An Israeli diplomat said Sunday that Iran was behind the unprecedented attack on Saturday in southern Israel — and not the Gazan people.

Maor Elbaz-Starinsky told This Week In South Florida that the death toll will increase after fighters targeted civilians — including pregnant women.

“The Palestinian people are not our enemy, and we are committed to improving their livelihood and social and economic welfare,” the career diplomat based in Miami said.

Harakat al Muqawama al Islamiyah, known as Hamas or the Islamic Resistance Movement, has controlled the enclave since 2007 and took credit for the attack. Ghazi Hamad, a spokesman for Hamas, told the BBC World Service that Hamas received Iranian support for the attack.

“This is a trained and armed army, a proxy of Iran in our region,” said Elbaz-Starinsky, the consulate general of Israel to Florida, Kansas, Missouri & Puerto Rico.

The only way to put an end to the conflict, Elbaz-Starinsky said, is for Israel to “smash the snake’s head.”

After the attack, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters that “Iran and Hamas have a long relationship,” but he did not confirm if there was evidence of direct involvement.

Elbaz-Starinsky said the ongoing conflict is not about the blockade or about the occupation of territory; it’s about values.

“We are just the front line of Western civilization,” Elbaz-Starinsky said.

Israel celebrated 75 years of independence in April.

Hamas published its charter in 1988 calling for the destruction of Israel and the establishment of an Islamic society. The U.S. designated it as a terrorist organization in 1997.

Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip in 2007. With the growing threat, Israel worked with Egypt to maintain a blockade for about 16 years.

U.S. has also viewed “Iranian-sponsored terrorism” and Iran’s violations of religious freedom as a growing problem.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, a jurist who stands against LGBTQ rights and in support of the morality police, delivered a statement in April encouraging Hamas to fight against Israel.

A few days ago, Times of Israel reported Ayatollah Ali Hosseini Khamenei, the supreme leader of Iran’s autocratic system, said during a public address that Israel “will be eradicated” by “the Palestinian people” and “the resistance forces.”

Elbaz-Starinsky said Israelis will continue fighting for the right to exist as they have for decades.

“We fight Iran, we fight Syria, we fight Hezbollah and we fight Hamas,” Elbaz-Starinsky said later adding, “At the end of the day, this is everybody’s fight.”

Last month, during his address to the United Nations, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel was “at the cusp” of a peace agreement with Saudi Arabia to “encourage other Arab states to normalize their relations with Israel.”

Netanyahu said the agreement was a step toward “a broader reconciliation between Judaism and Islam, between Jerusalem and Mecca, between the descendants of Isaac and the descendants of Ishmael.”

On Sunday, Blinken told This Week on ABC News that the attack may have been “designed to try to derail” the talks since Hamas and Iran were among “those opposed to the efforts to normalize relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel.”

Blinken announced he had calls to discuss the Hamas attack with officials from Turkey and Saudi Arabia on Sunday and with Jordan and Qatar on Saturday.

Netanyahu declared war. Elbaz-Starinsky said he expects the conflict is going to intensify.

“We are going into a very gruesome time.”

Source » local10