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'Gaza has right to resist or defend their legitimate cause': Syria and Iran come in support of Palestinians

Both Raisi and Asad underscored that Israel’s policies are leading to bloodshed in the region and called on Arab and Muslim countries to work on defending the Palestinian people, especially in Gaza. They said they stand behind the Palestinian people who are “being subjected to crimes".

Ajeet Kumar Edited By: Ajeet Kumar @Ajeet1994 Jerusalem Published on: October 12, 2023 19:16 IST
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi
Image Source : AP/FILE Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi

In a major development, Iran and Syria have extended their support to the Palestinians after the Presidents of both countries held a telephone conversation on Thursday. According to Syria’s state news agency SANA, Syria’s Bashar Assad and Iran’s Ebrahim Raisi discussed the situation in the Gaza Strip and expressed both countries’ support for the Palestinian people.

Both leaders said they stand behind the Palestinian people who are “being subjected to crimes and have the right to resist to defend their legitimate cause to gain back their rights.”

During the conversation, Assad underscored that Israel’s policies are leading to bloodshed in the region and called on Arab and Muslim countries to work on defending the Palestinian people, especially in Gaza. The latest development came hours after Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman spoke to Iran’s president to discuss the Gaza war.

The state-run Saudi Press Agency reported Thursday that President Ebrahim Raisi had called the crown prince. The crown prince “underscored the Kingdom’s unwavering stance in standing up for the Palestinian cause and supporting efforts aimed at achieving comprehensive and fair peace that ensures the Palestinian people’s legitimate rights,” it said.

Saudi Arabia and Iran are longtime rivals that recently restored diplomatic relations in an agreement brokered by China. Before the outbreak of hostilities, the US had been negotiating with the Saudis over normalising relations with Israel, a potentially historic agreement that would build on the so-called Abraham Accords with other Arab states. Iran has long supported Palestinian militant groups, and its leaders praised the wide-ranging attack into Israel launched by Hamas militants over the weekend, in which hundreds of Israelis were killed and dozens captured.

Earlier on Tuesday, a senior Hamas official rejected the media reports which claim Iran's involvement in the latest incursion against Israel and said "Only a small number of top commanders inside Gaza knew about the wide-ranging planning. However, Ali Barakeh, a member of Hamas’ exiled leadership, underscored that allies like Iran and the Lebanese Hezbollah “will join the battle if Gaza is subjected to a war of annihilation.”

Iranian security officials helped plan the attack?

Speaking to news agency, the Associated Press on Monday, Barakeh said the attack was planned by around a half dozen top Hamas commanders in Gaza and that even the group’s closest allies were not informed in advance about the timing. He denied reports that Iranian security officials helped plan the attack or gave the go-ahead at a meeting last week in Beirut.

“Only a handful of Hamas commanders knew about the zero hour,” Barakeh said, adding that no one from the central command or the political bureau of Hamas was in the Lebanese capital last week.

According to the Hamas official, Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah militant group have helped Hamas in the past, but added since the 2014 Gaza war Hamas has been producing its own rockets and training its own fighters.

Does the US have evidence of Iran's involvement? 

When asked whether the US has seen evidence of Iranian involvement, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby at the White House noted “there’s a degree of complicity“ from Iran due to its years of support for Hamas, however, the US hasn’t ”seen hard, tangible, evidence that Iran was directly involved in participating in or resourcing, planning these sets of complex attacks that Hamas pulled off over the weekend.”

Barakeh also denied speculation that the attack, which had been planned for more than a year, was aimed at derailing US efforts to convince Saudi Arabia to normalize ties with Israel.

Instead, he said it was driven by a range of actions taken by Israel’s far-right government over the past year, including provocative visits to a flashpoint Jerusalem holy site and increased pressure on Palestinian prisoners held by Israel. He also said Hamas believed Israel had plans to kill its top leaders.

(With inputs from agency)

Also Read: Did Iran and Hezbollah have role in Israel's incursion and who supplied rockets to Hamas?

 

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