Haniyeh Briefs Khamenei on Gaza Developments

Haniyeh meets Khamenei on June 21. (File photo/Office of the Iranian Leader)
Haniyeh meets Khamenei on June 21. (File photo/Office of the Iranian Leader)
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Haniyeh Briefs Khamenei on Gaza Developments

Haniyeh meets Khamenei on June 21. (File photo/Office of the Iranian Leader)
Haniyeh meets Khamenei on June 21. (File photo/Office of the Iranian Leader)

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh has briefed Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on the latest developments in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, at a time when Israel warned the US of harsh consequences if attacks continue on Gaza.

Iran's Tasnim news agency said the country's top authority Khamenei "emphasized Tehran's consistent policy of supporting the Palestinian resistance forces against the Zionist occupiers".

Haniyeh briefed Khamenei on the crimes of the Zionist regime in Gaza, as well as the developments in the West Bank, the office of Khamenei said.

"Ayatollah Khamenei praised the steadfastness and resilience of the people of Gaza and expressed strong regret over the crimes of the Zionist regime, supported directly by Washington and some Western countries," Iran's state TV said.

The Supreme Leader urged the comprehensive and practical support of Islamic governments for the people of Gaza.​

Othman Hamdan, the representative of Hamas in Lebanon, said earlier that Hanieh arrived in the Iranian capital a few days ago to hold talks.

Last week, Khamenei called for ceasing oil and food exports to Israel.

For his part, the representative of the Iranian leader in the Supreme National Security Council, Saeed Jalili, called for backing the resistance through the “soft powers”, according to ISNA.

IRGC-affiliated Tasnim news agency quoted Mohammad-Reza Ashtiani, Iran's Minister of Defense, as saying "our advice to the Americans is to immediately halt the war in Gaza and implement a ceasefire, otherwise they will be hit hard."

The US accused Iranian-backed armed factions in the region of conducting attacks by drones and missiles in Syria and Iraq. The US responded by striking sites in Syria.

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin announced last Saturday that sending the United States a second aircraft carrier to the eastern Mediterranean comes within the framework of “deterring hostile actions against Israel or any efforts to expand the war”.

Brigadier General Abolfazl Shekarchi said on Saturday that the US is incapable of fighting Hamas and that Israel fears fighting face-to-face with Palestinian fighters.

Shekarchi said the US aircraft carriers approached Israel to boost the Israeli military’s morale, according to Tasnim.

He noted that the NATO countries backed Israel after Operation Al-Aqsa Storm which was launched by Hamas on October 7.

He added that when these countries failed to face the small group of Hamas, they started targeting women, children, schools, and houses.

Meanwhile, Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi said the attacks on US military bases in Iraq and Syria over the past days were not related to Iran. Washington may be targeted as the "main culprit" anywhere as it is "managing the conflict," he added.

Mohsen Hashemi, former Iranian President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani's son, said that the indirect involvement of Iran in the ongoing war in Gaza and the voluntary presence of Hezbollah could drag Iran to the battle.

Reformist activist Mohammadreza Jalaeipour told Mehr news agency that any truce in Gaza would positively affect the nuclear talks between the US and Iran. He praised the fact that Iran restricted its support to moral support and didn’t get involved in the war.



Israel Carries Out New Raids in Gaza as Netanyahu Visits US 

This picture taken in Khan Younis shows smoke billowing during Israeli military operations in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on July 24, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. (AFP)
This picture taken in Khan Younis shows smoke billowing during Israeli military operations in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on July 24, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. (AFP)
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Israel Carries Out New Raids in Gaza as Netanyahu Visits US 

This picture taken in Khan Younis shows smoke billowing during Israeli military operations in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on July 24, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. (AFP)
This picture taken in Khan Younis shows smoke billowing during Israeli military operations in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on July 24, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. (AFP)

Israeli forces carried out new raids in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, hours before Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was due to address the US Congress.

The latest Israeli attacks destroyed homes in towns east of Khan Younis in southern Gaza and thousands of people were forced to head west to seek shelter, residents said.

The Palestinian Civil Emergency Service said it had received distress calls from residents trapped in their homes in Bani Suhaila, east of Khan Younis, but were unable to reach the town.

Israel's military, which is trying to eradicate the armed group Hamas after the Oct. 7 attack on Israel, said it had been operating in areas from which fighters had been able to fire rockets into Israel and attack Israeli troops.

Gaza health officials said Israeli military strikes in the past 24 hours had killed at least 55 people, the latest casualties in a war that health authorities in the enclave say has killed more than 39,000 Palestinians.

"Where should we go? Shall we cross into the sea?" said Ghada, who has been displaced with her family six times during the war, said from Hamas City in northwestern Khan Younis.

"We are exhausted, starved, and want the war to end now, now not an hour later. Every day means more families are wiped off the registration book," she told Reuters via a chat app.

Local residents said they had been ordered to head west towards a designated humanitarian area, but that the area was now unsafe.

Israeli forces also carried out airstrikes on several areas of central and northern Gaza Strip, killing and wounding several Palestinians, health officials said.

Residents of Rafah, near the border with Egypt, said Israeli forces had blown up several houses in the west of the city.

PALESTINIANS CRITICISE U.S.

Hamas-led fighters triggered the war on Oct. 7 by storming into southern Israel, killing 1,200 people and taking 250 captives, according to Israeli tallies. Some 120 hostages are still being held though Israel believes one in three are dead.

Some Palestinians who gathered at a hospital in Khan Younis before funerals criticized the United States, Israel's most important international ally, for welcoming Netanyahu.

The Israel leader was due to address Congress later on Wednesday and to meet President Joe Biden at the White House on Thursday. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said he would meet Netanyahu in Florida on Friday.

"The United States is a main partner in what is happening in Gaza. We are being killed because of the United States. We are being slaughtered by American planes, American ships, American tanks, and American troops," said Kazem Abu Taha, a displaced resident from Rafah.

A senior Hamas official, Sami Abu Zuhri, told Reuters: "The Congress invitation to Netanyahu to make a speech gives legitimacy to the crimes of the war of genocide in Gaza. Receiving a war criminal is a shame to all Americans."

Israel has rejected accusations brought by South Africa at the UN's top court that its military operation in Gaza is a state-led genocide campaign against Palestinians. It has reacted angrily to a decision by the International Criminal Court's prosecutor to seek an arrest warrant against Netanyahu.

Netanyahu said this week a deal to release Israelis held captive in Gaza could be near. But Hamas officials said Netanyahu was stalling and that they had not seen any change in the Israeli stance that would allow an agreement to be reached.

Hamas wants a ceasefire agreement to end the war in Gaza. Netanyahu says the war cannot end before Hamas is eradicated.