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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - A Palestinian with dual citizenship waits outside the Rafah border crossing with Egypt in the hope of getting permission to leave Gaza, amid the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip October 17, 2023. — Reuters pic
DUBAI, Oct 17 — Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Israel’s “genocide” of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip should stop “immediately”, state TV reported today, a day before US President Joe Biden is due to visit Israel.
Israel has vowed to annihilate the Tehran-backed Hamas movement that rules Gaza after fighters burst into Israel on Oct. 7, killing 1,300 people, mainly civilians, in the deadliest day in the country’s 75-year-old history.
“No one can confront Muslims and the resistance forces if the Zionist regime’s crimes against Palestinians continue ... the bombardment of Gaza must stop immediately,” Khamenei told a group of students in Tehran.
“The world is witnessing the Zionist regime’s genocide of Palestinians in Gaza,” he said to chants of “Death to Israel”.
Backing the Palestinian cause has been a pillar of the Islamic Republic since the 1979 revolution and a way the Shi’ite-dominated country has fashioned itself as a leader of the Muslim world.
Israel, which Tehran refuses to recognise, has long accused Iran’s clerical rulers of stoking violence by supplying arms to Hamas. Tehran says it gives moral and financial support to the group.
“We must respond, we must react to what is happening in Gaza,” Khamenei said, adding that Israeli officials should face trial for their “crimes against Palestinians in Gaza”.
Israel has bombarded the Gaza Strip with air strikes that have killed more than 2,800 Palestinians, a quarter of them children, and driven around half of the 2.3 million Gazans from their homes. It has imposed a total blockade on the enclave, blocking food, fuel and medical supplies, which are rapidly running out. — Reuters
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