The Wall Street Journal reported that some 500 terrorists from the Iranian-backed Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror groups received combat training in Iran by the Foreign Operations department of Iran’s Quds Force in September.
The training by Quds Force, also known as the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) was intended to prepare the terrorists for the Oct.7 massacre in which they killed more than 1,400 civilians and took more than 200 people as hostages into Gaza, according to the WSJ report.
Israel’s spokesman for the IDF, Brig.-Gen. Daniel Hagari, said that Iran supports Hamas with its operations.
“Before the war, Iran directly assisted Hamas with money, training and weapons and technological know-how,” Hagari said. “Even now, Iran is helping Hamas with intelligence.”
The IRGC helped Hamas to plan the attack and greenlighted the assault during a meeting with leaders from Hamas and Hezbollah in Beirut on Oct. 2, according to the WSJ.
The Biden administration, however, has disagreed with these findings, claiming that the United States has “compelling” intelligence that Iranian leaders were surprised by the Hamas attack.
“The information that we have does not show a direct connection to the Hamas attacks on Oct. 7 as it relates to Iran. Again, that’s something that we’ll continue to look closely at,” Pentagon spokesperson Air Force Brig.- Gen. Pat Ryder said last week.
Hamas officials, themselves, have been forthcoming when communicating about Iran’s direct role in sponsoring and training the terrorist organization for the massacre.
“Hezbollah and Iran supported us with weapons, expertise, and technology,” Khaled Meshaal, a senior Hamas official in Qatar, admitted.
According to Western and Egyptian sources, Hamas contacted IRGC and Hezbollah officials abroad on Oct. 7, letting them know they had begun the massacre and have since been in close contact to coordinate.
Quds Force Commander Esmail Qaani recently visited Lebanon, where he met with Hamas and Hezbollah officials, according to the WSJ report.
Saeid Golkar, an IRGC expert at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, said the massacre could not have taken place without support from Iranian ayatollah regime and its terror-proxy Hezbollah in Lebanon.
“This sort of operation is very difficult to do without Hezbollah and IRGC support. Hamas does not have the capability to do that,” Golkar said.
The IRGC reports directly to Ali Khamenei, the leader of Iran, and has its own navy and business operations.
According to Norman Roule, a top former U.S. intelligence official for Iran from 2008-2017, although the IRGC has long been involved in training its proxies in the region, that does not automatically mean it directed the Oct. 7 attacks.
“Rarely is it necessary for Iran to involve its personnel,” he said.
Hamas has been backed by the IRGC since the 1980s, supplying the Gaza-based terror group with finances and weapons, but the relationship broke down temporarily in 2012, when Hamas spoke out against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during the civil war in Syria.
Iran began funding Hamas again in 2017 and also provided military training and hardware, making it possible for Hamas to construct its own drones and missiles for use in the current attacks against Israel.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.