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Muslim world boils with anger over Israeli strike on Gaza hospital

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The Muslim world and the Arab countries, in particular, were boiling with anger Wednesday over the Israeli airstrike on a Gaza hospital that killed at least 500 people.

Protesters gather for an anti-Israel demonstration in Tunis, Tunisia, Oct. 18, 2023. (AFP Photo)
Protesters gather for an anti-Israel demonstration in Tunis, Tunisia, Oct. 18, 2023. (AFP Photo)

The death of civilians, including many women and children, unleashed a torrent of condemnation across the Arab world.

There were angry rallies in Lebanon, Jordan, Libya, Yemen, Tunisia, Türkiye, Morocco, Iran and the Israeli-occupied West Bank on Wednesday following calls for a “day of rage” across the region.

Even the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain, which both established ties with Israel in the Abraham Accords of 2020, condemned the “Israeli” attack which came as Israel lay siege to Gaza.

“The United Arab Emirates strongly condemns the Israeli attack … resulting in the death and injury of hundreds of people,” the UAE’s official WAM news agency said early Wednesday.

Bahrain’s Foreign Ministry “expressed the Kingdom of Bahrain’s condemnation and strong denunciation of the Israeli bombing”, the Bahrain News Agency said.

Morocco, another country that recognized Israel in 2020, also blamed it for the strike, as did Egypt, which became the first Arab country to normalize relations in 1979.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi condemned in the strongest terms “the Israeli bombing” of the Ahli Arab hospital, which led to “the deaths of hundreds of innocent victims” among the Palestinian citizens in Gaza.

He called the “deliberate bombing” a “clear violation of international law”.

Saudi Arabia, which has ended talks on potential ties with Israel since violence flared, called the blast a “heinous crime committed by the Israeli occupation forces.”


Protesters ride on a motorcycle as they carry a Palestinian flag during an anti-Israel protest in Tehran, Iran, Oct. 18, 2023. (Reuters Photo)
Protesters ride on a motorcycle as they carry a Palestinian flag during an anti-Israel protest in Tehran, Iran, Oct. 18, 2023. (Reuters Photo)

‘War crime’

During a press conference in Beirut on Wednesday, Palestinian resistance Hamas called on Palestinians “to rise up against the Zionist enemy.”

It called for region-wide protests on Friday and Saturday, demanding the “expulsion of the ambassadors of the Zionist entity in all Arab and Islamic capitals.”

Jordan said Israel “bears responsibility for this grave incident” while Qatar slammed the “brutal massacre.”

The Organisation of the Islamic Conference, also blaming Israel, called it “a war crime, a crime against humanity, and organized state terrorism.”

Gulf Cooperation Council Secretary-General Jasem Mohamed Albudaiwi said it was “glaring evidence of the serious violations by the Israeli occupation forces.”

Arab League chief Ahmed Aboul Gheit called Tuesday for leaders to “stop this tragedy immediately.”

“What diabolical mind intentionally bombards a hospital and its defenseless inhabitants?” he wrote on X, previously Twitter.

The strike came during a wave of deadly Israeli airstrikes on Gaza following a surprise incursion by Hamas.

Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah movement called for a “day of rage” against Israel following the attack as hundreds rallied at the U.S. and French embassies overnight, where they scuffled with security forces.

More protests were held Wednesday, with Lebanon joining other Arab states in declaring a day of national mourning.

In Tunisia, thousands gathered outside the French embassy demanding the expulsion of the French and U.S. ambassadors in protest at their governments’ support for Israel.

Iraq demanded an “immediate and urgent resolution” from the U.N. Security Council to stop Israel’s Gaza onslaught, as hundreds protested in the capital Baghdad, brandishing Palestinian flags.

Algeria condemned the strike as a “barbaric act” carried out by “occupation forces.”

Libya’s Tripoli-based internationally recognized government called the hospital strike a “despicable crime” as several hundred people protested in Tripoli and other Libyan cities.


Supporters of both Palestine and Israel face off in dueling protests in Washington, D.C., U.S., Oct. 17, 2023. (AFP Photo)
Demonstrators shout slogans and wave Palestinian and Syrian flags as they protest in Damascus, Syria, Oct. 18, 2023.

‘Immediate end to impunity’

Elsewhere, Pakistan demanded an “immediate end” to the “impunity” Tuesday “with which Israeli authorities have operated in the last few days” after the attack on Al-Ahli Hospital.

“Attacking a hospital, where civilians were seeking shelter and emergency treatment is inhumane and indefensible,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

“The indiscriminate targeting of civilian population and facilities is a grave violation of international law and constitutes war crimes,” it said.

“We call on the international community to take urgent measures to bring an immediate end to the Israeli bombardment and siege of Gaza and the impunity with which Israeli authorities have operated in the last few days,” said the ministry.

In Washington, hundreds of people gathered outside the White House to protest Israel’s ongoing attacks in Gaza.

The demonstrators, organized by the Palestinian Youth Movement, gathered at Lafayette Park to “protest today against Gaza massacres,” according to the organizers.

Banners reading “End the Palestinian holocaust,” “Stop funding ethnic cleansing” and “Netanyahu is a war criminal” were prominently displayed at the gathering. They also chanted “Free, free Palestine” and “Long live Gaza.”

The protesters, carrying Palestinian flags, also demanded an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories.