San Marcos man on trip to Israel leaves after rockets land near hotel

SAN MARCOS, Texas – A San Marcos man is back home after his trip to Israel took a frightening turn.

Bill Spiller was in the holy city of Jerusalem as part of an organized church trip. On Friday afternoon he and his wife were in their hotel room, resting up for one last night on the town. He said sometime between 3 and 4 p.m. the plans they had were quickly put in jeopardy.

"The window was open at the old hotel that we were at and we could hear the sirens go off for about thirty seconds," he said. "Then a few seconds after they stopped I hear a far off impact explosion."
Spiller said he and several group members went down to the hotel's front desk to find out what was going on, but they got no answer. It wasn't until he turned on the news that he found out what he had heard were rockets, likely fired from the militant group Hamas in neighboring Gaza, landing in Israel. Spiller said things quickly changed in the city shortly after.

"We did see an increase in the security forces there. We saw security forces on horseback even in the old city."

Later that night Spiller contacted a friend in an American security force who told him he'd still be able to leave the country. The next day he was at the airport boarding his flight home, thankful to be escaping what has since become an even more tense and violent situation. But Spiller said the recent violence is not enough to deter him from visiting Israel in the future.

"If I had the chance to go back tomorrow, I would," Spiller said