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French Version

Protests erupt worldwide against Israel's 'genocidal war'

Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets across the globe Friday to rally against the Israeli offensive in Lebanon, which one regional leader branded a "genocidal war."In Cairo, clashes broke out in Cairo between police and protesters who had gathered after prayers at the Al-Azhar Mosque in support of Lebanon and the Palestinians.

Thousands of demonstrators shouted anti-Israeli slogans and denounced the recognition of Israel by Arab governments.

Some police officers and demonstrators were slightly wounded when riots broke out.

In Khartoum, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir accused Israel of targeting the Lebanese population as the death toll mounted. "What is taking place in Lebanon is not a war against Hizbullah but is, rather, a genocidal war in which the forces of the Israeli enemy are targeting the civilians as well as the strategic positions and utilities," Bashir told reporters.

Syria's information minister accused Israel of "state terrorism" and "war crimes" in its offensive in Lebanon.

"Israeli aggression against Lebanon aims to divide this country, break its national resistance and dominate it," Mohsen Bilal said in an interview with Spanish daily El-Mundo, according to the SANA news agency.

The Arab Parliament, which is made up of lawmakers from the 22 Arab League member states, accused Israel of crimes against humanity and called on the UN Security Council to "accept its responsibility" and end the Israeli bombardment of Lebanon.

Elsewhere in the region, senior Iranian cleric Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani hailed Hizbullah fighters as "heroes," but rejected mounting allegations that Iran and Syria were behind the movement's conflict with Israel.

"The Hizbullah forces have done a great job and have resisted well. They and their leader, our dear brother Hassan Nasrallah, are heroes," the influential cleric and former president said in his Friday prayer sermon in Tehran.

According to state television, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also telephoned Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to call for an emergency meeting of the 57-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and the "activation of the Islamic world to stop these Zionist crimes."

In Jordan, some 2,000 people marched through Amman in support of Lebanon and the Palestinians after prayers, heeding a call by Islamists and union leaders. The demonstrators shouted "much-loved Sayyed Hassan, hit Haifa and Tel Aviv."

Hundreds of Iraqi Shiites also marched in support of Hizbullah as imams led weekly prayers with condemnations of Israel, the US and many Arab governments.

More than 300 members of radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's armed movement marched in the Baghdad neighborhood of Sadr City chanting support for Hizbullah.

In a fiery sermon at Damascus' Abou al-Nour Mosque, prominent cleric Sheikh Salah Kaftaro said both the UN Security Council and the international community were attempting to "undermine our doctrine, occupy our lands and kill our people with the most sophisticated US weapons," as hundreds of Syrians took to the streets to denounce the attacks.

In Moscow, Palestinians and Lebanese demonstrators held Hizbullah and Lebanese flags and anti-war posters and shouted anti-Israel slogans as they picketed the Israeli Embassy.

Hundreds of demonstrators in Malaysia burned Israeli flags.

In Indonesia they accused Israel of atrocities against civilians. In Bangladesh marchers shouted "Down with Israel."

Beirut,24July2006
Redaction
The Daily Star


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