U.S. Warned of More Possible Attacks


TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Frustrated Palestinians may target U.S. interests with suicide attacks because of Washington's support for Israel, Iran's former president said Friday.

Hashemi Rafsanjani's comments came as thousands of people across the Middle East attended rallies marking the importance of Jerusalem, the holy city fought over by Muslims and Jews.

Jerusalem Day is held to coincide with the last Friday of the holy month of Ramadan. Jerusalem, a city wanted by both Israelis and Palestinians as a future capital, is the third-holiest site in Islam, after the Saudi Arabian cities of Mecca and Medina.

Rafsanjani, who served as Iran's president from 1989-97, told worshippers that the West must curb escalating Israeli-Palestinian violence or face a ``third world war.''

In Lebanon, the leader of the Iranian-backed Hezbollah militant group urged Palestinians to continue suicide bombings against Israeli civilians.

Acts of ``martyrdom ... are the weapons that God has given to this (Palestinian) nation and no one can take it from us,'' Sheik Hassan Nasrallah said during a ceremony marking Jerusalem Day, a day first declared in 1979 by Iran's then-spiritual leader, the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

Palestinian suicide bombers and gunmen have killed dozens of Israelis in recent attacks. Washington has condemned the acts, and Israel has launched strikes in retaliation.

Tehran's streets were closed to traffic and packed with protesters attending Jerusalem Day rallies. State-run Tehran television reported that millions of people attended protests throughout the country.

Political leaders attending the Tehran rally included reformist President Mohammad Khatami and the parliament's only Jewish lawmaker.

In Lebanon, thousands attended a Hezbollah-organized rally in Beirut, including hundreds of the militant group's members wearing black military uniforms and red head bands bearing phrases such as ``Jerusalem, we are coming.''

``There are no civilians in the Israeli society. They are all invaders, occupiers and usurpers of land. They are all partners in the crime and massacre,'' said Nasrallah, the Hezbollah leader.

In Syria, some 1,000 Palestinian and Iranian protesters marched through the streets of the al-Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp on the outskirts of the capital, Damascus, calling on the extremist Hamas group to continue suicide bombs attacks against Israeli targets.

In a speech to the protesters, a Hamas chief, Khaled Mashaal, urged Arab states to stop mediating between the Israeli and Palestinian sides, instead calling on them to send arms to the Palestinians.

Meanwhile, in Jordan, Christians held prayed and fasted in solidarity with the Muslims who are observing Ramadan.

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