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Iran Sets Up Court To Try Israelis Over Gaza

Hard-line groups in Iran have also been recruiting volunteers for suicide attacks on Israel.
TEHRAN (Reuters) -- Iran has set up a court to try Israelis for its air attacks on Gaza and is ready to try in absentia any people who Tehran says have committed "crimes," a judiciary official has said.

Iran, which does not recognize Israel, has criticized some Arab states for not doing enough to stop military action by the Jewish state.

Iran's top authority, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has called on all Muslims to defend Palestinians in whatever way they can.

"The court is in a special branch in Tehran and entrusted with the task of dealing with the executors, planners, and officials of this [Israeli] regime who have committed crimes," judiciary spokesman Alireza Jamshidi said.

He said the court was set up on the basis of a 1948 UN convention on the prevention of genocide, to which Iran is a signatory.

On December 30, Iranian Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki accused Israel of committing "genocide against humanity" in Gaza. He was speaking in a meeting with foreign envoys in Tehran that was broadcast and translated by Iran's English-language Press TV.

Jamshidi called on all Palestinians who have been affected by the Israeli operation in Gaza to file complaints. The Israeli officials could be tried in absentia, he added.

Israel, which accuses Iran of supplying Islamist Hamas militants with weapons, said the strikes, which began on December 27, were in response to almost daily rocket and mortar fire from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

Jamshidi said Iran's judiciary chief, Ayatollah Mahmud Hashemi-Shahrudi, was sending letters to his counterparts in all Islamic states seeking their cooperation with the court.

Earlier on December 30, two gasoline bombs were thrown into the compound of the Jordanian Embassy in Tehran, which a Jordanian official said was probably a reaction to events in Gaza. The official said there were no injuries and little damage.

A similar attack against the mission of Egypt, which borders Gaza, took place earlier this month when a gasoline bomb was thrown at the mission's fence. That protest was against Israel's blockade of Gaza.