Iran’s foreign minister has reiterated that the continuation of Israel’s retaliatory offensive against Hamas would inevitably lead to an expansion of the conflict.
Hossein Amir-Abdollahian made the comment in a telephone conversation with his Qatari counterpart Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman Al Thani on Thursday. The statement could ramp up concerns over whether Washington's diplomatic efforts and deployment of US naval forces to the eastern Mediterranean will be able to keep the conflict from further destabilizing the Middle East.
"Due to the expansion of the intensity of the war against Gaza's civilian residents, expansion of the scope of the war has become inevitable," Amir-Abdollahian said, according to Iranian state media.
Iran has made similar statements in the past four weeks as its ally Hamas has come under attack by Israel but Tehran has chosen not to get directly involved so far.
Hamas-run Ministry of Health said an Israeli strike hit a courtyard in the Al Shifa hospital, causing causalities without providing details. Israel said Hamas has hidden command centers and tunnels beneath Al Shifa, and other hospitals such as the Indonesian Hospital.
"While the world sees neighborhoods with schools, hospitals, scout groups, children’s playgrounds and mosques, Hamas sees an opportunity to exploit," Israel's military said in a statement.
Israel has been pounding the enclave to uproot the Islamist group, which has made the war exceedingly bloody hiding deep among the civilian population and underneath the coastal sliver’s non-military facilities.
Iran supports Hamas but says it did not play any role in the Islamist militants' October 7 terror attack that triggered the current crisis. Iran also backs the Hezbollah, a Lebanese militant group that has deep ties with Hamas and Islamic Jihad, another Palestinian faction in Gaza that is also backed by Iran.