Tehran praises Hamas assault on Israel – media
A top adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has offered his “congratulations” to the Palestinian militants who launched a surprise attack on Israeli territory on Saturday, according to the semi-official Iranian news organization ISNA.
“We congratulate the Palestinian fighters,” Major General Yahya Rahim Safavi said, according to the news source, promising that Tehran “will stand by their side until the liberation of Palestine and Holy Jerusalem.”
Speaking in the Iranian capital of Tehran at the 6th International Conference on Solidarity with Palestinian Children and Adolescents on Saturday, Safavi also said that “we support the Al-Aqsa Storm operation.”
The comments come after Hamas militants entered Israeli territory early on Saturday, with reports stating that they took control of some areas in the south of the country. Reports have also indicated that some Israeli citizens and soldiers had been taken captive.
Israeli authorities said more than 2,000 rockets were fired towards the Jewish state in what is one of the largest-scale attacks in the volatile region in recent years. Initial estimates suggest that more than 500 have presented for treatment at Israeli hospitals, and that 22 people have been killed. The Israeli military has begun retaliatory strikes in Gaza.
Some Iranian members of parliament responded to the Hamas attack on Saturday by rising from their seats and chanting “Death to Israel” and “Palestine is victorious, Israel will be destroyed,” Reuters said, citing Iranian state television.
Iran has long maintained public support for the Palestinian militant group, principally due to a shared hostility towards Israel. It has been claimed that Iran provided Hamas with financial and political support, as well as weapons and technology, to bolster its arsenal of long-range weapons capable of striking deep into Israeli territory.
Iran has not directly revealed the nature of its support for Hamas. Israeli intelligence has determined that previous attacks by the group in Israel have occurred without Iranian knowledge or involvement.