Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander Qassem Soleimani says his nation is ready to support Palestinian forces in the Gaza Strip, days after the U.S. recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Soleimani, commander of the Al Quds force, made the offer in a phone call late Monday with leaders of groups in Gaza, according to the Revolutionary Guard Corps’ website, Sepah News, which didn’t give details of the assistance proffered. Other forces in the region are ready to defend the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, Soleimani also told the Gaza faction leaders, without identifying them.
The mosque is Islam’s third-holiest shrine and a frequent flashpoint for tensions between Israel and the Palestinians. Palestinians claim Jerusalem’s eastern sector, where the mosque stands, as the capital of a future state, and they oppose the U.S. move. Hamas has called for another uprising against Israel in response, though so far protests have been limited. Soleimani spoke a day after the head of Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement, Hassan Nasrallah, called on all “resistance” groups in the region to come up with a unified strategy to take back Jerusalem. READ MORE