Last updated: 11 March, 2012

Iran calls Israel’s Gaza raids war crimes

Iran on Sunday called Israel’s deadly air strikes on Gaza “war crimes” against “the defenceless Palestinian people,” calling for an international outcry against the attacks.

“Iran strongly condemns the savage crimes of the Zionist regime against the innocent and defenceless Palestinian people in Gaza,” the foreign ministry said in a statement carried by the official IRNA news agency.

“The recent, repeated aggressions and invasions… are condemned as war crimes and inhumane,” it said.

International organisations and rights groups should speak out “about this abhorrent violation of human rights,” it added.

Israel has since Friday killed 18 people in air strikes, including a schoolboy, in a campaign to stop rockets and mortars being fired against the southern part of its territory.

A spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that one site hit was being used to launch Iranian-built Fajr-5 missiles.

“The IAF (Israel Air Force) destroyed launching pits of Fajr long range rockets that can hit Tel Aviv,” Ofir Gendelman wrote in a posting on Twitter. “This is the result of meticulous intelligence work.”

The violence between Israel and Gaza militants erupted on Friday afternoon when an Israeli strike killed the leader of the ultra-hardline Popular Resistance Committees, Zuhair al-Qaisi.

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi described Qaisi’s killing as an act of “state terrorism.”

Israel is Iran’s arch-enemy in the Middle East.

The Jewish state, which has the region’s sole if undeclared nuclear arsenal, has threatened to carry out air strikes on Iranian atomic facilities to prevent the Islamic republic gaining the technology and knowhow to make a nuclear bomb.