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Iran says over 70,000 students sign up for martyrdom operations
Last Updated(Beijing Time):2009-01-06 14:34
The director of the Public Relations of Iran's Students' Basij (Volunteer) Organization Esmaeel Ahmadi said here on Monday that over 70,000 students had signed up for martyrdom operations, the official IRNA news agency reported.

"More than 70,000 students from universities throughout Iran have signed up on the list to conduct Esteshhadi (martyrdom seeking) operations (against Israeli troops in Gaza)," Ahmadi said.

"The students will act as part of Esteshhadi battalions," he added.

Iranian hard-line university students, since the erupt of Israeli war against Hamas in Gaza, have urgently sought the Iranian officials' permission to be deployed to Gaza to fight by the side of Palestinians.

To implement this, they have adopted divers means, including taking sanctuary in Teheran's old Mehrabad airport, staging consecutive rallies and resorting to students' opinions by signing up the list for martyrdom operations.

However, Iran's influential cleric Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said on Friday that Gaza does not need soldiers but political, weaponry and propagandistic support.

Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Hassan Qashqavi on Monday denied that there was anything (like providing weaponry support for Hamas) in Iran's government agenda.

On Saturday, Israel's ground troops entered the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip for the second phase of its offensive on the militant group after eight days of airstrikes.

Israel's military action, aimed at retaliating for Hamas rocket attacks into Israel, has killed over 500 Palestinians and wounded more than 2,600 others since the start of the operation on Dec. 27.

Hamas is strongly backed by Iran which does not recognize Israel as a state of the international community.

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