First-hand terror: New York law enforcement officials return from Israel amid escalating conflict
A delegation of high-level law enforcement officials from New York, including some from the Hudson Valley, are back in the United States.
Thirty-two law enforcement officials including those from Westchester and Rockland arrived in Israel on Friday for an educational trip.
"…To learn about antisemitism and how to combat it, to learn about Israeli counterterrorism techniques," explains the trip's organizer Mitchell Silber.
Instead of learning about terrorism, they experienced it firsthand. The delegation arrived Friday night and spent most of their time in the hotel's bomb shelter and stairwells.
"Instead of seeing an Iron Dome battery in person, we saw Iron Dome batteries going off over our heads and so we even have a greater appreciation for how those systems work," said Silber.
The delegation was staying at a hotel less than 30 miles from the Gaza border.
"After we left our hotel, we found out a few hours later Hamas terrorists were intercepted on the road right near our hotel and they were eliminated, but there was a threat in that area that weighed in on our decision to leave," said Seiber.
The NYPD has a liaison officer who is based in Israel. That officer played an instrumental role in getting this delegation out of the country safely. But Silber tells News 12 he didn't breathe a sigh of relief until they were in the air.
"Until you're wheels up, any rocket strike, a launch could prevent the flight from taking off, so until we were in the air it was definitely uncertain," he said.
The delegation says they want to get back to Israel as soon as possible so they can finish what they started.