In the midst of the efforts of several Middle Eastern countries to reduce tensions in the war between Israel and Hamas, Iran threatens a new regional escalation. The Iranian supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, demanded this Tuesday the “immediate” arrest of the Israeli “genocide” of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. The president made his first statements since Israel announced an imminent land, sea and air offensive on the territory, which has already caused the death of 2,800 civilians. A third of the victims are children, although it is believed that the figure could be much higher due to the difficulty of the Gazan emergency services to work on the ground, after days without access to gasoline, water or electricity, after the blockage of supplies by part of Israel. Hamas’ surprise attack, on the other hand, caused the death of 1,400 Israelis. “We must respond, we must react to what is happening in Gaza,” Khamenei warned, after pointing out that the Israeli authorities should be tried for “crimes against Palestinians in Gaza.”
Tehran is a regional supporter of Hamas and has made no secret of its moral and financial support for the group. Together with its Lebanese ally, the Shiite party Hezbollah -which has a political arm and an armed one-, Iran has proxy forces in Syria, Iraq and Yemen, and constantly threatens Israel, its main enemy in the region.
Several investigations indicate that for years Tehran has supported the Palestinian group at a logistical level and has provided help in the construction of tunnels in Gaza, through which they traffic weapons but also food and other supplies blocked by Israel. “If the crimes committed by the Zionist regime continue, no one will be able to stop the Muslims and the resistance forces“warned the ayatollah.
The supreme leader’s statements come one day before the US president’s visit to Israel, amid the escalation of tensions and the wait for the Israeli Army’s imminent ground offensive in Gaza. Khamenei noted that no country should have expectations that “Iran will stop certain resistance groups,” referring to the regional forces that Tehran supports.
When Hamas launched its attack on Israel, Khamenei celebrated the “irreparable” military defeat of Israeli intelligence, although he denied being involved in preparing the attack. “We kissed the hands of those who planned the attack on the Zionist regime,” Khamenei said, showing the camera a Palestinian scarf. “The Zionist regime’s own actions are to blame for this disaster,” he added.