A senior Iranian commander has floated the idea that the time has come for Muslims to militarily stop Israel’s offensive on Gaza.
Israel kicked off the onslaught on Gaza on Saturday to take out targets linked to the Hamas movement.
On Monday, the Israeli army declared areas around the enclave a “closed military zone,” as Israeli tanks and troops massed along the Gaza border while warplanes pounded the strip for a third consecutive day.
At least 345 Palestinians have been killed and nearly 1,550 have been wounded, medics told Press TV.
The international community has condemned the Israeli actions and called for an immediate end to the strikes, which have caused a furious reaction by the Muslim world.
Brigadier General Mir-Faisal Baqerzadeh, Head of the Foundation for the Remembrance of the Holy Defense, said Monday that Islamic countries should move to put the military option against Tel Aviv on the table.
“Only the military option can save Gaza,” the Iranian commander claimed.
In retaliation to the attacks on Gaza, Hamas has vowed to launch rocket strikes. On Saturday, an Israeli man was killed by a Hamas rocket and four others were wounded. Another Israeli was killed on Monday by a rocket attack.
Despite international criticism of the Israeli military campaign on Gaza, Washington blames Hamas for provoking Tel Aviv.
The Hamas movement should stop its rocket attacks on Israel “if the violence is to stop,” said US National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe in a Saturday statement.
On Sunday, the US blocked a UN Security Council resolution calling for an immediate halt to the ongoing assaults on Gaza. The council, meanwhile, called for an end to all military activities in the region.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has also called for an immediate end to hostilities in the Gaza Strip, urging Israel to allow humanitarian aid into the impoverished Palestinian territory.
Ban “deplores that violence is continuing today, and he strongly urges once again an immediate stop to all acts of violence,” his spokeswoman Michele Montas said in a statement Sunday.
While the death toll in Gaza continues to rise, Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Haim Ramon said Monday that the goal of the massive bombardment of the Gaza Strip is to topple Hamas.
The Gaza Strip has been under an Israeli blockade since the democratically-elected Palestinian government of Hamas took control of the are in mid-June 2007.