Iran Calls on Islamic, Arab Countries to Confront Israel

Smoke plumes billow during Israeli air strikes in Gaza City on October 12, 2023 as raging battles between Israel and the Hamas movement continue for the sixth consecutive day. Photo by IBRAHIM HAMS / AFP

Tehran, Iran -- Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has called on Islamic and Arab countries to cooperate in confronting Israel as it wages a deadly war triggered by a surprise attack by Palestinian militant group Hamas.

Hamas's weekend onslaught saw hundreds of fighters cross into the Israeli border in vehicles, by air and by sea, killing 1,200 people and seizing 150 hostages under the cover of a deluge of rockets.

About another 1,200 people have been killed in thousands of Israeli strikes on Gaza, while a "complete seige" has been imposed on the impoverished Palestinian enclave of over 2.4 million people.

"Today, all the Islamic and Arab countries and all the free people of the world must reach a serious convergence and cooperation in the path of stopping the crimes of the Zionist regime against the oppressed Palestinian nation," Raisi told his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad in a phone call late Wednesday.

Raisi stated that in order to stop the "genocide of the Palestinians by the Zionists", Iran will coordinate with Islamic countries "as soon as possible", the Iranian presidency website said on Thursday.

Iran, which backs Hamas, on Saturday celebrated the assault in Israel, though it insisted it was not involved in it.

During his call with Assad, Raisi also lashed out at Arab countries that have recently normalised or are in discussion to establish ties with Israel.

"Today, all those who made public their relations with the Zionist regime under the pretext of defending the rights of the Palestinians were disgraced, and it has been proven to the whole world that the Zionist regime is in its weakest state," Raisi said.

During the call, Assad similarly emphasised the "necessity of rapid action at the Arab and Islamic levels to protect the Palestinian people, especially in the Gaza Strip, and to stop the Israeli raids targeting children and women".

© Agence France-Presse

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