The Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran has lauded violence against Israelis, describing a string of recent incidents as the “awakening” of young Palestinians.
On the evening of Tuesday, April 12, Khamenei was quoted by Iranian media as having eulogized on what he called “the vigilance, the enthusiasm and the endeavors of young Palestinians in the heart of the 1948 occupied territories.”
In the past three weeks 14 Israelis have been killed and a number of others have been injured in the streets of various cities, attacked by individual Palestinians. They in turn had been encouraged by armed groups supported by the Islamic Republic.
In his latest pronouncements, Khamenei said: “These moves showed that Palestine is alive, despite efforts by the US and its followers, and through the current action, the final victory will be with the Palestinian people.”
The last deadly incident took place six days ago, when a 28-year-old man opened fire on a bar in Tel Aviv, killing three people. With the increasing tension, thousands of police officers, security and military forces have been deployed in Israeli cities and in the West Bank.
Besides officials in the United States, France and other Western countries allied with Israel, two countries that only recently normalized relations with Israel – the UAE and Bahrain – also condemned the attacks.
IRGC Commander Paints Killing Israeli Civilians as 'Fighting Zionism'
The commander of the IRGC's Quds Force, General Esmail Ghani, also weighed in on Thursday. “We support those who fight against the Zionist regime and the destruction of the Zionist regime will be sped up,” he said.
Ghani was speaking on the first anniversary of the death of General Mohammad Hejazi, the deputy commander of the Quds Force, who passed away of natural causes in Tehran last year. Hejazi, he claimed, was on the frontline of Tehran's fight against Israel.
Ghani then used an antisemitic slur in his praise of the recent terror attacks, saying those involved were making “vile Jews” tremble in fear. He then proclaimed: “A young Palestinian shakes the whole foundation of the Zionist regime, and they want to fight the Islamic Republic?”
Ground Force Commander Makes Vague Threat to America
Khamenei and the Quds Force commander were not the only senior figures to advocate terror this week. A day earlier, General Mohammad Pakpour, commander of the IRGC's ground forces, had said that killing all American political leaders would not be sufficient to avenge the US assassination of Ghasem Soleimani, former commander of the Quds Force, in January 2020.
"Martyr Soleimani was such a major character that if all American leaders were killed, this would still not avenge his assassination," he said. "We should avenge him by following Soleimani's path and through other methods.”
Pakpour did not explicitly explain what these “other methods” might be, but he implied that attacks against American and Israeli targets could be used as alternative to trying to murder senior figures in Washington.
In response to a question about Pakpour’s threats, US State Department Spokesman Ned Price said: “We are united in our resolve against threats and provocations, and we will work with partners and allies around the world and in the region to deter and to respond to any attacks that may be carried out by Iran.”