Pacific Islanders in Israel safe but struggling to get home

Some of the hundreds of Pacific Islanders caught up in the conflict in Israel are beginning their journeys home, after days of being stranded by flight cancellations.

Delegations from the Cook Islands, Fiji, Samoa and Tonga were among 3000 visitors from over 80 nations attending the biggest Christian festival in Israel, the week-long Feast of the Tabernacle.

As part of the visit, over 300 Pacific Islanders had been touring the country, visiting historical sites, participating in services and parades and celebrating their faith.

But with sunrise on Saturday, the Pacific delegations awoke to the sound of air raid sirens and missiles flying overhead, as the horrifying news of the Hamas attack broke and they found themselves stranded in a country at war.

Fifty Cook Islanders found themselves sheltering in Jericho, only a two-hour drive away from the Gaza Strip.

In the early hours of the following night, they were able to evacuate to Jerusalem, where the other Pacific delegates also gathered.

The delegations found comfort and support in each others' company, joining hands, praying and singing together as they awaited updates on the situation.

The four Pacific teams have said on social media they are all safe and accounted for.