Outcry and protests rise across Arab countries after Gaza hospital striketext_fields
A devastating hospital strike in Gaza that claimed the lives of at least 200 people has triggered a wave of condemnation throughout the Arab world, with Israel facing severe criticism, despite its denial of responsibility.
The denouncements coincided with passionate protests in several Arab nations, including Lebanon, Jordan, Libya, Yemen, Tunisia, Turkey, Morocco, Iran, and the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Additional demonstrations are planned following calls for a "day of rage" across the region, reported AFP.
Israel and Palestinian militant groups have exchanged accusations regarding the hospital strike that occurred on Tuesday night. Israel claimed on Wednesday that it possessed "evidence" indicating that militants were behind the attack.
Even countries that established diplomatic relations with Israel, such as the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, expressed strong condemnation of the "Israeli" attack. The UAE's official news agency, WAM, stated that it "strongly condemns the Israeli attack," which resulted in the deaths and injuries of hundreds of people. Bahrain's foreign ministry also "condemned and strongly denounced the Israeli bombing."
Morocco, another nation that recognised Israel in 2020, attributed the strike to Israel, as did Egypt, which was the first Arab country to normalise relations in 1979. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi vehemently condemned the "Israeli bombing" of the Ahli Arab Hospital, characterising it as a "deliberate bombing" and a "clear violation of international law."
Saudi Arabia, which had halted discussions on potential ties with Israel, characterised the blast as a "heinous crime committed by the Israeli occupation forces."
Other Arab nations, including Jordan and Qatar, also held Israel responsible for the strike. The Organisation of the Islamic Conference labelled it "a war crime, a crime against humanity, and organised state terrorism." The Gulf Cooperation Council's secretary general, Jasem Mohamed Albudaiwi, described it as "glaring evidence of the serious violations by the Israeli occupation forces."
The Arab League's chief, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, called on leaders to "stop this tragedy immediately" and questioned, "What diabolical mind intentionally bombards a hospital and its defenceless inhabitants?"
The hospital strike occurred amid a series of lethal Israeli airstrikes on Gaza following an attack by the Palestinian militant group Hamas, which claimed the lives of 1,400 people.
Lebanon's Iran-backed Hezbollah movement called for a "day of rage" against Israel, leading to protests at the US and French embassies, where clashes with security forces took place. More protests are scheduled for Wednesday, with Lebanon joining other Arab states in declaring a day of national mourning.
In Iraq, which also attributed responsibility to Israeli authorities, there were demands for an "immediate and urgent resolution" from the UN Security Council to halt Israel's offensive in Gaza. Demonstrations took place in the capital, Baghdad, with protesters displaying Palestinian flags.
Algeria denounced the strike as a "barbaric act" carried out by "occupation forces." Libya's internationally recognised government in Tripoli labelled the hospital strike a "despicable crime," while hundreds of people protested in Tripoli and other Libyan cities.