Press TV – US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has claimed that Iran is behind the latest bout of violence triggered by Israel’s assassination of a top commander in the besieged Gaza Strip.
In tweets posed on Saturday, Pompeo alleged that Tehran is using the Islamic Jihad movement as a “proxy” to strike Israel and fuel regional conflict.
“Iran does not want peace in the region. It does not want the Palestinian people to prosper. It wants more conflict. Until we address Iran’s threats, the cycle of violence will continue,” he wrote.
Pompeo also called for pressure on Iran to continue in order to force the country to the negotiating table for a new deal to replace the 2015 nuclear agreement, from which the US withdrew unilaterally in May 2018.
“The way forward is clear: continued pressure until Iran negotiates a comprehensive agreement that includes halting its support to” Islamic Jihad.
From the predawn Tuesday to Thursday morning, Israel and Islamic Jihad fought a battle, in which Tel Aviv conducted dozens of aerial assaults on Gaza and the resistance group fired hundreds of retaliatory rockets and mortar shells into the occupied lands.
The escalation erupted after Israel assassinated senior Islamic Jihad commander Baha Abu al-Ata, along with his wife, in a targeted strike on their home in Gaza.
A similar Israeli air raid also hit the home of another Islamic Jihad commander in Syria on Tuesday, but missed the target.
Israel then submitted to a ceasefire which met all conditions set by Islamic Jihad, according to the Palestinian movement.
Pompeo’s remarks are apparently aimed at anesthetizing Arab regimes which largely kept silent as ferocious Israeli airstrikes targeted Gaza, killing at least 34 people, including many women and children.
The US administration has been playing a key role in bringing Israel and Arab regimes together around the key goal of confronting Iran.
US Air Force chief urges united Arab military
On Saturday, US Air Force Chief of Staff David Goldfein urged the Persian Gulf Arab states to resolve their differences and unify their military capabilities in the face of Iran.
Washington sees an ongoing rift that Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt have with Qatar as a threat to its push for a united front against Iran and has unsuccessfully tried to mediate the dispute.
Asked if he thought the Qatar rift could soon be settled, he said, “Certainly I am hopeful.”
In June 2017, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, and the UAE imposed a land, naval and air blockade on import-dependent Qatar, accusing Doha of supporting terrorism, an allegation strongly denied by Doha.
The Saudi-led bloc presented Qatar with a list of demands and gave it an ultimatum to comply with them or face consequences. Doha, however, refused to meet the demands and stressed that it would not abandon its independent foreign policy.
Qatar hosts al-Udeid air base, the largest US military facility in the region, while Bahrain is home to the Navy’s Fifth Fleet.