Israel tour guide from Utah describes surprise attack from Gaza

Oct 7, 2023, 4:07 PM | Updated: 4:18 pm

JERUSALEM — In the latest fight between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas, Glenn Rawson has a front-row seat.

“I can see the explosions,” Rawson said. “It shakes the whole building every time it… And one of them was really, really close.”

An air strike hitting Israel causing a massive explosion.

An air strike hitting Israel causing a massive explosion. (CNN)

Rawson, a tour guide from Utah, was getting ready to start a tour of Israel with “Fun For Less Tours” based in Draper. That all changed when the missiles hit, and the declaration of war began.

“When the sirens start going off, that’s okay, that’s the warning. But a minute or two later, here come the rockets,” he said. “That is a little tense. I am not going to lie to you.”

Rawson shared video with KSL that he took as air raid sirens were going off in Tel Aviv. He is staying next to a hospital and has seen several helicopters landing with injured people who need immediate medical care.

Rawson has led tours of Israel for several years and loves the country.

“This isn’t the first time I have been caught in a little bit of a dust-up over here. So yeah, I have been here before,” he said.

His tours this week have, of course, been put off because of the attacks. Many people on those tours were still heading to Israel when the fighting began and will now be diverted.

“All the land borders are closed, and obviously, we’re not going to bring anybody in here,” Rawson said. “Fun For Less was considering options to allow these people to continue their tour. Maybe take them up to Turkey or something like that.”

Destroyed cars on the streets of Israel after the missile attack.

Destroyed cars on the streets of Israel after the missile attack. (CNN)

As for Rawson himself, he was hoping to fly to Amman, Jordan, Sunday morning, only to find out late Saturday night that the flight was canceled. For now, he is stuck but also says he has a lot of friends there and feels safe.

“These are a people that live with conflict, and so, I mean, it is a big deal; I don’t want to downplay it, but they don’t throw their lives in a panic,” said Rawson. “Life goes on and so it is very calming in one way.”

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Israel tour guide from Utah describes surprise attack from Gaza