Iran says proxies won't 'remain silent' on Israel-Hamas war

Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian speaks during a press conference with his Polish counterpart (unseen) in the capital Tehran, on 8 May, 2022AFP file photo

Iran said on Tuesday it was "natural" for Tehran-backed groups to attack Israel in light of its war on Hamas, warning of a wider spillover if no ceasefire is reached.

The remarks were made by Iran's top diplomat Hossein Amir-Abdollahian in Qatar's capital Doha where he met with Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani and his Qatari counterpart to discuss a push for a diplomatic breakthrough.

"It is natural that the resistance groups and movements do not remain silent against all these crimes" committed by Israel, Amir-Abdollahian said in remarks relayed by Iran's foreign ministry.

"They will not wait for anyone's advice, therefore we need to use the last political opportunities to stop the war," he said after talks with Sheikh Tamim, warning the situation could "get out of control".

Israel launched its assault in response to an unprecedented attack by Hamas on October 7 when its militants poured across the Gaza border, killing more than 1,400 people, mostly civilians, and taking more than 230 hostages, according to Israeli authorities.

Since then, Gaza's Hamas-run health ministry says 8,500 people have been killed, more than 3,500 of them children.

In the face of the growing crisis, Iran-backed groups in Lebanon and Syria as well as Yemen have launched cross-border attacks that many fear could inflame the region.

Tensions in the Red Sea

Amir-Abdollahian's statement came hours after Tehran-backed Huthi rebels in Yemen claimed responsibility for a drone attack on southern Israel, with the group vowing to continue its attacks.

Shortly afterwards, the Israeli military said its forces intercepted a "surface-to-surface missile" fired towards Israeli territory from the area of the Red Sea, saying it was "successfully intercepted" by the 'Arrow' aerial defence system.

Qatari foreign minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman said the pair had discussed "the dangerous escalation of confrontations in the Gaza Strip and West Bank and the importance of advancing immediate ceasefire efforts", in a post on X, formerly Twitter.

"We also stressed the need to intensify regional efforts to prevent the expansion of violence and conflict in the region," he said.

Both Iran and Qatar have been fierce supporters of the Palestinian cause and have open channels of communication with Hamas, the Islamist rulers of Gaza.

The wealthy Gulf emirate, which hosts the largest US military base in the Middle East, also hosts the political office of Hamas and is the main residence of its self-exiled leader Ismail Haniyeh.

It has used its channels with Hamas, established with US blessing, to play a lead role in the release of four of the hostages held by militants in Gaza.