Palestine supporters protest as Israel urges evacuation in Gaza amid war
Tens of thousands of protesters demonstrated in countries in the Middle East and beyond on Friday after Israeli defence forces called for an evacuation of all civilians from Gaza in an unprecedented order ahead of an expected ground invasion amid the ongoing war with Hamas militants which claimed the lives of over 1,300 Israeli civilians.
Israel vowed to eliminate Hamas in its entirety, prompting warnings from Iran — the militant group's main supporter — of a multi-front war should the offensive on Gaza continue.
In Iran's Tehran and Arak, several people marched in support of the Palestinian. People also marched against the Israel strikes in Yemen's Sa'dah and Palestinian Khan Dannun camp in Syria.
Additionally, tens of thousands of Iraqi protesters carrying Palestinian flags rallied in central Tahrir Square in Baghdad against Israel's bombardment of targets in Gaza chanting anti-US and anti-Israeli slogans, after Hamas's call for a “Day of Rage” across the Islamic world.
In Indonesia, Islamic cleric Abu Bakar Bashir, the suspected mastermind of the 2002 Bali bombings, joined dozens of people in a march against Israel in the Javanese city of Solo, reported Reuters.
In the Bangladesh's Dhaka, Muslim activists chanted slogans as they protested against Israel's actions after Friday prayers at the Baitul Mukarram National Mosque. Additionally, members of Japan's Muslim community protested near the Israeli embassy in Tokyo with holding signs and chanting slogans including "Israel, terrorist" and "Free Palestine".
In Sri Lanka, protesters held up signs saying, “Palestine you will never walk alone”, Reuters report added.
In Kashmir, some protestors took to the streets with placards reading “Ya Allah protect our brothers and sisters in Gaza and Palestine”. Although, the Friday prayers at the main mosque in Srinagar were cancelled to avoid unrest.
Pro-Palestinian rallies were also planned in Rome, Munich, Istanbul, Belgrade and other cities.
On the other hand, Jewish communities in France and other European cities planned to hold rallies in solidarity with Israel after the cross-border Hamas assault from Gaza.
The Israeli army earlier today urged around 1 million Palestinian civilians in Gaza to move south of the Gaza river, warning of significant military activity in the area.
The evacuation order has sparked widespread panic among civilians and aid workers already running from Israeli airstrikes and contending with a total siege and a territory-wide blackout. Meanwhile, Hamas has dismissed it as a ploy and called on people to stay in their homes.
However, the United Nations warned that so many people fleeing en masse would be calamitous. It it had relocated its central operations center and international staff to a location in the south of Gaza to continue its humanitarian operations for refugees
It urged “the Israeli authorities to protect all civilians in UNRWA shelters including schools,” a statement from the UN Relief and Works Agency said. “They are UN facilities. They must be protected at all times and must never come under attack in accordance with international humanitarian law,” it added.
The assault by Hamas on Israel last week killed over 1,300 people, mostly civilians, including women and children. Israel has since been hammering Gaza with air strikes and artillery fire and more than 1,500 Palestinians have been killed. A ground invasion of the besieged enclave appears to be imminent.
(With inputs from agencies)