According to senior members of both Hamas and Lebanon’s Hezbollah, as reported by the Wall Street Journal, Iranian security officials played a role in orchestrating Hamas’ unexpected attack on Israel. They allegedly approved the operation during a meeting held in the Lebanese capital, Beirut.
Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) reportedly played a significant role in the planning and authorization of Hamas’ Saturday surprise attack on Israel, according to senior members of Hamas and Hezbollah cited by the Wall Street Journal on Sunday.
According to the report, officers from the IRGC had been collaborating with Hamas since August to devise a complex operation involving air, land, and sea incursions, marking one of the most substantial breaches of Israel’s borders since the 1973 Yom Kippur War.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict’s worst escalation in decades has claimed more than 600 lives on the Israeli side, the government press office said, while Gaza officials reported at least 400 deaths in Israeli air strikes.
Details of the operation were reportedly fine-tuned during several meetings in Beirut, where IRGC officers engaged with representatives from four Iran-backed militant groups, including Hamas, which governs Gaza, and Hezbollah, a Shia militant group and political faction based in Lebanon.
While US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Sunday that there was no concrete evidence pointing to Iran directing or being behind this specific attack, he acknowledged the longstanding relationship between Iran and these militant groups.
In response to inquiries by the Wall Street Journal regarding these meetings, Mahmoud Mirdawi, a senior Hamas official, insisted that the group had independently planned the attacks, characterizing them as “a Palestinian and Hamas decision.”
According to senior Hamas and Hezbollah members and an Iranian official cited in the report, the IRGC’s broader strategy involves creating a multi-front threat, aiming to encircle Israel from various directions. This threat involves Hezbollah and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in the north, alongside Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas in Gaza and the West Bank.
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said Sunday that Tehran supported the Palestinians’ right to self-defense and accused Israel of being a danger to the region.
“Iran supports the legitimate defense of the Palestinian nation,” Raisi said, quoted by state television.
“The Zionist regime (Israel) and its supporters are responsible for endangering the security of nations in the region, and they must be held accountable in this matter.”
Iran does not recognize Israel and has made support for the Palestinian cause a centerpiece of its foreign policy ever since the Islamic Revolution of 1979.
The two governments have engaged in a shadow war for years, with Iran accusing Israel of a series of sabotage attacks and assassinations targeting its nuclear program.