The Federal Aviation Administration has issued a caution to U.S. airlines and pilots regarding flying in Israeli airspace, resulting in the cancellation of hundreds of flights to and from Israel this weekend.
Meanwhile, flights from Israel, the first since the conflict erupted on Saturday, are now arriving in the U.S.
Numerous passengers hurried to secure seats on heavily booked flights departing from Tel Aviv's airport.
The stories coming from passengers arriving at Newark International Airport from Tel Aviv are concerning. People are scared, in shock, and concerned about missiles hitting their families and destroying their homes. They are concerned for their families and friends who remain in Israel.
“We’re all devastated; we’re strong, and we’ll withstand this attack,” said Dr. Glick, who is an Israeli citizen. “We had children of all ages, infants, and it was very upsetting.”
Dr. Glick is a New York physician who says he and his family were observing the Jewish holiday in Israel when Hamas militants launched a surprise attack, firing thousands of rockets at Israeli cities.
“We had missiles falling around us; we spent hours in a bomb shelter with the entire family in a tiny bomb shelter hearing the explosions around us,” said Dr. Glick. “Everybody is in shock. Things might never be the same. It was a terrible breach of security.”
Some passengers say they didn’t even spend 24 hours on Israeli soil. Alex Friedlander was on a flight into Tel Aviv when the attacks started.
“Woke up midway in the flight to my phone blowing up to both news messages and messages from my company and my family, who’s also there,” said Friedlander.
He says the airport in Tel Aviv was packed with passengers looking to flee.
Friedlander, also an Israeli citizen, says his father was waiting for him at a hotel in Tel Aviv. But they never met up.
Instead, they video chatted with each other over their cell phones as sirens warning of incoming missiles sounded.
“Both of us, at several times, would have to run to the bomb shelter; in his case, it was on the staircase; in my case, it was in the women’s bathroom,” said Friedlander.
Friedlander decided to leave the country.
“Landed Saturday afternoon, my plans changed completely. Stayed in the airport for six hours and got on the last flight out,” said Friedlander.
Several U.S. airlines have cancelled or delayed flights to and from Tel Aviv through at least Monday.
Delta says it is working to transport employees back to the U.S. and would work with the government to help bring back U.S. citizens who wished to return.
United and American airlines have also cancelled flights to and from Tel Aviv through Monday.
Notably, New York City hosts the largest Jewish population outside of Israel, which is why Mayor Eric Adams reassures that while there's no credible threat to New York City presently, the New York Police Department is bolstering patrols at synagogues and Jewish communities as a precaution.
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