KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A Knoxville church group had landed in Israel before the reported deadly attacks against the country broke out over the weekend.
In a live stream of Sunday’s church services at First Baptist Church of Knoxville, a minister to youth and families said the church has received word that the group was safe. Twelve church members are part of a pilgrimage group that traveled to Israel and arrived Friday before the fighting began.
According to a report from The Associated Press, the Israeli government has formally declared war and given the green light for “significant military steps” to retaliate against Hamas for its surprise attack over the weekend. The AP also reports that the militant Hamas rulers of the Gaza Strip had carried out an unprecedented, multi-front attack on Israel at daybreak on Saturday. Hundreds have died, with thousands more wounded on both sides of the conflict.
The Knoxville church group also reportedly traveled from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and were “safely settled in the Old City far from the violence,” according to a social media post shared by a senior pastor.
WATE 6 On Your Side has reached out to First Baptist Church of Knoxville’s pastor for more information on the church’s group in Jerusalem, Israel.
A Monday morning report from ABC News states that fresh rockets were launched on Monday by Hamas militants toward Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Several injuries have been reported.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been updated.