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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - The Palestinian armed group rejected earlier remarks by a Guards spokesman appearing to suggest that a key motivation for the October 7 attacks was to avenge Qasem Soleimani’s death on Iran’s behalf. — AFP pic
TEHRAN, Dec 28 — Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said yesterday the October attacks on Israel by Tehran-backed Hamas militants were in part a retaliation of the US killing in 2020 of a top Iranian commander.
The Palestinian armed group rejected earlier remarks by a Guards spokesman appearing to suggest that a key motivation for the October 7 attacks was to avenge Qasem Soleimani’s death on Iran’s behalf.
Hamas’ unprecedented attack on Israel resulted in the death of about 1,140 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official figures.
Israel responded with a withering offensive that has killed more than 21,100 people in Gaza, mostly women and children, according to the Hamas-run territory’s health ministry.
Iran, which supports Hamas financially and militarily, has hailed the deadly attacks as a “success” but denied any direct involvement.
“Undoubtedly, part of the great historic victory... is due to the efforts of General Qasem Soleimani,” Ramezan Sharif, spokesman for Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), said of the Hamas attacks.
Soleimani, the former commander of the Quds Force, the IRGC’s foreign operations arm, was killed in a US drone strike in Baghdad on January 3, 2020.
“One can consider the (Hamas) operation’s success as part of the resistance’s revenge against his cowardly assassination,” Sharif was quoted by as saying Fars news agency.
He said that “the 70-year oppression, the occupation, insults to the Al-Aqsa mosque, and the siege and massacre of the defenceless Palestinians” were also among the motives for the Hamas attack.
Sharif earlier told a news conference in Tehran that the Hamas attacks on October 7 were among “acts of revenge” for Soleimani’s killing which was carried out “by the Americans and with the support of the Zionists (Israel).”
Those remarks, which Sharif later said were “misunderstood”, drew a rare rebuke from Hamas which said “there is no truth” in them.
“We have announced on several occasions the motivations and reasons behind Operation Al-Aqsa Flood, namely the dangers facing Al-Aqsa mosque,” said Hamas in a statement.
The Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem is a site holy to both Muslims and Jews, who refer to it as the Temple Mount.
The compound, also home to the Dome of the Rock, is Islam’s holiest site after Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia. It lies directly above the Western Wall, the holiest place where Jews are allowed to pray.
In recent years nationalist Jews have made multiple visits to the compound, sparking anger among Palestinians who see this as a provocation. — AFP
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