In the wake of the horrific attack on Israel, which has left over 700 dead, reports have surfaced that Iranian security officials helped the terrorist organization Hamas plan the strike for weeks.
“Iranian security officials helped plan Hamas’s Saturday surprise attack on Israel and gave the green light for the assault at a meeting in Beirut last Monday, according to senior members of Hamas and Hezbollah, another Iran-backed militant group,” the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported on Sunday.
Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) officers as well as four Iran-sponsored terrorist groups, including Hamas, reportedly attended meetings in Beirut where the operation had been planned. U.S. officials have said they have not seen evidence of Tehran’s direct involvement in the attack.
“We have not yet seen evidence that Iran directed or was behind this particular attack, but there is certainly a long relationship,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on CNN.
“We don’t have any information at this time to corroborate this account,” a U.S. official said of the meetings.
Mahmoud Mirdawi, a senior Hamas official, has claimed that the group planned the attacks on its own. “This is a Palestinian and Hamas decision,” he said. Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, praised the attacks in a post on X. “Zionist regime will be eradicated at the hands of the Palestinian people and the Resistance forces throughout the region,” he said.
More from the WSJ:
A direct Iranian role would take Tehran’s long-running conflict with Israel out of the shadows, raising the risk of broader conflict in the Middle East. Senior Israeli security officials have pledged to strike at Iran’s leadership if Tehran is found responsible for killing Israelis.
The IRGC’s broader plan is to create a multi-front threat that can strangle Israel from all sides—Hezbollah and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in the north and Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas in Gaza and the West Bank, according to the senior Hamas and Hezbollah members and an Iranian official.
Israel has said that Iran had a hand in the attacks, though indirectly.
“We know that there were meetings in Syria and in Lebanon with other leaders of the terror armies that surround Israel so obviously it’s easy to understand that they tried to coordinate. The proxies of Iran in our region, they tried to be coordinated as much as possible with Iran,” Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Gilad Erdan, said Sunday.
On Sunday, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi held a meeting with Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Ziyad al-Nakhalah and Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh.
“We are now free to focus on the Zionist entity,” the Iranian official said. “They are now very isolated.”
As Israel enters peace talks with Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan, the Iranian regime has likely seen that as threatening to its access on global trade, primarily in the Suez Canal, the Strait of Hormuz, and the Bab Al Mandeb connecting the Red Sea to the Arabian Sea.
“That’s very bad news for Iran. If they could do this, the strategic map changes dramatically to Iran’s detriment,” said Hussein Ibish, senior resident scholar at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington.
Though Iran has backed Hamas, it has largely considered it an outsider as a Sunni Muslim group as opposed to Tehran’s Shia clients. That relationship has changed in recent weeks.
“Representatives of these groups have met with Quds Force leaders at least biweekly in Lebanon since August to discuss this weekend’s attack on Israel and what happens next, they said. Qaani has attended some of those meetings along with Hezbollah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah, Islamic Jihad leader al-Nakhalah, and Saleh al-Arouri, Hamas’s military chief, the militant group members said,” noted the WSJ.
“Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian attended at least two of the meetings, they said,” it added.