A St. Louis-area church group is stuck in Israel after attack

A church group from Godfrey is stuck in Tel Aviv after a weekend attack by the Palestinian militant group Hamas left the Israeli city shut down, flights canceled.

Carmen Rowe and her husband, Dan, are among more than a dozen who arrived in Tel Aviv on Friday afternoon for a week of touring the Holy Land.

Carmen and Dan Rowe

Dan Rowe, 70, and his wife Carmen Rowe, 68, pose for a photo at their Tel Aviv hotel on Sunday, Oct 8. The couple is stuck in Tel Aviv following a militant attack on Israel that began on Saturday, Oct. 7.

But on Saturday morning as the couple watched the sunrise on the Mediterranean coastline, they heard sirens, then explosions.

“I screamed,” said Carmen Rowe, 68. “I had never been around bombs before.”

Hamas fired rockets at Israel, including at Tel Aviv, from its blockaded territory, the Gaza strip. The group also invaded Israeli territory and took hostages from border towns.

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Tel Aviv shut down, Carmen Rowe said. No one was on the streets and the shops were all closed. When the sirens went off, the Rowes descended into a reinforced basement room to shelter.

The attack caused airlines to suspend flights because of security concerns.

Things calmed down Monday and some restaurants and shops reopened, but the Rowes said they’re staying in their hotel room — watching the news and searching for flights. So far, the soonest they have found a flight out is next Tuesday.

“If fighting increases and gets worse, which they are expecting it will, we’re just stuck here until somebody sends a plane over here to get us out,” Carmen Rowe said. “I hope it’s the U.S. government.”

The Rowes have been in touch with U.S. Rep. Mike Bost, who told them he was working on it.

Their daughter, Jenni Beck of Alton, said she just wants her parents home safe.

“My goal is for the government to give them some direction,” Beck said. “It’s very scary.”

Carmen Rowe said she trusts in God to “see us through this.”

She did not want to identify which church her group was with.

Palestinians in Gaza gathered in front of a destroyed house to look for survivors after airstrikes from Israel targeted several areas on Monday.

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