New information reveals that Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) was in Israel at the time of the surprise attack launched by Hamas from Gaza over the weekend and took shelter as the attack went on but has since departed the country, his office announced Sunday.
Booker, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was in the country in part to deliver a speech at an event celebrating the Abraham Accords, a deal made by the Trump administration designed to improve relations between Israel and other Arab nations.
“On Friday, October 6, Senator Booker arrived in Israel for several days of planned meetings and site visits ahead of the start of an Abraham Accords-focused N7 summit on regional economic integration in Tel Aviv, at which he was scheduled to speak on Tuesday,” said Booker’s spokesperson Maya Krishna-Rogers.
“Senator Booker and accompanying staff were in Jerusalem when Hamas launched their attacks against Israel on Saturday, and sheltered in place for their safety. We are grateful that Senator Booker and our colleagues were able to safely depart Israel earlier today,” the statement added.
Some time later, Booker posted a short video to X, where he shared details about his experience.
Israel officially declared war on Hamas on Saturday evening, after the terrorist group began to launch rockets and sent gunmen over the border earlier in the day. As of Sunday, with Israel ramping up its efforts to fight back, officials have estimated hundreds of people have died and thousands more have been wounded in Israel and Gaza.
Reports have indicated that civilians and soldiers alike have been kidnapped, either being held hostage by Hamas, or murdered and paraded in the streets, as seen in sickening videos posted to social media.
“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 said in a statement on Saturday.
Booker wasn’t the only member of Congress to be in Israel at the time of the attacks. Rep. Dan Goldman (D-NY) was in the nation over the weekend with his wife and three youngest children for a family Bar Mitzvah, according to a statement from his office.
“Congressman Goldman and his family sheltered from Hamas rocket fire in their hotel’s interior stairwell until early Sunday morning, when they were able to safely depart for New York,” the statement added.
The Biden administration and other American officials pledged support for Israel after Hamas began its attack. Officials in areas across the United States with large Jewish populations said police would increase security around Jewish institutions in light of the attacks.
In Booker’s home state of New Jersey, law enforcement “will be increasing patrols in sensitive areas – particularly houses of worship for both the Jewish and Islamic faiths – and taking other steps out of an abundance of caution,” said Attorney General Matthew Platkin.
While the majority of the nation has come out in support of Israel, several Democratic reps, many of them members of the far-left “Squad,” have called for a ceasefire on both sides and urged Israel against defending themselves. One Squad member, Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) went so far as to blame Israel’s “Apartheid government” for the actions taken by Hamas.
Several reports that Americans have been killed or taken hostage in Israel are under investigation by the Biden administration, according to Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
“We have reports that several Americans were killed. We’re working overtime to verify that. At the same time, there are reports of missing Americans and there again, we’re working to verify those reports,” the top U.S. diplomat said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
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