Iran warns that any Israeli ground offensive in the Gaza Strip could expand the scope of the conflict elsewhere in the Middle East.
Iran has warned Israel of regional escalation if the Israeli military enters Gaza for a ground invasion as the war with Hamas enters its second week.
“If the measures aimed at immediately stopping the Israeli attacks that are killing children in the Gaza Strip end in a deadlock, it is highly probable that many other fronts will be opened. This option is not ruled out and this is becoming increasingly more probable,” Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said on Sunday.
“If the Zionist entity [Israel] decides to enter Gaza, the resistance leaders will turn it into a graveyard of the occupation soldiers,” he added.
Since the Palestinian armed group Hamas launched an unprecedented attack inside the Israeli territory on October 7, Israeli air strikes have killed more than 2,670 people – a quarter of them children – and wounded nearly 10,000 others in Gaza, where a catastrophic humanitarian crisis is unfolding.
The United Nations estimates one million people – nearly half of Gaza’s population – have been forced from their homes, as the Israel military prepares for an expected ground invasion.
Amir-Abdollahian also criticised the United States, which has given its unequivocal backing to Israel since the October 7 attacks by Hamas fighters that left 1,400 people dead in Israel.
Amir-Abdollahian on Saturday met with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh in Qatar, where they discussed the Gaza crisis “and agreed to continue cooperation”, Hamas said in a statement.
Also on Saturday, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said all Islamic nations have a duty to come to the aid of the Palestinians.
Iran has also engaged in a diplomatic offensive in an effort to stop the Israeli attacks on Gaza.
Amir-Abdollahian also visited Iraq, Lebanon and Syria, where he met President Bashar al-Assad after Israel bombed the airports in Aleppo and Damascus.
Earlier on Sunday, the Iranian minister met Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani in Doha.
“If the attacks of the Zionist regime against civilians and the defenceless people of Gaza persist, no one can guarantee that the situation will be under control and the scope of the fighting won’t expand,” he told Qatar’s emir, who also earlier held a telephone conversation with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi.
Amir-Abdollahian reiterated Tehran’s call for an urgent meeting of the foreign ministers of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Gaza.
Meanwhile, Israel is also preparing for the possibility that the war may expand to multiple fronts.
It said it bombed the airports in Syria to stop potential Iranian mobilisation efforts there.