Booker arrived in Israel on Friday ahead of the start of an Abraham Accords-focused N7 summit on regional economic integration in Tel Aviv, where he was scheduled to speak this week.
“Senator Booker and accompanying staff were in Jerusalem when Hamas launched their attacks against Israel on Saturday, and sheltered in place for their safety,” a spokesperson for Booker said in a statement. “We are grateful that Senator Booker and our colleagues were able to safely depart Israel earlier today.”
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the United States is “working overtime” to verify reports that there are other missing or dead Americans in Israel following the deadly terrorist attack.
Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan also believes that there are dozens of American nationals currently being held in the Gaza Strip, a Palestine enclave controlled by Hamas. Israel’s Embassy to the United States reported that over 100 soldiers and civilians have been kidnapped in Gaza, according to the Jerusalem Post.
Booker, who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released a statement condemning the Hamas attack on Saturday.
“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,” Booker said. “I stand with the people of Israel and the families of those who have lost loved ones.”