Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, hosted leaders of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad on Wednesday in Tehran to “congratulate” them on their conduct during last month’s conflict with Israel.
“The Palestinian Islamic Jihad did well in the test of the recent battle of Gaza, and now the conditions for the Zionist regime have changed compared to 70 years ago, and the Zionist leaders have the right to worry about not seeing the regime’s 80th year,” Khamenei told Ziad al-Nakhaleh, the Syria-based Secretary General of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, according to Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency which also carried a photograph of the meeting.
Tehran routinely predicts Israel’s demise.
“The strength and credibility of the Palestinian resistance groups and Islamic Jihad is increasing day by day, and the Zionist regime’s recent defeat in the five-day war confirms this,” Khamenei said.
On May 9, in response to a wave of over 100 rockets fired at Israel, the IDF launched a surprise attack on the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza, killing three of the organization’s top leaders and 10 civilians. The army dubbed the campaign Operation Shield and Arrow.
By the operation’s end four days later, 34 Palestinians had been killed, including several more top leaders and 15 civilians, although some were killed by Islamic Jihad rockets falling short inside Gaza.
During the conflict, Islamic Jihad fired hundreds of rockets with most being intercepted by Iron Dome or falling in empty areas. One woman was killed in a direct hit on her home in Rehovot.
During the talks, the Iranian leader also cited the political instability in Israel and the protest movement against the judicial overhaul as signs of unprecedented Israeli weakness.
“The Zionist regime has political instability and has changed four prime ministers in four years; party coalitions collapse before forming; there is an extreme bipolarity throughout the fake regime, which is highlighted by the demonstrations of hundreds of thousands of people in some cities. It is not possible for them to try to make up for these weaknesses by firing a few rockets,” he said.
Iran is a major backer of Islamic Jihad and other terror groups in the region. Israel has accused Tehran of supplying the terror group with millions of dollars and military technology and know-how.