The captain of the Egyptian national football team was criticized for not standing up to defend the Palestinians.
Egyptian and Liverpool footballer Mohamed Salah has called for an end to the “massacres” in Gaza and said humanitarian aid must reach the besieged Palestinian enclave immediately.
The 31-year-old striker spoke out for the first time on Wednesday about the worsening Israel-Gaza conflict, as outrage grew over the deaths of nearly 500 people in an explosion at al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City.
Palestinian authorities said the explosion was caused by an Israeli airstrike. Israel says the explosion was the result of a misfire of a rocket fired by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) armed group. The PIJ has rejected the accusation.
“It is not always easy to speak at a time like this. There was too much violence and too much heartbreak and brutality,” Salah said in a video posted to his 62.7 million followers on Instagram.
The footballer, who is captain of the Egyptian national team, had been criticized for not speaking out in defense of Palestinians and some critics had launched an online campaign to unfollow him on social media.
“The escalations of the last few weeks are unbearable to watch. Every life is sacred and must be protected. The massacres must stop, families are being torn apart.”
– Mohamed Salah (@MoSalah) October 18, 2023
Salah is a Champions League and Premier League winner with Liverpool and is one of the most popular athletes in the Arab world.
Gaza has been under siege since October 7, when Hamas militants launched a surprise attack on Israel, killing about 1,400 people and capturing others. In response, Israel declared war and relentlessly bombed the territory of 2.3 million people. It was confirmed that around 3,480 Palestinians were killed in the attacks.
US President Joe Biden flew to Tel Aviv on Wednesday and said Israel had agreed to his request to allow aid to the Gaza Strip as concerns grow over dwindling supplies and warnings of a humanitarian disaster.
The enclave was already struggling under a 16-year Israeli blockade.
Egypt has said it will allow 20 trucks carrying humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip through the Rafah border crossing in the territory’s south.
“It is now clear that humanitarian aid to Gaza must be authorized immediately. The people there are in terrible conditions,” Salah added.
“The scenes at the hospital last night were horrific. The people of Gaza urgently need food, water and medical care.
“I call on world leaders to come together to prevent further slaughter of innocent souls – humanity must prevail.”
Source : www.aljazeera.com