TEHRAN: Iran issued a stern warning to Israel on Sunday, saying that it would not stand idly by if Israel launched a ground invasion of Gaza, and that the conflict could escalate into a regional war involving Hezbollah and other actors. Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said that Israel’s continued attacks on Gaza’s civilians were unacceptable and could lead to uncontrollable consequences.
Amirabdollahian made the remarks during a meeting with Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani in Doha, where they discussed the latest developments in Gaza and the efforts to end the violence. Amirabdollahian said that Iran supported the Qatari initiative to mediate a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, and urged the international community to pressure Israel to stop its aggression.
“Iran will not remain silent if the Zionist regime’s (Israeli) attacks against Gaza’s civilians continue, and no one can guarantee control of the situation and the expansion of conflicts,” Amirabdollahian was quoted as saying by Iran’s Foreign Ministry.
Iran’s message to Israel via UN
According to a report by the Jerusalem Post, Iran has also conveyed a direct message to Israel through the United Nations, warning that it may intervene militarily if Israel does not stop its aerial bombardment of Gaza. The report cited unnamed sources who said that Iran told Israel that it had “far-reaching consequences” if it did not cease its attacks on Gaza.
The report said that Iran’s message was delivered by UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland, who met with Israeli officials on Saturday. Wennesland also met with Hamas leaders in Gaza on Sunday and urged both sides to agree to a ceasefire.
Iran’s role in Gaza conflict
Iran is widely seen as a key ally and sponsor of Hamas, the Islamist group that controls Gaza and has been firing rockets at Israel since October 7. Iran has provided Hamas with financial, military, and political support, and has helped it develop its arsenal of rockets and missiles.
Iran has also expressed solidarity with the Palestinian cause, and has condemned Israel’s actions as “genocide” and “terrorism”. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has called for a “defensive jihad” against Israel and has urged Muslim countries to support the Palestinians.
Iran’s foreign minister warns of Hezbollah involvement
On Saturday, Iran’s foreign minister also warned that if Israel did not stop its attacks on Gaza, it could face a “major earthquake” from Hezbollah, the Lebanese militant group that Iran also backs. Hezbollah is considered one of the most powerful non-state actors in the region and has fought several wars with Israel in the past.
Amirabdollahian said that Hezbollah had prepared for all scenarios of war and that Israel should end its attacks on Gaza as soon as possible. He commented in Beirut, where he met with Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah and Lebanese officials.
“Hezbollah is ready for any confrontation with the Zionist regime, and if it joins the fighting, it could cause Israel to face a major earthquake,” Amirabdollahian said.
Israel views Hezbollah as its main threat
Israel regards Hezbollah as its primary threat on its northern border and has accused it of stockpiling about 150,000 rockets and missiles that can reach any part of Israel. Israel has also claimed that Hezbollah has acquired precision-guided missiles that can hit specific targets with high accuracy.
Hezbollah also has thousands of fighters who have gained experience and expertise in fighting in Syria, where they have supported President Bashar al-Assad against rebel groups. Hezbollah also has access to drones and other advanced weapons that it has received from Iran.
Hezbollah has not yet intervened in the current conflict between Israel and Hamas, but it has expressed its support for the Palestinians and denounced Israel’s actions. Nasrallah has said that Hezbollah is ready to respond to any Israeli aggression and that it is coordinating with Iran and other allies.
Casualties mount on both sides
The conflict between Israel and Hamas has entered its 11th day, with no signs of abating. More than 1,300 Israeli civilians and soldiers have been killed so far in the war, which began with an October 7 attack by Hamas on southern Israel. More than 150 Israelis have also been taken hostage by Hamas.
According to the Jerusalem Post report, about 2,300 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza in Israeli retaliatory air strikes. The report said that most of the casualties were civilians, including women and children. The report also said that more than 10,000 Palestinians have been injured and more than 100,000 have been displaced.
The IDF is pushing to root out Hamas from Gaza and has deployed thousands of troops along the border. The IDF has also carried out hundreds of air strikes on Hamas targets, including rocket launchers, tunnels, command centers, and weapons depots. The IDF has also targeted several high-ranking Hamas leaders, including its military chief Mohammed Deif.
Hamas has fired more than 4,000 rockets at Israel, targeting major cities such as Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and Haifa. Hamas has also claimed responsibility for several suicide bombings and shootings in Israel and has vowed to continue its resistance until Israel lifts its blockade on Gaza. Hamas has also rejected several ceasefire proposals, saying it wants guarantees for its demands.