Sen. Cory Booker Recounts Being In Israel When Hamas Attack Erupted

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee member and his staff were in Jerusalem when they were urgently called inside to take shelter.

statement,As Hamas militants attacked Israel on Sunday (October 8),  U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) was able to escape to safety while traveling in the country, CBS News reports.

Booker, who serves on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, arrived in Jerusalem on Friday (October 6) along with his staff to participate in an N7 summit on regional economic integration in Tel Aviv when Hamas launched an unprecedented attack against Israel "and sheltered in place for their safety.”

"We are grateful that Sen. Booker and our colleagues were able to safely depart Israel earlier today," said Maya Krishna-Rogers, Booker’s spokesperson, in a statement on Sunday afternoon (Oct. 8).

Booker condemned the violence perpetrated by Hamas in an earlier statement saying, “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.”

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Taking to X (formerly Twitter) later on Sunday, Booker shared a video detailing his experiences of taking shelter in his hotel's bomb shelter during the attacks.

"About this time yesterday, I was jogging — behind me — in the Old City when I got an urgent call from my chief of staff, telling me to get back to the hotel as quickly as I could, that Israel was under attack," Booker said in his video, noting that "thousands of rockets" were being launched by Hamas.

"When I got back to the hotel, I joined others in the bomb shelter or the stairwells of the hotel," Booker continued. "Frightened faces. There were children, elderly, families, and many Americans."

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On Saturday (October 7), Hamas militants crossed over Israel’s fortified separation fence and opened fire on young Israelis who were attending the Tribe of Nova music festival to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Sukkot in southern Israel near the Gaza Strip, the Associated Press reports.

The U.S. State Department considers Hamas a foreign terrorist organization. It controls the security infrastructure in Gaza. The Palestinian militant organization has sworn to destroy Israel and replace it with an Islamic state.

As of Monday (October 9), Zaka, Israel’s rescue service, said paramedics had recovered at least 260 bodies, and thousands were injured in the attacks. The number of fatalities is expected to rise as officials clear the area.

Arik Nani from Tel Aviv, who attended the festival to celebrate his 26th birthday, recalled the tragic event.

“We were hiding and running, hiding and running, in an open field, the worst place you could possibly be in that situation,” Nani said. “For a country where everyone in these circles knows everyone, this is a trauma like I could never imagine.”

Following attacks by Hamas, Israel declared a "state of war," and officials said they plan to “eliminate Hamas and take complete control of Gaza.”

Responding to the attacks, President Joe Biden condemned Hamas and expressed his support for the nation of Israel.

“This morning, I spoke with Prime Minister Netanyahu about the horrific and ongoing attacks in Israel,” Biden said. “The United States unequivocally condemns this appalling assault against Israel by Hamas terrorists from Gaza, and I made clear to Prime Minister Netanyahu that we stand ready to offer all appropriate means of support to the Government and people of Israel.”

“Terrorism is never justified. Israel has a right to defend itself and its people. The United States warns against any other party hostile to Israel seeking advantage in this situation,” Biden’s statement continued. “My Administration’s support for Israel’s security is rock solid and unwavering. Jill and I are keeping in our prayers all of the families who have been hurt by this violence. We are heartbroken by the lives that have been tragically cut short and hope for a swift recovery for all those who have been wounded. My team and I are tracking this situation closely, and I will remain in close touch with Prime Minister Netanyahu.”

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