Egyptians rally in support of Palestinians in Gaza

 

Cairo

Thousands of Egyptians gathered outside mosques and in squares across the country on Friday to call on Egypt and the Arab world to back the Palestinians in their conflict with Israel.

Protesters hoisted the Palestinian flag and called for the liberation of Palestine and the destruction of Tel Aviv, as an Israeli military offensive continued for its third day in the neighboring Gaza Strip.

"To Gaza, we're going! Millions of martyrs," the crowd chanted in front of Cairo's ancient al-Azhar mosque. One man held American and Israeli flags with the words "Death to Israel" and "Death to America" scrawled on them.

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi issued a new warning to Israel on Friday, after leading the noon prayer at a mosque on Cairo's outskirts. He said Israel faces a "high price" for what he described as continued aggression in Gaza. Its ongoing offensive, he said, amounts to an "assault on humanity."

"I repeat my warning to the [Israeli] attackers that they will never have power over the people of Gaza," Morsi said. "Egypt will not leave Gaza alone. I speak on behalf of all of the Egyptian people that Egypt today is different from Egypt yesterday, and the Arabs today are different from the Arabs of yesterday."

Prominent Islamists, imams and officials from the Muslim Brotherhood, from which Morsi hails, turned out to lead some of the chants in front of the al-Azhar mosque, urging Morsi to stand by the militant Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, which controls Gaza.

But protesters also said they felt emboldened by the democratic change brought by the Arab Spring. And many said that after decades of authoritarian rule under Hosni Mubarak, who was ousted from power in February 2011, they felt confident that Morsi's newly elected government would serve the country's Arab nationalist and Islamist interests.

"Egypt has changed. The era of Morsi is not going to be like the era of Mubarak," said Mohamed Bayoumi, a protester outside the al-Azhar mosque. He said he wanted to see a radical break from Mubarak's cooperative peace with the Jewish state. "Morsi will fight the Zionists with all his force," Bayoumi said.

Morsi has taken the lead among Arab nations in confronting Israel over the Gaza crisis. The Islamist president sent his prime minister, Hesham Kandil, into the Strip on Friday morning to hold a news conference alongside Hamas leaders.

"This tragedy cannot be ignored, and the whole world has to shoulder the responsibility to stop its aggression," Kandil said at the news conference.

Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, a prominent Egyptian Islamist and former presidential candidate, also visited Gaza on Friday, heading a medical aid convoy. Tunisia's foreign minister is slated to visit the embattled enclave on Saturday, wire services reported.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is scheduled to meet with Morsi in Cairo on Saturday to discuss the Gaza crisis.

- - -

Washington Post special correspondent Amer Shakhatreh in Cairo and staff writer Karin Brulliard in Jerusalem contributed to this report.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Parts Advisor

£16500 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the leading Mercedes-Ben...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer

£27500 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Telemarketers / Sales - Home Based - OTE £23,500

£19500 - £23500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Experienced B2B Telemarketer wa...

Recruitment Genius: Showroom Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This global company are looking for two Showro...

Day In a Page

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor