A senior Iranian military commander said on Tuesday that Tehran-backed militant groups will not stop targeting Israel until the country ceases to exist.
Ali Fadavi, the second-in-command of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), likened Israel to a “cancerous tumor,” saying: “The resistance forces’ shocks against (Israel) will continue until this cancerous tumor disappears from the world map.”
Iran commonly uses terms like “resistance forces,” “resistance groups,” “resistance front,” and “resistance axis” to refer to a network of regional militant groups that it supports. This network includes organizations like the Palestinian militant group Hamas, Lebanon’s Hezbollah, as well as various militias in Iraq and Syria, and the Houthi militia in Yemen.
Fadavi also warned that more attacks against Israel could occur if the Israeli attacks on Gaza persist.
“If the crimes continue in Gaza, the Muslim people of other countries may join the conflict against the Zionists and another shock may be on the way,” the semi-official Fars news agency quoted him as saying.
Fadavi said that Israel has not fully recovered from what he described as a “huge defeat” suffered at the hands of Hamas during a surprise attack on October 7. On that day, Hamas fighters breached Gaza’s heavily fortified border with Israel and killed at least 1,400 people, most of them civilians.
Israel has responded with relentless air and artillery strikes on Gaza that have killed more than 2,800 people, mostly civilians.
Tehran, a key source of financial and military support for Hamas, has praised the October 7 Hamas attack while denying any involvement in its planning or execution.
Fadavi contended that Israel is targeting Palestinian civilians in Gaza because it “failed to harm the resistance front.”
“Muslims are watching for an opportunity” to replicate the October 7 attack against Israel, he added.
Israel has deployed tens of thousands of troops to its border with Gaza in preparation for a full-scale ground offensive. Israel has also instructed around 1.1 million Gazans, approximately half of the territory’s population, to leave the northern part of the densely populated enclave, in anticipation of the operation.
Iran has warned that a ground invasion of Gaza could lead to responses on other fronts, raising concerns about a broader conflict that may involve other countries.
Earlier on Tuesday, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said that “no one can stop resistance forces” if Israel continues its bombardment of Gaza.
Israel has long accused Iran of exacerbating violence by supplying arms to Hamas. Tehran refuses to recognize Israel and has made support for the Palestinian cause a fundamental component of its foreign policy since the Islamic Revolution of 1979.
For years, Iran and Israel have engaged in a covert conflict, with Iran accusing Israel of orchestrating sabotage attacks and assassinations targeting its nuclear program.