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Israel resumes strikes on Gaza

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Israel resumed strikes on Islamic Jihad terror targets in the Gaza Strip, its military said in the early hours of Friday morning, less than a day after a fragile ceasefire deal went into effect to stop the most intense fighting in years in the region.

A fragile calm descended on Israel and the Gaza Strip on Thursday, after a ceasefire brokered by Egypt between Israel and Islamic Jihad militants took hold in the early morning hours.

According to the Israeli army, however, rockets were fired at Israel from the coastal enclave after the ceasefire had gone into effect at 5:30 am (0330 GMT).

The Israeli Defence Force (IDF) tweeted that they started targeting Gaza again after “rockets were indiscriminately fired from Gaza at Israeli civilians.”

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Mos’ab al-Breim, an Islamic Jihad spokesman, said that his group is committed to sticking with what has been agreed upon with Egypt and there is a Palestinian consensus to maintain the current calm.

The agreement includes the suspension of targeted killings by Israel, the protection of Palestinian demonstrators in Gaza and measures to end the blockade on Gaza, according to the spokesman.

Nickolay Mladenov, the UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, who had gone to Cairo to help broker the ceasefire, took to Twitter to urge both sides to “show maximum restraint.”

The ceasefire wasn’t officially confirmed by the Israeli government.

But army spokesman Jonathan Conricus said,

“we were informed there is a ceasefire.

“We understand Egypt was pivotal.”

Israel’s Home Front Command on Thursday eased security restrictions on communities near Gaza after assessing the current situation.

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More than 450 rockets have been fired at targets across southern Israel since Tuesday, according to the Israeli army, with dozens being intercepted by the country’s Iron Dome aerial defense system.

The back-and-forth between Israel and Palestinian militants has claimed 34 lives in Gaza since the violence began early Tuesday in response to targeted strikes by Israel against two leaders of the Islamic Jihad, one of which killed the leader of the Quds Brigades, the armed wing of the Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip.

The commander of the Quds Brigade, Rasmi Abu Malhous, was killed along with seven civilians during a missile attack on his house in the town of Deir el-Ballah, in central Gaza, before dawn on Thursday.

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Islamic Jihad is the second-most powerful group in Gaza, after the coastal enclave’s rulers, the Hamas movement, and has gained influence since 2014 with the help of financial backing from Iran.

The group, which has ties to Hezbollah and is classified as a terrorist organization by the U.S., European Union and others, is considered more militant and behind most rocket attacks.

Israel tightened a blockade on the Palestinian coastal area more than a decade ago, a blockade which is now also supported by Egypt. Both countries justify the measure, which affects some 2 million people who live under difficult conditions in Gaza, with security interests. (dpa/NAN)

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Why probing Atiku, Saraki and myself for connection with Hushpuppi is a huge joke, Timi Frank explains

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Former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Timi Frank, on Tuesday, described the call for the investigation of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, ex-Senate President, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki, ex-Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, Senator Dino Melaye and himself as a huge joke.

A suspected Nigerian internet fraudster, Ramon Abbas, popularly known as Hushpuppi was recently arrested in Dubai and extradited to the United States of America (USA) where he is currently facing trial.

Following his arrest, the All Progressives Congress (APC) had called for the probe of some Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftains, including Atiku, Saraki, Dogara, Melaye, and Frank for appearing in certain photographs with the suspect.
However, the PDP in a statement described the call for the arrest and probe of some of its prominent members over alleged links to Hushpuppi as “reckless and irresponsible,” saying it further exposed a victimization agenda of the APC.

Atiku, Saraki, and Dogara have also in separate statements denied any business connection with the suspect.

Frank in a statement in Abuja, said the photographs under reference were taken at a public function and therefore cannot be proof that any of them had business dealings with the suspect.

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The Bayelsa-born Political Activist said:

“That Hushpuppi was privileged to be in a function where he took pictures with His Excellency Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, former Senate President, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki, former Speaker Yakubu Dogara, Senator Dino Melaye, and my humble self, does not prove that any of us had business dealings of any kind with him.

“Hushpuppi is a Nigerian that was in a function with Nigerians and like any other Nigerian, asked for a photo session with these Nigerian leaders which they obliged.

“I understand that this is beyond the comprehension of the APC’s regime, especially the Head of State, Rtd. Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, because Nigerians loathe them and run away from them whenever they come across them in foreign countries, hence they are trying to rope us into imaginary business dealings with Hushpuppi.

“Does the APC think that the USA and its security agencies, like the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), make arrests before the investigation?

“Does the APC government not realize that investigation was carried out before Hushpuppi was arrested?

“America is not Nigeria where the APC’s militant wing, alias the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and other security agencies, go about harassing innocent citizens even before any investigation is carried out.

“We know that the APC’s government and its sycophantic town criers are very good at weaving lies, propaganda, stealing and embezzling of public funds, supporting Boko Haram insurgents, bandits and protecting APC political Hushpuppies like the cabals in the Villa who before 2015 were in debt and extreme poverty, but have within the last five years of Buhari’s regime become multibillionaires.

“They even acquired Etisalat, now known as 9Mobile, Keystone Bank, etc. Some of these APC political hushpuppies even had bullion vans in their houses during the 2019 presidential election campaigns.

“We have seen an APC governor open a bank in his ‘Babariga’ where he openly pocketed huge amounts of dollars without personal shame or repercussions from this government.

“We have seen billions of dollars frittered away at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), and other government agencies under the APC regime.

“Even the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, last week, called for the sack of the head of the EFCC over corruption allegations. The EFCC boss, Ibrahim Magu, is presently being quizzed by a Presidential Panel constituted by this regime.

“What can be more embarrassing to a country than for the head of its anti-graft crusade to be indicted for corruption?

“APC and this regime should bury their head in shame as this is the most corrupt democratic administration in the history of our beloved country.

“If Hushpuppi had been extradited to Nigeria, this corrupt and clueless Buhari-led APC regime would have set him free.

“The FBI does not need anybody to urge them to act or investigate any individual if they have evidence against anybody they will do the needful as they are professionals in their job.

“Finally, Buhari and the APC should stop wasting time sponsoring unnecessary protests, rather they should focus on delivering the fake promises they made to Nigerians during their electioneering campaigns and to think of how to repay all the debts they have accumulated through incessant foreign and local loans.

END

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Comrade Timi Frank
Political Activist and former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the APC
Abuja.

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NCDC issues guideline for elections

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The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has issued a guideline for safely conducting state and local government elections, especially as the COVID-19 pandemic threatens.

It urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), parties, politicians and election monitors to place a premium on the lives of the electorate by adhering strictly to the guideline and bearing in mind that the deadly virus thrives in a mass gathering.

The government encouraged all to comply with protective measures – limiting mass gathering, ensuring physical distancing of at least two metres, promoting hand hygiene and mandatory use of face masks.

The Director-General of the NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, disclosed this yesterday in Abuja during the briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.

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He said:

“Today we are announcing and launching a new guideline for the conducting of elections during the COVID-19 outbreak in Nigeria.

“Some states will be holding state and local government elections this year, being the first time we are holding elections of this significance during the pandemic.

“Therefore, we have developed this guideline to support everyone involved – parties, INEC, but most critically, Nigerians that will be going to vote in these difficult times.

“Voting still remains a civic responsibility and although we are in the middle of a pandemic, we have to find a way of doing this safely and we have to adapt to the new normal.

“As we know, the virus thrives in mass gathering, so there is a challenge we have in the way we have conducted our elections –  pre-elections, during elections and post-elections. So, in doing this guideline, we try and offer advice on how to do this safely.”

The NCDC boss added:

“We strongly encourage the use of television, radio, mobile vans, social media and other forms of communication as our politicians solicit votes.

“We advise careful adherence to mass gathering guidelines. Unfortunately, the virus doesn’t recognise whether we are conducting elections, religious gatherings or business settings – it just thrives when people come together.

“We have provided specific guidelines for theses settings and none of them will be surprising and we’ll be explicit about it.

“We urge our political leaders to take responsibility and lead by example. Leadership will be critical in this era and we advise them to think of the lives of the electorate first. The electorate staying alive is much more important than any vote you can win.”

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We’re ready for cultists planning 7/7 anniversary- Oyo CP

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The Oyo State Police Command has said intelligence report indicates that some groups are warming up for their annual anniversary.

A statement by the state Police Public Relations Officer, Olugbenga Fadeyi, said the Commissioner of Police, Oyo State Command, Nwachukwu Enwonwu, gave the information on Monday.

According to PUNCH, the Commissioner of Police said the annual celebration of the cults, ‘Aiye confraternity,’ on 7th July, and ‘Buccaneer’ on 8th of August every year across the South-West states had come to the notice of the command.

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Adequate security measures have been emplaced to forestall any unlawful assembly and breakdown of law and order and loss of life associated with such unauthorised activities.

“The command further wishes to reassure the people that the Police in Oyo State are on top of the situation and are working assiduously to clamp down on aforementioned secret cults,” the statement read.

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