Englewood woman in Israel describes atmosphere on day of Hamas' deadly attack

Thousands of rockets were fired from Gaza across southern and central Israel, including Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, where Lauri Bader was visiting.

News 12 Staff

Oct 7, 2023, 10:52 PM

Updated 199 days ago

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News 12 spoke with an Englewood woman who was in Israel on Saturday when Hamas launched a surprise, deadly attack against the country.
Lauri Bader said she was in Israel for a wedding. She described what are usually bustling streets as empty.
"My view is of the Mediterranean and beautiful beach in Tel Aviv, which is normally vibrant and busy and packed with people, especially on shabbat, but it was creepily empty today, eerily, deserted today," she said. "I've never experienced anything like this. I don't know how many Israelis have."
She said she was heeding the warnings from the U.S. Embassy and her hotel throughout the day to shelter in place .
"I'm safe for now. I'm in the lobby of a hotel. As soon as there's a siren, we have to go to a safe room," Bader said.
Thousands of rockets were fired from Gaza across southern and central Israel, including Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, where Bader was visiting. She said that there was a stark difference in Tel Aviv since she first touched down.
"Everything was fine. No indication that anything was happening. It was a beautiful day, very busy, and vibrant as always in Tel Aviv," Bader recalled.
She said it was just before 7:30 a.m. when the sounds of sirens and an announcement on the loudspeaker in her hotel for all the guests to proceed to safe rooms woke her up.
"It's a bomb shelter, basically, they call [a] safe room. There's one on every floor of the hotel," Bader explained. "A few hours later, the siren went off again and everyone was advised to just stay in the hotel all day and not leave, so we did. We stayed in the hotel all day and then tonight, it went off three times. We were in the safe room again three times."
It was not immediately clear how many Americans were in the area on Saturday, but earlier in the day local officials tweeted their support for Israelis as they continue to monitor the situation.
Gov. Phil Murphy said in part in a tweet, "As a state with one of the largest Jewish and Israeli American communities in the world, today's news is especially hard to fathom. As Governor, I stand with the people of Israel in this dark hour in a united show of resolve against terrorism."
Bader said friends in Israel kept her updated on what was happening.
"The hotel isn't really updating us at all, but my Israeli friends are updating me and seem quite nervous about this. In fact, some are telling me to go home," she said.
According to the U.S. embassy in Israel, Ben Gurion Airport was still open late Saturday, but the security situation and staff availability could affect flights. Several major airlines had suspended flights to and from Tel Aviv.


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