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Minnesota families impacted by Israel attacks: "They just want to exist"

Conflict in Israel hits close to home for several Minnesota families
Conflict in Israel hits close to home for several Minnesota families 03:03

GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn -- Ari Parritz traveled to Israel last week from St. Paul for a cousin's wedding. He's now eager to get home to his wife and young children following a deadly attack on Israel over the weekend.

"I have this emotion tempered by the fact that so many, even young kids, are not doing that right now. All the kids that were killed and taken away to Gaza aren't having experiences. They're having very different experiences, and I can't bring those two realities together," he said.

LIVE UPDATES: Israel and Hamas at war after Palestinian militants launch deadly attacks from Gaza

The attack by the Hamas militant group marks the deadliest attack in Israel in decades. The attack has killed over 700 people in Israel so far, and 2,150 more have been injured.

Parritz tells WCCO another reality is Israelis gearing up for what's next.

"They have to call people from all over the country down to their bases and to different logistical points and eventually to either Gaza, or to anywhere else in the country where they're going to defend borders," Parritz said.

Among those mobilizing is Shay Gilbert Burke, who grew up in Golden Valley. He moved to Israel and joined the the Israel Defense Forces in 2020.

He moved back to the states earlier this year, but traveled to Israel this week for the Jewish holiday, and he's been called back for duty.

RELATED: U.S. leaders vow support for Israel after deadly Hamas attacks: "There is never any justification for terrorism"

"They just want to exist, and Shay is fighting for that right. That's an amazing thing," Darcy Gilbert Burke, Shay's mother, said.

His family in the Twin Cities now pray for his and Israel's safety.

"The community we grew up in, that's what instilled all of these values," said Izzi Gilbert Burke, Shay's sister. "When terrible things happen, you need to come together and be together for the people around you. And as Minnesotans, we've shown that we're really good at that."

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