Palestinian, Israeli groups gather in East Tennessee

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- The crisis in Gaza may seem worlds away, but for many people in East Tennessee, it couldn't be any closer.

As the fighting continues, many local groups are joining together as a show of solidarity.

On Thursday night, dozens of people gathered in Knoxville to pray for Israeli soldiers and families. Organizers of the event say they also prayed for sustainable peace in the region as Israel continues to protect its right to exist.

An active group of Palestinian supporters are participating in similar gatherings in Knoxville. A University of Tennessee group called "The Students for Justice in Palestine" is planning to take part in another rally to protest the war.

You can expect to see members of that group at West Town mall on Saturday evening.

These demonstrations are becoming more common as fighting escalates in Gaza. Thursday was perhaps the bloodiest day of the 17-day war. 119 Palestinians were killed, raising the death toll to at least 803. Israel has lost 32 soldiers since the fighting began.

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