In its latest threat, Tehran said Israel sending ground troops and tanks into the territory “crossed red lines”. President Ebrahim Raisi, insisted that the Israel-Hamas conflict may spread.
In a message that placed the world on red alert, President Raisi said: “Zionist regime’s crimes have crossed the red lines, which may force everyone to take action.
“Washington asks us to not do anything, but they keep giving widespread support to Israel. The US sent messages to the Axis of Resistance but received a clear response on the battlefield.”
The sinister message is the strongest hint yet that the rogue state is preparing to step in to support Hamas, the terror cell it funds and trains.
There have already been a string of attacks on US forces in Iraq and Syria as well as increasing exchanges of fire between Hezbollah and Israeli forces on the Lebanon border since conflict erupted.
Iran reportedly labelled the October 7 massacre which killed 1,500 in Israel as a “success”, but have denied they were behind it.
Last night, global leaders and military strategists were on red alert as the crisis threatens to erupt further. In his statement, President Raisi said: “Iran considers it its duty to support the resistance groups, but the resistance groups are independent in their opinion, decision and action. The United States knows very well our current capabilities and knows that they are impossible to overcome.”
Iran’s leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has said an Israeli assault on Gaza would “unleash a much heavier torrent of anger”, adding: “The occupying regime seeks to portray itself as a victim to escalate its crimes further. This is a misguided calculation. It will result in even greater disaster.
“This destructive earthquake [Hamas attack] has destroyed some critical structures [in Israel] which will not be repaired easily. The Zionist regime’s own actions are to blame for this disaster.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Joe Biden previously warned Tehran against becoming embroiled, including via its proxies, in a broadside aimed at Lebanon-based terror group Hezbollah.
The latest inflammatory statement appears to suggest that warning has gone unheeded. Yesterday, President Biden held emergency talks with Middle East power players. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and French President Emmanuel Macron stressed the importance of getting urgent humanitarian support into Gaza.
They held crisis talks by telephone following the expansion of Israel’s military operation and expressed “their shared concern at the risk of escalation in the wider region”.
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A White House statement released yesterday said President Biden had spoken to PM Netanyahu to discuss developments in Gaza. It added: “The President and Prime Minister discussed ongoing efforts to locate and secure the release of hostages, to include American citizens who remain unaccounted for and may be held by Hamas.”
Colonel Richard Kemp, the former British Army commander who headed up UK forces in Afghanistan in 2003, said: “There will be reverberations across the region. Iran, which trains, funds, arms and directs Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah, has sworn to annihilate the Jewish State, is undoubtedly behind this aggression.”
Gaza is being pummelled day and night with air strikes, while Israel Defence Forces tanks roll in.
Buildings have been destroyed, including the Shati Martyrs Mosque at the Al-Shati Camp in Gaza City.
Rear admiral Daniel Hagari, an IDF spokesman, said yesterday Israeli forces “continue to gradually expand our combat operations according to the plans in order to achieve the goal of the war”.
He said the IDF is continuing with “mass air strikes” to safeguard its forces and to “destroy” Hamas targets.
He added: “The ground operation is complex, and it includes dangers. We will do everything we can from the air, the sea, and the land, in order to safeguard the security of our forces.”
Mr Hagari also repeated Israel’s call for civilians in northern Gaza to move south.
Israel’s military confirmed the number of hostages held in Gaza has risen to 239, up 10 from previous reports.
The threat of a wider war comes as the lives of one million innocent children could be snuffed out in Gaza, aid workers said.
Amid a ferocious and ongoing bombardment the Palestinian death toll has now reached 8,000, with almost half of them thought to be children.
British charity Save the Children warned that any minors trapped in the region were almost certain to die, or suffer severe physical harm and be saddled with lifelong emotional distress because of the war.
It said more than one million children – nearly half of the 2.3 million population of Gaza – are now in danger.
The number of children reported killed in Gaza in just three weeks has surpassed the annual number of minors killed across the world’s conflict zones since 2019, Save the Children said.
Director Jason Lee said: “This is pure horror for all children and their parents. Across the Gaza Strip, more than one million children are trapped in the middle of an active conflict zone with no safe place to go and no route to safety.
“With communications down, children are cut off from the world, more isolated than ever before. They are unable to speak to loved ones, or even to call an ambulance.
“The Gaza Strip is a small, densely populated urban environment, with no way out. Any military ground operation inside Gaza puts children in immediate danger and has devastating impacts on access to healthcare, water, shelter and food.”
Last night, it was suggested the International Criminal Court could make the blocking of aid entering Gaza a war crime.
The growing desperation in Gaza has seen its starved population raid warehouses storing aid to snatch flour, sanitary products and medicines as public order breaks down three weeks after war erupted.
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