Tehran, Iran–Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Sunday Israel has suffered a “defeat” in its war against Hamas, and that it was “a fact”.
Israel has been pounding the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip since fighters stormed across the border on October 7, killing about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, according to Israeli officials.
The Hamas government says Israel’s bombing campaign and ground invasion have killed more than 12,300 people in the narrow Palestinian territory, including more than 5,000 children.
In a speech at an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps aerospace force centre in the capital Tehran, Khamenei said “the defeat of the Zionist regime (Israel) in Gaza is a fact.”
“Advancing and entering hospitals or people’s homes is not a victory, because victory means defeating the other side,” he said.
Khamenei charged that Israel “has so far failed” in achieving its declared goal of destroying Hamas “despite the massive bombings” of Gaza.
“This incapacity reflects the inability of the United States and Western countries” which back Israel, he added.
Iran, which supports Hamas financially and militarily, has hailed the October 7 attacks a “success” but denied any direct involvement.
Tehran has made support for the Palestinian cause a centrepiece of its foreign policy since the 1979 Islamic revolution.
Khamenei said Israel has “killed thousands of children without any remorse” because, as he claimed, “Zionists consider themselves to be a superior race.”
During his visit, the Revolutionary Guard’s aerospace force unveiled new defence systems and drones, state media said, and Khamenei inspected a drone which carried the name “Gaza”.
The force also unveiled Fattah 2, an upgraded version of a hypersonic missile unveiled in June, according to official news agency IRNA.
Khamenei urged Muslim countries which have formal relations with Israel to “cut off” these ties and halt trade.
“Some Islamic governments… have not yet condemned (Israel’s actions in Gaza), but this is not acceptable,” he said.