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Israel-based Nigerian footballer survives Hamas rocket

Israel based Nigeria footballer Ibezito Ogbonna survived a rocket strike fired from Gaza during the 11 days clash between Israel and Gaza last week.

BBC Sport reports that the former under 23 striker was home with his family in the city of Ashdod on May 17 when his apartment was directly hit by one of the rockets fired by Hamas militants in the heat of the Israel-Gaza face-off.

Ibezito who sustained injuries from the explosion, expressed delight that his wife and kids were unhurt after the Hamas strike.

“I am extremely lucky to be alive after this rocket was fired and it’s third time lucky for me after being involved in a car crash and a horrible robbery incident in Nigeria,” he told BBC’s Oluwashina Okeleji.

“It is difficult to explain the impact of what I saw. Coming out of this was a miracle. We are talking about the same attack that has left several people badly wounded,” he added.

Narrating his ordeal with the explosion, the former Hapoel Tel Aviv forward said:

“On this day I was having breakfast and I heard the wailing siren. Normally, we’d run to the shelter because every house has its own shelter. I felt it’s the normal warning, but within seconds it turned out to be an unlucky day for me.”

“I heard the loud bang of the rocket and felt the immediate impact, I was thrown into the air and it took me from my dining room to my living room.”

“I was in the hospital for a few hours. I was treated and had different tests just to check that everything was okay with me. They weren’t sure I was fine considering what had happened.”

Peoples Gazette had earlier reported that Hamas’s militants fired some 3,150 rockets from the Gaza Strip toward Israel.

The Israeli army said about 460 of the rockets never made it across the border and went down in the Gaza territory. A large contingent of the other missiles were nullified mid air by Israeli Iron Dome technology.

However, the Israelis responded with a massive assault on Hamas prime facilities in the coastal area.

Ibezito, who was part of Nigeria’s 2006 Olympic qualifiers squad, failed to make the country’s dream team that featured at the 2008 Olympics.

He moved to Israel in 2003 after an impressive form at Enugu Rangers, Nigerdock, and Sharks.

The former under 23 forward has since played in Romania, South Africa, Albania, Kazakhstan, and North Macedonia.