SALEM, MASS. (WHDH) - A church travel group from Salem with dozens of members is back home after being evacuated early from a pilgrimage trip to Israel due to the nation’s ongoing conflict with Hamas.

At least 30 Americans are confirmed dead and more than 15 are still unaccounted for Sunday night as federal officials say getting American hostages back safely following Hamas’ surprise attack is a top priority.

More than 30 members of Mary Queen of the Apostles Parish in Salem returned home on Sunday.

The church’s pastor, the Rev. Robert Murray, said “We ran into an extraordinary amount of violence in a dangerous situation, so of course we had to change our plans.”

He added, “We feel very fortunate, and very blessed that we came home, but we know that we left behind a lot of people who are suffering. A lot of people who are in the mist of the violence.”

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