Democrat US Senator, Congressman Say They Were Stuck In Israel During Deadly Attack

(Photos by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images/Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

Nicole Silverio Media Reporter
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Democratic New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and New York Rep. Dan Goldman of safely escaped Israel during the deadly attack by Hamas over the weekend.

Booker arrived Friday in Jerusalem ahead of a summit on the Abraham Accords where he was scheduled to speak Tuesday, CBS News reported. The senator was reportedly present when the Islamic group Hamas, carried out its deadliest attack on Israel in decades by launching 5,000 rockets and gunmen attacks at around 6:30 a.m. Saturday from the Gaza Strip.

Booker said he was notified by his chief of staff to return to his hotel during the attack and sheltered in place in the stairwells of his hotel along with many Israelis and Americans, per CBS News. He described the “sense of fear and worry” by the people he sheltered in place with as the attack left hundreds dead, the outlet reported.

“I was in Israel when the horrific attacks carried out by Hamas started on Saturday,” Booker said. “My team and I are now safe, but like many we are shaken, angered, and heartbroken by the hundreds killed, the thousands injured, those taken hostage, and all who are directly affected by these sickening terrorist attacks. After this experience, more than ever, I am committed to working with my colleagues in the Senate to continue supporting Israel’s security and ensuring stability in the region — and I hope one day soon, a long-term and just peace in the region.”

The New Jersey senator, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in a Saturday tweet he “empathetically condemn[s]” the attack on Israel. (RELATED: Pentagon Sends Largest Aircraft Carrier To The Middle East, Says Military Aid Will Soon Reach Israel) 

“I emphatically condemn Hamas’ horrific acts of violence, kidnapping and terror targeting Israeli families, children and other civilians in towns and cities across the nation of Israel. I stand with the people of Israel and the families of those who have lost loved ones,” Booker wrote. 

Goldman’s spokesperson, Simone Kanter, said the congressman was in Israel with his wife and three children to celebrate a Bar Mitzvah, Politico reported. He reportedly sheltered in place in his hotel’s interior stairwell until early Sunday morning, then returned to New York.

“At a minimum, Congress must replenish — and expand — the Iron Dome as soon as possible. I hope Republicans can get their House in order so we can pass emergency legislation to assist Israel in defending herself,” Goldman said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared the country was “at war,” which the Israeli Security Cabinet subsequently affirmed when confirming the state of war. The attack left roughly 700 dead and thousands more wounded in Israel.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told “Meet the Press” Sunday that the U.S. is trying to verify reports of Americans being killed in the attack.

Israeli Minister of Strategic Affairs Ron Dermer confirmed Americans are among those being held hostage in Gaza, who Blinken said the nation would remain committed to freeing.