Hamas was in active coordination with Iran before, during and after the attack against Israel over the weekend, a senior Hamas official said.
Ahmed Abdulhadi, Hamas’s representative in Lebanon, said in response to a Newsweek question in an audio conversation on X that Hamas had also coordinated with Iran’s Lebanese ally Hezbollah and with other factions of a so-called “Axis of Resistance” before the assault, the deadliest Palestinian militant attack in Israel’s history.
Tehran has denied any role in the operation, though the Iranian Mission to the United Nations told Newsweek earlier Wednesday that the Islamic Republic had provided Palestinian fighters with “skills” to help them launch such an assault.
Abdulhadi said on X that “we coordinated with Hezbollah and with Iran and the Axis before, during and after this battle at the highest level.” He said this coordination “has many dimensions—political, military and others.”
While Hamas has long fostered ties with Iran, the Palestinian movement has denied that any other entity played a role in planning the surprise land, sea and air attack. Abdulhadi did not say that anyone other than Hamas itself had planned the attack.
U.S. and Israeli officials, while accusing Iran of having a long history of supporting Hamas militarily, financially and otherwise, have not identified any clear connection between Tehran and the operation.
More than 1,200 people in Israel were killed after Hamas launched what it referred to as Operation “Al-Aqsa Flood” in reference to the revered site in the disputed holy city of Jerusalem. The attack involved a mass breach of the Gaza security fence into southern Israel along with a naval landing and the firing of thousands of rockets.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) subsequently launched its largest-ever bombing campaign against the Gaza Strip in what has been titled Operation “Swords of Iron.” The Gaza-based Palestinian Health Ministry has reported on the deaths of at least 1,100 people in the effectively blockaded Palestinian enclave since Saturday.
In an interview published Sunday by Russia’s state-run RT outlet, another leading Hamas official in Lebanon, Ali Baraka, said Hamas had planned the attack for two years and did not inform any other factions or allies, including Iran and Hezbollah, of the “zero hour.” Information was divulged half an hour after the operation had already begun, according to Baraka.
He said that Iran “gives us money and weapons, also Hezbollah.”
The fighting has fanned fears of a wider escalation amid hostilities on Israel’s northern border with Lebanon. Hezbollah has fired volleys of rockets and Israeli forces have conducted a series of strikes in ongoing tit-for-tat clashes, with reports of attempted infiltrations from the Lebanese side into Israel as well.
Newsweek has reached out to Hezbollah for comment.
Hezbollah issued a statement Wednesday blasting President Joe Biden for a speech the previous day in which he affirmed his support for Israel and pledged to increase aid to the U.S. ally in the wake of an attack he referred to as “sheer evil.” The IDF have described scenes of atrocities said to have been committed by Palestinian fighters in Israel, while Hamas and Hezbollah have pointed to reports of alleged Israeli war crimes in the Gaza Strip.
“We consider the United States to be a full partner in the Zionist aggression and hold it fully responsible for the murder, criminality, siege, destruction of homes and horrific massacres of defenseless civilians, including children, women and the elderly,” the Hezbollah statement said.
A Hamas spokesperson shared with Newsweek a similar message a day earlier in the immediate wake of Biden’s remarks, which the Palestinian group said was aimed at giving Israel “full cover to continue its massacres against defenseless children, women and the elderly.”
As Israel continues to contend with the ongoing crisis, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu formed an emergency wartime government Wednesday with political rival Benny Gantz. The Israeli premier vowed to “crush and destroy” Hamas as the world did the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) in statement posted to X.