Gazans spared little thought on Monday for Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, killed in a helicopter crash, saying that he had failed to ease the suffering in the war-torn Palestinian territory.

Raisi was confirmed dead on Monday after search and rescue teams found the remains of his helicopter which crashed on Sunday in a fog-shrouded western mountain region of Iran.

Palestinian militant group Hamas, which runs the Gaza Strip and receives financial and military support from Iran, paid tribute to Raisi’s “support for the Palestinian resistance, and tireless efforts in solidarity” with Palestinians.

But Gazans in the central city of Deir al-Balah, an area which has been hit by fighting between Hamas and Israeli troops since the October 7 attacks, told AFP that Raisi’s legacy in the Palestinian territory had been tarnished by inaction over their plight.

“He never supported us, never kept his promises, never called for a ceasefire, and never stood by us. He does not concern us at all,” said Naji Khodeir, a resident of the city, which now hosts large numbers of Gazans fleeing fighting further south.

‘He Means Nothing to Us’

Iran has called the group’s October 7 attack on Israel a “success” but denied any involvement in the storming of southern Israel by Hamas.

“He means nothing to us and nothing to Gaza,” said Βilal Khodary, a displaced Gazan.

Gazans said that they were more concerned with their dire humanitarian situation.

AFP footage showed a group of children lining up to receive food rations in Rafah. More than 810,000 people have now fled the southern city since Israel sent troops in, almost two weeks ago, the UN said.

The UN’s humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths warned on Sunday that if dire fuel shortages to Gaza were not alleviated, the “famine which we have talked about for so long, and which is looming, will not be looming anymore. It will be present.”

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said on Monday that he told visiting US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan that Israel had a “duty” to expand its ground offensive in the far-southern city.

“I only grieve for my people who die every day, for the thousands of victims and martyrs who are falling, and for the fact that no one cares about us,” said Roba al-Azaiza, a Deir al-Balah resident.

“With all this destruction and devastation we’ve faced, no country has paid attention to us,” said Hossam Abdallah.

“Why should I care about this man when he has only brought us ruin?”

With AFP