NORTHPORT, Ala. (WIAT) — Gene and Jamie Poole say they can still hear the sound of explosions ringing in their ears.
“I thought it was just kind of a hit or a miss accident, then I realized that Hamas had fired like 2,000 missiles,” Gene Poole said.
The couple from Northport left for their bucket list trip to Israel on Oct. 3 and days later, they were 45 miles away from the start of what was later declared war between the nation and Hamas militants.
The Pooles took pictures on the way to Israel for travel keepsakes, but eight days into the 10-day stay became surreal as they toured the country.
“Monday, we were in Jerusalem at the Western Wall — which is probably one of the most historic religious artifacts there — and all of a sudden the military police made us get into a building, I mean cleared the whole plaza into a building,” Gene said. “We decided right there in that moment let’s go back to the hotel and try to figure out how we can evacuate this place.”
With help from family in the States and their tour guide, the Pooles were able to evacuate the country by flying to Jordan and then Saudi Arabia. A flight connected them to Miami and landed in Birmingham Friday morning at 2 a.m., the trip totaling almost 48 hours.
It was a scary experience to be sure, but the Pooles tell CBS 42 that they’re counting their blessings while showing compassion for the people of Israel and Palestine — as the war is their everyday reality.
Now that they’re back home, the Pooles say they’re thinking of those still trying to evacuate and praying for peace for those still in the crossfires of the conflict.