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Iran to investigate claims of Israeli war crimes - minister

RIA Novosti

04/03/2009 13:25 TEHRAN, March 4 (RIA Novosti) - Iran's intelligence service will conduct its own investigation into claims Israel committed war crimes in the Gaza Strip, the country's intelligence and security minister announced on Wednesday.

Israel's three-week military operation, aimed at stopping arms smuggling and rocket attacks on southern Israeli border towns, devastated the impoverished enclave, left some 1,300 Palestinians, mainly civilians, dead and injured another 5,000. Around 50,000 people were also left homeless by the ground and air assault.

"Iran's Information Ministry will conduct its own investigation and reveal the individual war criminals in the 'Zionist regime' to bring them before judicial institutions," Qolam Hossein Mohseni-Ejei told journalists on the sidelines of an international conference in Tehran on Palestinian issues.

Iran does not officially recognize Israel as a state and refers to it as the Zionist regime.

The minister also expressed hope that other Islamic states would help Iran to complete its investigation.

"If the Islamic states create a united front, then the groundwork will be established for the rapid punishment of the criminals in the Zionist regime," he said.

He also said that Tehran is not taking Tel Aviv's military threats regarding Iran's nuclear program seriously.

"Israel is just too small to threaten Iran," he said.

The United States, Israel and other Western nations suspect Tehran of secretly building nuclear weapons. Iran says its nuclear program is purely aimed at generating electricity.

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