The 31-year-old forward made his first comments on the deepening Israel-Gaza conflict on Wednesday amid growing outrage over the deaths of nearly 500 people in an Israeli strike at the al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City.
“It is not always easy to speak in a time like this. There has been too much violence and too much heartbreak and brutality,” Salah said in a video.
The footballer, who captains Egypt’s national team, had been criticised for not speaking up in defence of Palestinians, and some critics had started an online campaign to unfollow him on social media.
“The escalations in recent weeks is unbearable to witness. All lives are sacred and must be protected. The massacres need to stop, families are being torn apart.”
— Mohamed Salah (@MoSalah) October 18, 2023
Gaza has been besieged since October 7 when Hamas fighters launched a surprise attack on Israel killing some 1,400 people and taking others captive. Israel declared war in response, subjecting the territory of 2.3 million people to relentless bombardment. Some 3,480 Palestinians have been confirmed martyred in the attacks.