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Thousands of Jordanians rally in Amman in support of Hamas


© Jordanians gather during a pro-Palestinian protest to express solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza, in Amman, Jordan, October 20, 2023. REUTERS/Alaa Al Sukhni

By Suleiman Al-Khalidi

AMMAN () – Chanting slogans urging Islamist Hamas militants to intensify their strikes on Israel, thousands of Jordanians marched in the capital and around the country on Friday to protest against Israel’s bombing campaign in Gaza.

Over 6,000 people took part in the protest in downtown Amman arranged by opposition parties and tribal groups in a kingdom where passions are running high since the escalation of violence between Palestinians and Israel.

“Oh Hamas, hit them with al-Qassam rockets … Bring the suicide bombers to Tel Aviv ,” they chanted, referring to the military wing of Hamas.

Israel has vowed to wipe out Hamas, which rules Gaza, after its gunmen burst through the barrier fence surrounding the enclave on Oct. 7 and rampaged through Israeli towns and kibbutzes, killing 1,400 people, mainly civilians.

In Amman on Friday, several thousand people also gathered near the Israeli embassy, a common spot for anti-Israel protests at times of turmoil in the Palestinian territories.

“No Jewish embassy on Arab land!” protesters chanted.

Riot police blocked roads leading to the fortified embassy complex to keep back demonstrators who gathered around the nearby Kaloti mosque in the capital.

Authorities in Jordan earlier this week quelled rioting around the Israeli embassy and said they would not tolerate any attempt by mobs who sought to exploit anger against Israel to create havoc.

On the outskirts of the capital, hundreds of anti-riot police blocked all roads leading to Jordan Valley opposite the West Bank, where activists had called for large protests.

Over 2,000 protesters who were prevented from heading to the border called on the authorities to allow them to join the fight alongside Hamas.

In the southern city of Karak, hundreds of protesters gathered at a checkpoint on a highway leading to the border chanting pro-Hamas slogans.

“Al-Qassam, we are your army,” they chanted.

Many of Jordan’s 10 million citizens are of Palestinian descent. They or their parents were expelled or fled to Jordan in the fighting that accompanied the creation of Israel in 1948.

They have close ties with family on the other side of the Jordan River in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, both captured by Israel in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.

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