Islamic countries must retaliate against Israel, says Iran's defence minister
Iran's defence minister Ahmad Vahidi has said that Islamic countries must close ranks and respond to Israel's deadly attacks on the Gaza Strip.
"Putting an end to the Zionist (Israeli) regime's crimes is only possible through a united, revolutionary retaliation by the Muslim world," News 24 quoted Vahidi, as saying.
Israel is "massacring the oppressed Palestinian people, including women and children" and its strikes amount to a "clear example of war crimes", he said.
Israel launched a major air offensive on Gaza on Wednesday with a strike that killed the top military commander of the Islamist movement Hamas that rules the territory.
Foreign minister Ali Akbar Salehi, whose country is a key backer of Hamas, has urged the United Nations and European Union to pressure Israel to halt its offensive, saying the security of the Middle East was at stake.
Salehi said Iran was ready to send "medical and medicinal aids" to Gaza.
The foreign ministry is "talking with Egyptian officials to facilitate the visit through Rafah," a terminal at Gaza's southwestern border with Egypt, according to MP Mansour Haqiqatpour.
Previous attempts by Iran's parliament to dispatch a team into Gaza failed during the rule of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak.
According to Palestinian medics, 38 Gazans have been killed since Israel launched the aerial campaign, while Israel's army has said that Palestinian militants have fired more than 580 rockets over the border. Three Israelis have been killed and 13 injured by the rocket fire.