Iran claims Hamas did not give advance notice of its Oct. 7 terrorist attacks and will not join the group in its fight against Israel, Reuters reported on Wednesday.
Iranian supreme leader Ali Khamenei told Hamas head Ismail Haniyeh last month that, though Iran would continue to offer moral support, it would not get directly involved in the terror group’s fight against Israel, according to Iranian and Hamas officials who anonymously spoke to Reuters. Khamenei pressured Haniyeh to suppress Palestinian calls for Iran and Hezbollah, one of its proxy terror groups, to fully join the fight.
The Hamas Oct. 7 attacks resulted in the deaths of over 1,200 Israelis and the kidnapping of hundreds of civilians. Iran has historically supported and funded Hamas to carry out its will, as well as over a dozen other terror and militia groups located throughout the Middle East, according to the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
Hamas has been encouraging its Iranian-backed allies to aid in the fight against Israel since the initial Oct. 7 attacks, Reuters reported.
Iad Elbazam, Hamas-run Ministry of Interior Spokesperson’s, held a press conference, where a bystander expressed his vocal disapproval of Hamas.
— COGAT (@cogatonline) November 7, 2023
“Our brothers in the Islamic resistance in Lebanon, Iran, Yemen, Iraq and Syria, this is the day when your resistance unites with your people in Palestine,” Hamas’ military commander Mohammed Deif said on Oct. 7.
But Iran will only get involved in the fight directly if it itself is attacked by a third-party nation, such as the U.S. or Israel, according to the officials who spoke to Reuters. Hezbollah has also not gotten directly involved in the conflict, choosing to only engage in small skirmishes with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) along the Israel-Lebanon border.
Instead of fighting alongside Hamas, Iranian-backed proxy groups have launched drone and missile attacks from afar against Israel and U.S. forces stationed throughout the Middle East, according to Reuters. Proxy groups in Syria and Iraq have launched at least 46 attacks against U.S. and allied targets in the surrounding regions since the initial Hamas attacks.
Israel launched a sweeping counteroffensive in the Gaza Strip in retaliation against Hamas, including airstrikes and a ground assault in the strip’s northern region. IDF troops recently breached Gaza City and entered the region’s largest hospital, which serves as a nerve center for Hamas to operate.
The Biden administration has pressured Israel to take a “pause” in the conflict so that more hostages can be released and humanitarian aid can be delivered to Gaza civilians.
Iran’s foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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