BALDWIN COUNTY, Ala. (WKRG) — A Tuscaloosa couple is visiting Israel as the war between Israel and Hamas continues.

Gene Poole and his wife, Jamie Poole, left Tuscaloosa on Tuesday and headed for Israel for a trip of a lifetime to explore the holy land. On Saturday, their trip took an unexpected turn when Hamas attacked Israeli towns.

“We were awakened Saturday morning with sirens going off and explosions that we could hear,” Gene Poole said during a phone call interview Monday. “They did not happen right in Bethlehem, but on the outskirts, we could see the smoke flumes where the missiles hit, that kind of thing, so that started our day.”

The couple was in Bethlehem when the country was first attacked. The two quickly headed about 25 minutes north to Jerusalem for safety, but the danger followed. Monday morning, they were told missiles were heading right towards them.

“It was a whole lot frightening, and I’m a military guy, so I’m thinking we go jump in a foxhole and that’s exactly what we did,” Poole said. “They herded us into a building that was fairly safe, well-built and you get through it, and you just hope it doesn’t happen again and again and again.”

The couple said the Tuscaloosa and Gulf Shores communities, both of which they visit regularly, have been supportive and comforting during this time and are keeping them in high spirits.

“We have had hundreds that have reached out,” Poole said. “We can feel it. God is in control, and we are happy, and we are going to get through this.”

The Pooles say they are having a tough time catching a flight out of Israel at this time as many American Airlines have put a hold on flights in and out of the country. They are hoping to get on a flight as soon as possible to get back to their family in Sweet Home Alabama.