KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Several thousand university students demonstrated in eastern Afghanistan on Monday to denounce Israel’s recent offensive in the Gaza Strip, burning Israeli and U.S. flags as well as a Christian cross.
The students — some shouting ‘‘Death to Israel!’’ and ‘‘Death to America!’’ — marched outside their university in Jalalabad, close to the border with Pakistan, and blocked a highway leading into the city center.
A truce was struck last week between Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers, bringing an end to an eight-day Israeli offensive against militants who had fired rockets into Israel from the Palestinian territory. The agreement is fragile, but so far the truce has stopped fighting in the Gaza Strip.
At the demonstration, which was peaceful, Nangarhar University student Abdul Gayr said participants also denounced Pakistan for its recent artillery shelling into Afghanistan. They also opposed a death sentence given to an Afghan National Army solider who was convicted earlier this year of killing five French soldiers.
The protesters, Gayr said, think capital punishment is unfair in the case so long as international forces are not punished when their military operations result in the death of Afghan civilians.
Separately, a bomb strapped to a bicycle exploded Monday, wounding 26 civilians in Khost, about 150 kilometers (90 miles) south of the capital, Kabul.
Provincial spokesman Baryalai Wakman said the morning blast occurred in a marketplace full of shoppers. Five people were seriously injured, according to hospital officials.
In southern Afghanistan, NATO said a service member with the international military coalition was killed in a roadside bombing on Monday. No other details were released.
So far this year, 381 U.S. and other international troops have died in Afghanistan.