Iran demands Israeli pullout of Gaza
Iran said an Israeli ceasefire in Gaza is not enough to stop conflict with Palestinian militants and called for a full pullout of Israeli forces from the Hamas-run enclave.world Updated: Jan 19, 2009 08:21 IST
Iran said on Sunday an Israeli ceasefire in Gaza is not enough to stop conflict with Palestinian militants and called for a full pullout of Israeli forces from the Hamas-run enclave.
"A mere halt of air, sea and ground attacks without the forces' withdrawal from occupied positions is not sufficient to stop the clashes," Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said in a statement.
"The forces' stay in these places is provocative per se and there is no guarantee for an end to the clashes," he said.
At 2:00 am (5:30 IST) today Israel unilaterally halted its 22-day offensive in Gaza which killed more than 1,200 Palestinians.
Mottaki said the decision indicated that Israeli "leaders have failed to achieve their declared objectives."
Iran is a staunch supporter of the Islamist Hamas movement, which controls the Gaza Strip, and does not recognise its archfoe Israel.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert yesterday announced the end to offensive operations but said troops would stay in Gaza for the time being with orders to return fire if attacked.
Hamas, an Islamist group which has ruled Gaza since June 2007 and is sworn to the destruction of the Jewish state, has said it will not accept the presence of a single Israeli soldier in the territory.