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700 Iranian cities rally for Gaza as Rouhani slams world 'silence'
Published Friday 25/07/2014 (updated) 27/07/2014 12:35
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Iranian protestors burn Israeli flags during a demonstration in Tehran
on July 25, 2014 (AFP Behrouz Mehri)
TEHRAN (AFP) -- Iranians rallied nationwide on Friday in a show of support for Palestinians as archfoe Israel pursued a deadly campaign against the Gaza Strip that has killed more than 800 so far, the vast majority civilians.

Demonstrations were held in Tehran and more than 700 towns and cities across the country on the last day of prayer and rest of the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan, state television reported.

In the capital, footage showed demonstrators, carrying placards proclaiming "Death to Israel" and "Death to America", converging from nine different points on Tehran University in the city center.

Iran holds Quds Day (Jerusalem Day) rallies in support of the Palestinians every year on the last Friday of Ramadan, but this year's demonstrations came on the 18th day of Israel's deadly campaign against rocket-firing militants in Gaza.

More than 800 Palestinian civilians have been killed in the assault on Gaza and the Islamist Hamas movement that dominates it and has long been supported by Iran.

Rockets and mortar rounds fired into Israel have killed three civilians -- two Israelis and a Thai farm worker -- and fighting in and around Gaza has killed 32 Israeli soldiers.

"The Islamic world must in unison declare this day one of anger, hatred, unity and resistance against Israel," President Hassan Rouhani said at the Tehran demonstration.

Rouhani, who has overseen a fledgling rapprochement with the West condemned, "those who stay silent in the face of the Zionist regime's crimes."

"The world demands an end to the Gaza blockade, opening the Rafah crossing and halting attacks on Gaza so its people can live normally," he said.

He was referring to the demands of Hamas for any truce with Israel to end the deadly violence. The Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt is the territory's only one not controlled by Israel.

General Hossein Salami, second in command of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards, struck a defiant tone in a speech broadcast on state television.

'Continue the struggle'

"Now no place in the occupied territories is safe for the Zionists. The missiles of Palestinian fighters have a range well beyond what the Zionists believe," he said.

"We will continue house by house and avenge the blood of martyrs shed in Palestine."

Salami's sentiments were echoed by demonstrators.

"My message to the Palestinians is this: continue the struggle until your last drop of blood. Islamic countries, especially Iran, are behind you to save you," a young protester called Hassan told AFP.

Iran does not recognize Israel's existence, and supports Palestinian Islamist groups that fight it.

On Thursday, the speaker of Iran's parliament, Ali Larijani, told state television's Arabic service that Tehran had provided Hamas with the technology it has used to rain down rockets on Israel.

"Today, the fighters in Gaza have good capabilities and can meet their own needs for weapons," he said.

"But once upon a time, they needed the arms manufacture know-how and we gave it to them."

Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Wednesday called on the Palestinians to keep fighting Israel and to expand their resistance from Gaza to the occupied West Bank.

During the last major conflict in and around Gaza in November 2012, Larijani said Iran was "proud" to have provided "both financial and military support" to Hamas.

Israel accused Iran of supplying Gaza militants with its Fajr-5 missile, which has a range of 75 kilometers (45 miles), for use during that conflict.

But the commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, General Mohammad Ali Jafari, said at the time it was not the missiles that had been supplied but their technology.

Ma'an staff contributed to this report.
1 ) Sam / The free world
25/07/2014 17:16
Shame you don't give accurate figures and what about those killed in Gaza with Hamas rockets? It's called war. If Israel didn't take care there would be thousands dead by now. Take a look at Syria and you have the nerve to complain about Israel. get real

2 ) David / Hartford USA
25/07/2014 18:51
700 cities in Iran = nothing. This is the same Iran that slaughtered its citizens when they tried to vote for freedom. (Have you forgotten Neda?) And it's not 'silence' that the world is showing, it's SUPPORT FOR ISRAEL. The world wants Hamas eradicated. Once hamas is gone, the world will turn its sight on Iran- and finally clean up that cess pool of Islamic backwardness.

3 ) Raydan / US
25/07/2014 19:04
Iran we love you from your Sunni brother !

4 ) myra / canada
25/07/2014 21:00
Lot of respect for Iranians for showing support while the rest of the world stay silent on the killing of the innocent in Gaza.shame on them all.

5 ) Outlier / USA
25/07/2014 23:23
So brave of Rouhani, hiding behind the terrorists who are hiding behind the civilians in Gaza.

6 ) Mohd Abdullah daavi / India Kargil
26/07/2014 10:56
Ya Allah help Alama Islam for every good Works in name of you

7 ) Robert / US
26/07/2014 19:26
Outlier = ignorant and stupid comments.

8 ) Sheri / Australia
26/07/2014 20:30
It's all political madness and destruction... Who cares who did what and when... Or if certain people are forward or backward ... War is stupid.. It's time the world put the females into power... Men just don't think widely enough

9 ) Maureen / Australia
26/07/2014 21:53
#5 Give up OutLiar, no matter how mute the Western governments are when it comes to condemning the State terrorist, Israel, social media tells the real story. Israel is a blood lusting, thief!

10 ) Outlier / USA
27/07/2014 01:14
7., Robert, nonsense. Mine is a fairly obvious comment, but neither ignorant nor stupid. Iran's military support of Hamas just got exposed and trashed, and all the impotent Rouhani can do is whine. Maybe next time Iran will be smarter about its allies.

11 ) Gyal / US
27/07/2014 01:57
@7 outlier = typical Zionist, what more can we expect.

12 ) RealityCheck / TheWorld
27/07/2014 04:27
World silence? I cant pick up a newspaper or watch the news without being bombarded with whats going on in Gaza. Meanwhile in the rest of the middle east and Africa, hundreds of thousands are dying at the hands of other Muslims that think just the same as Hamas, yet the events in Gaza are what world leaders want to focus on. Why no defending IS against the oppressive Iraqi regime, why no defending Boko Haram against Nigeria, why no spectacle about how Assad is dealing with insurgents?

13 ) Abu bilal / USA
27/07/2014 04:27
The reason you zionist a are afraid to die is because of whats waiting for you!! Not because Muslims want to die and Jews love to live!! Burn baby burn!

14 ) Don Besilent / Australia
27/07/2014 05:15
Many citizens of Australia are also disgusted at the Silence of those that claim to "SPEAK FOR US"..
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