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Iran urges Muslim countries to halt trade with Israel

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian (L) greets Hamas political bureau chief Ismail Haniyeh in Qatar on Tuesday. Iran backs the militant group but denies involvement in its October 7 attacks on Israel
— Tehran (AFP)

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei urged Muslim countries Wednesday to halt trade with Israel, including oil exports, in response to its bombardment of Gaza since deadly Hamas attacks.

Israel has been pounding the Gaza Strip since Hamas gunmen stormed across the border on October 7 and, killed more than 1,400 people, most of them civilians, according to Israeli officials.

The bombing campaign has killed more than 8,500 people, two-thirds of them women and children, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.

"Islamic governments must insist on quickly ending the crimes," Khamenei told a gathering of students in Tehran.

"Muslim countries should not cooperate economically with the Zionist regime (Israel)," he said, calling for a "block on oil and food exports".

Khamenei lambasted Western governments who "stood against Palestine", naming Britain, France and the United States.

"The Muslim world must not forget who is putting pressure on the population of Gaza. It's not just about the Zionist regime," he said.

Defence Minister Mohammad Reza Ashtiani warned "certain European countries which help" Israel to "be careful not to anger Muslims".

Iran, which supports Hamas financially and militarily, has hailed the militant group's attack on Israel as a "success" but denied any involvement.

President Ebrahim Raisi has said Iran sees it as "its duty to support the resistance groups" but insisted that they act independently.

The White House has accused Iran of "actively facilitating" attacks on US forces in the Middle East.

On Friday, the United States announced a new round of sanctions targeting Hamas's funding networks and sources of support in Iran.