Ekim 13, 2023
Israeli forces prepare for grinding urban war in Gaza
Ekim 13, 2023
Thousands protest across Middle East in support of Palestinians

Thousands of protesters poured onto the streets of several Middle East capitals Friday in support of Palestinians amid Israeli air strikes on Gaza in reprisal for a surprise Hamas attack. “No to the occupation! No to America!” chanted demonstrators gathered in central Baghdad after Shiite leader Moqtada Sadr called for a protest “in support of Gaza” and against Israel, an AFP journalist reported. “This rally is aimed at condemning what is happening in occupied Palestine, the bloodletting and the violation of rights,” said Abu Kayan, an organiser of the protest. The besieged Gaza Strip has been under heavy Israeli bombardment since Saturday when Hamas militants stormed Israel’s southern border and killed more than 1,300 people, mostly civilians. The Israeli strikes that followed have killed at least 1,799 people, also mostly civilians, in the Gaza Strip which has already been under a land, sea and air blockade for more than 15 years. In Egypt, videos on social media showed hundreds of protesters near Cairo’s Al-Azhar mosque chanting in solidarity with Gaza. “Arab and Muslim countries have the duty and the responsibility to provide urgent humanitarian aid and help to the Palestinians of Gaza”, the university of Al-Azhar, the highest institution in Sunni Islam, said in a statement. – Flags burned – Anti-Israel protests were also held in Iran on Friday. In the capital Tehran, demonstrators waved Iranian, Palestinian, and Lebanese Hezbollah flags and held banners reading “Down with America” and “Down with Israel”, an AFP journalist said. Similar gatherings took place in other cities across Iran, where American and Israeli flags were burned. Iran, a country with a predominantly Shiite Muslim but non-Arab population, financially and militarily supports Hamas. Israel is their mutual sworn enemy. In Jordan, which has long had a peace treaty with neighbouring Israel, more than 20,000 people gathered in central Amman, near the Grand Husseini Mosque, after a call for protests from the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood, and several leftist and youth groups. Masses of demonstrators filled the streets, waving Palestinian flags and chanting “the people want the liberation of Palestine”. One demonstrator exclaimed “it is (Palestinians’) right to defend their land and people”. He added that “we reject America’s bias” towards Israel. Hundreds protested in other Jordanian cities. – Hezbollah ready – In the Gulf state of Bahrain, hundreds of worshippers chanted “Death to Israel!” and “Death to America!” ahead of Friday prayers at Diraz mosque. They then joined a protest march, some of them waving Palestinian flags and others stamping on Israeli and US emblems that were laid on the ground. In the Saudi capital Riyadh, where protests are prohibited, an AFP journalist witnessed police cuffing a worshipper who interrupted Friday prayers by shouting at the imam: “Speak about Palestine! Gaza is under bombs!” The imam responded to the protester, saying the religious site “was not made for politics”. In Lebanon, supporters of Iran-backed Hezbollah rallied in the southern suburbs of Beirut in support of the Palestinians. At the event, Hezbollah deputy chief Naim Qassem, standing in front of a banner depicting Palestinian fighters and the Al-Aqsa mosque, with a Palestinian scarf on his shoulders, said Hezbollah is “fully prepared” to join its ally Hamas in the war. He said “when the time comes for action, we will take it,” referring to joining Hezbollah’s ally Hamas in the war against Israel. In Algiers, around 1,000 people went into the street to show solidarity with Palestinians. In France, where President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday called on Israel to deal a “strong” but “just” response to the Hamas attack, the government issued a ban on “pro-Palestinian demonstrations because they are likely to generate disturbances to public order.”

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