The commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) on Saturday warned of a “heavy price” for ongoing Israeli airstrikes in the Gaza Strip.
Maj Gen Hossein Salami made the warning in a meeting with Islamic Jihad leader Ziyad al-Nakhalah in Tehran on Saturday.
Nakhalah, who arrived in Tehran on Wednesday, held a series of meetings with top Iranian officials, including President Ebrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, and Supreme Leader’s top adviser Ali Akbar Velayati.
The visit coincides with Israeli airstrikes in Gaza since Friday, which left 13 Palestinians dead and nearly 114 others injured, triggering retaliatory rocket fire from the Islamic Jihad group.
The attacks came amid rising tensions across the Palestinian territories since Monday when Israeli forces detained Bassam al-Saadi, a senior leader of the Islamic Jihad group, in a raid in the West Bank city of Jenin.
In a statement issued by IRGC, Salami said Israel would pay a “heavy price” for its latest round of attacks on Gaza, vowing Iran’s support for Palestinian resistance groups.
He termed “developments” in Palestine and the “decline of the power” of Israel as a sign of its “collapse” while hailing Palestinian resistance groups, including Islamic Jihad, for their potential and ability to “manage major wars.”
Pointing to recent normalisation between Israel and some regional states, the top Iranian commander said Tel Aviv is gradually moving towards some Arab countries “due to the frustration caused by America’s inability to support them”.
“When Palestine gains power and this power becomes more visible, the weakness and inability of the Zionists become more obvious and it becomes more difficult for them to continue working,” Salami said, adding that this “weakness” has put Israel “on the path of destruction”.
He hailed the unity between Palestinian groups as a “glorious fact” that he said, “creates vitality, growth, and authority for the Islamic resistance of Palestine”.
In 2020, Israel signed US-sponsored agreements to normalise relations with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco, a move decried by Palestinians as a “stab in the back”.
For his part, Nakhalah said the Palestinian resistance groups have made “good and effective progress” in terms of military capabilities, stressing that the process will continue.
He expressed confidence that the Palestinian groups, including Islamic Jihad, are “in a good position” and “able to retaliate” against any attacks from Israel.