Angry mob surrounds U.S. Embassy in Lebanon with Molotov cocktails

Protests erupted outside the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon this Tuesday after a hospital in Gaza was struck by a bomb or rocket.

“Lebanon’s Hezbollah denounced what the group said was Israel’s deadly attack on a Gaza hospital and called for ‘a day of unprecedented anger’ on Wednesday, as protests erupted outside the U.S. embassy in Beirut just hours after the incident,” according to Reuters.

“Iran-backed Hezbollah, which fought a war with Israel in 2006, made the call for the day of protest in Beirut in a statement late on Tuesday, after Palestinian officials said hundreds of people were killed in the strike on the hospital,” Reuters reported.

Of course, the protests are predicated on the dubious belief that Israel committed the bombing. But emerging evidence strongly points to the bombing having been the result of a Hamas rocket that had malfunctioned once in the air:

During the protests in Beirut, rioters threw Molotov cocktails at the embassy, causing it to catch fire, according to The Independent. They also blocked nearby roads, and one protester scaled the building’s barbed-wire fence to plant a Palestinian flag on the embassy’s flagpole.

Watch:

In response, the U.S. State Department issued a statement warning Americans not to travel to Lebanon “due to the unpredictable security situation related to rocket, missile, and artillery exchanges between Israel and Hizballah or other armed militant factions.”

“On October 17, 2023, the Department authorized the voluntary, temporary departure of family members of US government personnel and some non-emergency personnel from US Embassy Beirut due to the unpredictable security situation in Lebanon,” the statement reads.

It adds that “large demonstrations have erupted in the wake of recent violence in Israel and Gaza” and that “US citizens should avoid demonstrations and exercise caution if in the vicinity of any large gatherings or protests as some of these have turned violent.”

“Protesters have blocked major roads, including thoroughfares between downtown Beirut and the area where the US Embassy is located, and between Beirut and Beirut Rafic Hariri International Airport. US citizens who choose to travel to Lebanon should be aware that consular officers from the US Embassy are not always able to travel to assist them,” the statement continues.

The protesters reportedly also appeared outside France’s embassy.

Al Jazeera notes that “spontaneous protests” have also erupted in Jordan, Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and the West Bank — and all in response to the hospital bombing that the protesters all blame on Israel.

“There is the sense that this was something catastrophic,” Al Jazeera correspondent Dorsa Jabbari reported.

“The Supreme Leader of Iran spoke earlier on Tuesday and he said once the Muslim countries, the Muslim nation and the people become angry, it is very hard to prevent them from expressing their anger. That is exactly what we’re seeing on the streets of these countries and certainly in Iran as well,” she added.

Tensions are also running high in Istanbul, Turkey, according to freelance journalist Emre Basaran.

“Anti-Israel sentiments have historically been high in Turkey because of its [ALLEGED] long-standing, decades-long oppression of Palestine and its war against Palestinian people. There is a very distinctive anger kind of anger toward Israel right now. You can just feel it, you can just smell it on the street,” he told Al Jazeera.

He added that after protesters tried to enter the Israeli consulate in Beirut, the Turkish police intervened to disperse the crowd and block the area.

“There was no way for me to get even close to the consulate,” Basaran said.

Regarding Israel’s alleged “decades-long oppression of Palestine,” a report from Freedom House in fact documents numerous examples of Hamas oppressing the Palestinians by denying them their rights.

For example, Freedom House notes that in March, Hamas “cracked down on peaceful demonstrations against economic hardship, arresting more than 1,000 and beating a number of participants in what amounted to an escalation in repressive tactics.”

Vivek Saxena

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