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TEHRAN: Thousands of protesters rallied across Iran on Saturday against the United States and Israel and in support of Palestinians in the war-torn Gaza Strip.

“Down with USA” and “Down with Israel”, chanted demonstrators gathered in front of the former US embassy in Tehran, an AFP journalist reported.

They set ablaze an effigy of Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu as well as the US and Israel flags in front of flag-waving crowds.

Black-clad women waved victory signs with their hands, painted over with Palestinian flags.

Tensions between Iran and the United States have worsened since the October 7 attacks on close US ally Israel by Hamas gunmen who Israeli officials say killed about 1,400 people, mostly civilians, and seized more than 240 hostages.

Since then, Israel has relentlessly bombarded the Gaza Strip and sent in ground troops, with the health ministry in the Hamas-run Palestinian territory saying 9,488 people have been killed, about two-thirds of them women and children. Speaking on Saturday, Iran’s parliament speaker Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf hailed Hamas’s October 7 attack on Israel as “a turning point” that “changed history”.

“No matter what the United States and the Zionist regime (Israel) do, the situation after the ‘Al-Aqsa Flood’ operation will not return” to how it was, Ghalibaf added.

The demonstrations come on the Islamic republic’s “day of the fight against global arrogance”.

November 4 marks the day Iranians attacked the US embassy in Tehran in 1979 and the taking of 52 American diplomats as hostages, which lasted 444 days.

Less than nine months after the toppling of Iran’s US-backed shah, students overran the embassy to demand Washington hand over the ousted ruler after he was admitted to an American hospital.

Tehran has labelled the Israeli bombardment of Gaza “genocide”, while lambasting Washington for its strong support of Israel.

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