QUEENS, N.Y. (PIX11) – A flight from Israel landed at John F. Kennedy International Airport Thursday morning as Americans in the country try to find ways to get back home.
Arriving home from Tel Aviv, Batsheva Aminov said being greeted by her mother was exactly what she needed after spending the last 16 days in Israel. The sounds of sirens and rockets filled the final days of her trip.
“It was really great in the beginning,” Aminov, of Queens, said. “Then it got really scary. We had to go into the bomb shelters and hear the sirens. It was really petrifying.”
Her mom, Sari Aminov, told PIX11 News she is so glad to have her daughter back home safe.
“I do have (another) daughter in Israel studying for the year. They seem to be safe. Scared of course, but safe,” she said. “But they do have sirens every day, all the time, and they go to the shelter. That’s scary for young people.”
Fighting in the region is expected to intensify as Israeli forces are reportedly preparing for the next stages of war with Hamas. Israel has been launching airstrikes in Gaza in response to Hamas attacks and abductions of civilians over the weekend.
Around 1,200 people have been killed in Israel so far, according to its military. In Gaza, 1,100 people have been killed so far, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.
U.S. officials said 25 Americans are among those who were killed.
Getting out of Israel continues to be a challenge as commercial flights are being canceled daily. The Biden administration has not ordered a state-sponsored airlift operation.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and other New York lawmakers are making requests to get people out of Israel, but many stuck abroad said it’s not enough.
New York City is home to the largest Jewish population outside of Israel, with about 2 million Jewish people living in the city and surrounding areas.