the officer detailed. Protests continue on the interstate, aerial and ground video from CNN affiliate KGO showed .

“Arrests have been made, and are continuing to be made,” Barclay said in an email early Monday. 

Before the law enforcement response, protesters held signs, including one that read “Stop the world for Gaza.”

I-880 reopened traffic later Monday, California Highway Patrol Officer Art Montiel told CNN. Protesters are still demonstrating on city streets near the interstate, the officer added. 

Montiel was not able to say how many people were arrested in the incident.

US military assets remain in Middle East as Israel debates response to Iran attack, Pentagon says

From CNN's Haley Britzky

Additional US military assets that had been moved into the Middle East before Iran’s attack on Israel remain in place, Pentagon spokesperson Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder said Monday.

Ryder's comments come as Israel debates possible retaliation to Iran’s attack. 

"As (Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin) has said, both publicly and privately, we don't want to see escalation, but we obviously will take necessary measures to protect our forces in the region and as was demonstrated over the weekend, we'll take necessary measures to defend Israel," Ryder said.

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