TEHRAN, Iran — Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Sunday that Israel has suffered a “defeat” in its war against Iran-backed Palestinian terror group Hamas, claiming that this was “a fact.”
In a speech at an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps aerospace force center in the capital Tehran, Khamenei said “the defeat of the Zionist regime in Gaza is a fact.”
“Advancing and entering hospitals or people’s homes is not a victory, because victory means defeating the other side,” he said.
The military has focused efforts on uncovering the group’s use of civilian infrastructure, including residential buildings and medical centers, for its terror activities.
Khamenei charged that Israel “has so far failed” in achieving its declared goal of destroying Hamas “despite the massive bombings” of Gaza.
“This incapacity reflects the inability of the United States and Western countries” which back Israel, he added.
Israel’s ground operation in Gaza followed three weeks of intense aerial campaigns across the Strip in response to Hamas’s shock October 7 invasion of southern Israeli communities. Under cover of thousands of rockets, thousands of terrorists from Gaza killed about 1,200 people in southern Israel, a majority of them civilians of all ages, in their homes and at an outdoor music festival near Kibbutz Re’im. Terrorists also kidnapped some 240 people to the enclave.
The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry claims that 12,300 people have been killed in Gaza since the start of the war on October 7, including at least 4,700 children and 3,000 women. Those figures cannot be independently verified, and Hamas has been accused of inflating them and of designating gunmen in their late teens as children. It is not known how many among its total are combatants, and how many among the dead were victims of misfired rockets aimed at Israel.
Iran, which seeks Israel’s demise and supports Hamas financially and militarily, has hailed the October 7 attacks a “success” but denied any direct involvement.
Tehran has made support for the Palestinian cause a centerpiece of its foreign policy since the 1979 Islamic revolution.
Khamenei said Israel has “killed thousands of children without any remorse” because, as he claimed, “Zionists consider themselves to be a superior race.”
During his visit, the Revolutionary Guard’s aerospace force unveiled new defense systems and drones, state media said, and Khamenei inspected a drone that carried the name “Gaza.”
The force also unveiled Fattah 2, an upgraded version of a hypersonic missile unveiled in June, according to official news agency IRNA.
Khamenei urged Muslim countries that have formal relations with Israel to “cut off” these ties and halt trade.
“Some Islamic governments… have not yet condemned [Israel’s actions in Gaza], but this is not acceptable,” he said.