Iran retracts claims that Oct 7 Hamas attacks on Israel were revenge for Soleimani

Washington, Dec 28 (IANS): Iran has virtually retracted its earlier comment that the October 7 attacks by Hamas on Israel was an act of revenge for the assassination of an Iranian General Qasem Soleimani four years ago claiming the comments were "misunderstood and incompletely conveyed".

An Iranian General on Wednesday walked back his claim that the deadly October 7 Hamas attacks on Israel was "revenge" for the assassination of an Iranian General four years ago, telling Al-Araby his comments earlier in the day were "incompletely conveyed" and "misunderstood", media reports said.

Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) spokesman Ramazan Sharif had earlier sought to link the Hamas attacks, dubbed Operation Al-Aqsa Storm, to a US drone strike in Iraq on January 2, 2020, that killed Gen. Soleimani. Sharif also said the killing of a top Iranian military advisor by Israel this week would draw a military response from Iran "directly or indirectly".

USA Today reported that the US Justice Department, in a heavily redacted 2020 memorandum, said Soleimani had commanded the guard's elite Quds Force since the late 1990s and was a "key architect of Iran's campaign of terrorism, assassinations and violence throughout the Middle East".

The Iranian government, known to fund Hamas, has repeatedly denied any involvement in the October attack that killed 1,200 Israelis in communities along the Gaza border. Hamas issued a statement Wednesday rejecting Sharif's claim linking the attack to Iran, saying the attack was primarily a response to "dangers that threaten al-Aqsa Mosque" in Jerusalem, which had seen clashes between Israeli settlers and Muslim worshippers, reports said .

Sharif, however, was firm in his pledge of an Iranian military response to the killing of Iranian Brig. Gen. Razi Mousavi, targeted Monday in an Israeli airstrike on his Damascus home. Israel had accused Mousavi of being a key player in Tehran’s efforts to supply weapons to Hamas and Lebanon’s militant Hezbollah.

"Iran will take harsh and strong revenge," Sharif said, accusing Israel of killing Mousavi as a way of "escaping from its defeat in Gaza and its failures there, and to divert the world’s attention from a war crime".

Meanwhile Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu clashed over 'Hitler' remark. Turkish and Israeli leaders engaged in a war of words on Wednesday over Israeli actions against Hamas militants in Gaza described by Erdogan as "no different" from those of Adolf Hitler. Netanyahu struck back, accusing Erdogan of carrying out genocide against Kurds and holding a "world record number" of opposition journalists in jails.

"Erdogan... is the last person who can preach morality to us," Netanyahu said, adding that Israel has "the most moral army in the world." War cabinet minister Benny Gantz, a political foe of Netanyahu, dismissed Erdogan's remarks as blatant distortions of reality and a desecration of the Holocaust’s memory".




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Title: Iran retracts claims that Oct 7 Hamas attacks on Israel were revenge for Soleimani

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