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Gaza death toll passes 8,000 as Nigerians donate N17m to Palestinians

Over 8,000 people have been killed in Gaza after another day of relentless airstrikes as Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, warned the “next stage of war” has begun. The death toll includes over 3,000 children, as humanitarian groups increase calls for a ceasefire.

United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, on Sunday repeated appeals to end the bloodshed and agree on a ceasefire to end the “nightmare. Gaza situation is growing desperate by the hour. I regret that instead of a critically needed humanitarian pause, supported by the international community, Israel has intensified its military operations,” Guterres said.

Israel imposed a total siege – no food, water, electricity – on the Palestinian enclave of 2.3 million people in the wake of the Hamas attack in Israel three weeks ago. Israel has allowed limited supplies of basic necessities and medicines. Efforts are under way to get more supply of food, water, fuel and medicine in the enclave that has been under intense bombing since October 7.

The bombardment over the weekend – described by Gaza residents as the most intense of the war – knocked out communications in the territory late on Friday, largely cutting off the besieged enclave’s 2.3 million people from the world. Communications were restored to Gaza early on Sunday.

The Israeli military said on Sunday it had struck more than 450 targets over the past 24 hours, including Hamas command centres, observation posts and antitank missile launching positions. It said more ground forces were sent into Gaza overnight.

Meanwhile, at least 2,497 Nigerians have donated over N17 million to Palestinians caught in the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza. The donations were made after an appeal by Kaduna-based cleric, Ahmad Gumi, on Thursday, calling on Nigerians to help the Palestinians.

Gumi made a donation of N50,000 himself while launching the appeal for funds. The imam of the Sultan Bello mosque in Kaduna, Muhammed Suleiman, said following the appeal, a total of N17,959,806 was gathered for humanitarian assistance to the people of Palestine.

“After the appeal fund, through the Sheikh Abubakar Gumi Mosque Foundation, and Dr. Ahmad Gumi Student’s Forum Account the aforementioned amount was raised in seven days. At least 2,497 Nigerians donated to the appeal fund’s account with the least donor sending in N50 and a maximum donation of N100,000.

“The aim is to help the victims of the war which includes Children and the weak in Gaza, this is what we can offer to them after prayer, Suleiman said, adding that the amount will be donated through the Red Crescent to victims of the war in Gaza.

Netanyahu in a televised broadcast to the nation on Saturday night said the military has opened a “second stage” in the war against Hamas by sending ground forces into Gaza and expanding attacks from the ground, air and sea.

Casting the war as a fight for his country’s very survival, he warned that the assault would only intensify ahead of a broad ground invasion into the territory.

“There are moments in which a nation faces two possibilities: to do or die,” Netanyahu said. “We now face that test and I have no doubt how it will end: We will be the victors. We will do and we will be the victors.”

Netanyahu added that Israel is determined to bring back all the hostages, and maintained that the expanding ground operation “will help us in this mission.” He said he couldn’t reveal everything that is being done due to the sensitivity and secrecy of the efforts.

“This is the second stage of the war, whose objectives are clear: to destroy the military and governmental capabilities of Hamas and bring the hostages home,” he said in his first time taking questions from journalists since the war began.

He didn’t address calls for a cease-fire, but in a speech peppered with references to centuries of Jewish history and military conflicts, made clear his view that Israel’s future depends on its success against “enemy” forces.

“Our heroic soldiers have one supreme goal: to destroy the murderous enemy and ensure our existence in our land. We have always said, ‘Never again,’” he said. “‘Never again’ is now.”....CONTINUE.FULL.READING>>>

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Baba Voss

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