Israel Palestine Conflict

Thousands in Muslim countries and beyond protest in solidarity with Gaza

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Thousands of people in Muslim countries and beyond held demonstrations Friday in solidarity with Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, calling for an end to Israel’s blockade and airstrikes in the wake of a brutal incursion into southern Israel by fighters from the Hamas militant group that rules Gaza.

Demonstrators gathered in Iraq at the country’s border crossing with Jordan; in locations across Egypt; in Turkey’s capital Ankara and its most populous city of Istanbul; and in Indonesia, Malaysia and South Korea.

The Gaza health ministry has said more than 4,000 people have been killed and over 13,000 have been wounded in Gaza since the war began, most of them women, children and older adults.

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More than 1,000 people were believed buried under rubble, authorities said.

More than 1,400 people in Israel have been killed, mostly civilians slain during Hamas’ deadly incursion. Roughly 200 others were abducted. The Israeli military said Thursday it had notified the families of 203 captives.

Egypt

Thousands of Egyptians demonstrated in cities and towns across the North African country, in an expression of solidarity with Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip.

Protesters shout anti-Israel slogans during a rally to show solidarity with the people of Gaza after Friday prayers at Al Azhar mosque, the Sunni Muslim world’s premier Islamic institution, in Cairo, Egypt, on October 20, 2023. (AP)
Protesters shout anti-Israel slogans during a rally to show solidarity with the people of Gaza after Friday prayers at Al Azhar mosque, the Sunni Muslim world’s premier Islamic institution, in Cairo, Egypt, on October 20, 2023. (AP)


Hundreds gathered in the courtyard of the Al-Azhar Mosque, the Sunni Muslim world’s foremost religious institution, in central Cairo. “Oh Al-Aqsa, do not worry, we will redeem you with our soul and blood,” they chanted in unison after completing Friday’s midday prayer.

The Al-Aqsa mosque is the third-holiest site in Islam situated in Jerusalem’s contested Old City, a spot also known to Jews as the Temple Mount, which is the holiest site in Judaism.

Turkey

In Turkey, thousands of people staged protests outside mosques following Friday prayers in Istanbul and in the capital, Ankara.
“Stop the genocide!” and “Murderer Israel get out of Palestine” some of the placards held by protesters read.

Protesters chant slogans while holding Palestinian flags during a protest to show their solidarity with the Palestinians, in Istanbul, Turkey. on October 20, 2023. (AP)
Protesters chant slogans while holding Palestinian flags during a protest to show their solidarity with the Palestinians, in Istanbul, Turkey. on October 20, 2023. (AP)


In contrast to protests earlier this week, when some demonstrators tried to enter Israeli diplomatic missions in Ankara and Istanbul and flung fireworks at the Israeli Consulate, no violence was reported during Friday’s demonstrations.

Israel withdrew its diplomats from Turkey on Thursday over security concerns, officials said.

Iraq

Hundreds of Iraqi protesters gathered at the western Trebil border crossing near Jordan in a demonstration organized by the Coordination Framework, an alliance of Iran-backed Shia political groups and militias in Iraq.

The pro-Iran coalition also called for a protest in Baghdad near the main gate of the highly fortified international zone, where the US Embassy is located, to condemn its endorsement of Israel in the ongoing war with Hamas.

Supporters of Iraqi Shia armed groups hold banners and flags at a protest against the US for supporting Israel, and in support of Palestinians in Gaza, near the entrance of the Green Zone, home to the US embassy and other missions, in Baghdad, Iraq, on October 20, 2023. (Reuters)
Supporters of Iraqi Shia armed groups hold banners and flags at a protest against the US for supporting Israel, and in support of Palestinians in Gaza, near the entrance of the Green Zone, home to the US embassy and other missions, in Baghdad, Iraq, on October 20, 2023. (Reuters)



Their rival, Iraq’s Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, issued a call Thursday for Arab nations bordering Israel, notably Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, and Jordan, to engage in what he called peaceful demonstrations at their borders.

The protesters waved Palestinian flags and chanted “No to Israel” before praying in the presence of religious clerics.

In recent days, Iran-backed militias attacked United States military bases in Iraq. Iran has warned that an Israeli ground incursion into Gaza could spark an escalation from allied armed groups and a possible regional war.

Tunisia

Hundreds of people marched in central Tunis, a smaller protest than ones that have rallied there against Israel’s Gaza campaign in recent days. Others demonstrated in front of the US embassy.

People chant slogans during a protest supporting the Palestinian people following Friday Noon prayers in the Tunisian capital Tunis on October 20, 2023, amid the ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. (AFP)
People chant slogans during a protest supporting the Palestinian people following Friday Noon prayers in the Tunisian capital Tunis on October 20, 2023, amid the ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. (AFP)


“The real terrorism is Israel and America, which supports it,” said Souhail Ben Nasser, a protester in the Tunis crowd.

Malaysia

Some 1,000 Muslims marched along a busy thoroughfare in Kuala Lumpur after Friday prayers, slamming Israel as a bully and calling for an end to the killing in Gaza.

Waving Palestinian flags, the protesters gathered outside the US Embassy that was under heavy security to protest America’s support for Israel.

Malaysian Muslims wave Palestinian flags during a rally to show their support for Palestinian people, as they march towards the US Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on October 20, 2023. (AP)
Malaysian Muslims wave Palestinian flags during a rally to show their support for Palestinian people, as they march towards the US Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on October 20, 2023. (AP)


Chanting “Death to Israel, God is great,” many carried placards calling for an end to violence.

“For me Palestine is rightfully Palestinian, it’s not the place for Israelis. They went there and took the land” from the Palestinians, said activist Isyraf Imran.

Predominantly Muslim Malaysia, a strong supporter of the Palestinian cause, doesn’t have diplomatic ties with Israel. Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, who is in Saudi Arabia for the ASEAN-Gulf Cooperation Council summit, warned Friday that the unprecedented humanitarian crisis in Gaza could widen into a regional and world conflict if no solution is found.

“The international community must no longer turn a blind eye to the atrocities. We must put an end to the disproportionate treatment and flagrant hypocrisy” against the Palestinians, he told the summit.

Indonesia

In Indonesia’s capital, demonstrators marched from several mosques to the heavily guarded US Embassy in Jakarta to denounce American support for Israel and demand

Similar protests also took place in front of the United Nations mission, a few kilometers (miles) from the embassy, and in the compound of the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Authorities estimated that about 1,000 people participated in the rallies across Jakarta following Friday prayers in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation.

Protesters shout slogans as they wave Palestinian flags during a rally supporting the Palestinian people outside the building housing the UN representative office in Jakarta, Indonesia, on October 20, 2023. (AP)
Protesters shout slogans as they wave Palestinian flags during a rally supporting the Palestinian people outside the building housing the UN representative office in Jakarta, Indonesia, on October 20, 2023. (AP)



Protesters who marched to the US Embassy halted traffic along the way as they chanted “God is great,” and “Save Palestinians.”

Waving Indonesian and Palestinian flags and signs reading “We are proud to support Palestine,” more than 100 noisy demonstrators gathered along a major street in Jakarta that runs outside the embassy.

Some protesters burned portraits of US President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
About 1,000 police were deployed around the embassy, the nearby presidential palace and the UN mission.

Indonesia does not have formal diplomatic relations with Israel, and there is no Israeli embassy in the country. It has long been a strong supporter of the Palestinians.

South Korea

In South Korea’s capital, dozens of protesters chanted slogans, waved Palestinian flags and raised anti-Israel banners.

“Free, Free Palestinians!” the protesters shouted, while holding banners that read “We stand with Gaza” and “Stop the massacre by Israel!”

“Please care about human lives. That’s all I am thinking about,” said Elshafei Mohamed, an Egyptian student in Seoul.

“If we want to really help, we need to supply Gaza with humanitarian aid at once.”

Read more:

First aid delivery due into besieged Gaza Strip via Rafah in ‘the next day or so’: UN

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