Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Sunday it was a “fact” that Israel had suffered “failure” in its war against the Iran-backed Palestinian militant group Hamas.
Israel has been attacking the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip since militants stormed across the border on Oct. 7, killing about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, according to Israeli officials.
The Hamas government says Israeli bombing campaigns and ground incursions have killed more than 12,300 people across the sliver of Palestinian territory, including more than 5,000 children.
“The failure of the Zionist regime (Israel) in Gaza is a fact,” Khamenei said in a speech at the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Aviation Center in the capital Tehran.
“Advancing and entering hospitals or people’s homes is not victory, because victory means defeating the other side,” he said.
Khamenei accused Israel of “so far failing” to achieve its stated goal of destroying Hamas “despite its massive bombing of Gaza.”
“This incompetence reflects the incompetence of the United States and Western countries that support Israel,” he added.
Iran, which supports Hamas financially and militarily, hailed the Oct. 7 attack as “successful” but denied any direct involvement.
Since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Tehran has made support for the Palestinian cause a core part of its foreign policy.
Khamenei said Israel “murdered thousands of children without remorse” because, as he put it, “Zionists consider themselves a superior race.”
During the visit, the Revolutionary Guards’ aerospace force launched new defense systems and drones, and Khamenei inspected a drone named Gaza, state media said.
The force also launched the Fattah 2, an upgraded version of the hypersonic missile launched in June, state news agency IRNA reported.
Khamenei urged Muslim countries that have formal ties with Israel to “sever” those ties and stop trade.
“Some Islamic governments … have not yet condemned (Israeli’s actions in Gaza), but it is unacceptable,” he said.