Meanwhile, the Israeli army continues to attack Hamas targets in Gaza. In the last few hours they have eliminated Osama Mazini, leader of the terrorist group's main political decision-making body

Iran threatens Israel with 'pre-emptive' action, raising fears of regional escalation

Ayatolá Ali Jamenei - PHOTO/FILE
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

The Islamic Republic of Iran, the main sponsor of terrorism in the Middle East and of groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah, is threatening to carry out "pre-emptive" strikes against Israel, raising the possibility of the current conflict escalating regionally.

"The resistance leaders will not allow the Zionist regime to take any action in Gaza," Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian told the regime's state television. "Therefore, any preventive measures are conceivable in the coming hours," he added. The remarks come as the Israeli army prepares for a ground incursion into the Gaza Strip aimed at eliminating the Hamas terrorist group, which has ruled the Palestinian enclave since 2006. 

Following Amirabdollahian's remarks, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei wrote on his Twitter account that "if the crimes committed by the Zionist regime continue, no one will be able to stop the Muslims and the Resistance forces".

After thousands of Hamas fighters launched a brutal land, sea and air invasion of Israel on 7 October, killing 1,300 people and kidnapping approximately 200, including foreigners, the Israeli air force began bombing Gaza to eliminate Hamas targets and other terrorist groups. These attacks have also resulted in the death of civilians, whom Hamas uses as human shields.

However, this is not the first time that the Iranian regime has threatened Israel if it continues its offensive on Gaza. In recent days, during a meeting in Beirut with members of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Amirabdollahian also stressed that the war could open up on "other fronts", referring to Hezbollah, which has been launching attacks against Israeli territory since the conflict with Hamas began, leading to the evacuation of several communities in northern Israel. 

On the other hand, during a visit to Qatar, where many Hamas leaders reside, the head of Iranian diplomacy stressed that if Israel continued bombing Gaza "no one can guarantee control of the situation and that the conflict will not expand". Tehran has been accused of being behind the Hamas attack, although the regime denies this. However, they have welcomed and praised the Palestinian group's terrorist actions. Moreover, in some of the videos released by Hamas during its invasion of Israel, some of its fighters can be heard speaking Persian.  

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi himself referred to the "possibility of widening the scope of the war" during a phone call with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, who in recent hours has also spoken with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as well as Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas.

During their conversation, Netanyahu assured Putin that the war in Gaza will not end "until Hamas is destroyed". The call comes days after the Russian president, who has been leading an invasion against Ukraine since 2022 and is indicted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court, expressed concern about Israel's operations in Gaza. 

Hamas' psychological warfare begins 

In the Palestinian enclave, the humanitarian crisis is worsening as citizens try to move south, despite Hamas' attempts to prevent them from doing so. In the last few hours, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) has also denounced that "a group of people with trucks pretending to be from the Ministry of Health" entered the agency's central office and took some of the humanitarian aid, such as fuel and medical supplies. However, the agency itself later deleted the statement, denying that any such looting had taken place. 

On the other hand, during the latest attacks on Gaza, the Israeli army has managed to eliminate Osama Mazini, head of the Shura Council, the highest political decision-making body of the terrorist group. According to the Israeli authorities, Mazini was responsible for Hamas prisoners and "directed terrorist activities against Israel". 

In addition to continuing to launch rockets into Israeli territory, Hamas has also begun its psychological warfare against the country. Last night the terrorist group released a video of one of the abducted women, 21-year-old French-Israeli Mia Schem.

"This is psychological terrorism by Hamas against the citizens of Israel," said Israel Defence Forces (IDF) spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari. "Hamas is trying to present itself as a humanitarian organisation when in reality it is a murderous terrorist group," added Hagari, who said he expects more videos like this one. French President Emmanuel Macron has described the video as "a hateful act". 

Unity in the Knesset against the war with Hamas 

The strong political and social division experienced in Israel in recent months due to the controversial judicial reform promoted by Netanyahu's government has been overshadowed by the current war. "We are all one Israeli people," said President Isaac Herzog during a session before the Israeli parliament. Herzog also stressed that the country "must not come out of this situation the same way it came in: on the political, security and social level".

For his part, Netanyahu described Hamas as part of an "axis of evil" led by Iran. He also acknowledged the mistakes that had been made and that had led to the 7 October massacre. "There will be many questions about the disaster we suffered. We will investigate everything," he said.  

Opposition leader Yair Lapid, who has refused to be part of the national unity government during the war, sent a message to the international community: Israel will continue its campaign against Gaza whether the world likes it or not. "It was not their children who were killed, it was ours," he stressed.

This parliamentary session was interrupted by rocket fire from Gaza, causing Knesset members to evacuate the building.  

Biden to visit Israel in coming days 

US President Joe Biden is scheduled to visit Israel on Wednesday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced. During his stay in the country, Biden will reiterate that "Israel has the right, and even the duty, to defend itself against Hamas and other terrorists", according to Blinken, who has travelled to Israel for the second time since the war began. 

Like the US chief diplomat, Biden will also visit other countries in the region, including Jordan and Egypt