Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, stated on Tuesday, October 10 that Tehran was not engaged in the weekend attack on Israel by the militant group Hamas, but praised Israel’s “irreparable” military and intelligence setback.
For years, Israel has accused Iran of inciting bloodshed by transferring arms to Hamas. Tehran, which does not recognize Israel, claims to provide moral and financial assistance to the organization that governs Gaza.
Supporting the Palestinian cause has been a foundation of Iran’s foreign policy since the 1979 revolution, and it is one of the ways the Shi’ite-dominated government has established itself as a Muslim world leader.
“We kiss the hands of those who planned the attack on the Zionist regime,” said Khamenei, who was wearing a Palestinian scarf, in his first televised speech since the attack.
“This destructive earthquake (Hamas’ attack) has destroyed some critical structures (in Israel) which will not be repaired easily … The Zionist regime’s own actions are to blame for this disaster,” said Khamenei on Tuesday
The US asserted on Monday that Iran was complicit in Hamas’ attack on Israel, but said it had no intelligence or proof to back up this claim.
The senior US general advised Iran on Monday not to get involved in the issue, saying he did not want the confrontation to escalate.
After another night of continuous Israeli air attacks on the enclave, Israel stated earlier on Tuesday that it had re-established control of the Gaza border and was placing mines where militants had destroyed the barrier during their murderous weekend assault.
Khamenei said an attack on Gaza would “unleash a much heavier torrent of anger’.
“The occupying regime seeks to portray itself as a victim to escalate its crimes further … this is a misguided calculation … It will result in even greater disaster,” Khamenei said.
As at press time, the death toll from the Hamas attack had climbed to 900, with at least 2,600 injured. Gaza’s Health Ministry said at least 687 Palestinians were killed and 3,726 wounded in Israeli air strikes on the blockaded enclave since Saturday.