Iran denies helping Hamas plot attack on Israel
Tehran has denied accusations that it helped Palestinian militants to plan the surprise attack on Israel that was launched on Saturday morning.
“The decisions made by the Palestinian resistance are fiercely autonomous and unwaveringly aligned with the legitimate interests of the Palestinian people,” Iran’s mission to the UN said in a statement to the media. “We are not involved in Palestine’s response, as it is taken solely by Palestine itself.”
On Sunday, the Wall Street Journal cited several sources, including unnamed members of the Hamas and Hezbollah militant groups, as saying that officers from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps had helped to plan the attack on Israel since August. It also “gave the green light” for the operation at a meeting in Beirut, Lebanon last Monday.
Ghazi Hamad, a Hamas spokesman, told the BBC that the militants had “direct backing” from Iran. However, Ali Baraka, another Hamas official, insisted in an interview with NBC News that Tehran had not been notified about 'Operation Al-Aqsa Flood' beforehand. “It was a surprise to everyone, including Iran,” he said.
Although US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the White House had not yet seen evidence of Tehran’s involvement, some Israeli and American officials accused the Islamic Republic of colluding with Hamas.
The Palestinian militants and allied groups carried out a surprise attack on Israel from Gaza, simultaneously firing rockets and dispatching troops to infiltrate Israeli settlements. The Israeli government responded by declaring war on Hamas and carrying out airstrikes on Gaza.
Iran has endorsed the assault and urged other Muslim countries to back the Palestinians against Israel.
More than 700 Israelis and at least 436 Palestinians have been killed since Saturday.