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Source: The Guardian

Apr 14, 2024

‘No one dared’: some in Gaza back Iran’s attack as Israel continues strike

Hamas says Tehran’s actions ‘a natural right and a deserved response’ in statement supporting drone and missile assault

By Peter Beaumont and agencies

Israel has kept up its military strikes in the Gaza Strip after Iran’s overnight attacks, which drew support from some Palestinians in the besieged territory.

“For the first time, we saw some rockets that didn’t land in our areas. These rockets were going into the occupied Palestine,” said Abu Abdallah, referring to Israel.

“We are hopeful that if Iran or any other country enters the war, a solution for Gaza might be nearer than ever. The Americans may have to resolve Gaza to end the roots of the problem,” said Abu Abdallah, 32, using a nickname rather than his full name.

He was speaking as footage emerged that was described as showing hundreds of displaced Palestinians trying to return by foot from the central Gaza Strip to what remains of their homes in Gaza’s destroyed north via the coastal al-Rashid Street.

The footage showed smoke, said to be from explosions close to the location of the returning Palestinians, while there were reports from medical services in Gaza that at least five Palestinians had been killed by Israeli military fire in the vicinity of those trying to return.

The strikes on Israel by Iran were also welcomed by Hamas, the militant Islamist movement whose assault on Israel on 7 October triggered the current conflict.

“We in Hamas regard the military operation conducted by the Islamic Republic of Iran as a natural right and a deserved response on the crime of targeting the Iranian consulate in Damascus and the assassination of several leaders of the Revolutionary Guards,” Hamas said in a statement.

Tehran’s attacks late on Saturday, launched after a suspected Israeli airstrike on its embassy compound in Damascus on 1 April killed officers of the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, raised the threat of a wider regional conflict.

Footage circulated from Gaza showed many people, including some inside displacement tents, whistling and others chanting “Allahu Akbar” (“God is the greatest”) in joy as the skies were lit up by Iranian rockets and Israeli interceptions.

“Whoever decides to attack Israel – dares to attack Israel at a time when the whole world acts in its service – is a hero in the eyes of Palestinians regardless of whether we share their [Iran’s] ideology or not,” said Majed Abu Hamza, 52, a father of seven, from Gaza City.

“We have been slaughtered for over six months and no one dared to do anything. Now Iran, after its consulate was hit, is hitting back at Israel and this brings joy into our hearts,” he said.

Iran’s attack followed months of clashes between Israel and Iran’s regional allies, triggered by the war in Gaza.

The Palestinian Popular Resistance Committee (PRC), an armed group that fights Israel alongside Hamas in Gaza, said the Iranian engagement could boost the Palestinian cause, saying that for Israel it was “the final nail in its coffin”.

Not everyone was supportive. Some Palestinians saw the attack as an attempt by Iran merely to preserve its dignity.

“Curtains down on the face-saving piece of theatre … The Palestinian people are the only ones who pay the price with their flesh and blood,” Munir al-Gaghoub, an official with the Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party, wrote on his Facebook page.

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