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TEHRAN - A group of Iranian hardline clerics is signing up volunteers to fight in the Gaza Strip in response to Israel's air strikes that have killed at least 300 Palestinians, a news agency reported yesterday.
"From Monday the Combatant Clergy Society has opened its website www.rohaniatmobarez.com for a week to register volunteers to fight against the Zionist regime (Israel)," the semi-official Fars news agency said.
Israel patrols coastal waters around Gaza and has declared areas around the enclave a "closed military zone".
The hardline Iranian group, which is headed by some leading clergy, says it has no affiliation with the government and was formed shortly after Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution.
Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei issued a religious decree to all Muslims on Sunday, ordering them to defend Palestinians in Gaza against Israeli attacks "in any way possible".
A religious decree is a high-ranking religious leader's statement commanding Muslims to obey its message. While there is no legal force behind it, Kha-menei is respected by many Iranian and non-Iranian Shi'ites.
Iran refuses to recognise Israel, which accuses Tehran of supplying Hamas with weapons. Iran denies this, saying it only provides moral support to the group. - Reuters