BISMARCK, ND (KXNET) — Governor Doug Burgum today said he was in phone contact with one of 84 North Dakotans in Bethlehem, waiting for flights out of Israel and back to the United States.

“We pray for the safe return of the priests and parishioners from North Dakota congregations who are anxiously waiting to board flights home,” Burgum said in a statement. “Today we reached out to the U.S. State Department and spoke with Father Ackerman, offering to assist however possible to help ensure the safe return of those North Dakotans and all Americans wanting to return to U.S. soil.”

Father Phil Ackerman is with the Holy Cross Catholic Church in West Fargo.

Burgum also condemned the ongoing attacks on Israel, saying, “the attack by Hamas terrorists on Israel is reprehensible, and the fact it occurred on a Jewish holiday is despicable. We stand with our democratic ally Israel while lifting up in prayer the victims of these horrific attacks.”