Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei: Victims of Hamas Carnage – Including Babies, Elderly – ‘Not Civilians’

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks on television on Friday, in a handout
Office of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

Iranian dictator Ayatollah Ali Khamenei dismissed the over 1,300 victims – including the elderly, disabled, and infants – of a brutal Hamas mass murder in Israel this month as “not civilians” in remarks Tuesday, and therefore branded them fair targets for killing.

Khamenei was commenting on the ongoing aftermath of what Hamas, a jihadist terrorist organization, has branded the “al-Aqsa flood”: a widespread terror attack on the Israeli homeland in which attackers went door to door, killing people. Israeli officials found evidence the jihadists tortured their victims, often killing children in front of their parents, raping victims, and decapitating them. In addition to residential communities, many of them largely unarmed, the terrorists targeted a music festival in which they abducted some attendees and opened fire on crowds of others, leaving at least 260 bodies sprawled across the festival area.

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The attack occurred on October 7, the Jewish holiday of Shemini Atzeret, the final day of the annual High Holy Day cycle. That night, the Iranian regime organized a giant street party in Tehran, setting off fireworks to celebrate the carnage.

Khamenei’s Iran is the world’s most prolific state sponsor of terrorism and a longtime ally and backer of Hamas. The U.S. State Department estimated in 2020 that Iran gives Hamas and a fellow terrorist group, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, over $100 million a year. A spokesman for Hamas, Ghazi Hamad, told the BBC on October 8 that the group had “direct backing” for Iran in its siege of residential Israeli communities.

Khamenei dismissed the suffering of Hamas victims in remarks on Tuesday alongside a group Iran’s Tasnim News Agency described as “academic elites and outstanding scientific talents.” In the same commentary, Khamenei threatened what Tasnim called an “uncontrollable Muslim reaction” against Israel if it takes any action to protect its citizens and others in the country from further attacks.

Palestinian militants move towards the border fence with Israel from Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip on October 7, 2023. (SAID KHATIB/AFP via Getty Images)

“Some officials in certain countries, who have spoken with our officials, have protested in defense of the Zionist occupiers as to why Palestinians have killed civilians,” Khamenei said in his remarks, in a translation by the independent media outlet Iran International.

“Firstly, this statement is contrary to the truth. Those who live in [Israeli] settlements are not civilians. They are all armed,” Khamenei claimed. “Even if we assume they are non-combatants, how many non-combatants have been killed? The regime is now killing [a] hundred times more women, children, the elderly, and the youth non-combatants who are in these buildings in Gaza, not the combatants who are not residing there.”

Contrary to Khamenei’s assertions, the vast majority of Hamas’s victims were not armed and could not fight back when the terrorists invaded. Among the victims were a large number of people who could not realistically arm themselves in any way, such as dozens of babies found decapitated or burned to death and children left dead with knives in their bodies.

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“What I saw, hundreds of terrorists in full armor, full gear, with all the equipment and all the ability make a massacre,” CNN correspondent Nic Robertson said following a visit to the devastated Kfar Aza community. “Go from apartment to apartment, from room to room and kill babies, mothers, fathers in their bedrooms.”

At least one of those abducted from the music festival Hamas attacked is a teen who reportedly suffers from muscular dystrophy and cannot walk, and uses a feeding tube to survive. No evidence exists that the girl, Rut Perez, could arm herself in any way.

Khamenei’s claim that Hamas’s victims were all Israeli “settlement” residents is also false. Hamas killed, injured, abducted, and brutalized citizens of at least 40 countries, including such far-flung places as Thailand and Argentina, in addition to a large number of Americans and Europeans.

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The false claim that the victims of the Hamas terror attack are “not civilians” has surfaced throughout the world in pro-Palestinian circles, including in the United States, where the anti-Israel group “Students for Justice in Palestine” published propaganda last week promoting a “national day of resistance” in which it denied that Israeli “settlers” were civilians.

In addition to dismissing the civilians Hamas targeted, Khamenei threatened more acts of terrorism against Israel and civilians around the world.

“If these crimes continue, the Muslims and the resistance forces will become impatient, (and) no one would be able to stop them,” Khamenei predicted, according to Tasnim. “This is a fact that exists. Of course, whatever the Zionist regime does, it will not be able to make up for the scandalous failure it suffered.”

Palestine supporters rally outside the Sydney Opera House on October 09, 2023, in Sydney, Australia. (Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images)

Threats of future terrorism appear to be a formal foreign policy position in Tehran, as Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian echoed those threats in an interview on Monday, prior to Khamenei’s remarks.

“During my regional trip and meetings that I had with leaders of the resistance front, they believed that an opportunity should be given to political solutions,” Amir-Abdollahian said on Iranian television, according to state propaganda outlet PressTV. “However, in the event that the Israeli regime’s war crimes against civilians continue, any possibility is likely.”

The foreign minister specifically cited the possibility that Hezbollah, a Lebanese Shiite terrorist organization with close ties to Iran, could attack Israel in Sunni Hamas’s defense.

“The resistance leaders will not allow the Zionist regime to do whatever [it wants] in the region,” Amir-Abdollahian said. “Every preemptive measure is conceivable in the coming hours.”

The foreign minister suggested jihadists in the region, presumably including the Iranian government, would open “new fronts against the [Israeli government” if it takes any measures to protect its citizens.

Follow Frances Martel on Facebook and Twitter.


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