Iranian parliament speaker Hashemi Rafsanjani said Friday that Palestinians should kill Americans and other Westerners in retaliation for attacks by the Israeli military in the occupied territories.

"If in retaliation for every Palestinian martyred in Palestine they will kill and execute, not inside Palestine, five Americans or Britons or Frenchmen, they (Israelis) could not continue these wrongs," Rafsanjani was quoted as saying by the official Islamic Republic News Agency, monitored in Nicosia."It is not hard to kill Americans or Frenchmen. It is a bit difficult to kill (Israelis). But there are so many (Americans and Frenchmen) everywhere in the world," he was quoted as saying.

At least 460 Palestinians and 20 Israelis have died in the Palestinian uprising that began against Israeli rule on Dec. 8, 1987, in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which Israel seized from Jordan and Egypt in the 1967 Middle East war.

IRNA said the parliament speaker made the remarks at a prayer sermon Friday in Tehran before huge rallies to mark the Iranian holiday in support of the Palestinian cause.

Soon after coming to power in the 1979 Islamic revolution, Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini set aside May 5 as Quds Day, referring to the Arabic name for Jerusalem. He has called on Islamic nations to free Jerusalem, Islam's third holiest city after Mecca and Medina, from Israeli rule.

"Those who give $10 billion a year to preserve Israel and know what they are doing, is their blood worth anything?" Rafsanjani was quoted as saying.

His remarks appeared to be a further deepening of the Iranian campaign against the West, launched Feb. 14 by Khomeini with a death sentence against British author Salman Rushdie for his book "The Satanic Verses."

Khomeini said Rushdie blasphemed Islam in the book and used his condemnation as a platform to attack slackening revolutionary zeal in Iran.