Iran is branded a 'terrorist state' as it calls for more attacks

Iran is branded a ‘terrorist state’ as it calls for more attacks against Israel amid fears of an all-out war

  • Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s top military adviser said Iran would back more attacks
  • Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed a ‘mighty vengeance’ 

Iran was branded a ‘terrorist state’ last night as the spiralling violence threatened to spill into a major conflict in the Middle East.

Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed a ‘mighty vengeance’, promising to reduce parts of Gaza run by Hamas ‘into rubble’.

Forces in the north also exchanged rocket and artillery fire with Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah militia.

Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus, spokesman of the Israel Defense Forces (lDF) said: ‘Without Iran’s funding, weapons, training, guidance and political incitement, Hamas would not have the capability nor the capacity.’

He added: ‘This was a watershed moment, unprecedented in scale, severity, brutality and the sheer joy with which terrorists were butchering Israeli citizens.

Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepts rockets launched from the Gaza Strip

Last night, Israeli forces said more than 400 Hamas fighters had been killed in the last 24 hours in revenge. Smoke and flames rise after Israeli forces launched an airstrike on Gaza City

‘The atrocity they have committed, they have opened the floodgates to hell on themselves and on the Gaza Strip.’

On Saturday, Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s top military adviser said the regime would continue to back attacks ‘until the liberation of Palestine and Jerusalem’.

The country’s foreign ministry said the attack was ‘a spontaneous movement of resistance groups and… oppressed people in defence of their inalienable rights’.

Videos carried by state television showed people gathered at Tehran’s Palestine Square to welcome the news of the attack, chanting ‘death to Israel’ and setting off fireworks. 

Last night, Israeli forces said more than 400 Hamas fighters had been killed in the last 24 hours in revenge for the surprise attack on Saturday. More than 2,000 were wounded in Gaza.

Tens of thousands of Israeli soldiers have been stationed around Gaza, a narrow strip that is home to 2.3 million Palestinians. 

Social media footage showed tanks massing along the border, with military officials admitting they were ‘prepared’ to enter if required.

Pockets of terrorists were still battling with IDF soldiers last night on Israel territory, as officers described fighting ‘trash can to trash can’ to regain control of most infiltration points along the security barriers yesterday.

Residents fled homes near the border to escape air strikes as Israeli forces pounded Gaza, hitting over 500 targets in 24 hours including command centres and ammunition storages.

Missiles also hit housing blocks, tunnels, a mosque and homes of Hamas officials in Gaza, killing 20 children. 

Although the Palestinian civilians bore the brunt of Israel’s fury, a senior British politician said Hamas’s bloodiest attack in decades had ‘Iran’s fingerprints all over it’. 

Alicia Kearns, chairman of the Commons foreign affairs committee, added: ‘The fact that it was land, sea and air, it has taken IDF by shock, and the coordinated nature of the attacks.

‘It is almost impossible to believe that Hamas could have done this without explicit Iranian support.

‘Iran is a terrorist state and that’s how it should be treated.’

Children walk on the ruins of a mosque destroyed in Israeli airstrikes in Khan Yunis, southern Gaza Strip

She added that Britain had been complacent about the risks represented by escalating conflict in the region, saying there had been a ‘lack of political will’ to engage in the Middle East.

Yesterday US President Joe Biden issued a warning to Iran and other countries saying: ‘This is not a moment for any party hostile to Israel to exploit these attacks.’

But he faced condemnation from Republican presidential candidates who claimed $6billion (£4billion) in oil revenue that his administration recently unfroze in a prisoner exchange with Iran could have helped fund the operation.

Former president Donald Trump said: ‘Sadly, American taxpayer dollars helped fund these attacks, which many reports are saying came from the Biden Administration.’ 

Treasury undersecretary Brian Nelson described the claims as ‘false and misleading’.

Meanwhile, Robert O’Brien, who was national security adviser under Mr Trump’s administration, called for American special forces to be deployed to Israel.

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