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CAGAYAN DE ORO, Philippines – Marawi residents marched through the streets of their predominantly Muslim city, evoking memories of the 2017 siege, as they called for an end to the Israeli airstrikes in Gaza on Tuesday, October 10.
“When we saw the TV news footage of Israeli planes bombing Gaza, it brought back memories of Marawi City being bombed during the 2017 siege,” Marawi civic leader Drieza Lininding said.
Shouting “Palestine is Free” as they carried Palestinian flags, more than 100 residents assailed the Israeli government for allegedly desecrating the Al-Aqsa compound, a revered mosque in occupied Jerusalem.
Lininding said they also likened the desecration of Al-Aqsa mosque to the 2017 entry of former president Rodrigo Duterte and soldiers into the Grand Mosque, also a revered Muslim site in Marawi City, during the five-month siege.
“We can feel the anger of the Palestinian people over the desecration of Al-Aqsa mosque and how they suffer as the bombs destroy their houses,” Lininding said.
Al Jazeera, The New Arab, and other Middle East news agencies reported that a week before the terror attacks on Israeli settlements, Jewish settlers stormed the Al-Aqsa compound, angering residents of Gaza.
Speaker after speaker condemned the attack during the rally in Barangay Poblacion, Marawi City on Tuesday.
In Cagayan de Oro City, the non-governmental organization Balay Mindanaw called for a de-escalation of the conflict and urged world leaders to provide a venue and platforms from which the conflicting parties can dialogue.
“A humanitarian crisis is looming as casualties from both sides continue to mount every day,” Balay Mindanaw Director Charlito Manlupig said.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said that the targeting of civilians could escalate the violence and hatred in Gaza and Israel.
“The recent violence is at a level we have not seen in many years and has the potential to escalate dramatically, causing even more pain and anguish on both sides,” read part of ICRC President Mirjana Spoljaric’s statement.
Spoljaric said it is a worrying sign that only a few voices of de-escalation have been heard amid the premeditated killings of civilians and the bombings of residential neighborhoods. – Rappler.com