Former News 12 reporter visiting family in Israel unexpectedly caught amid deadly Hamas attack
A Westchester County resident and former News 12 reporter is among those in Israel who found themselves in the middle of Saturday's deadly Hamas attack.
Rebecca Solomon made the annual visit to Israel to celebrate holidays and to see friends and family. But for Solomon, her husband and their 8-month-old daughter, this year's trip became tragically different.
"There were no reports of an attack happening. This was a complete surprise attack," Solomon said.
The terror group Hamas launched the surprise ground and air attack in the early morning hours.
The Israeli military said about 2,200 rockets were launched from the Gaza Strip into Israel, while armed men infiltrated into Israel by land, sea and air in paragliders.
"A couple times throughout the morning, the sirens continued, and you hear the rockets being intercepted by the Iron Dome. The Iron Dome is an amazing piece of technology in Israel that intercepts any missiles or rockets that fall down," Solomon said. "If there was no Iron Dome after what happened this morning, we would not be having this conversation, OK? That's how serious it is."
Solomon used her cellphone camera to show News 12 from the apartment's balcony a view of empty streets that would normally be packed with people taking part in Simchat Torah. It's the rejoicing of the Torah on the last day of Sukkot when the yearly cycle of Torah reading is completed, and the next cycle is begun.
Solomon said being in Israel during the surprise attacks has forever changed her.
"The terrorists of Gaza not only are attacking by air, but they are also on foot going into Israel, innocent villages, innocent civilians, kidnapping them, murdering them," she said. "The hundreds of casualties that we're seeing and hearing about, those are mainly from what the terrorists did with their boots on the ground, on Israeli ground."
Solomon and her family were safe and sheltering in place as of Saturday night. She was working hard to find a way back home to Westchester County.
"We know right now there are no flights going out at this point, but we'll kind of see what we can do in the next couple of days when it's safe. I don't want to jeopardize my loved ones anymore," Solomon said. "We're in a safe place right now. Israel, I know, they look out for their people. I'm thankful for that but I've got to put me and my family first and do what's best for us."