Hamas' Growing Role in Iran's Scheme to Encircle Israel

(Investigative Project on Terrorism) Yaakov Lappin - A senior Hamas delegation that visited Iran in October and met with Supreme Leader Khamenei is the latest sign of the close partnership between the Sunni Palestinian terror organization and the Shi'ite Islamic Republic. "Iran has an interest in relations with Hamas, because it wants to surround Israel from all sides," said Col. (res.) David Hacham, a former Arab affairs adviser to seven Israeli defense ministers and a senior research associate at the Miryam Institute. "By establishing strongholds in Gaza, Lebanon, and Syria, it is surrounding Israel." The head of Hamas' political bureau, Ismael Haniyeh, who is based in Qatar, and the head of Hamas in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, have a positive view of Iran. Haniyeh was a prominent guest at the funeral of the late Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani in January 2020. "Since 2017, the money has been flowing to Hamas without stop, and the sum is estimated to be many tens of millions of dollars per year," Hacham said. At the same time, Iran provides support to "all variants of radical Islamic organizations in Gaza, with an emphasis on Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which is a central Iranian proxy." Within Gaza, Hamas is using Iranian technical know-how to enhance its rocket arsenal's range. "Iran has taught Hamas how to build its own domestic rocket manufacturing industry," Hacham said. Iran also provides training for Hamas operatives, shares offensive and defensive operational plans and battle doctrines, and passes along scientific and engineering information needed for producing ever-improving rockets, explosives, and other weapons in Gaza. "This is all continuing at full speed," said Hacham. "Around a decade ago, according to Palestinian reports, Iranian military experts were on Gazan soil, and were killed in an Israeli attack," he added.

2021-11-11 00:00:00

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