Gaza hospital strike ignites riots in Muslim countries (VIDEOS)
A strike on a Gaza hospital that killed at least 500 Palestinians has sparked protests and riots in Muslim-majority countries, including Lebanon, Jordan, and Türkiye.
Palestinian officials have blamed Israel for Tuesday's deadly incident, although the Israeli government has denied responsibility, saying "terrorists" in Gaza hit the facility with a misfired rocket.
In Beirut, the militant group Hezbollah called for “a day of unprecedented anger,” and protesters massed in front of the US embassy in the Awkar neighborhood.
Some hurled rocks at the security fence and attempted to scale it. Police responded by firing volleys of tear gas and used water cannons to force back the mob, according to the Lebanese news channel MTV.
Protesters also reportedly attempted to break into the office of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) in downtown Beirut.
Similar scenes unfolded in Jordan’s capital Amman, where an angry crowd burned Israeli flags and tried to storm the Israeli embassy. An AFP correspondent reported that they broke through the first security barrier, but were later pushed back by the police, which used tear gas.
Thousands of Pro-Palestinian protesters attempt to storm the Israeli Embassy in Amman, Jordan. Riot police push them back, as fires and fights break out. pic.twitter.com/ZD0GH7LKDc— Oli London (@OliLondonTV) October 18, 2023
“Police handled and drove away a group of protesters who grouped near an embassy in an attempt to reach the [the building],” Jordan’s Public Security Directorate said, as quoted by the Roya News website.
Amman was to host a summit of the leaders of the US, Jordan, Egypt, and the Palestinian Authority on Wednesday. The Jordanian authorities have since canceled the event in solidarity with the victims in Gaza.
Rallies were held in multiple Turkish cities, including Istanbul, Malatya, Gaziantep, and Kayseri.
In Istanbul, Türkiye’s largest city, a huge crowd gathered outside the Israeli consulate, with some protesters launching fireworks, scaling the security fence, and attempting to set the building on fire. Others threw stones and set a US flag on fire, local media reported.
People began storming the Israeli consulate in Istanbul pic.twitter.com/51cpB3bHOV— Sprinter (@Sprinter99800) October 17, 2023
Police intervened, dispersing the rioters. Fahrettin Altun, spokesman for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, urged those wanting to express “justified anger” over the deaths in Gaza to respect the law and “preserve common sense.”
The Palestinian authorities claim an Israeli aerial bomb hit the Al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City, claiming at least 500 lives on Tuesday.
The Israeli army and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, however, have said the hospital was hit by a rocket launched by a Palestinian militant group that veered off course. Israeli officials have previously accused Hamas, which controls Gaza, of using hospitals, schools, and mosques as a cover for its operatives.
The Israel Defense Forces have been conducting retaliatory strikes on Gaza since Hamas and allied militants launched a surprise attack on Israeli cities on October 7.