Thousands protest Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip in Turkey

Hurriyet DN Online with wires 02.01.2009

Around five thousand people protested the Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip in a square in Istanbul after Friday prayer. (UPDATED)

Many women and children were among the protesters, who held protest banners and waved Palestinian flags.


Friday's demonstration, organized by Islamist groups, took place outside the historic Beyazit Mosque in the ancient heart of Istanbul after weekly Muslim prayers.


"Murderer Israel - Get out of Palestine!" and "Government wake up! Protect Palestine!" the Dogan News Agency reported, who also showed support to Hamas.


The protestors damned Israel in a statement, and blamed the United States for supporting what they called, a humanitarian shame. 


The protesters also burned U.S. and Israel flags, the agency said.


The number of the Palestinians, killed in the Israeli air attacks the Gaza Strip, rose to 424. A quarter of the dead are civilians, the U.N. estimates, and some 2,000 Palestinians have been wounded. Gaza rockets have killed four Israelis in the south over the past week.


Turkey has urged Israel to immediately stop the offensive. Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan this week visited Syria, Jordan and Egypt to discuss the crisis and was due to travel also to Saudi Arabia Saturday.

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