A group of Turkish people gathered outside İstanbul's Fatih Mosque on Wednesday night, hours after Israel launched what it called a “broad operation” to root out the source of rockets fired from Gaza into southern Israel.
Speaking to the crowd, Hamas Political Bureau member Ebu Imad said the Turks displayed their love towards Gaza and Palestine and added that fighters in the resistance against Israel “fear nothing.” He added that Gaza fighters could have fewer arms but “the spirit of martyrdom in their hearts is stronger than weapons of the enemy.”
Israeli aircraft, tanks and naval gunboats pounded the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip and rocket salvoes thudded into southern Israel on Thursday as terrified residents on both sides of the frontier holed up in their homes in anticipation of heavy fighting on the second day of Israel's offensive against the Palestinians.
The operation, launched in response to several days of rocket fire from the coastal territory, was Israel's most intense attack on Gaza since its full-scale war there four years ago.
Noting that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is ordering the attacks based on his re-election calculations, Imad urged all Muslims to unite around the cause of Palestine.
Imad also thanked Turkish people for standing by the Palestinians.
Felicity Party (SP) İstanbul Provincial Chairman Selman Esmerer condemned the Israeli air strikes and said he is appealing to the international community, asking why they are silent on Palestine while supporting the rights of animals.