The 310 Lagos pilgrims to Israel returned to Nigeria on Tuesday with some telling tales of how they narrowly escaped fatal attacks in the raging Israel-Hamas war.
In an exclusive chat on Tuesday, a lawyer, Mrs Adebimpe Bada, said they were in Israel when the conflict started but they heard news of attacks on some places they visited after they had departed from those places.
“We heard, I didn’t see, we heard that a particular hotel that we just departed from was attacked about two hours after we left there.
“We visited several places; we were in Bethlehem, we were in Jordan, we were in Nazareth, so, what we learnt was that the last place we left, just barely two or three hours after we left, was attacked.
“The locations we visited that were later attacked were attacked after we had departed from there,” thankful Bada told our correspondent.
Speaking on how the pilgrims received the news of the conflict, the lawyer said the team of the Lagos State Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board led by its Executive Secretary, Mrs Florence Gbafe, “managed the situation properly so much so that we didn’t know what was going on on time.”
Bada further noted that the pilgrims observed that there was tension among the Israelis and there were “blood donation centres that were already established.”
Another pilgrim, Mr Emmanuel Bantale, said he had a premonition that there might be attacks owing to the period they visited Israel.
“As a news person, I have keenly followed the tension between Israel and Hamas for a long time now. I have observed that the Palestinians would always want to attack whenever there is a significant feast in Israel.
“We went to Israel during the Feast of Tabernacles, and this got me scared. I told my partner that I was scared and that anything could happen, and we were already in Israel at the time,” Bantale said.
He added that they were onboard a bus enroute to the Sea of Galilee “when I sighted a parachute at a long distance from us and I called the attention of others to it. I never knew that was the time the Palestinians wanted to hit Israel.
“It was when we got back to our hotel, and I got to realize that the attacks were carried out by men using parachutes.”
The 310 Lagos contingent returned to Nigeria on Tuesday, touching down at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos at about 12.50 am.
According to The Economic Times, the death toll in the Israel-Hamas war neared 1,900 as Hamas attacks Israeli city of Ashkelon after warning residents to leave as the war enters its fourth day.