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Iranian officials say they have armed Hamas for fight with Israel

Iranian parliament speaker says no hesitation over military aid to Hamas for fight against Israel
Top Iranian security official says he has asked president to provide Palestinians with missile shield
Iran urges Muslims to help Hamas defend Palestinians from Israeli assaults

Two senior Iranian officials told an Arabic-language television channel Monday that Tehran has supplied missile technology to Hamas for its fight against Israel.

Revolutionary Guard commander Mohammad Ali Jafari warned in an interview with the Arabic channel of Iran's state Al-Alam television that Palestinian resistance to Israeli aggression is "endless and growing."

Iran is prepared to support the Palestinian resistance with weapons and technology transfers, Jafari said, and makes no distinction between Shiite and Sunni factions of the embattled populations under Israeli blockade.

"The Zionist regime [of Israel] will collapse soon as a result of the unity among Shia and Sunni Muslims and we are ready for that day," Jafari said.

Mohsen Rezaei, another former guard commander who is now a senior advisor to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said Tehran had already provided Hamas with missile-building technology being used in fighting against Israel Defense Forces in the Gaza Strip.

"Palestinian resistance missiles are the blessings of Iran's transfer of technology," Rezaei was quoted as telling the broadcaster.

More than 3,000 rockets have been launched by Hamas in recent weeks from the blockaded seaside Palestinian enclave, spurring an Israeli air offensive July 8 and a ground operation nine days later aimed at ridding Gaza of its tunnels and missile-firing sites.

Rezaei said he had asked Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to provide air defense systems to Gaza to protect Palestinians from Israeli war planes, which have carried out more than 4,600 air strikes on the tiny coastal strip since the latest Hamas-Israel battle began four weeks ago.

"The Americans in recent days approved about $300 million to strengthen (Israel's) Iron Dome," Rezaei said he pointed out to the president.

Al-Alam said 1,822 Palestinians, mostly civilians, had been killed in the four weeks of fighting. Israel has reported that more than 60 of its soldiers have been killed in the fierce clashes, as well as three civilians.

Iranian parliamentary speaker Ali Larijani last week called the disproportionate force being targeted on Palestinian residential areas "a war crime." He said Tehran had no hesitation in its coming to the aid of Hamas and other militant groups fighting Israel.

The comments by Jafari and Rezaei followed an appeal last week by Khamenei for Muslims worldwide to help Palestinians defend themselves from the Israeli attacks.

Iran doesn't recognize Israel as a state and openly supports the militias, including Hamas and Lebanon's Hezbollah, fighting to drive Israelis from territory the Palestinians claim for the state they have declared in the West Bank and Gaza.

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