Iraq and Iran describe Israel's war in Gaza as 'genocide' against Palestinians

Iraqi PM Mohammed Shia Al Sudani travelled to Tehran after talks with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Baghdad on Sunday night

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi with Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al Sudani during a joint press conference in Tehran. EPA
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Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al Sudani lashed out on Monday at the international community for not stopping the month-long Israel-Gaza war, calling it a “genocide” against the Palestinian people.

“We say it clearly, that the international community has failed in fulfilling their duties and commitments,” Mr Al Sudani told a joint press conference with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in Tehran.

More than 10,000 people have been killed in Israel's bombardment of Gaza since the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel, that killed 1,400 people.

Meanwhile, clashes between Israel and Hezbollah and its allies in southern Lebanon, as well as drone and missile attacks by Iran's proxies against US troops in Iraq and Syria, have raised concerns about a regional spillover of the Gaza war.

The US has warned regional players not to take advantage of the conflict to attack its troops and interests, or Israel, and has strengthened its presence in the region with aircraft carrier groups.

“Anyone who wants to contain this conflict and to prevent its spillover in the region should exert pressure on the authorities of the occupation to stop this aggression and the devastating and systematic killing,” Mr Al Sudani said.

“The decision to draw the region into an all-out war that threatens both regional and global peace and security lies with the party that engages in aggression and targets the people of Gaza.”

Mr Raisi accused the US of “encouraging” Israel to kill and carry out “cruel acts” against Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip.

“The aid from the United States to the Zionist regime [Israel] is encouraging them to kill and commit cruel acts of neglect against the Palestinian people,” Mr Raisi said.

“We believe that the bombings must stop as soon as possible, that a ceasefire must be declared immediately and that aid be provided to the oppressed and proud people of Gaza.

“These horrible crimes against humanity are a genocide, which is carried out by the Zionist regime [Israel] with the support of the United States and certain European countries.”

Earlier on Monday, Mr Al Sudani's adviser Husham Al Rikabi said the Prime Minister would visit a “number of brotherly and friendly countries” in the region as "part of Iraq’s efforts to stop the aggression against the Palestinian people”. He did not name the countries.

Mr Al Sudani returned to Baghdad from Tehran on Monday afternoon, the official Iraq News Agency reported.

US Iraq warning

Mr Al Sudani met US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Baghdad on Sunday evening, with the American official warning that his country would take every step necessary to protect its troops in Iraq and Syria from attacks by Iran-backed Shiite militias.

“I made very clear that attacks or threats coming from militias that are aligned with Iran are totally unacceptable, and we will take every necessary step to protect our people,” Mr Blinken told reporters accompanying him after the meeting, according to AFP.

The State Department said he urged Mr Al Sudani to “hold accountable those responsible for continuing attacks on US personnel in Iraq and fulfil Iraq’s commitments to protect all installations hosting US personnel at the invitation of the Iraqi government”.

“Secretary Blinken made clear that the US will defend its interests and personnel,” it said.

Days after Hamas fighters killed more than 1,400 people in Israel on October 7, Iraqi Shiite militias resumed attacks against US troops in Iraq and Syria.

Dozens of drone and missile attacks have been claimed by the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, a network of Iran-allied groups, due to Washington's support for Israel's bombardment of the Gaza Strip.

Among the targets were the Ain Al Asad base in Anbar province, a military site near Baghdad's international airport, and Harir airbase, in the northern city of Erbil.

Attacks have also been launched against US bases in Syria, with militias also recently claiming responsibility for hitting Israeli targets in the Dead Sea region.

Updated: November 06, 2023, 3:15 PM