Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian has defended the Hamas militant group's attack as the "natural reaction" of the Palestinians against the Israeli government.
Amir-Abdollahian met the Hamas leader, Ismail Haniyeh, and other senior members of the group in Qatar, on October 14, to discuss the Israel-Gaza war, according to the Iranian Foreign Ministry website.
The Iranian foreign minister congratulated Haniyeh on the "victories of the Palestinian people's resistance," and added that “the Al-Aqsa operation was the Palestinian nation’s natural reaction to the relentless crimes and provocative moves by the extremist government of Netanyahu”.
“If the Israeli regime’s crimes in Gaza continue, any possibility in the region is likely, and the Islamic Republic of Iran will continue its attempts to halt Israeli war crimes,” he noted.
In turn, Haniyeh expressed his gratitude to Iran for supporting Palestine, saying that the Muslim world is expected to lend its strong support to the Palestinian nation.
He said that the Al-Aqsa Flood operation was a natural reaction to numerous crimes against the oppressed Palestinian nation in recent months.
Amir-Abdollahian arrived in Qatar on October 14, after visiting Iraq, Lebanon and Syria. He met Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, who also the Foreign Minister. On the following day, he met Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani to discuss regional matters "focusing on Palestine".
In a phone conversation with the Qatari Emir, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi called for "the war crimes and genocide machine of this regime to be stopped" and condemned Israel's blockade of Gaza as the "revenge against defenceless people for its humiliating and historic defeat".
The Iranian president praised the "new generation" of Palestinians for "rising up for their rights more seriously than ever", and accused the US and other supporters of Israel of being "directly responsible for the crimes of this regime".
On October 14, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei expressed hope that the Israel-Gaza war “will progress and lead to the complete victory of the Palestinians".
Khamenei referred to the Israel-Gaza conflict as "one of the manifestations of Islam's power" and called for all-out support by the Muslim world for Palestinians.
The Iranian high-ranking officials have hailed Palestinian militant group Hamas’ deadly attack on Israel on October 7, but they have repeatedly denied any involvement in the offensive.
On October 15, the military wing of the Palestinian group Hamas, the Izz-al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, claimed responsibility for fresh rocket attacks against targets in northern Israel.
Hamas said in a post on Telegram that it launched 20 rockets against the Israeli frontier town of Shlomi and the coastal town of Nahariya.
On the same day, Lebanon’s Iran-backed group Hezbollah said in a statement that its forces launched strikes against northern Israel in response to the killing of a Reuters journalist, Issam Abdullah and two other citizens on October 13 and 14.
The Israeli army’s helicopters attacked Hezbollah's military infrastructure in Lebanon in response to the nine attacks against its forces from Lebanese territory. It happened in a period of escalating tensions last week along the border and UN-demarcated Blue Line, which separates Lebanon and Israel.
According to the Israeli side, the terrorist attack that started the war killed at least 1,400 Israelis and injured over 3,500. At least 150 were taken hostages, many from various nationalities.
Meanwhile, about 2,750 people were killed in the Gaza Strip and more than 9,700 were injured. In the West Bank, 58 people were killed and more than 1,250 were injured, the Palestinian Health Ministry said. In addition, six key Hamas operatives have been eliminated following the Palestinian group's October 7 attack on the Israeli state.
Since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Iran and Israel have been entangled in a proxy conflict. Tehran reportedly provides military and financial support to Hezbollah, as well as Palestinian groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad, which have engaged in conflicts with Israel.
Nathan Sales, a counterterrorism expert at the US State Department, stated in November 2018 that Tehran allocates approximately $100 million annually to fund Hamas and other Palestinian militant groups.