A former adviser to Iran’s defense minister said that Tehran would seek to arm Palestinians in the West Bank with “strategic weapons” including missiles to target Tel Aviv and Haifa.

Iranian researcher Amir Mousavi told Lebanon’s Mayadeen TV channel this week that “a major reshuffle awaits the region” as “new and significant fronts will be opened all of a sudden, to support the Palestinian cause in the West Bank and Gaza.”

“A new front must be opened from the West Bank, after it has been armed, especially with missiles,” Mousavi said in comments relayed by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), “because we know very well that the distance between the West Bank and Tel Aviv, Haifa, and other areas is much shorter than the distance from Gaza. Therefore, simple means are required. There is no need for long-range missiles. Short-range missiles can change the entire picture in the occupied lands.”

Mousavi added that Gaza would also receive increased military support from Iran. As for the Palestinian Authority which controls the West Bank and has in recent years cooperated closely with Israel on security issues, Mousavi remarked: “We hope that the brothers in the Palestinian Authority will help rather than impede this.”

On Tuesday Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei urged the Islamic world to arm Palestinians to allow them to counter what he called Israel’s “genocide” in the Gaza Strip.

In a speech marking the Muslim festival of Eid al-Fitr, Khamenei said Israel was acting like a “rabid dog” and “a wild wolf,” causing a human catastrophe that must be resisted.

“The US president issued a fatwa that the resistance is disarmed so that they cannot respond to all those crimes (committed by Israel),” the supreme leader said, referring to Barack Obama’s call for the “disarmament of terrorist groups and the demilitarization of Gaza.”

“We say the opposite. The world and especially the Islamic world should arm… the Palestinian people.”

AFP contributed to this report.