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7,000 students register in Iran to fight Israel
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Seven thousand university students from Iran's central city of Isfahan registered on Monday to fight Israel, the semi-official Fars news agency reported.

"On the first day of registration to fight Zionist regime and to help Palestinians, 7,000 students from the universities of Isfahan have claimed readiness," Mohammad Zarifi, member of Iran's Students Islamic Association, was quoted as saying by Fars.

Also in the day, another Iranian students group, Basij Students (Volunteers) of Tehran Universities, announced it is registering volunteers to fight Israel.

The registration came a day after Iran's Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei issued a religious decree saying whoever dies in fight with Israel and in defense of Gaza would be a martyr.

"In response to the supreme leader's decree of Jihad (holy war), Basij students from all the universities of Iran have registered and the registration will be kept tomorrow," said Alireza Zahedi, a member of Basij Students of Tehran Universities, without disclosing how many students have already registered.

"In the near future, the registered students will hold a meeting to claim their readiness to the supreme leader to go to fight in the occupied (Palestinian) territories," he added.

Thousands of Iranians, including university students, staged a rally in Tehran on Monday morning to condemn the Israeli raids in the Gaza Strip, carrying banners on which anti-U.S. and anti- Israel slogans were written.

Israel on Saturday morning launched massive air raids which it said were targeted at Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip, killing more than 300 and wounding over 900 people.

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

(Xinhua News Agency December 30, 2008)

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