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Khamenei cheers Hamas' 'epic' attacks on Israel, but denies Iran role

While taking "pride in Palestinian youths" for their attacks on Israel, the Iranian leader shielded Tehran from mounting accusations that it was behind the deadly operations.

TEHRAN — Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei threw generous praise at the militant Palestinian movement Hamas for a wave of deadly attacks and hostage taking well inside Israel over the weekend, that has left so far more than 1,000 Israelis dead. 

Addressing cadets at a Tehran military academy on Tuesday, Khamenei hailed Hamas for the "epic" victory and the "destructive earthquake" it inflicted upon Israel.

"We do kiss the foreheads and the arms of the smart masterminds and the Palestinian youths," the Iranian leader said as reported by his official website.

Khamenei maintained that for years to come, Israel will have to reel from the "irreparable" devastation it was dealt by the Palestinians militants. Using his signature rhetoric against Iran's arch-foe, Khamenei described Israel as a "usurper" and a "tyrannical," "ignorant" and "monstrous" entity.

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