Metro Detroit couple trapped in Gaza plead for help

A metro Detroit couple traveled to Gaza last month to visit family and now with the ongoing war, they are unable to leave.

The family of Zakaria and Laila Alarayshi are pleading for help from the U.S. government.

"Our family is hurting, and we just want them back," said Lisa Alarayshi, referring to her in-laws who are trapped in Gaza.

READ MORE: 'Hundreds of thousands' evacuated from Gaza as aid groups warn of untold human suffering

On Saturday, the Arab American Civil Rights League and the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee held a press conference in Detroit.

"We're calling upon our Secretary of State, our Secretary of Defense to take some action to make sure these individuals are secure," said Nebih Ayad, founder of Arab American Civil Rights League.

Not just the Alarayshis but all U.S. citizens trapped in Gaza.

"At this point, it's not fair because the disaster is happening right in front of them, and they don't know if they're next," said Mariam Charara, executive director of the Arab American Civil Rights League.

READ MORE: Palestinian civilians unfairly targeted amid Israel-Hamas war, Metro Detroit Muslim leaders say

The two civil rights organizations have filed a lawsuit against the State Department and the Department of Defense.

"Get our citizens out of Gaza as you have done in Israel; an Israeli American life is not more valuable than a Palestinian American," said Nasser Beydoun, Former Chairman of the Arab American Civil Rights League.

The State Department released the following statement:

"As a general matter, we do not comment on ongoing or pending litigation. The U.S. government is working to secure the safe exit of U.S. citizens from Gaza. We have informed U.S. citizens in Gaza with whom we are in contact that if they assess it to be safe, they may wish to move closer to the Rafah border crossing - there may be very little notice if the crossing opens and it may only open for a limited time. We will continue to be in touch with private U.S. citizens to determine what assistance we may be able to provide. U.S. citizens who need assistance should complete the online crisis intake form on"

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