Amid renewed conflicts between Israel and Palestine, Israel’s ambassador to Nigeria, Michael Freeman, has accused Iran of being the mastermind behind Hamas’ attack on Israel.
In a live appearance on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Monday, Freeman claimed that Iran was funding the conflict in order to destabilise the region surrounding Israel.
“It’s a major concern for us. We know that Iran is behind these attacks by Hamas. Iran are the ones who gave permission. Iran are the ones who fund Hamas. They are doing everything in order to destabilise the region.
“They are also backing Hezbollah and Lebanon; they are backing other terror groups in the West Bank. They are backing terror groups in Syria. Iran is doing everything because they don’t want to see progress. They don’t want to see peace, they want to see death and destruction,” he said.
Palestinian militants from the Iran-backed Islamist group Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, penetrated Israel at dawn on Saturday under the cover of a massive rocket barrage.
About 1,100 people have been killed in the conflict so far, with Israel reporting more than 600 lives lost and Gaza’s health ministry putting its toll at 370 dead.
Discussing the situation between the two Middle Eastern nations, Ambassador Freeman said Israel does not desire war in any circumstances, but it is committed to protecting its citizens in all possible ways.
“We will do what we need. We hope that Hezbollah and other groups understand we do not want any engagements, we do not want any war in any other areas, but we will defend our population, our citizens.
“Some of the horrific photos [shared on social media] of old women, grandmas gunned down in the street, young babies shot, children murdered in front of their parents – all of these are going around – women and children, young people at a music festival gunned down and blown up.
“This is what we’ve done with them; we will do what we need to do now to protect our population, and this war, which started by Hamas, will end this war,” Freeman said.
“Additionally, he claimed that there was no real reason for the conflict, instead blaming it on Hamas, whose ideology says their existence is to kill Israelis.”
“They say that their aim, their life, and their motivation is to destroy Israel. So they saw an opportunity that they felt they could take in order to come across the border to slaughter and murder women and children because that’s what they believe, but the reality is that the reason they were formed is to wipe Israel out and kill Israelis,” he said.
A day after Hamas attacked Israel, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said on Sunday that Iran supports the Palestinians’ right to self-defense and warned that Israel must be held responsible for endangering the region.
He praised the “resistance” efforts made by Hamas and Islamic Jihad as well as those in Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq while urging Muslim governments to “support the Palestinian nation.”
Raisi had spoken earlier with leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, official media said.
On Saturday, hundreds of people gathered in major cities of Iran, including in Tehran’s Palestine Square, carrying the Palestinian flag.
Iran does not recognise Israel and has made support for the Palestinian cause a centrepiece of its foreign policy since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
The bitter rivals have engaged in a shadow war for years, with Iran accusing Israel of a series of sabotage attacks and assassinations targeting its nuclear programme.
The United States and Israel have previously accused Iran of using drones and missiles to attack US forces and Israel-linked ships in the Gulf.
However, Iran on Monday rejected unfounded allegations against it having a role in the massive assault on Israel by the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas.
“The accusations linked to an Iranian role… are based on political reasons,” foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani told reporters, adding that Palestinians had “the necessary capacity and will to defend their nation and recover their rights” without any help from Tehran.