Iranians protest civilian Gaza deaths, Guards chief sees 'war of attrition'

An Iranian man sits next to the symbolic shrouds of Gaza children's dead bodies during a gesture in a street in Tehran

DUBAI (Reuters) - Thousands of Iranians took part in state-sponsored marches on Saturday to protest against the deaths of children and other civilians in the Gaza war, and a top military commander said Israel was going towards its doom in a war of attrition.

"Palestine stands on the path of a war of attrition...Israel will face a definitive defeat and end up in the dustbin of history," Revolutionary Guards Commander Hossein Salami told a rally in the capital Tehran, which was aired live on state TV.

"The battle is not over, the Islamic world will do whatever it has to do. There are still great (unused) capacities left," Salami said, without referring to any possible moves by Iran to join the conflict.

State television showed some protesters carrying bundled white shrouds symbolising the children killed in Gaza, during the nationwide marches, held ahead of World Children's Day on Monday.

Tensions in the region have flared since a deadly attack by Iran-backed Hamas militants who burst through the border from Gaza into Israel on Oct. 7, killing some 1,200 people and taking around 240 hostages, including children, according to Israeli tallies.

Gaza health authorities raised their death toll on Friday to more than 12,000, including 5,000 children, after Israeli attacks there. The United Nations deems those figures credible, though they are now updated infrequently due to the difficulty of collecting information.

Iran's Foreign Ministry on Saturday called on the international community to help stop the "killing machine and organised terrorism of the Zionist regime against the Palestinian people and hold Zionist criminals accountable to justice and international law".

(Reporting by Dubai newsroom; Editing by Alex Richardson)