ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 148

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Israel’s actions in Gaza ‘may force everyone’ to act, warns Iranian president

Ebrahim Raisi says ‘Washington asks us to not do anything, but they keep giving widespread support to Israel,’ amid repeated Iran-backed attacks on US bases in Iraq, Syria

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi speaks during a news conference on the sidelines of the 78th United Nations General Assembly, at UN headquarters in New York City on September 20, 2023. (Ed Jones/AFP)
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi speaks during a news conference on the sidelines of the 78th United Nations General Assembly, at UN headquarters in New York City on September 20, 2023. (Ed Jones/AFP)

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi on Sunday said Israel’s ongoing bombardment of Gaza “may force everyone” to act, in the latest warning issued by the Islamic Republic since the start of the Israel-Hamas conflict.

“The crimes of the Zionist regime have crossed the red lines, and this may force everyone to take action,” Raisi wrote on X. “Washington asks us to not do anything, but they keep giving widespread support to Israel.”

“The US sent messages to the Axis of Resistance but received a clear response on the battlefield,” Raisi said, using a term often used by Iranian officials to refer to the Islamic Republic and its allies like Lebanon’s Hezbollah, Yemen’s Houthis and other Shiite forces in Iraq and Syria.

Although it was not immediately clear what Raisi was referring to, there have been a string of attacks on US forces in Iraq and Syria as well as increasing exchanges of fire between Hezbollah and Israeli forces on the Lebanon border since the Gaza conflict began.

The ongoing war between Israel and the Hamas was triggered on October 7 when some 2,500 Hamas terrorists poured into Israel and ravaged Israeli military bases and communities. Some 1,400 people were killed, most of them civilians, and at least 234 people were taken hostage, with 230 of them still held inside Gaza.

Israel launched Operation Swords of Iron following the massacre, vowing to eradicate Hamas and destroy the terror group’s infrastructure inside the Strip.

Smoke rises following Israeli strikes in the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, Oct. 29, 2023. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)

The Hamas-run Gazan health ministry claims that since then, more than 8,000 people have been killed in the Strip, half of them children. Those figures cannot be independently verified. A significant number of those killed in Gaza are Hamas terrorists, Israeli authorities say, and many are thought to be killed by the hundreds of failed rocket launches that have fallen in the Strip.

Some 2 million people live in Gaza.

Iran, which financially and militarily backs Hamas, hailed the October 7 attacks as a “success.” But it has insisted it was not involved in the onslaught.

“Iran considers it its duty to support the resistance groups, but… the resistance groups are independent in their opinion, decision, and action,” the Iranian president said in an interview with Al Jazeera on Saturday, according to excerpts released by state news agency IRNA.

“The United States knows very well our current capabilities and knows that they are impossible to overcome,” he said.

Both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Joe Biden have cautioned Tehran against involvement, including via its proxies, chief among them Lebanon-based terror group Hezbollah. Iran has long warned that Israel’s war against the Tehran-backed Hamas terror group may be expanded.

Smoke rises from inside an Israeli army position which was hit by missiles launched by the Hezbollah terror group, as seen from Tair Harfa village, a Lebanese border village with Israel, south Lebanon, October 20, 2023. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

Last week, Raisi called for “strengthening cooperation” between countries in the region to avoid interventions from outside nations.

“A united and unified position in the Muslim world could have prevented the oppression and aggression of the Zionist regime and the excesses of its Western supporters in a more effective way,” he said, quoted by state news agency IRNA.

He made the remarks while receiving the credentials of the new Saudi ambassador to Tehran, Abdullah bin Saud al-Anazi. The two countries had exchanged ambassadors after a seven-year break in relations, in a deal brokered by China.

The Iranian president had already called on October 12 for Muslim and Arab countries to join together to “stop the crimes” of Israel.

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