NYPD brass was part of a metro-area law enforcement delegation attending a counterterrorism and anti-Semitism training near the Gaza Strip when radical Islamic militants launched a deadly surprise attack on Israel this weekend, sources said.
The 32-member group arrived in Israel on Thursday and were just 20 miles from the border when Hamas attacked Saturday, the sources said.
They were forced to seek shelter until they were able to evacuate on Sunday, and could be home by Monday, according to the sources.
The delegation included a half dozen Westchester County officials, among them a deputy chief investigator with District Attorney Miriam Rocah’s office.
“I am in communication with our deputy chief who informed me that though the delegation is close to the Gaza Strip they are sheltering in a safe location and every effort is underway for their safe return to New York,” Rocah said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, on Saturday night.
“While I am personally overcome with emotions about the devastation unfolding in Israel, I share in the gratitude I hear from our colleagues about their wellbeing and protection during their evacuation, despite wanting to stay for their week-long training,” she wrote.
High-ranking members of the NYPD were also part of the delegation, law-enforcement sources said.
Hamas launched a multi-pronged attack on Israel at dawn on Saturday, seizing about two dozen Israeli towns, killing soldiers and civilians and kidnapping at least 100 hostages.
The attack, coming on the 50th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War, has left hundreds dead and thousands wounded on both sides, as Israel massed a massive military response.
The invasion prompted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to declare a state of war and issue a call up of military reservists.
NYPD also beefed up security at Big Apple synagogues, the Israeli Consulate and other sensitive Jewish sites in the five boroughs in anticipation of potential terrorist threats or attacks.
The NYPD did not respond to a request for comment on Sunday.