Anti-Israeli Demonstrations Rock Four Arab Countries
Thousands of people took to the streets in Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon and Qatar after Friday prayers to condemn Israel, three days after the assassination of eight Palestinians in an Israeli attack in the West Bank city of Nablus, said reports.
In Jordan, several thousand demonstrators marched through two Palestinian refugee camps and in the town of Zarqa, near Amman, under tight police supervision.
During the march, called for by the main opposition group the Muslim Brotherhood, the protesters demanded revenge for the killings of five suspected members of the radical Hamas movement, a journalist and two children.
At one of the refugee camps on the outskirts of Amman, demonstrators tried to reach the center of the capital but were blocked by security forces.
In Cairo, nearly 3,000 Egyptians gathered near Al Azhar and Al Hussein mosques and chanted anti-Israeli slogans while calling for "jihad" against the Jewish state.
Al Jazeera satellite channel reported that the march was peaceful, adding that police surrounding the area did not intervene.
The protests were organized by the Muslim Brotherhood movement, which called on Arabs in a sermon at the two mosques to "take action to stop the brutal Israeli aggression."
In Beirut, hundreds of demonstrators waved Lebanese and Palestinian flags, as well as pictures of Palestinian President Yasser Arafat and Hamas spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, according to several TV reports.
Sunni mufti Sheikh Mohamed Rashid Qabbani urged the crowd to pursue a "jihad until the liberation of Jerusalem and all of Palestine."
"By laying the first stone of the presumed third temple, Israel has declared war on Islam," he said, referring to a symbolic ceremony organized on July 29 by Jewish extremists in Jerusalem near the mosque compound -- Islam's third holiest site.
He urged "the Arab World, part of which still hopes for peace, to be aware of the reality, which is that no peace and no fair solution is possible with Israel."
Nearly 2,000 Lebanese and Palestinians also took to the streets of Tyre, in the south, chanting pro-Palestinian slogans.
In Doha, some 1,500 people marched to shouts of "Death to America, death to Israel" and "Jihad is the only way to liberate Al Aqsa," the mosque compound in Jerusalem which is one of Islam's holiest sites, said Al Jazeera.
The protest, organized by the city council, took place under heavy police presence and away from the US embassy and the Israeli trade office.
The trade office was opened in 1996 but is now officially closed after authorities in Qatar said they had frozen ties with Israel.
Qatar is one of the few Gulf emirates to allow such demonstrations – Albawaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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