A top Brazilian influencer on a trip to Israel has been slammed for claiming the media was exaggerating the ongoing violence as the death toll nears 1,200, with thousands wounded on both sides.
Marcelinha Nogueira, who has over 35,400 followers on Instagram, caused outrage on social media and made headlines in Brazil after apparently minimising the severity of the crisis engulfing Israel and Palestine.
Nogueira arrived in Israel on the day of the beginning of the violence, on Saturday, 7th October, with a group of Christian pilgrims, and said that “everything was in holy peace” and that she was “enjoying the Israeli sunset”.
She reportedly added: “We are here enjoying the sunset. I don’t know if the media is exaggerating [the severity of the conflict].
“We are all very well here. Tomorrow we will continue the trip, and I will continue posting everything.”
But after a fierce backlash on social media, Nogueira, who is reportedly travelling with a group of 25 people, later said: “Of course, the war exists and is happening.”
She added: “Since yesterday, there has been a whirlwind of messages, and this really affects the psychology of us here because we have family members in Brazil who are following us worriedly, let’s be calm, patient.
“We are safe here inside the hotel, and we are not desperate.”
She also posted a message calling for “peace” but restricted the comments on it.
Nearly 1,200 Israelis and Palestinians have died since Saturday, with thousands more wounded, according to the latest figures at the time of writing.
The Israeli government has formally declared war and has given the go-ahead for “significant military steps” to retaliate against Hamas over the surprise attack, which saw hundreds of civilians slaughtered at a music festival and in their homes.
The Israeli military has reportedly bombed parts of Gaza in retaliation, with Israeli defence forces continuing to battle Palestinian militants in several key locations.
At least 700 people have been killed in Israel, and more than 400 have been killed in the Gaza Strip.