Iraq’s top Shia cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani has reiterated support for the spirited and firm resistance of Palestinians against the Israeli regime’s occupation, calling on freedom-loving nations worldwide to support the people in the face of Tel Aviv’s violent crackdown in occupied Jerusalem al-Quds and bloody airstrikes on the Gaza Strip.
“The religious authority once again reaffirms his unequivocal support for the proud people of Palestine and their courageous resistance against occupiers (Israelis), who seek to occupy even more Palestinian land and displace them from other areas of holy al-Quds (Jerusalem), and urges free nations to throw their weight behind them so that they will obtain their stolen rights,” his office said in a statement.
The statement added, “Violent clashes around al-Aqsa Mosque and other parts of the occupied territories during the past days undeniably show the extent of Palestinians’ resistance against the merciless and brutal occupation, constant aggression and expropriation of usurped lands.”
Back on March 6, Ayatollah Sistani expressed his support for Palestinians during a historic meeting with Pope Francis in the Iraqi holy city of Najaf.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas later thanked the revered Iraqi Shia cleric for lending support to the Palestinian cause, and its liberation from Israeli occupation and aggression.
The Israeli military continued its bombardment of the besieged Gaza Strip early on Wednesday, targeting several areas in the impoverished coastal enclave.
Meanwhile, Gaza’s Health Ministry announced on Wednesday afternoon that as many as 48 Palestinians, including 14 children and three women, had lost their lives in Gaza in the latest Israeli strikes, with a total of 296 civilians -- most of them women and children -- wounded since Monday.
Palestinian resistance fighters have launched hundreds of rockets into Israeli occupied territories in retaliation for the Tel Aviv regime’s bombardments of the Gaza Strip Gaza as well as its brutal crackdown on worshipers at al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem al-Quds.
Tensions have escalated in Jerusalem al-Quds, the occupied West Bank and Gaza throughout the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, amid the planned forced expulsions of dozens of Palestinians from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, where illegal Israeli settlers are looking to take over the properties of Palestinian families.
The violent crackdown by Israeli forces against Palestinians in Jerusalem al-Quds have already sparked global concern that the unrest could spread further.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip during the Six-Day War in 1967. It later had to withdraw from Gaza, but has been occupying the other territories since.