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Iran's President Warns Israel Over Gaza

The president of Iran has warned that continued Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip could spark what he called an explosion in the Islamic world. VOA Correspondent Challiss McDonough has more from our Middle East bureau in Cairo.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called Israel a "fake regime" that should be moved somewhere else.

He spoke at a large protest in Tehran in support of the Palestinians. He warned that the Israeli invasion of Gaza could spark a violent backlash in Muslim nations.

"They should not let things reach a point where an explosion occurs in the Islamic world," he said. "If an explosion occurs, then it will not be limited to geographical boundaries." He says, "It will also burn all those who created [Israel] over the past 60 years."

The Iranian leader often uses fiery language to criticize Israel. He sparked international condemnation last year when he called the Holocaust a myth and suggested that the Jewish state be moved to Europe.

The latest Israeli attacks on Gaza have prompted outrage throughout the Middle East, as well as criticism from Europe.

The Israeli offensive is aimed at freeing a 19-year-old Israeli soldier captured by Palestinian militants nearly two weeks ago, as well as stopping a barrage of rocket attacks on Israeli towns near Gaza. Some Israeli strikes have targeted infrastructure such the electrical grid, roads and bridges.

Gunmen from the military wing of the Islamic group Hamas have claimed responsibility for a recent rocket attack into Israel, and Hamas gunmen are holding the Israeli soldier.

Israel holds the Hamas-led government responsible for the captured Israeli soldier, and Israeli forces have arrested scores of officials from Hamas, including at least eight Cabinet ministers.