Iran foreign minister warns ‘preemptive action’ against Israel expected within hours

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Iran’s top envoy warned Monday that ‘preemptive action’ against Israel is expected soon as the Jewish state continues bombarding Gaza but has so far delayed a ground operation. 

‘Leaders of the Resistance will not allow the Zionist regime to take any action in Gaza,’ Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said on state TV Monday, according to Reuters’s translation. ‘All options are open, and we cannot be indifferent to the war crimes committed against the people of Gaza.’ 

‘The resistance front is capable of waging a long-term war with the enemy [Israel]… in the coming hours, we can expect a preemptive action by the resistance front,’ he added. 

Earlier Monday, Iranian state media reported that Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi told Russian President Vladimir Putin during a phone call that, ‘There is a possibility of the conflict between Israel and Palestinians expanding to other fronts.’ 

Raisi reportedly said Iranian foreign policy supports the Palestinians, but ‘resistance’ groups make their own independent decisions, according to Reuters. 

On Tuesday, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told a group of students in Tehran that ‘no one can stop’ global Islamist forces if Israel keeps up its bombardment of Hamas targets in Gaza, according to reports by the Times of Israel and Reuters. 

‘No one can confront Muslims and the resistance forces if the Zionist regime’s crimes against Palestinians continue. The bombardment of Gaza must stop immediately,’ Khamenei reportedly said amid chants of ‘Death to Israel.’ 

‘The world is witnessing the Zionist regime’s genocide of Palestinians in Gaza,’ he added. 

‘We must respond, we must react to what is happening in Gaza,’ Khamenei said. 

The comments come as the exchange of fire increased along Israel’s northern border with Iran-backed Hezbollah in Lebanon. Last week, Khamenei denied that Iran was responsible for Hamas’ surprise Oct. 7 attack but still celebrated the Tehran-backed terror group’s assault as an ‘irreparable’ military and intelligence defeat for Israel. 

Also Tuesday, the Fars news agency quoted Iranian Revolutionary Guards Deputy Commander-in-Chief Ali Fadavi as warning of more attacks by militants if Israel did not stop its bombardment of Gaza. ‘The resistance front’s shocks against the Zionist regime will continue until this ‘cancerous tumour’ is eradicated from the world map,’ Fadavi said.

More than 1,400 Israelis have been killed, and at least 199 others, including children, were captured by Hamas and taken into Gaza when terrorists launched a surprise attack on Oct. 7. The Jewish state responded by declaring war against Hamas and bombarding the Gaza Strip with air strikes. 

Israel is bolstering troops at the border with Gaza in preparation for a ground operation. 

The Gaza Health Ministry said 2,778 Palestinians have been killed and 9,700 wounded. Another 1,200 people across Gaza are believed to be buried under the rubble, alive or dead. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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