Local security expert describes being in Israel when Hamas assault began

Monday, October 9, 2023
Security expert describes being in Israel when Hamas assault began
Two men from the Tri-State got home Monday but were in Israel when the Hamas assault began. N.J. Burkett has more from the newsroom.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Two men from the Tri-State got home Monday but were in Israel for a security seminar when the Hamas assault began.

Hamas military commanders are firing missiles in a barrage-a deliberate attempt to overwhelm the Israeli air defense system, known as Iron Dome. In some places, they're raining down on Israeli border towns faster than they can be blasted out of the air.

Residents are being herded into bomb shelters with just seconds to take cover.

"We are talking about seconds," said Richard Priem with Community Security Service.

Priem is just back from Israel. When the nation came under attack, he was leading a delegation of law enforcement officers from the New York area through a series of security seminars.

"We did have to run and we did see the building shake and we did hear the explosions of the Iron Dome defense system, shooting them out of the air," he said.

Mitchell Silber was among the delegation. He says that Israelis he spoke with are increasingly concerned about the nation's northern border and the possibility that Hezbollah militants may open a second front from Southern Lebanon.

"For right now, the focus was on how do we stabilize a situation in the south-the towns that were being occupied? And then, how do we move from here?" Silber said.

For the moment, both men say the nation seems unified behind the government and the war effort. They are not questioning the apparent intelligence failures-at least not yet.

"The Israel as we saw when we were on our way out was a country that was mobilizing as a country, that was coming together as a country, that was getting ready to deal with the biggest threats and the biggest security challenge since 1973," Priem said.

RELATED: Up Close with Bill Ritter focuses on the Israel-Hamas conflict


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