Last updated: 16 October, 2014

Islamic Jihad chief hails Iran role in Gaza war

The head of Islamic Jihad, a Palestinian militant group, praised Iran for its role in last summer’s Gaza conflict against Israel, during a visit to Tehran on Thursday.

“Definitely, the victory was achieved with the assistance of the Islamic republic,” Ramadan Abdullah Shallah said at a meeting with Iran’s supreme guide, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, quoted by Fars news agency.

“Without Iran’s strategic and efficient help, resistance and victory in Gaza would have been impossible,” he said of the 50-day war in which 2,200 Gazans and 73 Israelis died and the Palestinian territory was devastated.

Iran, an arch-foe of Israel, provides the technology for Palestinian fighters of Islamic Jihad and Hamas, a larger Islamist movement which controls the Gaza Strip, to fire missiles at towns in the Jewish state.

Khamenei, also quoted by Fars, urged the militants to “boost their preparedness day by day and reinforce their resources” ahead of any further Israeli assault on the territory.

The Islamic Jihad leader was sceptical of the $5.4 billion in international aid to rebuild Gaza that was pledged at a donor conference in Cairo last Sunday.

“We do not pin much hope on such promises and only rely on God to compensate losses inflicted on us by the Zionist regime,” said Shallah, referring to Israel which launched its July-August assault on Gaza with the declared aim of halting rocket fire on its towns.