Iran’s foreign minister warned Friday that Lebanese and Palestinian militants had their “finger on the trigger” in anticipation of an Israeli ground offensive in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.
Iran’s clerical state backs Hamas, whose bloody assault inside Israel on October 7 triggered major retaliation, and has a close relationship with Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite militia that frequently fires into Israel.
“What I gathered from what I heard from them and the plans that they have — they have their finger on the trigger,” Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said of Lebanese and Palestinian militants he has met.
Speaking to U.S. National Public Radio from the United Nations, where he was attending a General Assembly session on the crisis, Amirabdollahian said the militants’ actions would be “much more powerful and deeper than what you’ve witnessed.”
“Therefore, I believe that if this situation continues, and women and children and civilians are still killed in Gaza and the West Bank, anything will be possible,” he said.
Amirabdollahian insisted, however, that militants would decide on their own rather than at the behest of Iran.
“We don’t really want this conflict to spread out,” he said.
His remarks came after U.S. President Joe Biden ordered airstrikes on two sites in Syria said to be used by Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards.
The Pentagon cast the strikes as measured retaliation after strikes by Iranian-backed militias in Iraq and Syria that left one U.S. civilian contractor dead from a cardiac incident and 21 U.S. military personnel with minor injuries.
On October 7, Hamas militants stormed across the Gaza Strip’s border, killing 1,400 people, mostly civilians, and taking more than 200 hostages in the worst bloodshed in Israel’s history.
Israel has struck back with a relentless bombing campaign that Gaza’s Hamas-run Health Ministry says has killed more than 7,000 people, mostly civilians, among them more than 3,000 children.
Source : VOA News