Iran has voiced its support for the Palestinian group Hamas after Israel threatened to attack the group's stronghold in Gaza to deter rocket attacks from the coastal strip on Israeli targets.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad warned Israel on Saturday that Tel Aviv should not “seek new adventures”.
He said Israel should not forget its failure to destroy “popular resistance” during the 2006 summer war in south Lebanon and in the Gaza winter offensive of 2009-10.
On Friday, Israel's Deputy Prime Minister Silvan Shalom threatened to launch a new offensive in Gaza unless the rocket fire from the area stopped.
“If this rocket fire against Israel does not stop, it seems we will have to raise the level of our activity and step up our actions against Hamas,” Mr. Shalom told Israel's public radio.
“We won't allow frightened children to again be raised in bomb shelters and so, in the end, it will force us to launch another military operation.”
In response, Hamas leader in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, in a statement called for international intervention to “put an end to the Israeli escalation”. Al Jazeera television quoted Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum as saying the international community and the Arabs had failed to “to do anything about the situation in Gaza”.
Meanwhile, France and Britain have criticised Israeli air attacks against Gaza targets on Friday. Spokesman of the French Foreign Ministry, Bernard Valero, said Paris was concerned about the growing tensions in the Gaza Strip. He called upon Israel and the Palestinians to exercise restraint, Israel Radio said.