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Hamas ‘Day of Rage’ protests break out in Middle East and beyond

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(NEW YORK) — Pro-Palestinian protests broke out across the Middle East and beyond on Friday after a former Hamas leader called on supporters to join in a “Day of Rage” amid the Israel-Hamas conflict.

Large protests have been seen in the capitals of Iraq, where a rally drew tens of thousands of people; Iran; and Yemen, with those gathered holding Palestinian flags. In Iran, some protesters could be seen burning the Israeli and American flags.

In Beirut, Lebanon, supporters of the political party and militant group Hezbollah held a rally supporting Palestinians and denouncing Israel. “Death to Israel” and “Death to America” chants reverberated across a crowd of at least a couple thousand, as Hezbollah leaders vowed to stand by Hamas.

In Jordan, riot police used tear gas to disperse hundreds of pro-Palestinian protesters who were approaching a border zone with the West Bank, according to Reuters.

Elsewhere, protests in support of Palestinians have been held in countries including Japan, Malaysia, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

The protests come after former Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal called for a day of “anger” across the Muslim world on Friday in support of the Palestinians and against the Israel strikes in Gaza. Meshaal also urged those in neighboring countries to join the fight against Israel.

“Deliver a message, through the squares and the streets, a message of anger, that we are with Palestine, that we are with Gaza,” Meshaal said, adding, “that we are a part of this battle.”

Ahead of the anticipated protests, the Israeli government has urged Israelis abroad to take extra caution amid concerns the call for action could turn violent.

In France, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin ordered a ban on pro-Palestinian demonstrations because they were likely to disrupt public order, the Agence France-Presse reported. Hungary and Germany have also banned pro-Palestinian demonstrations.

Cities across the United States have also heightened security due to the protests.

“We are deeply disturbed by the message of hate. It is not acceptable,” New York City Mayor Eric Adams said Thursday during a briefing on the city’s security plans, which include surging additional police resources to schools and houses of worship “to ensure that they are safe.”

The “Day of Rage” comes nearly a week after Hamas militants launched a brutal, expansive surprise attack on Israel, firing thousands of rockets toward southern Israel and ambushing kibbutzim near the Gaza border. In response, Israel declared war and vowed to destroy Hamas.

At least 1,300 people have died and 3,227 others have been injured in Israel following Hamas’ attack, Israeli authorities said. In Gaza, at least 1,799 people have been killed and an estimated 7,388 more injured in retaliatory strikes from Israel, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.

With a possible ground incursion into Gaza looming, Israel’s military early Friday directed the evacuation of northern Gaza — home to 1.1 million people — within 24 hours.

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