Detroit Lions linebacker Alex Anzalone implored President Joe Biden to help get his parents back home after they became trapped in Jerusalem during the Hamas terrorist attack on Israel.
Anzalone helped his team handily defeat the Carolina Panthers in a 42-24 blowout at home in Detroit on Sunday, but he privately agonized over the plight of his parents.
Sal and Judy Anzalone are part of a 53 person church group of Americans trapped in Jerusalem, as Israel has declared war on Hamas for the attack that saw villages near the border of Palestine attacked by Hamas terrorists.
According to Detroit News, Anzalone’s parents and 51 members of their Baptist church out of Naples, Florida, arrived in Israel on Oct. 2 for a holy tour.
#Lions LB Alex Anzalone, who played in today’s win over the #Panthers, said that his parents are trapped in Israel as part of a church tour group of 53 people as conflict continues to rage on, via @Justin_Rogers
“It's hard. It's really all I’ve been thinking about.” Anzalone… pic.twitter.com/8jSMqb5gML
— JPAFootball (@jasrifootball) October 9, 2023
In a since-deleted post on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, the linebacker shared a video of congressman Byron Donalds speaking to CNN about the church group.
“I have 53 members of my constituency who are in Jerusalem right now,” Donalds remarked. “Obviously, they are panicked, trying to find their way to get back to America.”
“We need to provide every assistance possible to Israel to get Americans back,” he continued. “And let me be very clear with Hamas — touch an Americans’ head and see what happens to you.”
“That’s my position. That needs to be the position of the president of the United States right now,” the congressman concluded.
When Anzalone shared the clip of the Republican lawmaker, he captioned the post, “Please get my parents home,” and tagged President Biden.
“It’s hard,” he told The Detroit News in a post-game interview. “(It’s) really all I’ve been thinking about.”
Right now, a group of Floridians is stuck in Israel as the country's war with the terror group Hamas rages on. I talked with the Pastor leading the group. Also within that company are there parents of Detroit Lions and former Florida Gator linebacker Alex Anzalone. pic.twitter.com/o02q09uDMI
— Marie Edinger FOX 35 (@MarieEdinger) October 10, 2023
The church’s pastor Alan Brumback share on Facebook that the group, which includes several children, is “doing good” at their hotel in Jerusalem.
“Continue to pray for Israel and for this to be resolved as peacefully and quickly as possible. We are trusting in the Lord and we know that God’s got this,” he wrote.
In an update, Brumback said that the group was scheduled to fly out of Tel Aviv on Thursday morning, but major international airline carriers have scaled down or suspended flights out of the city as the conflict escalates.
Around 50% of scheduled Tel Aviv flights were cancelled on Sunday and a third did not operate on Monday.
After the Federal Aviation Administration cautioned airlines about continuing operations in the area, United and American suspended direct flights to the country, while Delta cancelled all flights to and from Israel for the rest of October.
Many European airlines have followed suit, while the Israel’s national airline carrier, El Al, has added to their itinerary to help transport Israel Defense Force reservists from around the world back to protect their homeland.
In a statement from Biden on Monday, the president announced that at least 11 American citizens were killed during the attack, while many still “remain unaccounted for,” as the administration works with Israeli officials to locate them.
He also acknowledged that intelligence agencies think that its possible Americans abroad were kidnapped and are being held hostage, like the many Israelis that were kidnapped during the initial shocking attack on Saturday.
“The safety of American citizens—whether at home or abroad—is my top priority as President. While we are still working to confirm, we believe it is likely that American citizens may be among those being held by Hamas,” Biden stated.
“I have directed my team to work with their Israeli counterparts on every aspect of the hostage crisis, including sharing intelligence and deploying experts from across the United States government to consult with and advise Israeli counterparts on hostage recovery efforts,” the president continued.
However, the Biden administration is not offering direct help to those who are trapped in the war-torn country.
“For American citizens who are currently in Israel, the State Department is providing consular assistance as well as updated security alerts,” the statement said.
“For those who desire to leave, commercial flights and ground options are still available. Please also take sensible precautions in the days ahead and follow the guidance of local authorities.”