Thousands of protesters took to the streets across the Middle East and North Africa on Tuesday to show their outrage in the aftermath of a deadly Israeli air attack on the Al-Ahli al-Arabi Hospital in Gaza.
Spontaneous protests have erupted in Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon, Iran and Iraq, as well as in West Bank cities like Ramallah.
Those demonstrations come in response to the hospital bombing, estimated to be the single deadliest attack since the Israeli-Hamas war began on October 7. Israel has denied responsibility for the attack.
The health ministry in Gaza said at least 500 people were killed as bombs fell on the central Gaza hospital, where displaced Palestinians were sheltering.
Since Israel began pounding Gaza from the air on October 7, tens of thousands of residents seeking refuge from the ongoing bombardment have fled to hospitals for aid and protection.
The World Health Organization condemned Tuesday’s hospital attack and demanded the immediate protection of civilians and healthcare workers in the Palestinian enclave.
But people across Arab nations have also lifted their voices in anger at the devastating scenes emerging from the Al-Ahli al-Arabi Hospital.
Al Jazeera correspondent Dorsa Jabbari reported that “at least half a dozen” cities in Iran have seen protests break out in the wake of the hospital attack.
From her vantage point in the capital Tehran, she explained that demonstrators moved from the city’s Palestine Square to the French Embassy, where they chanted against the violence.
“There is the sense that this was something catastrophic,” Jabbari explained. “The Supreme Leader of Iran spoke earlier on Tuesday and he said once the Muslim countries, the Muslim nation and the people become angry, it is very hard to prevent them from expressing their anger. That is exactly what we’re seeing on the streets of these countries and certainly in Iran as well.”
In Istanbul, meanwhile, freelance journalist Emre Basaran told Al Jazeera the tension was palpable.
“Anti-Israel sentiments have historically been high in Turkey because of its long-standing, decades-long oppression of Palestine and its war against Palestinian people,” he said. “There is a very distinctive anger kind of anger toward Israel right now. You can just feel it, you can just smell it on the street.”
He explained that, after protesters tried to enter the Israeli consulate, Turkish police dispersed the crowd and blocked the area. “There was no way for me to get even close to the consulate,” Basaran said.