'Mass chaos': Georgia church group trying to get home after start of Israel-Hamas war

Two Georgia church groups are trying to get their members home who were in or traveling to Israel at the time of the violent attack by Hamas over the weekend.

A group from Logansville's Greystone Church was on their way to Tel Aviv when the bombing started.

Forty-two people were on the trip. Some of them will be returning home over the next few days.

Eight members of the church group were still abroad in Cyprus on Wednesday morning. Speaking to FOX 5, the group said they were still processing what they experienced at the time of the attack.

"We were the first ones to fly in - there were four groups - and on the highway going from Tel Aviv to Netanya we came across an exit that was going to the Gaza Strip that was blocked off by the military," one member of the group said. "That was our first indication that something was wrong."

They said it was "really terrifying - knowing that we could possibly be in the middle of everything."


Ten members of the group were at New York's JFK airport waiting to fly to Israel when they learned that their plane experienced an unknown delay. When they took off, they didn't have any idea that anything was going on.

"The Wi-Fi apparently wasn't accessible, and our monitors didn't work for the first half of the flight, so we didn't really know what was going on until about an hour outside of Tel Aviv," she said.

It was then that a flight attendant came and explained to passengers that rockets had been fired out of the Gaza Strip.

After landing at the airport, the group learned that they couldn't go back to the U.S. and had to just go to their hotel in Netanya.

On the way to the hotel, they saw people pulling off on the side of the highway and crawling under their vehicles for shelter.

"We didn't understand what was happening," they said.

At the hotel, the group was told there was a bomb shelter underground in case of an emergency.

After days of sheltering in place, some of the members of the group were able to get a flight to Cyprus. But at the airport, they saw panicking crowds due to a bomb scare.

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"In that airport when those sirens went off, and it was just mass chaos, all we could do was hang on to each other and stay together," one member said.

The group had a simple message for those in the United States: "Pray for Israel."

Another church group from the First Baptist Church of Loganville is still trying to coordinate travel home.

Right now, there are no flights out of the country.