LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Hundreds of shaken passengers arrived in Los Angeles from Tel Aviv Sunday morning after Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel, plunging the country into a state of violence and leaving over 1,000 dead on both sides.
Many of the 243 passengers said the flight out of Tel Aviv was delayed for at least an hour after an attack happened near the airport and they were rushed down to a shelter.
"There were missiles that were shooting toward Tel Aviv... we were in the airport already with everybody and then there was another alarm and we had to all hide inside the shelter, so they brought us all down... to the shelter," said passenger Dana Benyehuda.
She added she's never seen anything like those attacks that hit the country this weekend.
"This is not acceptable. The way they treated bodies and civilians, (kidnapping) elderly people and young babies... I have to say, I've never seen something like this ever in my life and I'm 40 years old... This is tough."
As they made their way through the arrival gate at LAX Sunday morning, many looked relieved to see that their loved ones landed safely.
However, police are increasing security and patrols around Jewish institutions in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills and Santa Monica.
Meanwhile, the Federal Aviation Administration is urging U.S. airlines and pilots to use caution when flying in Israeli airspace. Some carriers, including Delta and American, either canceled or diverted flights headed to Tel Aviv.
The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles is planning a vigil for Israel at 8 p.m. Sunday at the Stephen Wise Temple in L.A.
More than 24 hours after Hamas launched its unprecedented incursion out of Gaza, Israeli forces were still trying to defeat the last groups of militants holed up in several towns. At least 700 people have reportedly been killed in Israel - a staggering toll on a scale the country has not experienced in decades - and more than 400 have been killed in Gaza as Israeli airstrikes pound the territory.
The declaration of war portended greater fighting ahead, and a major question was whether Israel would launch a ground assault into Gaza, a move that in the past has brought intensified casualties. Meanwhile, in northern Israel, a brief exchange of strikes with Lebanon's Hezbollah militant group fanned fears that the fighting could expand into a wider regional war.
Authorities were still trying to determine how many civilians and soldiers were seized by Hamas fighters during the mayhem and taken back to Gaza. From videos and witnesses, the captives are known to include women, children and the elderly.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.