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MO Senator helps church group leave Israel after attacks

A number of American tourists have been stranded in the wake of last weekend’s violent attacks on Israel, including members of Morning Star Church in Dardenne Prairie, Mo., near St. Louis.

The group made it to Jordan, where they expected to be safe from the conflict, KSDK-TV reported. The office of U.S. Senator Eric Schmitt said it is working to bring church members back home safely. What started as a joyful pilgrimage to Israel, turned into an urgent call for help.

The 42-member group was visiting Israel for a Holy Land tour and was scheduled to fly back to the United States this weekend. The attacks happened during their visit to Jerusalem. Commercial flights out of Ben Gurion Airport were canceled because of safety concerns, stranding the U.S. travelers.

Schmitt’s office provided group leaders with information on how to register for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program and crisis intervention resources. Staff members submitted several congressional inquiries and reached out to the U.S. State Department, including the embassy in Jerusalem, to support the group’s safe return to Missouri.

“The first time you call out to a U.S. senator, one of a hundred people in the entire country you don’t expect immediate results,” said Trevor Wolfe, a member of the group. “There was no lag. It wasn’t `make a call and five hours later you hear back.’ It was minutes between phone calls, just absolutely amazing.”

About 10 members will fly to Istanbul, Turkey, while others have to wait until later to fly out of Amman, Jordan.

“Helping Missourians solve a variety of issues is a critical role that my office takes seriously, and we are here to help,” Schmitt said. “If there are any Missourians who find themselves stuck or stranded in Israel, please reach out to my office. We will do everything in our power to assist you and get you home safely.”

–Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice

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