Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah on Wednesday called for an end to what he described as “massacres” in Gaza, saying humanitarian aid must immediately be allowed into the besieged Palestinian enclave.
Salah released a video message on his social media accounts, making his first comments on the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict after coming in for some fierce criticism in his native Egypt for staying silent on the issue for over a week.
The Gaza health ministry said at least 3,478 Palestinians have been killed and 12,065 injured in Israeli air strikes on Gaza since Oct 7, the day Palestinian militant group Hamas stormed into Israeli towns, killing 1,400 people and taking hundreds of hostages.
On Tuesday, Egyptian trucks carrying aid to Gaza moved closer to the Rafah border crossing but it was unclear when or whether they would be able to cross into the enclave, with Egypt looking to get security guarantees from Israel after the border area was shelled four times.
The Israeli government said on Wednesday that Israel will not stop aid entering Gaza from Egypt, but that supplies will not be allowed to reach Hamas.
“It’s not always easy to speak in time like this, there has been too much violence and too much heartbreaking brutality … All lives are sacred and must be protected,” Salah said.
“The massacres need to stop; families are being torn apart. What’s clear now is that humanitarian aid to Gaza must be allowed immediately. The people there are in terrible conditions.”
Many Egyptian soccer fans criticised Salah over the past week, saying he should have spoken up in defence of Palestinians. Some started an online campaign to unfollow him on social media.
Criticism directed at the 31-year-old intensified when a blast at a Gaza hospital killed hundreds of Palestinians on Tuesday. Hamas and Israel traded blame over who was responsible.
“The Scenes at the hospital last night were horrifying. The people of Gaza need food, water and medical supplies urgently,” Salah added.
“I’m calling on the world leaders to come together to prevent further slaughter of innocent souls. Humanity must prevail.”
Salah has scored six goals in 10 appearances with Liverpool in all competitions so far this season, including five in the Premier League.