Thousands of Afghans protest Israeli offensive on Gaza (PHOTOS)

Afghan university students torch a US and Israeli flag during a demonstration against anti Israel and US in Nangarhar province at Jalalabad on November 26, 2012 (AFP Photo / Noorullah Shirzada)
Several thousand Afghan students in the country’s east demonstrated against Israel’s recent attack on Gaza, blocking roads and burning Israeli and US flags.

­Demonstrators shut down one of the region’s main highways to the city of Jalalabad, the capital of eastern Nangarhar province. Protesters also set fire to Israeli and American flags, as well as a Christian cross.

The protest comes days after a ceasefire was announced between Israel and Hamas.

Afghan university students shout anti-US and Israeli slogans during a demonstration in Nangarhar province at Jalalabad on November 26, 2012 (AFP Photo / Noorullah Shirzada)
Afghan university students shout anti-US and Israeli slogans during a demonstration in Nangarhar province at Jalalabad on November 26, 2012 (AFP Photo / Noorullah Shirzada)

A few days earlier, about 500 Afghans gathered in the same region to protest against the violence in Gaza. The demonstration was organized by members of the provincial council, community organizations and local elders. A similar protest had been scheduled earlier in Kabul, but was canceled after a suicide bomb attack killed two security guards and the two attackers.

Anti-Israel protests broke out in several countries during the Israeli assault on Gaza. In Egypt’s capital Cairo, several thousand protesters demonstrated against the attacks, chanting “we will go to Gaza in our millions,” swearing to “sacrifice ourselves for you, Palestine.”

Thousands of Lebanese visited Palestinian refugee camps in northern and southern Lebanon to express outrage over Israel’s military campaign.

Anti-Israel protests erupted in over 700 Iranian cities, with crowd chanting "death to Israel" and "death to America." New York, Paris and Rome also saw protests.

Israel’s eight-day assault on Gaza killed 168 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and five Israelis. The attack also caused $1.2 billion in economic damage, a Palestinian Chamber of Commerce report said.

Afghan university students shout anti-US and Israeli slogans during a demonstration in Nangarhar province at Jalalabad on November 26, 2012 (AFP Photo / Noorullah Shirzada)
Afghan university students shout anti-US and Israeli slogans during a demonstration in Nangarhar province at Jalalabad on November 26, 2012 (AFP Photo / Noorullah Shirzada)

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Afghans call for rescinding of death sentence for soldier

Crowds in Afghanistan protesting Israel also condemned Pakistan for its recent bombing of Afghan territory, and demanded the repeal of the death sentence leveled against an Afghan soldier who killed five French soldiers in January.

The demonstrators opposed giving the soldier the death sentence, citing how US-led coalition forces are not punished when their attacks result in the death of Afghan civilians, protestors told AP.

After a series of recent attacks, the French government decided to pull its troops out of Afghanistan ahead of schedule, leaving only 1,500 soldiers in Afghanistan for non-combat operations.

Green-on-blue attacks have spiked this year, with 61 NATO soldiers killed by members of the Afghan security forces, AFP reported.

Afghan protesters shout slogans during a pro-Palestinian demonstration in Jalalabad November 26, 2012 (Reuters / Parwiz)
Afghan protesters shout slogans during a pro-Palestinian demonstration in Jalalabad November 26, 2012 (Reuters / Parwiz)
Afghan protesters step on representations of U.S.and Israel flags during a pro-Palestinian demonstration in Jalalabad November 26, 2012 (Reuters / Parwiz)
Afghan protesters step on representations of U.S.and Israel flags during a pro-Palestinian demonstration in Jalalabad November 26, 2012 (Reuters / Parwiz)