Angry Muslims staged demonstrations from Cairo to Tehran and Istanbul to denounce Israel today as the Jewish state carried on its bombing of Gaza while militant groups fired rockets at Israel.
About 30,000 protesters left mosques after Friday prayers in Cairo to rally at Tahrir Square, chanting slogans against Israeli aggression, the state-owned Egyptian website Ahram Gate reported. Egypt’s premier, Hisham Qandil, visited Gaza today and said the Arab world is united behind the Palestinians there.
Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi said after Friday prayers that his country won’t turn its back on Gaza in the face of Israel’s “shameless aggression,” according to state-run Ahram Online’s website. “Egypt today is very different than that of yesterday,” he said.
Israel carried out air strikes against Gaza for a third day today and militant groups in the territory fired rockets. Air-raid warnings sounded in Tel Aviv and an explosion was heard in the city, where police said a missile may have fallen in an “unpopulated area.” Hamas, which governs Gaza, said at least 23 people have been killed there by Israeli attacks. At least three Israelis have been killed by Palestinian rockets.
Palestinians in the West Bank, ruled by the Fatah movement that broke with Hamas five years ago, held a rally organized by Hamas after the Friday sermon in Ramallah, according to Al Jazeera. In Iran, the official Fars news agency said hundreds of thousands staged demonstrations across the country to protest Israel’s attacks. Iran has been one of Hamas’s main financial supporters.
No ‘Blind Eye’
In Turkey, tens of thousands of worshipers chanted anti-Israeli slogans after Friday prayers in Istanbul and several other cities, the state-run Anatolia news agency said.
“We will not turn a blind eye to this genocide,” Huseyin Kaptan, an official of the pro-Islamic Humanitarian Relief Foundation, or IHH, told a rally in the western city of Bursa, according to Anatolia. “We’re calling on all center of powers to use all their means to convince Israel to end this massacre.”
The IHH was the organizer of a Turkish aid ship that was raided by Israel in 2010, leaving nine Turks dead and straining ties between the former allies. Israel outlawed the IHH in 2008 on the grounds of alleged ties to Hamas.
Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan today expressed solidarity with his “brothers in Gaza” and said he hopes the United Nations Security Council can convene to help end the violence, Anatolia said. He ruled out Turkish contacts with Israel. Erdogan is due to visit Cairo tomorrow.