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Iranians mark Quds Day in solidarity with Palestinians

Posted on Jul 25 2014 | IANS

Tehran, July 25 : Hundreds of thousands of Iranians rallied Friday across the country to mark Quds (Jerusalem) Day in solidarity with the Palestinians, condemning Israel's continued occupation of Palestinian land and the ongoing bloody attacks on the Gaza Strip.

In Iran's capital Tehran, the participants chanted slogans and carried banners in the rally, underscoring the trial of Israeli authorities for what they called "war crimes" against Palestinians in Gaza, Xinhua reported.

In a statement issued at the end of the rallies, demonstrators condemned Israeli attacks on the innocent people, especially women and children in the coastal enclave, and announced that Iran would support Palestinians to liberate their occupied territories, including Al Quds (Jerusalem).

The statement further described the Israeli offensive in Gaza as "war crime and genocide", and called on international bodies, human rights organisations and Muslim countries to take serious action in this regard.

The participants in the rally also urged the return of dislocated Palestinians to their homeland and holding of democratic referendum as the way to solve the issue in that region.

On Friday, Iranian government officials and military commanders also participated in the rallies in Tehran.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani urged Israel to terminate years of rigid blockade on the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip that has seen mounting civilian deaths as the Jewish state continued its weeks-long offensive.

"The blockade should be lifted, Rafah crossing be opened, fire and bloodshed be stopped, the raid on Gaza be halted, so that the (Gaza) people could get free and return to their normal life," Rouhani said as he attended the Quds (Jerusalem) Day rallies in Tehran Friday, adding that "this is the urge of the world today".

He also criticised those who are silent over Israel's Gaza military campaign or supportive of Tel Aviv's "crimes against innocents".

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif also expressed his concern over the recent Israeli attacks against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, and described Tel Aviv's actions as "genocide and a blatant violation of human rights", IRNA reported Friday.

"Massacre of Palestinian people, especially children and women is a clear example of the desperate war crimes of Israel," he said, criticising some Muslim countries for their "passive stance" over what is happening in the Gaza Strip.

The huge turnout of people in the International Quds Day rallies is a promise of an inevitable victory of the Palestinian nation, foreign ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham said on the sidelines of the rallies in Tehran.

Afkham criticised what she called "international bodies' weak measures to defend the defenceless people of Gaza", according to IRNA.

"International bodies' silence towards Israel crimes in Gaze emboldens it to continue aggression against Palestinians," she said.

Quds Day, officially called International Quds Day in Iran, is an annual event held on the last Friday of Ramadan that was initiated by the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1979 to express solidarity with the Palestinian people and oppose Zionism as well as Israel's control of Jerusalem.

Quds Day celebration in several other Arab countries also saw anti-Israel protests.

So far, the ongoing bloody conflict between the Jewish state and the Islamic militants in Gaza Strip have already resulted in the death of more than 800 Palestinians and over 30 Israelis.

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