National Security

Iran’s Ayatollah Said Israel ‘Will Definitely Be Eradicated’ Days Before Brutal Hamas Attack

Screenshot / Khamenei Media @khamenei_m / Twitter

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Micaela Burrow Investigative Reporter, Defense
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Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Israel “will definitely be eradicated” in a speech Tuesday, just four days before the Iran-backed Hamas terrorist group launched a massive attack on Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared war on Hamas Saturday after the terrorists launched a barrage of missiles on Israel and ravaged neighborhoods, killing and taking hostage civilians. Just days before at a meeting of Iranian officials and ambassadors from other Islamic countries, Khamenei had gloated that the so-called Palestinian “resistance forces” were prepared to destroy Israel and suggested that Israel was tottering at the edge of extinction.

“The honorable Imam [Khomeini], may God be pleased with him, described the usurper [Zionist] regime as a cancer. This cancer will definitely be eradicated, God willing, at the hands of the Palestinian people and the resistance forces throughout the region,” Khamenei said, according to the full English translation of the speech uploaded to Khamenei’s website on Saturday, the day of the attack. (RELATED: Biden Palestinian Affairs Office Scrubs Post Telling Israel To ‘Refrain From Violence’ Amid Hamas Attacks)

“Today, the Palestinian youth and the Palestinian movement, the anti-occupation, anti-oppression, anti-Zionism movement, is more energetic, more alive, and more prepared than ever, and you can see this. And God willing, this movement will achieve its goals,” Khamenei said in an excerpt from the speech first posted in English on Twitter on Oct 3. 

He issued a similar statement on Oct. 7 with a photo that appears to show cheering Palestinians atop a humvee and hashtag #AlAqsaStorm, the name Hamas gave to the large-scale operation Saturday.

Posting a video of civilians fleeing after Hamas militants attacked those at a festival taking place in the desert, Khamenei reiterated his prediction that Israel would be eliminated.

The Zionist regime is dying,” Khamenei said in the speech, again reposting the statement on social media Saturday.

Khamenei also appeared to take aim at ongoing reconciliation efforts between Israel and Saudi Arabia, warning that governments “gambling” on normal diplomatic and security relations with Israel would reap consequences.

“Defeat awaits them. They are making a mistake. As the Europeans say, ‘They are betting on a losing horse,'” he said. “Today, the situation of the Zionist regime is not a situation that encourages closeness to it. They [other governments] should not make this mistake. The usurper [Zionist] regime is coming to an end.”

The extent of Iran’s involvement in Saturday’s attack remains unclear, but experts have noted that the complex tactics used to execute the incursions suggest Hamas militants received training from Iran’s paramilitary organization.

An adviser to Khomenei pledged to support Hamas and other anti-Israel militant groups until they capture Jerusalem, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing state media.

Israeli and U.S. officials maintain they have seen no smoking gun to indicate that Iran directed the attack, although Iran has long been known to provide material support to Hamas.

The attack likely did not come as a surprise to Iran, an Israel Defense Forces spokesperson told Politico reporter Alex Ward.

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