Gazans say unmoved by death of Iranian president, who brought ‘only ruin’

Residents of Deir al-Balah complain Ebrahim Raisi did not call for a ceasefire in war with Israel, ‘never stood by us’ and so ‘means nothing to us and nothing to Gaza’

A makeshift shelter housing displaced Palestinians in Deir el-Balah in the central Gaza Strip on May 18, 2024. (AFP)
A makeshift shelter housing displaced Palestinians in Deir el-Balah in the central Gaza Strip on May 18, 2024. (AFP)

Gazans on Monday spared little thought for Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi, killed in a helicopter crash, saying he had failed to ease the suffering in the war-torn Palestinian territory.

Raisi was confirmed dead on Monday after search and rescue teams found the remains of his helicopter, which crashed Sunday in a fog-shrouded western mountain region of Iran.

Palestinian terror group Hamas, which runs the Gaza Strip and receives financial and military support from Iran, paid tribute to Raisi’s “support for the Palestinian resistance, and tireless efforts in solidarity” with Palestinians.

But Gazans in the central city of Deir al-Balah, an area that has been hit by fighting between Hamas and Israeli troops since the terror group’s devastating October 7 attack on Israel, told AFP that Raisi’s legacy in the Palestinian territory had been tarnished by inaction over their plight.

“He never supported us, never kept his promises, never called for a ceasefire, and never stood by us. He does not concern us at all,” said Naji Khodeir, a resident of the city, which now hosts large numbers of Gazans fleeing fighting further south.

“He means nothing to us and nothing to Gaza,” said Βilal Khodary, a displaced Gazan.

In this photo provided by Moj News Agency, rescue teams’ vehicles are seen near the site of the crash of the helicopter carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in Varzaghan in northwestern Iran, Sunday, May 19, 2024 (Azin Haghighi/Moj News Agency via AP)

Iran has called the group’s October 7 attack a “success,” but denied any involvement in the storming of southern Israel by Hamas-led terrorists, which killed 1,200 people. The attackers who burst through the border with the Gaza Strip to rampage murderously through Israeli territory also abducted 252 people to Gaza.

Israel vowed to eradicate Hamas after the attack, launching a military campaign that also aims to free the hostages, of whom 124 remain in captivity.

Iran’s President Raisi arrives in Riyadh for a summit on Gaza, November 11, 2023. (Screen grab Al Ekhbaria/AFP used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry says more than 35,000 people in the Strip have been killed or are presumed dead in the fighting so far, though only some 24,000 fatalities have been identified at hospitals. The tolls, which cannot be verified, include some 15,000 terror operatives Israel says it has killed in battle. Israel also says it killed some 1,000 terrorists inside Israel on October 7.

Gazans said they were more concerned with their dire humanitarian situation, which aid groups warn has become critical amid the fighting.

“I only grieve for my people who die every day, for the thousands of victims and martyrs who are falling, and for the fact that no one cares about us,” said Roba al-Azaiza, a Deir al-Balah resident.

“With all this destruction and devastation we’ve faced, no country has paid attention to us,” said Hossam Abdallah. “Why should I care about this man when he has only brought us ruin?”

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