Top Iranian General Mohammad Hossein Bagheri issued an ominous warning on Sunday about Hamas’ attack against Israel.
Hamas fired thousands of rockets at Israel, while dozens of their fighters infiltrated the heavily fortified border by air, land and sea in areas near the Gaza Strip on Saturday morning, marking the latest escalation in the longstanding Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Hamas has named the operation “Al-Aqsa Flood,” in reference to the revered holy site in disputed East Jerusalem. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said during a televised address on Saturday that his country was now “at war.”
Iran, an ally to Hamas, has weighed in on the conflict, with its foreign ministry describing the attack as an act of self defense “of their inalienable rights and their natural reaction to the Zionists’ warmongering and provocative policies,” Reuters reported.
Major General Bagheri, the chief of staff of Iran’s armed forces, released a statement on Sunday praising the attack, according to a report from the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA).
In his statement, Bagheri warned Israel that the attack showed that measures such as “the ridiculous normalization plot” would not be able to “halt the decline and eventual collapse of the spider’s web.”
“He further elaborated on the operation, stating that the combined efforts of Palestinian fighters, under the name of ‘Al-Aqsa Storm,’ against the positions and fortifications of the heavily armed Zionist regime in occupied territories, once again highlighted the hollow grandeur and brittle power of the occupying regime,” IRNA’s report added.
According to a separate report from Tasnim News Agency, Bagheri also praised Hamas for dealing “devastating blows” to Israel.
The Associated Press reported that the death toll stands at 600 in Israel and 300 in Gaza. Meanwhile, Netanyahu announced Sunday morning that Israel’s security cabinet voted on Saturday to authorize a war, allowing for “significant military activities.”
The United States government has expressed support for Israel amid the attack, with President Joe Biden delivering remarks backing Washington, D.C.’s longtime ally.
“Israel has its right to defend itself and its people. Full stop. There’s never justification for terrorist attacks, and my administration’s support for Israel’s security is rock solid and unwavering. Let me say this as clearly as I can. This is not a moment for any party hostile to Israel to exploit these attacks to seek advantage. The world is watching,” he said at the White House on Saturday.
Iran, an adversary of Israel, has voiced support for Hamas’ attack.
“Iran considers that the Zionist occupier regime and its well-known supporters are responsible … for the violence and killing against Palestinians and calls on Islamic countries to support…the rights of the Palestinian people,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani said, reported Reutters.
Newsweek reached out to the Israeli Foreign Affairs Ministry and Hamas for comment.