AFP - Iran's foreign ministry condemned Wednesday the Israeli air raids in the Gaza Strip, calling on the West to urge the Jewish state to prevent a "human catastrophe."
The remarks by Iran, traditional ally of Palestinian militant group Hamas, came after Israeli warplanes pounded targets in Gaza as part of a major campaign to halt rocket fire from the enclave.
"We are, unfortunately, witnessing the escalation of savage aggression by the Zionists in recent days against the innocent and defenseless people of Palestine," ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham said in her weekly briefing with reporters.
Iran calls on "Western countries and supporters of the Zionist regime (to) take firm a stance and prevent a human catastrophe and stop the attacks," she added, while questioning an "unrealistic excuse of the kidnapping of three Zionist settlers."
Since the start of Israeli-dubbed Operation Protective Edge late Monday, 44 protected Palestinians in Gaza have been killed, and 300 injured.
Al Ray contributed to this report.