ISRAEL (WTRF) – A group of 38 Franciscan University of Steubenville students were evacuated from Israel Wednesday following the Israel’s declaration of war on Hamas, according to our news partner, the Herald Star.

The students were on a 10-day pilgrimage to Israel, arriving there Oct. 6. They were in the northern part of the country when they learned of the Hamas attacks in the south, according to a statement from Rev. Dave Pivonka, TOR, university president.

Students and their advisor, university pastoral associate Sister Lisa Marie Shatynski, TOR, spent the first night of their trip in Nazareth then transferred east to the Sea of Galilee. The university made arrangements for the group’s evacuation, and then the students crossed into the bordering nation of Jordan. From there, they flew back to the university’s Gaming, Austria, campus.

Rev. Anthony Ariniello, CB, the founder and executive director of Beatitudes Missions, guided the group until they left Jordan. Ariniello reported hearing what he believed were missile strikes and seeing a jet.

The group was relieved to return safely to their campus and Pivonka thanked the people who assisted in the evacuation, including including Ariniello; Sister Lisa Marie Shatynski, TOR; Tom Wolter, Franciscan’s Austrian program director; and Milanka Lachman and Cara Camden of 206 Tours.