More than 1,200 Israelis and 1,000 Palestinians are dead, The Wall Street Journal reports, just three days after Israel declared war on Hamas, the terrorist group that massacred hundreds of people last weekend in a multi-pronged military operation.
The stealth, training and technology required to carry out such a devastating attack suggests Hamas received outside help, some analysts and military experts told The Washington Post and the Journal, most likely from Iran.
Iran already bankrolls Hamas and Hezbollah, a Lebanon-based terror group helping Hamas bomb Israel, spending an average of $100 million each year supporting Islamic-extremist paramilitary organizations. The country reportedly funneled $70 million to Hamas last year alone.
Iran also had motive to attack Israel beyond religion. Diplomatic talks between Israel and Saudi Arabia —one of Iran’s enemies — had sped up in the past couple of months, which could have threatened Iran’s strategic position in the military.
U.S. officials seem to recognize Iran’s implicit role in the attack through its long-term financial support of Hamas but stop short of saying Iran directly aided the bloodshed. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken acknowledged the “long relationship” between Iran and Hamas on Sunday, but clarified, “We have not yet seen evidence that Iran directed or was behind this particular attack.” U.S. deputy national security adviser Jonathan Finer expanded on CBS News:
Iran has been Hamas’ primary backer for decades. They have provided them weapons. They have provided them training. They have provided them financial support. And so, in terms of broad complicity, we are very clear about a role for Iran.
But several reports have surfaced suggesting Iran instigated the attack.
Some Hamas and Hezbollah officials claim Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) helped plan the attack in August, the Journal reported Sunday. The terrorist groups allegedly met with IRGC representatives in Beirut several times before the IRGC — not Hamas — gave the go ahead to attack on October 1.
An unnamed Syrian government advisor and European official corroborate the terrorists’ story, according to the Journal, but senior Hamas official Mahmoud Mirdawi denies it. Iran also denies its involvement in the attack, though President Ebrahim Raisi reportedly celebrated the assault as an “innovative and victorious operation” on national news.
The Post doubled-down on the Journal’s disputed claims Monday, alleging:
The Palestinian militants behind the surprise weekend attack on Israel began planning the assault at least a year ago from Iranian allies who provided military training and logistical help as well as tens of millions of dollars for weapons, current and former Western and Middle Easter intelligence officials said Monday.
Intelligence officials reportedly told the Post Iran helped Hamas build more than 4,000 rockets and drones used to attack Israel. They also claim Hezbollah and IRGC members helped train some Hamas militants in Lebanon.
The implications of these reports are important. It would mean Iran can unite organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah to carry out sophisticated attacks, which would foreshadow massive loss of life, put Israel in danger of extinction, and weaken America’s strategic position in the region.
It could also mean the United States, however unintentionally, helped fund Hamas’ attacks on Israel. In August, America released $6 billion in frozen oil revenues back to Iran in exchange for the country releasing five American prisoners. Though the U.S. stipulated the money can only be used for humanitarian causes, it essentially freed-up money Iran was spending on humanitarian aid to be given to organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah.
More information on Iran’s involvement in the Israel-Hamas war is likely to emerge in the coming days and months.
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