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Tri-State Area residents desperate for news from loved ones overseas in Israel

Tri-State Area families desperate to get loved ones home from Israel
Tri-State Area families desperate to get loved ones home from Israel 02:50

NEW YORK -- Across the Tri-State Area, people are trying to find out what happened to their loved ones in Israel, while some Tri-State natives stuck overseas are trying to find a way back home.

"We have to find our son," Michal Halev said.

Hopewell, New Jersey, native Michal Halev flew from the United States to Israel to find her son, 20-year-old Laor Abramov. She says the aspiring DJ moved from New Jersey to Israel during COVID and was at a music festival that came under attack.

He took refuge in a bomb shelter. A survivor told his family Hamas terrorists kidnapped him.

"We spoke with a witness that saw him taken away on a pickup truck," Halev said.

They are pleading for help from the U.S. government, and so is New York City native Ruby Chen, whose son 19-year-old Itay Chen is also missing. They last spoke Saturday morning before the war broke out.

"He lost contact with his other members of his unit," Chen said.

Itay Chen joined the Israel Defense Forces and was serving on the border of Gaza. Chen believes there's a possibility Itay has been abducted and is being held hostage inside of the Gaza Strip.

They rallied outside the U.S. Embassy in Israel on Monday.

"We are asking President Biden to take an active role as much as possible," Chen said.

CBS New York has also learned one person from Long Island is being held hostage.

Tuesday, President Joe Biden said the U.S. was sending special operators to Israel to coordinate the rescue of more than 100 hostages held by Hamas, including Americans.

There are also Americans who were visiting Israel, like Rebecca Solomon of White Plains, who can't get a flight back.

"It's a nightmare," she said.

Staying with family outside of Tel Aviv, Solomon and her husband have been putting their 8-month-old baby to sleep in their bomb shelter. A Virgin flight for Thursday was just canceled.

"I go into the bomb shelter, also her room, to give her her final bottle, and as I'm there, the tears are coming down. I'm so upset because I get this weird sick feeling about what if," Solomon said. "What are we going to do to get hundreds of people like myself back home to New York?"

A bipartisan letter from New York Congresswomen Nicole Malliotakis and Grace Meng was sent to the state department Tuesday saying in part, "We ask that you consider charter flights and military options for evacuation." It has 146 signatures.

"Poland, Brazil, many Latin American countries have all been doing this, and we're just asking the United States do the same," Meng said. "There was a family who had actually booked six different flights back to the United States in the last 36 hours. All of those flights have been canceled."

Solomon says the U.S. Embassy told her to book any flight she could on a commercial airline, even to connecting cities, but there are none.

The state department said Tuesday it's been in conversation with various carriers to encourage them to consider resuming travel in and out of Israel.

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