Thousands of protesters have taken to the streets across the Middle East and North Africa in response to a deadly Israeli air attack on the Al-Ahli al-Arabi Hospital in Gaza. The hospital bombing is estimated to be the single deadliest attack since the Israeli-Hamas war began on October 7. Israel has refused blame for the attack.
Protests have erupted spontaneously in several countries, including Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon, Iran, and Iraq, as well as in West Bank cities like Ramallah. These demonstrations are a direct response to the hospital bombing, which resulted in the tragic death of at least 500 people, including displaced Palestinians seeking shelter in the hospital.
Since the conflict began on October 7, tens of thousands of residents in Gaza have sought refuge in hospitals for aid and protection as Israel continued its aerial bombardment of the region.
The World Health Organization has strongly condemned the hospital attack and called for the immediate protection of civilians and healthcare workers in the Palestinian enclave.
Protests have also erupted in multiple cities in Iran. Demonstrators moved from Tehran’s Palestine Square to the French Embassy, where they expressed their anger against the violence. Iran’s Supreme Leader acknowledged the widespread anger across Muslim nations and warned that it is difficult to prevent people from expressing their anger once they become outraged.
In Turkey, there is a notable sense of tension due to historical anti-Israel sentiments in the country. These sentiments stem from Israel’s longstanding oppression of Palestine and its conflicts with the Palestinian people. Protesters attempted to enter the Israeli consulate in Istanbul, but Turkish police dispersed the crowd and blocked the area.
The protests reflect the outrage and solidarity felt by people in the region and beyond as they respond to the tragic events at the Al-Ahli al-Arabi Hospital. The situation has led to calls for an end to the violence and the protection of civilians and healthcare workers in the conflict.