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Religious leaders call on Muslims to punish Israel

Iran deplores Arab 'silence'; Saudi cleric calls for revenge

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A Saudi cleric called in a religious edict on Sunday for attacks on Israeli interests everywhere in retaliation for the ongoing Israeli onslaught on the Gaza Strip as Iran's supreme leader urged Muslim states to punish Israel and deplored what he called some Arab leaders' silence.

"All (Israeli) interests, and anything else related to Israel, are a permitted target for Muslims everywhere," said Saudi Sheikh Awad al-Qarni in what he described on the internet as a fatwa, or religious edict.

Qarni, who has no links to the official Islamic body of Saudi Arabia, said: "They (Israelis) should become targets. Their blood should be shed as the blood of our brothers in Palestine has been shed."

"They should feel pain more than our brothers," the cleric added.

"This is a fatwa that I am responsible for in front of Allah," Qarni said on the Islam Online website.

He also lashed out at Arab governments, mainly Egypt, which he accused of being "part of the conspiracy".

"The recent visit by (Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi) Livni to Egypt, and her embrace by Egyptian officials in front of cameras, followed by her confirmation that the situation in Gaza is going to change, and the lack of any response from Egyptian officials, are part of the conspiracy," he said.

He slammed Egypt's security reinforcements on the borders with Gaza "to ban Palestinians from breaking through the borders," saying it is "a proof of a conspiracy."

The recent visit by Livni to Egypt, and her embrace by Egyptian officials in front of cameras, followed by her confirmation that the situation in Gaza is going to change, and the lack of any response from Egyptian officials, are part of the conspiracy

Qarni

Iran says punish Israel

Meanwhile, Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Sunday urged Muslim states to punish Israel and deplored what he called some Arab leaders' silence in the face of deadly attacks on the Gaza Strip.

"The Zionist regime should be punished by Muslim states. This usurping regime's leaders should also go on trial and be punished for this crime," Khamenei said in a statement quoted by state-run television.

"All Palestinian Mujahids (fighters) and believers in the Islamic world are required to defend in any way they can the defenseless women, children and people of Gaza," the all-powerful leader said.

Condemning Israeli raids on Gaza, Khamenei said, "the greater catastrophe is some Arab governments that claim to be Muslims encouraging silence."

Various protests were held in Tehran on Sunday, including one by Iranian lawmakers chanting "Death to Israel".

Iran is ready to receive Palestinians wounded in the raids, foreign ministry spokesman Hassan Qashqavi said.

All Palestinian Mujahids (fighters) and believers in the Islamic world are required to defend in any way they can the defenseless women, children and people of Gaza

Ayatollah Khamenei