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Jul 29, 5:39 AM EDT

Iran leader calls for arming Gaza to fight Israel

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TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- Iran's supreme leader on Tuesday called on Muslims from around the world to help arm Gaza Palestinians in their fight against Israel.

The call by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was his latest such message during the ongoing war between Gaza's Hamas rulers and Israel.

Khamenei claims that while Israel and America seek to disarm Hamas, Iran says "the opposite ... the Muslim World has a duty to arm the Palestinian nation by all means."

Iran, a staunch Hamas ally, does not recognize Israel and supports militant anti-Israeli groups such as the Palestinian Hamas and Lebanon's Shiite Hezbollah group.

Iran does not recognize Israel and has considered the Jewish state its archenemy since the 1979 Islamic Revolution that toppled the Western-backed monarchy and brought clerics to power

Khamenei spoke at a prayer ceremony in Tehran as Shiite Iranians marked the beginning of Eid al-Fitr holiday that follows the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

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