Iran’s Khamenei says Israel ‘forced to accept defeat

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Friday that Israel was “forced to accept defeat” by Palestinian armed groups, after a ceasefire between the Jewish state and terrorist groups in Gaza.

“I thank dear and almighty God for the victory and honor bestowed upon Palestinian fighters,” he said in a statement on his official website.

“The continuation of crimes and the ceasefire were both (part of Israel’s) defeat. They were forced to accept defeat,” he added, claiming that Israel was “powerless against the unified rise of Palestine.”

“The readiness of the Palestinian youth and the show of power” by armed groups in Gaza “will make Palestine more powerful by the day and the usurping enemy weaker and more despicable,” he added.

In his letter, Khamenei also urged all Muslim countries to rally in support of Palestinian people, “whether by strengthening Palestinian forces, with financial support that is needed today more than before, or by rebuilding the infrastructure that was destroyed in Gaza.”

Iran is the main supplier of weapons and arms to Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

Palestinian members of the al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Hamas terror movement, display Qassam home-made rockets during an anti-Israel military parade on August 21, 2016 in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

The ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, which controls the Gaza strip, and other armed groups in the enclave appeared to be holding Friday, after 11 days of fighting.

Israeli strikes on Gaza since May 10 have killed 243 Palestinians, including 66 children, Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry says. Fighters are also among those killed. Israel says some of the civilians killed were hit by Palestinian rockets falling short in the Gaza Strip.

Rockets fired into Israel from Gaza have claimed 12 lives in the Jewish state, including one child, a teenager and an Israeli soldier, with one Indian and two Thai nationals among those killed, Israeli authorities say.

Khamenei also called for legal measures against the Israeli government, including its prime minister.

“All the effective elements of this regime and the criminal (Benjamin) Netanyahu must be pursued by international and independent courts and be punished,” he said.

The Islamic republic does not recognize Israel, and supporting the Palestinian cause has been a pillar of Iran’s foreign policy since soon after the country’s 1979 revolution.

Hamas’s political chief Ismail Haniyeh on Friday thanked Iran for “providing funds and weapons” to the movement.

Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman had earlier today praised a “historic victory” and reaffirmed Tehran’s support for the Palestinian cause.

“Congratulations to our Palestinian sisters and brothers for the historic victory. Your resistance forced the aggressor to retreat,” Saeed Khatibzadeh wrote on Twitter.

“PROUD to support your just resistance,” Khatibzadeh added.

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