Bay Area residents stuck in Israel begin returning home

Americans previously stuck in Israel are starting to return to the U.S. after flights were grounded there due to terrorist attacks about a week ago. 

Americans are being evacuated out of Israel to Germany and Greece, and then flown to American soil, the U.S. State Department said. The government is organizing flights from Tel Aviv, Israel to Athens, Greece and Frankfurt, Germany. Evacuees will need to figure out their travel plans from there.

One Bay Area resident was in Israel when the terrorist attacks happened. Shira Amrany was flown from Tel Aviv to Frankfurt and arrived at San Francisco International Airport late last Friday night. 

She said on Oct. 7, the day Hamas fired over 2,000 rockets into Israel killing hundreds of people, that it was hard to understand what was happening at first. 

"We woke up at 6:30 in the morning to the sirens going off with rockets, and I had my 1-and-a-half-year-old, and we scrambled to get to the bomb shelter," she told KTVU. "And that sort of continued for a few hours. And then we started to realize what was going on."


Flights out of Tel Aviv are still suspended for American, Delta and United Airlines; however, each airline is working with the State Department to get Americans home from Europe.

According to a United spokesperson, the airline is now using Boeing 787-10 aircraft for all of their Newark to Athens flights. It added five new routes over the next few days.

Delta Air Lines is also adding three more direct routes from Athens to JFK International in New York. 

American Airlines is not adding any additional routes but did tell KTVU it is also using larger planes, a Boeing 777-300 instead of 777-300, to fly an additional 70 passengers per flight.

Israeli Army reservists are being called to service and can fly free back to Israel. El Al, an Israeli airline, is chartering flights on the Sabbath, the Jewish day of rest, for the first time in 40 years to bring reservists to Israel.

KTVU reporter James Torrez contributed to this report.